copy this: “moderne” patchwork tablecloth

Patchwork was created as a way to make use of scraps of fabric by frugal people who couldn’t afford to waste anything. Though it’s an age-old technique, there’s no rule that it has to look  that way. This patchwork tablecloth, a for-sale prop at Rogue’s Gallery in Portland, Maine, is made from stitched-together heavyweight vintage linen grain…

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chalkboard volkswagon

Chalkboard paint is one of the best inventions to come down the line in some time, due in large part to it’s improvisation-inspiring nature. There seems to be no end in sight to the uses people are devising for it. A current favorite: this ’70’s Volkswagon painted with chalkboard paint that I stumbled on on Flickr.

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tapio wirkkala: materials as opportunities

This quote by Tapio Wirkkala is high on a wall in the Design Museum in Helsinki. (Wirkkala was one of Finland’s most esteemed and prolific designers; perhaps his most recognized design is the Finlandia Vodka bottle that looks like ice.) In two sentences, he captures the central operating principles of creating just about anything: the “chance” and diversion from…

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back! from Finland

On the Finnair flight home from Finland, I glanced out the window to discover this incredible vision: a vast expanse of snow and glacier falling into the sea. The route home took us across the Arctic Circle and the coast of Greenland. That gives you an idea of how far North the amazing city of…

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gone (to finland)

In any creative endeavor, downtime is essential; breaking the routine, wandering, dreaming are a different kind of fuel than DOING.  So I’m gonna follow my own advice and take some time off to recharge: no posting on the blog, or any other official writing, for a week. I’m going to Finland, to look for Alvar…

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GOOD’s video contest: enter your world-changing idea

GOOD is at once magazine, website, blog, video series, community, and events devoted to exploring what good is and what it can be. A collaboration of individuals, business and non-profits, they invite everyone to become of a member of the GOOD community: “Please join us in defining what comes next.” (The subscription price for their magazine…

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the 7 vices of highly creative people

D.A. Blyler wrote the Seven Vices of Highly Creative People in reaction to the grumbling he was hearing about people working in offices where Stephen Covey’s bestseller The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People had been implemented. Personally, I’ve found Covey’s book to be strangely unreadable, and relate much more to Blyler’s recommendation for sex, cocktails, and gastronomy – specifically…

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on tomatoes and improvising

“I guess you win some and you lose some”, my friend Keith Stewart wrote in an email. “Last year was a winner. This year, I think, will not be.” Like many farmers in the Northeast, Keith’s tomatoes have been hit hard by late blight, the same spore-born disease that caused the Irish Potato famine in the…

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d-i-y anni albers necklace

I recently stumbled on a useful “how-to” of a necklace designed in the 1940’s by Anni Albers, the great textile designer and weaver who was a member of the Bauhaus, and a founder of Black Mountain College. The necklace, made from metal washers, laced together with grosgrain ribbon, is an example of ordinary elements combined…

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