d-i-y music: trees, almonds and other found instruments + ‘the beat goes on’

(Video link here.) Dig this video made by composer Diego Stocco in conjunction with Burt’s Bees. Stocco creates a great beat, simply by shaking tree branches, flicking orange peels, banging on coconuts, mashing his hands through cooked rice, and sifting his hands through almonds – all amplified. Even the buzz of bees make an appearance. Just…

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book giveaway: ‘hip girl’s guide to homemaking’ even teaches useful knots

One of the things we love so much about The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking is that Kate Payne always thinks to share the simple–but totally essential–skills that many of us manage somehow not to have picked up. A perfect example is the series of useful knots on her blog. Her tutorial for tying a bowline…

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inspiring needlepoint sign: f*ck cancer

Xeni Jardin, a writer for Boing Boing, has been generously open about her experiences with having breast cancer. (Check out “What do To When ‘Stuff Happens’ for her powerful words.) On Wednesday she shared this amazing needlepoint that she keeps on her desk for inspiration, made by Heather Beschizza. We echo the sentiment, and hope…

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aging as growing (0 to 12 years old in 3 mins)

Hans Hofmeester filmed his daughter Lotte once a week for the past twelve years. Then he edited snippets of film together to produce this time-lapse video of her growing from a baby into lovely 12-year-old, in under 3 minutes. For us, GROWING is the operative word. Once you get past 40 or 50, aging often…

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ruth asawa: adversity allowed time for art

When Mondoblogo published a post of Ruth Asawa’s extraordinary crocheted wire sculptures – with hardly any commentary – our first thought was: we want a house filled with that work, those forms hanging above. Then we looked her up. At RuthAsawa.com we learned: When Ruth was 16, she and her family were interned along with…

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a perfect set of wheels for making furniture mobile + a great sapien bookcase hack

When Design Within Reach launched the Sapien bookcase, it seemed like a brilliant idea: a bookshelf that allows books to be stacked vertically over five feet high, to form a neat stack from which you could easily remove any book. CB2 promptly knocked off the rectangular-pillar-with-removable-shelves-design. We bought one, then rued the day. The problem…

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houdini’s mantra: “my brain is the key that sets me free”

‘improvised life’ editor-at-large David Saltman has just finished writing a historical novel starring Harry Houdini. From David we’ve learned about the amazing achievements of this real life superhero that go way beyond his well-known escapes from straightjackets and handcuffs. We’ve come to know a little of ‘the inside’ of the great magician. Houdini trained his…

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book giveaway: the hip girl’s guide to homemaking

Now that spring has officially sprung, we find ourselves ready for new projects, around our houses and outside. We keep coming back to our friend Kate Payne’s The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking, an all-purpose guide to doing-it-yourself in your home (and having fun, too) – for ANYONE, whether hip girl or not. (We think…

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94-year-old matilda klein’s gracefully defiant dance

(Video link here.) Matilda Klein is 94 years old, and danced during the World War II big-band era. She’s still dancing, in competition no less, with her dance partner Danny Maloney. We love the videographer’s – and Matilda’s – message of defying expectations and stereotypes about age – or anything else. via Neatorama! Related posts: vivienne…

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osb: cool, cheap material for furniture, walls, lights, art

Lately, we’ve come across some extraordinary uses for OSB – oriented strand board (also known as waferboard) – a cheap, strong, durable building material made from pressed tree chippings and resin. It’s generally been viewed as garbage, something to use for structure and hide, until open-minded designers started to explore its potential and beauty. Architect…

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explore ‘the improvised life’ through images, via pinterest

At Pinterest, we’ve been creating collections of images – boards- under specific categories like Lighting, Storage Solutions , Art and Artists, Food and Cooking – even Shipping Pallets!. They allow you to navigate ‘the improvised life’ through its images, so you can poke around our vast archive in freer, more organic way. When you see an image…

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ikea hack: reverse-painted glass brick room divider

We are smitten with this room divider featured a while back on IkeaHackers: it is a rather visionary transformation of a simple material by Marloes van Heteren of SOLUZ and Remco Wilcke of CUBE Architecten. Clear glass Ikea rectangular vases, in two sizes, were painted white inside, to make reverse-painted glass, a compelling material we posted some…

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vivienne westwood: liberating words of an alt-fashionista

Ouno recently compiled quotes by fashion designer Vivienne Westwood that SO totally fly-in-the-face of the usual fashionista view, we were knocked out: it is fashion-as-liberation, self-expression and NON-consumption. Our favorite Westwood quotes: “Wear a towel instead of a coat, it’s very chic. Or your husband’s boxer shorts with a belt, or something from your grandmother.…

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weekend voyeur: beatrice da costa’s idea-ific interiors

After photographer Beatrice da Costa sent us her virtual flowers in an email, we went poking around her website. There we found a trove of images of interiors, each, though uncaptioned and mysterious, holding some cool and inspiring idea, like the extraordinary choice of wall colors, above. We are smitten with this corrugated tin ceiling…

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