Yes, the clock is running out on holiday shopping and no, maybe you haven't found the perfect gift. Consider original artwork — a personal gift that evokes emotion — not a bad thing for a loved one overloaded with skinny jeans or electronics.
A portrait my husband gave me for my graduation hangs above our fireplace and I still love looking at it every day, while my mother's gift of a Virge Brûlé painting always makes me smile. Art is sentimental without being impractical, and if you are astute, may appreciate in time (can you say the same about the latest Smartphone?).
Art Interiors, the brainchild of Lisa Diamond Katz and Shira Wood is an online source for original works. They are mounting their annual Festival of Smalls until Dec. 24, a collection of diminutive works with a correspondingly affordable price tag (between $55 and $250). Among the original pieces in a variety of mediums by 50 Canadian artists could be just the gift you're looking for.
Foodies will appreciate the sensual appeal of Greg Nordoff's limes oil painting; it would look luscious positioned above cookbooks in a kitchen.
For the hockey fan, this oil painting by Elizabeth Lennie has a fresh, Group-of-Seven vibe. Of course, it happens to commemorate the greatest game on earth (national bias is implied), and is a nice memento of those weekend pick-up games to hang at the office.
Kick off an art collection for a young girl with this Emilie Rondeau photograph; the delicate print is a sweet addition in a pre-teen's bedroom.
The nostalgic, fun-house energy of Angela Cameron's carnival swings photo appeals to the kid in everyone.
For the urban hipster, Jay Dart's graphic watercolour perks up an industrial loft.
Hanna Ruminski's impressionist Blue Room resembles a Marie-Antoinette fantasy, making it a feminine addition to your BFF's boudoir or dressing table.
1-6. Art Interiors
Since I started planning my wedding six months ago, it has been a whirlwind of DIY activity at my house — luxe velvet and pretty lace everywhere! The holiday season has forced me to put aside my planning and get my hands into some festive DIYs, which I happen to really enjoy. I like including handmade gifts whenever I can as I find a lot of people really appreciate them — I know I do.
For those who are not crafty but like the idea of handmade ornaments and gifts, Etsy has an endless supply of beautiful and unique items ready to ship. Check out a sample of what you can find:
I love how fresh and bright these rag baubles look; perfect for a beachy Christmas theme.
I am finding these felt ornaments everywhere but if you don't, Etsy has an endless supply in various colours. Fasten one to a gift box for a sweet touch.
Find unique Christmas stockings in every fabric and colour. I like the felt ones best.
Handmade Christmas linens are my favourite gift add-ons.
This fun garland is an easy alternative to intricate cut patterns, and looks great with minimal decor.
I find handmade stationery pricey so always convince myself to DIY instead. After getting carried away in the craft store, I usually come to the conclusion that I would have saved had I purchased cards like these: Etsy has a huge variety.
If you are a baker, these little tags add a nice touch to your treat giveaways.
Lately I've forgotten about my love for rich jewel-tone walls and deep grasscloth wallpaper. Instead, I'm captivated by simple neutral interiors, curious furniture finds and striking artwork. (A phase? I'm not sure.) This week's Best of the Web blog highlights a few black-and-white interiors that inspired me this week, and an intriguing line of furniture. There's a bit of a floral kick at the end for those of you who need a bit more colour in your life — I haven't forgotten about it completely!
1. Katherine Yaphe of Oliver Yaphe posts photos of Danish artist Tenka Gammelgaard's contemporary home featured in Brazil's Casa Vogue. I especially love the large calligraphy brushes in the studio area.
2. Danielle de Lange of The Style Files looks inside photographer and interior designer Benedikte Ugland's industrial Swedish home.
3. Julie at Remodelista blogs about San Francisco-based designer Antonio Martins' home. Loving the rustic desk turned bathroom vanity.
4. Michelle of Ten June guest blogs for Centsational Girl about the many ways to incorporate the oh-so-popular floral look in your home, whether you prefer modern Marimekko prints or painterly pieces.
5. Harry of Moco Loco shares the "Triplets" — whimsical furniture designs by Steffen Schellenberger. Tweaking chair proportions changes its purpose from a seat into a coatrack, storage, shelf, etc. Creative!
What inspired you this week?
1. Casa Vogue Brazil April 2012 issue, photography by Idha Lindhag, via Elle Sweden, Oliver Yaphe & Tant Johanna
2. Skona Hem, photography by Anna Kern, via The Style Files
3. California Home + Design, photography by Drew Kelly, via Remodelista
4. Layla Grace via Centsational Girl
5. Steffen Schellenberger via Moco Loco
Oh, to be a kid again! Kids' rooms and nurseries today are home to unique colour schemes beyond the once-typical pastel blues and pinks. This week's Best of the Web roundup features oh-so-cute rooms for little ones:
1. Emma Reddington of The Marion House Book embraces nautical style and deep blues in her son Henry's new room.
2. Apartment Therapy takes us into the eclectic bedroom of two-year-old Jasper in Australia.
3. Katie and her partner Matt, of Katie's Pencil Box, forego wallpaper and paint beautiful peachy peonies in their future daughter's nursery.
5. Alberta designer Alykhan Velji chooses a sophisticated yellow, grey and white palette for a nursery.
For more kids' room ideas, browse our guide.
Working at House & Home, there is no shortage of stunning interior photos to fill my days with, but it's always exciting to find more online, in books and in magazines. This week I fell in love with two Parisian apartments and a few more inspiring spaces:
1. Over at Desire to Inspire, French architect Alia Bengana reveals photos of a Paris apartment she redesigned.
2. Vogue's May 2012 issue takes us inside the stunning Parisian apartment of American fashion designer L'Wren Scott and her partner Mick Jagger. (Can't get over how beautiful it is!)
3. Design*Sponge shares the results of a Detroit design studio's $5,000 renovation.
4. At Desire to Decorate, Wendy proves that white interiors can be packed with personality.
5. And over at Young House Love, reader Erin gives her kitchen a budget makeover. You've heard it before, but a can or two of paint can really go a long way!
Hope you find these interiors as inspiring as I did! See more gorgeous home tours on H&H Online TV.
Alia Bengana, via Desire to Inspire blog
Thanks to the inspiring House & Home of the Month in the May 2012 issue (on newsstands starting Monday, April 9th), I'm now anxiously awaiting the first few blooms in my garden. After the roller coaster-like temperatures we've experienced here in Ontario, I'm not sure when to trim perennials or plant my late-blooming bulbs or if it's too late for any of that. To console myself as I worry about whether everything will bloom as usual, I'm happily getting lost in all the pretty and handy floral and garden-related posts on the web.
1. Michelle of Remodelista interviews Elysian Landscapes founder Judy Kameon and gets ideas for a modern tulip garden.
2. Courtney Barnes of Style Court shares beautiful photos from Bringing Nature Home: Floral Arrangements Inspired By Nature.
3. Theresa Gonzalez of Apartment Therapy inspires us to think beyond the standard terracotta pot and plant in more unusual containers.
4. Heather Clawson of Habitually Chic brings us more stunning garden photos.
5. Kate Murphy for The New York Times reviews 10 gardening apps for iPhones, iPads and Android phones that help you plot and keep track of your plants, among other things.
For more gardening and outdoor living ideas, browse our guide.
1. Photography by Rebecca Bullene, via Flickr
Soft pastels shine best with the arrival of spring, and at no better time than Easter — but delicate hues are not the only tones you can use. The blogosphere is filled with ideas for how to give your dinner table or home a pretty, sophisticated look for the holiday. Lucky for all of us, many of these ideas are DIY, too!
1. Designer Brittany Watson Jepsen paints eggs with watercolours and carefully scribes guest names on eggs, over at Brooklyn Bride.
2. Melanie Blodgett of You Are My Fave creates Easter-in-a-box … for grown-ups.
3. Stylist Matthew Mead guest blogs for Vintage Paper Parade and uses greens and blues for table settings.
4. Holly Becker of Decor8 shares the talented styling of Dietlind Wolf. Instead of just dyeing your Easter eggs, dye your linens and decor, too.
5. Courtney of Merriment dip-dyes Easter eggs with neon shades over at Oh Joy. (Okay, so this was actually posted just over a week ago, but it was too cute not to share!)
For ideas on which foods to set the table with, browse our list of Easter brunch and dinner recipes.
1. Brooklyn Bride blog, photography by Hilda Grahnat
2. You Are My Fave blog
3. Vintage Paper Parade blog, photography by Matthew Mead
4. Schoener Wohnen April 2012 issue, photography by Julia Hoersch, via Decor8 blog
5. Oh Joy! blog, photography by Katie Stoops
As evidenced by our growing design sites we like list and blog roll, we're very inspired by blogs here at houseandhome.com. So, we think it's only fitting to let you know what we're loving on the world wide web. Come by every Thursday for a fresh set of hot links. For this week's batch, you'll see that we're enchanted by warmer temperatures and early blooms, and, as such, favour fresh, colourful spaces! Reno season is upon us, so we've included a link for all you hands-on folks in need of inspiration, too:
1. Heather Clawson of Habitually Chic shares beautiful photos of gardens and indoor-outdoor living.
2. Lucy of The Design Files takes us into the eclectic Australian home of textile designer Sally Campbell.
3. John and Sherry Petersik of Young House Love reveal their kitchen makeover results.
4. Ginny Branch Stelling of Design*Sponge interviews photographer and food blogger Erin Scott.
For more inspiration elsewhere on the web, visit these design sites we like.