When Chairish Asks, “What Would You Do With This Space?”

If you follow Chairish on Facebook, you see they occasionally post an empty space and ask, “What would you do with this space?” My thought is always, “upload it to Olioboard and play with it like it were MY space!”

Chairish recently offered this blank space:

Olioboard Room

Here’s what I did with it on a moodboard at Olioboard:

Chairish What Would You Do With This Space


I added:

  • Some Asian elements
  • Some industrial
  • Global textiles (the “art” on the wall on the left is a hooked rug)
  • Subtle pattern play in similar colors so it doesn’t get too wild
  • A bit of bling in the peacock mirror
  • Pieces that look casually collected over time

I think if this were real, the candelabra would light up the jali screen when the candles are lit. And also cast light down on the Buddha’s face.

I kept it simple. I don’t like to load up coffee tables with too much “vignette” stuff. The coffee table space is open and free to hold wine glasses, a laptop, a book, a lounging cat.

You can try this too, by uploading the blank space above into Olioboard.

Let’s see what Chairish offers us next on their Facebook “what would you do” series …

Good Earth India Shares What Inspires Them

I would love to get more behind-scenes peeks from designers. Show us a glimpse of process. Show us what inspires the designs. That’s why I was thrilled to see Good Earth share inspiration on its Facebook.

Good Earth designs its product collections around themes, and an upcoming theme is “Samarqand” inspired by the crossroads of the famed Silk Route. I have a little bit of an obsession with the Silk Road (I should write and share more about that) so this inspiration was interesting to me. Which area of the Silk Road are they looking at? You can see in their moodboard below, some Suzani, a snippet of ikat, Uzbekistan, Islamic script, old papers, various pinks and blues.

Good Earth Inspiration Moodboard

They share a few steps of the block print creation process:

Good Earth India Block Print Creation

For full size images of each of these, visit Good Earth’s Facebook Album.

And indeed the elements I picked out in the moodboard above show up in the collection, as shared by ELLE India: “The new collection features home accessories and fabrics in madder rose and azure hues – we particularly loved their metal lanterns and bright ikats made by artisans in Uzbekistan. “

From Good Earth’s Instagram (yes I am a social media stalker), here is an artist at work on Samarqand works – looks like painting on a mirror. Can you see elements of inspiration from the moodboard?

Good Earth India Creating

Here is a sneak peak at lanterns from the new collection:

Good Earth India Lanterns

Here is a store scene – note the pillows! You can definitely see how the inspiration in the moodboard carried through to the products. Prominent pinks and blues, and the patterns.

Good Earth Samarqand Collection

Good Earth India Samarqand Collection Pillows

You can visit Good Earth stores in India or you can shop Good Earth online - yes you can even find their lanterns online.


Kuba Cloth, Coptic Cross and a Razza Ram

Usually shopping lists for weekend errands look like this:

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Anti-perspirant
  • Dog food
  • New hair dryer

But what if this was a Saturday shopping list:

  • Kuba cloth
  • Ethiopian coptic cross
  • Vintage Luke Razza ram pendant

Isn’t that a more interesting list? That was my list yesterday as I headed to Chicago’s Randolph Street Market. Usually I am not a “wee! buy all the thingssssss!” type blogger. Today’s post is more an example and a lesson about how it pays to know what you’re buying and what it’s worth at any point in time. Prices can rise when a vintage or imported item becomes more popular. If you’ve done your homework and you know something is a good value and you’ll love living with it, consider not passing it by. Especially if it’s a collectible that holds some value that you can re-sell later.

So, why these things? Two years ago I photographed a kuba cloth at Randolph Street Market that’s still stuck in my mind today. Most things I see, they’re forgotten the next second. You know when you feel so strongly you should get something? Just get it. I posted about that lost kuba cloth previously. Here it is:

Kuba Cloth

Nice, huh? Two years ago this was $75-85. Today they had kuba cloth which was very different, which I also loved, but it cost much more now and I didn’t bite. Here’s a bit of it – it was very long, repeating this pattern:

Kuba Cloth

I also didn’t get this because this pattern is really too strong to display in my home. It would likely stay folded up in a collection. Which is sad. These things should be seen and enjoyed and actually used. The mud cloth from a few years ago had a pattern that would have looked fantastic displayed in our house.

I did pick up a mud cloth with a pattern I really like. Here’s a glimpse of the pattern:

Mud Cloth

It might wind up as a throw over a futon in our basement, which is becoming a “man cave” media room with black, beige, metallic paints, and different patterns from around the world. There’s a chair that needs recovering and this would look fantastic on it, but I’m not sure I’ll have the heart to cut in to this.

The Ethiopian coptic crosses were a long shot. They’ve been on my want list for awhile. There’s a certain place where I want to set two. There are vendors at Randolph Street Market selling many global goods, so you never know what you’ll see. If you haven’t seen these Ethiopian coptic crosses before, they are these silver beauties here:

Fenton and Fenton Ethiopian Coptic Crosses

I believe that image was from Fenton and Fenton in Australia.

You can certainly find these coptic crosses online, but it’s always more fun to find something in person. Also I would think a well-made cross could hold value. I’d rather have that than yet another pair of sandals.

What’s a Razza ram? You ask? It’s this:

Razza Ram via Life In Travel blog

Photographed on Hanh of Life in Travel. The Ram is the sign of Aries and I’m an Aries, so this is why I like it. I wouldn’t blame you if you think it’s ugly. It’s not a gorgeous object. But styled up on Hanh, I see the potential. She has a knack for putting strong things together. See:

Razza Ram on Hanh of Life in Travel Blog

There was a Razza ram at Randolph Street Market a few years ago. That’s why I thought there’d be a chance one was there today. It was black and silver which I like even more than the beige and gold:

Razza Ram Seen at Randolph Street Market

But, I did not get and did not FORGET.

I spotted one beige and gold Razza ram this weekend. It was $325. The tag you see up above is tagged on the Razza ram’s chain. $125 two years ago. Still a bite but it is vintage and collectible and re-salable. You see them on eBay and Etsy selling for these prices.

My DIY stenciled market tote bag went along (and its DIY tassel which fell off and I nearly lost) and here’s what tumbled out of it at the end of the day:

Randolph Street Market Finds

It’s like my own little global goods cornucopia – things from the Congo, Bangladesh, Morocco, Indonesia, and good ol’ salvaged tin ceiling tiles from the USA. You’ll be seeing more of some of these … a few DIY and “half-DIY” projects coming up …


Bold Punch POW

The previous post was like a visual palette cleanser. In fact, the rugs kind of look like crackers during a wine tasting. And now you’re ready for a bold flavor. And here I serve it up for you.

Wide black stripe on a white wall. Super powerful. From Tine K Home catalog, featured by The Design Chaser blog:

Wide Black Stripe on a White Wall from Tine K Home catalog

Here’s where you get just a glimpse, but that’s all you need to get a feel of the effect:

Black Stripe on White Wall from Tine K Home Catalog

So brave to do something like that.

Here is black in smaller doses but still bold. From Couleur Locale, a store in Belgium:

Bold Black and White Pillows from Couleur Locale

Let’s kick it up a notch. Ready? Hold the handrail here. Oh wait, what? There isn’t a handrail. I feel I like need one, to stay steady on these steps. Via Domaine:

Bold Staircase Runner via Domaine

If that’s too much, here’s black and white pattern served up in smaller doses on plates, Moroccan plates:

Black and White Moroccan Plates

This next pattern dials it down a little bit more. Maybe that’s because there’s more white/beige than black. Yet, on a large scale on a rug, it could have a ka-pow. It’s the Magical Thinking Slice-Stamp Rug which was available at Urban Outfitters, now sold out:

Magical Thinking Slice Stamp Rug from Urban Outfitters

Small dots make up small strokes. (Click image to enlarge and see more detail.) Still a bold effect, overall. From Gaia Auction catalog. It’s an acrylic on canvas work by Lorna Ward:

Lorna Ward Acrylic on Canvas

That’s probably enough for now, before we over-consume and get drunken and dizzy with bold patterns!

Patchwork Rugs

I love the patchwork rug style from ABC Carpet and Home, made of patches of various rugs:

ABC Carpet and Home Patchwork Rug

But, would you believe something as simple as a beige patchwork rug could be quite different? So, let’s look for more …

Here’s a beautiful version with a mosaic of pattern, from a store in the UK, Design Studio V:

Patchwork Rug from Design Studio V

This look is a great option if you don’t want to commit to color but want some texture and a little bit of pattern.

Clayton Gray Home explains how their rugs are hand-stitched together in Turkey. They’re made from pieces of vintage and antique rugs from Pakistan, India, Nepal, Tibet, Armenia and Turkey - all joined  in one new piece like this one:

Clayton Gray Home Patchwork Rug

Can you believe you can even find these rugs on Etsy? Uh-huh. From seller Vintage Carpets, direct from Istanbul. I’m tempted:

Patchwork Rug from Etsy Seller Vintage Carpets

You can see that even though these are all neutral, they’re all different. Some are more faded and ghostly – just a whisper of pattern. Some have more obvious pattern. Some have larger carpet remnant pieces, others have smaller patches. All these design choices give each rug a unique look. This next one from Carpet Edition has just hints of larger patterns:

Carpet Edition Patchwork Rug

From Zin Home - I like the mix of elegant patterns on this one. It’s like they chose different patterns that somehow all work together like an orchestra, instead of fighting and getting noisy:

Zin Home Patchwork Rug

These are making me think, hmmmm, inspiration for a stencil project … couldn’t you tape off rectangles on a tabletop and paint the rectangles with different stencils? Or you could paint on a floorcloth and make your own rug like these! I took tile-making classes many years ago. I could see creating tiles with parts of patterns like these, then piece the tiles together into a tabletop or wall art. Or even a floor if you’re really brave for a more permanent installation.

See, this started out as a very beige post, but there’s a lot of inspiration here!

Yikes! Comments Not Working – Giveaway Suspended

Wow what a Big Fat Blog FAIL! A really nice gift certificate giveaway is posted here, and … proverbial crickets. Silent treatment! I felt so bad. I was ready to go get off the “internets”! There are other things to do in life, offline, and surely I’d adjust. Eventually. Sniff.

Turns out, the comments weren’t working! I don’t know why. Maybe it’s related to the recent move to a new blog name and URL. I didn’t get email notice of comments, and they didn’t show in the dashboard either. Tests showed you could submit a comment, and it didn’t go anywhere.

So the giveaway is suspended until this is fixed.*

I’m sorry if you spent time reading the contest entry and commenting. You’ll see the giveaway relaunched soon and I hope you try again then.

I really loathe posting pics of myself here so to make up for this, here’s a selfie of my very best “oh shit” sheepish look!


So yeah … first and hopefully only selfie.

If you’d like to visit something of substance here instead, over my shoulder are the results of a few cool DIYs:

*Okay … we’ve upgraded to Comment Luv here and it’s working! I’ll re-run the contest soon …

You’ve Made an Impression

Things I’ve really liked lately have raised patterns or impressions.

Like these plates via Kuş Kafesiwhich if I’m interpreting right, is a store in Turkey:

Cluster of Plates via Kus Kafesi

And that’s a cluster of round things on a wall, a concept which has been strangely stalking me all year and obviously I haven’t shaken free of it yet. Here’s a cluster of round things on a wall I spotted just last week at a hotel. Just minding my business, walking past elevators, and there’s the round things stalking again.

So back to impressions and raised patterns. These are beads by Macropulloss:

Beads by Macropulloss

A Hamsa collection, which I think is in El Fenn riad in Marrakech because I recognize that wall. Wierd thing to recognize, huh? That happens when you’ve spent too much time on Pinterest looking at global design pictures!

Hamsa Collection

This hamsa collection is inspiring me to find a shape that’s meaningful to me and make it in concrete in various sizes with raised or impressed patterns on it. To make my own little wall collection. Concrete is pretty easy to work with once you have a form to make the shape you want. Maybe you’ll see that here in a future post!

How about this raised pattern sconce? It was featured in Domino and originally from Wisteria:

Raised Pattern Sconce from Wisteria

And, gorgeous hamam soap. Via Vachtvilten aan de Vecht (where it appears you can learn to make the soaps?):

Hamam Soaps

I’m even experimenting lately with raised stenciling. See this DIY stencil project I recently did for Paint and Pattern online design magazine. The theme this month was Italy, so I made wall art panels inspired by Italian terra cotta pots:

Wall Art Like Aged Terra Cotta Pots

They were painted with acrylic paints and Chalk Paint from Annie Sloan in various colors, and I used a product called Wood Icing to create the raised pattern. If you are liking the idea of raised patterns, you can use stencils and Wood Icing to easily create them.

I’ll definitely be doing more raised stencil pattern projects – already have a few ideas!