Royal Cobalt Blue

Is there any blue richer than this?

Iranian Vessel Photographed by M@mad on Flickr

Especially when shown against that yellow. It is a handcrafted Iranian ceramic vessel purchased by Flickr member M@mad in Isfahan, Iran and photographed by him.

We may think the Iranian designs are gorgeous, but the British Museum explains that some Iranian potters were inspired by Chinese porcelains. Iranian rulers had acquired Chinese porcelain through trade and diplomatic gifts, and the Chinese pieces became highly prized in Iran. Thus potters produced designs like this one from the 16th century, to imitate Chinese pieces:

16th Century Iranian Pottery with Chinese Design from British Museum

Here is another example against yellow, this one from India, a mural painted by Ariya Nair:

Wood Mural Painting by Ariya Nair

Simple small tiles, but they have super-sized impact in this color. Photo by Wendee Schmitke on Flickr:

Blue Tiles Photographed by Wendee Schmitke

Apparently, they are at a children’s day care center. All places should have such style!

Even in smaller doses, the color delivers a punch. These pots are in Mauritius, photographed by Niranj Vaidyanathan on Flickr:

Blue Pots in Mauritius Photographed by Niranj Vaidyanathan on Flickr

You don’t have to go to Iran, India, or Mauritius to see this color though. You may find it right around you, wherever you are. Perhaps in blue bottles:

Blue Bottles from Discovery Channel

This color has literally stood the test of time. Here are fragments of Iranian tile from an article about how to analyze ancient ceramics to find the chemical and mineral coloring agents of the glazes and pastes:

Ancient Iranian Tile Fragments

These tile fragments are from the Takht-e Soleyman palace in Iran and were created during the 13th-15th centuries. I wonder if they knew back then the precautions they should take when using cobalt pigments. Apparently it is toxic when inhaled and potters can get cobalt poisoning if they don’t take precautions to protect themselves.

Cobalt blue is still popular today. In fact Refinery 21 says it’s a trendy color for fall 2013 clothes and they give 11 ways to add cobalt blue to your wardrobe.





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Affordable Otomi

If you like the bright colors of India, you might like Mexican Otomi fabrics too. Because of the extensive and time-consuming embroidery handiwork needed to make really good Otomi, these textiles are priced accordingly. As they should be.

But if you want the look for less, there are some options. A large Otomi for a bedspread would cost many hundreds of dollars but all these ideas are available for well under a hundred …

Look for Otomi patterns that are printed on fabric, rather than embroidered. This pillow from MotifPillows on Etsy has a printed pattern:

Otomi Pillow Printed Pattern from MotifPillows on Etsy

If you want embroidered Otomi, you can find pillows with embroidered designs. Pillow-sized fabrics are more friendly to your wallet than the big bedspread-sized Otomi. Here’s an embroidered pillow from Toselli on Etsy:

Embroidered Otomi Pillow from Toselli on Etsy

Or you can find remnant fabrics and sew a pillow yourself, frame the fabric, cover a lampshade or make a handbag or tote – there’s so many ways you can use these. Here’s a 13″ x 18″ piece from Etsy seller ILoveOaxaca:

Multi-Color Embroidered Otomi from Etsy Seller ILoveOaxaca

This looks embroidered, but it’s a digital print from a photograph of embroidered Otomi found in Mexico. Yet another technique to make these fun folk patterns on fabrics. From PeakLane on Etsy:

Digital Printed Otomi from PeakLane

If you want just a wee bit of Otomi, here’s a little silk-screened art. But its neon color more than makes up for its size! From ScoutandLilly on Etsy:

Silk-Screened Otomi from ScoutandLilly on Etsy

From CasaOtomi on Etsy, I really like this long lumbar pillow with embroidered pattern. A really impactful pillow shape for a bed or a bench as shown here:

Otomi Lumbar Pillow via CasaOtomi

Okay, by now I know you’ve figured out that to find affordable Otomi, just go to Etsy and search “Otomi.” I’ve done my job!

To see how Otomi can be used as accessories and as furniture upholstery, visit Houzz, and of course Pinterest. Oh boy, if you like Otomi, definitely click that Pinterest link! So much inspiration there.





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A Lil’ Bit Boho: Colorful Painted Cabinets

This cabinet found on Annie Sloan’s Facebook page stopped me in my tracks, in fact I think it stopped all time from moving and the Earth from spinning. At least it seemed that way to me. Here it is:

Painted Cabinet in Annie Sloane's Home

It’s described as: ‘In my boho bedroom in France –  a sideboard painted in Aubusson and Barcelona with a paper cut out on the front panels and side panels too.”

You could get a similar look as the plant shapes on these door panels by decoupaging a crazy quilt of printed paper, then painting or stenciling over it. It would be fun to decoupage colorful magazine ads and then stencil over them, revealing just glimpses of the ads! I’ve collected design magazines in Thailand during trips there and I can’t read the ads – this might be a cool thing to do with them.

For more boho style in a cabinet, here’s a painted Tibetan cabinet from Baronet 4 Tibet:

Painted Tibetan Cabinet from Baronet 4 Tibet

This one is like a party in a sherbet-colored sideboard! From Maisons du Monde:

Painted Sideboard Cabinet from Maisons du Monde

This one is more subdued, a different mood, just as colorful:

Painted Cabinet for Boho Style

I wasn’t able to track down the original source of this. If you know, please leave a comment and I’ll update this. It deserves credit, beautiful!

A bit less bold, the colors on this Chinese style cabinet could blend into a lot of home styles. It could bring some contrast to modern, and it would fit right in with rustic country. This is now sold, but was at Wisteria:

Chinese Painted Cabinet from Wisteria

If most of a room’s décor is more conservative, these kinds of cabinets are a great option to add unique personality without being too overwhelming with the color and pattern. They’re a good size to tuck into a space and add a little style contrast. I made a Chinese style cabinet for our dining room to get that result in our house. The dining table is … hmmm, maybe transitional style? And cherry stained? It doesn’t have much style personality. Rooms like that need something a little different to be more interesting.

Like tuck this little cabinet from Plumo next to a chair or sofa and you have an easy infusion of something spunky in the room:

Painted Cabinet from Plumo

These little cabinets are always useful near seating areas to hold a coffee mug, remote control, a candle, picture frame, etc. Why not choose a colorful cabinet for a little shot of personality?





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The Moody Blues

You know the days where the sun can’t quite break through the haze or clouds? This happens on early summer mornings here in the Midwest. And you know the sun is up there and there’s a lot of promise because later in the day, the sun will win and rays will shine through. A bunch of dusty blue images on Pinterest the other day reminded me of this.

Just like the first time there’s a certain crisp smell in the air, you know fall is here – despite whatever day it is on the calendar – when this blue shows up in the sky holding the sun and its heat behind it, you know summer is here. It’s like the sky is trying to ease you in to the coming heat, giving you a cool blue warning that it can’t hold hot weather back much longer. It’s neat how colors can bring up memories and emotions …

Via Luli Sanchez:

Blue Fabric Print via Luli Sanchez

An N’dop ceremonial hanging from Cameroon with woven cotton and stitch resist indigo-dyed. Circa early 20th century. Via Joss Graham:

N'dop Ceremonial Hanging from Cameroon via Joss Graham

From Botto, a print for Fabindia:

Blue Pattern from Botto for Fabindia

Here’s a very moody paisley by Ralph Lauren Home:

Blue Paisley by Ralph Lauren Home

This kind of blue feels dusty and dusky.

Like this gorgeous detailed ikat at Lacefield Designs:

Blue Ikat at Lacefield Designs

Here’s a Fortuny fabric, from The Met:

Fortuny Fabric at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Here’s my beloved Schumacher Katsugi, in a blue colorway:

Schumacher Katsugi in Blue

A vintage bandana with Native American motifs:

Vintage Bandana

This is a tie dye tapestry from Urban Outfitters:

Tie Dye Tapestry from Urban Outfitters

This sari cushion from Aura by Tracie Ellis has the moody blues:

Blue Sari Cushion from Aura Home

Sanderson’s Pagoda River pattern has the blues:

Sanderson Pagoda River Pattern

And finally, this is like a grand finale of moody blue color and patterns, via Cloth & Goods:

Blues via Cloth & Goods

In addition to blues that evoke a certain mood, this has been a journey through a lot of different patterns, huh?





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