Thursday, 29 July 2010

particularly pretty penguins pt. 2

I can't resist posting some more gorgeous Penguin classics, these ones from the extraordinarily beautiful clothbound series. Again, I want them all! I love clothbound books, it's such a luxurious thing, and these ones are just like pretty bookdresses. Working on the production side of book making I'm well aware of how much it costs to do it, and must say I'm impressed by the low prices they still manage to keep for these gems. But I guess the print editions are quite big, and the royalty costs quite small, which helps indeed.

I wouldn't mind having a dress in each and every one of these cloths actually, not one bit. Especially this lovely black and white peacock pattern, it's just divine, as is the book it's covering. A very perfect combination for one of my all time favorite books, where you'll find one of my all time favorite quotes: "The world is changed because you are made of ivory and gold. The curves of your lips rewrite history." I believe Oscar Wilde did just that, even though he unfortunately didn't live to experience it himself. I think he would have liked to come to Stockholm during the Pride festival right now, and publicly diss everything about it in the most well mannered and eloquent way, while secretly loving it. I sure hope it won't rain on their parade on Saturday, that would mean a lot of sad looking feathers and running mascara. If the skies are clear I'll try and get a view along the way and snap a few shots if I can. As for today I'd need a boat to get around, that's how much it's been raining.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

particularly pretty penguins pt. 1

Ever since I can remember starting to appreciate book covers Penguin has been one of my absolute favorites. Their amazing sense of style is simply immaculate, and I cannot get enough of it. It could in fact be that they're partly responsible for me wanting to work in publishing in the first place, cos I so wanted to be a part of creating something desirable from the outside in. Today I discovered this great batch of special edition classics they've published in association with (RED), where 50% of the profits will go towards helping eliminate AIDS in Africa. A very good thing indeed, and I'm tempted to ordering the lot to be honest, and hang them on the wall cos they are so incredibly beautiful! Seriously, breathtaking! Being a big fan of red and black and white is of course one of the reasons I like them so much, but add the calligraphy and unusual fonts and handwriting and letter illustration to that, and I'm one happy girl just looking at them, again and again and again. Of course the titles are not too bad either, but I've already got most of them in other editions, so if I was to get any of these I guess I'd donate the old ones for charity first. Or keep them in case I want to re-read them one day, and I've nailed the new ones to the wall as art!

Last year I got three Penguin book cover design books, and I love just flickering through them for inspiration, there's so much to choose from. There's the odd not so great cover in there too, which is almost a relief, cos pure perfection is hard to handle in my book. No pun intended. I also think that the Penguin logo is probably the best logo in the world. In the future, if I should move somewhere else and not work for Leopard anymore, and I'm not moving to San Fransisco to work at McSweeney's, getting a job at Penguin would rate pretty high for sure. Oh, the dreams, the dreams. Where would we be without them? Well, if I had followed the advice of the students counsler in my high school, I'd be working in the steel factory in Oxelösund right now. Do I have to add I'm happy I don't?

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

chinese summer inspiration

On Saturday I finally watched "Lust, caution" by Ang Lee, and I have no excuse why it took me so long. I knew it was gonna be beautifully shot and well directed, as his movies always are, but sometimes I find them a bit too aesthetic, in the way that they don't really move me. Which is not a problem though, I love just looking at all the pretty things, and I'm telling you this particular movie is just an orgy of Chinese beauty! Hairstyles, clothes, makeup, furniture, jewellery, cars, bags, well pretty much every frame is like a painting.

I'm even considering learning how to play mahjong, cos the tiles are so pretty, but I don't really like those kinds of boardgames. I guess I could just get a mahjong game and use it as decoration. Watching this movie made me want to rewatch "In the mood for love", another incredibly beautiful movie completely packed with clothes to die for.

These lovely pictures are postcards I got the other week at Stockhome, a store with some nice kitsch and the odd straight thing for your home on Kungsgatan here in Stockholm. I have yet to decide where in the apartment they should live. With a short vacation coming up next week, I feel quite inspired by them.

Monday, 26 July 2010

beyond retro, in front of style

I felt quite moody going home from work, and decided to cheer myself up with a long overdue visit to Beyond Retro on Åsögatan. I've talked about that store before, that I find it a bit overwhelming cos it's so huge and completely packed with stuff. Usually that would excite me, but when it's also packed with people at the same time, as it is mostly, it's a bit too much. Today I decided not to care about all that, and just look through the dress area, with an idea to maybe find something to wear to my father's 60's birthday party next week. (As you all know I don't have anything to wear ...) Going into the dressing room with 3 dresses, I suddenly saw something black and white polkadot in the corner of my eye: a bathing suit with a skirt! For 129 kronor! And a perfect fit! I wish someone would high-five me right now. I love it so much I'm actually considering going to the beach, as soon as the summer heat is back. Or else just wear it in the bath.

Out of the 3 dresses, only one was perfect, but it was so perfect I couldn't be happier. It's the kind of dress that doesn't exactly come to life on a hanger, but it really looks great on. I love the simplicity and sort of everyday cuteness of it, it's certainly a girlie girl dress. Not sure at all about the origin, I would take a wild guess with late 70's, maybe early 80's, mostly based on the stretch waist. It might be homemade, cos it doesn't have any tags, or else they were all cut off. Not that it looks homemade though, the details are really well made.

Like these lovely puffy sleeves, so cute! I have a thing for sewn on ribbons too, it's just an easy way to get some balance into pieces that are a bit too mono coloured. There used to be a black belt to this dress I suppose, but not anymore. I've got a black belt though (a regular belt, not in karate) so that's not really a problem. Come to think of it, it looks a little bit like a American Appalachian folklore dress from the 20's or 30's, or is it just my wild imagination? It's something slightly peasanty about it at least.

And of course I adore the little shiny black flower buttons! In Swedish I would say they are "pricken över i:et", which would translate to "the dot over the i", but I'm sure there's some more appropriate expression that I just can't come to think of right now. With a pricetag of 189 kronor I was in a way better mood coming out of Beyond Retro than coming in. I also got some voluntary assistance from a cute blond shop girl, who just by looking at me and the dresses I was gonna try on, ran off to fetch another cute bathing suit she thought I'd like. And afterwards she asked me how it went, which is service I really like, when it doesn't feel forced, just natural. So I guess this all means I'm not gonna wait another year or two before I go back.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

under the trumpet tree

As we are blessed with some cloudy skies for the first time in weeks and weeks, I thought I'd take the opportunity to stay inside without a guilty conscience, and show some pics I took recently in the lovely backyard outside my office. People that visit our office often remark at how quaint it is, and it really is, but quaint doesn't always go hand in hand with practicality. The office is in a beautiful house from 1757, called Monteliuska huset (The Montelius house), and it gets freezing cold in the winter and hot like a sauna in the summer. Fall and spring are usually okay, so at least we've got that. But from May until September we've got the great advantage of being able to use the backyard, which outweighs a few of the other downsides.

Cobblestones cover the entire yard, which makes the chairs a bit wobbly, but of course looks very nice. All the buildings are beautiful, with really old wooden doors. This detached house is the garbage room to the left, and a storage room to the right. On top of our office, and some other businesses on the ground floor, there are a few apartments that some very enviable persons live in.

In the corner next to a very small office, is the old stable, that's used as another storage area. But the pièce de résistance, the thing that brings the whole backyard together, and gives us excellent shade in the summer, is of course the amazing tree. It's called a trumpet tree in Swedish, as far as I can find out Catalpa in English. Indian bean tree seems to be another name for it. Funnily we've always called it an African trumpet tree, but trying to find out the English name just now, I find out it doesn't grow in Africa at all. You can find it in North America, the Carribean, and east Asia, and in a backyard in Stockholm.

Outside another small office, that used to be an art gallery, some lovely vines are climbing the walls. I love these so much, and for some reason they cut down some equally gorgeous vines just outside my window earlier this spring. The official reason was that the vines were hurting the house, but there is no trace of that whatsoever, it just looks naked now. They didn't even touch the windows, just grew right up to the roof, looking very majestic. Oh, well, vines tend to grow pretty fast, so let's hope they'll make a comeback halfway come next summer.

This is the door that leads to our offices. Yes, we have two actually, one on each side of the hallway. Behind the tiny window is a very cramped storage space next to my room. The nice black iron door leads down to a basement, that I don't think is being used at all, but for the main electricity central for the house.

This door hides the laundry room, kinda nice place to do your laundry, huh? One of my favorite details is the small roof window on the second floor, I would love to see the apartment behind it.

The tree usually blooms a bit later in the summer, towards the end of July, but since it's been such a tropical heat lately, the flowers just sort of exploded over night a couple of weeks ago, and they smell amazing. Just like honey, like The Jesus and Marychain would've put it. The gigantic leaves become a natural umbrella which is good for both sun and rain. At the moment a magpie has a nest in the tree, and she's got some babies that make very cute chirping noises every time the mum gets back with food.

So, that concludes the little tour of my work oasis here in Stockholm. Feel free to stop by if you happen to be in the neighbourhood, S:t Paulsgatan 11.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

pretty peacock, come fly with me

Going to meet Linda the other day for our little shopping spree downtown, I noticed there's a temporary antiques/curiousities shop open just around the corner from my work. It's usually a small bread shop, on Götgatan by the corner at S:t Paulsgatan, but during July there's no bread being sold. There were some pretty nice things in there, but very few of them had price tags, so I don't really know if it was more like an antique or curiousity shop as far as the prices go. When I picked up this lovely pair of peacocks the guy in the shop told me I could get both for 40 kronor, which seemed like a pretty good deal to me.

I just love them! Think I'll pop into the shop one more time next week during my lunch break, I'm sure I missed something. I did look at a stack of photography magazines from the 50's that were only 10 kronor each, and most of them had really nice covers, but the insides were mainly filled with camera ads, or photo advice, not surprisingly really but not very intriguing either. So they're still there I suppose, if anyone's interested.

Another shopping stop was at Panduro, an arts and crafts and hobby store on Kungsgatan, a place that I love and dread at the same time. Mostly dread cos it's usually pretty busy, but also cos I really have a love/hate relationship to the whole crafts/hobby scene. It doesn't make any sense at all, and I should really just stop, but I don't think I can. I won't try and explain it either, since I don't think I can. That said, I got some kind of cutesey mania this time, and got a lot of mostly pink old fashioned looking stuff that I think I might create something with. We'll see what happens. Maybe I'll wake up tomorrow realising I've gone mad. Ribbons 79 kronor, 5 x 2 m.

These little candylike buttons were 29 kronor, and I'll turn them into earrings if I can, or add to brooches together with the ribbons. I think they're really for scrapbooking, something part of the problem I have mentioned above. I really don't understand it at all, but I guess I shouldn't trash it, cos maybe in 20 years time I'll be doing it too. I sure hope not though.

Some more small buttons I'm gonna turn into something, some day.

A set of three tins in a pretty old fashioned candy store design. I know they're almost a bit too cute, but a mania doesn't see those things, it just wants what it wants. 139 kronor it set me back, but I do think they'll make good use in the cupboard for baking stuff and such.

And since I'm a bit manic about jewellery at the moment I did need a proper jewellery box as well, so when I saw this beauty in Chinese butterfly silk at Indiska for 99 kronor I just grabbed it. I'm trying really hard not to buy all the Chinese silk things Indiska is carrying at the moment, like small purses and notebooks, cos I've got sooooooo many purses and notebooks in Chinese silk already. But it's an addiction, it truly is, Chinese silk just shouts to me that I want it! It would be rather rude not to listen, but a way of going around it is not to enter the stores at all, or to wear headphones and listen to loud music. Or who am I kidding?

I saw this little bolero cardigan in powder pink with black stripes a few weeks ago at H&M, but didn't get it then. I did now when I saw it again for 149 kronor, a classic H&M price, and I'm certain it'll come into good use now that the worst summer heat seems to have left us. Which I applaude by the way! It's lovely to be able to wear clothes without feeling you're about to suffocate.

A pair of nice black wedge sandals that I got at Zoom shoes on Hornsgatan for the very reasonable sale price of 250 kronor. They're actually really comfortable, and I'm always a bit surprised cos I'm still new to wearing heels. Wedges are the way to go I guess.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

a friendly chinese surprise

Maybe it was me craving more jewellery the other night, maybe it's just cos I've got great friends, but sometimes you do get what you wish for, in the best of ways. Like a surprise beautiful Chinese envelope with custom made jewellery! Joy of joys!

Pretty pretty green gemstones with lovely silver details, I like these so much. I've got a few perfect outfits to match these too, looking forward to that.

And how about these amazing peacocks!? Oh, they are just too lovely! I've always liked peacocks, but it seems it's turned into an obsession lately, which I don't mind at all. There are so many worse obsessions one could have, why worry about getting happy by peacock items?

To match the Chinese envelope was a supercute Chinese ribbon bracelet, such a perfect gift for me! I can't wait to wear all of this. Thank you ever so much dear Linda! I feel perfectly spoilt!

First stop on yesterday's little shopping spree was Mattssons band, a button and ribbon store on Kungsgatan 19 here in Stockholm. It was quite overwhelming, and maybe a bit too hot to be able to make any rational decisions, so for once I actually only bought a very few select pieces. This beautiful rose ribbon was one. I'm not sure what I'm gonna do with it, maybe just wear it as a head band, either way I couldn't put it down once I picked it up.

The other things were these completely awesome calligraphy buttons! I have to find a coat or a cardigan that the small ones would fit and lift and transform to something utterly different. For now I'm just gonna look at them as often as I can, and maybe try and figure out a way to make the big one into a brooch, and the small ones into earrings. Surely it can be done, with some patience and the right equipment. And once I've started all my sewing projects, I'm pretty certain I'm going back to Mattssons for some more material.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

another floral interlude

After walking and talking and shopping in a really hot city for three hours after work today, my feet hurt really bad and I'm just way too tired to do much of anything. So here's a lovely look at some flowers I saw this weekend in the countryside. I'm still amazed at how good my little camera is, I mean I don't claim to be a photographer in any way, but it's nice to have a gadget that sort of produces nice things almost on it's own. And flowers make me happy.

I did however get quite a few really nice things today, that I'm looking forward to sharing when my feet feel better.