Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Here's to The Hemp Underfoot

This is a crappy photo, but you can see the charm and appeal, right?


The Toad has lots of opinions about floors and floor coverings. Basically, she's a snob who would rather have no rugs upon her floor than a cheap rug sullying it up. The result? Bare floors abound at the Toad's!

I also take umbrage with rugs that look stylish but feel terrible on the feet. Sisal is an example of a totally mean spirited floor dressing joke: it may look ok, but your bare feet will scream with the first step on the scratchy, gnarled, vicious surface. Sisal is for rooms which no one enjoys.

That's why I was so pleasantly surprised to encounter this coiled, almost tropical doilyesque hemp rug at fabulous L.A. store Garde. Made sustainably in India (hemp is used for more than just recreation, people), these rugs come in all sizes and designs, but I prefer the smaller 3' size and circular motif of this one. It's both beachy, tropical, and even preppy all at once. And did I mention that it's not scratchy and foul underfoot? This rug is a find, and it would be perfect in a vacation home close to the beach, if you have one. Otherwise, you can just buy the rug anyway and pretend.

At $225, this rug isn't inexpensive. I'm sure you could find one at Pier 1 that would look similar for a fraction of the cost. And then you could pick stabby needles of hell out of your feet forever. At Garde.

Monday, August 10, 2015

A Tiny Book with Teeth

Do you remember when Mt.St. Helen's erupted? You've never heard about it from this perspective.


As a writer and a former art major, the Toad is a fan of small, creative endeavors that combine the two. Tiny books make wonderful gifts for creative, edgy people (if you're reading this blog, let's assume that means someone like yourself.)

Introducing a wonderful new tiny book, Teeth, by Obelus Projects creator and writer Mikel Wadewitz. First off, the quality of this book is very high, with lovely thick paper and gold ink embellishments. The other illustrations, by artist Belle Iskowitz, are detailed black and white pen and ink drawings that capture the story perfectly. And what, exactly, is the story behind Teeth? It involves a Wadewitz childhood memory of living in Portland, Oregon, when Mt. St. Helen's blew its top, his fascination with Harry Truman, the literal old man on the mountain who refused to leave and died in the explosion, and a small act of theft. Teeth manages to capture a historic moment in a child's life without being cloying or annoyingly sentimental. Wadewitz relays his memories with authenticity, but sticks firmly to an adult perspective. The book is both a pleasure to read and to view.

Teeth is part of what is, hopefully, a larger series called The Little Deaths. When you order Teeth, for just $20, you buy a piece of limited edition art and help fund future endeavors. For just $5 more, Wadewitz includes a music playlist, too. Order here, and support the independent art world.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Instant Pegboard Organization for The Very Lazy

This person used it for photography, but you could use it for jewelry, keys, or other sundry collections.

One of the stand out things in the classic Julia Child kitchen was her pegboard: an entire wall section of board and hooks, with stenciled outlines of pans and equipment for easy storage and display. It was inspired, pleasing to the eye, and cheap.

Well, The Toad likes inspired and pleasing organization, but she's a bit shaky on cheap, since that often means she'll have to do it herself. For all you handy DIYers out there, that works out fine; you like nothing more than to lurk the hardware store aisles, losing yourself in building materials. Alas, The Toad's talents are quite limited in this arena, and installing her own pegboard station falls way outside her limits.

So it's perfect that the design company Block has created such lovely pegboards, all ready to set up and use anywhere, any time. Unlike standard pegboards, Block's inventions come in different sizes and colors, ranging from pale blue and natural to bright yellow and orange. There's a small freestanding size (perhaps ideal for a landing strip), and larger sizes for offices and even kitchens. Did I mention the pegs? They're nifty and wooden and have colorful heads, unlike the utilitarian metal hooks and such found at the hardware store. I just love these!

You can find them at Bezar, ranging in cost from $37-$49. Buy one or five of these suckers, hang it, and forget it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Four 2015 Colors of the Year, All Better Than Pantone's Dismal Marsala

By now, you've all read The Toad's anti-Marsala screed. Seriously, I expected far better from the likes of you, Pantone.

I've listed these colors in order of my preference. Some are only marginally better than Marsala, and some are just light years ahead. Still, I'm not sure I would want to live with vast quantities of any of these colors; one I wouldn't use at all (although I can understand its appeal) and others I'd only use as accents. But hey, you might disagree.

I guess you could use this instead of beige. But be careful of the snot factor.
First up is Benjamin Moore's Guilford Green. This is my least favorite, although I'd take 40 gallons of it over Marsala. It's being sold as a neutral, and I can see the possibilities, although I also think it looks like phlegm very early on in a sinus infection. Sorry to leave you with that image stuck in your brain, but that's how I see it. And for god's sake, don't put this color in a bathroom, unless you fancy looking like a snotty tissue every morning. Still, it could work in a very airy space. Not my favorite.
For some reason, I find this blue slightly infantile.


Onto Pittsburgh Paint's Blue Paisley. This is a dramatic blue, but it's a bit too something for my tastes. It seems a bit childlike, like a color favored by cheap ass plastic toy makers. I can see a splash of it as a pillow, but I wouldn't want it on a wall. At least it doesn't remind me of anything to do with the human body; that's a good sign, right?
This is honestly pretty without being annoyingly cloying.

Next up: Sherwin Williams' Coral Reef. This is more like it. While I feel that this sort of pinky orange has been done before, it's a color I like for an accent wall or linens. It's pretty without having that gross girly factor, and it rocks with darker, moody colors (spectacular with grays and greiges). I would use this color.
My personal favorite, as it could go boho or modernist.

Last, and my favorite: Kelly Moore's Coastal Surf. Personally, this intense blue doesn't remind me of surf at all. Instead, I see Morocco, Yves St. Laurent, and Yves Klein. It really lends itself to outdoor spaces and tiled interiors. A little of it goes a long way, though. A whole room of this would be overwhelming. I would love to do a section of courtyard in this color, or maybe one wall of a powder room.

So, there you go: four colors for 2015 that kick the crap out of Pantone's Marsala. There is hope. You're welcome.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Pantone's 2015 Color of the Year is... Barfy

Ew. Enough said.
Well, ok, no. It's not called "Barfy." It's called "Marsala." As in the wine. Although the last time I checked the color of wine, it was deep and rich, garnet in tone, not drab and subdued.

I've had problems with Pantone's color choices over the years. I felt that Emerald was a bit much, a little too Emerald City to use in anything more than tiny amounts. But Marsala is way, way worse. This is simply not a nice color. It looks creepy next to skin. It looks institutional in hue. And, worst of all, it looks like liver.

Who wants a livery pillow? Or an organ hued wall? This color evokes, at least for an old dinosaur like myself, the production design of Silence of the Lambs. It's a color a serial killer would love; it is not a color for the living.

As for the name, the only connection it has to actual marsala wine is if it's been vomited up after a night of revelry. Gross, but true.

I really, really, really hate this color. I'm done now.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Watch Out: Autumnal Pumpkin Pillows Post Sitting Hazard

Ask a guest you hate to have a seat.
We are officially in Fall! I would be totally excited, except for the fact that it's still about 80 degrees here in L.A., all my boots are still in storage, and I can't wear a sweater without it becoming a sauna situation.

Plus, even in this heat, we must tolerate the Fall Decor. Perhaps nothing sums it up better than McSweeney's classic essay, "It's Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers," but I shall try to add to the Fall decor dissing peanut gallery. After all, it's pretty easy pickings: just check out these pumpkin pillows from Gump's.

First off, they are, indeed, autumnal in color. Such rich reds, yellows, ochres, and greens. They are also that very practical fabric, velvet (actually, cats don't like velvet and won't claw it, so I suppose it really is a practical fabric, even though, in this case, I wouldn't mind my cat batting one of these monsters across the room). And, the crowning glory are the real pumpkin stems growing from these jewel toned puffs. Yes, they have been scavenged from real pumpkins and reattached, Re-Animator style, to the pillows (in honor of Halloween, perhaps). Don't they look like real pumpkins? No?

I'll tell you what these puppies really are: a sitting hazard. Imagine innocently wandering into the living room and unceremoniously flopping onto the couch. But, instead of landing on the couch itself, you plummet onto one of these pillows, realistic stem up. Ouch. Actually, worse than ouch. More like, a trip to the emergency room, looking just like an autumnal baboon. Try explaining that away to the doctor on call. Just try.




Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Spring into Spring with A Wacamole Planter

That's one funny planter.
I'm not sure we really had a winter here in Los Angeles, but now spring is definitely here. I've already started planting my food stuffs, like a Thai chili pepper plant, dill, and chives (I plan on making a lot of smelly food).

Yep, it's planting season here, and I'm sure the rest of the country wants spring to have sprung as well. To just add to the fertile cheer, treat your favorite green thumb to a planter from the Spanish company, Wacamole. I mean, come on: how cute is it? Those little dangly legs, the fun and funky plant options on top, make these planters simply too much fun. Some rest, like this one, on a ledge or counter, some hang, some are splayed in a front split, and some have festive paint jobs. All are hand crafted and unique.

Naturally, these are not at bargain basement prices. Wacamole planters start at around $50 a pop. But just think of the springtime giggles they'll evoke, At Wacamole.