Design

The World Is My Oyster

Painting ©2012 Nadine Robbins

“As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.” ~ Ernest Hemingway, ‘A Moveable Feast’

What is it about oysters that people either love or hate? It’s a slippery slope, and oysters slide right into one of those polarizing food categories, kind of like cilantro. I happen to love fresh, briny, sweet oysters. But my daughter…not so much. These sea-dwellers don’t float her boat.

Nevertheless, a few weeks ago, while I was vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard with my family; my daughter and her partner (in business and life) were in the midst of branding their client, Honeysuckle Oyster Farm. To inspire the design process, early one morning, they set out by boat to go oyster farming. Their research is this photo story:

The seafarers returned with a full bag of oysters. As it turned out, my daughter sampled a raw oyster on the boat and she was still not enamored with the texture and taste. So my recipe resourceful husband decided to make oysters more palatable for her and grill them over an open fire (with a few clams). Here’s his recipe:

Wood-Fired Grilled Oysters 

  1. Scrub oysters clean. If available, use oak or hickory wood.
  2. The fire is hot when you can’t hold your hand above the grate for a few seconds.
  3. Place the deep cupped half of the oyster shell facing the fire (flatter part facing up).
  4. In 2-3 minutes the oysters will open. Immediately, take the oysters off the grill before the liquid dries up.
  5. Can be served with a simple Rose Mignonette sauce.

The beauty of this dish is that it is like inhaling the sea…and while my daughter may not have “lost that empty feeling” towards eating oysters, she was inspired to “make plans” and brand Honeysuckle Oyster Farm.

Photos (except the grilled oysters): Ben Scott for Bluerock Design
Painting: Nadine Robbins

DIY Folding Chairs To Die For

My latest DIY obsession is repurposing old chairs. A while back, we found two Scandinavian chair frames abandoned by the side of the road. Making cushions is beyond my DIY realm – I’m crafty, but sewing a hem musters up a learning curve that I’ve yet to master. Why? Because I’ve always had a lovely sewing enabler in my life. I’m lucky because my mom is my go-to seamstress/upholsterer. And I’m thrilled she’s still willing to aim her magic thimble in my direction. Mom is currently chopping away on a maxi-skirt that I snagged at my local second-hand store, Rupo. It’s a beautiful long, narrow skirt, but torturous to climb steps in. When my daughter was here last week, she whisked the skirt off to mom and asked her to put a slit up the side (probably way higher than I would wear). Bye-bye skirt. But I digress…

I saw these Overdyed Terai Chairs at Anthropologie (above) and was immediately inspired by DIY possibilities. I’m thinking an oh-so stylish bluish, vintage-vibe would give new life to my old chairs.

Here are 3 of my favorite fabric pics:

1. Madeline Weinrib – This Ikat fabric is just stunning. Ikat means ‘to bind.’ I’m bound by love for this hand-dyed and handwoven silk/cotton fabric.

2. Marimekko – Who doesn’t love Marimekko? With its quintessential retro designs, these fabrics wink back to groovier times. This bold pattern from 1964 is almost identical to the ‘flower power’ wallpaper pattern of my childhood room (hence, the blue trend). In fact, I had to buy a few items with this pattern when I was at the NYC Marimekko store recently.

3. Amy Butler – I’ve written about Amy Butler’s designs before. Not only does Amy provide organic fabrics (below, organic velvet), her business philosophy inspires me as much as her gorgeous designs: “Being generous, fair, and honest in business and in life rewards you with grace and is it’s own success. Giving back to your community is sewing what you reap (sharing the love)…Care for YOUR community and it will take care of you.”

DIY Folding Chair Instructions HERE.

Photo: Anthropologie

In The Moon Garden

I recently enjoyed a summer evening dining in a friend’s garden. I loved the way the moon cast a spotlight of shadows, capturing a mood with white flowers and shimmery plants that shone amongst the greenery. Nightfall brought entirely new and intoxicating sights and fragrances. Some flowers were shut tight sleeping, while others opened in full bloom. There’s something mystical and romantic about walking through a garden on a summer evening.

What is a night garden?

A night garden incorporates plantings whose color, texture, sound, and scent can be appreciated in the evening. Sometimes night gardens are called “Moon Gardens.”

Are night gardens new?

According to this article, night gardens have been around for a long time:

“A night garden is not new to the contemporary world. Moonlight gardens were planted in medieval Japan using white or pale-colored rocks and sand. Pools of water caught the shine of the moon and white chrysanthemums cast a ghostly profile. In the 1600s India’s mogul emperor planted a stunning night blooming garden using fragrant and beautiful flowers like jasmine, narcissus, and lilies all in white.”

What to plant in a night garden?

DoItYourself lists night bloomers and aromatic plants to set your garden aglow.

Photos: Garden GuidesPlanting Seeds and Miss Wallflower

Customized, Cushionized Couch

The Cushionized Couch by Christiane Hoegner caught my attention for these 4 reasons:

1. It’s pliable and adjustable, making it uber-comfortable looking.

2. The color options are playful. Reminds me of something straight out of a fairytale. Princess and The Pea, anyone?

3. While my couch aesthetic is generally simple and leans towards the more neutral lines of natural linen, I’ve lusted after the wildly hip and colorful Mah-Jong Sofa from Roche-Bobois for years. The Cushionized Couch is reminiscent of this multi-cushioned iconic sofa.


4. So many DIY possibilities for creating mix and match handmade cushions from eco-friendly fabrics, beautiful sheets or vintage curtains, abound in this inspirational Cushionized Couch.

But…and there’s a big BUT…Could you live with this?

Photos: Cushionized Couch, Home Rejuvenation, Mah-Jong Sofa, Roche-Bobois

Working It

I’ve written about new green working spaces. But this? No words. Just 3 questions…

Could you?
Would you?
Do you?

Photo: via Daily Basics