Monday, July 25, 2011


I decided to finally try my hand at curating-- in the form of an Etsy treasury. It was nighttime, for once there were stars out as opposed to the usual San Francisco summer fog, and so I titled my treasury "Stargazing" (which sounded more poetic than just "stars" which is what I originally had).

What to put in it? I decided to go for a kind of ethereal look with this, hope you like it:

'Stargazing' by katykristin

















Treasury tool by Red Row Studio.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Painted Wood Cuteness! Part Two

So, as promised, let's talk about Irmi. First off, lots and lots of people love Irmi. Check out this Flickr group called "In Love With Irmi". My favorite is the super rad gnome lamp (oh, how I wish it were mine):

The little mushroom lights up as a nightlight. This photo belongs to sewdeerlyloved.
Who was Irmi? Irmi (also called Nursery Plastics) was a company formed in 1948 in New York by a couple, Fred and Irmi Bering. Fred and Irmi met and married in the United States after each had independently escaped Nazi Germany. They started with nothing and gradually built their company into a thriving business. As a child, Fred's father had given him a note stating, "If you should ever find yourself in a position where you have more than you need for yourself, think of those who are less fortunate." Honoring this in later years, Fred donated $2 million to the Danbury Hospital in Connecticut in memory of his beloved wife.

Isn't that a cool backstory? 

Irmi produced really cute and well-made nursery and children's decor, primarily lamps, switchplate covers, music boxes and wall hangings. Mother Goose and fairytale stories were the most common themes and virtually all the products were hand painted in wood.

Obviously, our house had to have some Irmi magic. It probably looks like only a 5 year-old lives here.

Jack and Jill switchplate in our bedroom.

My bedside table lamp. You twist the cat, music plays, and the girl's chair rocks back and forth.

Cat Playing the Fiddle Switchplate in my studio.

Humpty Dumpty lamp in my accessories closet (yes...I have an accessories closet).
Humpty Dumpty switchplate in our study.
Noah's Ark wall hanging in the upstairs bathroom.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Painted Wood Cuteness! Part One

When I was a kid, we used to go to my grandmother's house fairly often, as she lived across the bay in Oakland. Gram had an amazing 1920s era apartment that overlooked Lake Merritt. She had a penchant for holiday decorating and always created these great displays in different rooms. 

My favorite displays, however, were the dining room centerpieces. She had a large collection of Erzgebirge figures which she arranged for holiday decor. (Erzgebirge is a region in Germany that has been producing beautifully painted wood figures for centuries.) One Easter centerpiece that I remember well consisted of a manzanita branch and lots of little painted wooden bunnies, some up in the branches and some on the tabletop. It was like a little Easter rabbit workshop scene. They were kind of like the bunnies in this photo I found on UncommonEye's flickr photostream:

The only figures I have from my Gram are these two: a rather cross and prim looking lady with an umbrella and a large boy in lederhosen with a tiny balloon.

There's an incredible store in Berkeley called Castle in the Air, and if you're ever in the area, you definitely need to check it out. They carry lots of these Erzgebirge figures, Swiss and German cuckoo clocks (don't even get me started on how much I love cuckoo clocks), beautiful toys, and fine art, stationery and craft supplies from Europe. It's one of my most favorite stores, and I'm not allowed to go there very often.

But in case you're thinking you might want some of these Erzgebirge treasures for yourself, and you can't get to Castle in the Air, here's a few from online. 

Ladybird Musicians from Xvoto on Etsy

Mushroom Gnome Incense Smoker 

Flower Girl with Doll

Star Child on Moon Music Box

Next time I will blog about some American painted wood cuteness made by a company called Irmi. Until next time!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Vintage Charms

I've always had a thing for charm necklaces and bracelets, and I love collecting the charms themselves. When I say collecting, I really mean hoard. Most of the time, it takes me forever to get around to putting them on a necklace, etc. so I just display them in trays and dishes on my dresser.

My friend has been adding to her charm bracelet lately and got me to searching for some more myself. Here's my top pics that I can't justify buying:

Antique German Gnome with Mushroom
Silver Acorn with Squirrel Inside

Same as above but in closed position. Rad, right?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy July 4th

I totally forgot until the last minute that I got some amazing July 4th decorations when I was in Seattle last year.

So I put them up just in time!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Love Circus Imagery, Hate the Circus

Part of my Rement Circus Set

Why do I love the imagery of the circus but not the actual circus?

When I went to see Ringling Bros. as a kid, I remember it made me really sad to see all the animals having to live and work as traveling performers. I suppose I felt bad for the people, too, but as with movies (dying animals on film are always worse for me than dying people, let's not analyze that too much), the animals got to me more.

And don't even get me started on clowns. Like many other children whose parents weren't paying attention as they watched HBO in the other room, clowns were ruined for me by "Poltergeist." I used to build a wall of stuffed animals on each side of my twin bed to protect me from the evil clown beneath.

But strangely I have become ├╝ber enamored with the visuals of the circus. Even clowns.

Here's a few pics I've taken when out and about.

I LOVE the little clown in the bottom left with the harlequin pattern!

To be continued...