Archive for July, 2008

Incense Centerpiece

July 31st, 2008


I spent some time at the cottage the other day doing an inspection, weeding around the garden and waterproofing the wood stairs outside.   When I took a break on the front porch, I saw a little centerpiece full of sand with incense sticks poking out of it.

I’ve used this idea before, but I thought it was worth re-posting.   There’s something very simple, useful and “earthy” about this.   You naturally don’t burn all the incense at once (can you imagine the intense perfume smell?), but you do burn one and let the rest just stay poking in place.

I was inspired by this look when I passed a Buddhist temple in Taipei, Taiwan a few years ago when I was on a book tour.  They had a giant sandpit full of hundreds of these burning away.   It was so intense and so amazing to see, that I thought a mini version would be appropriate for home.

Great Carpet

July 30th, 2008

Westin Carpet

Whenever I’m down in Plano, TX for my work with JCpenney, I always try to stay at the same hotel so there’s a consistency of feeling like “at home.”   I stay at the Westin Stonebriar Hotel where I find the people are friendly, the rooms are comfy and the location can’t be beat (just minutes from JCPenney headquarters).

When I was down there recently, I noticed the old carpets had been replaced by thse nature inspired ones.  I just loves the elegant-meets-nature look of these carpets and took some snapshots to share.

Westin Carpet 2

Here’s a detail showing butterflies and other insects.

Westin Carpet 3

And one more detail.

I wish they made area rugs out of this parttern and used recycled nylon from old carpets to weave them.  Hmmm…now I have a design idea in my head.    What do you think?

My (Almost) Paperless office

July 29th, 2008

My Office

Your’re looking at my office.

Sure, I have a craft room where I can sit and make things and print out lets of templates.

And I have a “home” office with a desk, lamp and drawers I could fill up with files.

And I have built-in shelves everywhere that I could fill up with papers and files and even more files.

One of the things that amazes my friends is that I don’t have piles of “stuff” all over the house.  In fact, whenever I travel around the country, it’s just a Blackberry, IPOD (for entertainment), a journal (this Hermes one was a gift from a friend) and a very lightweight mini Sony Vaio computer.

That’s it!

I keep one binder at home that are archives of press clips and one of my bookshelves is full of all my books and products I’ve created over the years.

And here’s how I keep a paperless office:

1.  #1 preferred form of communication: email.  Word docs, PDFs, powerpoints, etc.  Whatever is paperpless.   I create PDFs of my speeches and even email them ahead of time to venue locations so they can be electronically loaded.  No fuel waste shipping, too!

2.  All my important documents are scanned and stored as digital files on CDs.    I have a stack of about 6 CDs in a desk drawer that would otherwise be a file cabinet full of papers.

3.  I keep an efax account and “fax” myself documents that are emailed to my account for safe keeping.  Efax is free, so check it out!

4.  And I always “return to sender” all the unwanted junk mail.  They pay the return postage!

It’s a Zoo Here

July 28th, 2008


Remember that woodpecker feeder I installed a few posts back?   Are you surprised that the squirrels have been fascinated by it?  Honestly, I’m not…but I think it’s pretty ballsy for a squirrel to climb the feeder and try to grab peanuts out of it……front..of…me.

That said, I’m really happy to report that despite the attempts of the squirrels to devour the nuts, it has attracted the attention of the woodpeckers:


Hard to see, but there he is.  Staking claim and pecking away at the nuts.   So, score one for the birds!


Speaking of animals, a family of fawns has been coming by regularly now.  I’m not leaving food out for them, so I’m not sure why they come to the same spot, almost everyday. But the large bushes of wild blackberries might have something to do with it.   Aren’t they adorable?

(Almost) Dumpster Diving

July 26th, 2008

Trash Can Painting

At one of my favorite flea markets, I found some amazing items that I just installed by the front door of my house.

The painting—first of all—is a great example how original art does not have to break the bank.  Also, it proves you don’t have to buy pre-framed, mass-produced “art” from a chain store, too.    For $20, I got this lovely, bright painting to hang in my house.  I loved the kelly green grass color and the use of very bright colors.  It pops really well against the wall.

A few booths down, this vintage wire NYC park trash can was for sale.  It was all cleaned up and I loved the industrial look of it and strength.    A little haggling later, I was lugging it to my car with the assistance of a luggage cart I had on hand in the trunk of my car.  Funny thing about the luggae cart: I have yet to actually use it to haul luggage.   But I digress.

The metal trash can will now be filled with umbrellas and walking sticks.  I’m in the process of getting some green umbrellas (not the color green, but those that are PVC free and some that are biodegradable!), and will be hunting for spiraly walking sticks soon.