Archive for August, 2009

Two Quick Ideas

August 28th, 2009


The other day, I told my friend I needed to install a very heavy piece of art on the wall of my living room.   She asked what it was and I said, “it’s, like, mold art.”  Naturally, she assumed I was putting something disgusting up that is literally a breeding ground of bacterial spores and mold.  I guess I should have elaborated.


At a junk store a few weeks back, I found this very large mold used to make parts for something.  I’m assuming it’s not auto parts, because this mold is ginormous.   But it’s for something and I was attracted to the color of the mold, the spots of red color here and there, the nailed on metal ID tags, the 3-d dimensional shape of the mold and the fact it was only $15.

So, it up it went on the wall in my living room as the large piece of art I’ve been desperately searching for to put up in its place. 

Out in the guest cottage, it’s been a slow process in getting it in shape and adding found objects here and there.  Really, I’m in zero rush to get it done, so it’s become more of a joy than a chore to do this.   

At the Amish bookstore I accidentally found last week, I picked up a variety of antique books for twenty-five cents a piece.    I’m kinda obsessed with this idea of only placing books with white paper jackets on the shelves, since they contrast so nicely against the dark blue painted walls.   I know all your booklovers out there are probably horrified that I’m buying books BASED ON COLOR, but if you look at the positive side to this, at least I’m rescuing books that might’ve otherwise been tossed away.   

And, yes, that’s an antique ship in a bottle I bought for $7 at my secret junk store.  This guest cottage is slowly becoming very nautical it seems.

4 Pics I’m Working With

August 27th, 2009


As a magazine editor-book author-product designer-JCPenney spokesperson-magazine stylist- home decorator and just person interested in interesting design, I find myself clicking away hundreds of images every week on my Blackberry.    Many of those images end up being deleted away, especially when I get back home and look at a dozen or so images and ask myself why I thought a dot on a floor would be something I needed to capture as an image.  But I totally digress.

There are four pictures I’ve been going back to to think about projects and products that could come from it.  My work is never literal: I don’t take a snapshot and try to duplicate anything.   I just use them for inspiration.

This rope table, for example, I think could be a very easy and inexpensive DIY project for a home makeover.  I’m thinking Apartment Therapy…


This vintage aquarium (with real slate bottom) is something I found at a junk store, negotiated the price down to $15, and brought home.  It’s all cleaned up and living in the guest cottage right now.  I’m thinking terrarium with this, but a proper terrarium needs a lid or something to keep the moisture in.  A friend of mine suggested—I am not kidding—Saran Wrap.   I think we can do better than that, folks.


Uh oh. I am attracted to the idea of Dream Catchers.  Am I evolving into a hippy-dippy-new-agey type of greenie.    Don’t worry. Although I am lately also thinking about tie-dye and how to do it in a more elegant, cleaner, brighter, more modern way.   Maybe I’m finding my inner sage-burning self, but I can’t help appreciate the handiwork that went into making this dream catcher.  


And keys.   Or is it shadowboxes.  Or is it displaying a collection of non-descript items together so they have more power in numbers?  I have no idea why I took this pic.   I do know I have a problem  buying a pre-collected collection and displaying it as my own.  No sense of history to me.  I do live in hotel rooms quite often and I’m wondering if there’s a modern way to display hotel key cards from all over the world.   So, note to self: Start saving hotel key cards from this point forward.

Amish Book Store

August 26th, 2009


I was trying to find another hidden, unlisted, not-on-my-GPS junk store the other day that I was told would be a great store to visit.   I drove and drove and drove and when I finally found it, it was closed.   Looking like a total stalker, I jumped on a plastic milk crate and peered through the windows to see if anyone was A: inside and B: would let me come in and look around.

I decided to walk across the parking lot into a non-descript business and just ask to see if they knew the owner was around.  What I found instead was a much better store: An Amish bookstore.

First, it was one of the most organized and cleanest stores I think I have walked into.    And for a slight moment, as I saw Amish people mulling around shopping, I wondered if I was even allowed to shop there.  But the second the friendly clerk said hello and asked if I was looking for anything, I realized I’d be welcome to poke around and shop.

In the arts and crafts section, there were these hand-drawn, paint-by-number books that I thought were really charming.   They are labeled Year 2, Year 3, etc. and are clearly designed for children.  So, as much as I wanted to buy them, I thought maybe I should act my age and look for something more challenging.


Maybe this is too challenging.


Down the cookbook aisle, there were loads of vintage cookbooks for all types of cuisine.   The biggest types of books I saw were pretty obvious: farm country style cookbooks.   It was so much fun flipping through these books to look at recipes for homemade pickles, pies, bread and other non-Atkins friendly type treats (not that I have problem with carbs, mind you).   And the illustrations were so inspiring to me, too.


I think my favorite section were these rows of vintage library books—from the 30′s, 40′s and 50′s and up—of all types of books.  They were just twenty five cents each and all in excellent condition.   I know people who collect vintage books and this felt like a hidden treasure waiting to be carefully cataloged.     Instead, I purchased a bunch of beautiful books to fill up in the guest cottage.  

I’m going to figure out where on Earth I ended up by going into the log history of my GPS to trace back if I can figure this out.   The funny thing about Lancaster County, PA is that there are still unmarked, un-Google-able places all around.    And even though it can be frustrating, there’s something really nice about going somewhere that isn’t widely open to the whole world to click their mouse and shop and find.

Julia Stiles Styles

August 25th, 2009

Very cute and very funny.

Shopping the NY Gift Fair

August 25th, 2009


The NY International Gift Fair happens twice a year in NYC and, unfortunately, is only open to buyers, vendors and members of the press.  It’s a huge (almost overwhelming) event at the Javits Center where there are literally hundreds of vendors showing their latest wares ranging from lighting to plates to stationary to candles to bedding to anything else you can possibly imagine.   It’s a mix of the good, the awesome and amazing with the awful, ugly and you-have-to-be-kidding-me.      

I thought I’d share some brilliant ideas and finds with you here at Daily Danny.   First up, I love these glass bud vases from Portland, OR based company Esque Studio, which takes old beer bottles, heats them up, and stretches the melted glass into modern and unusual shapes.


Here’s an example of one brown glass beer bottle stretched into something totally new, all without losing its identity of its former life.  


Speaking of recycled glass, here are some new eco-friendly candles made with organic vegetable wax packaged in recycled glass containers.  These are basically old wine and soda bottles that are cut off, with the edges softened (but left rather organic looking).   I really loved the simplicity of these containers and I love the fact they are recycled glass.   Nothing is worse than burning a candle and wondering what to do with the container after all the wax has melted away.  It feels so wasteful to throw it away; at least here, the glass is easily recyclable in curbside recycling or reusable by inserting a small tealight candle inside.


And here’s a small kid’s outdoor chair, made entirely out of recycled HDPE plastic (from milk jugs) by Loll Designs.    Can you see the little run of chip colors on the chair?   It comes in lots of bright, vibrant colors, which is really great since most people associate eco design with boring beige, white, cream, blah blah blah.     I love the Kelly Green color chip, which I think could be great for a future kid’s party magazine story.