30 Oct 2012

Trick or Treating

Trick-or-treating or guising at Halloween may come from customs related to the Celtic festivals of Samhain and Calan Gaef or from customs related to the Christian holy days of All Saints  and All Souls. 

The tradition of guising — children disguised in costumes going from door to door for food and coins — is recorded in Scotland at Halloween in 1895, where masqueraders in disguise carrying lanterns made out of scooped out turnips, visit homes to be rewarded with cakes, fruit and money. Before the 20th century, guising at Samhain was done in parts of Ireland, Mann, the Scottish Highlands  and islands, and Wales. 

The activity is prevalent in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Puerto Rico, and northwestern and central Mexico. 

In the latter, this practice is called calaverita (Spanish for "little skull"), and instead of "trick or treat", the children ask ¿me da mi calaverita? ("can you give me my little skull?"); where a calaverita is a small skull made of sugar or chocolate.

Tips how to trick or treat you will find here.

Pictures: The poppy Tree and The fun times guide and information from Wikipedia.

22 Oct 2012

Reorganizing Your Wardrobe

The half term break is the right time to reorganize your wardrobe.  It is time to take care of your favorite stuff. Let’s go: it is important to keep the closet tidy in order to preserve the quality of your clothes.  Therefore you should, at least once a year, clean the wardrobe by vacuuming and washing the shelves, walls and drawers with a wet cloth. 

Divide the clothes into three piles - keep, repair and throw out.  The clothes in the keep pile, of course, go back to the wardrobe. The second pile, with clothes that need repair or dry cleaning, should be placed in a bag to be brought to the tailor or dry cleaners. The third pile is for clothes that you no longer wear. You should donate or sell them in second hand shops. 

Important rules: 

Give away clothes that you haven’t worn in the last 3 years. It will give you more room for the stuff you really wear. Keep the items that are most like you. It is not worth keeping that blouse you bought once because you found it beautiful, but the colour doesn’t suit you and you never wear it. 

Pictures: Shabby Chic Ireland, Elle Decor and Pinterest.  

16 Oct 2012

Autumn Decorations

It is windy and the foliage outside is just incredible. The arrival of night becomes noticeably earlier. Summer has gone and the chill of winter is on the horizon. It is time to turn inward, physically and mentally.

It is not my favorite season but I find autumn very charming. I love the fact that in autumn we decorate with natural elements: leaves, gourds and miniature pumpkins which bring warmth to the ambience. 

However, autumn is not only orange. If you don’t like this colour or your house decoration does not suit it, try candles in neutral tones, glass jars, nuts, acorns and pine cones. The ambience will take on a rustic touch yet elegant.

Pictures from: Better Homes, Junk Mamma's, Martha Steward and Pink Roses and Tea Cups.

13 Oct 2012

The Portuguese Guitar

Still talking about the 100% Design. There were some Portuguese exhibitors displaying amazing products. Malabar, for example, engaged renamed artists and highly talented artisans to produce Portuguese guitars. The result is elegant instruments, decorated with hand painted tiles or other traditional crafts. An instrument or a work of art? I feel like playing some Fado! 

3 Oct 2012

100% Design News

Under new management, the show gained a new, fresh and functional layout that allowed the visitors (over 25.000 this year!) to have a pleasant time in Earl’s Court: it was very easy to move about and the fair became more dynamic.

Vita created lamps that are affordable and easy to transport: they are delivered flat-packed to the customer, and then assembled at home in less than 15 minutes.
The preference for Scandinavian style in the designer creations was evident. Portugal, France, South Korea and other countries presented their versions of the popular style. 

The designer Je-Uk Kim explored the beauty of oak to create amazing consoles. He combined organic ceramic pots with it, which can be used as plant vases or for storage. The consoles are hand-made in a workshop in England and the vases are hand-thrown in London.

Practicality was an issue in the show.  Many designers tried to create products which make our lives easier. The winner of the  100% Design Award at New Designers 2012,  was The Spun Furniture range of stools and tables by Hugh Leader-Williams,  which are designed for easy production, assembly and disassembly.

The Magic Wall offers such a strong magnetic that heavy objects like pots, knives and tins can be stuck on it.  

Simon Woodroffe launched his YO! Home. Although I felt myself visiting the Jetsons, I can’t deny that the gentleman is pioneer and the future might look like in his vision.

I was impressed with the very interesting seminars where designers discussed the relationship between design and environment and how to improve it; it was a pleasure to hear about the experience of young entrepreneurs like the successful Sugru’s inventor; Gareth Neal spoke about his fascinating carbon negative project in which he tried to produce furniture with low impact carbon emissions. 

The clear message of most seminars I attended  was that design has changed. We have fully explored beauty. It is time to take care of the environment.