It's a Small World After All

"Consider the following. We humans are social beings. We come into the world as the result of others' actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others' activities. For this reason it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others." -H.H. the Dalai Lama

Thomas and I are the sort of couple who do not have kids, but totally feel superior to others in our potential parenting skills. Obnoxious, huh?

So I was tickled when I stumbled up on this trailer for a documentary showing the first year of life for four children from very different societal backgrounds. No matter how different we think we are, at our very core we are a small group of beings dependent on each other's love.

Casual + Quirky Global Style

Have you seen this house tour on re-nest? It's the home of fashion designer, Erica Tanov and I'm loving her quirky-casual take on vintage, second-hand and global-inspired pieces. Everything in her place tells a story and I very much want to go there.

This pink bedroom is for her daughter....but I'd be quite happy to have a lazy Sunday morning in this bed.

A bookcase filled with little treasures.

Vintage-modern leather chair with Indian-esque pillow. Oh, and don't you just want to poke around in that trunk?

Makes me want to plant climbing roses on my fire escape just so I can copy this vignette.

Even the peeling part tells a story.

Moroccan tea party. Lovely.

Spanish monastery stair case. Yes, please.

Chinoiserie luminescent paper. Typically quite formal...but paired with the casual bed and vintage keepsakes, feels very casual.

See more of the tour at re-nest.

Global Decor + Seamless Integration

"The inspiration to bring global style into your home may be a treaured find from a trip overseas or something less tangible-- a picture in a magazine of the jewel colors of an Indian palace or a film that shows the desert at sunrise. Whatever your inspiration, the aim is not to create themed rooms or display artefacts in a way that shouts "look where I've been." Instead, it is a low-key approach, where global objects are integrated seamlessly with your existing space and possisions to create rooms that are interesting, beautiful and, above all, lived in."
From Global Style: Exotic Elements in Contemporary Interiors by Lesley Dilcock

Photo from Shoot Factory by way of AphroChic.

Knitting Global + Decor

If I could make a Venn diagram of those who love textiles and those who decorate with global-inspired decor, the two circles might overlap entirely.

It's no wonder.

Global-inspired living incorporates a hefty amount of adventurous layering-- be it various fiber types, colors or textures.

And if one of the main attractions of global pieces is that they are often handcrafted and completely unique to the artisan, then you'll most certainly see that reflected in knitting.

Textile appreciators everywhere should check out Nicky Epstein's Knitting on Top of the World. Even if you don't knit, this book is chock-full of the history and approach behind global knitting techniques.

Although I doubt I'll ever have the expertise to tackle the projects in this book, I still love how it features exhaustive knitting history, style and techniques from various folk knitting traditions. With over 200 pages, 40+ patterns and oozing with gorgeous color photos, this title certainly has the depth (and physical weight!) to sit alongside my coffee-table textile book collection.

Although I'm most drawn to the research behind KOTOW, I can't hide the fact that Julie Hines' work, as the stylist, is amazing. The photos are part fashion, part travel and manage to make me feel like I'm in an old Venetian mansion or Faroe cottage. I'm sure the whole shoot took place in Manhattan, further reminding me that both the stylist and photographer (Marcus Tullis) are wickedly talented artists.


Knitting on Top of the World available at Sixth&Spring Books. All photos are reprinted courtesy of Sixth&Spring Books, copyright 2008. Photography by Marcus Tullis.

DIY: Felt Flower & Fab Goodwill Fid

Found: Lucky day! J.Crew coat at Goodwill.

Not quite my size, so moved the buttons over. It was still missing something......

Found: Very easy, no sew pattern inside for diy felt flower! Bought the magazine.

Was tempted to buy roving and felt the fiber myself.

But who am I kidding? Instant satisfaction thanks to a stop at Purl.

Umm....just realizing now that the hot pink felt cost more than the coat. O'well!

New winter look for less than $15.

Painted Elephants + Window Shopping

I love a company with a story.

Especially stories about India, color and shopping.

Hermes ad campaigns and window displays can seriously take a girl places.

window display photos from: music trend setters blog

Book Review: Color By Kristin (or more appropriately, Forget Beige!)

The color wheel was developed by Sir Isaac Newton in 1669.

Forget gravity.

Talk about the science of color.

If you think you can't accomplish a global feel in your home by encompassing traditional needle crafts then start experimenting with modern Fair Isle.

Just like an embroidered sari or printed kanga, Fair Isle knitting can incorporate a bold mix of analogous, complementary and tertiary color combinations.

If you need some inspiration, check out embroidery and hand knitting author, Kristin Nicholas' newest book, Color by Kristin.

I love homes that feel layered. More texture! More colors! More contrast!

If you're like me and will probably never master the Fair Isle technique, look for ways to incorporate ready made and vintage pieces in your life. Felt a vintage wool sweater into a throw pillow or drape a bold throw alongside your ikat bedspread.

Go for the craziest combos possible.

Then edit..edit..edit...

Shot in her home and farm in rural Massachusetts, Kristin's book shares her unique approach to combining colors in design. She really dives into the concepts behind skilled colorists. So even if you don't knit (yet!), you'll find pages of inspiration.

SUNO Clothing: Fair Fibers + Fair Trade + Modern Pattern Mixing

Modern, genuine and respectful African-inspired clothing.

After a manipulated, messy and violent 2007 presidential elections in Kenya, screenwriter and vintage textile collector, Max Osterweis responded by developing SUNO clothing. His first collection, showcased this past spring in New York, consisted of 1000+ individually numbered, one of a kind pieces incorporating vintage Kenyan kangas created in workshops in Kenya and NYC.

The kanga is a versatile East African fabric which was originally sold as various printed patterns within a single bolt of fabric, allowing women to cut individually as kerchiefs, baby-slings or as a single garment. Similar in concept to the Indian sari, the kanga is colorful fabric that can be tied into hundreds of dress and accessory options.

Personally, I'm a little severe on Westerners who dress in excessively ethnic clothing. Women who unabashedly litter their wardrobe with salwar kameezes or unisex dashikis can quickly look like a cause-marketing campaign. If they’re under 30, they’ll appear a bit backpacker-ish. If over 30, chances are they’ll look like my creative writing teacher in high school.

But Osterweis’ concept is to repurpose the traditional kanga for the fashionable city girl while respectfully providing jobs and business opportunities for Kenyans. These pleated, textured and outspoken pieces are tres global chic without appearing like you’ve just returned from a drum circle.

India: The Place That Launched A Thousand Ships

"There is a fullness of all things, even of sleep and love."
Homer, The Illiad

I love. Love. This.... that the Taj Mahal is so dreamily portrayed in these photos by Geoff Barrenger for 
Ports 1961. Ethereal and divine. Part Vedas, part Homer.

Images via: Dust Jacket Attic blog