Who says that Josh Spear is the only cool hunter. I wandered into the Spotted Magpie a few weeks ago while moseying down Oxford St, heading back to Sydney. (See tall building in background? That’s Sydney..Australia. Note also the car driving on the left side of the road? Okay then.)

With a sign like this, the store could be anything.

Outside the door there are rolls and rolls of oilcloth, one more fun and fabulous than the next. And inside is a collection of whimsical, practical, deco, retro and joyful new and not-so-new decorative items for the home.

After chatting with the owner, Mary, for a minute I recognized and American twange (yep, Ohio..) behind her Aussie accent.

Great store, creative owner who is also an interior designer- well, duh!  She can decorate my house- fun, fun, fun! My friend, T, would get a real kick out of this store. Mary says:

“The idea behind Magpie is that, like a bird, we collect things here and there to create our own unique nest. We normally don’t go into it with a big master plan – we pick up things along the way, we bring back souvenirs from when we travel, we collect mementos from our lives, and are given, for better or worse, things that reflect the taste of those we love.”

I bought a little oilcloth apron as a house gift for Lela (2 years old). Too cute:

 

Can Less Be More

August 17, 2010

Do we need all our stuff? How much stuff do we really need to live? What does one really need? Just received the link to interesting site via Josh. Kelly Sutton’s site where he has listed all of his possessions and is selling everything off except what he can fit into 2 boxes….

He says on his blog:

Inspired by a a book or two, I’ve decided to try to see if I can rid my life of most of the clutter. The goal? Condense my life into 2 bags and 2 boxes.

How will I do this? It seems simple to just say: get rid of everything. To realize how much junk I own, I have put myself through the misery of documenting every single possession of mind, no matter how insignificant. This gives me a solid metric to measure my progress against. I will be explaining the finer details of this in future posts.

The 2 bags and 2 boxes principle will hopefully allow me to live anywhere and move instantly. This is the Cult of Less.

“On the whole, it’s led me to cherish my few purchases more. Every possession also requires a certain amount of upkeep, and I find myself with more time and less possessional guilt. Every thing owned begs to be used constantly; every second not utilized comes a shred of buyer’s remorse. Everything I own I use at least once per month, save for my winter clothes.”

I say, all well and good if yu are young and it is feasible to live that way. Everyone in the US particularly accumulates lots of stuff. I feel burdened by the house and the contents that have attached themselves over the past 25 years. But as someone replied:

“This is a completely crap and meaningless “trend”. There’s no real sacrifice involved whatsoever, and the people involved seem to enjoy the illusion of asceticism without the actual hard work involved. If you’re happy only owning five pairs of underwear or whatever, more power to you… but to blog about it as some great emerging movement or philosophy is a waste.”

I could do without the potted plants, but they do give me oxygen and bring life into my home. I could without the art on the walls, but most of the art in my house was created by people I know and it enriches and inspires me to have it around me. Do I need 2 pianos? No, anyone want to buy one? It’s not easy to sell a piano. I also don’t need more than 1 cutting knife but I have 4 or 5. I don’t know that I will go minimalist, but I certainly could as Josh recently suggested: hire someone to help me, put up a tent in the backyard and bring it all out into the daylight and then make some choices……Perhaps it would be comforting to have a list of everything I own in one place?

Since we bought our new couch we’ve been on high alert to keep the cats off. We bought them new little cushy beds, I am liberal with the catnip. We are also spraying them if they even look at the new couch. Of course, I don’t know what they do when we aren’t here. But I know that they will not be satisfied for long. I don’t like the petco variety of cat perches. They are ugly eyesores that the cats don’t even really like and they take up too much space. So these are some attractive and minimalist possibilities from SquareCatHabitat.com (modern furniture for cats and their owners).

I like this wall scratcher, too:

The products are made with Plyboo, 100% bamboo plywood, LEED certified or Low-pressure laminate (LPL) with Arreis® Sustainable Design Fiberboard with no formaldehyde adhesive.

Picture 6

“In a world where manual skills are shunned we believe in them, not only in the act of producing a better product, but in the sheer joy of doing or becoming. We feel that pride in craftsmanship, of doing as perfect a job as possible, of producing something of beauty even out of nature’s discards, are all homely attributes that can be reconsidered.

It might even be a question of regaining one’s own soul when desire and megalomania are rampant – the beauty of simple things.

It is a synthesis of old traditions with modern requirements, quite opposite to the usual art or design school in that the fundamental techniques of good workmanship are first resolved and then integrated into pieces designed for contemporary use.

Over the years we have built up a collection of extraordinary lumber; in a sense priceless, as many items are now unobtainable. From this material, we start the making of useful objects to fulfill man’s life – again we hope, in a manner akin to the disciplined way by which nature produces a tree… or a flower.”

This is part of the philosophy of George Nakashima, Woodworker, his daughter Mira and their craftspeople.