Mikasa Es Su Vasa – Repurposed Floral Vessels

May 11, 2009 by


How was your weekend?  I hope it was a lovely time and a happy Mother’s Day!

Creating repurposed floral vessels is one of my favorite hobbies (if it can count as one).  This set of vintage Mikasa Duplex by Ben Seibel was much too mod to be a simple serving set.  A few strands of bear grass and ranunculus later, vintage salt and pepper shakers and a creamer turned into a happy floral centerpiece on my dining table. I find that repurposed salt and pepper shakers make particularly useful Ikebana-style vessels, as they naturally have an inverted “kenzan” or flower frog.


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Ode to San Diego: City Without a Key Tour

Apr 7, 2009 by

Nostalgia is touching me as I say goodbye tomorrow to San Diego, who has been a lovely and faithful home.   As an Ode to San Diego, I would like to share with you some of my favorite places (that I have photographed) in San Diego and its North County. I hope that you may have an opportunity to visit a few on your next journey to San Diego!

san diego beach

Along North County, the waves gently wear away at the beautiful cliffs that are covered in moss and algae.  Moonlight Beach is exceptionally beautiful after it rains, as mini-waterfalls cascade down the cliffs to mingle with pools of seawater below.  While the best surf is undeniably at Swamis, beginning and intermediate surfers enjoy excellent rolling waves at Beacon’s Beach, which is just a few blocks from my (soon to be) old house.


On the cliffs of Swamis surprisingly sits the Self-Realization Fellowship.  If you are in Encinitas, this is a fantastic place to rejuvenate your soul and mind.  Around every corner and through every path, you stumble upon secret meditation spots surrounded in alcoves of green, as well as breathtaking nooks, such as….  san diego meditation

…this one!  It took my husband and myself about six visits before we found this secluded sitting spot, complete with marble benches that allow you to take in the ocean views while you contemplate life.

pannikin Leucadia

Most Saturday and Sunday mornings, you can find my fellow Leucadians and myself indulging in a cup of Joe at our local Pannikin Coffee Shop, which resides in a repurposed train station.

funky leucadia type

I live(d) in a town where our motto is, “Keep Leucadia funky.”  Traverse through Pacific Coast Highway in Leucadia, and you’ll see quirky shops and wonderful vintage type.

hideaway cafe

Despite all of San Diego’s commercialization, there are still a few places of mom-and-pop surprise, such as the aptly named Hideaway Cafe in Solana Beach.


While San Diego is not known as an epicurean capital, I have been enamored by Marakkesh, a Moroccan restaurant in the heart of La Jolla.  From its amazing ambiance to its wonderful staff, Marrakesh enticies me to visit weekly.  In fact, my husband and I had wanted to hold our Mainland wedding reception here!

balboa park

As we travel south to proper San Diego, I find myself roaming about Balboa Park every week.  There is magic in this park, stemming from its beautiful gardens to its stunning Spanish architecture.  From the San Diego Art Museum (who hosts fantastic Culture and Cocktail parties complete with a DJ) to the Japanese Friendship Garden, everything a soul needs in terms of culture can be found within Balboa Park.

arboretum balboa park

Of course, one of my favorite destinations in Balboa park is the Arboretum, where you walk into a tropical rainforest enclosed within beautiful architecture.  However, they are not open on Thursdays, so plan accordingly!


When I lived in Point Loma, I would frequently visit the lighthouse.  My husband and I like to picnic on the old bunkers and watch the waves.  The tide pools are always a fun experience, and I’ve found the most interesting rocks here.


A visit to the neighborhood North Park San Diego will treat you to the sight of mixed architectural styles and an eclectic array of restaurants, among many other things.

Goodbye San Diego.  You will always have a piece of my heart.

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Upwards to Upcycled Ladders: Edition 2

Apr 2, 2009 by

As I shall be a wannabe gypsy for the next few months, I will alas have limited repurposing projects from my own home to share with you.  However, this does not mean that the repurposing bug will not consistently bite me!  Thus, if you have any particular vintage object or common household object that you wish you could find a few other uses for, let me know, and I would love to hunt and brainstorm repurposing ideas to publish for you!

With that said, many of us loved the versatile uses of upcycled ladders from the first edition, and I have gathered together a few other repurposing ideas that can make a ladder work double-duty!   However, before I delve into the ideas, I suppose it is only fair and fitting that I explain why I am quite obsessed with ladders.  It all began when I lived here….

dutch loft

This is a view of my former living room in my “treehouse” cottage in Hollywood where I lived a few years ago.  To access the upper lofts and my writing nook, as well as the rooftop patio, I would climb up the 12′ ladder.  I developed great upper body strength living here, as I often carried my cocker spaniel up the ladder under one arm!   Let’s also just say that cocktail parties hosted on my roof were always an adventure.  Now you know where my obsession with ladders spawns from!


While this alternative bedside table would take me a few nights to grow accustomed to, I do like how streamlined the repurposed ladder looks, as seen via Living Etc.  This would be a great option for a small bedroom — or for someone (like myself) who simply cannot keep a nightstand organized.


Remember the horizontal bookshelf ladder from the last edition?  If you can’t mount a ladder horizontally to the wall, you can still use an upcycled ladder as a bookshelf and display, as Southern Living did.


Do you recall the beautiful repurposed ladder that maya*made and her mom created in their artistic barn?  I recently had the great pleasure of hearing from Nancy, the one and only mother of the talented maya*made — and the one who spends part of her year in the famously creative red barn.  She shared with me this lovely photo of how Anthropologie in Berkeley repurposed ladders to use as alternative clothing displays.


This one also comes from Nancy, who says, “I thought you might like to see how an artist used [ladders]. They were featured in a gallery in the East Village last summer.  I take my camera everywhere!” I’m so glad that Nancy takes her camera everywhere!   These look like salvaged ladders, and they make me wonder if I should have paid more attention in shop class in high school.


And of course, a ladder propped by the back door can work double-duty as a shoe rack, as photographed by Trine Thorsen.

Now pray tell, has the upcycled ladder bug bit you too? :)

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Home Sweet…Repurposed Shipping Container?

Mar 6, 2009 by


As the ultimate statement in architectural repurposing, Adam Kalkin has transformed shipping containers into luxurious and irreverent adobes.  Unlike other architects who maintain the industrial, raw feel of the interior of shipping containers, Kalkin mixes them with Victornia archiecture and high end design — creating an eclectic mix that sings vintage industrial chic to me.  Could you imagine living in one of these repurposed shipping container homes (of course, never minding the fact that they could cost anywhere from $50,000 to $2 million)?  The “dream” home I’m always building in my head has new blueprints to consider now.  Via my husband via the tech blog Gizmodo he reads…


Adam Kalkin repurposed shipping container house

Adam Kalkin repurposed shipping container house

Adam Kalkin repurposed shipping container house

Happy weekend to you!  May it be filled with daydreaming about repurposed, creative places to live!

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Don’t Call Them Bookends…Try Book Beginnings

Feb 19, 2009 by

We all know that we should not judge a book by its cover, but what about bookends?  Don’t judge a bookend by the fact that it is marketed as one.  Looking around your home will present you with a medley of creative options that allow you to create repurposed bookends.  Here are two upcycled bookend ideas from yours truly, followed by inspiration from contributing creatives.


Architectural salvage places are the perfect place to start hunting for unique bookends.  I found this pair of brass flourishes from an architectural salvage yard, and their weight and shape made for perfect repurposed bookends.

Repurposed Typewriters as Bookends

For a literal interpretation of bookends, why not use vintage typewriters?  From my collection of antique typewriters, I borrowed two black Royals to make repurposed bookends.  I think the end result is quite inspirational for a writer or literary enthusiast.


Outdated (yet adorable) vintage cameras enjoy a new spotlight as bookends.  1453designs repurposed vintage Kodak Bakelight cameras, along with mah jong tiles and dominos, to create chic and stylish camera bookends.


While LPs still have a place in my home, there are some genres of music that simply need to be repurposed.    While we have all seen vinyl record bowls and coasters, this DIY tutorial shows you how to repurposed LPs into bookends.  Now that’s music to my eyes!

What do you use as bookends in your home?  I would love to hear about them and see photos!

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