Sunday, September 28, 2008
I no longer have a set of kitchen canisters on my counter top, but canisters can be used for both traditional purposes and for storing all sorts of other stuff. The canisters above are one-of-a-kind by Suzanne Crane - and very expensive - but there are lots of interesting canisters out there.
For a simple and elegant look, here are some stainless steel canisters. Update on Oct. 14, 2012: I'm no longer finding these canisters.
Or take a look at this porcelain canister. [via While I work]
I never realized until tonight that Emile Henry makes canisters. Update on Oct. 14, 2012: And it seems the company no longer does.
And another simple look are the copper canisters from Old Dutch International. These are the brushed copper; they make hammered copper canisters, too. Update on Oct. 14, 2012: I'm not finding these any more, either.
Brabantia has canisters with windows, so you can see how full they are.
The miam.miam Cuddle Canisters are clever.
And Tin Woodsman Pewter makes coffee canisters that come with spoons. Update on May 9, 2010: Tin Woodsman Pewter is now Crosby & Taylor.
Gracious Goods ceramic canisters come from Italy.
Greenport Pottery makes stoneware canisters.
The Pantone canisters are fun for anyone into color; I just wish there were more than five color options. Update on Oct. 14, 2012: I'm no longer finding these exact canisters, but I can find something similar in red and black.
OK, enough with the restrained looks. Here's a pueblo canister set, available in four different colors.
Or for a different style of building, there's the Delft canal house canisters.
If you want colorful, there's always the Talavera canisters.
And finally, I just couldn't resist these kitty canisters. Update on Oct. 14, 2012: These seem to have disappeared from the marketplace.
Not My Mother's Canisters
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Have children? Have crazy mornings? Here's a collection of articles to give you ideas for improving those mornings.
Six tips for keeping school-day mornings calm and cheery
Here's (part of) one: Have a precise routine. This sounds counter-intuitive, and I’m not sure it would work for everyone, but in our house, we have a NASA-like countdown to get to school.
And here's another: Say "no" only when it really matters. Wear a bright red shirt with bright orange pants and bright green shoes? Sure.
Four Parent Hacks for a Nag-less Morning Routine
Here's one: What can your family take out of the morning routine that will make it easier or shorter? Make a nightly routine to lessen the chores for the morning. My family packed our lunches and our backpacks at night and always put them by the door. When we said goodnight, we had to take our backpacks downstairs.
Surviving bad socks and permission slips
While I wonder why the author didn't just get rid of the scratchy T-shirt and uncomfortable socks she mentions, there's still good advice here.
Here's one snippet: Following the "do everything you can the night before" policy, a father shared his tip with glee: "My daughters have to set their clothes out the night before, or else I pick what they wear that day. And they know I don't have very good taste."
The Mommy Files: On Task, On Time
Here's one of author Amy Graff's tips: Invest in an alarm clock. Let your child pick out his own alarm clock. My daughter chose a pink princess Disney castle alarm that projects stars onto the ceiling and plays songs from the movie Cinderella when it's time to rise and shine.
Morning Picture Routine Chart for Kids
While the previous listings each provide a series of tips, this article focuses on a very specific suggestion, the morning routine chart - and various ways to make one. (You can buy Routine Cards, but the items included might not match your routines.)
[photo by jessicafm / Jessica Merz]
Friday, September 26, 2008
Magazine files have come a long way from the ugly brown cardboard ones I remember. As I've noted before, there are many nice options available from places like The Container Store, Stacks and Stacks, and Levenger. See Jane Work also has some great choices.
But if you want something more unusual, how about one of the lovely options from the Singapore Museum Shops, including the one above? Update on March 28, 2011: I'm no longer seeing these at the Singapore Museum Shops.
Or what about the magazine organizers from pets@work - part of Adda Products Limited of Hong Kong? (Pets@work hasthis other design, too.) There are a number of retailers in New Zealand and Australia for the pets@work line; distribution seems much more limited elsewhere. Update on March 28, 2011: I'm no longer finding these products.
Coming back to the U.S., Galison has six different magazine holders. Update on March 28, 2011: It seems that Galison no longer makes magazine files.
And in the U.K., Laura Ashley has two different patterns.
Exposures has magazine files made from 100% acid-free board.
And EcoLabel magazine files are made from 100% recycled material.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
On Writing Well, by William Zinsser, is an old favorite - a great inspiration for anyone who does indeed want to write well. When I went to consult it today, these words jumped out at me:
Clutter is the disease of American writing. We are a society strangling in unnecessary words, circular constructions, pompous frills and meaningless words. ...
Simplify, simplify. Thoreau said it, as we are so often reminded, and no American writer more consistently practiced what he preached. Open Walden to any page and you will find a man saying in a plain and orderly way what is on his mind. ...
How can the rest of us achieve such enviable freedom from clutter? The answer is to clear our heads of clutter. Clear thinking becomes clear writing; one can't exist without the other. ...
Is there any way to recognize clutter at a glance? Here's a device that my students at Yale found helpful. I would put brackets around any component in a piece of writing that wasn't doing useful work. ... Most first drafts can be cut by 50 percent - they're swollen with words and phrases that do no new work.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I seem to be writing a hook-and-peg-rack series; there are too many neat products to fit into one post. This cute mermaid coat rack is made by Haba. The pirate is pretty cool, too.
For a more grown-up option, take a look at these mermaid hooks. Update on Dec. 1, 2016: I'm no longer finding these hooks for sale anywhere.
You can also find a mermaid hook in pewter. Update on Sept. 14, 2010: Sadly, this hook doesn't seem to be available any more.
But maybe you'd prefer Nepture to a mermaid.
For a different type of seaside-themed hook, there's this beach hut peg rack from Giddykipper.
Or what about an oar-shaped coat rack? If you're a do-it-yourself type, you might want to take a canoe paddle and make your own coat rack.
And finally, there's the surfboard peg racks.
Other posts in this series:
Use Your Walls: Unusual Hooks and Coat Racks
An Oldie But Goody: Expandable (or Accordion) Coat and Hat Racks
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
To Do list for a bird:
1. Fly South
-- Mutts, Sept. 23, 2008
When I saw this comic this morning, it reminded me of something I just read in the quite-wonderful book, Where Did I Leave My Glasses: The What, When and Why of Normal Memory Loss.
... When I need to memorize, I do as advised: I take time, I take notes, I rehearse, I recite, I aim to be an active listener. All fine compensatory tactics.(Thanks to Terry at ADD Consults for the book recommendation.)
But when it's multiple-task time - which means for many of us the innumerable and often overlapping daily tasks of work life, home life, and social life - I don't believe in driving my brain parts crazy with challenge. I revert to my all-purpose, all-weather, all-time favorite compensatory tactic: Lists.
Consider this: Have the maestros of memory, the keenest minds working at the greatest research centers in the world, ever come up with anything better than the list titled Things to Do Tomorrow?
All I need to remember is where I put the list.
And for some tips on how to create an effective list of Things to Do Tomorrow, you can read Joel Falconer's advice.
3 Very Odd To-Do Lists
To-Do List with Octopus
Managing Your To Do List (in one of 20 ways)
Creating Better To-Do Lists
[photo by Beth77]
Monday, September 22, 2008
Expandable racks have been helping people get organized for many years - working well for coats, hats and other stuff, too. If you'd like something other than the basic wood ones, you're in luck. Here are just some of the options.
Topdeq sells this aluminum expandable coat rack, made by pieperconcept. Update on Sept. 14, 2010: Topdeq no longer has a U.S. web site, but it does sell in many European countries. I've linked to the the French site.
You can get a stainless-steel over-door expandable rack from The Container Store or from Unica Home, among others. (The Unica Home one is identified as coming from Blomus, but I can't find it on the Blomus web site. Strange.) Update on Sept. 8, 2009: Neither The Container Store nor Unica Home seem to have this product any more.
Land of Nod sells accordion peg racks in a few different colors.
And I was delighted to find this expandable hat and coat rack made from barnwood and vintage wooden bobbins, from Heritage Salvage. Update on Sept. 14, 2010: I'm no longer seeing this product on the Heritage Salvage web site.
[first photo from programwitch / K Latham]
Sunday, September 21, 2008
What can I say? For those of us who are attracted to the unusual, this Foosdude coat rack seems pretty wonderful. Update on August 13, 2009: The web site selling this product seems to have disappeared, and I'm not finding another site selling this product.
Another option for foosball fans is the table football coat hook.
Now let's jump over to the Netherlands for a few interesting options. Here's a basic but still somewhat unusual hook from van Esch. [via FromEurope]
Here's the coat hook called Saturn, named after the planet and its satellites.
And this coat hook, from BureaudeBank, is shaped like a Dutch bread clip (and looks pretty much like the bread clips here in the USA, too). See the pricing information here.
Returning to the Americas, the Tusk coat hook designed by John Greg Ball is available from Connect Mommies & Babies in Canada, which does ship internationally. See the contact information.
And finally, also from Canada, here's one of the single-peg coat hooks from Kids Deserve Art.
Hooks to Hold Your Hat - Or Coat, or Towel, or Whatever
Globo Wall Coat Hanger from Magis
Dart Coat Hooks
Four Fanciful Hooks
Four More Fanciful Hooks
Not Your Ordinary Children's Hooks
A-Z Hooks from Sundance
Saturday, September 20, 2008
I prefer to celebrate my holidays one at a time. So since we're still quite a ways from Halloween, much less Thanksgiving, I really don't want to see Christmas decorations and gift ideas yet.
But some retailers (including Michael's Arts & Crafts, Cracker Barrel and Target) are putting the displays up and selling the holiday merchandise - and some explain they only do it because their customers are asking for the stuff!
So I guess it's not too early for a quick reminder about holiday gift-giving. I'm not trying to be a killjoy; I've often gotten great pleasure from buying the perfect gift for someone important in my life. But I also see too many gifts that just become clutter - so shop and give with care.
I'll have more to say on this as we get closer to the holidays. For now, I want to enjoy my beautiful autumn days.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Just a week ago, I wrote about JoAnn Scordino's advice regarding disaster preparedness: Be prepared to be on your own for up to ONE WEEK. (That's JoAnn pictured above.)
And then came Hurricane Ike last Friday night and Saturday morning, and reports of the relief efforts prove her point. Most news sources say the relief efforts have gone quite well, and that's wonderful. (A huge "thank you" to all who serve as volunteers in such relief efforts, including bloggers Sean and Louise.)
But still, in my local Wednesday morning paper, I read the following report from Juan A. Lozano of Associated Press:
The majority of Houston was still without power late Tuesday, with CenterPoint Energy projecting most would be without electricity for another week. Residents again waited in line for hours on end at the 22 supply distribution centers set up in Houston to hand out food, water and ice.And CNN reported:
Four days after Hurricane Ike strafed the Texas Gulf Coast and Houston region, evacuees and survivors stood in hours-long lines Wednesday in several cities to get the bare necessities.In the past week, I've taken my first steps to getting more prepared: I've bought more bottled water for my emergency stash. And I'm going to keep taking those small steps that move me toward being more prepared. What about you?
Thursday, September 18, 2008
For all of you with multiple devices that need charging - iPods, cell phones, PDAs - there are plenty of charging stations available to help make it easier. KangaRoom seems to be making this a real specialty - the company has lots of options, including travel options. The one shown above can be used on a desktop or be wall-mounted. The newest products are two bamboo charging stations.
This Charge Box can also work as a desktop or wall-mounted option.
The Sanctuary, from Blue Lounge, has that sleek Apple-style look. [via Better Living Through Design]
Brookstone offers the Charging Valet. Pottery Barn also has a wood one - it's on sale, and it may be a clearance item. Update on March 19, 2014: Pottery Barn no longer has such a product.
West Elm has a wood charging station with a lacquer finish. Update on June 20, 2010: This one is no longer available.
Levenger, as always, goes upscale - this time with a leather charger valet. Update on June 29, 2010: Levenger no longer sells this charging station, and the chargers it currently sells only charge one item at a time.
Hammacher Schlemmer sells this recharging station, which was noted on many gadget/geeky web sites when it first came out. Update on June 29, 2010: Hammacher Schlemmer no longer sells this product.
But this charging station from Cost Plus World Market didn't seem to get much attention. For offices that use a lot of woven baskets, this might fit in nicer than other alternatives. [via geeksugar] Update on June 29, 2010: Cost Plus World Market no longer sells this product.
Improvements has an under-cabinet charger station in four different finishes. Update on June 29, 2010: This product has vanished from the Improvements web site.
For something very different, there's this wall-mounted cabinet charging station.
And another very different charging station is the MultiPot. [via uncrate]
Wildcharge provides wireless recharging.
And finally, here's the chargepod, designed as a travel charger.
There are also plenty of people who've made their own charging stations; if you'd like to do that, you can look here, here and here for inspiration.