|Get the best of Oprah.com in your inbox. Sign up for our newsletters!|
Home (19 posts)
OWN has received not one but two nods from the 40th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards.
"Super Soul Sunday" was nominated in the category of Outstanding Special Class Series, and Paige Davis from Home Made Simple was nominated for Outstanding Host in a Lifestyle/Travel Program.
See the full list of nominees and check back on June 16 to find out the winners.
I happen to love a good cup of tea and I’m a big fan of Crate & Barrel, which is why I’m crazy about these super-chic teapots designed by 12 contemporary artists to commemorate the store’s 50th anniversary. Each month beginning Dec. 1, Crate and Barrel will feature a new design on limited-edition teapots—I particularly love the whimsical red fish on the September pot by architect Paola Navone and the colorful cityscape on Brooklyn based-illustrator Julia Rothman’s pot for November. Only 200 of each teapot will be produced, making it a great gift for the tea lovers in your life (or yourself!).
How is it that inanimate objects are so often so eloquent? We know they are just things, but we love our things. I know I like to think of myself as too deep and unsuperficial to really care about material things, and yet, when my home almost burned down (I exaggerate slightly) I spent the remainder of the day wandering around in a daze, loving all those dumb things: the sticks my kids collect and the photograph of my grandmother holding baby-me, yes, but also, the rocking chair, the potted plants, the bathroom sink. Maybe those things aren't me, exactly, but those mute hunks of wood and plastic and stone are my life. And though I don't think of myself as having a lot of things, compared to the Chinese farmers photographed by Huang Qingjun my small home becomes a low-rent-version of the British Museum.
According to the BBC, Huang Qingjun has spent the past decade traveling around China's rural areas, photographing people outside their homes with all of their material possessions. (The BBC has a can't-miss slide show of his photographs.) The photographs are haunting portraits of the simple way people still live in the quickly-changing country. But they tell stories, too -- a story of forced change, in the case of a couple posing in front of their house which has been slated for demolition; a story of intentional change, in the case of families proudly displaying their modern DVD players and satellite dishes.
it's impossible to look at these photographs and not think, "That's IT?" I'd like to think I could live so simply as these families, possessing only what I needed to work and make food and little else, but it takes me about twelve seconds to start wondering, but what do they do in their free time? (The answer is, probably, what free time?) Where are the books and games and photographs and all those other things that we think make our homes our homes? And what would my life be, who would I be, in a yurt on the plain?
Read the entire article for more, including the the wonderful history of the "Four Big Things."
What Are Your Chairs Telling You?
The History of the World in 100 Objects
As someone perpetually preparing food in a tiny, under-stocked space, I found this revelation to be quite refreshing: Even Julia Child had to fake it sometimes! Design Research's Jane Thompson describes how they set up the studio kitchen, and why it was so significant: "What [Julia Child] was doing was sort of modern living demonstration of the big symbolic thing, which was [meals going directly] from the stove to the table. We didn’t have servants anymore...we’re not living in the old elegant way."
But we can be living in the new elegant way, thanks to Child -- even if our kitchens are less than perfect. Read the whole post for more, including the unexpected significance of pepper.
Finding Your Inner Julia Child
Julie Powell's Favorite Kitchen Tools
Her GoodsErin Flett's patterns—which she silk-screens onto pillows, bags, and wall hangings—are often inspired by her collection of unusual bric-a-brac. (Old sushi bowls, a 19th-century coloring book, and a vintage scarf have all influenced projects.) "I grew up sifting through junk at estate sales," Flett says. "That's where I get a lot of my aesthetic."
Her MethodFlett sets a screen atop a piece of fabric and, with a squeegee, rakes ink across it to transmit an image to the cloth. Flett's 4-year-old, Aryana, is her biggest fan: "When she was little, she would clap when we got a good print," she says.
Her PhilosophyThe zippers on Flett's pillows—which are stitched locally—are sourced from family-owned manufacturers. "If someone helps you make something," she says, "their energy is in it. So I want to know them, and I want to make sure they feel good about the result, too."
Flett's designs—shown here on throw pillows and messenger bags—feature everything from cheerful pups to graphic florals and abstract, riverine ripples.
Chair #1: Dining Room Chair - 1940's - Red Velvet Seat - Nice - $25
When I went to pick up this chair, the gentleman selling it brought it out to my car and helpfully wedged it in amongst the car seats. As an afterthought, I asked what the story was with the chair. He told me it had been his grandparents from when they were first married, in the 1940's, in St Louis. But my grandparents lived in St Louis at the same time! For some reason this shared history felt like magic. "My grandmother was in the League of Women Voters!" I told him. "Hm," he said, "I don't know what mine was into. Probably a Yiddish Theater Troupe or something." The chair-seller explained that he had recently inherited tons of gorgeous furniture from his grandparents' home that was now filling his tiny apartment, and that he counted among his roommates an enormous china hutch, a creepy dress-maker's form, chairs and chairs and chairs. I felt this sounded very poetic. He felt crowded. So it goes, with someone else's life story.
That's probably why my lazy little heart skipped a beat when I discovered Plywerk, an eco-alternative to traditional framing that's also easier (bonus!). Upload your digital photo at Plywerk.com and pick out your preferred size (from 30-plus options). The company prints the image, mounts it on sustainably harvested maple or bamboo, and adds a durable finish that makes glass moot. When it's delivered to your doorstep a week or two later, your artwork is ready to hang -- no purgatory required. (from $15.50, plywerk.com)
From the brittle orchid on my desk to the wilted blooms in my last backyard, I've never met a plant I couldn't kill. (True story: I once watered a little potted shrub for nearly two weeks before realizing it was fake.) But on a recent grocery trip, I looked into my cart to admire my bounty of summer herbs and saw...a lot of plastic. It seemed each sprig of mint and leaf of basil was wrapped in its own little slip of bad-for-the-planet packaging.
That grocery store moment was a gentle reminder that growing your own herbs can save both money and the eco-impact of shipping and shelving all that basil, mint, and chives. The hydroponic herb planters from Potting Shed Creations seem particularly forgiving. Made from recycled wine bottles, the planters come pre-filled and are slim enough to soak up sun on a windowsill. When the organic herbs are ready for harvesting (usually in four to six weeks), you can simply rinse the bottle and replant. Three weeks in, my tiny garden is still going strong -- and smelling delicious. ($35, pottingshedcreations.com)
"Yep!" I said. "It sure is!" I didn't want to say anything else because I liked it better when he was actually watching where he was driving. But in a few minutes, I was going to catch a flight "home," the nice Midwestern suburb where I grew up, a place I feel a friendly affection for, but not exactly where I feel that my soul languishes when I'm not visiting it. It seems to me that "home" is where you feel understood; some people just have to travel to find it.
So why is it that some people spend their lives chafing against the place where they were born and move as far away as soon as possible, while others feel that their souls belong in this place where they come from? Is it a matter of temperament? I suspect there is some internal equation in us all that determines how compatible we are or are not with the place we happen to be born, taking into account variables such as opportunity, chance, and even the weather. In the case of Lillian Jacobs, it turned out she and her childhood home were a perfect fit: This New Yorker has lived on the same street for 100 years. According to the New York Times, Jacobs, who has lived in 5 different homes on East 84th Street in Manhattan's Upper East Side, "I don’t know why. But it seemed to be destined that I stay on East 84th."
You must read the New York Times article for the portrait of 84th Street as it evolved from a barren strip of tenements (complete with bathtubs in the kitchens and toilets in the hallways) to a leafy row of brownstones, and for a passel of moving life stories which have played out on this street. What strikes me here is how sanguine and contented Jacobs seems with her extremely localized life. While some people search the world for their soul mates and life's passions, Jacobs found it all in her small-town-like corner of Manhattan -- her husband of 72 years, a home in which to raise her family, a life worth remembering. In today's world, where so many of us scatter to the edges of the earth, and move around from place to place, there's something to be said for an existence in which, as another resident of 84th Street put it, “The life cycle is repeated in front of your neighbors."
I know a 96-year-old woman who lives in a nursing home in the tiny town where she's lived her whole life. The last time I visited her, she wheeled down the hall, muttering about being lonely. She couldn't even get through her sentence, though, because everyone who walked by -- the nurses, the other patients, visiting family members -- interrupted her to say hello, or to tell us some story they remembered about her as their school librarian, or as a young woman, or as a child. Moments from her whole life swirled around her head like a swarm of happy bees as she scooted down toward lunch.
Who knows, maybe some of our souls are more portable than others. But at the end of your life, whether you've made your home halfway across the world from where you were born, or whether you've never left the block, what a gift: to know people, to have them know you.
Home as a Place of Connection
Aging, and Becoming an Invisible Woman
The Real-Life Rosie the Riveters
Determining if your toilet has a leak is quick and painless. “Put a few drops of food coloring in your toilet tank,” says Stephanie Thorton, a representative with the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program. “Check back after 15 minutes and if the color has seeped in, you have a leak.” (Make sure to flush afterward, to avoid staining the toilet bowl.)
Fixing a leak is almost as easy as spotting it: The usual culprit is the toilet’s rubber flapper, which can decay over time. A replacement part costs a couple of bucks at any hardware store, and takes only a few minutes to install. Your reward for putting the brakes on that one small, sneaky leak? Up to 1,000 gallons of water saved every month—and the back-pat that comes with doing your part for the planet.