Monthly Archives: January 2013
Things We Like: Rhythmic Bedroom Design
Post by Kyle St. Romain.
A few weeks ago we discussed the various ways to achieve balanced design in your bedroom. To briefly recap, balance can be achieved in one of three ways: symmetrical, asymmetrical, or radial. Symmetrical balance is usually used in more formal spaces, while asymmetrical balance is often thought of as a more casual type of design. Radial balance can be either formal or informal, though it is most commonly used in dining arrangements where chairs are arranged in a circle around the dining table.
This week, I want to take a moment to discuss another fundamental principle of design, rhythm. Rhythm, also called repetition, is a way of timing your eyes’ movement through a space. While it is most often thought of in terms of music, rhythm is equally applicable to visual design. Rhythm is often the glue that holds the overall look of a room together.
Rhythm can be employed in a number of ways: linear rhythm, repetition, alternation, or progression—each of which will be discussed briefly below.
Linear rhythm relies on the movement of the viewers’ eyes across an individual line. A simple way to think of linear rhythm is to picture a sunset over the horizon; the horizon is the linear line that draws your eyes across the image. In your bedroom, you may hang your pictures at a certain height to create linear rhythm, or have a large headboard with a flat top as a focal point of the room.
Repetition involves the use of a particular pattern throughout a room to create a timing of movement across the room. Picture a wall with a lot of small pictures hanging very close to each other. Now picture that same room with fewer, larger pictures spaced further apart. In the room with the smaller pictures, your eyes would likely move swiftly across the room as they take in image, after image, after image, in quick succession. Contrast this with the larger, spaced out images: your eyes would likely move across the room much slower as each image commands more attention.
Alteration is a specific type of pattern that relies on a particular sequence of repetition. For example, your décor could alternate between large and small objects, or light and dark colors. Alternation is different than typical patterning, as it is not necessary to recreate the exact element throughout the pattern. For example, you could alternate between gold and blue stripes throughout your room, with each stripe being of a different size.
Progression is achieved by gradually increasing or decreasing the characteristic of an element throughout the room. For example, you could place a set of vases linearly and arrange them according to size, or color.
When thinking about the rhythm of your bedroom, don’t limit your thoughts to one perspective of the room. Rather, you need to be mindful of the overall feel of the room. The best way to see how to successfully employ rhythm in your bedroom’s design is to see what other people have done. As usual, Houzz is an excellent resource for this, and you can browse rooms that scream rhythm here.
How do you use rhythm in your own design? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Breakfast in Bed: Wheaty Baguettes
Post by Alison Hein.
Short, dreary January days are perfectly suited to bread baking. Homemade bread is easier to make than you may think, especially if you own a food processor. All that’s required is a little flour and yeast, and a little larger commitment of time and patience.
Allocate several hours for the process, and don’t be dismayed if your first attempt is less than perfect – you will get better with practice. And, once you bite into your first fresh-from-the-oven steamy slice of homemade bread, there’s no going back. Three lovely. wheaty baguettes will scent your home with bakery aromas, and fill your heart with great accomplishment.
Try a cozy winter meal that calls for no more than a thick slice of sweet, salty homemade bread beside a piping hot seasonal soup. Better yet, slather a warm hunk of baguette with creamery butter, maybe some strawberry jam too. Pour a cup of dark-roast coffee, and reward yourself with the perfect cure for those short, dreary January days – breakfast in bed!
2 cups tepid water
1 tablespoon (2 packets) dry yeast
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
4 cups white flour
1 tablespoon cornmeal
Oil for rising
Flour for kneading, shaping and dusting loaves
Add water to large food processor, or large bowl. Gently sprinkle yeast on top to cover surface. Set aside until yeast begins to activate, about 10 minutes.
Add oil, honey, salt and wheat flour to food processor or bowl. Gently pulse on food processor dough setting or stir until mixed in. Add white flour, about a cup at a time, until mixed in. If using food processor, gently pulse until dough is compressed and begins to pull away from side of bowl. Be careful not to over mix or dough will become tough. If making bread by hand, turn out onto floured board and knead gently for about five minutes. Add about ½ teaspoon oil to large bowl. Place dough in bowl. Turn and flip so oiled side faces up. Cover with light tea towel and set in warm, non-drafty place to rise. Let dough rise for about one hour, until doubled in size.
Punch down dough. Turn onto floured board and shape into 3 equal-sized baguettes. Sprinkle large baking tray with cornmeal. Place loaves on tray, cover with light tea towel and set in warm, non-drafty place to rise. Let loaves rise for about one hour, until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 425° about 15 minutes before dough is finished rising. Lightly sprinkle loaves with flour (use a sifter or sieve). Carefully make a few diagonal slashes on each loaf, using a razor blade or very sharp knife (I keep a craft knife on hand for this purpose).
Place loaves in oven and bake 25 to 30 minutes until browned. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
Makes 3 baguettes.
Bedroom Design: Best Night Lights for Kids
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Ah, darkness. To the reasonable adult, it is a welcome thing, indicating that sweet sleep might be just around the corner. To a child, it is little more than cover for bone-crunching, blood-sucking monsters, just waiting to pounce on their unsuspecting prey. Thank goodness for night lights! My boy has a couple lights he uses. We have gone through many more during our years-long hunt for the perfect light. Here are a few of the more interesting lights I have seen. Spoiler alert: my favorite is the Ikea “Totoro” light.
This is the Spöka LED night light from Ikea. I love it. My son loves it. It reminds us a bit of Miyazaki’s Totoro. That is what my boy calls it. The best part about it is that is holds a charge which allows your kid to take it to bed if so desired. My kid so desires. It’s even kind of soft! Also, it changes color, from blue to green and everything in between.
I found this turtle light at the Goodwill and it put me back a whole $2.99. I was skeptical whether it would actually project stars on the ceiling but it really does. It’s pretty great. It stays lit for about half an hour and works like a charm.
Spider-Man’s decapitated head on a spring. I thought this would scare the bejeezus out of my son, but he actually likes it. Go figure.
Bedtime Stories: Moon Over Manifest
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool.
So, here’s the thing about Newbery Medal-winning books. Most of the time they are pretty good, but they also tend to follow a theme of kid on his/her own, seeking lost something, hardship, struggle, overcoming. Some of those books are groan-inducing, as least to a seasoned cynic such as myself; others are actually fantastic works of literature. If I had read Moon Over Manifest before it was awarded the 2011 Newbery Medal, I would certainly have pegged it as a contender. However, the story and the narrative voice are so wonderful that I don’t mind how “Newbery-y” it is. Anyways, here it is:
Abilene Tucker has roamed the country with her dad doing odd jobs her whole life. But suddenly, in the summer of 1936, the thirteen-year-old is sent by her father to his old home town of Manifest, Kansas to live with his old bootlegger friend Shady Howard. What unfolds in the aftermath is Abilene’s journey (yup, another personal journey!) to try to understand who her father is by learning about the town he came from. Through a box of old letters discovered in Shady’s house, and the stories told to her by the Hungarian diviner, Abilene learns about the history of the town, and yes, about herself and her father as well.
It’s a great story about a hot summer in the 1930’s at an age when you teeter on the line between carefree youth and the weight of understanding and learning about the world in which you live. Good stuff.
Movies in Bed: Pitch Perfect
Post by Josh Zinn.
Good afternoon, dear readers!! Alas and alack, due to an intriguing offer to speak at an international conference on the correlations between the consumption of hibiscus flowers and the amazingly long lifespan of the pygmy population of central Africa, I am unable to write my weekly film review.
Fear not, however, as in my stead I have recruited my thirteen year-old niece Janie to regale you all with thoughts on one of her favorite films of recent memory, “Pitch Perfect.” Please be kind in your assessment of Janie’s writing abilities. In her defense, she’s a very enthusiastic tweeter.
On that note…
Pitch Perfect by Janie Swallowsbeigh
So, ohmygosh, you guys there is this really fun movie out called “Pitch Perfect” and it is soooooooo good. Seriously, I saw it at the mall last summer with my friends Brooke and Melissa and they were, like, totally in loves with it. You know how, like, when you see something sad on TV and it makes you want to give it a hug even though it can’t hug you back but that’s okay cause, like, you’re doing a good deed so you shouldn’t expect anything back? Yeah, this movie is kind of like that. It can’t hug you cause it’s a movie, but it totally makes you wish it could! It’s not sad, though, which makes it even better! You want it to hug you because it’s so OMG good.
I guess I should talk about the story in this part, right? Ok, so there’s this college that all these people go to and they’ve got, like, glee teams everywhere. I mean, I get that “Glee” has made singing really popular and stuff, but it’s weird cause you never even see any football teams or anything on the campus. Anyway, everyone wants to sing and this one girls team is like, so good but kinda boring. They all look like they work for an airline. But then their leader pukes on the audience and they become super hated and no one thinks they can do anything anymore, but guess what? They, like, totally bring it!
Do you guys remember that girlfriend of Bella’s in “Twilight” who goes to her school but is kind of a geek? Well, that girl (Josh’s note: the actress Janie is referring to is Anna Kendrick) is, like, the star of this movie and she is so good in this! She’s, like, a DJ or something but her dad is making her go to school, which is kind of lame. Anyway, she’s a really good singer and she joins the puke group and totally makes them better cause she adds, like, some banging beats and stuff. They even sing that Miley Cyrus song “Party In The U.S.A.” which, you have to admit, is a really good song even though Miley has gotten so gross and weird lately and it’s super embarrassing to admit that I used to have all her albums. ANYWAY!
So, the whole movie has the puke group fighting against these other teams and then there’s this super rude but hot boys team that they have to compete with and the “Twilight” girl totally has the hots for one of their members. I know, it sounds sort of dumb, but it’s super cute because he is so sensitive and totally wants to support her even though they’re supposed to be enemies. Plus, he is really hot. Yum!!
I don’t know if I’ve said too much about what happens in the movie, you guys, but you should definitely see this. There are so many good songs in it and there are so many funny parts. Like, that weird blonde roommate from “Bridesmaids” in this and everyone calls her “Fat Amy” cause she’s fat and her name is Amy. I know that sounds weird, but she’s so funny and she can sing super well, too. She’s probably my favorite part of the movie, especially when a burrito totally creams her. Gross!!
So, yeah, I totally think this is a good movie to watch. It’s so much like “Bring It On”, which feels kind of cheesy and no one I know watches “Glee” anymore, but that’s okay cause the singing in this is better anyway. I hope you liked my review. I usually HATE writing, but this was so much more fun to talk about than that stupid essay on Eleanor Roosevelt I had to write. BORING!!