Jennifer Perkins' Shopping Guide to the Blue Genie Art Bazaar in Austin

If you live in Austin and have a love of handmade goods, then you have heard of the Blue Genie Art Bazaar. This year is extra special because it is the 10 year anniversary of the bazaar.  My name is Jennifer Perkins of Naughty Secretary Club and I will be your host for today's post about Blue Genie and let's go ahead and get the fact that I am biased towards the show out of the way right up front.

Sure I realize not everyone's taste is as eclectic as the kitschy wreaths, cat heads and tin can robots you can find in my booth at the show - but I promise there is something for almost everyone.  Sure there are lots of the things you would expect to find at a "craft show".  Handmade jewelry, T-shirts, baby onesies, soaps - you know the drill.  The things you will also find that you might not have been expecting are ceramics (cool ones), living wall art made from plants, paintings, prints and even giant pieces of sushi.

Blue Genie is a juried show selecting only the best artists in Austin.  Locals might recognize names like Chia, Darla Teagarden, Mark Joiner, Amy Barber, Moxie, Ornamental Things, Baby Bolt, Hot Pink Pistol and of course the Blue Genie guys themselves.  You can't take a driving tour through Austin without spotting a Rory Skagen mural or a large piece of sculpture that the guys did sitting atop a business.  I happen to be the proud owner of one of their larger than life glitter covered popsicles.

The show runs through Christmas Eve so you still have a chance to go and get your shop on.  7 days a week you can bask in the glory of a kitschy Christmas.  Head down to Marchesa Hall at Lincoln Village (6226 Middle Fiskville Rd. Austin, TX 78732) 10am daily.  Be sure to tell em' Naughty Secretary Club and Design Crisis sent ya.

Guest Post: This Old House

So the furnace was broken and we called our trusty heating and cooling guys who, when last time we called, literally moved a wire and the unit was fixed. This time was equally embarrassing as we had already gone through the pains to install a new igniter (I didn’t install it, my handy stepfather did it -- neither the husband nor I are capable of such things), and it turns out one of the little tubes that connects a something to a something else was clogged. One blow of the magical repairman’s breath and it was unclogged -- and $125 later, we had heat! I guess since it took less than 5 minutes to fix, the repairman (lets call him Bill) felt obligated to critique our old houses heating system. This is actually a good thing I guess, since we are officially on the market as of a few days ago. However, after hearing what Bill had to say, I felt like giving up and taking a short sale right then and there (I get discouraged easily). Anyone in Kansas City want to buy a sweet little 50s bungalow in the Plaza area? Probably not after I mention the problems that were so blatantly overlooked when my husband purchased this nightmare house 4 years ago. Don’t get me wrong; the thing is cute as a button, but DAMN -- you almost have to have a degree in construction or whatever to live here. So as a future warning to peeps living in old houses, you might want to check for a few things in your heating and cooling system: 1. Is your flue lined? I think Bill was talking about the chimney flue, however we were in the basement when he was telling me this and I’m not sure which flue exactly he was referring to. But he said that the previous owners had installed a high efficiency furnace (at this point I'm thinking -- Yay! A plus for once!) which isn’t supposed to be used with a flue like ours. (Fabulous)

2. Are your duct pipes double lined? If they are exposed and hanging about the basement as ours are, they should be double lined because well, they get really hot! Not only that, but going back to the flue issue, if the flue is not lined, non double lined pipes collect acidic moisture in them and eventually, they will disintegrate which makes it pretty darn hard to heat the house.

3. The crème de la crème was the asbestos tape coming loose. (Asbestos!?!?!! WTF) I had no idea we had asbestos. Cancer treatment centers of America -- here I come. I have no idea who the jank-ass inspector was that my husband used when he bought this house 4 yrs ago, but he sure didn’t mention the A-word. I’m gonna be so pissed if I get mesothelioma before this is all said and done.

On a much lighter note, let me introduce myself, I’m Liz and a guest blogger here. Erin and Karly were so kind to let me be a part of their amazing site and I hope I don’t totally ruin its rep. Since the theme is design, I’m going to introduce you to an amazing new firm/furniture design team called Autoban based in Istanbul, Turkey. The team are young architects Seyhan Özdemir & Sefer Çağlar and their crew of designers is barely old enough to have graduated architecture school (Yeah, I’m Jealous). Autoban mixes old and new - (hence the this old house theme… clever EH?). They do residential and commercial and there are some definite patterns running in their work, the main being stark minimalism set against ornate traditionalism in the moldings, paneling and other ornate prettiness, and they soften it by painting it all white (which I love). I guess in Istanbul most of the residential architecture is pretty darn old, and the way Autoban handles it is Autobantastic! Ok I'll stop now.

Sorry the pics are so small.  I love this gold ceiling and the stark minimalism of the carrera marble counters (must have cost a fortune.)

Painted brick is always a good idea.

Neon butterflies = happiness

Introducing my newest obsession -- the box sofa (on left) with its super clean lines and tufted leather yumminess- I'm sure it don't come cheap.

Gorgeous hotel kitchenette -- Witt Hotel, Istanbul.  I'm sure I won't be visiting anytime soon, but it's nice to dream.

For more info on Autoban go here: Hope you enjoyed the post!

If Everybody Had an Ocean

Well, hello there! I’m Rebecca from The Reluctant Floridian. Despite the name of my blog, I actually call California home now, which puts me closer to one of my dreams: learning to surf. (Yes, I could have learned to surf in Florida, but the consensus is that Florida waves suck.) I may have grown up in the most landlocked of states (Kansas!), but I know that deep inside me, there is a surfer girl who longs to get out. I love songs about surfing, surf documentaries, and, unsurprisingly, surf photography. Which brings us to another one of my dreams: owning a LeRoy Grannis—the godfather of surf photography—original. Like this, say:

Waimea Bay (No. 58), 1973 (M+B Gallery)

Or this:

Duke Contest Finalists, Sunset Beach, 1968 (M+B Gallery)

Additionally, I’ve always wanted a giant surfing photo mural in my house. Molly Luetkemeyer designed this bathroom with me in mind:

M. Design Interiors

On her blog, Luetkemeyer explains that she finagled the photo from Surfer Magazine, and had it made into wallpaper. (Can non-designer folk do this? If so, I want in.)

True story: I have subscribed to the Mollusk Surf Shop newsletter for ages and ages and always (incorrectly) assumed they were solely in San Francisco. But there’s also one down the block (give or take a few miles) in Venice! Huzzah. In addition to stocking the requisite boards and clothes, Mollusk collaborates with a sweet stable of artists, like Andy Davis, whose work puts a smile on my face.

Andy Davis

I kind of want to hang out in his studio:

Andy Davis

You know how sometimes you walk into a store and your heart races a little bit, and you can, perhaps, hear angels singing? For some, this is Anthropologie. For me, this is Surfing Cowboys, another spot in Venice. The people behind this place have got my number. Old surfboards? Want.

Surfing Cowboys

Old furniture? Need.

Surfing Cowboys

They even have a house line of clothing printed with vintage-inspired graphics. And, they have a blog, where they offer this sage advice:

We see surfing as a metaphor for life.  Bringing a surfboard inside is like bringing the sun, the sand and the surf into your living room.  You can almost smell our Mother Ocean and ride mind waves.

I’m considering this permission to buy a surfboard even if I never learn to use it. (Don’t judge. I’m riding mind waves.)