Readers of Europe
I am Romanian and some of my favorite books, alongside worldwide famous classics, are, of course, written by Romanian authors. This fact and sometimes stumbling upon a gem from another country has always made me think of how much I must be missing out when it comes to great books written by authors of all sorts of other nationalities. There are ‘foreign’ books that make it to international best selling lists and some countries do better than others overall at promoting their culture, but still, others are completely missing from my radar.
That’s why I thought the Readers of Europe initiative of the European Council Library, is such a great idea. 18 countries have shared their one recommendation and I realise now I probably never read anything by a Slovakian, Lithuanian or Estonian author… As ever, I need to read more. And maybe a reading challenge focused on national diversity is just what I needed for my reading rut.
P.S.: This is the first exquisite find I’m sharing which was actually passed on to me by someone receiving the letters, so thank you!
I haven’t really watched many new series in the past few years, but there are some from a while back that I’m always minded to revisit. Most recently I started ‘craving’ the crazy world of Mr Selfridge, a historical drama about the founder of the famous London department store Selfridges. He was a brilliant man, with an amazing perspective on commerce and what we now call marketing and PR, putting on a show for the world from the (in)famous Oxford Street. Watch it for the costumes, the glitz and glamour of the very rich, the insights into how you build a legend that is still alive today. For the full picture though, read more about his family life, later years and death.
Bonus exquisite find for me in this series was the concept of window display designer, a dream job I didn’t realise existed until watching the show, but it is in fact indispensable, especially in luxury retail.
Dolce & Gabbana – High-End Patchwork
Photos Source: Vogue
After featuring jeans with a twist on the letter a while back and saying this would make for a great DIY project, I read this article about how upcycling became fashionable and I thought I might have caught a trend just before it crystalized and went mainstream. Now, after seeing the Dolce & Gabbana SS21 collection presented at Milan Fashion Week, dedicated to resourcefulness and patchwork galore, I know I was right!
I simply love what they did, the eclectic mix of playful, luxurious, and feminine prints (from previous collections!) means you can have everything you love on a statement piece, from polka dots to vintage brocade, from exotic leaves to colorful ceramic tiles patterns, leopard print and florals, opulent lace and stripes and whatnot. It’s high-end patchwork, it’s so good I want to start ripping things in my wardrobe to pieces to create something new and exciting.
In an interview for Vogue, the designers explained At this point, we’re not talking about fashion. We’re talking about style. It’s about not throwing away even the oldest thing. You might have old sweaters, trousers, shirts, and you can recreate from other things something new that is yours.
I am beyond inspired!
Although I am not a proper collector of anything, that hasn’t stopped me from collecting a large amount of objects, already proving difficult to handle when moving from house to house and between countries. And I am only 30! Whenever I come back from a market fair or charity shop with purchases that make me giddy, I always have it in the back of my mind… what am I going to do with all this stuff? Hundreds of books, too many clothes, dozens of mugs and plates and bowls of random sizes, all sorts of decorations and home items, and this is just the topline.
I always go back to my dream of a big house that can accommodate every little thing, skillfully displayed or stored, all useful and pleasing to look at. But even if that will become reality one day, there is still a question of what will happen with all the things I’ve gathered in my life when I am gone? I buy a lot of old things from people getting rid of them after the passing of a relative, so this article about inheriting a lifetime’s collection of books spoke to me and brought upon the realisation that I should be more mindful about how worthy of inheritance my things will be and more thoughtful about what I bring home and keep long term. This article from the Journal of Material Culture about inheriting a house with everything in it goes even deeper and prompts careful reflection.
Still, I know I will continue to buy too many things, so could I make it one of my life’s goals to give it some sort of purpose and structure? There are now, I found out from a Reuters article about Inheriting Grandma’s Things, apps and software that can help you keep track of what you own, and I love the prospect of creating a personal catalogue of all my things, as well as thinking about their future.
I might start a dedicated section on the letter entitled Exquisite Details, and this week’s chapter would be about dust corners – a lovely decorative metal triangle that can be fitted in corners on stairs to prevent dust from gathering there and slowly becoming unesthetic and hard to remove. Something affordable, simple to install, with a purpose, as well as an aesthetic appeal – what more could one wish for?
The Garden Shed
Last week I mentioned balconies but let’s take a step forward and look at another indoor-outdoor space that is enjoying a lot of popularity, especially in the current climate – the garden shed!
In my culture the garden shed is nothing fancy, it’s mainly used to store tools and random objects of all sorts or it is home to animals and birds. But in countries like the UK, a garden shed can be a living and leisure space in itself, providing shelter for interests from the unsurprising gardening/potting, to more sophisticated ones like painting, pottery, reading and writing.
There is actually a niche called she sheds, apparently a response to man-caves, and of course I want one for my books, a desk, my various random bits and trinkets. The next best thing, I guess, to a big house with lots of rooms for specifically frivolous and fanciful purposes. More inspiration here.
Lushpin’s Realistic Night Paintings
Photos source: Lushpin.com
Can you believe these are paintings? Ever since I was a girl, when traveling in the car with my parents or grandparents, I was fascinated by the sneak peeks I would get into people’s homes through their windows, especially in the evenings, when the houses seemed truly alive, engulfed by the darkness surrounding them. They seemed like oases of comfort and coziness. That is the same feeling I am getting looking at Evgeny Lushpin’s realistic paintings of Paris rooftops or Amsterdam canals.
I am no art critic, but what strikes me most about these paintings is not how he illuminated the windows and how the light reflects on the immediate surroundings. On the contrary, it’s his way of illustrating the lack of direct light, the semi-darkness. This makes me have another look to find a brushstroke and confirm what I am looking at.
If this letter has offered you a moment of inspiration, kindly forward it to others who might enjoy it too. And if you have been forwarded it, indulge in all previous Miss Onion’s Exquisite Finds and subscribe to the weekly letter at www.missonion.ro.