Highly Praised Books
Do you know the feeling you get when you’ve only heard amazing things about a book, it is highly praised and comes recommended by all the right people and you know for sure it is going to be a great read, so you sort of lose interest in it because it can’t surprise you anymore? I can’t be the only one!
I am just finishing such a book – The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini, to be more precise – and I am listening to a whole series of such books – The Neapolitan Novels, by Elena Ferrante. Of course, they are really good books worthy of their praise, now I’ve actually ventured to discover them, but still, I think their fame slightly spoiled the experience for me.
When I pick up a contemporary book I like not knowing anything about, I don’t read the summary on the back cover, rarely even the comments featured because they might give away something of the story. I am excited to find out what it is about, who the main character is, what’s the connection with the title and so on. I want to feel like I am discovering a hidden gem, like I am uncovering an exquisite find, I guess.
Wall Lights and Sconces
This week I had a different decor idea in mind, but then I spotted this article about wall lights and couldn’t pass it, because it’s a detail I’ve really started taking note of recently, as a distinctive way of highlighting a certain area in a room, a furniture piece, like the library, or a decor element, like a picture or gallery wall. I think they add a sort of intimate yet pretentious aesthetic to a room, reminiscing of a hotel or a museum/ gallery.
Of course, unlike some other decor elements, wall lights need careful planning as they should in theory be connected to the electric system in a room, which means that unless you’re renovating or building your own house, it’s hard to add them on just like that. Luckily, there are some creative alternative ways of making the cables (the main issue!) part of the design, but the best exquisite find is this really clever hack – no cables or switches needed and extremely easy to install. Ah, now the possibilities are truly endless!
Gloves Holders and Clips
A while back I was looking for potential uses for scrap pieces of leather, as I have some lovely Saffiano (invented by Prada!) left from my Couture Bookmarks collection. And I stumbled upon the idea of a gloves holder which I find quite practical, to help keep at least one item out of the bottomless cabinet of curiosities that can be a woman’s bag.
They seem easy to make, but equally are quite inexpensive to buy too. That is unless you wanted one from Hermes, which of course has a few very exquisite options, including a simple metal clip, which I now prefer to the leather variety. I also found some lovely vintage metal clips selling on Etsy or eBay, so it was well-worth going down this particular rabbit hole, I’d say.
⚜ Uncommon Places to Find Exquisite Gifts ⚜
No 1 – Online Magazine and Newspaper Stores
The whole world wide web seems to have transformed into a huge gift guide since we’ve entered the month of November. Everyone and their mother is sharing ideas for her, for him, for kids, for pets, for enemies and for everything in between.
I often browse these seasonal gift guides, they are great round-ups of what’s new and notable in areas that I don’t normally follow, like gadgets, beauty, kitchen accessories and whatnot. Still, I can’t remember when was the last time I found something truly useful, that I actually ended up buying as a gift? This has got me thinking, so I am starting a series of uncommon or at least less in the mainstream places to find gifts.
Today’s recommendation: the online store of the receiver’s favourite publication. For example, Conde Nast sells prints from all their magazines, like Vogue covers and illustrations, The New Yorker cartoons and so much more. Another example is The Telegraph, where you can order a custom gift book featuring every front page of The Telegraph from a special date in the recipient’s life, a bespoke gift [that] is a custom-made journey back in time.
It’s fun, it’s different and it can be very personal too!
Exquisite Gift Wrapping – No 1
And while we’re on the topic of gifts, we might as well go all the way and have a look at the packaging too! Just search for the above title on Pinterest and be ready for countless ideas, many really elaborate and truly exquisite. I seem to be drawn towards the simple brown wrapping paper or even recycled newspapers, with a twist. Here are some of the ideas I liked best. Oh, what fun, indeed!
Art Education – Art History Timeline
I might have mentioned this before, I’ve been on a quest to educate myself about art for a while now. I am always looking for new resources that would be accessible to a person with no formal training and not much of a knowledge basis either, but it is not always easy. If anything, the abundance of content from many highly regarded institutions is quite difficult to navigate as a lot of it tends to be quite specific or niche, while I am lacking the foundation about some of the macro movements and their succession.
I always find myself going back to the idea that I need a timeline and as a veritable snobbish non-connoiseur, I thought that is something I could create myself. After looking more into the idea and getting a reality check, I have now decided to purchase one that was in fact developed as a tool for school children. I liked this one better for the visual aesthetic, but I am in for the content, so I will stick to my choice.
Bonus exquisite find is this article from Austin Kleon on how to start learning about a new/ uninteresting topic from children’s books because the content is designed to be both informative and entertaining. I am looking forward to testing this theory myself more and more with my son!
I’ve had this image saved on Pinterest for years and always thought it must be some sort of artwork, either digital or flowers made of thin transparent glass or ice. It turns out it is actually a real, albeit rare flower – the Diphylleia grayi, whose white petals turn translucent when wet. As someone rightfully described it, this is the stuff of fairytales! Here is a video of the process the petals go through and here are more photos of this stunning flower!
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.