As I set out to do last week, I finally watched Colette, the semi-biographical account of the acclaimed French writer Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette. It was a captivating movie, even though I am not the biggest fan of Keira Knightley, she is a very talented actress.
Source – The many careers of Colette (including writer, journalist, actress, mime and director of a beauty institute!)
Colette’s life seems unbelievable to me, as rich multi-layered lives always do, particularly those of women living in the significantly different society and historical context of past centuries!
Reading more about her I think what I admire most is her courage and determination to be whatever she set out to be, withstanding any challenges and pushing boundaries and conventions, sacrificing comfort and stability.
Source – Colette and Audrey Hepburn circa 1951. Hepburn played the lead in the Broadway play ‘Gigi’ based on Colette’s novel of the same name.
It’s absolutely inspiring and I am determined now to read some more of her work. To make it a perfect treat, I will seek out some French editions, and thus rekindle my passion for this language too.
The Scent Of Rain
Everything in nature seems beautifully uncomplicated and primal, making us take for granted the most extraordinary of phenomenons. Last week I learned and wrote about moonbows and this week I stumbled upon this exquisite article about the smell of rain and wet soil, which is for many, myself included, a most pleasant familiar smell.
Turns out, for a long time scientists have been trying to work it out, thus discovering in 1964 petrichor an oil trapped in rocks, which is released in the air in humid conditions, and geosmin, the single compound that seems to be responsible for the all-too-well-known smell of rain. Still, the mechanics of the process have only been properly explained in a scientific paper published in 2015.
Nature is an amazing source of awe and this detailed explanation of an apparently very simple and natural aspect of everyday life has definitely filled me with awe. Read the full article for more in-depth layers of the science behind the scent of rain.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about lamps and light and how I’m keen to add a couple to my living room. In the meantime, I bought a pretty candlestick brass lamp base from the car boot market and now I am on the hunt for a suitable lampshade size and style. I think this is indeed the ultimate guide to finding the right lampshade, leaving no questions unanswered.
Turns out there are various formulas to try to determine the right size, but one rule is clear, it needs to be in proportion to the base – not taller, (up to two times) wider, aiming for the width to be equal to the height of the base is a good idea.
Right, now that I have that sorted, there is a multitude of shapes, from the simple round or square to the pretty coolie, empire or bell shapes. Choosing the shape should take into account the shape of the lamp base, as well as the surface the lamp will sit on (for example a round side table or a square desk). A candlestick base apparently is quite versatile, so I will have to go by personal preference.
Next up is the material for the shade and here the choice truly feels unlimited, from paper to textile to leather and metal, you name it, it’s probably been done before. The first thing to establish though is what the lamp needs to do and how much light we need from it. In my case, that means I will go for a translucent fabric, rather than an opaque option, as I want to use it to really add some ambient light to the room.
Lastly, it comes to selecting the material, the colour or print or the accessories, and this is where general rules, although still useful, need to actually be married with personal taste and the overall style of the room. This is the part I find most difficult. Over time I have seen and saved many cool ideas and I am now quite keen to make this a DIY project. I love all the options above, the book pages/ newspaper look, but also the handwriting and the cutouts, not forgetting the colourful and playful options.
Ah, decisions, decisions…
I am enjoying having my parents visiting us for a few weeks and it’s the perfect time to start a new knitting project with my mom. By that I mean I browse the internet for hours to find something remotely resembling the image in my mind, and then she tries to make sense of all the pictures I show her and to actually do the knitting. It’s a fair collaboration!
This time I had my heart set on a knitted skirt. Not sure how or why I landed on this, but after some thought, I decided it needs to be a midi high-waisted pencil skirt with a ruffle at the end – basically, a midi mermaid skirt or a peplum skirt. Turns out, I am not completely crazy, because I eventually managed to find a few similar skirts, for some reason all designer pieces and extremely expensive (read overpriced).
Luckily, I have my own very talented créatrice, and I dare say what will come out of this project will be well worth swooning over, at a fifth of the price of the Marni one, for example. Tailored to my size, in the colour of my choice, with the details I have envisioned – you really cannot beat that with any label.
All that’s left now is for us to go yarn shopping this weekend. So exciting!
High-quality, timeless classy accessories are not synonymous with affordability and are very hard to come by ‘on the high street’. That’s why I always get excited when I discover a brand that does it well. In the past, I used to love Mango and strangely Aldo for their earrings, necklaces etc. but it’s been a while since I’ve actually visited a store and since I’ve had a chance to browse through.
That’s why I was very excited to come across the accessories line at Uterqüe, a brand I’ve known of for a while, but haven’t really looked into before. It is described as an insiders’ brand and the jazzy sister of Zara, since they are both part of the same huge group – Inditex.
At a quick glance, they have some cool clothes, but I was really there for their accessories, after I read somewhere (unfortunately can’t recall where) that they are well worth checking out. And indeed they are! I offer you a personal selection above, but there are more to be discovered on their website.
I’ve discovered artist Poppy Kalas and her amazing layered oil paintings via the newsletter A Thing or Two and this promptly sent me down a rabbit hole. I started reading a bit about the impasto painting technique, of which van Gogh was a master. It is defined as a thick application of paint that does not attempt to look smooth. Instead, impasto is unabashedly proud to be textured and exists to show off brush and palette knife marks.
It sounds and looks opulent and delicious, more like cake decorating than painting, as others have rightly pointed out. But it also looks therapeutic, I believe I could watch someone do this all day. See below for a sneak peek, but look it up and you will find many videos to feed your curiosity.
Source – Artist Slava Ilyayev
Rare Word – Pluviophile
If you were as fascinated as I was by the article above, about the scent of rain, then I believe you will also appreciate this final exquisite find of the week. Pluviophile is the word that describes someone who loves the rain, who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days.
I am indeed one such person, but I have a preference for torrential rain, the type that you can hear banging on the roof, the windowsills and in the streets like it is determined to take over the world. I think one would better strive to be a pluviophile anyway, as the wet season is certainly here to stay for a few months.
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