Paper Pumpkin Lanterns

I promise you that these are not scary at all, and neither do they contain sticky seeds. I actually made them, because I purchased these really nice LED tealights in IKEA. Usually LED tealights are really low quality with some kind of weak yellowish light, but these are really cool. They look nice, and actually have very much the warm glow and flicker of a real candle. So I have been playing around with them, because I love paper lanterns of all kinds, and it's great not to have to worry about fire hazard. 

So go buy some LED tealights, and download the PDF to make these supereasy pumpkins right HERE.
And have a spooky or non-spooky Halloween, whichever you prefer!


USA trip # 2: colorful Key West

Back in May we took at bit of a US east coast road trip, from the Florida Keys in the south up to Maine as our northernmost destination. I took about a billion pictures, and sometimes I manage to organize a batch, and phew, that's gonna take some time! Here are some sunny memories from a place I really fell in love with: Key West. 

I really thought it was a magical place. The turquoise sea surrounds it to all sides and the constant, velvety breeze keeps you from melting. The gorgeous gardens behind the picket fences are crazy exotic mini jungles, and all the colonial wooden houses are so pretty. There are all kinds of palm trees, banyan trees, hibiscus and flowery cacti everywhere - even though you are basically on a tiny strip of land in the middle of the salty ocean. 

People are of the hippie nice and relaxed variety, and dresscodes and that sort of thing are nonexistent. You eat amazing seafood, drink key lime margheritas and listen to salsa music (only 90 miles to Cuba, as you are constantly reminded!). There are lots of tourists, but the noisy ones cram themselves together in five famous bars on Duval Street - and the rest of the place is very laid back and tranquil.

Here are a few of my photos - wanna see more? Go to the flickr album!


More geology: The crystal caves in Naica, Mexico

I saw a tiny image somewhere the other day, that I first took to be a screen shot from some adventure/sci-fi movie, but something in it attracted me enough to follow the link. It lead me to discovering about this utterly unbelievable, but very real place. They are caves filled with giant gypsum and selenite crystals in the Naica Mine, one of Mexicos largest commercial silver, lead and zinc mines. They were discovered by accident in 2000, and can't be visited by ordinary tourists, but only by research teams, wearing ice cooled suits, since the temperatures are up around 120 degrees F (almost 50 degrees C). 

I just could not believe my own eyes. Can you? 
And as perhaps you know, I have a thing about minerals!

The two photos above are by Oscar Necoechea. 
Read more about this extraordinary and very weird place here, on National Geographic.

Top, mineral detail: from Wikipedia article about the Naica Mine.
Next three: Carsten Peter, for National Geographic.


Olafur Eliassons Riverbed at Louisiana

When you sign up for a huge Olafur Eliasson show you have to be willing to go that extra mile - you know, perhaps turn the building upside down on its head or install wall to wall waterworks / fog machines / deepfreeze elements, or something of that nature. And wow, did they out-install themselves up at Louisiana this time. To such a degree, that you hardly recognize the part of the museum where his massive Riverbed installation is - well, installed.

Tons and tons of Icelandic stone is forming a naturalistic and sloping landscape, intersected by a small bubbling brook (hardly a river, but that's fair enough). To anyone with prior knowledge of these particular rooms, the whole setting is wonderfully confusing, and the place is almost irrecognizable. You see Louisianas delicate white brick walls and blonde wood - but otherwise the place is transformed. The experience is big, dirty, noisy, it smells of dust and wet cement, but the sound of the streaming water is underneath it all, as a little cheerful tune.  

We saw it in natural daylight - but I really wonder how it looks in the evening. Maybe I have to go check? Anyway, the filtered, dull light works well with the scenario. And it is anything but monochrome.

It's a fun exhibition to visit with children - and I recommend you put on old jeans and worn trainers. It's seriously dusty! You are forced to walk in really wobbly terrain, and bend and sometimes almost crawl in the dirt. As I have written before, I like it a lot when art and architecture relate. This is definitely one relation you can feel, hear and smell. Architecture is a very sophisticated art form, if you ask me (and yes, it is art) - but sometimes it takes a visual, conceptual artist to show us the energy of architectural space. Olafur Eliasson is so great at that.

As usual, there have been critics saying that the show isn't edgy or contemporary enough - but I don't think they realize just how discussion-provoking it is - to most people - to fill an elegant modern art temple, such as this, with filthy rubble, basically. And in such amounts! There is something there, that's for sure. Go climb it yourself, if you have the chance.

You can watch films about his work, as well - they look interesting, but we didn't see them - and you can see a room full of his conceptual / experimental models of this and that. They are great fun to study for an origami / papercrafting nut like me, but, for some unexplained reason, bathed in this sick yellow light. I wonder why?

In the end, you get to see my son and myself - and see the two very different modes in which we experienced the Rivedbed. Thanks for the gif-pics, Anne-Marie!


The Jazz Age - more Coralie Bickford-Smith

These deserve a post of their own. F. Scott Fitzgeralds novels, in a setting that really befits them, with heavy, metallic art deco style dust jackets, again by the amazing Coralie Bickford-Smith.

I should get at least The Great Gatsby, one of my very, very favorite novels since I read it first as a teenager. I have worn out a couple of cheap paperback versions, and probably mislaid at least one, but this is so beautiful. I want them all! I do miss the short stories in this edition though, they are my best F. Scott Fitzgerald read, after The Great G., I never, ever tire of them.

Penquin clothbound classics

I sometimes stumble opon a mention of these beautiful books, and then I just want to own them all. They are just irresistible, and I love the work of British book designer Coralie Bickford-Smith. The idea here is so simple, and it is so well done. The book is bound in one color fabric, the print is in another single, contrasting color, there is one, simple graphic statement, and just one font. That's it. And it looks SO good. See how gorgeous the spines are - and spines are really hard to do.

They make me want to be a literary lady of leisure (and a book designer!), sipping tea in a salon, catching up on my classics. And not - as the case is with me, who is actually a compulsive reader - slouching somewhere with a paperback with unidentified stains and lots of smudgy pencilmarks (Ahem, yep, I make notes in the back of my books) and something called 'donkeys ears' in Danish. You know, when you fold the corner of the page you're at?

These I would wash my hands for, and sit upright to read in.

You can see them all here - and see more work from the brilliant Coralie here.