28 September 2008


treasures, originally uploaded by ATLITW.

The small treasures in this photo are so diverse and beautiful. What is it about collections of things that drive me wild? Here I am, on a Sunday night attempting to declutter my studio (my magazine stack to throw away is 30 high), and yet, I see little piles of other people's things and I get a crush on their stuff.

I discovered Cooliris.com tonight, and it is the best thing I have found for photo viewing online in it's own separate window, all the images neatly organized.

26 September 2008


Today is my 30th birthday. Lina is on the couch breaking smiles at me after a long nap. In celebration of my birthday, I bought new paint for our bedroom walls, and then went grocery shopping, where I bought pastirma, soy sauce, orange sauce, peanut butter, coffee, chocolate, and a meat tenderizer. I'm going to make a stir-fry. Thanks for all the wonderful phone calls and messages today. Funny that I've been waiting for 30 since I was 16. It feels right.

25 September 2008

Why are you here?

Allow me to indulge in a little brooding. I rarely do this in my blog, and truth be told, probably have not made a post without a cheerful picture of some sort.* But I had an Unfortunate Experience with a fellow countrywoman yesterday, who asked me the very question my blog title poses, but with no philosophical intentions and with a very (can I repeat this again? VERY) unfriendly attitude. And even after a good night's sleep, I am still alternating between bristling and hurt. This experience helped me to come to three conclusions:

  • After 30 years, I still don't have good comebacks. This has become a lifetime ailment, I'm afraid. Just ask my brother.
  • Being nice doesn't guarantee the same treatment in return, but anger certainly does
  • I hadn't really thought to ask myself Why am I here? to such a degree since an existential crisis in high school
Brooding be done (and leaving out every possible detail, I know), the rest of the day was far more interesting, and fittingly surreal (sorry), with a visit to the Salvador Dali exhibition at the Sakip Sabanci Muzesi. I love his illustrations for Dante's The Divine Comedy. And there is no doubt he has been credited as an amazing painter, but I think he is a far better draftsman and it shows in his exquisite sketches and notebook pages.

I still have "The Return to Innocence" playing in my mind since yesterday after sitting in a cafe where it was playing, along with Crowded House. "RTI" - no thank, Crowded House, yes please. To brighten my day today I saw two very well dressed Japanese girls in my neighborhood walking arm in arm. I smiled the rest of my way home because I hadn't seen a hat that great in a long time, and it is nice to know every now and then that I am not the only foreigner around here.

*The little un-cheerful picture is from Dali's illustrations for The Divine Comedy, called the Delightful Mount.

Emily Dickinson

The Emily Dickinson silk scarf? Want it now ($35). Perhaps better in concept than reality, though - the design feels a little clunky and tries too hard to be readable. But still, I want to be swathed in the words of Emily this fall, from Poets.org.


Yummy. Through Mikasa and Amy Butler's site (in October). Wish I could write more, now, but I have to run. Eye candy it will be for now.

23 September 2008

Styrofoam Pink

The first coat of paint went on the walls of our bedroom last night, and well, how can I say this delicately?... it looks like pink insulation. It should be called Styrofoam Pink in the catalog. This little diagram below should explain pretty clearly: It's been plaguing me all day. Of course, it is the first coat and you can see the beige below because the painter did not use a primer. So after another coat, it'll be smooth and lovely, right? And once our dark furniture is in there, it'll contrast in a nice way? Oh, and the painter accidentally started with turquoise in our bedroom, and as everybody knows (or should know), intensely pigmented colors are impossible to cover without a primer. So you can see a lovely smear of turquoise below my insulation pink bedroom wall. Which means I'm going to sandpaper the spot myself where he painted the turquoise and try to start from scratch.

Edges? I've had better moments than when I saw blotch after blotch of paint on the ceiling and on the doorframe. See, the thing is, the person we hired is a painter. He doesn't bring brushes. He doesn't buy the paint. He doesn't clean the walls. He only paints. It is our job to sand, tape, and prime unless we tell him and supply him with the materials. So, it is our fault we didn't give him painter's tape to go around the edges. But he didn't tell us we needed to give it to him in the first place. Any he didn't tell us the roller we got is wrong for the walls, either. He painted the room first, and then told us. This is why my brain hurts right now. I can't quite figure out how it was supposed to happen.

The most positive thing about the pink walls so far is that while searching for a image of pink insulation, I was brought to the work of Kim Beck, above, who was written about in Minutia, and whose work I love. Would I set up my bedroom in her installation, though? Probably not. Will be thinking about either toning down the pink with some white or crossing my fingers that the gorgeous warm pink we picked from 1,001 colors will emerge once the second coat is up.

22 September 2008

Lists again

I'm testing the PictoBrowser for Flickr photos with my mother's lists from a previous post. It's nice not to have to add every single picture and allow easy browsing.

21 September 2008

Anna Maria

This Radiant Pillow ($84) is exactly what I need on a rainy Sunday evening like tonight. The beautiful bursts of pink and yellow feel both warm and cozy and energetic at the same time. Likewise, the Eccentric Warm Studio Half Stack of fabrics is absolutely delicious. I love the names Anna Maria has chosen for her fabrics... they feel are descriptive and personal at the same time.

Fascinated by Anna Maria Horner's line of fabrics and home goods, I read about her eagerly and discovered that she "grew up in a house full of her dad's paintings and with a closet full of her mom's handi-work. Beds were warmed by the hand-loomed wool blankets sent by her grandmother from Greece." And that she is a mother of five. 5! I want to give her a medal. But this also confirms to me that motherhood is a most excellent device for creativity. And perhaps, like me, she shares the feeling that being pregnant and having children can give an almost instant creative buzz. While managing it all is challenging, I would never say having a child prohibited me from doing my most meaningful and important work. In fact, it has facilitated more ideas and possible ways of working than I can remember before having babies.

Her studio is amazing, too, as can be seen above.

Thank you, Catherine, for sending me a link to her fabric!

19 September 2008

On my nightstand

I'm not procrastinating, I'm willfully ignoring the fact I'm over-committed. So rather than dwell on it, I played around with my super state-of-the-art four year old digital camera and took overexposed and blurry photos of my nightstand and studio. Exciting!

On my nightstand:
  • Imagining the Turkish House: Collective Visions of Home, by Carel Bertram, a very engaging and interesting study of the classic "Turkish" home and how memory has infused it with meaning long after it's been virtually stripped from the urban landscape.
  • September Turkish Cosmo
  • Dwell magazine from 2007
  • Baby wipes called Baby World (identical to every other pack of wipes but with a different name)
  • My white Nokia cell phone
In my studio, below:

  • Holy computer, always on
  • Painting in progress
  • Coffee mug
  • Stack of journals
  • Recycled packing materials in piles

18 September 2008

London Fashion Week from my couch

While I sit at home wearing orange sweatpants I bought at a bazaar three years ago, a periwinkle-gray-blue shirt, and navy blue orthopedic slippers (my poor feet!), let me comment on London's Fashion Week. Ahem. This will be good, I promise. I am mainly interested in color, so these designers popped out at me immediately. The Aquascutum collection is my absolute favorite, and that shimmery blue just glows - I love the transition from light to dark and deep as it flows while walking. I adore the draping and tailoring in fantastic bright and muted colors of Richard Nicoll's collection, too. And though I want to leave my flowing, hippie-esque, pregnancy-reminiscent clothes behind for a very long time (two pregnancies in three years is enough), Ossie Clark by Avsh Alom Gur's gorgeous dress made me take a second look.

This Jaeger London dress is all about lines and drawing and stop-action camera work at night. Splendid.

Pantone Spring 09

Look what's coming, everyone! Seeing as our color tastes are chosen way in advance of the approaching seasons (thanks, Pantone!), I thought I would share two of the upcoming spring color trends, Super Lemon and Palace Blue. Love the lemon, will be saturating my studio in a similar color, and the Palace Blue is well, close to my heart because I live in Turkey. The others, a lavender, slate gray and vibrant green, did much less for me in terms of tone. Surprisingly, the fuscia red seemed kind of dull considering how intense of a color I think it to be. Thanks to Infomat for alerting me to NY Fashion Week's Pantone colors for spring.

Color chart

I found the color charting in the New York Times of the Wall Street firms' descent into loss oddly similar to Marshall's Most Preferred Colors chart (I promise this is the last time I will post something on Marshall's until I have the actual paint on the walls!). Does someone consult a color expert when doing these charts? How is it I was mesmerized by the placement of the color blocks rather than focusing on the crisis?

17 September 2008

Gretchen Wagoner

Gretchen Wagoner was featured on Design*Sponge today, and I fell in love with her work. Reading her blog was very engaging, too, and seeing her work in progress. These pieces were posted in December 07, but I liked them so much I'm sharing them now. We've both got Wisconsin roots, which is why I think her work also resonates with me.

I've got a completely un-sleepy baby on my lap with the hiccups wearing a pink sweater and smiling at her own hand. Hard to complain about her nap-less day today under those conditions. Also hard to think, sometimes, when my hands are always busy holding, dressing, changing, a little one. But I am thinking more about Gretchen's blog and why I like it - the idea of leaving home and moving to NY is something many artists dream of; while reading her posts, I felt like I could be doing the same. My own decision not to be in NY is something that at times I still question... being outside of a network of familiarity. But as each year passes here, I feel more connected to living in Turkey and creating something I couldn't replicate anywhere else. So for just a few moments, I got to experience what it might have been like, so thank you, Gretchen.

16 September 2008

Pink bedroom

Sometimes I don't want to write a new post for awhile after adding something really important to me, like my mother's aprons. But I want to close the night by sharing the pink we've chosen for our bedroom (we decided not to do blue) from the Marshall Key catalog (above, in a kitchen setting and with the color swatch). I think it is quite pretty but not overpowering, and I already have some accents that will look nice with it - the quilt Meg made for Lina, a pink scarf on my dresser, and two framed stitchings done by Jenny.

I just love this corner from the Marshall Key website, too. The infusion of red and beige is really homey but striking, and I can't resist an attractive chair with reading material on it, either. Gives me ideas for how I might do some stenciling on the beige walls in the hallway.


Two of my mother's aprons found their way to me this year. This might not seem like a remarkable thing, but my mother died in 1985, and without consulting each other, first my grandmother, and then my aunt, sent me a apron my mother had made over 23 years ago. And both within four months of each other! I attribute this to some kind of synchronicity in my universe, that my mother comes back to me in ways I could have never expected.

I took these photos with Photo Booth, and love the grainy vintage feel that happened because of the way the light was coming in the window.

15 September 2008

Maria's Serving Bowl

This gorgeous, hand-painted and fired serving bowl is available from Nest ($40). Maria, the designer, used her microfinance loan to buy a kiln in Mexico that enables her to make beautiful, safe pottery to support her family. I love the glossy black and white floral in a solid earthy clay bowl. I can imagine the weight of it in my hands and would probably display it more than use it.

14 September 2008

Wonting florals

Oh Joy! blogged about these lovely set of floral prints from wonting. Blogging about something I would love to have is nearly as good as owning it, but in this case, they would look absolutely great in my soon-to-be-aqua kitchen. I must wait until I finish framing a small stack of stitchings before I add anything new, though. They remind me of the herbal stitching sampler my mother did, or vintage seed packets.

Clutter away

The delicious photo above is from Joel C. Robinson and Leslie Ross's home and workshop that I took from The Selby. This is my reminder that really, my home is really not that cluttered or disorganized, nor my studio room as full of piles as I imagine. I love it when other people's homes and studios are full of fantastic things, but not when my own borderlines on overstuffed. It seems genetic that I create piles and tableau on every available empty surface, though, and have yet to tame the compulsive arranger in me.

Now that we know we are moving house, we're putting less time into keeping the house clean (we did vacuum today. yea!) and more into daydreaming about walls without peeling wallpaper, a kitchen counter that doesn't leak water from the sink, and bathroom cabinet doors that aren't on their hinges (should I be admitting this?). When I was a child, my floor could rarely be seen between the piles of clothes, books, shoes, and things. Then one day in Turkey, snap, everything became quite tidy. I think it was my 28th birthday. Now that I am 12 days away from 30, it seems this habit is here to stay. But I do need the reminder every now and then that it not need be picture perfect in my little home, and sifting through the amazing photos on The Selby is an excellent way to procrastinate on throwing away those piles of cardboard egg cartons (I will use them for packaging material someday, really) and miniature fabric scraps.

I love this little serger sewing nook in Cheri Messerli and David Rager's LA home.

10 September 2008


I am allowed one TED talk a day. Maximum. Or I'm going to start chanting TED TED TED and avoid everything else I need to be doing. Truly, it's amazingly addicting.

For example, Brian Cox's explanation of today's much-discussed CERN Supercollider humanizes a project that is quite complicated and fascinating. Tara introduced me to TED and I've never looked back.

John O'Conner

Now at Pierogi, one of my favorite galleries ever, John O'Connor's intricate and combustible drawings. I was intrigued by the press release on eflux because of the depth to which it went to describe his thought process and his work's similarity to painting.


I adore BurdaStyle, but wish there was someone who could make these projects for me instead! I would ask my mother-in-law, but she's too busy chasing after Topi to sew things for me. I did drop off a cardigan and blouse that needed seams closed, and she agreed. Love this Wiesn Dirndl that was posted today on BurdaStyle. Very sweet in pink and green.

New Antiques

Oh, if only I could stay home and blog all day! But there is laundry to do, an order to prepare, an apartment to decorate, and babies to snuggle with. And now Twitter. Help me g-d.

In an interview with Guilio Cappellini in Dwell March 2007, he is posed the question, "How is furniture design adapting to the evolving use of the home?", to which he replies...

We're seeing what they now call the new domestic nomadism. In the kitchen you work on your computer, maybe you invite your friends in. The bathroom is now the "wellness" room. If you have a small balcony, it's like a huge garden because you put all the green out there that you can. The living room is sort of agora, the center of the house, with very deep sofas where you can stay with your families just to watch television or invite your friends in a less formal way. The bedroom is where you can sleep or work. The kitchen is becoming very noble. The role of the dining room is declining. Nobody wants to use it- just for a Christmas dinner. Sometimes the most successful products are those you can use in different rooms."

Case in point these New Antiques low tables from the unstopable Marcel Wanders. Wouldn't I just love to have them in every room of my house? Makes me giddy to think of multi-purpose rooms, though our new apartment will be decidedly traditional in that respect. I am trying to devise a way to make the studio accomodate laundry in a tidy way (or another room), though, because I'd be lying to myself and everyone else if I said I promptly folded things and put them away. My excuse at the moment is that there is nowhere to put things! We need storage!, I say to my loving husband. Until then, piles.

08 September 2008

Parklak Krem

Glossy cream-colored cabinets for our kitchen, Parlak Krem 508. The shininess is a bit hard to read in this picture, but I think it'll look amazing with the turquoise walls.

Bahar Collection Treasury

Thanks so much to Bahar Collection for including the Happy Yellow Kitchen Towel in their Etsy Treasury list! Probably available for viewing for only a couple days, so take a look!

07 September 2008

Apartment 9

Continuing my pre-renovation saga of apartment 9, blok 32, yesterday's hunt for tile led me away from my original choices from Seramiksan to much more muted colors and patterns. It was surprising how much I didn't like. And many of the decorative pieces I had looked at online were either much too large or too small. Those wonderful tiny orange flowers from my last post? 12" x 23" a tile... not so small.

In the end, we found several things we like from Ege Seramik and one kind of wallpaper tile has two versions that I just love, so I'll use one in the bathroom and one in the kitchen. This particular tile has the most translucent of floral patterns that runs from top to bottom, and a kind of wash that resembles watercolor paint. I love a sharp, clear pattern or color, but with the tuquoise in the kitchen, I think the backsplash should be less noisy.

And as for the bathroom (first picture posted), the white wallpaper tile has just the perfect hint of pink to be flattering to all skin tones but not too all-over pink. Here's an example, below, courtesy of Ege Seramik's catalog, of how the blue wallpaper tile could be used with their borders, along with a flat pink tile we won't use:
I'm not crazy about this model bathroom, but the pattern in the wallpaper tile can be seen more easily than in my thumbnails. We are planning to avoid borders at all and just lay flat tile (these are big, anyway, the aforementioned 12" x 23").

For the floor, we found a subtle natural-stone beige and green tile that will be used in the bathroom, and entry/kitchen, respectively. The runner up is a teak-looking tile in strips that is very cool. It gets installed like a wood floor in planks. That is if we finish our discussion about if we should change the current tile at all... we both want to, but the current floor tile is functional (just very very boring) and leaving it would save us some money. We'll see about that later, for now I'll just imagine a cool green floor every time I walk in the door!
I took many Before pictures of the apartment today, but I'm not going to post any until we start doing some work in there, which will hopefully happen this week!

06 September 2008

Ceramic Tile

This morning while browsing through Seramiksan's tiles, I came across several that I might consider for the kitchen and/or bathroom. Right now I'm not assigning any of the tiles to a specific place, yet, but I do like these patterns that are available. Some seem less practical than others, and wouldn't make a good all-over pattern, but maybe a mosaic of sorts could be done for the kitchen backsplash. I'm hoping to take a look at some of them in person today.

Red Shoes

I'm going to interrupt my apartment renovation saga to share my new red shoes. Nearly out of season at time of purchase, this 44ytl special instantly gave me blisters, but made me feel spectacular every time I looked at my feet. I am into a high-gloss phase, which would explain why we decided on glossy cream-colored cabinets for the kitchen. I am motivated by shiny things. Thank goodness for that, because the last two nights neither of my children have wanted to go to sleep at a decent hour. In between asking myself pointlessly why, oh, why won't they sleep?, I dreamed of lacquered cream-colored cabinets and chrome hardware, turquoise walls and pink floor tile.

03 September 2008

Paint palette

After subjecting my friends to the review of several paint palettes, I think I've come to a decision of which colors to use in our new apartment. I'm still undecided about the yellow for my studio, and am considering a softer yellow, more like this one below, but I'm not sure I want a buttery yellow in the studio (feels more kitchen-y). I love the bold yellow, and as my studio will be facing North, I think it can take the bright color to compensate for the indirect light.

As for the rest, the beige is similar to the all-over beige currently on the walls. I'm going to keep the living room and hallway that color. The turquoise is for our kitchen, blue for our bedroom, green for Topi + Lina's room, and the 'dirty white' (translated exactly from Turkish!) beige-y color for the entryway. I like the warm neutral colors with the deeper, cool colors. As we will be facing West and North, warm and cool colors will fit with it's direction. It is fun to play decorator after three years of living in a place we have done virtually nothing to. Devrim says he is okay with any color (I may have to remind him of this when he sees the yellow, blue and turquoise). I don't have a red room (I've always wanted one), but one day when we have a library, I will absolutely use a gorgeous red!

02 September 2008

Kvadrat Tile Wall


Kvadrat, which I write about below, has an interactive program to create your own tile wall. This might come in handy while we try to choose tiles for the entry way, kitchen, and bathroom. Or, I'll just dream up cominations that are not possible for our 110m2 apartment. I love how the tri-color tiles create a kind of abstract tree.