Block Printing

In my post about Restful Bedrooms, I shared photos of sheets and blankets with subdued, soothing block print patterns. The designs mix very large prints with tiny prints:

Border prints are also used near top edges of blankets and sheets:

Whenever we’re ready to move beds into the apartment, I intend to design and print my own bedding to attempt this look. I love the contrast of large and small prints with ample white space between. And, I love hands-on design projects!

So I’ll be on a mission to collect the following wooden blocks for printing:

  • Enormous paisley
  • Tiny evenly-spaced print
  • Border floral with open airy feel
  • Medium-size florals

You can find a variety of wood blocks of all designs online: new blocks, vintage or antique blocks, and even custom blocks made just for you. Here are paisley wooden blocks, custom made by Colouricious:

I may need to go the bespoke route for paisley blocks large enough for an enormous print, if I don’t find affordable and quality ones online.

Here’s the kind of block that would make small evenly-spaced prints:

Here are border blocks for sale on etsy.com in by seller textileblocks:

You could combine several border prints to make a bigger border.

Other blogs have shared stories about block printing that have inspired me:

  • Once Upon A Tea Time shares some history of block printing, and photographed pieces from her collection in dreamy photos that can send you to a fantasyland of gorgeous printed fabrics.
  • Artnlight shares stories of block printing in Bhuj, along with the most luscious photos of wooden blocks. Yes, this blog’s photography makes wooden blocks look luscious!
  • Ro Bruhn shows an energizing mix of layered colors and stamps, including a demo of block printing on artwork.
  • Blau Druck shows indigo textile printing with 300-year-old wood blocks. This person has collected about 460 wood blocks. I’m so envious of the creativity and inspiration that must be in one place to use! Thus far I have only one. To be shown in a future post.




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Hanging Ceiling Lamps

I’m obsessing over this ceiling lamp we saw today in a shop on South Congress in Austin, Texas:

It’s made in Morocco. The designs are made with henna.  It would bring mysterious and exotic atmosphere to any room where it’s hanging.

Below are a few more examples from around the Internet. I think the colors and design of something like these would mix well with the future decor of our India pied a terre.

From justmorocco.com:

Another example from justmorocco.com:

From moroccancaravan.com:

From homestead.com:

From justmorocco.com:

From Planet Nomad, here’s a traveler’s shot of a hanging lamp in Morocco, looking from the floor straight up at the lamp and the fantasically-decorated ceiling:

Here is how these hanging lamps can enhance the atmosphere of rooms. These stylish rooms are at the Dar Les Cigognes, a boutique hotel in Marrakech, Morocco:

I must warn, these are animal skins stretched over frames, then decorated with henna designs. The curvier shapes and the henna drawings that are more intricate and complicated look more elegant to my eyes.





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Restful Bedrooms

The thing I like about bold color is that it energizes me. I feel a tingle when looking at a shot of the crispest brightest reds, orange, lime and yellow. I feel like I want to jump, throw arms in the air, get things done!

But I imagine the bedrooms of our India pied a terre to be extremely restful. Peaceful. They should be respites, places to retreat from noise and heat. They should make you feel cool. Like this room from Vogue Living:

I found the exact vision I seek at Rang-Decor — hand block printed sheets and blankets in cool whites with soothing pale print colors. Lots of space between the print pattern so it feels restful not hyperkinetic busy.

Another bedding source shared at Rang-Decor is Les Indiennes:

I like the mix of big and small prints that offer something interesting to look at, while maintaining a peaceful space.

I adore paisley. So paisley is a must. I would block print the sheets myself or design fabric on Spoonflower to get exactly what I want.

And add this mirror from Layla Grayce:

And because everywhere we’ve ever traveled had roosters that woke us up in the morning (whether we wanted to wake up or not), a rooster is needed here too. But, it’s a quiet rooster, from Wisteria:

We’re going for restful, but not so ethereal or gossamer that the whole room feels like wind would just lift it away. There will be darker wood furniture to ground it all. I haven’t even thought about furniture yet though …





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Framed Scarves

Scarves wrap up so much in such light packages. Sumptuous silk, rich color, intricate design, meaningful symbolism. They can pack a powerful visual punch. So why keep scarves in the dark of a closet, or tied on you, where you can only see bits of what they have to offer? Why not frame them and hang them and enjoy them every day?

I originally purchased this Talbots scarf with the intent of hanging it in our U.S. living room. It has the right colors and it depicts things I love: travel, navigation, maps.

I wore this scarf for a few years, then finally mounted it on canvas as shown here.

Does anyone else have this crazy notion to frame scarves? Well, yes! Many do. Here are some ideas:

photo from Domino

photo from Martha Stewart

Here’s a scarf framed under glass on a table:

photo from HGTV

From the Right Bank shows pictures of beautiful framed Hermes scarves. Hermes scarves aren’t just pretty — for many decades they have captured imagery and paid tribute to places and cultures worldwide.

Now don’t you think an Indian pied a terre should have a classic French Hermes scarf with India scenes?

My favorite Hermes scarf and story is from a few years ago. It’s a Tibetan scene:

It pays homage to Alexandra David-Neel who lived from 1868-1969. She was a French-Belgian explorer. In this scene, she and her traveling partner are heading towards Lhasa, the forbidden capital of Tibet. She became famous around the globe when she reached Lhasa in 1924. For now I dream of the adventure of this scarf, as I do not own any Hermes scarves. This is free inspiration here!

These colors feel too strong for our Chicago home. But they are perfect colors for an India pied a terre. They look tiny here, but these scarves fill a lot of wall space. They’re about one square yard or one square meter.

While you can get pre-owned Hermes scarves on eBay, I’m a fan of “getting the look for less.” Just look for inexpensive square scarves with:

  • Travel or cultural themes
  • Lots of detail
  • Bold shapes you can see from a distance
  • Bold color

Frame them, and hang them!





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