RUSSIAN FURNACE - ПЕЧКА

design squish blog


design squish blog

design squish blog

What is so special about Russian furnace?  Answer: You can not only cook in it, warm the house with it, but also sleep on top of it! There is space on top specifically designed as a place for sleep. All the heat from furnace rises to the top of the house and furnace -bed becomes the warmest place in the house. 


December 20, 2008

TREE PICTURES

design squish blog, tree picture

photograph of trees in the forest covered with snowflakes

Taken by Adrien Casey in Massachusetts, near where he lives.


RABBITS IN THE SNOW ??


rabbits in the snow

This photograph is by Andrea Galvani.  Andrea Galvani was born in Verona, Italy in 1973. He lives and works in Milan and New York.
It looks like the rabbits were relocated to the North Pole or are trying survive Ice Age.  I think this photograph can be about global warming and mass extinction. 


December 19, 2008

BROOKLYN PARROTS ON THE FIRST WINTER SNOW

design squish blog

Above: Monk Parakeets in the Snow

Brooklyn parrots are wild Monk Parakeets (or Quaker Parrots) native to the temperate to subtropical areas of Argentina and the surrounding countries.  The Monk Parakeet is globally very common as a pet.
There are many theories about why these parrots live in Brooklyn - from sinking ships, overturned trucks;  Hurricane Gloria in the mid-1980s.  The theory with the greatest credence among ornithologists is that a shipment of parrots destined for sale at New York area pet shops was accidentally released at Kennedy Airport in the late 1960’s . Anyway, there are lots of Quaker Parrots living in Brooklyn and for some strange reason they love it here. Maybe because the pizza crumbs are so good.  Or the art scene.  Actually, the reason these tropical parrots can survive cold winters in New York City is because they build giant commune nests in which about 10 - 15 parrots can fit in and warm each other during these winter months. 
There is a blog dedicated to Brooklyn Parrots: brooklynparrots.com illustrating parrot life. You can even take a free Wild Brooklyn Parrot Safari in Brooklyn College.
Steve, the founder of Brooklyn Parrots website and blog, believes that Brooklyn parrots are not an evil “invasive species” but a welcome replacement for the Carolina Parakeet, hunted to extinction almost a century ago.  ” The last wild specimen of Carolina Parakeet was killed in Okeechobee County in Florida in 1904, and the last captive bird died at the Cincinnati Zoo on February 21, 1918” -wiki. I agree with him Steve .
design squish blog
* Above: extinct Carolina Parakeet


December 17, 2008

BANYA - RUSSIAN SAUNA

russian banya

russian sauna

The most important part of russian banya ( БАНЯ ) for me is jumping from hot banya heat into the snow or frozen river to cool yourself down. Another very important aspect of russian banya is beating yourself with hot white birch branches. I should not forget about drinking kvas ( russian root beer drink) in the banya entrance room, vodka and snacking on pickles, mushrooms, and etc after a good banya session .
It is a real authentic russian experience and I think everybody should try it. A friend of ours built russian banya in his backyard in upstate New York and apparently it is very easy and cheap to build.


*below: bania in upstate New York


design squish blog


CORNELL LIBRARY OF ORNITHOLOGY

cornell library of ornithology bird nest illustration
macaluay library

Located in Ithaca, New York, Cornell Library of Ornithology is surrounded by Sapsucker Woods Sanctuary that is teaming with birds and plants.  More than four miles of trails wind through a variety of habitats used by birds and other wildlife. The library itself has one of the world’s largest repository of wildlife sound recordings, contains over 160,000 individual recordings representing more than 50% of the world’s bird species. When you walk into the library you see giant books of beautiful old life-size illustrations of birds, photographs of birds and long aisles on books about birds.  Cornell Library of Ornithology is an amazing place to visit.


December 14, 2008

SERGEI KOZLOV SHORT STORIES

I love short stories by russian author Sergei Kozlov.  This story is called Good Elephant (I am sorry about translation. It was translated through Babelfish). On snow covered cold February,  Hedgehog has been trying to heat the furnace for days and nevertheless he could not get up in the morning -  it was that cold in the house. “Is this a punishment? “- muttered hedgehog, putting paws into the felt boots and getting up from the bed. - Another week and I will burn all the firewood I have and freeze! ” Hedgehog shuffled burned wood, moved aside shutter and started new fire. Hedgehog started thinking about his disastrous position. “Forest is completely covered with snow”- he thought - “All the small trees are under the snow and I cannot cut down a big tree. “It would be nice if Bear came over.  He has a sharp saw and special sleds to carry firewood.  Donkey and Bear would come and say:“Hedgehog, probably you have no more firewood? Let’s go collect more! ” Hedgehog thought:  I would make them tea.. But now… Bear is probably asleep and does not even think about me… ” Hedgehog became so sad, that he tossed up two additional firewood and began to look at the flame without thinking. Furnace was burning, the house became very warm, and hedgehog no longer believed that firewood can end and that he might freeze. ” Hedgehog started dreaming: “Firewood will end and I will begin to freeze.  The elephant in the zoo will find out about this and he will come running into the forest, find my house, insert his trunk into the chimney and instantly it will become warmer from his breath. I will say: ” Thanks, elephant for giving me your heat.  Now go warm up my friend Bear - he probably also has no more firewood… Elephant will run away from the zoo each night and breathe into my chimney, and my friend Bear’s too, so we would not freeze”.  While Hedgehog was dreaming of this, the frost, wind and cold grew harsher. Hedgehog’s firewood soon entirely ended. For the last time he warmed up the house very well, piled up all the blankets on his bed, put on a wool coat and felt boots. Then, he climbed under his blanket mountain and began to wait. First it was hot, and then, when furnace cooled, it became very cold. With each hour it became increasingly colder. ” I w-w-wiish elephant would come here f-f-f-aster-r-r ! - whispered Hedgehog, rolled as a bagel under his blankets. Frozen Hedgehog could not even whisper anymore because of cold but the elephant still did not come… - Elephant-t-t! - called Hedgehog. - I am f-f—freezing… ar-r-rive, p-p-p-lease, elephant! Hedgehog called elephant three days and two nights. But on third night he became warmer. So warm that he even took off his wool coat and felt boots. This is because the cold finally started leaving. To Hedgehog, it seemed as though an enormous elephant has been walking between pine trees and breathing into his chimney.

designsquishblog, design squish blog, hedgehog


December 11, 2008

PAINTING YOUR TOWN

design squish blog

Russian amateur folk artist Vladimir Ovchinnikov have been painting his town Borovsk, population of 12,000, a place of cottages slouching on grassy slopes, with murals.   I think this is a great idea to use city walls instead of canvas. I would rather see folk art on buildings than bare brick walls.


vladimir ovchinnikov

ovchinnikov mural

mural in russia

borovsk mural

*above: Vladimir Ovchinnikov incorporates poems of Russian writers into his murals as well as famous folk sayings

russian wall painting



*above: Vladimir Ovchinnikov uses Russian folk saying “Good (towards boy or girl) just like a cucumber!”

владимир овчинников



Vladimir Ovchinnikov


*note: the cat inside the window and the church reflection on the two images above are painted


December 10, 2008

DRAWING BY JEANA SOHN

angel of progress

I love this drawing by JEANA SOHN.  It reminds me of Walter Benjamin’s Angel of Progress. “A Klee painting named ‘Angelus Novus’ shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing in from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such a violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.”


CATEGORIES:   ART, NATURE,

TEMA STAUFFER - AMERICAN STILLS

wild horse

This photograph is from Tema Stauffer‘s American Stills.  Tema Stauffer is a photographer based in Brooklyn.  Tema teaches at The School of the International Center of Photography.  I wish horses run around like this all the time. Lots and lots of beautiful white horses. Everywhere.


December 08, 2008

YENI MAO -  SIAMESE BIRD VASE

vase by yeni


design squish blog, siameese bird vase

Yeni Mao is an artist currently living and working in New York City. He works in painting, drawing, sculpture and installation. Yeni created ceramic vase that is two siamese birds with no heads.  This is a weird and extremely beautiful object that changes meaning when flowers are put into the vase. 


REPLAYGROUND - REUSED CEREAL BOX

jiffy notebook

REPLAYGROUND makes journal notepads from cereal boxes.  They are packed with blank pages of recycled paper and the cover is a reclaimed cereal box cardboard.


December 07, 2008

BUDDHA BOWL

design squish blog, cup bowl


design squish blog, buddha bowl

Buddha Bowl is a cup and a bowl at the same time! Imagine drinking your tea from a cup the size of the bowl or drinking soup out of the bowl when you are sick? Awesome!


CATEGORIES:   design,

CUTE TOTORO TOYS

 big totoro


 totoro doll


totoro matreshka


totoro toy


 totoro keychain

Totoro toys are so cute!! I was just browsing through ebay and stumbled upon these Totoro toy keychains and Totoro wooden box.  These are hand crafted and made from wood painted with acrylic color. The shapes of these Totoros remind me of Russian dolls Matreshkas. 


CATEGORIES:  

ADVERTIZING FLYERS POLLUTING YOUR HOUSE ?

do_not_place_unsolicited_adsvertizing_materials_on_this_property

Do not place unsolicited advertizing materials on this property sign can be placed in front of your door in New York state to prevent useless advertizing materials such as flyers, product catalogs and fake postcards saying that you won a trip to Florida from coming into your house.


December 06, 2008

SIMON AND GARFUNKEL SONG…..

I’d rather be a sparrow than a snail
Yes I would, if I could, I surely would
I’d rather be a hammer than a nail
Yes I would, if I only could, I surely would

Away, I’d rather sail away
Like a swan that’s here and gone
A man gets tied up to the ground
He gives the world its saddest sound
Its saddest sound

I’d rather be a forest than a street
Yes I would, if I could, I surely would
I’d rather feel the earth beneath my feet
Yes I would, if I only could, I surely would


NEWSPAPERWOOD - WE ARE MOVING BACKWARDS IN TIME

newspaperwood


news paper wood

This is something I saw on designsquish.  This is wood that is made out of newspaper, not vice versa.  The paper is rolled in the way that it has similar characteristics as natural wood log. The paper is glued to each other by water soluble glue. 


LOG STOOLS, LOG TABLES, LOGS, LOGS

log table


 log stool


log stools


driftwood


design squish blog

It is fun making furniture out of found logs.  Logs can be found on the beach, with the driftwood and alongside streets where old trees have been cut down.  It is important not to take logs from sick trees , since those logs can carry on disease to your healthy backyard trees. The Log Song from Ren & Stimpy:
It’s Log, Log, it’s big, it’s heavy, it’s wood.
It’s Log, Log, it’s better than bad, it’s good!
Everyone wants a log! You’re gonna love it, Log!
Come on and get your log! Everyone needs a Log!”


CATEGORIES:   LIFESTYLE, upcycle,

BROOKLYN BOTANIC GARDEN STEINHARDT CONSERVATORY GALLERY - PORTRAITS OF A GARDEN

design squish blog, brooklyn botanic garden gallery

design squish blog, scientific illustration

New show at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden by The Brooklyn Botanic Garden Florilegium Society, country’s most accomplished botanical artists. So absolutely beautiful!


December 05, 2008

ANGIE SMITH LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY

design squish blog, surfers, seals, tiny peopledesign squish blog, village landscape, civilization v.s nature

One of my favorite online galleries, Humble Arts Foundation featured photographs of Angie Smith.  I instantly fell in love with her artwork.  Angie’s photographs remind me of Chinese ink landscape paintings where a person is the size of a small ant lost in between giant mountains, fields and forest. In these photographs, civilization, humans, society is in the conflict with nature, elements and gravity. 


December 03, 2008

WALTON FORD - DRAWING THE APOCALYPSE

walton ford

walton ford

Walton Ford’s paintings are “as much a tutorial in flora and fauna as it is as a scathing indictment of the wrongs committed by nineteenth-century industrialists or, locating the work in the present, contemporary American consumer society” 


December 01, 2008

HOW GREEN IS IKEA ?

image

How green is IKEA?  Last time I went to IKEA, I bought a giant bag of swedish meatballs and sauce.  I cooked them at home and they were delicious - for some weird reason I could not stop eating them. Hm, I thought.  I looked at the ingredients on the bag of sauce and it read: monosodium glutamate.  I was surprised that IKEA, a big swedish company would use MSG in their meatballs. Do they have MSG meatballs in all IKEA stores or just U.S? Maybe they think MSG is good for you?
I remembered that when I was buying meatballs in IKEAnext to them I saw big containers full of bright yellow and blue reusable IKEA bags. IKEA stopped using plastic bags but instead you can buy IKEA’s big reusable plastic bag for $59c. Lots of IKEA furniture is made from natural, untreated wood, free of phtahaltes, lead; their kitchen furniture is free of formaldehyde. IKEA supports the use of environmentally friendly, sustainable and recycled materials as well.


November 30, 2008

GOOGLE MAPS, NEW AND IMPROVED

seattle google maps


googlemaps

Google maps now has a better resolution thanks to Google’s partnership between a commercial satellite imaging provider and the department of defense.
The new hardware of Geoeye satellite is a significant improvement over previous generations in resolution of the images. I suppose now they also have a better photo camera that takes pictures for street view. 


ELECTRONICS RECYCLING

image

Green Screens is an electronic recycling event all over NYC boroughs.  Green Screens: “As technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, more and more consumers are looking to replace their outdated equipment with new, energy-efficient products. However, with technology constituting an estimated 87.5 percent of landfill toxic waste, it is vital for consumers to understand the importance of recycling technology in an environmentally responsible manner”


November 28, 2008

GOOGLE BOOKS

googlebooks

little prince, design squish blog

It is nice to stay inside on a cold winter weekend, wrap yourself in blankets and read some books…on the internet.  Google Books allows online access to public-domain works, books and other out-of-copyright material to be downloaded in PDF format. Google is scanning more than 3,000 books per day. Of the 7 million books scanned, 1 million are “full view”, 1 million are in the public domain / limited preview, and the remaining 5 million are no longer in print or commercially available.


YAHOO TOP TEN GREEN DO-IT-YOURSELF GIFTS

design squish blog, spicy dill pickle vodka

I wanted to check my yahoo e-mail and stumbled upon yahoo top ten green do-it-youself suggestions.  They are really fun. They include:  Gardening gift certificate, paper gifts made from junk mail, homemade infused vodka, homemade IPhone case, tickets to a local event and a subscription to Ready Made Magazine. My favorite is homemade infused vodka.  Here is a recipe from yahoo:  Find organic fruit, herbs, spices, or peppers at the farmers market (or your garden) and soak them a bottle of vodka (organic also, if possible). In two weeks or less, you’ll have a flavored treat for holiday cocktail parties. *
*(My own addition to the recipe:  You can also infuse vodka with pepper, horseradish and even pickle.  There are a lot of different ways to infuse vodka in Russian tradition. I am definitely drinking homemade spicy dill pickle infused vodka for the holiday!)
Recipe for Spicy Dill Pickle Vodka:
1 bottle of vodka
2 cucumbers
1 jalapeno pepper
6 cloves of garlic
sprigs of fresh dill


PORTRAIT PILLOW - SCANDINAVIAN GIRL

pillow, vintage fabric, handkerchief pillow, portrait pillow

This pillow is made out of vintage cotton handkerchiefs.  I found it on Etsy and it is by an artist and designer Flyingrhymes. Have you ever wondered why nobody uses colorful handkerchiefs anymore?  When I was growing up in Russia there was no Kleenex.  I don’t know whether it was better or worse. 


November 25, 2008

ELECTRIC VEHICLE

EV, LEV, ELECTRIC CAR, sustainable car,

This is the most stylish EV I’ve seen! This car is called Myers Motors NmG (NmG stands for “No more Gas,” haha.  It gets 30 miles to the charge and goes over 70 mph. sadly, you will have to charge batteries for 3-5 hours and it costs twenty five thousand dollars.


KREEPY DOLL FACTORY TOYS

fabric scraps toys, artsy williamsburg hipster, recycle old t-shirts

Dan of Kreepy Doll Factory have been making dolls out of old t-shirts and fabric scraps.  Every doll is unique.
The one on the left is the Night Man - “Living shadow found roaming in the dark of night” . One on the right is the Flying Red Hot Dog - “Mysterious winged weiner seen in the skies over downtown”. haha.


November 23, 2008

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