Outdoor Living

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This summer has felt like a dream. After spending summers in triple degree heat, being back in Pennsylvania this season has been better than I remember. When living in Oklahoma City I always felt like I was jumping from one air conditioned space to the next, spending the shortest amount of time in the sweltering heat in between as possible. I was determined to get my two (yes, two) backyard decks whipped into shape for some outdoor living as soon as possible.



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I teamed up with the folks at Overstock to make it happen since I’d either sold or donated the majority of my outdoor furniture before moving last summer. My first goal was to create a space that was functional for entertaining 12 to 15 people at a time, my second was to make the area comfortable during summer as well as fall.

It all began with a few Eco Concrete Samai Planters. I love their industrial look and that they’re heavy enough not to topple over if and when the wind picks up. The plants I’ve used seem to love them just as much and have flourished like crazy.



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The most important addition to the upper deck was a patio set. I knew I wanted something constructed primarily out of wood and ended up going with the Carlisle Rustic Metal 3-piece Outdoor Dining Set from Christopher Knight Home. It easily seats six people and I plan on adding chairs to both ends to accommodate a few more.

Smartfold outdoor folding serving cart from COSCO is the outdoor equivalent of a bar cart. It’s on lockable wheels so I can push it around serving and park it when done. It’s also come in handy when potting plants and making s’mores on the lower deck.



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I’ve always been on the fence when it comes to outdoor rugs, but I couldn’t really tell you why. The upper deck is in major need of a fresh coat of paint (next summer’s project!) so I thought a rug might offer a solution. The stripes of this black and bone indoor/outdoor rug by Safavieh do a great job of carrying the aesthetic of the interior of my home to the outdoors. And I have to say, the dogs absolutely love lounging on it.



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The last touch on the upper deck, or the deck that connects directly to the house, is the Laguna Park Bench. The geometric backrest is another extension of my style and the wood and metal of the piece tie in perfectly with the patio set and folding cart. I love sitting here watching the dogs while they’re on squirrel patrol in the yard, especially in the mornings with a cup of coffee in hand.



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But I have to admit, the lower deck is probably my favorite. When I bought this house almost a year ago I had no plans for its use. Was it built before the upper deck was put on? After? It was and remains a bit of a mystery, but its location right under a gigantic shady tree is just perfect.




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I’ve wanted adirondack chairs for years now, in fact I can remember telling my mom that they were one of the first things I’d buy once I had my own home. It didn’t happen quite like that, but these Acacia Square Back Adirondack Chairs now live in perfect formation on the lower deck. They’re super comfortable and I love the pop of light blue against all of that brown. Add a few blankets and we’re all ready for the cozy evenings soon to be spent out here.



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The yard itself is mainly the dogs’ domain and I didn’t want to take up their space with a fire pit, but I knew I wanted something similar to gather around come fall. I instantly fell for the Corvus Aviano Black Enamel Finished Wheeled Fire Pit. Again, I love the mobility of this piece. I can wheel it into the yard should the party get too big for the deck.

So, when are you coming over?!

This post sponsored by Overstock. Thank you for supporting the brands that help Design Crush creating fresh new content!


Sam Kalda / Men and Cats

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Illustrator and cat fancier Sam Kalda knows all the ways into my heart. In his Men and Cats series, Kalda captures famous men and their feline companions in everyday circumstances. Think Ernest Hemingway having a drink, Karl Lagerfeld laying out his ensemble for the day, or Saul Steinberg… wearing a cat mask.



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Gift Shop Brooklyn

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Annie Bukhman has a way with leather, which in this case is better than having a way with words. She creates every piece for Gift Shop Brooklyn shop with materials sourced and purchased from vendors in the United States or from fellow Etsy sellers. Items are made in limited quantities, guaranteeing that Annie’s designs and offerings are always fresh and inspired.



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Elise Morris

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My backyard is covered by a canopy of old trees and I’ve spent quite a bit of time under their heavy branches this summer. While lots of it was while I was sitting on my deck working, my favorite reprieve was gazing upward through their leaves. Elise Morris‘ abstract paintings remind me of those moments as they slowly dwindle and the leaves begin to drop as we head into a new season.



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Son of a Sailor

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A lot of great things have happened since we last checked in with Son of a Sailor back in 2013. I had a chance to meet William Knopp and Jessica Tata, the husband and wife team behind it all, earlier this month and they clued me in to the evolution of their shop. Lots of new jewelry and accessories rich with organic materials and inspired by geometry are making their faces known, along with fun pieces like wooden yo-yos, leather playing card cases, and beautiful cutting boards. It’s safe to say that my crush is only growing!



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Happy Weekend

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This week on Design Crush:
Sarah Ball‘s Immigrant painting series is muted and full of emotion.
If you want awesome floor coverings Aelfie rugs are where it’s at!
Beautiful architectural-inspired paintings by Ira Svobodová.
Try this Jewish treat – babka 13 ways.
The crazy paper figures of Michelle Matson.
Check out our Pittsburgh Brew Tour: Part 1.
Barbar Kyne snaps beautifully blurry photography.
I scouted out 32 pieces of flair for your jean jacket.
I had so much fun experimenting with Sprout’s 3D scanner and created a print download.


Sprout 3D Scanner + a Print Download

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Last month I shared the bright summer desktop wallpaper I created with HP’s Sprout all-in-one desktop and its revolutionary scanning capabilities (check out #GoMakeThings to see how others are getting super creative!). Now they’ve released a 3D capture stage, a brand new accessory that allows you to scan objects in full 3D to print or use however you wish.



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The stage easily plugs into a USB port on the Sprout and shows you exactly where to position the device. I had a lot of fun scanning random things – an air plant, a binder clip, etc – as I tried to test the devices limits and strengths. Organic shaped objects scan best, and things that are shiny or transparent aren’t going to do well.



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This teakwood hand has been in my possession for a few years and I absolutely love its shape and detail. Creating a print with it captured from different perspectives seemed really interesting to me and just the sort of job that the 3D capture stage would be perfect for.



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The capture stage scanned my hand in several different positions, instructing me as it went. I loved that I could do as many scans as necessary (at least three are recommended) to stitch together the object, and it was so rad to watch it become more complete with each pass.



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I used the touchscreen to flip the newly scanned hand every which way to inspect for any holes and found none. At this point I was finished scanning and it was time to edit the end result. After messing around with color and texture I settled on four organic looks, then saved 2D images of the hand from each side as well as from the front and back. These are what I would use to create my print.



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I created a new project and with the flick of a finger moved the files from the image library to the touchpad. I scaled down all of the hand views and arranged them just like I wanted the end print to look. I sent it straight to the printer, popped it in a frame, and voila! – new mantel art.

Download your own copy by clicking on the image below.
For personal use only.


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This post sponsored by HP. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush create fresh content!


32 Pieces of Flair

Do you think it’s a coincidence that enamel pins (AKA flair) are coming back around at the same time as jean jackets? I hope not, because I just picked myself up a new jacket last month and plan on grabbing several of these fun, quippy pieces to help deck it out in my own brand of style!


ROW 1: California Dreamin’ Pin // French Press Pin
ROW 2: Avocado Pin // Feminist Enamel Lapel Pin // Ouija Board Enamel Pin
ROW 3: Ticket Pin // Tiny Tooth Pin // CMYK Enamel Pin Badge
ROW 4: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Pin // Best Babes Enamel Pin Set // In Cats We Trust Enamel Lapel Pin



ROW 5: Lucky Blue Eye Enamel Pin // Donut Enamel Pin // Manicured Hand Enamel Pin
ROW 6:  Watermelon Wedge Enamel Pin // Lips Pin // Larry Pin
ROW 7: Fingers Crossed Pin // Grapefruit Pin // BFF Lapel Pin
ROW 8: Net Neutrality Enamel Pin // People to Kill Lapel Pin // Introvert Enamel Pin



ROW 9: Don’t Be a Dick Badge // Stay Hungry Cheeseburger Enamel Pin // I’ll Break Your Heart Brooch
ROW 10: Nap Queen Circle Brooch // Future Famous Brooch // No Likes Pin
ROW 11: No Time For Anything Lapel Pin // Thank You Lapel Pin // Sure, I Like Fun Pin


Barbara Kyne

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I believe that sometimes there is more beauty in a blurry photograph than in one that is crisp and flawless. It seems Barbara Kyne believes the same. Her At the Museum series explores how it feels to be engaged with art aesthetically, intellectually, and emotionally while By Fire captures what it’s like to spend an evening around a bonfire to a tee.


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