Ian Palmer

 

After years working as a graphic designer, Ian Palmer turned his attention towards being an artist. Precipitated by his family moving from England to a 200 year old barn in southwest France, Palmer found himself surrounded by beautiful mountain and countryside views full of inspiration. I really like his ability to layer colors and when he uses a heavy hand with trowels and drips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dutch Banket (Almond Pastry)

 

Years ago when my stepdad was a resident in Grand Rapids, Michigan he discovered Dutch banket (pronounced bahn-KET) at a local bakery. The combination of almond paste and pastry dough was seemingly unforgettable, and a few months ago he tracked down the recipe and baked some up. Airy and flaky with a dense filling, the resulting long rolls are sliced up into individual pieces before serving. A slice makes for the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea, or so I’ve heard!

 

 

Ingredients

Dough
• 2 C all-purpose flour
• 1 C (2 sticks) cold butter
• 1/2 C cold water

Filling
• 1 C almond paste (8 oz)
• 3/4 C sugar
• 1 tsp almond extract
• 1 egg
• dash of salt

Topping
• 1 egg white
• 1/4 C sugar
• sliced almonds (optional)

 

 

Preheat oven to 425º. In a medium sized bowl, cut the butter into the flour and combine until mixture is crumbly. Make a crater in the center and slowly add the cold water to the mixture. Mix well and add small amounts of additional flour until dough becomes smooth and forms a ball. Chill in the refrigerator.

Onto the filling. Combine almond paste, sugar, almond extract, and egg together in a mixing bowl. Using either a stand or hand mixer, combine until mostly smooth.

Divide dough into four parts. Roll on portion into a ball and place it on a flour-covered surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a long rectangle that measures about 12-inches by 3-inches. Spoon one fourth of the filling into the center of the dough, leaving about an inch on all sides. Fold the ends over first, then bring up the sides and pinch the dough together (you may want to wet your fingertips with water for a better seal). Repeat the process three more times for the other portions of dough and filling. Place the rolls onto a greased baking sheet, sealed side down.

Whisk egg white, then brush generously over each roll. Sprinkle with sugar and add sliced almonds if desired. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a light golden brown.

 

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Alessandra Genualdo

 

I’m having a moment with the work of Italian-born, London-based painter and illustrator Alessandra Genualdo. Each piece feels so very melancholy and introspective, even when filled with bright saturated colors. As you’ve probably noticed by now the time of year drastically affects the kind of art I’m drawn to, and Alessandra’s work feels perfectly suited to how I spend Januarys.

Shop Alessandra Genualdo’s work

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Winter ’18 Book Recommendations

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
A collection of poetry and prose about survival. About the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. The book is divided into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose. Deals with a different pain. Heals a different heartache.

The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair
This book tells the unusual stories of seventy-five fascinating shades, dyes, and hues. From blonde to ginger, the brown that changed the way battles were fought to the white that protected against the plague, Picasso’s blue period to the charcoal on the cave walls at Lascaux, acid yellow to kelly green, and from scarlet women to imperial purple, these surprising stories run like a bright thread throughout history.

Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks
A gentle Eastern European immigrant arrives in New York City after his family and his life have been torn apart by his country’s civil war. A man who loves to bowl rolls a perfect game – and then another and then another and then many more in a row until he winds up ESPN’s newest celebrity, and he must decide if the combination of perfection and celebrity has ruined the thing he loves. These are just some of the tales Tom Hanks tells in this first collection of his short stories.

 

The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures by Aaron Mahnke
In this beautifully illustrated volume, the host of the hit podcast Lore serves as a guide on a  journey through the history of these terrifying creatures, exploring not only the legends but what they tell us about ourselves. In a world of “emotional vampires” and “zombie malls,” the monsters of folklore have become both a part of our language and a part of our collective psyche. Whether these beasts and bogeymen are real or just a reflection of our primal fears, we know, on some level, that not every mystery has been explained and that the unknown still holds the power to strike fear deep in our hearts and souls.

Literally Me by Julie Houts
Julie Houts has cultivated a devoted following as “Instagram’s favorite illustrator” by lampooning the conflicting messages and images women consume and share with the world every day. A collection of darkly comic illustrated essays, Literally Me chronicles the exploits of “slightly antisocial heroines” in vivid, excruciatingly funny detail.

Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay
It was a cloudless summer day in the year 1900. Everyone at Appleyard College for Young Ladies agreed it was just right for a picnic at Hanging Rock. After lunch, a group of three girls climbed into the blaze of the afternoon sun, pressing on through the scrub into the shadows of the secluded volcanic outcropping. Farther, higher, until at last they disappeared. They never returned.

 

Pep Talks for Writers: 52 Insights and Actions to Boost Your Creative Mojo by Grant Faulkner
Designed to kick-start creativity, this handbook from the executive director of National Novel Writing Month gathers a wide range of insights and advice for writers at any stage of their career. From tips about how to finally start that story to helpful ideas about what to do when the words just aren’t quite coming out right.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
The stunningly beautiful bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. Deftly interweaving their lives, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.

Other People We Married by Emma Straub
Straub creates characters as recognizable as a best friend, and follows them through moments of triumph and transformation with wit, vulnerability, and dazzling insight. In “Some People Must Really Fall in Love,” an assistant professor takes halting steps into the awkward world of office politics while harboring feelings for a freshman student. Two sisters struggle with old assumptions about each other as they stumble to build a new relationship in “A Map of Modern Palm Springs.” These twelve stories, are filled with sharp humor, emotional acuity, and joyful language.

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Mark Thompson

 

Mark Thompson‘s grayscale paintings feel exactly like January. It’s been frigid and full of snow in many parts of the U.S., making everything feel washed-out and salt covered. Thompson says of his paintings that they are works of memory, not of any one time or place but a world distilled.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rethinking the Living Room

Minerva Wall Mirror // Harmony 2-Piece Chaise Sectional

It’s been a minute, well about three and a half years, since I did anything major to my living room. I’ve updated the floor rug and throw pillows and some other little things a few times, but nothing big. Lately I’ve been getting the itch to do an entire overhaul. Not that it’s in my budget at the moment, but it’s worth daydreaming over for a bit. The first piece I’d bring in would be this couch that I’ve had a crush on for years – I love how welcoming it looks. And a big round mirror over the mantel would make the room feel larger and add a nice focal point.

 

Chuck Log Holder // Aaron Aged Brass 3-Light Floor Lamp // Cast Tripod Side Table

My fireplace doesn’t work at the moment, but I still enjoy a stack of logs nearby and this holder could double as a magazine holder if I get bored. A sweet little side table could either be used for its intended purpose or a plant stand. Didn’t you know that I love pieces that are multifunctional? This brass floor lamp will add some cozy light to the room.

 

Ash Connections 5-Shelf Bookshelf // Laini Throw // Rattan Bowl Bullet Planter

I have a lot of books and love putting the on display, so a trio of these shelves should do the trick. (All lined up in a nice little row, of course.) Plants run rampant in my home, and one of these large bullet planters would hold a large palm nicely. A pretty blanket would bring in a simple pattern and some texture.

 

Stand Table Lamp // Victrola Gramophone Bluetooth Speaker // Warwick 3-Door Media Cabinet

If you haven’t noticed, lately I’m heavily drawn towards a mix of wood and metal in neutral tones. This little table lamp combines all three very nicely. An updated bluetooth gramophone ties together the old-meets-new aesthetic I tend to gravitate towards, and the media cabinet gives a place for all other electronics in the living room.

 

Motion Lines 3 Wall Art // Eden Cross Base Standing Planter // Hayes Leather Storage Basket

No room is complete without art on its walls, and I really like the simplicity of this piece. A pair of these standing planters would flank the fireplace nicely, don’t you think? And a decent sized basket works hard in any number of ways, including holding blankets and pillows.

 

Brass Tray Coffee Table // Vintage Distressed Rug

The edge on this coffee table is a unique feature that I really like, as are the thin brass legs. The navy blue in this large floor rug ties in perfectly with the hues in the rest of the room without being overwhelming.

 

Chelsea Double Sconce // Rose Quartz Coaster Set // Roar + Rabbit Chair

The third source of light would be ideally situated in the corner of the room, directly over the crook of the sectional – the best reading spot! A pair of chairs that make a statement in pale pink finish things up, while a set of quartz coasters check off a necessity. Here’s to dreaming!

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2018 Reader Survey

 

It’s that time of year! Each January I ask you what you like, what you love, and what you could do without here on Design Crush. Filling out the reader survey should take less than five minutes of your time and it helps me plan the future of the site so I can give you all more of what you’re coming here for. Thank you in advance!

Take our 2018 Reader Survey!

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12 Task Lamps

Oyler Two Head Task Lamp // Crosby Schoolhouse Desk Lamp
Kennedy Table Task Lamp // Iroh Metal Adjustable 23″ Desk Lamp

I’ve found lighting has everything to do with how productive I can be in a day. If I don’t turn on a lamp in the room I’m working in before mid-afternoon, I definitely go slower as the sun drops in the sky. Most days this means switching on the task lamp that’s on my desk. Task lamps have a classy, literary look about them that’s especially welcoming during the winter months – here’s a hot dozen.

 

Dylan Bullet Shaped Dual Head LED Table Lamp // Renton Task 33″ Desk Lamp
Ina Task Lamp // Wooden Task Lamp

 

Gold-Dipped Task Lamp // Anna Desk Lamp
Scoop Table Lamp // Edris Metal Globe Desk Lamp

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