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Purposedesign Old School Magnetic Chalkboard Coasters

I'm in the studio today, and using my costly time well with stitch, canvas and scissor. Nevertheless, I deserve a coffee break as well as the next laborer, and my hot-plate espresso tastes best while surfing Etsy for my virtual wedding gift registry (the one in my mind, since I typically forget to bookmark things I want in favor of things I want to buy for others!)

The below selection, a set of "Old School" Magnetic Chalkboard Coasters by purposedesign, happily fits both criteria! I love that you can stick them to your fridge to keep them handy and visible, yet off of the table when not in use. Plus, in today's slick, whiteboard and powerpoint world, the soft scrawl and irregularities of chalkboard markings hit a nostalgic note. I love home goods that encourage creativity.

Super cool magnetic chalkboard coasters by Purpose Design on Etsy

Purposedesign, out of Montreal, offers these coasters in sets of six (including chalk), for $22 plus shipping.

Providence Round Up

Friday sneaks up on you, which is no reason to cover your eyes and shriek. High gas prices have kept me a bit closer to home this week, and in my wanderings I've turned out a few Providence tidbits for your easy consumption.

For those who prefer one-stop shopping, hop on your jalopy and bike on down to Olneyville for a weekend of events at The Steel Yard. As part of their annual fundraiser, a full menu of celebratory events and competitions of kiln and foundry peaks with a "Steel Yard Is Burning" dance party on Saturday night.

The Steel Yard Annual Fundraiser - May 15-18 2008

DownCity, drop by the Gallery at 17 Peck for their special 3rd Anniversary exhibit and sale, pending their June move to a brand-spanking new location on Federal Hill. Particularly stunning: Malcom Furlow's acidicly edgy Coyote paintings.

Malcom Furlow: Coyote In Providence - @ The Gallery at 17 Peck

Above: Malcolm Furlow: "Coyote In Providence", Acrylic on canvas 30"x36"

Across the "way" at 75 Weybosset, fit yourself with some sexy frames at Providence Optical. Now that you can see clearly, step up the winding staircase to Above Providence Optical Gallery, for a glimpse of "Your Idols", a series of close-cropped portraiture prints by Philipp Rumpf.

Opening tomorrow at Gail Cahalan Gallery, photographer Alexandra Broches' "The Natural World Redefined". Her "design-inspired", black and white prints feature collections of fragile, natural materials such as feathers, bone and eggshells. Broches will give a gallery talk on May 21st, 6:30pm. The show runs through June 7th.

Free Supplies at the Boston Design Center Drop/Shop Event!

If you happen to be in the Boston area today, take a drive up to the harbor near the new Convention Center, and stop by the Boston Design Center. There, until 4pm today, the Boston Sample Drop/Shop event is open to the public. This event is a fantastic way for design firms to recycle their unwanted sample library materials; from fabrics to papers to 3-ring binders. Visitors are welcome to take any of the pre-sorted materials for use in their own creative projects.

"Keep perfectly usable building and finish materials out of the dumpster and give them a good home!"

The event takes place at the Boston Design Center on Drydock Ave. Post "shop", they will be having a barbeque to celebrate their creative and eco-friendly community-mindedness. Cheers!

crostini*VS Vintage & Supply sale on Etsy May 10th - June 10th, 2008

Also of note in the creative supply realm, I am offering great discounts and special bonus offers in my crostini*VS Vintage & Supply shop. In honor of my upcoming honeymoon, all items will be on sale for the entire month running May 10th-June 10th. Many items are unique and will run out, so get a head start on your creative summer projects with my unique vintage & supply materials before I close shop and head to Italy!

Earth Day is Every Day (Unless You Are A Space Alien)

Did you love your earth today? With all of the mass-blasted awareness campaigns, you should have at LEAST worn your organic cotton undies...

Other than harranguing my husband about taking out the recycling, I made a few personal offerings to the miserly annual custom of honoring the earth; although, to be honest, I prefer to employ these steps as often as possible in my status-quo, "un"-Earth Day life.

"un"-Earth Day Offering #1: Leave the car at home, but go out anyway!

"Ceya's Gianni Motta" oil on panel by artist Taliah Lempert

Above: "Ceya's Gianni Motta", Oil Painting on panel by Taliah Lempert

Enjoy the weather, wave to your neighbors, watch the trees magically blossom in April (care of global warming), show off those new kicks...or that new bike!

"un"-Earth Day Offering #2: Creative upcycling!

Upcycled Wildlife Fact File Envelopes available at

Above: Upcycled Wildlife Fact File Envelopes by me @ crostini*VS

If you can't use it, reinvent it into something new! I receive so much junk mail, it's criminal. While I've gone paperless on every account that gives me the option, it seems that evil direct mail campaigns just won't die. Solution? Create some pretty envelopes for your own use by upcycling catalogs and leaflets, or by turning those pre-addressed security envelopes that come with your bills inside out! (Who knew that there were such a variety of patterns inside). Click here for a cool Design*Sponge tutorial on Inside-Out Security Envelopes by Derek and Lauren of The Curiosity Shoppe.

"un"-Earth Day Offering #3: Explore, educate yourself and share what you learn!

There are many great role models and resources for going green. Keep an eye out for strategies, initiatives and resources that move you, and share them with family, friends and the world! The internet and blogosphere are great sounding boards. Here are a few of my favorites:

Plantable Greeting Cards by Retro Whale

Above: Handmade, "Plantable Greeting Cards" on recycled paper with embedded seeds - by retrowhale, Mike Reynolds Earthships,,'s Vintage Product Category, Public Libraries!, Community Supported Agriculture,, "The Control of Nature" by John McPhee, Green House Framing reclaimed wooden picture frames

It's Spring! (Get outside and see some art already!)

Agreed, a light fortnight it has been for posting, patient readers. I've sorely missed these good times as I've been wrangling words for deadlines outside of the cozy blogosphere! Meanwhile, the veil of grey and chill has finally lifted from Providence, leaving behind a shiny blue sky and chorus of twittering birds to punctuate the sneezing of the allergy prone, as Spring swings into full bloom. I couldn't be more thrilled, because I love a good walkabout with gallery stops to fuel the way!

Providence offers its monthly Gallery Night this evening, and I can make a few suggestions, if you are so inclined to join in the fun. All of these shows will be up for some time, so consider it an open invitation to grab some culture!

"Adrift, The Boat Series" by William Schaff

5 Traverse Gallery presents a dual show, featuring large and small-scale mixed media works by Neil T. Walsh (esteemed Director of AS220) and William Schaff. Don't miss Schaff's "Adrift, The Boat Series" (pictured above) in the glass case by the front window!

"Do Cinderblocks Dream of Being Styrofoam?" by Shirley Tse at the RISD Museum

Above: "Do Cinderblocks Dream of Being Styrofoam?" by Shirley Tse

Also on the East Side, get a double-whammy at the RISD Museum (free to the public on Gallery Night!) To spark some conversation, they have "Evolution/Revolution", a textiles innovation and fashion show on the upper level, and the concise and environmentally controversial "Styrofoam" show on view in the lower gallery. Take it all in at 224 Benefit Street, Providence.

Recommended Local Dining: Hungry? Grab some killer sushi at Tokyo, where the rice is small but the fish is large (as it should be). Feel free to BYOB though, as they do not offer a bar menu.

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