Indigo, no matter what I did this weekend I couldn't escape it. I swear it might be following me around! First, and probably most inspiring I took a look at a magazine called Hand/Eye on Saturday morning that focuses on the stories of national and international based artisans and designers. There most recent issue is on World Textiles and it is fascinating. If there is one thing, I have an absolute soft spot for it is textiles. One of the first articles I read was about a textile artist named Rowland Ricketts and his process of dying with indigo. He harvest, dries and composts the leaves by hand to make the traditional Japanese indigo dyestuff called sukumo.

I was moved by his description of working with the dye. He states:

" My own experiences with indigo - first as an apprentice in Japan followed by years of working with and learning from this historical dye - have made me aware of a connection that leads not just from my teachers to me, but one that reaches back to my teacher's teachers and the people they learned from, back into a past in which the processes I use were developed through the accumulated experiences of all who have ever worked with this unique dye."

If you are at all interested in the small scale hand production of textiles you should take a look at this magazine (available both online and in print). It is packed with beautiful photography and comprehensive, detailed articles about designers and artisans working throughout the world.

Later on that afternoon, I was busy upstairs in my "studio" (really, the guest bedroom which gets the best light in the house outfitted with a child's Ikea table, my camera and a tripod) taking some shots for our new Marion Melbourne website. Whenever I need inspiration, I usually call up Ditte Isager's website to see what she has been photographing lately. Of course, I found myself going through all of her back posts and came across this beautiful story called Indigo she did for Real Simple magazine. I love the collection of objects in the image on the left and the way all the textures and shapes work together.  It's a great lesson in how to style objects.

Finally on Sunday, I found myself at West Elm picking up a few last minute props for our photoshoot on Tuesday. I couldn't help but notice that they have an entire product line of indigo inspired products at the moment from shower curtains to plates to pillows to arm chairs. They're calling this inky midnight hue the perfect foil to Fall's warm, dark woods and I think if you look at the Isager images above and the ones below you will agree. In fact, Isager actually shot a video for West Elm's summer campaign that you can watch here.

Although, I really don't want to start thinking about Fall just yet.

By the way, if you're intrigued about making your own indigo products check out this article on the Hand/Eye website about making your own indigo recipe. Something to try before the summer is over!

cast your vote: black fireplace

Remember this post where I talked about how dangerous it can be when inspiration strikes. One of the things I really coveted from this home was the black fireplace. It got me thinking about how lovely the fireplace in our living room could look if we painted it in a midnight shade. It would really help ground our living room plus it would pick up the black in the adjoining dining room and compliment the existing living room chandelier.

I've never really been very fond of the mottled pale blue and cream tiles that surround our fireplace insert. They're not exactly attractive! The one thing they have going for them is that they are original to the house. The gold insert on the other hand, I quite like. It works well with the gold mirror and some of the other elements I have in the room. However, I think if I was going to paint it I would have to do the whole thing.

So the Cast Your Vote question this week is an easy one: should I paint my fireplace black or not?

Check out some of these other ebony fireplaces to get an idea of what I am thinking.

Living Etc.

Door Sixteen

Light Locations

Living Etc.

What do you think? I will admit I have two reservations about painting it black.

1.I would be painting over an original element of our home (an ugly one, mind you!)

2.I''m not sure how attractive painted over tiles will look. It might end up looking rather amateur and streaky. If this is the case, I would probably just go ahead and retile the fireplace surround, maybe with a black tile.

As you can see I'm really torn on this one! So, please cast your vote and tell me what you think? Should I paint it black or not?

Top image by Ditte Isager

when inspiration strikes

Sometimes you see a home and are immediately blown away by it. These are the places we file away in our memories or inspiration books and return to time and time again. Case in point, the home of Ochre owners, Harriet Maxwell Macdonald and Andrew Corrie. A few weeks back I saw photographs of their Shelter Island home in House Beautiful and fell in love with the mix of rustic wood and varying pastel shades of linens. Last night, I stumbled across what must be their New York City loft on photographer Ditte Isager's new blog/site.

There are so many elements to love here; the rough, wide plank floors, the glass chandelier, the tufted sofa, the Hans Wegner wishbone chairs, those three large windows and that beautiful, simple coffee table. More than anything it is the mood of the room I covet. It's not overly designed or styled. It's comfortable with just the right amount of show stopping pieces to make you take another look.

The dangerous thing about places like these is that my mind immediately starts churning. For example, that mirror above the fireplace would look absolutely perfect above my fireplace. Speaking of the fireplace, I love that it is all black. Hmmm, with a can of paint mine could be all black.

Take a look at the bedroom, so lovely and serene in varying shades of grey. With a little paint, some new sheets, and a thin rug over my hardwood floors I could have a bedroom like this (although that walk-in closet in the background is something I will just have to keep dreaming about.)

Add finally, how about this kitchen? Honestly, my husband is lucky I didn't walk into our kitchen after seeing this shot and start tearing the cabinets off the wall. I absolutely love the open shelving, wide black island, and Niche Modern pendant lights. I think this kitchen is the new standard for me. The one that will grace the first page of my kitchen inspiration book in case the need (opportunity) ever arises for a new kitchen.