I am a former journalist who packed it all in to run a design store. A penchant for anything Scandinavian since I'm born in Sweden. First time running my own business...first time I get to root around the world for cool stuff and get paid for it!
I am a complete sucker, bleeding-heart softie most of the time. When I buy for Yolk I often end up loving items that, when produced, allow someone less fortunate to get a leg up in this crazy life. Nowadays, there’s so many fair-trade, ethically-sourced products in the world that are manufactured with thought for the maker as well as the consumer. I really try to mindful when ordering items and….shhh, don’t tell anyone, but I would one day love to produce my own line of something beautiful that also gives back. For now, I make do by being impressed and humbled by others.
With the above in mind, my heart swelled a bit when I read the email from Connor at Would Works. His company makes beatiful solid wood cutting boards and all the finishing work is done by homeless men and women living in downtown Los Angeles (mere miles from my store). Perhaps because of my former life as a journalist, I love anything with an inspiring story and Would Works has that in spades. The cutting boards are also totally swoon-worthy and would amazing on any table or kitchen counter.
All serving boards are made of solid maple or oak.
Artisans work on a point system that allows them to purchase necessary items of their choice.
I didn’t realize I was missing felt in my life until I started buying for Yolk. What could be more delicious than something that is bright, bold AND functional. I guess I also didn’t realize that most felt items seem to come from Nepal. Since I’m a curious soul I went to the University of Google and found that the main industry of this South Asian state is Tourism but SURELY it must be felting. I’m positive if you look VERY closely at the pic below you will see the beautiful Nepalese people felting away in the snowy mountains (OK maybe not this exact pic).
There’s just something about the colors that wool felt takes on, even the palest of pinks retains a brightness that I just adore. This trivet below is one of the top sellers in Yolk to the point where people will come in and buy them in stacks, have us wrap them all separately and then keep them on hand in their “gift closet” (note to you: I do not have a “gift closet”, seems a bit Candy Spelling).
Sunny side up with this felt ball trivet!
Other bits of felty deliciousness that we’ve recently received in Yolk are from the amazing line Muskhane, a line from Paris but made in (altogether now: NEPAL!).
These felt leaves are amazing placemats and coasters.
More beauty from Muskhane. The perfect felt catch-alls.
I have been known to do the odd “impulse buy” (I don’t care what anyone says, they don’t call it retail THERAPY for nothing). Usually, I’m not a crazy spendy person but a few years ago, my relationship went bust and I was feeling a bit wounded, lonely and, well, stupid. I decided I need a divorce present. I drove on a tear to Modernica on Beverly Blvd, and UNABLE to wait the lead time for a custom upholstery job, I purchased the Hans J. Wegner Papa Bear chair right out of the window. I had wanted a blinding citrus green velvet but instead opted for a muted olive wool (Kvadrat fabric…delicious and available at Modernica). I wrastled that chair into my car, wedged the foot stool on the front seat and then carried the whole thing up two flights of stairs to my living room. I love it. It’s my first piece of really adult, pricey and timeless furniture (I haven’t been able to afford anything else in that vein since) and it makes happy every time I walk in my door.
My very own Papa Bear chair.
Of course, every good chair deserves an equally delish accessory and I recently took home this blanket from Yolk by Leo Atlante (they don’t have a website but you can find them on Facebook). It’s a fine weave wool, made in Morocco and hand-embroidered. I like to sit in this chair and read a book (or trashy tabloid mags that are too trashy for me to even name) and always need to curl up with a blanket around my legs so this one is perfect for oddly-cool LA nights.
This Leo Atlante blanket is at Yolk and also in my living room. Score!
While we’re here, I thought I’d share a picture of one of my loves, Jake. He’s an oldie but a serious goodie. He has equally good taste in textiles. Enjoy.
He has many names but I usually call him Snoop. Photos: Reuben Reynoso
In Los Angeles, it literally feels like we get a sliver of spring before we are launched into full-blown summer! This weekend was THE weekend us Angelenos crossed over from the “do I maybe need to bring a sweater” to “gah, it’s so hot!!!”.
Shot in my Silverlake backyard. Photo: Reuben Reynoso
Back in my magazine days I used to love styling photo shoots so this weekend I went back to that and did some styling of Yolk products at my house. My friend and photographer Reuben Reynoso helped me out with his camera skills but I had such fun buying props (read: croissants that didn’t make it into ANY photos) and these gorgeous blooms you see above. This fantastic tote is by Virginia Johnson and her wonderful goods are always available at Yolk.
Oh stop it you beautiful French napkin! Photo: Reuben Reynoso
I think I’ve expressed my love of wrinkly linen before. This past Friday I got a partial shipment from this French company, Ligne Particulieur that makes my heart skip. These raspberry napkins make me want to have people over for dinner, light candles, eat souffle, listen to Serge Gainsbourg and use my VERY limited highschool French (I love speaking pretend French and do so on a daily basis with a very select few). The tablecloth is from the lovely Leo Atlante (who I wrote about in earlier posts).
All this color makes us feel so heart-poundingly happy and hopeful. Love.
If you’ve never been to Silverlake (where Yolk and I both live) then you wouldn’t know that it might, in fact, be the dog capital of the world. Everyone seems to have a canine, if not two, and I even know someone who has 8 (she won’t be named). Maybe it’s the lake, the weather or general mellow-ness of most local businesses but dogs around here go everywhere with their people–I won’t even go into the Halloween dog costume parade and the “have your mutts photo taken with Santa at Christmas” shenanigans.
Perhaps it’s because I’m taking one of my dogs for his first acupuncture appointment tomorrow because he’s old and a bit sick so I’m feeling very sentimental towards all our furry friends (and rarely meet one I don’t like). This might also be why I tend to subconsciously buy dog-themed things like this hemp and leather Virgina Johnson Pouch (below), the locally-made Chester and Co silver necklace or the Douglas stuffed pup that looks too, too cute sitting on a shelf.
Oh yeah, we’re still working on getting stuff on the site so you can always call 323-660-4315 if you have any questions or would like to get something or would like to ask my ideas for good dog names.
The answer to the above question in “yes”. Years ago I went to Marrakech and all of it, from the beauty of the crowded souk market with piles of fresh spices and fabrics, to sparseness of the Berber villages, took my breath away and left colorful images burned in my brain (it takes a lot to do that to jaded, bored 20-something). Of course, there were tons of donkeys and dogs, which are also two of my favorite things (as long as the dogs aren’t too skinny and itchy, then it’s sad).
When I was in Paris this past January I met the most lovely Christophe, who showed me his AMAZING line of Moroccan table linens Leo Atlante (they don’t have a website but you can find them on ye olde Facebook). This literally hit every sweet spot in my design vocabulary—delicious natural fabrics, embroidery, bright colors AND function. Christophe and his partner design the linens and then they are all handmade by a women’s collective in the village of Amaragh, located near Tiznit in southern Morocco. My favorite are the small kitchen cloths which Christophe called a “tete a tete” tablecloth, to be put across a table when having an intimate dinner for two. What a delicious idea!!!!
This embroidery oddly reminds me of my Swedish grandmother.
Here’s a close-up of the embroidery on a full-size tablecloth. Note the hand-embroidered trim!
Tete a Tete anyone?.
The bigger tablecloths like this one are 100% cotton.
These are not up on website yet but you can always call us 323-660-4315 and we’ll happily help.
Hope everyone had a beautiful day, ate some chocolate and gave someone a hug. Below is a passage from The Velveteen Rabbit, which might just be one of the most brilliant works of fiction ever. Love.
We take bunnies very seriously at Yolk.
“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’
‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.
‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’
‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’
‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
― Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit