Page 1

issue 3










Pleasant Propaganda

New Life for Old Tomes

Katia Lucas


Celinda Versluis

Cooperative Consumption

Quench Your Thirst

The Fun of Instagram


Nathalie Lété

CONTENTS Pages 19 to 52

Feel connected 22



WHAT ARE YOU UP TO? In every issue, we check in with a few of our favorite creative entrepreneurs to find out about their recent projects. This time, we’re talking to Katia Lucas, Elly MacKay, and Hailey Bartholemew.



A BORROWER AND LENDER BE Get cooperative with your consumption. Tap into the many “sharing” websites to loan out your car, stay in someone else’s home, or share delicious meals with your neighbors. In today’s economy, everyone’s doing it.


INTERVIEW WITH NATHALIE LÉTÉ The ethereal Parisian artist and product designer tells us about her past, present, and future.


MEANWHILE, IN INDONESIA In Yogyakarta, the cultural capital of Java, three women talk about the secrets to having a relaxed life, using the Indonesian concept of “rubber time.”

Pages 53 to 78

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POSITIVE PROPAGANDA Ever since an English bookseller discovered the WWII poster “Keep Calm and Carry On” and it became an international sensation, illustrators all over the world are creating a new generation of posters with a positive message.


RESEARCH Give us a smile. Even a fake one will do. New studies have shown that grinning while bearing it can help you recover faster, and stay healthier in the long run.


WOULD YOU HELP ME? Why is it that we’re often afraid to ask for help when we need it? We consider new research from Brené Brown about the value of admitting to our vulnerabilities.


FOUNTAIN OF LOVE Four pages of fun facts and illustrations sharing our fetishistic love of that old fashioned writing implement, the fountain pen.


ZEITGEIST Alain de Botton talks to us about the value of living an “ordinary” life, rather than always expecting ourselves, and our lives, to be exceptional. Plus: a self-compassion questionnaire.

Pages 11 to 18


TAMARA DE LEMPICKA’S JUBILANT JAZZ AGE She created iconic Art Deco images of modern, independent women full of style, sass, and savvy, and she was one herself. You may not know her name, but you’ll have felt her influence.


Inspiring Lives




Even if you don’t know the name Tamara de Lempicka (1895-1980), you'll probably recognize her beautiful Art Deco paintings. Who was this artist from the Jazz Age, whose work still inspires contemporary culture after nearly 100 years?

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"It’s because of rebellIous pIoneerIng spIrIts lIke de lempIcka that women have been able to break out of tradItIonal socIal roles"

How might you know Tamara de Lempicka? You might’ve seen references to her paintings in Madonna’s music videos, such as “Open Your Heart,” and “Vogue.” Or maybe you know her via ad campaigns for Louis Vuitton and Ralph Lauren, which are styled with her signature look. Or perhaps you’ve experienced her impact on the album covers that fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has shot for Florence and the Machine, particularly Shake It Out. Today, de Lempicka’s influence is ubiquitous, but her name is still largely unknown. In her day, however, she was a star personality, famous as a stunning socialite in Paris and New York. Her life was often shrouded in scandal, but during the decadent 1920s in which she lived, scandal wasn’t anything to be ashamed of. Fabulous Woman, IncredIble style

In 1929, de Lempicka painted the self-portrait Tamara in the Green Bugatti, depicting herself as a new kind of woman: stylish, independent, and seated behind the wheel of a big fancy car. The look on her face expresses utter self-confidence, and even offers a little bit of a taunt: her gaze seems to say, “I’m fabulous, and I’m in the driver’s seat.” The painting has become an icon of the Art Deco era and a symbol of women’s emancipation. No wonder she’s garnered the appreciation of modern women like Madonna, who is also a collector of

her work. She was able to amass wealth and recognition on her own terms at a time when female artists were rarely even acknowledged. Tamara knew precisely what she admired and found beautiful, and she combined all of her influences in her work. She borrowed from Old Masters, such as Johannes Vermeer and Jan van Eyck (see Portrait of a Man), Caravaggio and Ingres (see Grande Odalisque), as well as modern Cubist painters, such as Fernand Léger. She also took cues from the fashion designers of her era, Coco Chanel in France and rival, Elsa Schiaparelli, in Italy. Art historian Charles Moffat describes her portrait La Belle Rafaela as incorporating “the light of Caravaggio, the cubism of Léger, the lipstick of Chanel.” She established her name against the prevailing trends in painting, and she would have nothing to do with expressionism – art that, in her eyes, was often poorly painted in messy or dirty colors. “I was the first woman to paint cleanly, and that was the basis of my success,” she said once. “Out of a hundred pictures, mine will always stand out. And so the galleries began to hang my work in their best rooms, always in the middle, because my painting was attractive. It was precise. It was ‘finished.'” young and determIned

Tamara de Lempicka was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1895 as Maria Górska, the second of three children

born into a well-to-do Polish family. She began attending a private boarding school in Lausanne, Switzerland at the age of 14, and she summered in St. Petersburg with her aunt Stephanie and uncle, Russian banker Maurice Stifter. When her parents divorced, the young Maria went to live in St. Petersburg, where her grandmother lavished her with expensive clothes and foreign travel. In those years of indulgence, she discovered a world of wealth and beauty that made her ambitious for her own success. But it took quite a few moves before she achieved her ambition. When her mother remarried, she decided that she didn’t want to return home. Her escape was the goodlooking, charming Polish lawyer, Tadeusz Lempicki, who was one of St. Petersburg’s most eligible bachelors. They were soon married, and in 1916, Tamara’s only child was born: Maria Krystyna, nicknamed Kizette. One year later, after the October Revolution of 1917, the Bolsheviks imprisoned Tadeusz. Tamara slept with a diplomat to get her husband released; later she would say that this didn’t cause her any moral qualms. She had already decided that she wouldn’t be monogamous. Like many Russian refugees, the couple reunited in Paris where, in 1918, Tamara began studying at the Art Academy. Initially, they lived off the sales of her family jewels, while she worked day and night on developing her painting style. She changed her surname from Lempicki

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(;CF?S";LNBIFIG?Q ✖ 34 years old Kingscliff, Australia husband, Andrew and kids, Zali and Poppy ☛ Photographer and filmmaker. Co-founder and codirector with her husband, Andrew, of You Can’t Be Serious What are you up to? We’re trying to finish our documentary on 365 Gratefuls. We’ve been filming on and off for the last two years, when we have spare time. It’s taking a little longer than I thought, but I hope to finish it later this year. What’s the background to the film? It started in 2008 with a personal photographic project – a Polaroid a day of something I was grateful for. I was depressed and I was seeing a nun and working out why I felt flat and a bit “blah” about life. She said the key to happiness was reflection and gratitude. She said, “For ten days, I want


you to sit and write and reflect about your day and see if there was anything you could be grateful for.” At first it was like exercising a muscle I had never used, but after ten days I was hooked. I was seeing things so much differently. How did it spread? I started posting straight to Flickr, and a lot of people started to do it as well. People were writing to me to tell me how it had changed their lives, and I was really humbled. The documentary is based on the stories of two other people who did it. One is a woman who gave birth to twins, but there were complications and one of the babies died. It’s a heavy story, but she’s gone through it and she’s a very beautiful and courageous woman. Now there’s a book, too? Yes, I’m holding it my hands. It’s a book of my photos from the project, published by Penguin Press. ●

1. Hailey at work, behind the camera The rest: images from the book, 365 Gratefuls (Penguin Press)


A BORROWER AND LENDER BE Why buy everything new when what you need is already out there? Why stay at a hotel when you can be cozy in someone else’s home? Get into the “freecycling” movement, and tap into the “cooperative consumption” zeitgeist. Anneke Bots explores.

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Marieke Hart and her husband, Jan Thij Bakker, used to hear a little rumbling in their tummies when they’d smell the wonderful scent emanating from their neighbor’s kitchen in their home in Utrecht, the Netherlands. And next door, Genelva Gibbs, who was born and raised in Aruba and has a particular passion for cooking, loved to improvise concoctions in her kitchen – often with plenty to spare. One day in 2011, Marieke took the bold step of knocking on Genelva’s door and asking if she and Jan Thij could, maybe, pay Genelva something to, um, taste her cooking. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship, and also the genesis of a great idea. After enjoying Genelva’s cooking on many evenings, Marieke and Jan Thij started to wonder who else in their neighborhood might be a good cook. They set up a website,, and found more chefs in their area who were interested in offering up their leftovers in exchange for a little bit of cash. The idea caught on, and within a year, more than 40,000 people had registered on the website to share food in the Netherlands and, later, in Belgium. As of this writing, 75,000 meals have been shared via Share Your Meal. Now Marieke and Jan Thij are taking the project global, with new Share Your Meal chapters opening in cities such as San Francisco and New York. “Sharing food connects with several developments in society – economic depression, a lot of focus on food and where it comes from, and increased awareness about wasting food,” says Marieke, “and also there’s sort of a need to get to know people in the neighborhood in a way that fits with our lifestyles now. We don’t want to go into a community center every weekend to drink coffee with our neighbors, but we do want to know who our neighbors are.” Some say that new technologies have encouraged isolation as we all hole up in our own apartments and rely on the Internet to interact with the world, but Share Your Meal is just one of many websites people are using these days to create real-world connections by sharing, bartering, borrowing, and lending. Some call it “cooperative consumption” and others “freecycling,” but no matter the name, it is a new movement toward making the most of what you’ve got by building local connections online. ONLINE SHARING COMMUNITIES Only need a car occasionally? Why not borrow one for a short period. There’s Lift Share in the UK (, Get Around in the US ( or Car 2 Go in Europe, the US, and Canada

(, which are either share cars or “peer-to-peer rental” services. Want to offer a room in your house to travelers or stay in someone else’s home? Try any one of these home-sharing or swapping sites: Air B&B (, Vacation Rentals By Owner (, Intervac (, or even Couch Surfing (, which lets you crash on someone’s sofa. Can’t afford an expensive new purse and don’t mind borrowing one for a while? Try the subscription service Le Tote (, where for a fixed monthly price you can borrow a bag or even a whole styled outfit that you can trade in for a new one when you’re bored with it. There are more than 5,000 worldwide organizations that are part of the Freecycling Network (, an Internet-based group that promotes sharing organizations, such as those that trade kid’s clothing, lend household tools, or even barter basic skills. The bartering economy is not really new, of course. Many social movements throughout history, and in many countries, thrived on the notion of collaborating to more efficiently use the available resources. Hippies were famous for the bartering economy, but consumer communities have always been into swapping, especially in hard economic times. The big change from the past is the Internet. The web is the perfect place to set up a great sharing community. It’s now easier and cheaper to create a site, and modern back office technology is enabling many more functions. Dutch futurist-psychologist Tom Kniesmeijer believes that dissatisfaction with the major institutions and companies is the initial reason we now flock en masse to sharing. “Wherever you are in the world, you can eat at McDonald’s and sleep at the Hilton,” Kniesmeijer says. “It’s all mass production and uniformity, where you pay too much for minimal service.” He recalls his first house swap about eight years ago. “It was great. I’d developed an aversion to big hotel chains that don’t make you feel at home. It was such a relief to sleep in a personal space and not have to go to the corner Starbucks for coffee when I could just make my own.” Yet the economic crisis is not the only factor driving the trend, as so many people think it is. There’s a very social element to sharing and swapping that people crave in our increasingly balkanized modern culture. “We never thought this much positivity would be released from sharing food,” says Marieke. “The results are much broader on a

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Meanwhile in Indonesia




A Land Without Haste Indonesia is the second most relaxed country in the world, after Mexico. There, people believe time is not precise, but can be stretched as needed – a concept known as “rubber time.” Caroline Buijs spoke with three women in Yogyakarta, the cultural capital of Java, about life without a ticking clock.

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The New Wisdom of

PLEASANT PROPAGANDA A long-forgotten World War II propaganda poster resurfaced, bringing daily inspiration into the 21st Century and inspiring new motivational posters by clever contemporary designers.


t is 1939 and all is uncertain. On September 3, England and France will declare war on Germany and World War II will begin. Just as the British government is gearing up for conflict, it commissions the printing of 2.5 million posters. They carry a message to strengthen the morale of the people: “Keep Calm and Carry On.” The reassuring, stiff-upper lip text is more British than the Brits. For reasons unknown, the poster never makes it out of the printer’s warehouse. However, two other government-commissioned posters, “Freedom Is in Peril” and “Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution Will Bring Us Victory,” do hit the streets. Sixty-one years pass and, in 2000, an English bookseller buys some boxes of books at an auction. In one of the boxes is a poster with the message “Keep Calm and Carry On.” The bookseller and his wife hang the poster in their store. Soon customers ask if they can buy a copy, and the bookseller gets some printed. They sell well, and in 2005 the poster is included in the Christmas special of a national newspaper. From that moment on, there’s a mad rush to “keep calm.” The bookseller’s website crashes, bombarded by all the online interest, and the phone rings off the hook.

Is it the uncertainty of living in the world after 9/11? The looming financial crisis? Whatever the reason, this message resonates across the western world, and in no time the long-hidden poster shows up everywhere, on lifestyle blogs, in magazines, and on the walls of the finest homes. AN EYE FOR BEAUTY

Long before “Keep Calm” appeared on the scene, people have shared touching little lines of wisdom on their walls as reminders of what is important. Grandma’s “Home Sweet Home” needlepoint was as common and reassuring as the smell of homebaked pie. But around the world, the modern inspirational poster was a



yawn-inducing bore that failed to motivate and was often found hanging in the corridors of office buildings: a cat swinging from a tree branch, for example, reminding you to “hang in there.” The arrival of “Keep Calm” sent shock waves through all that. From the moment it appeared, people saw that an inspirational poster could be an authentic thing of beauty, something

Left: Poster by Jen Renninger 1. There are many variations of the original poster “Keep Calm and Carry On” 2. Illustrated quote from the Berlin illustrator Elisandra 3. A poster from Oakland, California-based fine artist and illustrator Lisa Congdon


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The Art of

Vulnerability It’s always hard to admit that you might not know something or that you might need a little help. Yet vulnerability is the secret to a happy life, according to new studies on emotional well-being. Caroline Buijs delves into the research.

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Fountain of Love Yes, ballpoint pens are cheap and easy to use, and they’ll do if you just want to scribble something down. Pencils let you erase, and laptops make it unnecessary to do any writing by hand at all. But a fountain pen still has a wonderful allure, including that satisfying, tactile feeling of putting ink to paper. We take a few moments to reflect on this elegant writing tool.

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The primitive fountain pen was probably a stick or reed with a sharp tip that was dipped into an ink-like substance. Then came the quill, a sharpened goose feather that was dipped into an inkpot; the need to frequently reload the quill with ink caused problems and irregularities in handwriting. A pen that would let ink flow down into the nib was yet to be invented. Tenth-century Egyptians discovered a method, but knowledge of it was not widespread, and did not survive. In the 18th Century, people tried all sorts of experiments with nibs, holders, and pens, but nothing worked perfectly. They also tinkered with ink itself, trying to get the substance right. From 1850 on, people were patenting their pen and pen-related inventions, and in 1884 Lewis Edson Waterman patented the first fountain pen with a built-in ink supply.

GOLDEN RULES OF FOUNTAIN PEN USAGE ✻ Place the cap on the end of the pen


Mothers and teachers used to warn children: never lend your fountain pen to someone else, because then it’ll adopt the borrower’s handwriting style. That’s an old wives’ tale invented because fountain pens used to be so fragile and expensive. A fountain pen won’t adapt to handwriting. Not even your own.

while writing. This prevents losing the cap, but more important, it ensures the pen is in balance and lies perfectly in the hand. Another good reason: if you drop the pen, the cap end is heavier and the pen won’t fall on its nib. And finally: the clip on the cap stops the fountain pen from rolling off a table. ✻ There are two types of cap designs: screw-on caps and snap-on caps. Remove a snap-on cap very carefully as there is air inside, and if you pull the cap off too quickly, suction will draw ink out of the nib (splashes and blobs!).



Ink quality can differ considerably. Some inks may fade, which is why they use waterproof, document-secure ink for official documents. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands signed the deed abdicating the throne to her son, Prince Willem-Alexander, now the Dutch king, with durable ink.


It’s fine to take a fountain pen onto a plane with you, but make sure you remove the ink cartridge first. An increase in cabin pressure can cause a fountain pen to leak.

A new fountain pen doesn’t write smoothly right away, because the ink has yet to flow all the way through it. Also, if you’re writing with a fountain pen for the very first time, remember that the ink needs a moment to dry.


Nibs are made of steel, gold, or palladium: hard metals that don’t easily change width with use. Most brands of fountain pens have nibs in Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Broad, Double Broad, and usually an Oblique format. The nib you need depends on your handwriting. If your handwriting is quite small, then use a finer nib. A larger hand will need a broader nib. No two nibs are ever the same; they are all made by hand – the moment the grinder stops grinding determines the width.

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Alain de Botton, English philosopher, author, and founder of The School of Life, a London-based cultural enterprise offering ideas for everyday life, encourages us to remember the bad in order to know the good, and to fail, because it teaches us resilience. WHY ARE OUR LIVES SO COMPLICATED TODAY?

We’ve got far greater expectations about what life can bring than all the generations before us. That’s why we are less accepting when things go wrong. We won’t tolerate unhappy relationships, we don’t accept the idea that we’re getting older or that our health wanes, and we refuse to do boring jobs. We’re very ambitious about love, work, parenting, how clean our houses should be – everything, really. This brings us moments of intense satisfaction that other generations probably didn’t have, but it also engenders a lot of stress, dissatisfaction, and anxiety because we’re terrified of failure. WHAT MADE US SO AMBITIOUS?

The democratic revolution of the 19th Century. The pre-modern conception was that only a few people had the right to want much from their lives: the king, the queen, members of the court, and a handful of aristocrats. Almost everyone else was destined to have a bad life. Democratization brought about the notion that ordinary people should also be able to have everything. Originally, you can see it as a Christian concept: everyone is equal in the eyes of God. Gradually

that has transformed into the idea that everyone should have a car, or that everyone should have a good love life, or that we all can be happy. AND THEN OUR EXPECTATIONS STARTED RISING.

Yes, enormously. It’s very nice when you can raise your expectations, but also very painful, because we can’t always get what we want. Until recently, religion still had a powerful influence over almost everyone, and religion is actually designed to reconcile you with what you haven’t got. According to many belief systems, you’ll get it all in the next life. Everything that happens is part of God’s plan, and you mustn’t complain. If you were born a slave in pre-modern times, you just stayed a slave. No one ever said to you, “If you want, you can be president.” Now society’s message is, “You can be and do anything you want.” That makes life so much harder nowadays. You feel like you’re a failure if you don’t get what you want. You wonder what you’ve done wrong. Modern society also invites you to compare yourself with others constantly. If anyone else has something better, you want it, too. After all, it is possible, according to our modern ethos.

“Do what you really care about. It’s a lifelong project”


It’s about accepting your limitations and trying to do what you want to do, what you really care about deep down, within those limits. It’s a lifelong project. We all struggle with it – all of us, all the time. Once you’re working toward what you care about, one of

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How “Ordinary” Are You Willing to Be? In western society, we often suffer from what’s sometimes called the “Lake Wobegon effect,” a cultural syndrome named after a fictional town created by radio personality Garrison Keillor, “where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.” Of course, such a town can’t possibly exist. Yet, most of us tend to expect ourselves to be at least above average in our work lives, our relationships, our parenting skills, our appearance… Expecting ourselves to excel in every aspect of life isn’t really realistic, and in fact it can sometimes lead us to be unfairly critical of ourselves if we don’t excel in every domain.

Would it be okay to admit that there are some things at which we excel and other areas in which we are just average and those in which we’re below average? Would it maybe, even, be something of a relief to know that everyone feels that there’s some area in which they fall short? It is the human condition, after all, to be imperfect. We try to have compassion for other peoples’ shortcomings, so why not our own? The following exercise is based on one from the book Self-Compassion: A Healthier Way of Relating to Yourself by Kristin Neff, assistant professor of Human Development and Culture at the University of Texas at Austin.

List five traits about yourseLf that you feeL are above average:

e.g. (I’m exceptionally sociable and people like me. I am very efficient at work.) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. List five traits about yourseLf that you feeL are just average:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. List five traits about yourseLf that you feeL are beLow average:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Now try to think about what kinds of emotions come up for you when you think about your perceived inadequacies. Are you blaming yourself for being just average in certain areas, or even below average? Can you accept the fact that 78 _

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everyone has some flaws, and so do you? Can you accept the idea that everyone comes by foibles and faults unintentionally? Self-compassion begins with acknowledging that it’s okay to be human – i.e. imperfect.


SPOIL YOURSELF Make time for a spot of pampering

Crystal Clear Here’s a simple trick for when you want to amp up the sound on your handheld but don’t have any speakers on hand. Get an extra-large water glass, turn on your preferred tunes, and set your smartphone inside the glass. It works as well as a portable speaker system. Try it – it really works!

House Finches An outdoorswoman to the core and a lover of many-feathered friends, Anna Wiscombe moved from her countryside hometown of Dorset to the big city of London without leaving behind her beloved birds. Her lovely, decorative sparrows are handmade out of wood, and she makes other functional objects, like owl blackboards and jewelry made of wooden leaves.

Color Your Day

Remember how wonderful it was to get a new set of pencils as a kid? You can have that feeling again with a slightly more adult set from Caran d’Ache, the Swiss manufacturer of “fine writing” implements. Since 1915, this family-owned enterprise has been making pencil sets using environmentally friendly production methods, recycled waste, and sustainable supply chains. Plus, they come in gorgeous tins, like this “Pablo” pencil set, with colors that include periwinkle blue, empire green, and hazel.

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Finders, Keepers In her first book of DIY ideas, Find & Keep, popular Aussie blogger Beci Orpin – loved for her eye-popping colors and great use of graphics – shares more than two dozen highimpact, minimum-effort projects you can do at home with (or without) your kids. What’s great about these ideas is that they’re seriously simple, like sticking colored polka dots all over your walls for a day. Most can be done in a few hours and you don’t need to have a million tools (or a million bucks) on hand to make them. Find & Keep (Hardie Grant Books, 2012) $24.95

For the Love of Art

Illustrator, designer, and papercut artist Elsa Mora (a.k.a. Elsita) was the fifth child in a family of eight children growing up in Holguin, a province in Cuba. She says that the only thing that allowed her to survive the poverty and neglect of her youth was her imagination. She studied art in Havana, fell in love with an American, and moved to Los Angeles in 2001, where she now lives with her family. She wants to spread the word that art can help people out of even the most difficult circumstances, and she’s created a beautiful website and blog to lead the way. On, she outlines her vision for the world.

Party Time


How do you make an ordinary party into a fantastic fest? American party planner Jordan Ferney offers great ideas on her blog She shares her favorite party tips and DIY projects, such as modern art desserts, popcorn cupcakes, and a giant popsicle piñata. Her how-to’s include helpful step-by-step directions and lovely photos. Jordan recently moved from San Francisco to Paris, and now she’s also sharing new insights from her jump over the pond.

Mini Printer

Yes, it’s true: this is a very expensive little gadget that you really don’t need. Be that as it may, the Little Printer is a space-saving way to get organized. For £169, this cute little guy will print out receipt-sized notes for you with, for example, your Google to-do lists for the day, or the top headlines from the newspapers or magazines you read most often. Use your smartphone to set up subscriptions and the Little Printer will make you a tiny newspaper.

Stacking Stool Looking for a nifty way to recycle those old magazines you have lying around the house? A Dutch company has come up with a clever idea: a stool that gets higher the more back issues you add to the pile. This Hockenheimer Stool was designed by the eco-friendly Living on a Green Moon, and assembled by disadvantaged youth in Coburg, Germany. Available for €128.50 from

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web Shopping Real-world retail can be so ho-hum and often very hit-or-miss. We like

to spoil ourselves on the web. Here are some of our favorite picks at a click. Caterpillar âœą $17.99

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Cash & Carry Squirrel ✱ $22 Bowie ✱ £30 Ghosts ✱ €9.52 Flowers ✱ €40 Heart ✱ £12 Optimistic ✱ £10 Neon dots ✱ €14 Black/white ✱ £28

thepaperbirdsociety. Bird ✱ $30 London ✱ £4.95

Bride-to-be ✱ £12

Dots ✱ €59

Prices quoted are in original currency of website

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“Saw You on the train...” For years they appeared in newspapers and magazines, and now you can find them on websites like Craigslist: romantic classifieds written by people who’d spotted their one true love on the train, at a bus stop, or across a crowded room, but hadn’t dared speak to them. Captivated by these lovely lonely hearts ads, New York artist Sophie Blackall has made a series of beautiful drawings.

One day I squeezed into a subway car with a bushel of peacock feathers and a pound of sea scallops, and a handsome chap squeezed in next to me. We apologized in rounds, and when he stepped off he appeared in the window and mouthed two words. I turned to the girl next to me. “What did he say?” I asked. “Missed connections,” she said. I had no idea what she was talking about, but I didn’t want to seem uncool, so I made a mental note. I got home, dropped my scallops and feathers, went to the computer, and looked up Missed Connections. Here is the first one I read: You had a guitar, I had a blue hat - m4w - 28 We exchanged glances and smiles on the subway platform. I pretended to read my New Yorker but I couldn’t concentrate. You got on the Q and I stayed on to wait for the B. You were lovely. In the space of eight seconds I had experienced love, loss, and regret. I held my breath and clicked on the next post. And the next. And the next. It was dark long before I tore myself away. From the intro to Missed Connections, Love, Lost & Found (Workman Publishing Company). Copyright © 2011 Sophie Blackall

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The Cozy Teas of Celinda Versluis It’s hard not to fall for the elegant ladies that designer Celinda Versluis uses to decorate beautiful antique porcelain. No wonder her plates and teapots travel across the world, from Rotterdam, via Lebanon, to Australia.

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Simply Blogging It’s back to basics on the Internet, as more bloggers are exploring the simple life. From giving something away each day to giving it all up and moving to the farm, they’re learning how to get more joy out of much less. Dorine Verheul checks in with these new minimalistas.

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Simplify your life


For as long as I can remember, I’ve had my secret retreat, where all is peace and harmony, and life is simple and warm. It’s a dream place in the woods, a cozy, rustic cottage surrounded by happy animals, fresh air and, come to think of it, little else. Just lots of peace and quiet. Even in my teenage years, I dreamed of it, especially when I felt troubled by my pimples and my parents. I suppose it was a fairly mature dream for a 13 year old, but I should point out that I grew up in Amsterdam and, as a city kid, I idealized nature. The most I knew of plants and birds was taking the occasional walk in the woods or watching a certain Scandinavian TV series for kids. These days, I’m experiencing that dream vicariously through a few bloggers who’ve done what I don’t dare do – go back to nature and drastically simplify their lives. It may seem like a contradiction in terms: using modern technology to regularly update a global readership about your very local, simple life, but in fact it’s the ability to blog that makes pared-down living a little bit easier. So observes Emily Matchar, author of the non-fiction book, Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity. “The reason a lot of the super simple or rustic lifestyles haven’t been historically so interesting is because they’re so isolating, and the Internet has changed that equation somewhat,” says Emily, “and people can choose these home-based, much more solitary lifestyles and still feel like they’re connecting with the outside world. Without the Internet, I don’t think it would be so

much fun to be homesteading and homeschooling and making everything from scratch – pioneer women went insane trying to do that. But when you’re writing about it and sharing it and telling people how inspirational it is, that really changes the whole equation.” EARTH MOTHER Amanda Soule, a.k.a. SouleMama, is probably the blogger who best exemplifies this trend. She’s an American blogger who seems to be leading the life I dream of whenever I, stressed and pressed for time, end up tossing another frozen pizza into the oven for dinner. Amanda lives on a rural plot of land in an old farmhouse in Maine, which she renovated herself. She’s decorated the interior in a tasteful vintage style using only authentic materials and tranquil colors. Her five children wear simple yet pretty, sturdy clothes made from real wool and cotton. Their toys are made from nofuss wood and felt, and their stylishly photographed food is pure and (quite obviously) delicious. The man of the house is a designer, and the kids are schooled at home. “When I started blogging, I was at home full time with two very young children,” Amanda told me. “Back then, it felt as if I was spending my whole life in a haze of child care, and blogging was a way of creating something tangible. I could keep friends and family updated on my life and get in touch with people who shared similar interests and passions. “Now I’m really hooked on the daily writing ritual. It helps me live in the mo-

ment and celebrate everyday family life.” In addition, Amanda happily spends lots of time capturing her daily life in beautiful pictures. Everything that this talented craftswoman does exudes style and care. To be honest, her beautiful blog (with lots of ads) helps sell her craft books. She spends mornings working on her blog, the simplelife magazine Taproot, which she cofounded, and the craft books she writes. In the afternoons she engages with the household, looking after the children, the many farm animals, and the garden. Her life is in no way boring or quiet – it’s hard work, and every day brings new challenges. For Amanda, the bottom line of the simple life means living “a life free of excess and distractions that feel harmful to your mind, personal growth, and planet Earth.” Her blog posts feature cute pictures of her children wearing hand-knitted hats, scuffling through leaves, accompanied by a cheerful goose or droll pig. On the Internet, someone once described Amanda as the “Martha Stewart of the hippie-like, natural maternity bloggers.” And that’s good to remember. SouleMama offers a wonderful dream world with lovely pictures, but it’s more like an online magazine that only shows the bright side of life. Still, it’s nice to see that a simple life doesn’t have to be a colorless one. A LITTLE BIRDIE TOLD ME The case of Jeni Chillingsworth, a.k.a., Little Birdie, demonstrates that you can live simply, tending to nature and your family, in an urban environment, while also watching TV series on DVDs.

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Simplify your life




THE FUN OF INSTAGRAM It’s perfectly fine to use Instagram to filter the occasional photo, but dive deeper into this app and you’ll discover a world of communities, filled with like-minded friends. Jocelyn de Kwant, our creative editor who shares Flows photos on Instagram (Flow_Magazine), explains what makes Instagram so special.




Instagram. For a long time, I thought it was just a variation of Hipstamatic, an app that gives your photos that familiar, retro filtered look of the ’70s. But Instagram is far more than that. Yes, it’s a phone app for taking photos and fifteen-second films, and it offers a selection of filters. But when you click on “share,” you discover a whole world behind it. Every day, I discover interesting people to follow and new ways of taking pictures with my phone. When I open the app and see those little hearts appear on my screen – the sign that people liked my pictures – I’m as happy as a child. At first, I only shared snapshots of my children, but now I don’t do that at all. On Instagram, you’ll find the most amazing photos of everyday things, and of things that people make, draw, read, buy, or experience. I got hooked fairly quickly, and soon found myself constantly checking my phone. Someone asked me recently, “Are

you playing with your phone again, or have you got a secret lover?” Nope, not a lover – but I do have a new love. A KIND OF MAGIC The figures prove that I’m not the only one. In February this year, Instagram announced it had 100 million users. A year ago, there were “only” 30 million. Thousands of pictures are posted every second. The app has gained users even faster than Facebook, and while Facebook’s popularity is now rapidly declining, Instagram’s is only increasing. But what’s so great about Instagram? First of all, the pictures. The square format and filters give pictures a kind of magic, just like Hipstamatic. It makes almost everything look special. As Mike Rugnetta says on the much-watched vlog, PBS Idea Channel, “The art of photography is more than just a sharp picture. It’s emotion. And that’s exactly what Instagram does with photos. It adds a mood and emotion. You could

The word Instagram is a contraction of “telegram” and “instant photo camera,” which creators Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom liked playing with as children

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Sneak preview Flow Magazine International Issue 3  
Sneak preview Flow Magazine International Issue 3