Pillow Talking

Social networking is a hot topic these days, and Craftsquatsch, a Chicago designer and Twitterer, has launched a line of graphic pillows to celebrate the online phenomenon. Get a MySpace cushion for your place, rest on an RSS logo, friend the Facebook icon, nestle the Twitter bird on your sofa, or collect a bunch—these bold bolsters look great in a group (they’re social, after all). The appliquéd cyber-centric cushions are handmade with fleece cases and plushy polyester filling, measure 12 inches square, and sell for $18 each at Crafty’s Etsy store. If you don’t know about Etsy, by the way, it’s like the world’s largest arts and crafts sale—a vast and eclectic four-year-old online community of crafters, artists, and vintage dealers that’s searchable by category, price, or location (use the Shop Local feature and support Chicago talent!).

Succulent roll

Urban Upgrade

One of our favorite design studios, Urban Source, has been feeling growing pains in the past year, and moved to larger digs right across the street. Owners Jenny and Rose loved the neighborhood (easy parking, hello?) but just didn’t have enough space to show off the wallpapers, fabrics, and other distinctive Mart-worthy materials that they offer directly to the public, let alone go about their thriving design consultation services. The new space opens tomorrow at 1429 West Chicago Avenue, and one new line they’re touting is this colorful floral wallpaper, Succulent, from a West Coast design firm making their first foray into wallpaper design. Happy housewarming, ladies!

Chili Today, Hot Tamale

Nope, that’s not just the Mexican weather report—the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe is spicing it up this weekend with two days of activities dedicated to all things pepper related. Stuff yourself with tips on growing, drying, cooking and decorating with both sweet and hot peppers, pick a peck from select vendors, and tour the Regenstein Fruit and Vegetable Garden to see habañeros and friends in their natural habitat. The pepper party is happening Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. till 4 p.m., and CBG is also taking reservations for its full fall lineup of hands-on classes and lectures on such topics as Zen garden design; bungalow, green roof, and vintage gardens; winter container gardening; autumn garden care; bonsai; and specialized sessions such as mosses and liverworts (hold the mayo?). One especially intriguing offering is September 3rd’s Moonlight Garden Walk—an after-hours tour of the grounds designed to showcase and demonstrate night lighting options for homeowners.

Josh Moulton painting

Moulton @ Moser

Maine-based fine furniture maker Thos. Moser is continuing its alternative gallery space program with a showing of Chicago artist Josh Moulton’s urban landscape paintings at the River North showroom. The exhibit kicks off tomorrow, August 20th, with a reception for the artist from 5—8:00 p.m., (RSVP to chicagoshowroom@thosmoser.com or 312-867-4900) and the work will remain on view through October. While you’re there, be sure and test-drive some of the impeccably crafted handmade chairs and sofas—the finishes are to die, and they’re as comfortable as an old shoe. Meridian, a new collection by David Moser inspired by the lightness and simplicity of Danish and Shaker styles, is coming in early September (preview and pre-order it here). The ash wood finished with UV-laced clear lacquer is a new process for Moser, but Meridian pieces, like everything else in the store, is guaranteed for the life of the original owner.


Poster Boy

If you follow the local music and theatre scene, chances are you’ve seen some of Phineas X. Jones’s intricate, silkscreened handiwork—he’s done a lot of posters for Shuba’s shows, Chopin Theatre, and scores of others. He was commissioned to create the image used to promote last week’s Chicago stop of the Phish summer reunion concert, but you’re out of luck if you want a souvenir from that show—the band bought out the entire run. Phineas sells other signed posters and fine art prints on his website, however, and they are weirdly wonderful and quite reasonably priced. Squidleton here is done in a limited signed and numbered edition of 75, and sells for only $22 plus shipping.

Slumpesque vases

Last Call in West Town

More than 30 neighborhood boutiques in Bucktown and Wicker Park are having a summer sidewalk event this Saturday and Sunday, August 22-23, clearing out shelves and racks for new fall merch. The players skew heavily toward womens’ fashion (Veruca Salt, Helen Yi, p.45, Hejfina, et alia) but there are also some terrific home and gift stores in the mix, including Virtu, Wow and Zen, Stitch, and Findables. Snatch these Slump vases from the eco-minded Grasshopper 510’s stock—they are from the Portland art-glass studio Esque, and reduced 40 percent (bringing the large size to $360 from $600, small to $216 from $360). See a complete list of participating stores on the local chamber of commerce site.