“I was born in a factory and nursed on machine oil”

These were the words used by designer Efrat Fridenzon at a lecture she gave about her “Precision-decision” collection. Efrat “grew up” at an industrial  factory that is commonly used for production of mechanical assemblies and instruments. The collection is inspired by the world of precision using measurement tools and targets as key elements in the design. There is a fine line travelling between the physical and spiritual world, which is evident throughout the collection.

 

EFH

Aimé pendent

 

The notion of love is physically represented in a target pendent engraved with the word Aimé (Similar to aim, “beloved” in french). The target is you and you wish that cupid hits his arrow to your heart, you wish to love and be loved.

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The “Hidden Direction”

 

A series of capsule like pendants which open to reveal a compass and a level. In the real world, the compass points to a direction while the level finds balance. Here the interpretation shifts from the physical world and finds a more spiritual definition: A guide for internal balance.

 

I love this collection since it is simple, meaningful and unisex. My favorite item is the “Hidden Direction capsule” I think it’s a lovely talisman and could work as a great gift for graduation, new beginnings or for someone who is traveling.

Efrat’s jewelry can be found at stores around the world

 

My grandmother will be 93 in October. She lives in Michigan, and up until last year she came to visit us in Israel every year. Since she can’t travel that far anymore, I wanted to visit her so she could meet her 5-month-old great grandson. So my mother and father were kind enough to join me, and we all flew to visit my grandmother. Only trouble is that we left Dad home alone with our cat, and we really miss him. Being on the road with limited internet access, connecting with Dad is really difficalt. I wanted to send him a little message so he knows we are thinking of him. Where we were staying I found a Scrabble game and decided to make a little note for Daddy… I posted it on his Facebook wall… Just a little something, you know…

 

My father in law turned 70 this year, and his three sons (my husband and two brothers) decided to give him a special gift: a family trip to Italy. They ordered tickets, rented a car, an Italian villa and planned every detail. They haven’t been on a family trip abroad for over 25 years…So this was a very special occasion. At first he was quite upset that they spent so much money on the trip, but once they arrived in Italy, he realized that such a family trip is really priceless… They had so much fun together and since my husband felt guilty for leaving me with our then 2 months old baby, he brought home wonderful gifts. Yay!!!

 

 

Usually finding gifts in a country which has many tourists is difficult, but Italy is somewhat different. First of all the obvious gift is food, you can bring back wine, Parmesan cheese, or balsamic vinegar and you are off the hook. The other choice is all the paper goods… Beautiful stationary, Personalized Ex-Libris  stamps for marking your favorite books and monogrammed wax seals that makes you feel like royalty. You really don’t have to put a lot of thought into an Italian gift, you just have to decide whether the recipient would rather have fine Italian products, crafty supplies, or both…

In my case… I love both! How about you?

The holidays really messed up my blogging agenda, leaving me with quite a few blogging debts. Since Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, I thought I would catch up a little with some posts I really should have posted already. One of these posts is the Barcelona secret alphabet. If you recall A few months ago I wrote an entry about graduation day featuring the secret alphabet. Inspired by this idea, when my friend and I made plans for our  trip, I came up with the idea of making her a secret alphabet souvenir  based on pictures  taken during our trip. This required me to really plan ahead and take photos of  letters during our time there. This proved to be a difficult task that really pushed my imagination. Initially I thought about writing her name… But then I realized that it would be so much personal to write my nickname for her which is blessing. You see, her last name is Bracha (ברכה) which means Blessing in Hebrew, and I call her blessing or blessful mainly since I feel like she is a true blessing in my life.

 

 

The problem was that by the time I realized that I want to make the change… I had to dig out the missing letters from random photos. After I finished gathering all the letters, I started framing each word, which led to my next problem, the proportions were starting to get to weird. So I cut the ing and was left with Bless. I think it turned up pretty cool in the end and I even included myself with a Dali moustache.

So now I feel better after sharing this post with you… I have a couple more waiting to be shared so hopefully I will start catching up with these posts before Valentine’s Day… If not, you will have to be patient and wait a little longer.

“Casa Mila” is magnificent with it’s curved  outline  that  continues from the exterior to the interiors. Walking through the corridors of the building, you are constantly hugged by the curved walls, never to encounter a sharp corner. The apartment serves as a portal in time, and although the space is very unusual for it’s period, the objects that fill it leave no question about the time when people lived there. For me the most charming part was the nursery.

 

I love old fashion toys, it’s so interesting how different they are from the modern toys, how they manage to combine cleverness with simplicity at the same time, while holding a sense of charm and innocence. I was so moved by the nursery, and I didn’t expect what was coming next.

 

Although I love roaming gift shops, I usually don’t find any gifts that I would like to get there. I find gift shops to be over commercialized and expensive. However, I was into a pleasant surprise entering the Casa Mila Gift shop. Such a marvelous collection of old fashioned  toys, tin animals, paper dolls and illustrated books. I felt like a kid in a candy shop, when I was actually a kid in a nostalgic toy store. When you enter such a nostalgic building, filled with history and antiques, you really want to take home some of that nostalgic atmosphere. Unfortunately, for some reason I didn’t make any purchases, which I probably should have… But I simply couldn’t decide what to choose, and who to give it to… Luckily, there is always next time 😉

Thank god for my readers comments! If I haven’t known that some one is waiting for my posts, I probably would update this blog once a year… And since I promised I would share my Barcelona inspirations by the end of the week, I forced myself to sit down and write about my impressions of the gifts this city has to offer.

Being an architect, makes you do silly things like going to the College of Architects of Catalonia, which is lucky since I wouldn’t have found their wonderful book store if I hadn’t. The college is situated in the Gothic quarter right across the Gothic cathedral and the bookstore is located at the lower floor. What I loved about this store is that it is divided into two floors. The upper floor is the actual book shop, with an impressive collection of architecture and design books. The lower floor is dedicated to art supplies and wonderful gifts with an affinity to design.

 

 

Two items especially caught my attention:

The first is designated to architecture lovers who have a special affection the works of Le Corbusier. The “Modulor” by Le Corbusier is regarded as the most important modern attempt to develop a mathematically coherent measurement system based on the proportions of the human body.The “Modulor” measuring tape  is a limited addition item that would serve as a wonderful gift only for those who are passionate for The works of Le Courbusier.

The second is a stainless steel  lemon squeezer by Alessi. This is the most prestigious looking kitchen device I have ever seen! Honestly, it looks more like a modern piece of art, rather than a simple lemon squeezer. The advantage of this piece over other kitchen utilities is that it will look gorgeous on the table even when not in use. This gift is appropriate for someone who loves cooking as well as design, it would surly be welcome as a gift for a new home, for the holidays. You know the old saying: If life gives you lemons, make lemonade… and I say: If you are making lemonade, make it with style. Thinking about it, adding this message to the lemon squeezer is just the thing to upgrade this gift.

Although I blog about gifts, my real passion in life is architecture and design, which, luckily,  is also my day job. My best friend and I decided to seize the moment and spend a few days in Barcelona. Since we are both architects, we simply had to see Gaudi in all his glory… Although I won’t lie, we did get our share of shopping… It’s a strange thing, but it always seems to me that I do too much shopping when abroad, only to realize I really should have shopped more, once I return home.

As much as I love shopping, what I really wanted to write about is travel gifts. Bringing or not bringing gifts from a journey, is always a painful matter, and someone is bound to get hurt… And if someone is bound to get hurt in any case, you really shouldn’t worry about it to much… If you do, you’ll find that your trip revolves around finding gifts, leaving you with very little time to travel. the rule I set for myself while traveling is: If I”ll see something that’s a suitable gift, I will get it.  Otherwise, you’ll end up with silly gifts that nobody wants.

I was having so much fun in Barcelona watching the architecture, inhaling the culture and roaming the streets. Nevertheless, I always remembered my readers and my mind was pumping with ideas for beautiful gifts you can buy or make… So don’t forget to follow up as I am sure to write a post or two about some notable travel gifts.

 

 

 

My other half and I have a week and a half apart between our birthdays. Since I started blogging at the beginning of this month, I still haven’t shared with you all the wonderful gift ideas we shared for the past eight years. Regardless, I would like to write about our upcoming birthday. This year we decided that we will give ourselves a mutual present: a vacation in Italy. Yay! How exciting!

At this point I would like to take into consideration the surprise factor. In our case this trip was planned together, although I would love to be surprised with a trip overseas sometimes (hint hint my love). However, you should know that a surprise trip is a complicated gift that requires some serious thought. Surprising someone with a trip means that you have to clear their schedule, make all the vacation plans and bookings, pack their cloths & passports and make sure that someone feeds their cat. If you feel you can pull off this elaborated operation, a delightful time is guaranteed.

Caution: this is no gift for control freaks. If your spouse likes to do things their way, if they hate surprises or simply disapprove everything you do…Then forget it! They will not enjoy this gift.

 

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