Getting Creative With PlayPlax

[image: Jessica Reid]

Covet Garden co-founder Jessica was recently reintroduced to the iconic British kids building toy PlayPlax when she bought a set for her daughter Sophie. Another friend readily identified the colourful, translucent interlocking squares as a childhood favourite. (She also noted that she thought they were something that only architects' children played with because everyone else had lego when she was growing up).

Immediately we started building connections between the colourful, translucent interlocking squares and a lot of other creations we love, like the Palais du Congrès in Montreal.

[images: Palais de Congrès de Montréal]

[image: National Geographic]

PlayPlax was originally created in 1966 by award-winning toy designer, Patrick Rylands. The original game sold over one million copies by 1970 and was on sale in over 30 countries. The toy is marketed at ages three and up, which we take to mean that grown ups can use it to get creative too. We've already made a cool scuplture and the next project is a windowsill planter for succulents.

In the meantime, can you make out a connection between PlayPlax and The Kaleidescope House — a cult dollhouse designed by the architect Peter Wheelwright and the artist Laurie Simmons? (Side note: one of the dolls created for the Kaleidescope house was modelled after Simmons' daughter Lena Dunham, creator of the TV show Girls.)



We Covet: Paul Rand

We here at Covet Garden respect the distinctions between typography, layout and artwork. Which is why we are so much in awe of the American art director, graphic designer and illustrator Paul Rand — a man who could do it all (and do it well).

Born Peretz Rosenbaum on August 15, 1914 in Brooklyn, New York, Rand got his start painting signage for his father's grocery store and for high school dances and assemblies. He studied at the Pratt Institure but claimed that his reall education came from reading avant garde European periodicals.

[images via: here]

Rand identified himself a problem solver. After school, Rand quickly rose through the design ranks as an art director for Directions and Esquire magazines. Despite being a whiz kid, his star never faded. In fact his reputation only grew when he started designing identities for corporate entities like IBM, ABC, Westinghouse and Steve Job's NeXt Computers. (An aside, when he changed his own identity from that of Peretz Rosenbaum because, according to friend and associate Morris Wyszogrod, "he figured that 'Paul Rand,' four letters here, four letters there, would create a nice symbol."

Rand fans are just as enamoured of his work in books — both designing covers and illustrating children's books. Sparkle and Spin (pictured above and below), for example, is a book about words, witten with his then-wife Ann. Even though their union didn't last, the book is the perect marriage between Ann's rythmic and sing-songy prose and Paul's vibrant, minimalist illustration.

The book is still in print today. In fact most of Rand's work is still in circulation in one form or another (the IBM logo, for example, still drives from Rand's original). The secret to his enduring appeal is best summed up by Rand himself: "Ideas do not need to be esoteric to be original or exciting."



Be A Guest Curator for Etsy Canada and Covet Garden 

We are super excited about this weekend's BlogPodium event. Covet Garden co-founder Rhonda will be speaking on a panel called "Let's Talk: Old Media, New Media, Social Media" alongside design luminaries such as Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault of Hue La La, Margot Austin from Canadian House & Home, Jaclyn Clark of Style Me Pretty Living and Lark & Linen and Chatelaine's home editor Emma Reddington. Rhonda is a little nervous.

We're also excited to be partnering with BlogPodium and Etsy Canada for an exciting contest. Etsy wants to reward design bloggers who feature Etsy shops with a little free publicity. And as fans of Etsy, design blogs and independent designers, we also wanted to shine a spotlight on the makers scene. Here's the prize: one lucky winner will be featured as a guest curator in a dedicated Etsy Canada newsletter and will be profiled on the Covet Garden newsletter and covered on the Etsy Canada blog and the Covet Garden blog. All you have to do is sign up for Etsy's affiliate program, make a list of your favourite Etsy finds (complete contest details and rules and regulations can be found on the BlogPodium blog).

Hope to see you at BlogPodium, in the Etsy and Covet Garden newsletters and on the the Etsy and Covet Garden blogs.

[Swallows Return cloud pocket tunic from Blog Podium's Jennifer Flores' Etsy picks]


Behind The Scenes: Lynda's House

Here's the first behind-the-scenes peek at one of our Covet Garden Home features. It's an extra special treat because these shots also represent the first time any of the Covet Garden team has been brave enough to share the inside of one of own homes — in this case, feast your eyes on co-founder Lynda's amazing abode.

Of course, it helps put us all at ease when photographer Donna Griffith is behind the lens. Working with Donna made the day feel more like a girls' hanging out, super fun time.

There are so many reasons we wanted to share Lynda's space with you. First of all, blog readers who followed Lynda's Garden or Square Foot posts will want to see how those projects have taken hold and blossomed. Secondly, there isn't an inch of Lynda's space that doesn't radiate some aspect of her personality. We believe that every room in every home tells a story. Part of our plan for Covet Garden Home is show readers ways that they can use decor to tell those narratives. And Lynda's space really expresses who she is and what she believes.

[Images: Jessica Reid]

The Covet Garden team has spent many hours hanging out at Lynda's talking about what beauty means to us and how important it is to share the creativity and talent that this city is teeming with. I'm getting a little misty here, but Lynda's place, filled with fun finds as well as treasured mementos from friends and family, kind of encapsulates that energy. Now if you'll excuse me, I think I have something in my eye.


Sponsor Love: Back To School With Camp Tech

We welcome Camp Tech as a Covet Garden sponsor because they love technology as much as we love interiors. Founder and lead instructor Avery Swartz wants to bring that love of knowledge to anybody who has every been flummoxed or just plain initimidated by tech speak.

We like to think of ourselves as students of life. And after launching an online magazine, an Indiegogo campaign and figuring out social media to promote our upcoming special print edition, Covet Garden Home, we learned that everybody could use a little help when it comes to figuring out the interwebs.

That's why we are super excited about Camp Tech's upcoming fall classes. From Facebook for Small Business to Wordpress for Beginners, there's a course designed to quench your thirst for knowledge. You'll also get the opportunity to network with other folks with interests in creating an online presence.

There are six cool courses coming up this fall, so check out Camp Tech's site and sign up for one today.