Scandinavian Design

Marimekko a little designer profile

I am drawn to Scandinavian design. The bright colors and graphic patterns, something about it really appeals to me. I feel like you can spot a pattern from Finland or Norway from a mile away. They are distinctive and I love it. I remember the first time I saw a Marimekko textile. I was with my mom at an outlet mall in CT. I was home from college for the summer and we were at the Crate & Barrel outlet to be exact. I saw these amazing lime green and yellow flowers on white. They were tablecloths but we devised a plan to turn them into drapes for my dining room in Savannah. They were a deal and we bought 4 cloths to make 8 drapes. They turned out great, and were much cheaper than buying yardage.

The tablecloths were, as you may have guessed, the Unikko pattern by Marimekko.


Fast forward 11 years to Brooklyn, NY. My obsession with Marimekko has continued. I got married in September 2014 and ended up selecting a Marimekko design on Paperless Post for my announcements.

Marimekko blog post from Courtney Dawley // Found by a Prop Stylist

Anyway back to Marimekko rather than my love for them! The name Marimekko is a combination anagram and play on words. The founder's name is Armi Ratia, which is where you get the 'Mari' and 'mekko' means 'dress' in Finnish. In 1951 Finland had been devastated by the war and Armi Ratia wanted to bring commerce and joy to her fellow citizens. She believed that the happiness in life is brought from everyday little moments and the beauty around you. She surrounded herself with other talented designers and Marimekko was formed. They continue to design today, with the same philosophy and a desire for longevity and timelessness. In a world where it's a new fashion season every time you turn around we have become all too likely to move onto the next trend quickly. Marimekko strives to create textiles, clothing and accessories that will last decades.

I myself have not purchased their clothing, yet. But I am a proud owner of an umbrella and a tote bag. The umbrella is the pattern from my wedding invite above and makes me feel cheerful when the sky is grey. The tote is well made and lives in my purse so I can forgo the plastic bags when I happen to pop into CVS or the grocery store on the way home form somewhere. It is also a bright cheerful pattern.

If you are ever in NYC, I highly recommend you visit the Marimekko flagship store at 200 5th Ave. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to be surrounded by such colorful design. If you cant make it to their store, be sure to check them out online at

Marimekko blog post from Courtney Dawley // Found by a Prop Stylist

I hope to make some new pillows for my couch this year using Marimekko fabric. They have pre-made on their site or there are at least a few etsy sellers who offer finished covers as well. Marimekko prints really make a statement and are sure to start a conversation.




Phoenicia flea and the catskills

Sometimes you just gotta get out. I am lucky enough to have a vehicle to take me where I want to go. This Sunday my friend Victoria and I decided we needed to get some fresh air and admire the lush green wilderness in the Catskill mountains. And, we heard there was a flea market! We left bright and early and had a few must see/do's on our list, farm stand and flea market, with the hopes of an estate sale or junk shop. Well as soon as we passed Kingston we found ourselves a farm stand. I bought a quart of beautiful and delicious strawberries. And Vic got herself some tomatoes and eggplant. None of the strawberries made it back to Brooklyn by the way. Yum.

As we continued on our journey we saw the sign! And we turned, and we drove a long way down a country road and then we saw another sign!

Then we turned and drove a long way down another country road and then we saw the Phoenicia Flea! It wasn't big, but it was beautiful. There were about 12 vendors arranged in a half circle around a little fire with picnic blankets laying about if you wanted to take a load off.

This week the flea was hosted by The Spruceton Inn (they rotate the location to different venues in the area). Spruceton is a small 10 room inn that is well off the beaten path and a great place to unplug for a spell. The decor is lovely as is the little bar which flanks one end of the inn. We did have extra incetives to visit the Flea as our friend Maresa, of Dusty Rose Vintage  based here in Greenpoint, was a vendor.

Speaking of vendors, everyone at the Flea was absolutely lovely. Small Room Collective was there, a husband and wife team that travel the country in their airstream trailer selling a beautifully curated collection of vintage and design items.

I also had the pleasure to meet Paul Lowe of Sweet Paul Magazine, whose publication I have admired for quite a while. If you have not picked up a copy yet, make sure that you do. The photography is top notch and it's full of fantastic recipes, information about designers and decor and my favorite, crafting how to's. It's $18 an issue, but it's printed on high quality paper and reads more like a mini book than a magazine. I bought the Summer 2015 issue and am loving it!

My other notable purchase of the day was this AMAZING scarf. It's vintage wool in really fantastic condition. I plan to use it as a table runner instead of a scarf. I'm sure you will see it again soon!

After a few hours chatting and browsing we headed into downtown Phoenicia, which consists of one street with about 4 restaurants and several shops. We found a cute little place for lunch had a bite and then hit "The Mystery Spot" vintage store. They had a great space with lots of fun things to check out. We wandered around downtown and then hit the road heading towards Kingston. We stopped at a store called Scandinavian Gracewhich which sold, you guessed it, Scandinavian products (which I absolutely love). They had a lovely assortment of Ittalia glassware, Marimekko pillows and a display of Kingston, NY artist Andrew Molleur's ceramics, who also happens to be profiled in the Summer 2015 issue of Sweet Paul Magazine! His porcelain bowls and vases at that location are in vibrant orange and beautiful soft greys. Loved it all, wish I could have brought a bowl home with me.

Next we moved on to Kingston, which would be the final stop of the day before heading back to Brooklyn. It was a cute town, much larger than I expected. The downtown area felt more like a small city than a town. There were lots of cute little stores and eateries and I bet it's a nice place to live. Because it was Sunday most everything was closed up tight, so we just did a drive by and then hit the road. We followed the Hudson down south through Westchester County, which soon became the Bronx, then Queens and finally Brooklyn. We were happy to be home, but hope to visit again soon. Maybe even in August, as the Phoenicia Flea will be making another appearance this summer on August 15th and 16th this time at the Westfield Orchard, details available at

If you need inspiration of your own to get out of the city for the weekend and live in the NY area Escape Brooklyn is an excellent resource. Even if you don't live in the area, their site is worth a look!

Kaj Franck a little designer profile

Kaj Franck is a Finnish designer best known for his work for Arabia Finland. He studied furniture design in 1932 at the Central School of Industrial Design in Helsinki. Kaj Franck designed ceramics, glassware and my favorite, enamelware.  He went on to design glassware for Iittala, introducing the idea of individually sold glasses rather than the traditional set.

There are many patterns associated with Kaj Franck's enamelware. The most often found and widely produced are the mushroom pattern bowls. I have seen salad bowls and serving bowls in this pattern, it subsequently also ends up being the most affordable. Harder to come by is the elusive lobster pattern. I was lucky enough to come across one which is pictured below.

$125 on Etsy by FoundbyaPropStylist

$125 on Etsy by FoundbyaPropStylist

There are also hearts, vegetables, little blue clovers, the red daisy pattern (pictured below on mugs), chevril, cherries, there are about 20 patterns in all.

$62 each on Etsy by FoundbyaPropStylist

$62 each on Etsy by FoundbyaPropStylist

Many Arabia Finland aka Finel pieces you find will be stamped on the bottom as the mug shown above, but many are not. If you want to start collecting the best thing to do is identify the patterns associated with the designer and brand. I for one was hooked the first time I got my hands on a mushroom bowl! Stop by my etsy store as I almost always have some Kaj Franck in stock.