31 December 2008

be careful what you blog about...

because sometimes blog posts come true. our post before last was a plea for helping rescued animals, and well, looky what followed mona and m21 home last night:we spotted him while walking mona, looking like he was about to get his ass kicked by a cat. we began talking to him from across the street, which was enough to drive the cat away, but luckily, he was interested enough to stick around. after a good half hour of sweet talk from a distance, he was curious enough to finally let us cross without running, and after bit more chatting, comfortable enough to come say hi to mona (though he still shied away from me).

well, one whiff of mona meant love on his part (he's not fixed) and he proceeded to follow us the 8 blocks home (promising him a good meal along the way may have helped). we put mona in the house immediately (we're willing to provide food, but not sex, thank you) and we then worked on gaining his trust (and tricking him into the m21mobile) with lots and lots of treats.

after freaking out a bit- doubt he'd ever been in a car before- he eventually calmed down, munching on biscuits while happily curled beside me. by the time we got to the shelter, we were buds, and it broke my heart to turn him in. our first priority has to be to mona and richard- keeping an un-neutered stray male dog in the house, no matter how sweet and mild-mannered- is just too risky. still, it was touch and go at the shelter- a big ol' wave of "please mom, can i keep him? i'll walk him and feed him and everything" swept over me as i filled out the paperwork.

today we put up flyers, though to be honest, we are ambivalent about his original owner claiming him- really, what responsible pet owner keeps un-neutered male dog without a collar or chip? still, there could be a reason- perhaps he was newly adopted, or escaped after a bath... he's very skittish, though and seems untrained (we tried a leash- total fiasco) so we just can't tell if he's a pet or born to the streets (he seemed just a bit too clean and well-fed to have been on the streets for long, so we think he must have come from someone's house or yard).

our new lil buddy is now at the west los angeles animal shelter, and if unclaimed, will be available for adoption on 1/04/09 (hint, hint, hint). the WLA animal shelter has a lower kill rate than any other city of LA shelter, so we have high hopes for a good home. (i'd never take him to the south LA shelter which services my zip code- it's overrun with strays, so his chances for adoption wouldn't be nearly as good). we also told the shelter we would be responsible for him if a home can't be found, so his future is guaranteed- we wouldn't rescue someone from the streets, just to put them on death row.

which brings us to the point of this post: we REALLY don't want another little buddy here at the m21 atelier, so before he lands back in my lap, if anyone wants a doggie, PLEASE email me, ok?

30 December 2008

a mystery in the 'hood

near the maison21 atelier, there is a rather grimy little retail strip (you'd never know there is an adorable neighborhood right behind it). we've mentioned it before as it has a couple of junk shops we've hit from time to time, and if we liked ethiopian food a little more, we'd be in heaven, as there are approximately 300 ethiopian restaurants and coffee shops in a one block stretch. but generally we avoid our neighborhood business strip- it's not pretty enough to stroll along with mona, and we certainly try never to drive through it, as it contains one of the worst traffic bottlenecks in los angeles (if you live here, you know EXACTLY where we're talkin' about).

not so long ago, we noticed a store front had been leased, and we've been curious about it ever since, as through the plastic drop cloth initially covering the window, the outline of two bright yellow highback chairs could be seen. we thought perhaps the designer next door had expanded his office space, but his space is now up for lease, so we're thinking not...

when the drop cloth finally came down, the most little glamorous jewel of a shop was revealed- waaaaaay chic for the hood! how pretty are these windows? we still don't know exactly what the shop is about- there are pillows and trims visible inside the teeny-tiny space, as well as a few vintage lamps and furniture pieces- looks more like a beautifully decorated studio apartment than a shop, actually. no signage yet, and every time we've stopped by, it has been closed (our own fault probably- we only tend to think about it when walking mona in the evening hours- you'll note the pictures were taken at night).

whatever the purpose of this little shop, we couldn't be more excited- the unglamorous retail area of our neighborhood could certainly use a chic injection. we've even fantasized about our own little shop on the strip from time to time, but decided it was just bit too down market for us- glad it's movin' on up! maybe we should get in before the rents move on up too!
we will definitely keep you posted as we unravel the mystery of our local jewel box of a shop, and we will FOR SURE do a real post on it soon- any store opening in this economy needs all the publicity it can get- even if it just reaches the 3 local readers of our blog! better make that just one local reader- i think mona and richard just look at the pictures... ;-)

26 December 2008

teh giving season (itteh bitteh kitteh edishun)

the holidays are time for giving, right? so m21 wants to talk to you about really giving, by giving a homeless pet a new leash on life. here in southern california, the local news outlets have been giving attention to a serious and growing problem- not only are people being displaced from their homes by foreclosures and job losses, sadly their pets are being displaced too- often people can't take their pets with them because they are moving into "no pets allowed" apartments, or moving in with relatives with allergies; more often, people simply can no longer afford to care for their loved pet, and surrender them in hopes of finding them a better home.
maison21's oh-so-talkative first animal companion, the elegant "kitty"- she showed up on our doorstep one day, meowering up a storm and refused to leave. after unsuccessfully trying to wait her out for a couple days, m21 relented and fed her the only thing he had on hand- clam chowder. she loved it, and proceeded to spend many happy years with us (eating real cat food, mind you). she truly had nine lives (and i have the vet bills to prove it), and at the end, she was completely blind but still able to successfully navigate around the atelier. pretty amazing little gal. and the stories she could tell: "meor meow r ow meow mao mao mew, meorarow, meow"

the result is our animal shelters and rescues are overcrowded to bursting, and many pets that would normally be kept until they found a good home, are now on death row due to overcrowding. all through no fault of their own.
mister, teh first stray mona found (she has a nose for kitties), now has a home with one of maison21's good friends, and she spoils him rotten. (he was named mister because of the 'm' his fur pattern forms on his forehead).

if teh problem is worsening here in relatively wealthy southern california, m21 is sure it's bad for animals everywhere, and since you know m21's own furry family are amongst the highlights of his life, he is encouraging ANYONE who might be thinking of taking the pet plunge, to do so by adopting a little friend from a local animal shelter or rescue. one visit seeing those little furry faces staring back at you at petfinder.com, and you'll want to help. it's worth a visit just to look, even if you aren't thinking about adoption. ok- we admit it, we're trying to trick you into visiting- you know one free try, and soon you're hooked. but we swear- there are worse addictions then puppies and kitties- addictions that love you back aren't really addictions at all, are they?


napoleon and josephine- two more of mona's finds (really, after finding so many kittehs, mona's lucky she ever gets walks at all). these two were the most beautiful kittens we've ever seen- if they weren't playing, you could see their big blue eyes. so darn cute, and really affectionate too. we would have for sure kept them, 'cept it would have been a pretty unfair thing to kitty, m21's blind and elderly cat- watch the video and you'll see why! napoleon might be the luckiest stray cat in the entire universe- his new mom takes him with her to work everyday, along with his doggie brother! we didn't even know cats were portable like that. (ours isn't, we tried it once- 2 hours in a car with a screaming fighting kitten- nope, our cat is house bound 4 life).

this is tulip, probably the spunkiest of our little rescues- she had two states of being: attacking or sleeping, with nothing in between- what a little character! maison21 had her for several weeks and was beginning to worry about finding her a new home, when in one of those weird twists of fate, m21 struck up a random conversation with a women in an antique store who mentioned she was on her way to the shelter afterward to adopt an adult cat to replace the one she recently lost to cancer. she even had her cat carrier in the car for the new adoptee, along with treats and toys! and get this, she aid she was looking for a extremely playful and active cat! lucky 'lil tulip- the fates smiled on her that day!

we certainly understand not everyone can give a pet a home, but if you can't, and you happen to have a little extra in your post-xmas budget, maison21 urges you to donate a little money (or time) to a local shelter or rescue- like all non-profits in this economy, they are hurting. there are all kinds of small private rescues on petfinder who operate on a shoestring, and the extremely dedicated people who run them would welcome any monetary help. we know of one pet rescuer, who on her office manager salary, pays to rescue and privately board dogs that are facing being put to sleep- to the tune of hundreds of dollars a month. this is in addition to the pets she fosters at her own home, and the pet adoption fairs where she volunteers at least once a month. we know from our own few rescues just how costly and time consuming fostering pets can be, so if you have a little extra abundance in your life, why not donate to a worthy cause? the cute lil' kitties and pups will thank you for it- even if they can't say so themselves...

richard (far right), with his sisters, piglet and paris (she was blond and had a lazy eye- what else could m21 name her?). if you are a long time reader, you'll know richard's story- his sisters were immediately adopted, but nobody seemed to want a boy kitteh. during our search for a good home, m21's beloved miss kitty sadly passed away and well, we already had the litter box set up and everything, so ... (it might sound callous to fill her place so quickly, but m21 actually highly recommends it- it's hard to mourn when a tiny ball of fluff is mercilessly attacking you 24/7).

last, if adopting a pet is out of teh question, and if a donation is out because your budget has the post-xmas, recessionary blues (trust us, we understand), here's one thing everybody can do to help teh animuls for absolutely free! simply visit theanimalerescuesite.com and click- every click raises funds for animal rescue! it's like magic! just click. and you'd REALLY be helping if you were to forward the theanimalerescuesite.com info along to your entire address book- teh more clicks, the more little lives saved! email and click, click, click. giving doesn't get any easier than that!

maison21 knows he may have bummed you out a bit with this post- homeless doggies and kittehs aren't the most light-hearted item we've ever posted on decorative but not serious... so as a palate cleanser, why not go check out teh funny LOLcatz pics at i can has cheezeburger- they always make us smile.

last, here's a funny little pet picture of our own- an outtake from our xmas photo shoot with richard. we took about 50 pictures of him wearing his santa hat and beard, and this is how at least 49 of them turned out:

24 December 2008

coal, or candy canes?

have you been naughty?
or nice?happy holidays!

oxoxo,

m21, richard & mona

19 December 2008

same time next year (white xmas bargain shopping)

if like maison21, you like your xmas tree to be faker than fake, and preferably white, we ran across the bargain of all bargains in a matching pre-lit wreath- on sale for $7.49 at domestications! you probably won't get it in time for christmas this year, but you'll be ahead of the game for next!
fyi- we don't know what it looks like in person, as we just ordered ours yesterday, but for that price, who cares? even with shipping, and some bogus $1.99 "service charge" (why not just price it at $10.49?), the wreath is still a bargain at around 15 bucks.

18 December 2008

c-c-c-coo-coo for colorful!

guess we're dating ourselves with that "coo- coo for cocoa puffs" reference- but what the hell, we're old!

but we did go cuckoo when we received an email from dessin-fournir announcing the re-edition of several rose cummings fabrics, sourced from archival documents. this metallic print in particular captivated moi because of it's juicy color palette- simply fabulous. we'd love to do a room using the print in several of the different colorways. sear your eyes? maybe, but we guarantee you'll leave that room happier than when you walked in...

looks like we'll also have to drop 10 bucks on "the world of interiors", since they are featuring rose cummings' famous townhouse, and the room shown in the dessin-fournir email below , is absolutely one of our top five favorite rooms of all time. schtunning!

17 December 2008

whole lotta lamp

maison21 was out doing a little xmas shopping (you know, doing our part to keep the economy running and all) and we wandered past the design within reach store, where we saw this desk lamp blown up into a super-jumbo floor lamp. so friggin cool, yet so not within our reach ($9500.00-ouch).

then we wondered right next door to bo concept, where we saw the same idea, but at a completely within reach price, at $729. kinda hard to tell from the picture as there is nothing to indicate scale, but it's a big floor lamp too. only half the size of the DWR version (71" tall vs. 168"), but for a tenth the price, we're totally cool with that. next time m21 has a client with a little boy, this is SO going in the kid's bedroom. if we had anywhere to put it 'round the atelier, we'd be using it in this little boy's bedroom already...

16 December 2008

abc modern.com (and bonus "learning new things on the internets" mini-edition)

we recently purchased a beautiful vintage modern chandelier for a client from the good folks at abc modern.com, and wanted to encourage everyone to pay them a visit, as currently they have the most amazing exhibition of andirons we've ever seen assembled in one place. seriously- the ABC in abc modern.com must stand for Absolutely Beautiful Chenets*.

*learning new things on the internets mini edition: if you didn't already know, "chenet" is an uppity french word we decorators use for "andiron" or "fire dog". as an old school antique dealer friend of ours once put it: "the kind of fancy name that adds an extra zero to the price tag" ;-)

we also LOVE the philosophy behind of abcmodern.com, as it is identical to m21's own- from their website:
"For us, the thrill is in the hunt, and we are firm believers in "catch and release". This philosophy allows us to live with important pieces of design for a short time and then pass them on to others to enjoy."

here is more of their amazing selection of
chenets for you to enjoy:




drool-worthy stuff, no?

15 December 2008

first, the big three, now the big me...

the economic downturn claims another victim, as during a solemn press conference held this weekend, decorator extraordinaire, maison21, announced his agonizing decision to shutter his ebay store, and layoff his entire staff.

ok, so as usual, m21 is being a lil dramatic- there was no press conference, and the only person laid off was moi-self... but the economy did play a part, and we really did make the decision to close our ebay store with a heavy heart. after all, the name "maison21" originally came from our ebay seller name- picked many moons ago- so our identity is more than a little wrapped up with our ebay store...
a selection of maison21 "greatest hits" sold thru his ebay store - more at our flicker page.

we've sold our chic selections on ebay for almost a decade now, and though it's been great fun to have had an outlet for our vintage decorating obsession and compulsive collecting- especially in the lulls between interior design projects- it's become clear it's time to move on. we've been honored to have sold our tchotchkes to some of the best stores and most talented designers in the world, and most importantly, we've been honored to have our selections purchased by people who just want to make their lives a little more beautiful. alas, all good things must come to an end, and after contemplating our exit from ebay for quite a while now, that time has finally come.

in our opinion, ebay wants to be more of a mass discounter (without the expense of mass discounter inventory- or customer service, for that matter), rather than an outlet for individual antiques and collectibles dealers as it was originally conceived (remember, it was founded by a man looking for a way to sell his pez dispenser collection). as a small scale dealer, we haven't felt supported by ebay for a long while (not that we blame them so much- they just want to maximize their profits). these things, coupled with rising shipping costs, and this hideous, no good, very bad economy, finally forced maison21 to face the facts: he was losing money keeping his ebay store open, and more importantly, he was simply no longer enjoying himself in the process- really not enjoying himself when it came to packing and shipping! we are positively thrilled at the prospect of never having to step foot in a post office again! (we sure sold some pretty things, but god, we really sucked at getting them in the mail in a timely fashion).
more "greatest hits" from our flicker page- we're even impressing ourselves with the gorgeousness that has passed through our doors!

the only problem with our decision to shutter our ebay store, is that our inner junque whisperer™ will still be whispering as loud as ever, and we will undoubtedly continue to pick up stray credenzas in need of good homes... so since we'll still be buying, we'll probably still need an outlet for our finds, lest the health department declares our home unfit to live in because of the furniture stacked to the ceiling and the fire dept. gets involved because we have so many chandeliers blazing that the entire neighborhood is in danger of being torched.

so for now, we're gonna take a some time to figure out the direction of the vintage resale arm of the maison21 interior decoration empire, and weigh all of our options...

is it finally time to open the maison21 brick and mortar boutique to showcase our finds? maybe not just this minute, with the economy the way it is- it would really be a gamble; but then again, maybe this is the right time... we keep saying somebody has to make money in troubled economic times, right? no reason it can't be us! perhaps we'll consider selling at a local antique mall, or opening up our own e-commerce website- anyone know any cheap web designers? the possibilities are endless, and we're going to enjoy the process of planning our new resale direction for however long it takes. in the meantime, our showroom "le garage", remains stocked with our secondhand delights, and local los angeles buyers can always spot our finds on craigslist (search under "m21" in the furniture for sale category). we might even post some of our more exceptional scores on ye olde blog every now and again (don't worry, we'll try to avoid becoming a maison21 infomercial- well, at least, no more than we are already!)
le garage- the m21 showroom, as of last night.

the upside of of our store closing and lay off? more time to decorate people's homes (our true love), and yes, more time for blogging! so expect more posts, more silliness, and more glamor from m21 in the months ahead! who knows- maybe we'll even have time to finish painting the kitchen and to do something about our f*cked up hardwood floors. (yeah, you're right- probably not).

last, to everyone who ever bought anything from maison21 on ebay, or just browsed our store, and to all the wonderful people we've met, and the great friends we've made along the way, we would like to offer an extremely heartfelt "thank you"! it's been a pretty fun ride, so thanks for sharing it with me!

10 December 2008

some days are better than others... (pt 2)

as we related in our last post, our fabulous surprise trip to the theater was initiated by planning a fabric shopping trip exploring the various crowded and cluttered small shops that line the streets of los angeles' garment district. we also explained that m21 was scared of those shops, with all their hideously bad polyester and acetate fabrics stacked out front- we break out in a rash just thinking about going inside them! you're probably thinking "how could maison21, a man who has crawled inside a dumpster because he saw pretty chair legs sticking out of it, be scared of some silly old fabric shops?" but what can we say- it's true. dumpster diving good, cluttered cheap fabric stores bad. m21 is just a bundle of contradictions- a puzzle, a decorating enigma, as it were. as usual, though, we digress- back to our topic...

the bachelorette had convinced m21 that treasures could be found in those fabric lined rat holes, and as she's not yet steered him wrong, off they went to wade amongst the bolts of cow patterned polyester and cheap cotton preschool prints. at first, m21 was convinced he was justified in his aversion- the best stuff we saw was some "imperial trellis" knock offs and some waverly toiles- not entirely hideous, but not so good either. as we progressed further into the depths of the garment district, a couple of more interesting fabrics started popping out- a psychedelic paisley reminiscent of a 70's YSL scarf, followed by bolt of pieced and embroidered faux leather. both pretty cool, but neither right for our project.

then, at our 3rd or 4th stop, suddenly a shaft of heavenly light shone down, and there it was: the fabric. the one we were searching for (though we didn't know it), and the perfect choice to transform the bachelorette's bedroom into a thing of beauty. (do us a favor, though- please don't ask who saw it first, the bachelorette or m21. she'll say she did, but m21 swears it was his highly trained professional eye that clocked it, and as this is the maison21 blog, not the "bachelorette blog", that's the story we're sticking to, ok?).

what is this miracle fabric? this life-transforming, once-in-a-life time find? behold, we give you katsugi:see why it was love at first sight?

a little ethnic-y, but still sophisticated; blue and white as we hoped for, but not a grandma-esque toile. it was absolutely perfect. if you think you've seen it before, you probably have- this fabulous schumacher print has been featured on many a blog- like my little apartment and urban grace. it also seems to be a favorite of talented new york designer, tom scheerer, as evidenced by the following two photos that we stole completely without permission from his website. mr. sheerer has long been a favorite of ours, btw- love his work. like m21, he loves to add a saarinen table to almost every project- they just work, no matter what the style. and we also love his effortless ability to incorporate natural materials like wicker and other raw textures into his interiors without seeming overly beachy or rustic- not as easy as you'd think.
besides that obvious drop dead gorgeousness of katsugi, the other thing that made this fabric absoultely heaven sent, was the low, low price we found it for (how this chic to the trade fabric ended up in some random fabric shop downtown, we'll never know). mind you, maison21 isn't one to buy and tell- the cost of goods is between m21 and his clients, and always remains confidential, so we can't reveal exactly what we paid for our fabric find- but in this case, he doubts the bachelorette would mind very much if he let slip that our katsugi purchase was a true bargain. a bargain as in we could cover all our walls like the above photo, and still not dent our total budget for the room. a bargain, as in we have enough yardage to use the excess as pillows on the bachelorette's patio, and not have to worry about about being extravagant or wasteful by using an expensive indoor fabric on the outside. a bargain, as in we got a whole bolt of katsugi (tons and tons of yardage) for less than than a yard of some high-end velvets. that kind of bargain...

as for how we will use our new fabric find- basically on everything! curtains, bedskirt and upholstered headboard and a small boudoir chair (we'll stick with basic white for the coverlet). i'm telling you it's going to be stunning paired with blue walls, white trim and white furniture with touches of brass- add in the vintage lucite lamps and venini chandelier we've already purchased, and we think we'll have quite the winning room...

now do you understand why m21 felt the need to post not just once, but twice about his very, very good day? does it get any better than an afternoon with a good friend experiencing incredible theater, followed by shopping trip where you find exactly what you want, in a place you never expected, and at a price you never even dreamed possible?

some days really are better than others!

and some days are also gayer than others- as m21 remarked to the bachelorette, "could it get any gayer than an afternoon of musical theater and fabric shopping?", to which she shot back "only if we had started with brunch!" ;-)

09 December 2008

some days are better than others...

after a brief hiatus, maison21 and the bachelorette are hot and heavy on phase II of our quest to glamorize her home. our first priority is her bedroom, and finding a super-chic and super-special fabric as a focal point and inspiration is job one. since m21's scheme requires lots and lots of our fabric of choice, we need to keep the cost factor under control as well...

with that in mind, last week, the bachelorette suggested we meet at her downtown office, and spend a little time checking out some of the cheap fabric jobbers in the garment district. maison21 admits he was a 'lil leery of this plan- he shops downtown at michael levine for fabric fairly frequently, but the piles and piles of fabrics at the small jobbers that line the streets of the surrounding garment district scare him- he really doesn't see fleece printed with soccer balls, day-glo faux fur or fake sequined polyester- *shudder*- as quite appropriate for any of his projects!
photo is lifted from our friends at the paris apartment (thank you), and is of new york's garment district, not LA's, but you get the idea...

but the bachelorette is a pretty savvy lady, so m21 was willing to push aside his skepticism, and venture into uncharted waters on her recommendation. perhaps sensing our trepidation,the bachelorette said she had some other surprises in mind for our downtown field trip, and if we could, to clear our calendar and make a day's adventure of it. intrigued, our calendar was cleared, and the adventure was on!

the bachelorette's surprise turned out to be this:
tickets to a matinée performance of spring awakening! how awesome of a surprise is that? m21 had expressed a desire to go, but being the huge procrastinator that he is, hadn't made it yet, and with it closing in 3 days, it was entirely doubtful he'd ever get there- so the bachelorette, being the take charge kinda gal she is, made it happen!

and boy is maison21 glad she did- we were blown away, and have been humming the amazing score ever since ("totally f*cked" might just now be our favoritist show tune ever!). the talented kids in the cast, belting out songs of adolescent angst, really give it all their all- and a broadway show that really rocks? well, the punk rock kid that lives inside m21 couldn't have been more thrilled! the touring company has left los angeles, but is still making the rounds of the nation for a good chunk of 2009 and SA is also playing on broadway for a bit longer, so if you have the opportunity, m21 says go, go, go! here's a peek of what's in store if you haven't been awakened yet:



the start of a pretty good day right? just wait- we haven't even got to the fabric shopping part of the story yet! it gets even better!
to be continued...

05 December 2008

beverly blvd. holiday block party

great shops, great restaurants- could be great fun!


great shops, great restaurants- could be great fun!

03 December 2008

it's official...

the christmas season is officially here.

what?

you thought it started with black friday?

wrong!

here at the maison21 atelier, it started with tedious tuesday- as while killing time waiting on a four hour window for the freight delivery of a large mirror (which sadly arrived smashed, btw), we hung the last of our bazillion ornaments on the m21 kmart/biglots/99cent store tree. all we need now is some prezzies underneath to complete the picture (they'd help hide that ugly wire base, too). seriously, we can't express the tedium involved in hanging our hundreds and hundreds of monochromatic silver and white ornaments: randomly hang different sizes and shades of glass balls. step back, squint, then adjust randomness to a more visually appealing version of randomness. step back, squint, and repeat- ad nauseum. we need to hire a special assistant for this kinda stuff! maybe next year we'll post an intern position at a local college design department: "elf-like student with excellent manual dexterity and incredible patience, needed to bring xmas cheer to design atelier/home".

in the end, even if we had to submit to the tedium all by our lonesome, the results were worth it, because as of tedious tuesday, it's beginning to feel a lot like christmas...

happy holiday decorating to those of you still in the process- thank god m21 is done! (as in over it, done).

01 December 2008

coasting along (cheap 'n chic custom gift idea)

some of you may remember this photo of the bachelorette's living room and the chic bright yellow chinoiserie wall panels we used:well, we just purchased a vintage bar cart as a late addition to the room, and need to accessorize it with some vintage barware, preferably lucite, before the holiday season is in full swing. we like coasters for everyday use- more eco-friendly than either paper or cloth napkins- and before we even started our search for a cool vintage set, we stumbled across these insertable acrylic coasters at a local craft store, remembered the waste pieces from the yellow wall panels, and voila- custom yellow and lucite coasters were born. (tip: ALWAYS keep any excess wall covering in case of an accident, or in this instance, in case of an emergency craft project).
though the coasters shown were purchased locally, a quick search of the internets turned them up here (and for less than we paid, we might add). if you do a bit more work, we bet you could find them for even cheaper on ebay, or sumpthin. the coasters come in a variety of shapes- we picked the hex because the chunky corners give maximum lucite appeal, but if the lucite look doesn't work in your room, the round and square version are a little plainer, but same insert concept. they couldn't be easier to make, too- just cut whatever material you are using into a 3 inch circle, place into coaster and secure with the cork backing.
with xmas fast approaching, we thought this quick project might be of interest to anyone looking to give gifts with a personal touch (we think they'd make a wonderful hostess gift or house warming gift, too). the inserts needn't be wallpaper- any purty paper will do- could be as inexpensive as gift wrap, or as fancy as handmade marbleized paper- just use your imagination!

ps- unless you are gifting to grandma, try to avoid using family photos- there is something a bit unsettling about placing a cocktail on junior's smiling face...