Big strokes of blue and white are one way to brighten a table this summer, especially when set with dinnerware and linens in the same vein.
From the ELSA candlesticks ($9) to the ELSA melamine ad earthenware plates (from $3.95 and up) in four designs, brilliant blue and white stripes form the backdrop for hearty servings of corn on the cob and such. Coordinating serving pieces, such as the ELSA metal trivet ($8.75) or melamine tray ($12), are emblazoned with two Matisse-inspired patterns.
All of the dishes are available from Ikea by phone, (818) 912-1119, or at the firm's warehouse in the Tustin Market Place.
Surferniture is making a big splash with its new line of surfboard furniture. The furniture is the creation of lighting designer Jim Gibson of Chula Vista and two friends, Mike Bennett, a metal craftsman, and Jon Strebler, a teacher and surfboard designer.
The San Diego County-based company features chairs and tables made of reproduction foam or wooden surfboards.
Wooden tables and chairs, made of balsa, redwood cactus and other exotic woods, have wave-shaped solid brass arms or legs, wooden fins and a fiberglass coating; nose blocks and tall blocks also are available.
When fabric is incorporated into the designs, it is covered with fiberglass. (Gibson's sister, Sandi Provence, can stitch up a shirt in the same fabric-sans the fiberglass.)
If you want a hand in the design, Surferniture is more than happy to oblige. Furniture prices range $1,200 to $1,500. For information, call (619) 585-7775.
Paper Clips Have History, Too.
How did a fork get its tines? How were Post-it notes invented? Why do aluminum cans have hollow bottoms?
These questions and more are answered in detail in Henry Petroski's new book, "The Evolution of Useful Things: How Everyday Artifacts-From Forks and Pins to Paperclips and Zippers-Came to Be as They Are" (Random House, $13).
Petroski's book is a mix of history, biography and design theory. Now, on to the entry on zippers. . .