Coveted: A Fuzzy Felt Owl

Marja Koskela's Owl Musicbaby

Marja Koskela’s Owl Musicbaby

When her son was born eight years ago, Vancouver-based designer Marja Koskela welcomed him with an owl-shaped, music-playing crib hanger. She wanted a way to serenade him with Braham’s lullaby that was a bit less girly than the pink music box she had growing up. Koskela knew it was a hit when her son didn’t want to give up the felt toy, even long after he had outgrown his cradle (he kept it in his bed with his other stuffed animals until he was four). Now, she sells them all over the world, from Ireland to New Zealand — and not just to new parents, but to the young at heart who want a quirky piece of decor to hang under their kitchens cupboards. Owl Musicbaby. $30. Through

This piece originally appeared in the Globe and Mail on Thursday, March 21, 2013.

The Comeback: Felt — Not Just For Fedoras Anymore


Felt is old school. The cloth – usually made of matted, compressed wool or rayon fibres – is the stuff of granddads’ fedoras and grannies’ crafting kits. But its roots go deeper, back thousands of years, when Asiatic tribes developed the textile for clothing, blankets and to insulate their yurts.

Today, many of us use felt unknowingly – as the lining in a car bra, the scuff protector on chair legs. It’s a practical material, but its aesthetic qualities – fuzzy, earthy, a bit Muppet-like – can seem a little fusty.

Recently though, interior designers, architects and furniture makers have been using the age-old material in bold new ways, turning it into something rich, dramatic and luxurious.

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