ideas - inspiration - stuff

Friday, November 28, 2014

more potholders

following last year's post about potholders, i just made some more, cutting the yarn from my husband's discarded - and thoroughly washed! - thermal underwear and few colored t-shirts. here's a complete tutorial.

- with the off-white yarn, crochet a chain of 15 stitches, then single crochet 4 rows
- cut off the yarn, leaving a 4" length, then single crochet 1 row in blue
- cut off the yarn, leaving a 4" length, then single crochet 1 row in off-white
- cut off the yarn, leaving a 4" length, then single crochet 3 rows in blue
- cut off the yarn, leaving a 4" length, then single crochet 8 rows in off-white
- cut off the yarn, leaving a 4" length, then single crochet 1 row in blue, only this time, when you get to the end of the row, make 3 single crochet stitches in the last stitch, and then keep crocheting down the side and all round the square. each time you get to a corner, make 3 single crochet stitches in the corner stitch.
- finally, on the last corner, crochet a loop of about 10 chain stitches, before making 2 more single crochet stitches in your very first blue stitch.
- cast off your work by cutting off your yarn and pulling this strand al the way through the last stitch and tighten. using the crochet hook, tuck under all the loose strands.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

mini macrame

i am thrilled to announce the publication - in just a few short weeks - of yet another craft booklet for the taunton press. this one is on the subject of easy and quick-to-make macrame projects. don't be horrified, these are nothing like the crunchy-granola touchy-feely fiber art stuff you may have grown up with in the seventies.... take a look:








Friday, October 10, 2014

gizmos and gadgets

i just love finding treasures where you least expect it. driving back from a wedding weekend upstate (congratulations again jen and michael!), we stopped for gas in downsville, new york. i wasn't even going to get out of the car until i saw the sign - gizmos and gadgets. could be good, could be really bad. it was all of those things: just one of those stores where time stood still and the merchandise piled up. it's hard to describe exactly what they were selling, or weren't selling. my heart skipped a beat when i saw the craft section. there was not a single item manufactured after 1969. my prize haul included some oversized wooden macrame beds and a handful of pre-painted doll heads - including one for a cat doll. sold!







Sunday, August 3, 2014

gowanus nursery in brooklyn

i am long overdue in writing this post about my favorite brooklyn plant resource, the gowanus nursery. i have been a client at this nursery for quite a few years, following them to their new location on van brunt street. their opening each spring puts me in such a great mood as it marks the start of the outdoor season. the plant selection is extraordinary - black pansies anyone? - and i am always bound to find things that i've never seen before. given that i have a black thumb and a challenging outdoor space, that's a very good thing.







Friday, July 18, 2014

architectural details in brooklyn heights

the pics below are the result of a saturday morning walk through brooklyn heights. such great inspiration right outside my door!









Friday, June 13, 2014

the design library

ever wonder where marc jacobs, miucca prada, or the creative team for old navy go when they need a jolt of inspiration? they go to the design library, one of the best kept secrets in the creative world. the design library is located in wappingers falls and, while it may sound like you need to take the hogwarts express to get there, it's really only an hour and a half from the city on metro north, in the gorgeous hudson valley. what will you find there: the world's largest and best organized collections of documentary fabrics, original artwork, wallpapers, embroideries, yarn dyes, numbering over 7 million designs (!). the collections date from the 1750s to the late 20th century and are sorted into 900 categories. the design library regularly acquires entire archives from designers and fabric houses, ensuring these invaluable collections stay together and are available for perusal. because that is the business of the library: the sale and licensing of antique, vintage, modern and contemporary textile designs for inspiration to the fashion, home furnishings, textile, wall covering, graphic arts, and paper product industries. in a nutshell, this place is textile heaven, nirvana for the fabric-obsessed and awe-inspiring.






Saturday, June 7, 2014

country living fair

yesterday i went to the country living fair in rhinebeck, new york. while not exactly your typical flea market - and certainly not priced like one - it's an amazing place to find one-of-a-kind gifts and home accessories, meet like-minded crafters and recharge your creative batteries. the rhinebeck show ends on sunday, june 8 at 5pm.






Tuesday, June 3, 2014

shoe clips made with t-shirt yarn

dainty and ladylike, shoe clips are a fun but somewhat old-fashioned accessory that needs to be taken our of the bridal realm, and back to the forefront of fashion. the shoe clips below are a witty take on preppy tasseled loafers.



STEPS:
1. per clip: cut four 6” long pieces of t-shirt yarn.
2. fold this bundle of yarns over and tie together with another piece of t-shirt yarn, using a double knot. cut off the ends.
3. thread a hex nut onto each tassel end and make a knot underneath.
4. hand sew the shoe clip to the back of each tassel. done!

after making the tassels, I decided to try my hand at t-shirt yarn bows: cut twelve 3” long pieces of yarn and tie this bundle in the center together with a 10” length of T-shirt yarn, then wrap it over six times, and finally tuck under the end. hand sew the shoe clip to the back of the bow. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

collective design fair

i attended the opening night of the collective design fair last night, at moynihan station in manhattan. twice as large as last year's edition, the show features an exceptionally curated group of galleries and dealers, all with an extremely unique point of view on design innovation. highlights include the new designs by india mahdavi  and the quirky scandinavian antiques showcased at dienst + dotter. but in the end, what really caught my eye were the amazing jewelry designs, such as the deer antler collars by jennifer trask, and the insect necklaces by marta mattson. unbelievably gorgeous! the show is open through may 11, don't miss it...








Wednesday, May 7, 2014

t-shirt hats - the easiest diy!

t-shirts are probably among the most widespread item in our closet today: we buy them on vacation, we get them free as promotional swag, we end up with siblings' cast-offs. there are expensive designer shirts, work-out and sports shirts, shirts proclaiming anything from your political affiliations to your chosen brand of cat food (i had one of those). the pile can easily grow out of control. here's a fun project for the shirts you're ready to part with. step-by-step instructions are below the image.



tassel hat:
 1. turn t-shirt inside out, iron and place flat on work surface.
 2. cut in a straight line from armpit to armpit, so that you are left with a tubular piece of fabric. the height of your tube should be 17” high; if it is longer, cut tube down to a 17” height (so basically, any t-shirt that measure 17” or more from hem to armpit will work for this project).
 3. measure 8” across from the left side seam and draw a vertical line with pencil or tailor's chalk. pin both layers of t-shirt together and cut vertically to the right of this line, leaving about a half inch seam allowance.
 4. machine stitch on this line, so that you now have a tube that is 17” high and 16” diameter.
 5. from the rest of the T-shirt, cut a strip that is 8” long and a quarter inch wide.
 6. turn tube good side out, gather and double-knot firmly together with this strip at 10” height.
 7. cut the rest of the tube that sticks out above the knot into quarter inch vertical strips.

cat hat:
 1. turn t-shirt inside out, iron and place flat on work surface.
 2. cut in a straight line from armpit to arm pit, so that you are left with a tubular piece of fabric. the height of your tube should be 17” high, if it is longer, cut tube down to a 17” height (so basically, any t-shirt that measure 17” or more from hem to armpit will work for this project).
 3. measure 16” across from left side seam and draw a vertical line with pencil or tailor's chalk. pin both layers of t-shirt together and cut vertically to the right of this line, leaving about a half inch seam allowance.
 4. machine stitch on this line, so that you now have a tube that is 17” high and 32” diameter.
 5. fold over your inside-out tube vertically, and make a mark on the fabric fold at 8.5” high. from there, using pencil or tailor's chalk, draw a curved convex line to the top corner. flip over and repeat the process on the other side.
 6. unfold and cut to the right of this curved u-shaped line (though both layers), leaving about a half inch seam allowance.
 7. machine stitch on this line and cut off seam allowance diagonally at both ears, making sure not to cut into the stitching.
 8. turn hat good side out.
 9. fold over existing bottom hem by one inch to the inside of the hat. pin in place and machine stitch, leaving a 2” opening.
 10. cut an 18” long piece of flat elastic, attach a safety pin to one end, and use that to feed it through the opening. make sure to hold onto the other end of the elastic. once elastic has been fed all the way through, machine stitch both ends of elastic together and hand sew 2” opening shut.
11. last step: make a single knot in each “ear”. done!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

tulum mexico

over spring break, we took an amazing trip to tulum in the yucatan region of mexico. it was amazing! we visited the mayan ruins in tulum and chichen itza and toured the sia ka'an biosphere reserve. we swam in cenotes; sinkholes resulting from the collapse of the limestone bedrock that exposes the groundwater underneath. we even explored an underground - and underwater - cave. the town of tulum itself is quaint and picturesque. i am working up various reasons for returning asap.