ideas - inspiration - stuff

Friday, October 6, 2017

p.e. guerin

this is why i love new york. just when i think i've gotten to know this city and seen just about everything she has to offer, i get surprised in the most delightful way. today, i took a tour of the p.e. guerin foundry in the heart of the west village, coincidentally blocks from my very first nyc apartment. p.e. guerin is the oldest decorative hardware company in the usa - they are celebrating their 160th anniversary this year - and the only metal foundry in the city, located in a four-story building on jane street, which houses their offices, archives and showroom, as well as a factory where virtually any custom request can be produced. fine jewelry for the home is the best way to describe their exquisite hardware pieces. a tremendous amount of skill, craftsmanship, patience and time goes into making their beautiful products. i will let the pictures do the talking...

Saturday, January 14, 2017

the crown

i was recently commissioned to make a festive special-occasion crown for a friend of a friend. this was a first for me, and i thoroughly enjoyed the assignment. the crown had to incorporate an assortment of creatures, as the recipient is a true animal lover. given how many components were at play here, i first created a sturdy cardboard base - i cut one from the thick cardboard back of a drawing pad. i bent it into shape, stapled a short end of wide elastic to both ends (so it would be one-size-fits-all) and mounted a remnant of silk/linen on the front using spray mount. i outlined all edges with a vintage metallic ribbon, and added a row of rhinestones on top for extra bling. then the real fun began: i collected a bunch of animal figurines, some were holiday ornaments, others were plastic toys, and painted them all using my ridiculously large collection of metallic nail polishes. some of the larger animals needed to be affixed using metal wire, the smaller ones only called for a dab of hot glue. last but not least, a flock of gold painted paper butterflies were mounted on the crown's top, two silver bells were hung on either side of the bottom edge and the crown's inside was lined with a matching color felt. all of this was done while binge-watching "the crown" on netflix, i'm not kidding. my husband says the final result looks like something florence foster jenkins would have worn. what do you think?

Saturday, February 13, 2016

stephen antonson - studio visit

i had the chance yesterday afternoon to visit the brooklyn studio of stephen antonson, aka the master of plaster. what a treat! i always find it mesmerizing to explore an artist's studio and see the creative process in action, and his space did not disappoint. crammed full of prototypes and works-in-progress, all covered with a healthy dusting of plaster powder, the place is a winter wonderland of artistry and inspiration.  in many ways it reminded me of the brancusi studio reconstruction in paris, near the centre pompidou.
stephen paints plaster onto his designs in layers with a brush, then meticulously sculpts and sands it repeatedly to achieve objects of surreal beauty. each piece is made to order and his work is represented by various showrooms across the usa, including de sousa hughes in san francisco as of the end of this month - the pieces for this new showrooms were being finalized and packed up during my visit. what i like most about stephen's work is its endearingly  - though deceptively - simple approach; his playful, fantastic designs coupled with the beauty of the pure white material make for truly timeless objects

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

bonjour handmade

a few weeks ago, i received a lovely email from anny frechette at bonjour handmade, offering to send me free craft supplies if i wanted to make a diy project with them and then blog about it.  how could i say no? especially when i delved into her gorgeous website and browsed around. i decided to select the stainless steel lobster clasps, thinking i would use them in a decorative manner rather than the function they were intended for. i am still very much on a tassel kick, so the clasps became mini-tassel holders. here is the result. below the photo are step-by-step instructions for the project. enjoy!

- 18 stainless steel lobster clasps, 16 mm x 10 mm
- vintage bead necklace
- remnants of embroidery floss
- paper or cardboard scraps
- scissors
- extra tubular beads (optional)
- strong linen cord

fold your piece of paper or cardboard into a small rectangle that is about 1" x 1.75". wrap floss around folded paper lengthwise 30 times and cut through. slip bundle of floss through large opening of clasp, fold over, wrap and tie with contrasting color floss.

make 18 tassels in various colors. cut open vintage necklace to recycle beads and arrange tassels and beads into a new lay-out. i decided to incorporate some gold-colored tubular beads as well to make the necklace even longer. string both tassels and beads in the right order onto a strong linen cord and tie together with a double knot. done! to find our more about bonjour handmade, click here.

Monday, November 30, 2015

calico blog and upcoming book signings

for the last year and a half i have been really enjoying writing the calico blog. calico - or calico corners as it used to be known - is america's premier decorating resource. with over 100 stores across the usa, free design consultations and literally thousands of fabrics in stock, calico is an aspiring decorator's dream come true. the blog allowed me to share my passion for textiles and love for interior design with a wonderfully engaged and equally enthusiastic audience. some of my recent posts have included the new french general textiles, inspiring fall tablescapes, and the return of the upholstered wall.

so i am thrilled to take this show on the road: i will be visiting two calico stores over the next two weeks to meet-and-greet customers, sign my latest book scraps, and talk design with anyone who cares to listen. do come and meet me! oh yeah, and there will be breakfast too :)

calico short hills: saturday, december 5 from 10 am to noon
calico mamaroneck: saturday, december 12 from 10 to noon

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

scraps workshop at the edelkoort townhouse

i had such a good time today teaching a scraps workshop at the brand new edelkoort townhouse in nyc. thank you to all participants: your enthusiasm was infectious and your ideas and input invaluable. and thank you to philip fimmano and li edelkoort for hosting. let's do it again soon! :)

Monday, November 9, 2015

li edelkoort textile seminar - and scraps workshop

i am very lucky to have started my career with the incomparable li edelkoort, the renowned trend forecaster who is based in paris - though she will be spending a lot more time in new york city as she was recently appointed dean of the hybrid design studies department at parsons school of design.
for those of you unfamiliar with li's work, here's a quick run-down: lidewij edelkoort is one of the world’s most famous trend forecasters. she is an intuitive thinker who travels the world studying the evolution of socio-cultural trends before sharing this information with her clients in industries as diverse as fashion, textiles, interiors, cars, cosmetics, retail and food. under her paris-based company trend union, li creates trend books two or more years ahead that are tools used by strategists, designers and marketeers at international brands (coca cola, nissan, time warner cable, lacoste…).

(Photo via Destiny)

since 1992, li’s magazines have helped redefine the publishing medium, acting as inspirational style bibles that have become ideograms of their time. view on colour, inview and bloom are trend tools used by creative professionals and avid amateurs around the world.
her achievements in the creative, educational and humanitarian field are too numerous to mention. li is truly one-of-a-kind and i consider my 8 years working for her (3 in paris, 5 in new york) to be a bit like my phd.

that is why i could not be more proud to be part of her upcoming trend seminar on november 17, 2015 in new york city with a short presentation on my book scraps. and this will be followed by a half-day hands-on scraps workshop at the edelkoort offices on november 18. click here for all the info and details. hope to see you there!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

upcoming events at BKLYN DESIGNS and QED Astoria

i'm taking my show on the road, and happy to be part of the following two events:

on sunday, may 10 at 1:30 pm, i will be doing a scraps lecture-slash-workshop at BKLYN DESIGNS, brooklyn's premier design event, shining a spotlight on the creative economy in my home borough. fabrics for this workshop are generously donated by Robert Allen for Calico.

on saturday, june 6 ay 2:00 pm, i will be teaching a t-shirt jewelry class at QED Astoria. we will learn how to turn an old t-shirt into yarn, master the crochet chain stitch, and create two statement necklaces. cost for this workshop is $20.00/person, and all materials are included.

hope to see you there!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

friendship bracelets

in just a few weeks, my new booklet for the taunton press will be published. "friendship bracelets - 12 jewelry designs to make and share" is a collection of easy, colorful and fast projects with yarn and embroidery floss. i included a pair of earrings and a necklace as well. all projects were modeled by the gorgeous and amazing elise and juliet, let's hear it for the redheads!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

botanica tinctoria

i just received a sample packet from a wonderful company: botanica tinctoria. they manufacture naturally dyed - yet colorfast - trimmings and yarn in a gorgeous color palette. the line includes ribbons, tape, ric-rac, broderie anglaise, hand-crocheted lace, as well as various qualities yarns and embroidery threads. i've never seen anything like it. do check out the botanica tinctoria website, you will not be disappointed.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

scraps book signing at andrew martin nyc showroom on february 12

i am thrilled that the wonderful people at andrew martin have offered to have a book signing for scraps in their amazing d&d building showroom. below are all the details. hope to see you there!

Friday, January 16, 2015

scraps is out!

happy (belated) new year! last week saw the launch of my very first book scraps. i am beyond thrilled to see the fruits of years worth of labor in print and online. i will post teaser images of some of the projects over the next few weeks, but for now, i want to share the evite to today's scraps book signing and workshop at new york city's pins and needles. join me?

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!