ideas - inspiration - stuff

Saturday, July 23, 2011

wooden cat

a favorite flea market find of my favorite animal. the pose says it all: cats have it figured out.


inspired by a picture of nancy cunard - early 20th century heiress, activist & provocateur - who, it seems, never wore less than a dozen bracelets on one arm.

rosetta tie

totally random but kinda cool: a tie from the british museum with a woven pattern of the rosetta stone. i will wear this with a navy button down shirt for an early kraftwerk look.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


i know the brooch trend was hot a few years ago, but i'm still very much into it. especially when we're talking about a cluster of leaf brooches from the flea market. makes me look forward to fall...


ok, cards on the table: i am a cat person, one hundred percent. so this brass victorian cat-themed charm brooch is pure gold to me....


louise wanted pink hair. we jointly decided a pink dip-dye effect would be less of a commitment. with the help & advice of my hairdresser (anthony thomas in brooklyn, the best) this was actually rather easy to do. after experimenting with a few brands, atomic hair dye turned out to be the best, this picture was taken 8 weeks into our project and the color is still super bright.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

diy #3

a great way to "hide" moth holes, stains and other flaws on vintage cardigans & sweaters. create a cluster of fabric rosettes in matching/coordinating colors. for each rosette, cut a fabric circle that is about twice as large as you want the final rosette to be. fold over the edges slightly and do a running stitch all around the edge (make sure there is a thick knot at the beginning). gather the stitched thread (and fabric) together and flatten the rosette in place. use a few more stitches to make sure the rosette stays in place & to secure it to the sweater. done!

diy #2

men's ties are one of the cheapest things you can pick up in thrift & vintage stores and their materials & colors are usually great (leave the polyester 70's ones and go for the silk stripes). take them apart gently using a seam ripper and steam flat. then comes the fun part: patch them together in a coordinating color palette. i used some quilt interlining for this stole & backed the whole thing with a plain stripe.

buttoned up

in 1991, I was graduating from the fashion department of the royal academy of fine arts in antwerp, belgium. my graduating collection was inspired by the work and aesthetic of man ray and his fellow dadaists. i was particularly intrigued by the concept of elevating the “objet trouve” to work of art, often with minimal intervention. being a student of limited means, my medium was buttons. i made quite a few button-covered pieces, but this one is my favorite: monochrome, simple and most of all: i have the best memories making this. i spent quite a few late summer nights, usually in front of the tv by myself catching up on obscure old movies, sewing on buttons and dreaming of my future fashion career. now that I am a mom of 2 and have been introduced to the pedagogical concept of process art (i.e. the process is much more important than the ultimate result) i understand why this piece means so much to me, even though I have never worn it (it weighs a ton....).

Monday, July 4, 2011


first posted on the hand/eye blog.
credit where credit is due: i am deeply inspired by the work of jewelry designer tom binns. he has turned the world of costume jewelry upside down, or right-side-up if you ask me. he makes no qualms about the fact that he does not work with precious materials in the traditional sense of the word. his necklaces are tangles of chains , such as the ones you may find on the bottom of the less desirable jewelry drawer, large clusters of obviously fake pearls and crazy assemblages of multicolored rhinestone brooches. like him, i find traditional “real jewelry” boring and underwhelming. i love semi-precious and even downright humble materials. this is what brought me to the necklace pictured here. its components were found in the trash outside of an east village apartment building several years ago. the building housed a retirement center and whenever one of the residents passed away, most of their belongings ended up rather unceremoniously on the street. one night i found there & brought home a small box filled with crosses, rosary beads and medallions depicting various saints. i attached them all onto an existing necklace - this one from a flea I believe – and ended up with this piece. i used to think it was “bad juju”, using items someone else attached great emotional/religious significance to, and this for my own vanity.  i think so no longer, though technically worthless, it is one of my most treasured possessions. 

AAA tie

had to have this (and it cost a whopping 10 cents), a tie with a map of route 95, all the way down to florida. best of all, it is made by AAA. i have to find ways to incorporate ties into my wardrobe, without looking too annie hall.


no big surprise for those who know me: yellow is my favorite color (even though blonds are not supposed to wear yellow, and even though someone once pointed out to me that yellow is the color of the insane... i don't believe that). a necklace "assemblage" of flea market finds, none cost more than $8.

hmong jacket

another brooklyn yard sale find, this summer has been good so far. a thai hmong jacket with amazing colors. haven't worn it yet, but I'm thinking paired with dark indigo denim and a plain white t, maybe some sky high heels to offset the hippie vibe.

diy #1

fabric-and-bead necklace: pick 2 coordinating fabric scraps to go with your beads, contrasting textures (such as linen & velvet) & coordinating colors work well. cut them into squares or circles that are about twice as big as your beads. take needle and thread and start assembly: i folded each of the linen pieces over a bead and stuck the needle through all (fabric - bead - fabric). the velvet bits were folded double before adding. no need to follow a specific pattern. improvise!


last week's yard sale score: 3 rolls of grosgrain ribbon, marked "us hat band mills". $2 each, 50 yards per roll. no idea what i will do with this but i will let you know....


finding new uses for stuff is so rewarding. this necklace is really a curtain tie-back. people have asked me if I got this from alexis bittar or philip crangi. while i love both jewelry designers, it gives me great joy to reply "no, $8 at the elephant's trunk flea"....


summer is finally here and my small deck is very green.  this is not on purpose, it gets very little direct sunlight and years of failed gardening have taught me to rely on 2 staples: ferns and hostas. i have them in about every variety imaginable.

i am not against garden tchotchkes at all, especially not when animal themed. i got this cast iron owl at brimfield a few years ago. he's actually a votive holder. his little claws are adorable.

a newer favorite is this little bronze squirrel, bought at a yard sale.

"fat jay" was picked up for 50 cents at a fundraiser for the BVFA (block island volunteers for animals). i have no idea what he is made from, some sort of resin? but i love his design, especially from behind.