ideas - inspiration - stuff

Friday, May 31, 2013

before and after - part one

i've always liked the rope-covered furniture by christian astuguevieille - say that three times fast - and i finally had the chance to try my hand at this when i discovered a round side table in the trash. it would be the perfect addition to the block island living room i'd been working on. all in all, this was a pretty easy project. first, i sanded down the bottom part of the table i wanted to leave exposed and painted it with minwax wood finish, in the ebony color. two layers did the trick. then i glued a thick jute rope on the top, working my way from the outside edges in. be prepared to go through a massive amount of glue sticks. for the table leg, i used a thinner rope. all in all, this took about three evenings to complete. what do you think?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

block island - part two

despite the stormy weather - and a positively nauseating ferry ride - this past weekend's visit to block island was memorable. we witnessed the island's fauna in all its glory: seagulls, robins, caterpillars, barnacles, pheasants, deer, alpacas (not native to the island but quite at home here), snapping turtles.... you name it. thanks to uncle ross, we even witnessed the elusive horseshoe crab mating ritual on a moonlit beach.... discretion prevented me from taking pictures.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

cotton tail

i purchased this one-dollar-bunny at a yard sale last weekend, just because he was so darn cute. i was puzzled by the hole in his hindquarters though, until allison pointed out to me that he is a bathroom accessory, made to hold cotton balls.... cotton tail, get it???

Sunday, May 19, 2013

rock paperweights

unless you live in a really windy climate, i always thought paperweights were somewhat useless. that doesn't mean they're not fun to make. start with some flat rocks found on the beach, wash well and draw on them with a an ultra fine point sharpie. the idea was to create a trompe l'oeil effect - is there really a bug on this rock? not sure if that came across?

Friday, May 17, 2013

thank you cloth magazine!

a big thank-you to english cloth magazine for featuring my cat project on the inbox page of issue #17! check it out:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

brooklyn general store

it is a sad fact that stores selling yarn, fabric and notions are hard to find these days. for a long time, i used to stock up on all these things went i went back to belgium. so imagine my delight at being in close proximity to one of the best "dry goods"places in brooklyn: the brooklyn general store. it is located on union street at the north end of red hook, on what used to be a thriving shopping block for all types of foods and goods. brooklyn general's home within old frank's department store is a throwback/hommage to that era. the vintage interior is not reproduced, just uncovered, cleaned and painted. brooklyn general store was created in an effort to provide the best quality materials to a thriving community of artists and craftspeople, and to promote making things by hand through inspiration and education - check out their listing of classes online. i find myself making up any excuse to soak up the atmosphere in this magical place.

Monday, May 13, 2013

clay beads

a few weeks ago, allison and i spotted these gorgeous moroccan necklaces in a local brooklyn store - hand-formed resin beads on a knotted rope - in the coolest, off-beat color combinations... marni by way of marrakech if you wish. the price was a little too rich for our blood so i set about to make my own version. i decided to use polymer clay as i wanted the color to be through-and-through, not just on the bead surface. i had bought some sculpey III packs at a yard sale last year, so i decided to use these. this was my first time baking with sculpey and here are a few tips:
- the unbaked sculpey is much brighter in color than the baked result, bear that in mind.
- sculpey is easy to mold, and i loved creating these hand-formed beads, fingerprints and all.
- i used a wooden skewer to create the holes in the beads, easy!
- as it states on the package, you have to be really precise about the baking temperature and time. apparently my oven does not distribute heat evenly, so i ended up with a few burnt beads.
- contrary to online tips, these burnt bits cannot be sanded off easily - i will save these for another project that requires paint.
- the smell of burnt sculpey is not great.
finally, i used a colored elastic band in a fun blue color, as i did not want to wear raw jute rope on my bare neck. what do you think?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

cat toy

i am sorry i am not able to post the exact instructions for this crochet mouse: it was a free-from project, i just made it up as i went along. i started at the nose with a chain of 3/4 stitches, closed the chain and gradually increased stitches from there. when i got to the desired circumference of the body, i kept crocheting in a spiral without increasing. at the end, i stuffed the body and then decreased dramatically and continued crocheting a chain which became the tail. the ears are crocheted straight onto the body. these make great cat toys - especially when you add some catnip to the stuffing - but i will warn you: you will encounter them all over the house and mistake them for real mice...

Thursday, May 9, 2013

the ruffle

you know you are a girl of a certain age when fashion trends have circulated more than once through your wardrobe over time. the ruffle - totally back in style - is one such thing. even though today's trendy ruffle is clean and sculpted - balenciaga did the best versions in reversible black and white - it is with fondness i recall the ruffles of the eighties. as this was also the time i first became aware of fashion, certain images/trends are just etched onto my brain: lady di's iconic wedding dress by david and elizabeth emanuel and the pirate blouses worn by the english new romantics, a musical movement that included bands such as duran duran, adam & the ants and spandau ballet . i subscribed at the time to magazine like blitz, the face and ID and just devoured stories about the london scene featuring the antics of style visionaries such as steve strange and leigh bowery.

Monday, May 6, 2013

block island

this weekend marked the first of many summer trips to block island. even though we only spent one night there - and were busy during the day with fixing, decorating, moving and cleaning - i was instantly reminded why i love this place so much. here's an instagram report.

Friday, May 3, 2013


a nice follow-up to my earlier post about celestial maps: during a visit to the fabulous studio 534 showroom in boston, i stumbled upon this gem, designed by kit kemp for chelsea editions."moondog" is a whimsical embroidered linen, featuring an inquisitive dog looking at the moon and stars. so cute...

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

plumber's necklace

a very simple necklace, after a very simple idea from ps i made this, the wonderful blog - and eponymous book - by erica domesek. basically, your beads are copper plumbing fixtures from home depot. i strung them on a strip of tie-dyed silk velvet and voilĂ !