Thursday, June 10, 2010

Out of Print

Dave, one of the owners of Fishs Eddy, made a fortuitous find on a recent buying trip to the Midwest: Vintage metal stationer's engraving blocks from the 1940's and 1950's! He came back with hundreds of initials and full addresses, most in their original boxes with handwritten names and dates of when they were last used.

When I saw them they reminded me of my friend Josephine and the types of objects she often paints: aged and weathered surfaces, objects with historical content and traces of text. You can see some of her truly amazing works here. I thought if these engraving blocks didn't serve as her next muse, they would at least look great displayed in her studio.

I wrapped them in pages from old Anthropologie catalogs and adorned them with spare buttons.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Mommy in Waiting

Due to a number of circumstances, my mom and I had to plan Rachel's Surprise Baby Shower within just few weeks from her due date... dangerously close! We were hoping she wouldn't have to bring her own baby to the shower. After waiting so long, we figured Rachel would be on to our ploy to get her to Long Valley this past Saturday afternoon. But alas, she was surprised! Apparently we're both very good liars.

Since the party was fairly small I was able to hand-print the invitations, line the envelopes and spend time on all the minute details (though I don't think I could resist doing the same for an even larger event). I like orange as a cheerful and fun alternative to the usual gender-neutral yellow. When I saw cupcake papers & toppers by Meri Meri, I fell in love with them and adopted the vintage circus theme on the spot.

Rachel lives for surprises... so much so that she and Fabien have opted not to find out the sex of the baby or give away the names they have in mind. We are all waiting in anticipation to meet Baby Janus, it's been long enough!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Field Trip: Renegade Craft Fair

Despite the tornado forecast, I ventured out to Williamsburg, Brooklyn yesterday for the annual Renegade Craft Fair. The fair represents a community of young & edgy crafters selling items in a full spectrum of mediums: fabric, jewelry, ceramics, stationery... I walked around with a smile on my face, completely overcome with inspiration and admiration.

At the DeLong Ceramics booth I met Denise DeLong who makes decorative relief tiles and modern functional home accessories. I was really drawn to the ceramic boat cleats that double as coat hooks. I love how she took nautical hardware often overlooked and reinvented them into objects that command attention. I purchased one of the larger aqua hooks and am excited to find the perfect place to hang it.

The highlight of my day was meeting the artist behind Morris + Essex, Eliza Jane Curtis. She creates nature inspired cards using a variety of hand-printing techniques. I admitted that I had been following her online for sometime, fascinated with her journey from Maine to Brooklyn to Buenos Aires (and apparently now back to Maine), where she set up a printmaking studio- what a dream!

Long Overdue

This adorable bonnet pattern is from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Havorson and can feasibly be made within 2 hours... or so the book says. I started this project when Rachel was still in her first trimester... and well, she's due to give birth is a just a few weeks!

I normally wouldn't spend so long on a project but I was stumped when I got to the last step: Attaching the I-cord to the Hat. Feeling frustrated I tucked the project away for a few months and went onto other things. Rachel's shower this past weekend inspired me to get over my feelings of defeat and tackle the last step. With some devoted time and attention, I figured it out! I'm overly aware of all the errors, but I'm happy with the end result. I'm not sure that I'll ever be able to make this hat in 2 hours, but I'm positive the next go-round will be much swifter.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Splendor in the Grass

Memorial Day is undeniably the kick-off to summer and lazy picnics in the park. I made these picnic napkins a little while back, but have only just started getting some use out of them. The patterned napkins are from Simrane, one of my favorite shops in Paris. (If only they had a website!) All the linens in the store are made from Indian printed cotton with unique color combinations that make me crazy. From napkins to place mats, pillow covers to tablecloths (my next purchase), it's almost impossible for me to make a decision in just one visit.

I lined each of these napkins with light-weight cotton fabric and added pockets for bamboo utensils, which are also reusable. Honestly, I might actually enjoy looking at them more than using them the way napkins are meant to be used... That being said, paper napkins still find their way into my picnic basket.