26 Mar 2013
in color, Creativity, Design, handmade, In the Studio, Sewing, Shop News
Tags: arts, bird, clothing, composition book covers, creativity, design, handmade, henhouse fibers, illustration, ilocollective, journals, making, norwich vermont, sewing, studio, style, teapot, upcycled materials
A blue and green flowered skirt, a blue lace shift and a deep orange shirt were among the garments Denise and I scissored up to make four fabric covers for composition books last Friday. Here are the results of our two hour book fest in the studio. We took these to Zuzu’s in Norwich, Vermont. More new items are appearing on the henhouse and ilo shop this week.
I’m pretty fond of the orange and pear. Do you have a favorite?
There will be more.
24 Feb 2013
in color, Garden, Natural world, Seasons, winter
Tags: cardinal, falling snow, forced forsythia, nature, primary colors, red, winter gardening, yellow
Nine days after I brought forsythia branches indoors I found the first three flowers opening. By today—day eleven—the whole arrangement is showing off. Through the yellow tinged branches I can see a red cardinal flitting around in the falling snow. Two thirds of the primary color group is making an appearance on a late February day.
13 Feb 2013
in color, Creativity, Design, Garden, Housewares, Interior Design, Natural world, Spring, winter
Tags: Fine Gardening, forcing branches, forcing forsythia, forsythia, Interior Design, Le Creuset, nature, orange, Staub, winter gardening
Photo by Capella Kincheloe Interior Design
As I typed the words ‘forcing forsythia’ I heard them spoken in the voice of Sylvester, the cartoon cat who always chased Tweety Bird.
These metal industrial stools cheered me when I came across them this morning via Nest Design Studio. I do love orange, and a jolly little 1940s milk pitcher, a small le Creuset butter pan and a few Staub shallow dishes are practically glowing on my shelves this morning in all their orangeness.
Then the forsythia filled me with longing for Spring—which is a long way away in these northern parts. Just yesterday I found my secateurs under a dusting of snow in the alcove off the porch. (The wind blew snow into every nook and cranny in this last storm.)
I’ll cut forsythia branches to force today. If you’ve never done this, it’s so simple to do: clip branches close to the main trunk of your bush until you have a bundle to fill a vase (or put single branches into a group of glass bottles).
Put the branches in warm water, then fill your sink with very hot water.
Submerge each branch in the sink and (under the water) recut the end at an angle, then cut a one inch slice through the end of the stem (to help the branch absorb the water).
Make your arrangement and put it out to display. The branches will respond to the water and indoor warmth and blossom in due time. They will last longer if you change the water regularly and don’t have them in direct sun or near direct heat. That can be hard in our house, so I just enjoy whatever blooming comes my way. The yellow flowers are dazzling when lit up by sunlight.
Happy winter gardening.
Image from Capella Kincheloe Interior Design, found via Nest Design Studio.
More great information about forcing branches: Fine Gardening.
08 Feb 2013
in Artisanal Living, color, Creativity, Design, handmade, India, Sewing, Weaving, winter
Tags: creativity, design, Embroidery, Hand sewing, handmade textiles, Indian textiles, new delhi india, Snowstorm, The Weavers New Delhi India, winter
The snow is piling up, just as they said. For once the hype seems true. My main happiness is watching it obscure all the broken branches under the trees, and the last piles of garden debris I raked up but never hauled to the compost pile. And then there is the copious amount of horse manure down in the field. I’m pretty happy to see it fully erased from the kitchen table view.
All these things were bared after our first snows melted in rain two weeks ago. Winter’s game of peekaboo continues.
Hidden. Revealed. Hidden. Revealed.
(This storm could keep it all hidden until April, for all we know.)
Here is some eye candy I’ve been taking in this morning—visions of handmade textiles in India. Somehow I stumbled on the above image of sewing hands and traced it to The Weavers, in New Delhi, India.
At this writing their website is under construction, but here is a link to show you more of their lovely wares.
Vivid color, tactile beauty and handmade design befitting a snowy day.
23 Dec 2012
in Christmas, color, Garden, handmade, Holidays, Natural world, Seasons, Vermont, winter
Tags: christmas eve, felt beads, home, lemon curd, nature, sewing, snow, White Christmas, winter, winterberry
Winter kept us waiting. But yesterday seemed to seal our chances for a white Christmas. Curtains of snow fell, finally blanketing the last of the kale in the garden, and coating each branch with nature’s best holiday tinsel. Even the animals seemed to enjoy the snow.
The last of the bold red winterberry—uneaten by the birds—shone out against the monochrome sky.
I strung a collection of felt beads into a garland and hung it from the cupboard above the teapots and bowls.
The world is still after a windy night. I filled containers to make ice lanterns (how to make them here). The mercury will dip well below freezing tonight.
A friend sent me a lemon curd recipe and the house filled with the sharp crisp scent of citrus as I zested three lemons this afternoon. Sun streamed into the kitchen—a welcome sight after a gray week—and the curls of zest cast their own inner glow.
From the eve before Christmas Eve I wish you and yours a festive holiday time of togetherness, warmth and gratitude. May the peace of the season be with you all.
19 Dec 2012
in color, Design, Housewares, Interior Design
Tags: blue and white, blue willow china, Bluebell Gray, Christopher Baker, color, Country Living, design, Easy Living, Home & Garden UK, Nick Pope, Studio Ditte
This fall I was pleased to see classic blues return to the pages of shelter magazines and in the collections I saw in Paris at Maison et Objet. As a child I collected blue willow china, and I still have a soft spot for any blue and white plates.
These new blue and white references show that artists and designers are finding new ways to show off a palette that has been tried and true for centuries. I’m excited to see graphic, painterly, and watercolor versions of blue flowers showing up in textiles, and bold blue and white geometric patterns for wallpapers, fabrics, flooring and ceramics. Little touches of purple or turquoise make it appear current.
Blue and white is easy to decorate and live with. I’m glad it’s surfaced again in trends.
Photo credits, from top left clockwise: Christopher Baker for Country Living; Studio Ditte; Nick Pope for Easy Living; Bluebell Gray; Home & Garden UK, November 2012 issue.
18 Nov 2012
in color, Creativity, Design, handmade, Paris, Photography, Sewing, Travel
Tags: creativity, design, Exploring, fabric, fabric mushrooms, paris, Paris Shop, Petit Pan Paris, Porte de Vanves flea market, sewing, sewing ideas, textiles, travel, Walking
Early September, my last day in Paris. I was tired and pledged not to overdo it. Take photographs. Write notes. Draw sketches.
But Paris has a habit of luring me up streets and around corners.
In the end I walked about 1o miles.
The weather was good—the morning rain turning to sunshine, warm, no wind.
So walk I did.
First I wandered all over the Marais—one of my favorite areas in Paris, with its narrow streets, beautiful squares, and eclectic shops. Then I took the Metro north to the top of Montmartre. I had been here in April in dismal weather and wanted to explore it more. The area around Sacré Coeur was overrun so I started down the steps from the hilltop.
I missed a turn for a Metro stop, and since Montmartre is on a steep hillside, I chose to keep walking downhill instead of climbing hundreds of steps.
If I hadn’t made that mistake I wouldn’t have stumbled upon Petit Pan, a tiny shop of enchantments. A mobile of handsewn dotted mushrooms (I love mushrooms!) in the window drew me in to a narrow shop lined with bolts of ditzy print fabrics, patterned paper boxes and journals, silk butterflies hanging down from the ceiling. Further in there were inventive children’s clothes and bedding. And that’s what I can remember. There was so much more.
The unusual color combinations and pattern mixes the designers used raised my blood pressure. My head was buzzing with ideas. I bought a few small things with my dwindling cache of euros, and bid farewell to the friendly women at the counter.
A short distance away I settled into a bench in the square near the Abbesses Metro. A jazz guitarist played a familiar tune. The late summer sun slanted through the tree tops and glimmered on the carousel nearby. Page after page in my little notebook filled with sewing ideas, art sketches and things to tell friends. All percolating from my visit to that little shop.
9 Rue Yvonne le Tac
There are several more locations in Paris. Perhaps you will stumble on one my design or by chance!
The photos above include items from Petit Pan, with a few from other places.
They are clockwise from top:
1. Haute Nouveauté vintage fabric sample, Porte de Vanves flea market
2. Patterned bias tape, Petit Pan
3. Vintage 35 ribbon, Porte de Vanves flea market
4. Soft aqua pink floral fabric, Liberty of London
5. Three rolls of patterned fabric, Petit Pan
6. Vintage button card, Porte de Vanves flea market
22 Oct 2012
in Autumn, color, Eating and Cooking, Farm Life, Garden, Local Food, Natural world, Vermont
Tags: autumn dusk, fall garden, nature, planting, planting garlic, plants, sun goes down
My husband came through the door about 30 minutes earlier than usual this evening. “Quick!” he said, “Let’s plant the garlic before the sun goes down.”
I was fiddling with an image in Photoshop and the glow of my computer screen temporarily blinded me. Hadn’t the sun already gone down? But there was still time.
We raced to the barn where the garlic was drying in the rafters after we pulled it up in late July. Grabbing the best bunch of the largest heads (R had marked these so we wouldn’t eat them), we bee-lined down the hill to the garden, the sky darkening in strips of purple and magenta behind the tree branches, turning them from dimensional forms to flat silhouettes before our eyes.
R husked the cloves, papery chaff falling across the grass like wedding confetti. He had the furrows hoed in a flash and I started tucking in cloves, six inches apart. Fingers in the dirt—an instant cure to stresses from the day—from the last week that still linger. The soil just soaked them up, thank you very much. And left my fingertips muddy and skin dry and smooth.
I was glad that we ran out of cloves and I had to run back to the porch for a few more heads. It gave me an excuse to grab the camera. All before the sun went down.
12 Jul 2012
in color, Creativity, Design, handmade, Housewares, In the Studio, Paintings
Tags: 60s design, folkloric flowers, getting started, jelly jars, mod, painting, vintage, watercolor painting
When life gives you jelly jars, some would make jelly.
I found a box of dusty old jars at the thrift store yesterday. And jelly making couldn’t have been farther from my mind (seeing as it was 90 degrees). I’d never seen such groovy jars and immediately pictured them filled with all those little sundries that I lose in the studio all the time—safety pins, tacks, beads, jewelry making pieces.
It didn’t occur to me that these jars would also be the Muse I needed to get started on a watercolor project that I’ve been mulling over all week. I needed to do folkloric inspired flowers, and these 60s flowers aren’t exact to the assignment, but they were just the color kick I needed to get started. And, as we all know, sometimes getting started is the hardest part.
04 Jul 2012
in Artisanal Living, color, Eating and Cooking, Garden, Local Food, Summer, Vermont
Tags: Blue Moon Wisteria, Fourth of July, garden, peas, peony, spearmint
You’d think it was Labor Day and not the Fourth of July for all the work we did today. I suppose a sunny day off makes us put on our small farm hats and deal with the tasks at hand. Today that meant working on the electric fence to keep one lamb—who is intent on jail break—in the proper place. And there were peas to pick and shell, chard to blanch and freeze, beets to harvest, lettuce to wash and eat before the heat turns it bitter.
This is what we wait for all year. Yet a snooze in the hammock sounded pretty appealing while I chopped rainbow chard.
Since I was in the laboring frame of mind I finally planted a Blue Moon Wisteria that I scored at a library plant sale back in late May. And since I was already into de-sodding and manure-scooping, I planted a peony and some spearmint too.
The mint is descended from Bunker Hill, my father’s childhood home. My patch was getting overrun with grass so I got new plants from my parents this week. Some people think of mint as invasive, but I hold it in the same esteem as wisteria and peonies. Especially Bunker Hill mint. The taste of childhood is priceless.
So now I am showered and feeling satisfied with the day’s efforts. My nod to the Fourth is the only red and blue combo I could scrape up in my wardrobe, but I’m quite satisfied with it. Maybe I’ll even take a snooze in the hammock before we head to Woodstock for a barbecue before the fireworks.