Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Not Your Grandmother's Crochet

I mentioned most of the details from our fun trip to the Point Theatre in Ingram, Texas on Monday, but I saved the best for last: the gift shop. It was a totally unexpected little treat.

The Hill Country Arts Foundation has tapped into an obviously able group of ladies who donates their time to crochet blankets, pin cushions, potholders, pot scrubbers (deemed 'the best in Texas') and various chotskies. These goods are then sold in the gift shop where profits go to help supporting the theatre and arts center. Check out some of the gems:

Granny Square Blankets:



Crocheted granny square blankets and potholders are certainly not new to the market, but it seems like more and more are trying their hand at modern applications of the craft. Flickr is flooded with images of granny squares, a fact that has certainly been fueled by the recent DIY surge. I selected a very small handful below:

And check out how fellow interior designers, artists and bloggers make use of crocheted items in their real lives:

I feel my inner-Martha being tapped. It kind of makes me want to find some crochet needles and get to work. If you, too, are feeling so inclined, check out this tutorial for instructions on how to crochet your own creations. Good luck!

Monday, June 29, 2009

On Point

There is a point in the Texas Hill Country, amidst tall trees and a lovely landscape, where a part of Johnson Creek merges with the Guadalupe River. Welcome to Ingram, Texas. It is here that a small group of friends, united by their love of this environment and their appreciation of the Arts, created a place for arts education, performance and exhibition some 50 years ago.

Today, the Hill Country Arts Foundation is a thriving organization. With regular theatrical performances, as well as art exhibitions and workshops, this is a place where families and friends converge to enjoy and/or participate in the creation of visual and performance art.

Part of what makes the HCAF particularly appealing is the outdoor amphitheatre. The Smith-Ritch Point Theatre sits right on the River and the setting is beautiful. During the warmer months, regular performances are held, many of which are kid-friendly. (When the weather cools off, performances are taken inside to the Elizabeth Huth Coates Theatre.)

Last week, my parents and I took the GrayBear to see a performance of "Treasure Island." Check out some of those shots:

I have to say, I was impressed with the sets, the costumes and the performances of all involved. Plus, the snack bar is innocently delightful. In addition to the two adorable kids that were selling candy on the side, there was plenty of cotton candy and popcorn to enjoy.

Despite the intense and sweaty heat (even after the sun went down), it was such a fun outing and I highly recommend it.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Big Day... What to Wear

On our final day of Birthday Week, I'm delighted to suggest some things that a festive Birthday Girl could wear on her big day. After all, she IS the center of attention and she SHOULD be looking her best. Check out 3 different looks for 3 different types of celebrations!

Look 1:

Look 2:

Look 3:

May you always have the happiest of birthdays!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Decor, Decor and More Decor, Part Deux

I'm not usually one for balloons (unless there is something creative about the bunch). That's why I couldn't resist posting this cute compilation (via Black. White. Yellow.)

Balloons always add a nice touch to birthday celebrations as long as (and here, I reveal my snobby design side) they are presented in a creative fashion.

Decor, Decor and More Decor

Today is Day 3 of Birthday Week. We started off with a funky birth announcement on Monday. Yesterday, I reviewed some snazzy cake ideas and today, I thought I'd bring you some suggestions for decorating for a big bash.

There are so many things out there - especially for a theme-y birthday. (You may have noticed that I skipped the themes altogether.) I chose to make things a little more homemade - a little more focused on hosting a party at your house, for example - while still adding a special touch.

1) How adorable is this 'Happy Birthday' banner. Drape it on the wall and voila - you've got yourself a wonderful DIY sign. (Or you could just purchase it here and still have the DIY look without actually DIY-ing it.) 2) Draped under a doorway, felt garland is festive and fabulous. It's also easy to make (in theory, that is... it looks like it could take a lot of time). Why not purchase this one here? (It's on sale, too.)

3) I like to honor special guests with an altar that I've created. (I did the one depicted above for my grandparents during Day of the Dead, but my Mom always did a living altar for me and my sibs for our birthdays.) Include all things that remind you of that person: rememberances of what they love, what they do, who they are. Make sure and load it up with plenty of flowers and candles, too.

4) Gotta love confetti (though it's a bitch to clean up)! Rock the floors, tables and counters with tiny "Happy Birthdays." 5) Following on the DIY road, top off the event with homemade bday hats for everyone. Martha Stewart created those above, but I feel like it would be easy to simplify some steps. HINT: Hats at everyone's place around the table can also serve as placecards. 6) and 7) add a light and colorful touch. Hang a bunch these chinese lanterns or indian stars from the ceiling with string and a nail.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too

As we continue on with Birthday Week, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about The Cake! And oh... there are so many delightful options out there from which to chose.

Le Cake
1) Naturally Nora (via DailyCandy) is an all natural cake mix (okay, so it would only be halfway homemade). She has a fun yellow cake mix with bits of color. 2) The book "Birthday Cakes" features a number of cake recipes from all sorts of renowned chefs. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and get out your mixer to create any of these fun, delicious treats. 3) Omnomicon (via Hostess With the Mostess) shows us how to make a rainbow cake - talk about things lookin' bright and 4) Bakerella really makes her cakes pop with her cupcake bites.

Or maybe you're feeling a little non-traditional? Why not serve something other than a birthday cake, but equally as festive?

1) A macaron tower from Bobbette and Belle makes a great centerpiece. Those little morsels not only make a great statement, but they are tre chic, too. 2) For the child, or the child at heart, cupcakes are always a winner. In my mind, the Beverly Hills-based Sprinkles was responsible for bringing that phenomena back into vogue, but they don't mail their cupcakes. (If you aren't in market where there is a Sprinkles retail location, you can order the mix online here.) 3) Eleni's is no newcomer, but they continue to create beautiful frosted cookies (my personal favorite). And they deliver all over the good ole US of A. 4) Finally, why not order up a truly personalized cake for you or your beloved? The Louis Vuitton purse created by JustCakes is perfect for the little fashionista.

To top it all off...

Wedding cakes aren't the only cakes that get to have toppers. In addition to a huge variety of cakes (or cake-like alternatives as the case might be), there's also a slew of things to put on top of your dessert.

1) Kill two birds with one stone with these fork candle holders from Fred Flare. 2) Sparklers made especially for cakes are festive and bright. Find them here. 3) How cute are these personalized candles? (I double checked. They don't have "Golly," but maybe you'll have better luck finding your name.) 4) Smarmy Pants has some of my favorite cake accessories - many of which are vintage-y and sweet. (Remember these ballerinas?) 5) A candelabra candle from Fred at Plum Party steps up the chic factor, as do the 6) cupcake sticks from Seven Cupcakes. And who can resist these little numbers? Perfect for little Johnny's bash.

Monday, June 22, 2009

It's Birthday Week

"You say it's your birthday? Da na na na na na. Well, it's my birthday, too. Da na na na na na."

In honor of my birthday, I thought I'd do a series of all things birthday related. Every day this week, I'll be posting something having to do with birthdays. (And just to note, while I love celebrating other people's birthdays, I'd rather just enjoy my day versus having a big hoopla. Don't get me wrong, I love my life, but I just don't find it necessary to make a big deal about another year.)

To start things off with Birthday Week, I thought it would be appropriate to focus on the birth of a baby and how to share the joyous news when he or she has arrived. Rattle-N-Roll was introduced to me by my friends, Clay and Elizabeth, via their adorable baby announcement that I received in today's mail. (Thanks, guys.)

Check out some of the design options here:

Spunky and different, these announcements take "rocking" the baby to a whole new level!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Love ya, Dad. You're the best Dad I could ask for.

Do You See What I See?

Have you ever wondered how to create the same color within different applications - say, create a pink paint that perfectly matches a pink fabric?

You'll likely use the Pantone system, a system that standardizes colors.
In doing so, different manufacturers in different locations can all refer to the Pantone system to make sure colors match without direct contact with one another.

One of the more interesting things the company produces is called the PANTONE VIEW Colour Planner. It predicts specific trends 18-24 months prior to a specific season and shows designers how to strategically apply those trends to their products and goods based on color.

Though this was published months ago, I thought it would be interesting to look at what Pantone's summer predictions are since today is the first day of summer. The Spring/Summer 2009 edition focuses on "independence," and is interpreted in seven palettes. One can expect to find these color trends reflected in several design areas including women’s wear, menswear, active wear, cosmetics, interiors, industrial design and graphics (via Pantone):
  • Female-ism: medium pastels with a tinge of retro glamour
  • Classic-ism: almost devoid of color except for one medium blue accent
  • Independent-ism: tart, bold and gregarious colors
  • Today-ism: deep, dark shades of reddish blues and brown
  • Absurd-ism: combines disproportionate color hues and values
  • Fetish-ism: "a carnal inspiration and desire for experimentation"
  • Surreal-ism: "plays with scale, combination and expectation to create unexpected, and even strange, creations"
Yes, you say, but what exactly are those colors? See below for a few of the examples.

You can purchase the whole report for $750 (or just enjoy the brief synopsis that I've provided for free).

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Geek Chic

Eyeglasses can be a big fashion statement, even if you don't need corrective lenses. There are so many trends, but these days the geeky look is in, even amongst celebrities.

And it's not only the females, either.

Don't be afraid to get in touch with your inner geek... just make sure you are fashionable while you do it. Check out some of these hot looks.

1. Nebb@Moscot; 2. Yukel@Moscot; 3. Risky Business@Metropark;
4. John Lennon@GlassesDirect.co.uk
; 5. Faded Readers@UrbanOutfitters

One more thing...

Image via MES Vision

Friday, June 19, 2009

1 Dress, 365 Days

Can you imagine wearing the exact same dress, every day, for a full year? You heard me: the same dress for 365 days. Well, that's what Sheena Matheiken pledged to do starting this past May.

The Uniform Project was inspired by Sheena's childhood experience of wearing uniforms to public school in her native India. She has fond memories of her and her friends bending the rules a bit to accessorize their uniforms, thereby making a big personal statement. (Isn't this the case with so many uniform totting kids across the globe?)

What is more important to her, though, is bringing attention to the faulty education system in India. In doing this, she's also helping to raise money for the Akanksha Foundation, an organization that is dedicated to bringing education to slum children in India.

How's she going to do it? Sheena and a friend designed one dress that can be worn several different ways: frontwards and backwards, as a dress or a jacket, in the spring or the winter, etc. She's allowed to accessorize her "school uniform" under one condition: all things she wears with it must come from ebay. She's taking sustainable fashion to a whole new level.

(And just to clarify, she's got 7 copies of the same dress, one for each day of the week.) Via Whorange.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Electric Avenue

I've been waiting for my neighborhood beauty supply store to get in Essie's 2009 Neon Collection. Well... the colors have finally arrived!

My nails are gonna be hot, hot, hot in funky limelight, flirty fuchsia, punchy pink and perky purple - just in time for the really steamy weather only a South Texas summer can bring. (I'm currently sporting the purple on my fingers and lime on my toes.) Find yours now at a local shop or online at Essie.

Though the neon trend was re-introduced on the runways during the Spring 2008 shows, it hasn't quite made it's way out yet. Neons are the colors for this summer and can be found all over the place. Now, I'm not suggesting that you should wear head to toe neon, but a little here and there certainly won't hurt. Mix it in with your basic blacks and whites for a sophisticated (yet playful) look.

Check out all the goodies I found:

1. Chanel handbag; 2. Converse@Hot Topic; 3. tape@Fred Flare;
4. bikini@Target; 5. Medusa's eye shadows@Fred Flare;
6. cameo ring@Tarina Tarantino; 7. watch@Toy Watch;
8. Louis Vuitton by Stephen Sprouse; 9. Grande headphones@Urban Outfitters;
10. sunglasses@Forever 21; 11. plastic frame@Mod Cloth; 12. Christian Louboutins@Saks

Doesn't it all make you want to rock down to Electric Avenue?

London or Paris?

My friend, Catherine, turned me onto these adorable illustrated maps from Famille Summerbelle at Bodie and Fou. The blue is of London, the pink of Paris.

Thanks, Catherine!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Just Do It

I recently posted some images of motivational prints and posters of a different kind. I liked them because they were good reminders to get things done sans the corny and sentimental language. (I guess I'm not one for those kinds of messages.) There may have been a time and place for those but we've moved on. (Well, some of us have.)

Check out a similar set of statements: Mary Kate McDevitt's motivational chalkboards. In addition to being well-designed, there is an opportunity to change or update them on an as needed basis. (These images have made their way around the blog world, but I thought they were appropriate for modern girls everywhere.)

A little motivation should be encouraging and pretty, not so stogy. These are just that and you can purchase them here.

Out and About {in Galeana}

Hotties Jennifer M. (left) and Lisa S.
Lisa wears Amy Tangerine's I HEART TX tee from Galeana

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Stylish Stylists

In talking about Lila's Sip and See, it made me think about some of my favorite event planners/stylists. I've only listed a few - there are tons more out there - but I am especially envious of the talent represented below.

Amy Atlas
Amy Atlas owns and operates an event planning company out of NYC. Though she and her staff are capable of handling all aspects of your special event, it is her dessert tables that make an ultra sweet presentation.

Her work has been featured in all sorts of mags like In Style Weddings, Food and Wine and Biz Bash, as well as online outlets such as DailyCandy.

Rebecca Thuss
While you may not know Rebecca Thuss by name, you've certainly seen her work. As a Martha Stewart Omnimedia veteran (she was employed by the craft maven for 10 years), she's had plenty of experience in making things beautiful.

To say that she is simply a "stylist" would be vastly incomplete. No, Ms. Thuss is not only a stylist, but a photographer, a crafter, a creative director and a wedding planner.

And as if that wasn't enough, she and her husband also own ThussFerrell, a graphic design firm specializing in web design, branding and corporate identity.

Livia Cetti
Another Martha Stewart veteran, Livia Cetti is now the co-owner of The Green Vase in Santa Monica, CA. She is a highly skilled floral designer, photo stylist, crafster and event planner.

Though Livia runs The Green Vase with her mother, lucky for us she is still a Contributing Editor at Martha Stewart Weddings (which means that we still have access to her gorgeous work).

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sip and See: Lila Stuart

The reason I went to Boston last week was to help my sister. She's got an adorable 2-year old (Eleanor Louise) and just had her second beautiful baby girl (Lila Stuart) two months ago. My Mom and I threw a Sip and See for the new baby this past weekend and I thought - as the proud aunt and older sister - that I would help my sis travel back home with those babies.

This Sip and See has been in the works practically since my sister announced she was pregnant (at the start of her second trimester). While my Mom was responsible for putting the actual party together, I was responsible for designing the invitations.

I had such a great time thinking about what to design. I knew the invites had to be dainty, pink, somewhat old-fashioned, but still contemporary enough to feel fresh. Here's what we ended up with:

It was a side fold card. "Sweet pea" on the cover was inspired by the month of April's official flower. The color pink was a given and the color green was a natural fit. They were printed via letterpress by Inky Lips Letterpress on a beautiful thick, cotton-y cardstock by Crane's. (And the napkins we had done as an extra touch.)

The party decorations were a huge hit, too. My Mom had traveled to Mexico during this past winter and picked up several sets of darling plastic starburst streamers. Strung from the middle of the ceiling and secured at four corners with huge bunches of roses and lilies, it was a magnificent site. It felt a little like being in the middle of a striped carousel.

Underneath the middle of the ceiling, we placed a white, three-tiered cake with "Lila" written around each layer. The cake was placed on my Mom's cake plateau which was then placed on the pink striped tablecloth that was used for the bride's cake at my sister's wedding.

In addition to the cake, we served a variety of finger sandwiches, strawberries with creme fraiche, melon wrapped in prosciutto and homemade cheese sticks. Glasses of white wine and frozen pink lemonade with fresh mint leaves were passed. And a Mexican coffee bar was the perfect compliment to the cake.

The honoree, Lila, wore gold beads and one of her mother's baby dresses. Her sister, Ellie, was resplendent in her pink striped dress, her maternal grandmother's gold beads and her mother's pint-sized white gloves. All of the other female family members wore a beautiful combination of pink and white, while the gents dressed in blues and khakis.

All in all, it was a grand affair on so many levels. We are blessed with a healthy and happy family and live in a wonderful community of friends.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Lisa Bengtsson

Like so many creatives I'm already drawn to (e.g., the designers of Odd Molly and Swedish Hasbeens), Lisa Bengtsson hails from Sweden. She's a highly talented pattern designer and graphic artist.

Some of my all time favorite wallpaper was designed by Lisa. It's called "Familjen" ("The Family") and is based on how families frame and share special moments, thereby creating lifelong memories.

I'd love to see this in my hallway.

Of course, she's got a few others that I think are pretty divine, too.

Can't you see this pattern in a closet?

Or what about this one in a powder room?

Or this one in a little girls room?

Perfectly cheery and delightful.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Returned from Boston

As you may recall, I went to Boston for a quick trip. I've just returned and while I didn't have a chance to get out much (more on that later), I wanted to share with you a few (and rather random) shots from my trip.

Luckily, I've the opportunity to visit Boston before, so I've seen many of the sights (walked the Freedom Trail, visited the Children's Museum, ate in Faneuil Hall, toured the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum, shopped on Newbury Street, etc.). Like I mentioned above, though, this wasn't a sight-seeing trip. Even so, there were a few things that always make an impression on me when I visit.

One of the obvious things to love about Boston is the historic feel of the city. (Down in Texas, we don't have 'dem cobblestone sidewalks, red brick buildings, alley gardens and brownstones with grand doorways.) It feels so intellectual. Nor do we have the delightfully cool and overcast weather in June that I enjoyed while I was there. (I finally get why companies like J.Crew and L.L. Bean manufacture sweaters and cords in the summer.) And finally, there are so many city parks available for public use. In addition to the luscious Boston Common, there are tons of smaller, well-maintained and child-friendly places to take a stroll, hop on a slide or simply pass through on the way to work.

I'll be returning next week for another 48 hour stay, so I'll try for a more well-rounded group of images at that time! In the meantime, if you haven't been to Boston, it really is a delightful city and I highly recommend a visit.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Beantown, Here I Come

I'm heading to Boston today for a quick two day personal trip. I will keep up the posts as best I can, but won't be back full force until Thursday.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Happy Weekend!

I'm sorry for not posting anything today, but I've been with the GrayBear all day. It's been a great summer day full of swimming and playing.

I leave you with a picture of the GrayBear (right) and his friend, Cis-co-bob. It's from our trip to the beach over Memorial Day weekend.

I feel overjoyed seeing my son so happy and having such fun. It's a good reminder that life is short, they grow up fast and we should cherish every moment with good friends and family.

Be well. See you Monday.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Like White on Rice

Holly @ Decor8 wrote about Rice a couple of weeks ago. I came across another posting about the company again today while I was online, but I seemed to have forgotten where. Unfortunately, I can't properly credit that other blogger (sorry!), but I figured it was a sign to share a post about them with my readers.

Rice is a Danish store full of well-designed and colorful delights. Mostly homewares, it was started in 1998 in a garage by a Danish woman, her French husband and her Thai/Danish childhood friend. The company established its roots as fair trade certified and ten years later, this mantra still guides them.

It's reminiscent of things one might find at Anthropologie, but it goes one step further. It has that clean, high-design, Scandinavian feel that is so prevalent in products from Denmark and Sweden.

Simply looking at pictures of their products makes me feel like I'm a little girl in a candy store. And if you poke around the site long enough, you are sure to come across the stylized shots.

I love it when companies understand the importance of this type of branding. These shots (and actually making them available) can do wonders from a marketing standpoint. The images are not only fun to look at, but if they are good enough, the action practically guarantees that someone is going to mention them or write about them or buy from them.

All images courtesy of Rice

Can't you see these products paired in a shoot with Odd Molly and Swedish Hasbeens from Galeana? (Hey, I'm stuck to that idea like white on rice!)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Itty Bitty ...

A quick post to share these new pillows from Jonathan Adler. SEXY, SEXY, SEXY!

Out and About {in Galeana}

The beautiful Sara M. with her son.
She wears an Odd Molly top from Galeana, paired
appropriately with white jeans, sassy wedges and orange purse.

Lynn B. looks perfectly summery in her Odd Molly
dress from Galeana. Love it paired with the silver sandals.