Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Winter Wedding

I'm finally getting around to posting pictures of the thai silk bridal clutches I did for a wedding that will be in January.

It was a pleasure to work with the Matron of Honor (who is also my wonderful hair stylist) on these bags, and I look forward to seeing the pictures of them "in action."

I made the rosettes that adorn the top of the clutches out of the same silk as the bags, and coordinating organza to add texture. It was definitely a learning process, but I'm glad I took the time because now I can't wait to make them for other things like headbands and scarves. The insides of the smaller rosettes are filled with champagne colored Swarvoski crystals that add a subtle sparkle, and in the center of the large rosette is a dark platinum colored bead surrounded by the same crystals.

The inside of the bride's bag is the same chocolate brown silk as the bridesmaids bags and visa versa which gives the edging a nice contrast.

I am so thankful for the opportunity to design these bags and can't wait for the next wedding!

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Night at the Louvre

Lorenzo Lotto
Italian, ca. 1480-1556
Christ Carrying the Cross, 1526
Oil on canvas
Musée du Louvre, Department of Paintings, RF 1982-50
Photo: Thierry Le Mage. © Réunion des Musées Nationaux/Art Resource, NY

There's something surreal about coming face to face with an original piece by the young Leonardo da Vinci, a thin plate of glass separating you from a small sheet of sheepskin that was once at the mercy of such a great artist.

Last night my friend Anna and I visited the The Louvre and the Masterpiece" exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. An amazing display of beautiful works of art that were uprooted from their prestigious home at the Louvre in France and transplanted to their temporary resting place at the MIA.

We strolled through the three rooms gazing, more often than not, in awe of the works of art that surrounded us, each piece living lives we could only dream of. They were hundreds of years old looking as bright and new as the day they were born, yet aged with the wisdom of unknowingly putting into perspective our own lives and our relatively short existence.

The colors, the textures, detail, expression and emotion-evoking artifacts have long outlived their creator and were there to tell their own unique story, in their own way. I wondered more than once if these artists could have imagined their creativity being so valued and so admired by the masses for hundreds of years.

It wasn't until we had walked through two rooms, making our way around the sea of people whom had gathered, that I saw it. A painting that made me stop dead in my tracks. But it was more than just a painting, it was so much more.

Suddenly the noise that surrounded me grew still as I stood before it, silently being drawn in to an all too familiar story.

It was Jesus, carrying the cross, surrounded by his oppressors. The expression on his face was that of pure exhaustion, confusion, and heroic empathy. The thorny crown sat mockingly on top of his head, piercing his skin and drawing blood while the burden of the heavy cross lay begrudgingly on his shoulder. He was being pushed and pulled in every direction, yet somehow grounded by the sullen grey rope that tied him to his inevitable ending.

"Look at his tears." Anna, said quietly.

His tears! I didn't even see his tears until she mentioned them, and all of a sudden I could feel my own tears forming.

"This painting makes me want to cry." I said, trying to keep the tears from rolling down my cheeks.

"It's supposed to." Anna replied.

"It makes me want to be a better person" I said again, trying to convince myself that something good had to come of all of this pain and suffering.

"It's supposed to."she replied again. A reply so simple, and yet with so much understanding.

Lorenzo Lotto, a man who has been dead for 453 years was able to "flip a switch" through the stroke of a brush and his own inherent creativity. Through his artistic rendition he transformed an ideology into a real-life person capable of things far more relevant and poignant than miracles and "acts of God." Even more so, he put into perspective an event I have spent my entire life surrounded by and hadn't felt one-tenth of the emotion and understanding towards until now.

Who would've thought 400 plus years ago that a painting would travel thousands of miles across the Atlantic to find it's way to a museum where it's likeliness would bring about such reverence. Certainly not Lorenzo Lotto.

It's easy to take for granted all that is beautiful in life, but why do we? The gifts we have been given by talented individuals leave tangible recollection of times past and make it especially hard to forget, as long as we take the time to remember.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dream A Little Dream...

While most women dream sweet dreams of knights in shining armor sweeping them off their feet and carrying them into the sunset, I'm busy dreaming of things like new patterns, fabric and marketing strategies.

Yes, It's THAT bad.

Fortunately, not all is lost because out of one of those dreams came an idea for my new tags that I will include in my shipped products. I am still working on a more "cost effective" model, but for now, this is what I will be using.

And here's a "sneak peek" at one of the rosette's I made that will grace the top of a thai silk bridal clutch I'm making for a lovely bride...Stay tuned for the photos of the bride's and bridesmaid's bags! (Design from yet, another dream...Naps are VERY lucrative in my line of business.)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I [HEART] Papaya Art

Inspiration can be found in everything that surrounds you. Sounds, scents, textures, flavors, and images all work together to create memorable experiences and boundless channels for creativity.

Artists have a gift for creating beauty as well as inspiration, and that is why I'm head over heels, in love, with Papaya Art.

I first saw one of their pieces in Patina, a local gift shop, and was fascinated. I believe it was either a magnet, or a journal that caught my eye, either way, the eclectic design, beautiful colors, and inspiring words had me at hello.

I began collecting a few of their pieces and would like to share them with you, hoping that you can enjoy their beauty as much as I do.

My bedroom, notice the two Canvas prints on either side of the bed. The room used to be a dark burnt orange color and I wanted to liven it up a bit, so I choose the paint color "In your eyes" by Benjamin Moore. (I don't know if it was the actual color, or the name that was the deciding factor. The whole time I was painting the room I was waiting for John Cusack to appear in front of my house holding a boom box over his head. I love me some Peter Gabriel.)
Here they are up close.

Here's a photo I pulled out of my 2009 organizer (photo to follow). The fun thing about this is you can change these pictures out and always have something new and fun to look at.

Ah...My 2009 organizer (and pretty notepad)

Each page is separated with a fun and eye-catching piece of artwork...

...many of them with cute phrases like this...

I can't forget my magnets on my new magnetic chalkboard

And now my favorite piece. I think it's the simple phrase, encouraging me to continue pursuing my dream, to "follow your bliss" that sends this piece to the top of my list.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

At last....

You know that project you have that's been constantly pushed to the back-burner? The one that's doing it's duty, albeit half-assed and incomplete...The one you look at every day, shrug your shoulders and mumble, "Eh, I'll get to it." Well, ladies and gentlemen, that project is FINISHED. Well, at least one of them is anyway.

A few years ago (Ok, FOUR years ago) I bought an old fire place mantle at an Antique store with the intentions of making it into an entertainment center/bookcase. For a good year it sat, leaning against the wall underneath the TV serving little purpose but to awkwardly hold a picture frame. See following photo: (You can kind of see it in the background behind me in a "Happy New Year" Tiara and Erica holding a deck of Spam cards.)

About a year and a half later Josh finally made it into a bookcase. Hallelujah! Only it wasn't painted and it had no back. It sat this way for another good year and a half and although it was able to fulfill it's duty, it wasn't pretty. I blame part of it on the piece itself because it is SO heavy and hard to move...OK, FINE..It was all my fault.

A few weeks ago we had finally had enough. Josh drug the piece outside and began scraping the five plus layers of paint on the mantle piece, sanded it down, and prepped it for me to finish. I painted it a color by Ralph Lauren called Writers Parchment, a soft bone color that isn't too white, but just right.

The particle board that covers the back is lined with a lovely wrapping paper I found at Patina, and now it hides everything you don't want to see...Finally!

It was teamwork at it's finest and now it's done! Despite the little incident with the sabre saw...

Take a look!

I love the texture of the baskets with the books.

The paper up close and personal.

The top is reserved for my favorite photos...

...And flowers from my garden.

In other news, look at the beautiful fall colors outside my front door...

And one last shot of my house before the snow begins to fly and the flowers in my window boxes are replaced with spruce tips. Goodbye summer. *sniff* (Notice Lola gazing out of the far left window...She's wearing her sassy pink sweat shirt.)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The quintessential jewelry box. In theory it does it’s job, protecting your precious pieces from any sort of adverse element while keeping them from getting lost. The downside, however, is that you aren’t able to enjoy your pieces when you’re not wearing them.

Jewelry is an art form, so why shouldn’t you display them for all to see?

My good friend Danika has two frames hanging from a lovely satin ribbon in her bathroom. It was from her, that I decided to make one of my own out of an old frame I found at an antique dealer.

Now my favorite pieces are on display for all to enjoy. A unique, one of a kind frame surrounds a simple silver screen that allows you to hang your jewelry effortlessly. You can hang the frames on your wall, or simply lean them on a shelf to create instant artwork out of pieces that are otherwise hidden.

Look for more of these on my etsy page.

Have a certain color in mind? Let me know and I can custom make one to fit your décor!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Chalk It Up To Inspiration.

For the last four or so odd months I had been trying to find "the perfect" antique (or "antique-like" but used, must be used) frame to make into a magnetic chalkboard for my sewing studio. It was to the point where it literally became an obsession. I journeyed to Antique stores near and far and became manic about checking Craig's list at least five times a day. I had a picture in my mind of exactly what I wanted it to look like and wasn't willing to compromise....Which clearly is a problem.

One morning after checking Craig's list again, I had remembered an article my brother-in-law sent me about a woman who owns a store in Buffalo, Minnesota called Atelier (French for an artist's studio or workroom). He sent me the link with the caption "This is right up your alley."

I decided to take the 45 minute drive and check this place out for myself. The two-story brick building stands on one of a few corners in quaint, downtown Buffalo. I drove to the back where I could see that her other store "The Porch" (open the first week of every month) was also open (Lucky me!!). Harvest tables, old doors and other goodies were set outside waiting to be snatched up by some lucky connoisseur of French country chic.

I walked up the sidewalk to the main entrance, stepped inside the store and was immediately stopped dead in my tracks. It took my breath away. Everything and I mean everything was beautiful. 13-foot (at least) ceilings hovered elegantly over a mix of eclectic, vintage, french market inspired goodies. It was my nirvana and I didn't want to leave. I could have easily set up camp on the beautiful French settee and been happy as a clam. Forever.

After making my way through all of the goodies upstairs, I ventured down to The Porch where, incidentally, I ended up finding my sought-after frame and where I was also able to chat with Teresa herself. A lovely woman, so sweet and genuine, we had a conversation about my bags and about her love of re purposing old, discarded items. Her passion was evident and inspired me to continue on with what I love to do. Maybe someday I can have a place as beautiful as hers.

Teresa will be featured in the 2010 lineup for Country Living magazine, so keep your eyes peeled. If you can't wait, check out this article (that also includes a tour of her awesome apartment...I've watched it like 75 times...I feel like such a stalker) published last April by the Star Tribune. Teresa also has a blog (The Porch & Atelier) where she writes about up and coming events and things that inspire her.

As it turns out, the frame I bought wasn't exactly what I thought I wanted, but when it was all said and done, it turned out better than anything I would have hoped for. Check it out for yourself!



Also, if you like this idea, keep checking my etsy page for more magnetic chalkboards like this for sale!