Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Put a bird on it? Don't mind if I do...

Lately I've been obsessed with the work of Kate Broughton. I find myself stopping by her Etsy shop almost everyday, just wondering what new treasure awaits me. To be fair, I didn't discover her on my own. You might remember my friend Laura who did all the great photography for the HomewardHandmade shop. One day I saw that she had favorited these awesome nail decals...they had birds on them! I was immediately smitten, and became even more so in the minutes that followed. What did I find in Kate's shop but temporary tattoos featuring scissors and balls of yarn, a beautifully illustrated chart of British Birds, and other printed odds and ends sporting her lovely natural designs. Stop by and take a look. I'm sure it will brighten your day. -hil
more of Kate's products after the jump!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Why I love Ginestra (and so should you)

Yesterday at the flower shop I was processing a new shipment and in it I found (oh joy!) Ginestra! Ginestra  is what we call a filler flower; it's never the star of the show but it does a great job next to big poms or roses in helping to make a bouquet look full. The flowers come in many different colors: yellow, pink, white, lavender, and even orange. They are arranged as many tiny buds on green wispy stalks and have a fresh, weedy elegance to them. But by far the best thing about this flower is its scent. Whereas many flowers you buy in a shop today don't have any scent to speak of anymore, Ginestra smells like a million miles of honeysuckle on your favorite summer day. It's perfume is so strong and rich and pretty...just put a bouquet of it in your home and you'll find yourself catching a wonderful wiff every time you walk by.
delightfully engaged
You may be wondering about now why, with all this talk of it's wonder, Ginestra isn't the filler of choice for most florists. I will tell you: it's expensive. Ginestra is imported from the hills of Italy, which accounts for most of the price-hike. Also, babies breath is dirt cheap and the most well-known filler flower, though I have yet to find a florist who thinks very highly of it. (note: if you're looking for a nice filler that's not as expensive, go with wax flower. It doesn't smell, but it's beautiful and comes in a small variety of colors).
I did find a great blog on a gorgeous bouquet you can make yourself using Ginestra. You can find all the details for this lovely arrangement at Delightfully Engaged. They formulated this particular bunch with Sweet Peas (so pretty!), Ranunculus, Dusty Miller, and Rice Flower. It is absolutely to die for, and the how-to is straight forward and easy to follow. I hope you enjoy making it, or at least using the great tips it shares, and if you're ever in a flower shop (or the italian countryside) keep an eye out for Ginestra. You may grow to love it just as much as me. -Hil

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bridal Shower Decoration DIY

This weekend Shannon came into town and we had a bridal shower for our lovely friend Ellen who is getting married in just three short weeks! You may recall me posting a little about Ellen's wedding, in particular her vintage floral bridesmaid dresses from Louise Hedley. The nuptials are going to have a blue/green theme along with that lovely dash of bright florals. Our challenge? How to create a beautiful shower to honor our friend on a budget. Get the scoop after the jump!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

How To: plant a terrarium

For years I've been steadily accumulating glass containers with the intention of planting terrariums in them and yesterday, with the wonderful weather and just a little extra time between jobs, I finally did. I've been reading up on them and gathering plants, moss, and soil for about a week now. A couple of years ago my mom gave me the book The New Terrarium by Tovah Martin and Kindra Clineff. I thought it was cool but never took the time to read it...until last week. The book gives a very thorough explanation of terrariums: the first one accidentally created by a fern in a bottle, Wardian cases, open containers, etc. The best part is the great resource of case studies in the back, though. It tells you how to plant your own terrarium and beyond that gives a break down of the different environments and types of plants acceptable for use in them. It also lets you know the preferable supplies you'll need to plant each one. On top of that they list many greenhouses and nursuries from which to obtain supplies. With all this under my belt, I set off to plant my first terrarium. Read on for the visual how-to after the jump!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

In the classroom with felted scarves

This week in after school art, visiting artist Pamela Howard taught my middle schoolers how to make felted scarves. It was a great project and I think they rather enjoyed it. Pamela had found an adapted tutorial on how to make these with kids using a base of inexpensive sewer's cheesecloth instead of silk (we don't have those kinds of funds!) and easily available tools such as 2" diameter PVC pipe, bubble wrap, olive oil soap, and rubber bands. One of Pamela's friends from an online fiber community she's a part of donated all of the wool we needed for the project, which she had hand-dyed into a beautiful rainbow of colors. Read on for more on this project after the jump!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Doha Chebib's woodsy-chic log bowls

I have a new obsession. I've considered these lovely bowls from Loyal Loot off and on for a while now, and with the onset of spring they've sprung to mind again. Except this time I discovered something new: I used to think these guys were crafted to mimmic logs and tree branches, but now I realize they are real logs that have been hollowed out, painted, and glazed. This somehow makes them even more attractive to me. Their bright colors and organic nature are perfect for the season. Maybe one day designer Doha Chebib will put them on sale. These bowls were created for a Canadian art exhibition called CABIN and as of yet remain (literally) priceless works of art. Until then, we'll just have to drool. Enjoy! -hil

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Brooklyn Laundry: why Lindsey Manilla should curate your closet

You may recall me mentioning a visit to New York City a few months back. That visit was to see a lovely Brooklyn based fashionista by the name of Lindsey Manilla, whose been a dear friend of mine for the last eight years of life. We've been through a lot together: road trips, break-ups, weddings, funerals, graduations, job interviews...you get the picture. I remember Linds when she was still a red-headed, polka dot obsessed high schooler, and even then she was one of the most creative and ambitious people I knew. That hasn't changed. At 25, Linds has already had the opportunity to design for brands as illustrious as J.Crew, Trovata, ADAM, Club Monaco, and Rag&Bone. And now she's bringing her talents to the streets; that's right folks, you can buy her hand-picked looks in her freshly launched vintage shop on Etsy, BrooklynLaundry.
Lindsey has always been a classy dresser, but one of the most remarkable things about her taste is she can spot the most well-made, classically fitting piece in a room in a matter of seconds. She says that "in Fashion Design, you are constantly observing...Constantly!!! You design a lot less often than you think! What is very important is that you are always taking in what's happening around you. What's on the runway, what people are wearing, what color is suddenly on nails everywhere."
This talent alone is not the secret to her success, however. She pairs it with a discerning eye and sees it as her mission "to take it all in and interpret accordingly. New styles and products are constantly coming out, but what  I find most impressive are the styles that have lasted through the trend cycles. The classics that you know when you buy, you will be able to wear time and time again, and in a million different ways. These are the types of pieces I look for myself, and what I select for Brooklyn Laundry. I like to think of it as 'curated classiness,' as my home page on etsy will inform you."As the owner of the closet I most covet, I can tell you Linds is phenomenal at this task. She's helped me move away from buying things I won't wear in a year to investing in pieces I know I can constantly transform and that will continue to be classy for years to come. Her mantra has always been to buy classic shapes: "As a girl on a budget, I think classics are a smart way to shop. Why waste the money on a quick trend? Hold off and put your money  into a piece that is going to build your wardrobe and is going to give you a lot of miles."
More on Lindsey and Brooklyn Laundry after the jump!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tibetan Momos: New York Times recipe review

A few weeks ago the New York Times published an interesting food story about sha momos, the dumpling that traditionally accompanies the celebration of the Tibetan New Year. Momas are usually filled with Yak meat or beef and are perfumed with notes of ginger, cilantro and garlic. They are steamed dumplings known for their juiciness. In a nutshell, Tibetan comfort food at it's finest.
Fortunately, the article was followed by a recipe for said delicacy, which my sister Lindsey promptly concocted. I was lucky enough to be in the kitchen with her and watch this savory treat come to life. I recorded it for you here and reproduced the recipe as a visual how-to below. Enjoy! -hil

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How To: plant a bulb garden

Spring will soon, well, spring, and at work we've begun to get a lot of orders in for bulb gardens. Bulb gardens are little baskets or planters featuring spring bulb plants like Hyacinth, Tulips, and Daffodils. This may just be my extreme bias towards spring flowers talking, but they're adorable. And as an added bonus, they're fun to make! That's why I put together a brief demonstration from a basket I assembled at work. View the visual how-to after the jump!