Archives for category: Indulgence

(via unconsumption)

Most of all, we like to think of this day as a good excuse to stop our crazy lives and just spend time making something special for that special someone (or for the all the special someones) in our life.

What a busy week! We’ll leave you with a nice, relaxing film put together by Etsy about a 91-year old Alaskan moccasin-maker named Mabel. We want our own Mabel moccasins to kick around this weekend…

Students will be finishing up the last class of Shoe-Making 101: North American Footwear, where they got to choose from 17 different designs for their leather shoes.

If you missed this round of Shoe Making, you can join in April! Check it out.


(courtesy Craft Zine)

… because IT’S FRIDAY!

And although that doesn’t necessarily mean that the brake is near for us at TAC, since weekend equals classes happening, I always feel more relaxed (and lazier) when Friday comes.

For that reason, today’s post is nothing but eye candy and eye candy only. This week,  I walked by Nespresso store in Soho and was psyched with their window display.

Sequins + more sequins + bright and wonderland-ish colors + quilting? Got me!

The window displays are part of a collaboration that brought together Indian avant-gard designer Manish Arora and Nespresso. The store’s windows in Soho are covered with sequined and appliqué quilts, and animated little figures (that used coffee capsules in their construction), representing several of New York most emblematic buildings.

It’s been interesting to see so many brands (even not fashion related) having textile-y windows and marketing campaigns lately. Is it fiber art finally getting a well-deserved “sunny place” in the more mainstream world? Let’s hope that it will be more than a seasonal fashion.

Arora also created, inspired by Nespresso 16 different kinds of coffee, a fantastical fashion line, based on a fairy tale (that includes 16 princesses, daughters of Queen Nespresso). The clothes were made of uber-jeweled and sequined fabrics, but also included coffee capsules.

Manish Arora’s Nespresso Princesses

(photos courtesy of

Arora’s creations can be seen also in Nespresso stores in Paris, Sydney, Munich, Barcelona, Sao Paolo, Beijing, as well as Morocco, Greece, the Middle East, Japan and  South Africa till January 2011.



Isa and I have been talking a ton about things we want to change in this coming year. I’m not a huge believer in “resolutions”, per se, but I do really enjoy the new year. It marks a very clear end and beginning for me, that mentally frees up space to suck it up and let some things go. Or take on new things

We talked yesterday about making the time again to go see gallery shows, and be even more involved in the arts community, particularly textiles. I mean, it’s out job. But the other thing I have avoided for some time are movies. I can’t really relate to award season for anything other than the dresses (totally fair) but I do feel I could be better when it comes to movies (haven’t ever seen any of the Godfather series..whoops) I generally shy away from having to sit in an uncomfortable chair with a group of strangers, unable to press pause and do something else for awhile.

But with all the free films in the summer time, and interesting independent projects going on, I want to promise to see more. I can allow myself some time to relax, sit in a dark room, and absorb new information that takes me outside of my general little world. And there is no excuse for not cuddling up on the couch in the comfort of my own home with a remote control.

So, been meaning to post this trailer for some time, but as I stopped at Rite Aid this morning and was given a double-shopping-bag for my pack of gum, I decided it was time:

I know, I missed the NY screening by a long shot (resolution fail) but I’m hoping it comes back around soon!

(courtesy Bag It Movie)

Last night I was drinking my usual cup of tea and thought to myself how I never have tea-time anymore.  When I was abroad in Scotland you would see the cafes flooded with folks who were taking a moment out of their busy schedule to have a proper scone, clotted cream, and a nice cup of tea.

Though if you really want to go all out and get a proper afternoon tea there are a bunch of places in NYC that provide this luxury to those who are willing to set aside a few hours for the consumption and enjoyment of tea.

Casablanca: If you’re looking for a pot of estate Darjeeling and scones this is not your tea spot. If on the other hand you’ve ever wanted to order Moroccan mint tea or peach oolong and nibble on spicy olives while feeding your significant other chicken phyllo triangles you are in luck. Location:  They are at 164 Mercer the back-end of the store.

Danal: With the smells of good cooking, the jazz singer on the stereo, the old French farmhouse tables and chairs to match the French regional food, and a verdant back garden, Danal seems to be very far away from the Big City. There are comfy couches by the fireplace (it’s an artificial blaze, unfortunately) and lots of objets scattered around-photos in frames, candlesticks, pitchers. Choose from more than 20 teas offered with scones, tea sandwiches and desserts. Location: 90 E. 10th St. New York, NY 10003. Tel:(212) 982-6930

Lady Mendel’s Tea Salon: Some people find nothing more romantic than afternoon tea, especially at a place like Lady Mendl’s. Tea is served Wednesdays through Fridays at 3pm and Saturdays and Sundays, with seating at 2 and 4:30 at $30 a person. Location: 56 Irving Place, near 17th Street, New York, NY. Tel:(212) 533-4600

Sarabeth’s: High Tea served Monday thru Friday. “The perfect marriage of American Art and the best of American food. A perfect New York day! Multiple Location: Sarabeth’s (West) 423 Amsterdam Avenue(80th Street) New York, NY 10024 Tel: 212.496.6280. Sarabeth’s(East) 1295 Madison Avenue (92th Street)New York, NY 10128 Tel: 212.410.7335S

Tea & Simpathy: A good spot for a spot of tea on a rainy day if you don’t mind cramped quarters. They not only serve afternoon tea, but also such English basics as Welsh rarebit, shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash and tweed-kettle pie. In addition to the Stilton-and-walnut salad, there is a salad with chicken, egg, bacon and tomatoes they’ve dubbed “Absolutely Fabulous.” Next door is a shop selling everything English, from tea to videotapes. Location: 108 Greenwich Avenue, New York, NY 10011. Tel: (212) 807-8329

T Salon: This three-story salon in Chelsea offers several ways to quench your thirst. Feeling parched? T Salon sells more than 100 blended teas, plus teapots, tea-flavored condiments and herbal elixirs. If your stomach’s grumbling, seek nourishment in their array of soups and salads. And if you want wine with that, bring your own. Enthusiasts can sign up for tea-making and Japanese tea ceremony classes. Location: 11 E 20th St Broadway New York, NY 10003. Tel: (212) 925-3700

Alice’s Tea Cup: Breakfast menu runs from 8am-11:30am every morning and consists of egg dishes, pancakes, specials, fresh coffee and of course tea and scones. Location: 102 W 73rd St at Columbus Ave (212-799-3006). Second location at 165 East 64th Street (near Lexington Ave).

However, you can just as easily create your own afternoon tea in your own home. Pick out your favorite tea and go down to Whole Foods to get jam and clotted cream and bake your own scones.  This recipe is an ace, I have tested and tasted this recipe over and over:

Cream Scones from The Joy of Baking

2 cups of all-purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup COLD (very important) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 heavy cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and place the rack in the middle of the oven. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour,sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. In a small measuring cup combine the whipping cream, beaten egg and vanilla. Add this mixture to the flour mixture. Stir just until combined. Do not over mix.

Kneaddough gently on a lightly floured surface. Roll or pat the dough into a circle that is about 7 inches (18 cm) round. Then, using a 2 1/2 inch (6.5 cm) round cookie cutter, cut the dough into rounds. Place the rounds on the prepared cookie sheet, spacing a few inches apart. Brush the tops of the scones with a little cream.This helps to brown the tops of the scones during baking.

Bake forabout 15 – 18 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of a scone comes out clean. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve withDevon creamor softly whipped cream and your favorite jam.

These scones freeze very well.

Makes about 10 – 2 1/2 inch (6.5 cm) round scones.

This recipe is good for any scone.  Try adding dried fruit, cheese, or even chocolate chips and you will realize this is probably the easiest pastry to bake…ever.

**Blog Plug: Don’t forget to submit your blog ideas to!  I am anxiously waiting for all of the brilliant ideas that are sure to come my way.

Anyhow, today I was sitting on the subway and like any other New Yorker I was trying to keep my eyes to myself…meaning that I was in la-la land, keeping to myself, and I didn’t want to be bothered. But a woman with bright pink curly hair caught my attention around Canal Street.  However, the first thing I noticed was that she was cross-stitching (something you don’t see everyday in New York) and then my eyes gazed upon her hot pink locks.  But I didn’t think, “Oh what an interesting / weird / loud hair color.”  I thought, “Wow that color would look beautiful as a cashmere sweater.”  That head of hair completely turned me on to the idea of looking at hairstyles as a point of creative stimulation. (I got tired of using the word inspiration.)

From This…

To This (sorry I was unable to find the designer)…

And This…

To Christian Dior…



And This…

To Tina Kalivas…

These pictures are exceptional and tend towards the side of extremely fashionable hair dyes but it just shows you that hair is a wonderful source of creative stimuli.  What you did to your head in high school and college can help you create your wardrobe, bathroom, wedding invitations, etc.

Though there is the possibility that my time at the Textile Arts Center has rekindled my insatiable creativity, my imagination is running WILD.

Today I wanted to share an obsession that started when my cousin began to make kooky looking stuffed creatures during Thanksgivings up in Michigan. Though she is constantly expanding her brain with information of the ages, she still manages to find time to create these odd creatures.

Zen Monster

Big Heart Big Teeth Monster

Sarah Palin Voo Doo Doll

For more of Margaret’s creations you can visit her site  She has bags, shirts, drawings of law school, and definitely more creatures!

Another creature artist I like is Donna Wilson, a London-based textile designer.  Donna Wilson set up her company in 2003 after making odd knitted creatures for her final show at the Royal College of art. The creatures sold out and since then she has built her business designing and making a collection of curious cushions, luxurious lambswool blankets, and variety of products for you and your home.  Her look is cartoonish and teetering on crazy, but they are plush, adorable, and I just want to hug them all.



Ed Red Head

Harry Hairy Head


Peeping Tom





Lightning Cloud Pillow

Rain Cloud Pillow

To see more of her designs visit

In a world of skimpy skirts, 5 inch high heels, layers of makeup, and some of the lowest cut dresses I have ever seen it is nice to see that some of the ideals of retro clothing is coming back. I have always been a more conservative dresser myself, that value was instilled by my parents my entire life and I am thankful they have.

Television shows such as Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire are in eras where women reveled very little skin and held the air of sophistication and sensuality.  Designers like Alexandra Grecco design using these eras as her influence, and the clothing is must-have.

You can also purchase Grecco’s design on or if you are just looking to browse vintage designs my favorite site would definitely have to be which has become a go-to shopping site lately.

Even the music goddess, Beyoncé Knowles, is keeping it retro-chic with her music video, “Why Don’t you Love Me.”  Check out those sky-high shoes.  My favorites are those patent red and neon yellow heels she wears when “clipping hedges”.

Movie from

But one of my favorite retro indulgences has to be hats, Dior hats to be specific.  If you want to be the completely envy of women everywhere this fall having one of these hats in your possession will one-up the competition.

I mean honestly, who wouldn’t want to have a red feather concoction on their head?

And of course what blog entry can talk about retro clothes and not talk about retro shoes? Though I could just show pictures of Chanel’s impeccable line of vintage shoes I want to show you a more affordable and easier to access line of shoes by J.Crew.  I love these retro inspired looks for fall.

China and Japan have been producing textiles for thousand of years.  China was the first producer of silk, so we can thank them for that.  Japan were one of the first pioneers of the technique Shibori: a method of twisting, binding, stitching, or compressing fabric to create patterns in the fabric when it’s dyed.

Though I think that China and Japan have created some of the most interesting print patterns to date.  Their patterns are deliberate and perfect almost to the point of  being obsessive.

One thing I really like about Chinese/ Japanese fabrics is that they all reference nature in some way.  Their cultures are steeped in high respect for their natural surroundings.

The natural world has long been conceived in Chinese thought as a self-generating, complex arrangement of elements that are continuously changing and interacting.  Chinese philosophy tends to focus on the relationships between the various elements in nature rather than on what makes or controls them. According to Daoist beliefs, man is a crucial component of the natural world and is advised to follow the flow of nature’s rhythms. Daoism also teaches that people should maintain a close relationship with nature for optimal moral and physical health.

<Source:Nature in Chinese Culture | Thematic Essay | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art>

In Japan the practices of Shinto, a Japanese indigenous spirituality, today refers to the various shrines, festivals, and memorials which serve various purposes.  The belief is that harmony can only be achieved with nature, a fact that is most commonly seen in Japanese flower arranging, architecture, and garden design.

In Chinese textiles there is a lot of dragon imagery.  Dragons are legendary creatures in Chinese folklore and mythology.  They represent strength, good luck, and great power.  (Control over water, rainfall and floods.)  Historically, the dragon also symbolized different ranks of power.  The 3-clawed dragon represented the commoners, the 4-clawed dragon represented the Emperor of China, and the 5-clawed dragon represented the Son of Heaven which was an emperor that was recognized as ruler of “All Under Heaven”.

All the fabrics are lusciously rich in texture, color, and imagery.  A true luxury.

So indulge me if you will on a little detour we are going to take.  Personally, my accessory of choice has always been jewelry, and with the ladies of TAC embarking on the 6 Items or Less Challenge it has been on my mind lately.  I have a fairly large collection since I worked at a jewelry store, Pennyweights, for many years throughout high school and part of college…and I have kept every piece.  So I am always interested in what new paths jewelry makers are taking.  It is safe to say that jewelry, like clothing, will be around as long as fashion is around.  It is impossible to separate the two.  

So when I came across this amazing series of jewelry photographed by Patrizio di Renzo I was hooked.   Majo Fruithof’s jewelry collections are symmetrical in nature but is certainly not for squares. 

Her 2008 collection is almost complete done in black with the intentional splash of color or integration of white. All her pieces are exquisitely simple and easy to integrate into any fashion closet, but every single piece is a work of art in itself.  And in this world of Silly Bandz and multiple piercings, it is refreshing to see solidarity genius.

I know that jewelry of this kind is more of a metal works craft rather than a textile art, but metal works is also an age-old craft.  So thank you for letting me side-track just for a moment while accessorizing is consuming my mind.  And check out the TAC ladies on their 6 Items Challenge.