Archive for December, 2009

Handmade for the Holidays

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

I always start off the holiday season with the best of intentions when it comes to making gifts for my loved ones.  Some earrings, a necklace or two, a few hand-knit scarves, no problem.  Until I look up and realize that Christmas is in a week and I haven’t even started on my gifts yet.  Out of necessity, I begin to modify my plans, simplify things, and look for items that allow that special handcrafted feel without requiring a week of very late nights to get everything done.

I suspect that I’m not alone in being overly ambitions, and felt a surge of joy when reading my favorite knitting blog today.  The Purl Bee has a posting titled “The Opulent Eleventh Hour Scarf.”  Rejoice!  Bulky yarn and big needles save the day.


Onto jewelry.  Carlentini Designs, owned by my good friend Catherine Pistone-Cooper, offers beautiful jewelry – still very much handmade, just not by me!  She works in semi-precious stones and hand-forged silver, and she takes custom orders.


And there is always the lovely customized vintage wood-type stationary made by Alli Bozeman of BirdDog Press…perfect for just about anyone.



And for something funky and unusual, I think these steel wire hangers for Tillandsias (a.k.a. “airplants”) are quite delightful, and in combination with a few airplants would make a gift I know that I (for one) would love.


Posted in Handcrafted, Lifestyle | 1 Comment »

Mixed Media in Santa Fe

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

The work of mixed media artist Pascal Pierme has been inspiring me for years.   He lives in one of my favorite places on earth – Santa Fe, New Mexico – and his unique approach to sculpting with wood and metal resonates with my fundamental interest in color, texture and composition.




I am fortunate enough to have one of Pascal’s wall pieces in my own home.  While the Pascal is a great conversation piece, it is also the perfect compliment to the finishes, palette and furnishings of the space.


photo by Ben Tremper

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Lights By United Glass Blowing

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

My fellow Rhode Island School of Design alumni Caleb Siemon and Carmen Salazar are making some pretty fantastic light fixtures.   Their glass blowing studio – United Glass Blowing – is located in Santa Ana, California, and known previously for the vessels that Caleb and his team produce.



Imagine my delight when I recently visited the United Glass Blowing website and was introduced to their new line of light fixtures!  I love all of them, and hope that I can find many, many ways to support Caleb and Carmen as they venture into the world of lighting.


White Ivory Lattimo Cone Pendant: milk glass focusing on form rather than color.  13″T x 4.5″W


Sargasso Happy Kiss Light: this line plays with the reflective and malleable qualities of glass.  5″T x 5″W


Clear Beehive Pendant: a thick, clear pendant that revels in the material.  9″T x 7″W


Amber Banded Orb Pendant: inspired by the rich hues and undulating topography of Southern California.  9″T x 9″W

Posted in Handcrafted, Interiors | 1 Comment »

Ben Tremper Photography

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

I had the pleasure of meeting Ben Tremper when Colorado Homes Magazine photographed my house for their 2009 Remodel Issue.  Ben is an amazing individual – very talented, creative, fun and homework help websites has an eye for the perfect shot.

Ben recently launched a photography blog and it’s just lovely – a perfect way to keep up with all his interesting work, especially now that he and his equally creative wife Amy Tremper (who designed my website and this blog!) have relocated to San Francisco.

Ben’s most recent post features Western Landscapes from his travels over the summer – here are a few of my favorite shots.




all photos copyright Ben Tremper Photography

Posted in Architecture, Inspiration, Landscape, Photography | 2 Comments »

The Art of Fire

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009


I’ve done a lot of fireplace research over the years, and I always come back to Rais, my all-time-favorite fireplace manufacturer.  Rais stoves range from the classically designed to modern, and pay homage to clean, simple and elegant Scandinavian design.

I’m hoping to use the Rais R60 in a current remodel project and someday…someday…I plan on purchasing the Pina for my house.  The Pina would be a perfect addition to the sunroom and a nice way to add some extra warmth on a cold winter day.  Here are three of my favorite interior models plus a new outdoor fireplace.


RAIS R60: the original Rais wood burning insert.


RAIS X-BASIC: striking linear design with eco-wise burning technology.


RAIS PINA: award willing design can be mounted on a pivoting base.


RAIS GIZEH: sculptural outdoor barbecue or fireplace for the garden.

Posted in Architecture, Building Materials, Interiors, Lifestyle | Comments Off on The Art of Fire

Something Different – Seed Pod Imagery

Friday, December 4th, 2009

I follow a lovely blog authored by Rochelle Greayer, a writer and landscape designer who runs Greayer Design Associates LLC, based in Harvard, MA.  Her blog, Studio G, is full of beautiful photography, plant ideas, and other landscape-oriented sentiment.  A few weeks ago she posted a piece on Seed Saving, and I found myself regarding these amazing images with awe and then…as grounds for color palette inspiration.


image by *dragan

Those of you who know me are aware of my preference for a clean, slightly industrial, earth-toned palette with very specific punches of color and texture.  These pods hint at that same philosophy – so intriguing.  And so I searched for more seed pod photos…here are a few favorites.







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Collaborative Adventures with BirdDog Press

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

I’ve been working with Alli Bozeman and her Lyons, Colorado based letterpress studio BirdDog Press for over a year now on various projects.  We joke that we need to have weekly meetings to talk design, stay inspired and celebrate the art of making…in fact, we’ve been doing just that.  Over the coming weeks I plan on featuring a few of the projects that we’ve collaborated on, including pieces for my wedding, which was held in November at Dunton Hot Springs in the far reaches of southwestern Colorado.




Inspired by the rustic luxury that Dunton embodies, Alli and I set out to create some ultra-unique wedding invites.  Two logistical factors played into our design decisions: 1. the wedding was rather spontaneous and left very little time for long-range planning or ordering letterpress plates; 2. we only needed to make six invitations.  Alli has been collecting vintage wood type for her press, so we quickly decided to make use of what she had in-house.  Rather coincidentally, she had just received some wood veneer samples from a friend and furniture maker – perfect to connect with the weathered wood structures at Dunton.  We ordered some walnut veneer (my favorite wood species) from Flux Fine Furniture and got started with the printing.


The Vintage Press at BirdDog’s Studio


Alli setting type.


We first blind debossed a wheat-like organic texture into soft cotton paper…it was a November wedding, after all, and we wanted a visual connection to this time of harvest.  Next came the printing of Joe’s and my names using Alli’s vintage wood typeface, followed by a simple scroll pattern to bookend the top and bottom of the page.




Lead type is then set in a framework of spacers and braces – we wanted to keep the message simple and decided to limit the information to the date and location, printed in a bright orange as an accent to the text spelling out our names.


Mocking up the printed piece on walnut veneer with orange grommets and a sprig of wheat.  The walnut will be drilled to accommodate the grommets, and the cotton paper punched.  The thin walnut warped in the dry Colorado climate, an unintended benefit that harks back to the weathered cladding of Dunton’s cabins.



The invites were then placed in boxes, a sprig of dried wheat was added to give the piece more dimension, and the boxes were wrapped in leather and aluminum wire, and finished with a piece of orange coral.  Alli rescued the worn leather remnants from a local upholstery shop – they were going to be thrown away!



Lastly, we were lucky enough to have the final piece photographed on site – in the place that inspired the design in the first place.  These final two photos are by the very talented Julia Vandenover.



Next week I’ll be featuring another BirdDog collaborative adventure – our welcome buckets and place cards.  Stay tuned and thanks for reading!

Posted in Handcrafted, Lifestyle, Weddings | 1 Comment »

Colorado Ranch Overlooking Mesa Verde

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009


I had the pleasure of visiting the ranch of a family friend over the Thanksgiving holiday.  The snow was blowing in as we were walking the property, obscuring most of the view, but certainly not hindering the beauty of this place.  As always, adventures such as this cause me to yearn for land, solitude and animals!  600 acres, a horse barn with caretaker quarters above, a lovely main house, and grazing livestock…all looking out over the very special Mesa Verde.  My favorite part, aside from the rolling meadows and surrounding mountains, was the barn – a contemporary take on a western institution.



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