This store is Wonderful

October 18, 2011 at 4:31 pm , by

I had the pleasure of visiting the brand new C. Wonder store in Soho this morning. The name is perfect because the entire store is filled to the brim with colorful and witty fashion and home items at remarkably reasonable prices. I’m talking $8 for a small lacquered box, $24 for a clutch, and $78 for a cabled sweater!  It’s the brainchild of Chris Burch (Tory’s ex-) and lucky you, it opens to the public tomorrow. Make sure you stop by this weekend for lots of fun grand opening events including the Wheel of Wonder prize wheel and the C. Wonder Flower cart. Not in NYC? No worries! The full service ecommerce website will be up and running this weekend.

The store itself, designed by New York based architecture firm Pompei AD, is a marvel of interior decorating. I wanted to move right in! Gilded light fixtures and enormous tufted ottomans mix with greek key rugs and striped walls to create a space that you just can’t walk past without going in.  If you’re on Pinterest, check out my iPhone pics here on my C. Wonder pin board.

Happy Shopping!

Photo courtesy of C. Wonder

Categories: Fashion, Home | Tags: | 2 Comments

DIY Presents: Step-by-Step

October 14, 2011 at 1:00 pm , by

Painted Botanical Mugs

Dahlia Step 1

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1. Wash and dry your mugs thoroughly.

2. These are very easy patterns to freehand, but it doesn’t hurt to practice them a bit beforehand. Sketch the designs on tracing paper or printer paper, then cut around the shapes and tape onto mugs to eye the placement and composition.

3. Shake the paint pen and pump the tip onto a piece of scrap paper to start the flow of paint.

4. Begin drawing the design onto the first mug. If the paint pen begins to lose flow, simply pump a few more times on the scrap paper to renew the ink. If you make a mistake, you can either wipe off with a wet paper towel immediately, or wait 15 minutes for the paint to dry and scrape off with a straight razor blade or paint scraper. You may have to pause halfway and allow one mug to dry while you begin working on another mug, so that you don’t smudge your design. Note: Once this paint is set in the oven, it becomes safe to touch food or liquid, so if your design goes onto the rim or into the interior of the mug, that’s fine.

5. Once you have drawn all your designs on the mugs, let them sit for 24 hours to dry. Even after this point, you can scrap and wash a design off entirely an start again.

6. Once the mugs have sat for 24 hours, place them in a cold oven and set the temperature to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake at 300 for 30 minutes, then turn off the oven and allow the mugs to cool completely before removing. The paint is now set and is dishwasher safe.

Cat Scratchpad

Step 1

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1. Use your exacto knife and ruler to cut two sheets of your cardboard into 4″ wide strips.

2. Once you have all of your 4″ strips, begin the body of the fish by taking a strip and bending it along each of its corrugated ridges. You’ll see the strip start to curl as you soften each corrugated ridge. If you’re using the corrugated roll, you can skip this step.

3. Make a long oval/eye shape that is as small as possible and begin to wrap the cardboard tightly around the shape again and again. Apply a dab of hot glue between layers every few rounds to secure the shape and keep it tightly rolled. Also apply hot glue whenever you start or end a strip to keep the shape uniform. Once you have an oval that is about 16″ in diameter, stop wrapping and glue the outermost strip down to secure.

4. To make the fish tail shape, take a firm strip of cardboard and bend the strip three times near its end to create the smallest triangle possible. Then begin folding the strip around the inner triangle, only bending the cardboard each time it reaches the end points of the triangle. This will help maintain a clean shape. Periodically add a dab of glue between layers to keep the shape tightly formed. Stop when your triangle is about 10″ on each side and glue the outermost strip down to secure.

5. Now take the triangle shape and use your exacto to measure and cut 3″ off of each layer at one tip of the triangle. Once you’ve successfully cut the tip entirely off, re-glue the ends of the loose strips together to firm up the shape.

6. Run several lines of glue over the edge that you just cut and press the tail firmly onto the end of oval to attach the tail to the body of the fish.

7. Once you have the oval shape completed, cut three lengths of cardboard: 16″, 12″, and 8″. Fold each one in half and make a crease, then place at the front of your oval, pushed outward a but to create the shape of the fish’s mouth. Glue the edges of the three pieces in place and glue to the oval. Cut and fold smaller pieces of cardboard and place within the opening to fill in the mouth area.

8. Take several long strips of cardboard and glue them along the entire outside of the fish shape. Repeat again so that you have two layers of cardboard running around the body and the tail of the fish.

9. Place the fish on an uncut sheet of cardboard and trace the shape. Cut out the shape and glue to the underside of the fish shape. This adds stability to the form and will catch any loose catnip if you choose to sprinkle some on the pad (cats love this).

10. Measure the new height of your pad (should be around 4 1/8″ with the added base) and cut several strips of this width from your decorative paper.

11. Spray the backside of the decorative paper strips with spray adhesive, then carefully run the paper along the outside of the pad, covering the outermost layer of cardboard.

E-Reader Cover

Step 1

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1. Remove the pages from your book by running your exacto knife along the outer edged where the book meets the cover.

2. Measure the dimensions of the interior of the book cover, and make sure it’s larger than the dimensions of your tablet by at least 1/4″ inch on all sides.

3. Measure and cut two rectangles out the mat board that are smaller than the dimensions of your book cover by 1/8″ on all sides.

4. Measure and cut rectangles out of your fabric that are 1/4″ larger on all sides than the mat board rectangles. Also cut a 3″ strip of fabric that is the same length as your boards.

5. Spread a thin even layer of archival glue on the backside of the 3″ strip of fabric and press down into the inside spine of your book cover. Clean off excess glue with a paper towel and smooth out any wrinkles or air bubbles. Allow to dry completely.

6. Center your mat board on the backside of the fabric rectangle and cut out the corners of the fabric that extend beyond the mat board with your exacto knife.

7. Pick up the mat board and spread a thin layer of archival glue on one side. Place the glue side back down onto the backside of the fabric, making sure the board is centered and the corner cut-outs line up the corner of the board.

8. Run a thin line of archival glue along the edges of the fabric that overhang and pull them over the edges of the board to the back of the board. Smooth out any wrinkles or air bubbles from the front of the board and tape the edges of the fabric down to the backside of the board with masking tape. Clean off excess glue with a paper towel. Repeat with the second board and allow both to dry completely.

9. Cut four 4″ lengths of elastic. Take your tablet—or, if you worry about dirtying your device, you can make a mock up with identical dimensions out of scrap cardboard or foam board— and center on top of one of the fabric covered boards. Place all four elastic strips around the corners of your device and tape to the backside of the board. Adjust the straps so they are symmetrical and snug against your device—they should have just a little bit of tension so that your device doesn’t wiggle around. Make sure they are all firmly taped in place on the back, and remove your device (if you’re using a mockup device you can leave it in).

10. Working on one elastic at a time, carefully lift the tape (while not allowing the elastic to move from its position) place a few dabs of superglue on the underside of the edge of the elastic, and press back down into place. Replace the tape firmly over the piece and press down to set. Repeat seven more times with each edge of the other elastic strips until all strips are glued and taped down. Allow glue to set for 30 minutes to an hour.

11. Remove the tape from your elastic strips and check that they are securely adhered. Flip both fabric covered boards over and spread a uniform layer of archival glue over the entire back of both boards. Take the board without the elastic and flip it over, carefully center it over the left interior side of the book cover, and press firmly down to adhere it. Repeat with the other board on the right side, centering it onto the right interior side of the book cover and pressing down. Clean off any excess glue and place the open book on a flat surface. Place a stack of heavy book over both sides of the book to apply pressure while the glue sets. Allow to dry completely.

12. Once the glue has dried, remove the books and inspect your new tablet case. If any of the edges of the boards seem loose, you can apply a tiny dab of superglue between the board and the book cover and place back under the heavy books to dry.

Trend Watch: Over-Dyed Rugs

August 31, 2011 at 11:43 am , by

It sounds like sacrilege: taking an Oriental carpet or kilim rug, bleaching it, then dying the whole thing a bright, saturated hue. But surprisingly, it works, and totally transforms a traditional design into something new, fresh and modern. Of course, you wouldn’t do this with a pricey antique rug. But for old carpets that aren’t valuable or just plain worn-looking, this technique recycles them into something useful. Another technique takes pieces of multiple old rugs and sews them together before dyeing the resulting patchwork a single color, like the Patchwork Kilim from World Market at left. I first noticed this trend months back at ABC Carpet & Home, a high-end rug and home furnishings store, and am excited to see it finally showing up at more affordable prices. Check out a few more colorful options after the jump.

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How to Buy Art with 20×200 and West Elm

August 10, 2011 at 10:30 am , by

20x200 for West Elm

There’s nothing that completes a room quite like a fabulous print to hang (what’s more depressing than bare walls?). The art world can be daunting, though, so I’ve become a fast fan of 20×200, an online art store started by Jen Bekman, a New York City gallery owner. She’s on a mission to get everyone finding and talking about art that they love—even those who think their walls are limited to finger-paint masterpieces and dorm-décor leftovers.

20×200 connects vibrant artists with potential art lovers right in their inbox, and then sells the prints at a super affordable price. Every print is a limited edition, often starting with 200 pieces sold for $20 each (get it?).

“I really love the idea of people finishing the picture of their home with art by an artist that they’re going to read about and follow,” she says. “I want people to talk about their art collections in the same way they talk about the books they’re reading or what shoes or gadget they’re going to buy.”

Today, 20×200 launches a cool collaboration with West Elm—a collection of colorful, modern prints from a variety of artists.

“West Elm has the trifecta of simple, chic, and affordable solutions,” says Jen. “And like 20×200, they have a genuine enthusiasm for presenting indie stuff that’s fresh and new.”

Nervous about incorporating art in your home? Jen shared her sage advice on why you shouldn’t be.

Collecting art and using it in your home IS for you.
“Traditionally, art is seen as something that’s only for the elite, and that’s very frustrating. I opened my gallery as an accessible and friendly place that was still serious about art, and 20×200 grew out of that. Our tag line is ‘live with art, it’s good for you,’ and I really mean it. I feel like my life is better because I have art on my walls. I love surrounding myself with things I that I like aesthetically, and it’s really gratifying to support an artist by buying their work.”

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A Cute Wedding Gift Idea

August 3, 2011 at 6:27 pm , by

Screen shot 2011-08-03 at 6.04.05 PM

When it comes to weddings, I’m always torn: Do I go with something off the registry or cold, hard cash? Well, when a good friend of mine recently tied the knot, I was stuck. Literally everything on their registry had already been snapped up. So…what to do? Sure, most newlyweds probably can use the cash more than that mixing bowl set on their registry. But handing over a card with a check inside just felt so impersonal. So I decided to make them a personal gift to give along with the check. I had seen an idea I liked over on one of my favorite blogs, Young House Love, that I was excited to try. Sherry and her husband John covered an entire hallway in their home with framed, art, pictures, and other various items. They have a ton of great ideas on their walls—you should go read all about it here. Anyway, as you can see above, they framed a calendar page and circled the date of their wedding with a heart. So adorable!

See my version after the jump. Read more

Crazy for Chevron

July 27, 2011 at 5:09 pm , by

Screen shot 2011-07-27 at 2.52.54 PMLately, I’m all about chevron, this fun pattern of inverted Vs in bold, punchy colors. It’s not a new trend, but I love how simple and graphic it is. If you normally shy away from patterns, this is an easy one to try out. I’m thinking about buying this Serena & Lily feather rug, at left, for my bedroom.

Here are a few other ways to bring the zig-zag into your home:

Screen shot 2011-07-27 at 2.54.45 PM Read more

Which TV Home Do You Want to Live In?

July 13, 2011 at 4:56 pm , by

Screen shot 2011-07-13 at 3.56.37 PMWith the passing of The Brady Bunch creator, Sherwood Schwartz, making news this week, people have been waxing nostalgic for the show—and its set design. One of Apartment Therapy’s bloggers posted about how much he loved that kooky midcentury house. I also grew up watching the show in re-runs after school and felt the same way, even though it was totally insane for six kids to share one bathroom. (Let’s not forget that Mr. Brady was an architect.) Despite the cozy living quarters and questionable 60s/early 70s design choices, I wanted to move on in there and keep on dancin’. It got me thinking about the other TV homes that I coveted as a kid.

1. Beverly Hills, 90210. Ok, basically I just wanted to live down the hall from/stalk Brandon Walsh in his Spanish colonial house.

2. Friends. Monica’s apartment was girly, bohemian, and….huge. A total fantasy, but I didn’t know that back then. I had already decided I was moving to NYC one day, and that square footage was gonna be mine.

3. The Cosby Show. The Huxtables’ classic Brooklyn brownstone felt super comfortable and spacious enough for their big family. And they were always having so much fun there. Remember this?

4. Clarissa Explains It All. Didn’t she have her own phone line? So unfair.

What are your current (or nostalgic) favorite TV homes? I love the modern 1960s interiors on AMC’s Mad Men, as well as all of the Bravermans’ homes on NBC’s Parenthood. Sneak a peek at a few photos of them here.