Other people's products - July

Other people's products - July

I decided as a maker, being so inspired by other people's work as we all are, I wanted to share design I feel particularly fond of on a monthly basis. Today is my first post to that effect. All the products are clean, functional and something I would love to have for my home.

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11 days in Lisboa

I wanted to share a recent interview I did with a website called Pink Pangea, a travel site dedicated to women. Link back to the original here, and check out their other great travels stories! Check out my story below, I've added some of my pictures from the trip as well.

 

Tell us about yourself! What do you do when you’re not traveling the world? Where do you live? What made you decide to go to Portugal?

I’m currently living in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. I work as a prop stylist, event designer and run an ecommerce business. Here I sell mid-century modern home decor and upcycled products, including planters made from MCM enamel bowls, hand painted silver plate planters and vintage mug with hand poured soy candles.

My husband is originally from Lisbon, so this year we decided to visit his family as well as tour the areas around Lisbon. I had never been before and we have been together for over 10 years so it was a long time coming!

How long did you go for? How did you spend your time?

We were there for 11 days. His family lives in Sacavem which is one neighborhood outside of Lisbon. We stayed in their apartment which overlooks the Parque das Nacoes where they held the World’s Fair several years ago. That was where we headed the first day. Also near the park is a train station (Estação do Oriente) designed by Santiago Calatrava. All along the waterfront park there are beautiful sculptures and art installations. My favorite was a series of tile fountains. There were about 6 of them in varying colors and they were spaced about every 300 yards down a wood boardwalk flanked by trees. Gorgeous.

 

The next day we headed up to Mafra to see the Palace of Mafra. When we arrived we learned it was closed for the day, but we found the beautiful gardens behind the palace open and available to wander through. The exterior of the palace was phenomenally beautiful so I can only imagine the interior! Before we walked the gardens, my husband’s mother took us over to buy the pastry the area was known for, Fradhino, made by monks from beans, almond and assorted other ingredients. It looks similar to a nata but tastes totally different. Delicious. Everywhere we went it seemed like there was a special pastry to try!

 

Another day we explored the Jeronimos Monastery, walked around Belem, ate pasteis de belem (a unique version of the nata) and walked along the waterfront there. There is a huge monument on the riverside that features Portuguese explorers and figures from history. It is striking, as the design is modern and classic at the same time. They look as though they are climbing up a slope together.

 

Another day we headed up to Sintra (which was my favorite place in Portugal). It was a rainy foggy day so as we traveled up the mountain I felt like I was going back in time. It was so amazing. The architecture there is all nestled on the hillside; it feels magical. There is a forest that grows around the buildings up the mountain on the way to the Palace. Next time I am in Portugal I intend to spend a few days in Sintra walking around to get a better chance to see all of the architecture and the landscape. There we visited the National Palace of Pena which was quite lovely. As I mentioned, it was cloudy and rainy so we didn’t get the supposedly amazing view from the palace, but the interiors were worth the trip. The tile work in Portugal is gorgeous and this building had plenty of it!

 

Another day we drove up to Figuera de Foz, a beach town up the coast. We had lunch at a place that served roasted pork with very crispy skin. It was fabulous. We then walked around the town which felt deserted as it was out of season. In the summer it is apparently filled with people who have condos there but live in the surrounding areas.

One day we toured Lisbon with my husband’s cousin who runs a tour company there (Your Friend in Lisbon). We were so lucky to have Claudia show us all the shortcuts to get to the best spots. We had drinks on a rooftop overlooking Lisbon, tasted cheeses, hams and wines from Portugal at Lisbon Winery in Chiado and climbed down the steps of the Alfalma neighborhood. She knew all the hidden elevators to get us to the top so we only had to walk down. It was great.

Another day we visited my husband’s grandmother in the mountains in the town of Rendo. It was a chance to see how a more rural life in Portugal is. She used to run a working farm, but now at 94 has retired and spends most of her time by the fire. The town was picturesque. We walked the countryside with his aunts for a few hours. They took us to see the village church which was understated and lovely.

The last trip I will mention is the trip to Fatima. I am not religious, but I felt I needed to see this place that incites pilgrimages by foot and vehicle from all over the country and the world. It was massive. It has a large open courtyard with a slope uphill. At one end is a massive classic style cathedral, and at the other is an enormous modern sleek church. People come by the millions every year to burn candles and pray.

What were your most memorable experiences? What were the biggest disappointments?

The food, the hospitality and the beauty of the architecture, especially the doors, were my favorite parts. I also loved the trees there. There was a specific tree I started calling the broccoli tree, which I absolutely loved. I also loved taking an espresso after each meal. We would often go to a different coffee shop after we ate just to have an espresso, standing at a counter or pausing briefly at a table. The whole thing would take around five minutes, kind of fun and quirky.

The weather was a little spotty while I was there, but honestly that was my only complaint.

What do you wish you knew before you went?

O’s are pronounced as U’s in Portuguese!

I was pretty well-informed since I was going with someone who has lived there to stay with people who live there.

Any favorite restaurants/hotels/hostels/sites you’d like to recommend? Tell us what made them great!

I loved:

Lisbon Winery- knowledgeable staff and a variety of local wines, cheese, cured meats to try.

Barracao- a restaurant off the beaten path on the way to Mafra, traditional dishes, primarily dined at by locals. The bacalhau de nata was incredible.

There was also a little roadside stop on the way to Mafra that was the workshop/creation of a Portuguese sculptor. He created all of these little rooms showing traditional Portugal. It was amazing.

Time Out Mercado da Ribeira- a big market in Lisbon full of different types of food. Many are modern interpretations of traditional dishes, often with a touch of French prep, but absolutely delicious and a wide variety of options.

Is there anything that women specifically should know before they travel to your destination?

Bring good walking shoes, as the sidewalks and streets are often hazardous with the wrong shoes.

Tactile memories and layers of light in a Greenpoint apartment

When Victoria Mier and Trish Andersen first met at SCAD 15 years ago, they never knew their journeys would parallel for so long. Roommates on and off through their 11 years in NYC, the ladies spent time in a loft in Williamsburg with 2 other roommates and then several years apart before finding themselves together again in this Brooklyn apartment.  I’ve had the pleasure of knowing these two for almost as long as they have known each other. There is an overwhelming sense of welcome and optimism from the moment you step foot into their home. Both were raised in the South and hospitality was one lesson they didn’t miss growing up. Their apartment is filled with items that represent a time or a place they have been and wish to remember. There is something special about having a tactile memory. Touching that cloth or seeing that image remind us, with a smile or a tear, of moments passed. They are both always moving forward, motivated and driven, but neither forgets to live in the moment.

Victoria works as a fashion designer in Manhattan. She takes a dress line from design all the way to fulfillment for a major fashion brand. In her off time Vic loves an adventure. She tries to get out of the city almost every weekend, spending time with friends at the beach, upstate or a town wide yard sale, she’s up for anything. She also does beautiful calligraphy for invitations, place cards or anything else that needs a hand lettered touch.

Trish is an installation artist, really she is a wearer of many hats, from designer to fabricator she does it all. Trish is very hands on and manages teams that create both large and small-scale wonders. Often creating huge pieces for large event venues, Trish likes to experiment with different materials and utilize them in ways others might never dream up. With a fibers background, Trish is always incorporating textiles and new techniques often taken from the world of fibers. If you look through her past projects there’s weaving, tufting, wrapping and shagging, amongst other things. Trish is a unique voice.  A little of both these women shine through in their home.

Trish travels alot in her line of work and brings back treasures from all over the world. On this wall are two large prints she found in a French brocante (flea market) outside Lacoste last summer. The gallery style wall is filled with one conversation piece after another including a drawing by folk artist Howard Finster, that Trish acquired as a child while visiting “Paradise Garden,” his massive installation piece in Summerville, GA. Trish attributes much of who she is as an artist today to this life changing visit from her childhood

Trish travels alot in her line of work and brings back treasures from all over the world. On this wall are two large prints she found in a French brocante (flea market) outside Lacoste last summer. The gallery style wall is filled with one conversation piece after another including a drawing by folk artist Howard Finster, that Trish acquired as a child while visiting “Paradise Garden,” his massive installation piece in Summerville, GA. Trish attributes much of who she is as an artist today to this life changing visit from her childhood

Living in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn keeps things both convenient and exciting. Trish’s studio is just a few blocks away and Victoria (seated on the left) has an easy commute into midtown. Most importantly many of their friends live right around the corner, they all get together frequently taking advantage of all the great bars and restaurants in the area.

Living in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn keeps things both convenient and exciting. Trish’s studio is just a few blocks away and Victoria (seated on the left) has an easy commute into midtown. Most importantly many of their friends live right around the corner, they all get together frequently taking advantage of all the great bars and restaurants in the area.

This corner of the living room features marionettes from Java and a geisha from Japan. Trish recently created décor for an event in Tokyo and can’t wait to go back. Of course, what living room is complete without a giant black apple? Floor mats from    Domestic Construction   , a company Trish helped found, ground the space. Though no longer a part of the company, her patterns adorn both her space and homes around the world.

This corner of the living room features marionettes from Java and a geisha from Japan. Trish recently created décor for an event in Tokyo and can’t wait to go back. Of course, what living room is complete without a giant black apple? Floor mats from Domestic Construction, a company Trish helped found, ground the space. Though no longer a part of the company, her patterns adorn both her space and homes around the world.

Plants are a huge part of the girls’ space. This wall installation of textile collage and living plants makes an incredible focal point in the space. Herman Miller chairs provide a neutral base for an afghan and a crazy quilt, both vintage and colorful. A large statement lamp brings a modern touch to the wall.    

Plants are a huge part of the girls’ space. This wall installation of textile collage and living plants makes an incredible focal point in the space. Herman Miller chairs provide a neutral base for an afghan and a crazy quilt, both vintage and colorful. A large statement lamp brings a modern touch to the wall.

 

Victoria added some interest to a group of built in shelves in her bedroom. She brought pattern and color through wallpaper and keepsakes. Victoria believes in positive thinking, and loves a good mantra. She adds handwritten and found phrases like “we do not remember days, we remember moments,” and “strive for progress not perfection”.

Victoria added some interest to a group of built in shelves in her bedroom. She brought pattern and color through wallpaper and keepsakes. Victoria believes in positive thinking, and loves a good mantra. She adds handwritten and found phrases like “we do not remember days, we remember moments,” and “strive for progress not perfection”.

Bright colors make this bathroom just as cheerful as the rest of the house. Patterned foliage wallpaper emphasizes the deep love for plants, clearly, a theme throughout the apartment.

Bright colors make this bathroom just as cheerful as the rest of the house. Patterned foliage wallpaper emphasizes the deep love for plants, clearly, a theme throughout the apartment.

Black and white stripes line the main hallway of the apartment. This little moment outside the bathroom brings us a phrase that epitomizes the mentality of two Southern raised girls making their home in Brooklyn.

Black and white stripes line the main hallway of the apartment. This little moment outside the bathroom brings us a phrase that epitomizes the mentality of two Southern raised girls making their home in Brooklyn.

In contrast to the rest of the house Trish’s bedroom is filled with muted colors. It has a relaxing vibe and is the perfect place to end a long day. She attached lace yardage to the ceiling, and created a geometric accent wall with string, paint and wallpaper pieces.

In contrast to the rest of the house Trish’s bedroom is filled with muted colors. It has a relaxing vibe and is the perfect place to end a long day. She attached lace yardage to the ceiling, and created a geometric accent wall with string, paint and wallpaper pieces.

The girls call this the chill room. The whole room is draped in a vintage olive green parachute centered in the ceiling. It’s layered with additional textiles, making it a cozy place to hang with friends.

The girls call this the chill room. The whole room is draped in a vintage olive green parachute centered in the ceiling. It’s layered with additional textiles, making it a cozy place to hang with friends.

Trish loves to play with scale. The oversized tassels make a big statement in a small space and vintage textiles add color to an otherwise neutral room. A palette of red and white bring all the elements together.

Trish loves to play with scale. The oversized tassels make a big statement in a small space and vintage textiles add color to an otherwise neutral room. A palette of red and white bring all the elements together.

Greenpoint Brooklyn Apartment home tour Trish Andersen // Found by a Prop Stylist // Photos: Courtney Dawley
Greenpoint Brooklyn Apartment home tour Trish Andersen // Found by a Prop Stylist // Photos: Courtney Dawley

Credits: All photos by Courtney Dawley, Styling by Trish Andersen and Courtney Dawley Calligraphy by Victoria Mier

 

 

Vintage Chenille the history

Recently I was at my friend Trish's , styling and shooting her apartment for a house tour. I brought along a vintage Chenille bedspread in case we needed some prop linens. Trish is from Georgia originally, in an area I had always known for their huge part in USA manufactured carpeting. We got to talking and she gave me a glimpse into the history of chenille and carpeting in the Dalton, GA area, and it made me want to dig deeper. 

So let's start with chenille. What is it? In French, chenille means caterpillar, and the material was named this because it "resembles the fur of a caterpillar." It is said to have begun in France in the 18th century as a yarn. They made it by taking a gauzy fabric, cutting it into strips and then creating the yarn. In the 1830's Scotland developed a chenille of their own. The Paisley fabric mill's foreman created a fuzzy weave of fabric from which to make shawls. They wove tufts of wool together into a large piece and then cut it into shawl sized strips. Finally we come to Dalton and Catherine Evans, who took sheets of cotton and added tufting to create bedspreads. The designs were popular both locally and regionally. While the bedspreads were not chenille in the traditional sense of the word, the terminology stuck and the chenille of the South was born!

By the 1920's Northwestern Georgia was sending bedspreads to department stores in major cities all along the East coast. In order to meet demands, artisans all around the area in the South received deliveries of the cotton sheeting, marked with patterns. They would then tuft and the finished pieces would be picked up from them for distribution. It was a handcrafted collaborative market, where mainly women worked from their homes to fulfill a need. This industry helped keep many afloat during the great depression.

By the 1930's route 41 had become a popular path for tourists heading to Florida. Dalton's tufters lined the side of the highway with clotheslines adorned with the popular chenille bedspreads. One of the most famous patterns of the time was the peacock, giving route 41 it's nickname of "Peacock Alley". Continuing into the 1940's now in the form of corporations, including "Cabin Crafts" Northwestern Georgians began to experiment with small throw rugs for the bathroom using the same tufting technique. This eventually led to huge sheets of carpet, what we now know as wall to wall carpeting. By the 1960's carpet manufacturing well surpassed bedspreads in Dalton, but it's amazing to think about where this booming industry began. 

Chenille  can be found in many patterns and colors. I am partial to the poka dots and more graphic patterns, but I love a good floral as well. Recently I have been developing my deep love for chenille into a new product line. Stay tuned for updates on that. Can't wait to share it with the world!!

 

Resources

Patton, Randall L. "Chenille Bedspreads." New Georgia Encyclopedia. 19 August 2013. Web. 17 June 2016.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chenille_fabric

Photo: Courtney Dawley

Found by a Prop Stylist's mom

My friends and family know one of the main reasons I do what I do is because of my mother. But I thought with the upcoming holiday, honoring the women who mold us into who we are and will become, I should share a little with you. 

I grew up being dragged from antique store to antique store all over New England. I walked the fields of Brimfield several times before I was 10, and became VERY familiar with the phrase, "look but don't touch". I also learned what it means to haggle, what a reproduction looks like vs a genuine antique, and how to find a treasure in a box of junk. 

In addition to dealing in antiques, my mom was a master crafter. Any creative event, whether it be a haunted house or the holiday gift fair, my mom was involved from planning through to the end. Is it any wonder, that I too should be involved in events, visual merchandising, antiques and making? I remember sitting on our 3 seasons porch in Massachusetts painting rocks and birdhouses along side her. No surprise they had a floral motif, have I mentioned I love plants?

As I grew older I began to draw, first I tried to replicate Disney characters from my favorite movies, then I moved on to flowers and things I found in nature. She always encouraged me and offered me anything i needed to help the process along. When I got into photography she provided me with cameras and lenses and eventually an enlarger to create my own darkroom, should the need arise. Both she and my father were incredibly supportive of me in art school when I tried a bit of this and a bit of that before finalizing my major and graduating with a BFA in the amount of time many would earn their masters.

I think I learned the jack of all trades mentality from her as well. But take this with a different meaning, as jack of all trades but master of none, never applied to my mother or to myself. While neither of us specialized in our artistic ventures, we both take great joy in learning and mastering many techniques and skills. I lost my mother in 2012. But in some ways I lost her 8 years earlier when a complication from an accident left her with significant brain damage. She seemed outwardly to be unscathed if you didn't know her. She was still charming as ever and social as was her nature. But, to those who knew and loved her, she had lost a part of herself. She used to be the person to get it done, whatever it may have been, but after the accident her focus and determination was different. There were also short term memory problems, similar to what you might see in a person with alzheimer's. All that being said we were grateful for every day of our "bonus time" as dad liked to call it.

Sadly my mother is not here with me to revel in the beauty that is a career based around making people smile. All of the things both she did and I continue to gravitate towards are life enriching. Can you survive without a beautiful enamel tea kettle? Certainly. But, what is it about design and art that makes our lives feel more full? I cannot answer that question, and likely neither could she, but we both knew it to be a truth, one I am passionately driven to share with others. 

Today take a moment and think about your own mother. How did she make you who you are today? If you can, give her a call and let her know. 

The picture below was found by my mom. She had it for sale in her antique booth 10 years ago and now you can find it for sale in mine. She had a knack for finding intriguing pieces, and this is certainly one of them.

Here's a good one of the whole family on a trip we took to the Olympic Peninsula while I was living out in Seattle. And amazingly while she was in Africa with my dad she found a shop she could really relate to, it kind of describes her mentality (and the one she passed on to me) related to shopping ha ha!

A little floral inspiration.

Doors, Doors, Doors...

If you follow my instagram feed, you know I love doors. I recently visited Portugal with a brief stopover in Spain and the doors were fabulous! Not only the doors, also the plant life, pastries, hospitality and the architecture overall. But, this post is dedicated to doors. These need no description. I will let them speak for themselves.

On my next trip to Portugal I want to spend an entire day (or 2??) in Sintra. It sits perched atop a mountain with a palace at the very top. The town climbs the hillside up winding roads amidst a magical forest. I want to walk the streets and photograph all the fabulous doors! It was raining the day we went to see the palace, next time I will make sure the sun is shining and I have ample time to explore. Stay tuned for more posts from my recent trip to Portugal.

Marimekko x Target

It's happened! It launched today, a collaboration between two of my favorites, Target and Marimekko. Now, you know I had scoped out the goodies ahead of time, because they offered a sneak peak on the site. I have been salivating over a fabulous umbrella for my backyard for days and with the line becoming available today, I ordered it this morning!

Now, this was not the only item I wanted... But we have to make choices and so instead of buying everything I loved I decided to put together a little post of my picks. And if someone happens to see this, who is in the market to buy me a gift, this would be a great guide for that as well! Ha ha, seriously.

I was very happy to see that both the Kaivo and Koppelo prints made it into the collection. It's great to Marimekko bring their designs to a more affordable venue. I always love their collaborations with Crate & Barrel, but hopefully this will bring their design sense to even more homes across the country! You can check out the full collection including clothes, bags and of course products for home here.