Basic shapes, suspended at precise length demonstrate Brook&Lyn’s mastery of both restraint and proportion.
Ever since we laid eyes on Brook&Lyn’s bewitching “Deflected” collection, we were taken by the brand’s unexpected and original approach to jewelry design. Combining natural materials with bold shapes, their work gracefully walks the line between delicate and strong, such that we see our own femininity reflected in its construct.
Their latest “Medaled” collection, for instance, places a large plated brass circular pendant on black or natural cord. Available in a few iterations – gold yellow or rhodium plated, featuring a trio of pendants or as a bracelet – the design is marked by its dramatic simplicity, consistent with their portfolio. Basic shapes, suspended at precise length from the neck or each other, demonstrate Brook&Lyn’s mastery of both restraint and proportion. Less is indeed more… except when it comes to the number of their pieces we own!
Though established in NYC, Brook&Lyn has always conjured the expansive quality and earthen palette of the west coast. Fitting, then, that the wife and husband proprietors have recently decamped for LA. To celebrate their new city, the duo have collaborated with a series of native artisans to produce Los Angeles inspired wares, from beautiful, unfussy ceramic ponytail barrettes by JuJuMade to richly detailed wood print silk scarves by Jayne Min, the blogger behind Stop It Right Now. The brand is hitting a creative highpoint, and we look forward to their continued success in Cali.
Dip those Docs in gold, forever preserving this iconic ‘90s footwear and emblem of teen angst.
Investigative journalism is not our usual beat, but a recent parental text message to Lo set us off on an unexpected quest: “Mom wants to know: do you need to keep those old Doc Marten boots?”
“Yes!!!” we replied immediately, thinking of all the trouble those boots got into with us in junior high. If they could write a book – well, we wouldn’t let our little Henri read it. “Dip ‘em in gold,” we added sarcastically. And then we did the classic double-take: maybe we should dip those Docs in gold, forever preserving our iconic ‘90s footwear and emblem of teen angst. And why stop there? Bronzed baby booties may be a parental cliché, but there’s a ton of stuff we’d be willing to glaze in gold if we know how.
Enter Valley Forge Gifts. “You can preserve almost anything from a hard-won game ball to a unique gag gift,” their website claims. We discovered that, like most retailers offering the service, they outsource to American Bronzing – the oldest and largest bronzing company in America. Since they were established in Columbus, Ohio, in 1934, AB has bronzed over 14,000,000 baby shoes. They use authentic electroplating – not painting – using multiple layers of real-metal plating to coat your keepsake. All 22 steps of the process are done by hand, and the workmanship is covered by a full 25-year warranty.
We contacted longtime American Bronzing staff associate Sue Maynard and inquired about gold. “We used to coat objects in gold – until about a year and a half ago. With the sky-rocketing cost of gold, it just wasn’t profitable anymore, so we stopped offering it.” You can, however, still bronze those boots! Our pair of Docs would run to $75-100 with an 8-10 week turnaround. “The metal shines like a brand new copper penny,” Sue says. Doc Martens, welcome to the new Bronze Age.
Rib & Hull’s collection of luscious leather goods is perfectly in line with this season’s celebration of all things neon. These Tokyo-style totes, carry-all wallets and oversized pouches – offered up at reasonable artisan rates – are just the right pop of color for this strict New Yorker’s grey-on-black daily attire.
first: Blueberry with Maple Brown Butter Frosting, Sour Cream Fig with Cream Cheese Frosting, and Red Velvet with Buttercream second: Vanilla with Lemon Filling and Meringue Frosting, Graham with Key Lime Cream Cheese Frosting, and Chocolate with Chocolate Ganache and Cream Filling third: Peanut Butter with Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate Ganache, Lemon with Jam Filling, and Apple with Caramel Frosting fourth: Vanilla with Strawberry Filling and Chocolate Glaze, Carrot with Cream Cheese Frosting, and Flourless Beet Chocolate with Whipped Cream
I hold a very dear place in my heart for cupcakes. My own bergamot lavender cupcakes were a hit in the East Village when my friend Jodi of Sympathy for the Kettle would serve them up with frothy matcha lattes and endless pots of Ti Kuan Yin. Lately, I’ve had the growing desire to get back into the kitchen and bake up a storm (motherly instincts?). On the to-bake list are my tried and true favorite sweet-tooth recipes: navettes,speculaas, and, of course, cupcakes of all kinds.
It was thus a sweet coincidence that, over the weekend, YZ found this bonanza of cupcake ides on a perfect little site modestly titled Ming Makes Cupcakes. Each straightforward recipe is accompanied by an oozing, dripping, frosted little cake – begging for a chance in my kitchen. The only problem is: where to start?! YZ’s pining for the graham/key lime number but I’m more of a carrot cake girl myself… Guess we’re stuck making 2 batches…
I’ve always been a lover of quilts – watching my mother create exquisite ones as a child, starting my own collection once I moved to New York City and discovered the East Village Flea and the wonders of eBay, standing awestruck before each Gee’s Bend quilt during the Guggenheim exhibition a few years back… The diversity of the genre – from the pure white and meticulous piqûre de Marseilles to the bright, appliqué styles of Hawaii – the history of quilts is rich with local tales and oozes the patient expertise of endless cultures’ womenfolk.
Needless to say, I get weak in the knees when coming across a quilter with a new style or story to tell. Jimmy Mcbride aka Stellarquilts is definitely a fresh voice at the quilting bee – using galactic imagery as his textile inspirations. My favorite from his current Etsy collection is, bar none, the Phobos V2 quilt (above) – a quilted replica of one of Mar’s moons. The quilts range from a modest $1,000 to $12,000+ so start pinching pennies for your very own piece of art to cuddle up in.
Aside from being visually breathtaking (and goosebump-inducing), this film pretty much showcases some of the best things in life: science, nature, education, experimentation, and… good times with the fam! The film documents the build, release, and recovery of a video- and iPhone-rigged weather balloon that, in the span of a wee 70 minutes, managed to climb nearly 100,000 feet (hitting the upper stratosphere) before bursting and frantically dancing its way back to earth — landing in a tree a mere 30 miles from the launch site!
Etsy has to be one of the coolest places for gift giving — simply because most of the offerings on the site are handcrafted and one-of-a-kind. But, with this endless trove of offerings, a bushy-eyed shopper can quickly get dissuaded by too much good stuff! So, just in time for the holidays: our top ten suggested Etsy gifts (check out last year’s Etsy guide) for all the people on your list! We’ve tried to offer up a good cross-section of what the crafty marketplace has to offer: ceramics and housewares, clothes and accessories, sewn plushes and things for the little ones, and of course, art and prints! If you’re looking to take a deeper dive, be sure to explore Etsy’s numerous browsing tools here!
1Beau Champing Alfabeto Print$75
Whether for bilingual baby or just the foyer, this slick, limited edition (175 copies) xylene transfer print by Beauchamping adds a humorous wink to any room. Don’t worry, there’s an aglo version too!
2The Pin Pals Pine Tree Hair Barrette$12
Can’t forget to stuff the stockings! After the big gifts have been drooled over, it’s fun to dig into your stocking and find glee in the small stuff. The selection of cross stitched barrettes, buttons, and brooches in The Pin Pal’s store are a great place to start. Ahem! Lo wants these wintery evergreens please…
3Etco White Gold Paper Mini Bowl$10
We’re loving the delicate and precious look of these bitty gilded papier-mâché bowls from Etco’s store. What’s more, they’re eco-friendly: made with recycled paper. Choose gold, bronze, or silver inner sheen with a black, white, or brown outer gloss. A perfect place to store a trinket or jewel…
4Mudpuppy Baby Head Vase/Planter$40
For the slightly off-kilter green thumb on your list, these hilarious baby head vases (which also work as planters) from Mudpuppy are a top-notch gift! We also love the way they look with the tillandsia air plants (which you can also buy at Mudpuppy’s shop). A one-stop solution!
5Flying Star Toys Molehill Mouse$60
Oooh! These cute-cute-cute molehill mousies from Flying Star Toys are great for kids of any age! Despite their patchworkishness (?) these plushes are still super elegant. The store has a constantly rotating collection of critters so check back often!
Move over sugar-plums! This Karis ring over at Macha Jewelry’s shop has been the sole vision dancing through my head. I just love the combination of the 9k gold cathedral setting and silver rock… YZ? Are you there? There are lots of other great rings at the shop too — perfect for the holiday engagement!
8Less and More Crafting Cindy Wooden Desk Organizer$57
This minimalist wooden organizer would be a welcome addition to my OCD home! There are so many great ways to use these desk accessories from Less and More: pens and pencils, thread bobbins, makeup organizer, minimalist vase… Chose from a variety of sizes and finishes.
For the rugged guy on your list, snag this Upcycled Messenger Bag — made from bits and pieces of an italian duffle, a leather jacket, some 60-year-old linen, a school bag and a vintage Navy kit bag. The bags in Peace4You’s shop have just the right classy meets couldn’t-care-less fashion sensibility.
In need of a new carpetbag? Why not step it up a notch?! Japanese designer Christian Peau offers a no-nonsense artisanal line of leather and canvas goods ideal for the modern-day Mary Poppins, Dr. Dolittle, or Johnny Appleseed. Traditionally handcrafted using a combination of premium hides and canvas cloth in the style of Japanese canvas maekake (aprons), Peau’s line is designed for everyday life, work and play.
Take his no-frills flats to start. Hand-stained, painted and constructed, no two are the same. They mold to the foot and age like fine wine. We think the perfect shoe gets better over time – it makes you feel comfortable in your skin, like any terrain can be conquered — and Peau’s shoes do just that.
The bags, too, have a utilitarian essence with an aeshetic appeal. The ostrich leather purses are sturdy yet beautiful in their simplicity. And the collapsible canvas and leather totes provide a versatility that is hard to come by these days! They’re ideal carry-alls for any occasion – the office, gym, a weekend trip or night out. Smart, strong and subtle, Peau makes gear that’s made to be worn.
Ah, the Trojan Horse… It’s never too early for kids to discover the classics and what better place to start than with Virgil’s The Aeneid: a classic tale of military strategy. Count on the Dutch, this time by way of Amsterdam-based KidsOnRoof, to design eco-friendly playthings that are pleasing to both child’s and parent’s aesthetic. What I love most about this Trojan Horse (aside from the fact that it comes with a mini companion foal) is how perfectly minimalist it is – starting off as a plain white canvas for kids to either draw in their ideal equine creation or enjoy it as it is: simple, recycled, and sustainable.
The rain is pattering down on Brooklyn today — not that I’m bothered, considering YZ & I will be in 74º-and-sunny LA by tomorrow noon… But on gray Mondays like these (especially if you have munchkins that need entertaining) it’s always nice to whip out the origami paper and mountain fold your way to a paper crane mobile or a very ambitious kusudama.
The Aussies over at Upon a Fold are die hard paper people too. Justine and Matt’s goods are a celebration of the material in all shapes, sizes and applications. They’ve scoured the world for the best of papercraft, from intricate pop-up cards to perpetual calendars to delicate, hot pink baskets! If you have a soft spot for stationary you’ve got to visit their shop or just peruse their paper-centric blog!
While perusing the child-centric wares of one of my favorite Tel Aviv shops, Carousella, I came across these oversized baskets by Franco-Senegalese company Europ’Africa Deco. Always a fan of elegant storage solutions, these colorful, handmade containers are a stellar way to tuck extra linens or baby’s toys neatly out of site. Each basket is handmade by one of the 2000 Senegalese women employed by the company (thus supporting about 2000 Senegalese families) and a portion of all profits go towards NGA’s including Prométhée Humanitaire, an organization dedicated to creating shelters for 3rd world street children. The baskets run from about 40€ (for the small size) to 100€ (for large).
Our baby niece Lir is pretty much the apple of YZ’s and my eye, making it hard to resist buying her every little cute thing that we come across. But, when we stumbled upon a beautiful striped bunny by Tel Aviv label Timo in a boutique in Jaffa, we just had to add the critter to Lir’s collection of toys. Totally in line with Lir’s parent’s philosophy of hugging (not mugging) the earth, each toy is handmade with recycled pieces of fabric in a studio that minimizes manufacturing waste by keeping the creative process as simple as possible. Leftover scraps are used to stuff the toys making Timo one hell of an eco-conscious operation! Read more about the company’s lovely philosophy here…
From top: Timo’s family, bear, bird, bunny, mouse, and ball collection
So, you might say it’s far from wool-wearing weather, what with NYC temperatures up in the 90’s, but with every store, theater, and restaurant cranking the AC like they’re charged with re-freezing the glaciers, it’s comforting to have a little fuzzy critter to curl up with at the end of the day (or a cute scarf to wrap around your little one’s neck to keep the summer sniffles away!). Sara Carr’s collection of hedgehogs,donkeys,owls, and other backyard regulars at Etsy do just the trick. With simple & clean designs, lambswool-soft materials, and colorways bright enough to match any summer day, these pillows and plushes would look great on a white canvas daybed or one of those hanging wicker pods!
In a house bursting at the seams with typewriters, teapots, and every other imaginable tchotchke, it’s refreshing to mix in simple, high-quality basics to balance out the madness. Filzfelt, the minimalist line of felt-by-the-yard and felt accessories launched by Traci Roloff (blogger behind The Girl in the Green Dress) and Etcetera’s Kelly Smith is one of those purist, interior design gems. What I love about Filzfelt is that it serves as a launching point for the creative possibilities that the fabric holds: pick up a durable floor mat or one of the lovely table accessories and get inspired to create your own home accents with the company’s huge line of ready-to-DIY felt! More of a follow-the-instructions kind of crafter? Check out our favorite online felt-based tutorials:
Who doesn’t like rope!? From worn, dirty-white sailing rope to neon mountain climbing rope to… baker’s twine. Red baker’s twine is pretty common, I actually finagled some out of the Something Sweet Bakery on First Ave to bind my buddy Will’s book, The Photographs Not Taken. I love the stuff and use it for wrapping gifts all the time. Well, it’s just Lo’s lucky day, isn’t it!? Whisker Graphics’Divine Twine collection has five fresh colors to play with! Imagine the possibilities: