When exploring a new city,  I’m constantly in search of a great book store, a trendy second-hand clothing store and — lately — a yarn store. When staying in Washington DC last week, my Dupont Circle neighborhood had all three — Kramerbooks, Secondi Consignment Clothing, and the lovely Looped Yarn Works, in a second floor loft on Connecticut Avenue.

It’s the sort of place where you could spend hours on a chilly winter afternoon knitting and chatting with the amazingly knowledgeable staff.

I ended up buying three skeins of soft gray alpaca and a set of bamboo needles to knit a circle scarf on the flight back to LA.  I’m adding Looped to my “must visit” list on my next trip!
Knitters, do you have a favorite yarn store?

Categories: handmade | Tags: , | 2 Comments »

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Hi there, it’s Naomi Bulger from Messages in Bottles. Today I wanted to share with you some happy mail that I’ve been sending out to readers of my blog. I love to draw little pictures on the envelopes, and I try to make them as special as possible with string and wax seals and different things. I like to imagine what it must be like to receive something like this in the mail, instead of just the usual bills (if your mailbox is anything like mine).

I have a couple of pen pals and receiving mail from them makes my day (week, month). And in sending out these packages, I’ve learned just how many more of us out there long for the old days of snail mail. There is something so special and tangible about actually getting a real letter in the mail. Taking your time with it. Sitting down with a cup of tea and reading it slowly.

Plus, every time I send out more packages with pictures on them like these, it makes the lady in the post office smile.

Categories: handmade, illustrations | 19 Comments »

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Jesse Kornbluth, of HeadButler.com, noticing it’s mid-November and starting to think of one-of-a-kind gifts.

As someone who flunked shop and almost had to repeat the ninth grade, I have extravagant respect for anyone who can make things. Real things. In the physical world.

I’m not going out on a limb in my fondness for the work of Frances Palmer, a potter from Weston, Connecticut. Dominique Browning is now several lifetimes beyond her identity as the editor of House & Garden magazine, but her eye is just as sharp, and she’s a major Palmer enthusiast. Martha Stewart praises her. Nora Ephron collected her. I can too, especially if I poke around her $150 and under work.

Palmer originally wanted to be a printmaker, having studied woodcuts as an undergraduate majoring in art history and as a graduate student obsessed with Frank Stella’s handmade paper prints. Pottery beckoned in large part because it could be both beautiful and functional. Soon she saw that it became a kind of diary.

“The clay senses when you’re not mentally present,” she says. “If I’m not thinking about what I want to do, it’s better for me not to do it.”

That’s comically modest. As you’ll see from the range of work she offers on her site, Frances Palmer is always working. And thinking. She chooses the plants she grows in her garden less for their attractiveness in the earth than for the ways the flowers will look when she picks them, photographs them and uses them as models for the decoration on vases and bowls.

She’s best known for her one-of-a-kind vases and pots, but the choices you’ll find on her site suggest that beauty for the 1% is not her goal. She understands that beautiful things can also be affordable, and so she’s designed plates that can be produced by others. The Pearl Collection is produced in collaboration with Buffalo China, one of the last ceramic factories in this country. Again, she’s a one-off — she’s the only artist who has ever partnered with Buffalo China on handcrafted products. And these plates are, though available in quantity, still handcrafted — every piece is hand-cast, pressed, and glazed.

You’ll never see these pieces on Amazon.

Categories: handmade | Tags: , | 2 Comments »

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Morning guys. Yes, it’s Monday again. But don’t worry, I have something wonderfully delicious to share with you, that is sure to brighten up your day. I have recently added a little wooden bench, with woven leather seats to my office. This is a very typical South-African look and we call it a riempie bankie. Riempie meaning leather strips woven for the seat and bankie as in bench. I was delighted to discover just such a bench, designed by two South-African designers, at West Elm!

This bench, called the Source bench, perfectly captures the essence and heritage of the riempie bankie.

This bench was designed by husband-and-wife duo Trevyn and Julian McGowan, from the South African design studio Source. Each seat is made from hand woven leather.

Source and West Elm have done an amazing job of retaining the integrity of this traditional South-African design, whilst bringing their designs to a global audience at a great value. The design is also available in single chairs. Why not use a bench and chair combination in your dining room?

Have a lovely Monday.

Ciao, Lelanie from of Beauty and Love

Categories: handmade | Tags: , | 1 Comment »

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DIY: Cabinet redo

Sep 03, 2012

Good morning guys. Welcome to a new week. How was everyone’s weekend? Am I correct in saying that the States had a long weekend? Those are always the best. We celebrated Spring day and the start of sunny days and outdoor living this weekend. Here in South-Africa 1 September is Spring day. I am still nowhere near complete with the house redesign, but this weekend I decided to do a fun project that is sure to ad a brigh spark to everyday.

Last week I spent some time pulling together inspiration and made a moodboard to give me a bit of guidance on my home studio design. I work from home and as a designer, I feel it is important that I have a fun, inspiring workspace. It needs to be super organised so that I don’t miss any deadlines or loose any important items, but it should also have a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. This is what I came up with.

I found this lovely Westelm bedroom (in the centre of the moodboard) online a while back and I have kept it in the back of my mind. On Friday something just clicked and I realised that this is a look I would love for my studio. I decided to spend some time this weekend to implement one of my creative ideas for this space. The room is in our house but has no built in cupboards. In our previous place I was lucky enough to have tons of storage, which means that I have managed to amass loads of things, necessary and otherwise. I have been trying to clear out the rubbish, but most of it has to stay, so I needed storage space. I inherited a few, shabby old pine cupboards and I decided to convert the one small hanging closet into a gorgeous storage cabinet. I am in love with coral, so I decided to go all out with a bright shade.


This is what I came up with. What do you think? It was great to spend Spring day doing such a fun project, but it could be equally nice for you guys going into Autumn to ad a bright, fun piece to an area. It might just be what you need to keep the winter blues at bay and an eternal spring in your heart.

For more on the cabinet redo, visit the this post on of Beauty and Love.

Have a lovely, bright and happy Monday.


Categories: handmade | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

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Patterns in Volume

Aug 24, 2012

I have only recently become aware of the vast beauty of paper cutting. There are so many artist working in paper, not on paper, but with it.

Maud Vantours is a French artist living and working in Paris. In her artist statement she describes her work as “original graphics of multicolored and dreamlike landscapes.”

I love the way she can make a simple rose so complex.

She creates these colorful, deep paper cuts both as fine art and as commission pieces for a very impressive client list. This is a piece she did for the Prada Parisian showroom.

Part of what I love about her work is the texture. Painting and printing have their own low profile texture, but these paper cuts are combining flat surface art with sculptural depth.

Vantours is working with a supplier to create some consumer products as well, cell phone cases, bags and the like. It is awesome when artists can cross over and make their work available in more affordable forms.

Happy Friday!

Sarah from Design Flourishes

all images from Maud Vantours website

Categories: handmade, illustrations | 1 Comment »

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Like stained glass, I don’t often think of mosaic as an exciting contemporary art medium. These works by Laura Harris however, might make me reconsider.

I love her use of watch parts and beads mixed in with the more traditional ceramic pieces.

These are whimsical mosaics, they transcend the geometric pattern that I expect from mosaic.


Have a lovely Tuesday,

Sarah from Design Flourishes


all images from Melon Head Gallery

via My Modern Met

Categories: handmade, illustrations | 3 Comments »

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This spring, I can’t seem to get enough butterflies. I keep finding them everywhere.

This is the work of English artist Rebecca J Coles. She creates these lovely, three dimensional, pieces from bits of discarded paper. In her artist statement she writes:

“Each shape is hand drawn and then intricately hand cut from carefully selected paper, focusing on recycling a medium that would otherwise be discarded and lost. I dissect small details of colour, imagery and text into silhouettes that are then re-sculptured, pinned and encased. My aim is to transform an every day object into a piece of work that invites the viewer to see beyond its original source.”

The finished work is beautiful, but I love seeing the details, and noticing the bits of scenes printed on the paper.

I so enjoy art that takes the ordinary and makes it extraordinary.

Have a lovely Tuesday,

Sarah from Design Flourishes

all images from Rebecca J Coles’ website

Categories: handmade, illustrations | 6 Comments »

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Béatrice Coron has an amazing, inspiring story. She attended art school only briefly before spending many years on a series of odd jobs. She was a shepherdess, a tour guide in China and Mexico, a factory worker, a truck driver, a cleaning lady…

When she was 40 and living in NYC she began her career as an artist, a paper-cutter.  Because this was her path to her true calling she sees her life not as a straight line, but as a spiral.

In a spiral different pieces of the story touch each other, often in unexpected ways. In her artist statement she explains:

For each theme, one story leads to the next, and the creation process weaves different layers of our relations to the universe. In papercutting as in life everything is connected.

She works in many different media: steel, glass, plastic, even clothing, but her circles and spirals are my favorites.

My path too has not been straightforward, but it is a joy to see the parts of my life that were not previously connected wrap back around on themselves and connect in unexpected and marvelous ways.

Her work makes me so happy.

Here’s to the surprise of unexpected connections and improbable juxtapositions,

Sarah from Design Flourishes

All images by Béatrice Coron from her website

Categories: handmade, illustrations | 4 Comments »

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Dottie Angel

Katie Haddox

Fiona Watson

love you pillows 1 & 2

Souk@Sat Exclusives
{Jewelry & Wall Wear }

I really want to learn how to do embroidery. It’s my next craft pursuit!

Categories: handmade, Vintage | 12 Comments »

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