Over at Boy Girl Party, in addition to great prints and paintings, you’ll find these whimsical necklaces :)
Bernos is a Washington, DC based t-shirt company founded by a group of friends with African roots and American addresses. Like so many creative souls, they were all enjoying their careers, but had the urge to do something different. Something inspiring, and something to make their lives more artful. One day, the four of them were talking about how it would be great to have t-shirts – that simple, classic, quintessentially American staple – that expressed and reflected the rich culture of the African continent.
They realized of course, that there was nothing of the kind out there, and they would have to take matters into their own hands. And in the Spring of 2006, that’s exactly what they did.
The creative forces behind Bernos came together like a classic comic book superhero team: every member had their specialty, and and a burning desire to fight their common enemy. But in this case, the enemy wasn’t a super-villain, but rather boring, poorly made t-shirts, without any sense of culture or style.
Dawit Kahsai is the entrepreneur. Mekdem Petros is the head of operations. Beshou Gedamu is the model, muse, and spiritual center of the group, as well as an accomplished photographer. And Nolawi Petros is the graphic designer and team blogger. Bernos is a way for all four friends to translate their pride in their African origins into wearable art. It’s also a way for them to express their creativity, not to mention introduce a little culture and style to the general t-shirt wearing public!
The creative process starts with a group brainstorm, with the goal of presenting Africa, its culture, and its people in a simple and creative way. All of the team members have different approaches and concepts on how to best accomplish this, so the evolution of new designs is always an interesting experience. Only Nolawi has formal training in the arts, but they all share a passion for art and fashion, and of course for their diverse cultural backgrounds.
New designs come out about three times a year. Currently, the “Made in Africa” t-shirt is one of the most popular designs, especially after recording artist K’naan wore one in his “T.I.A.” music video. The other most popular design is the “ET Alien” design, which the team knew would be a winner, as soon as it came together during a brainstorm session. The Bernos line has something for everyone, with designs ranging from the abstract and irreverent, to the simple and elegant.
Although all of the Bernos team members have day jobs, expressing themselves creatively is a priority. In addition to collaborating on creating t-shirts inspired by their cultural backgrounds, each enjoys individual creative pursuits as well.
Right now, the team is focused on planning their fourth anniversary celebration, starring the critically acclaimed Ethiopian-American artist Meklit Hadero.
Bernos designs are printed on American-made and sweatshop-free American Apparel t-shirts, and are available online at Bernos.org and at Dekka at 1338 U Street NW, Washington, DC. Stay tuned, as new designs are always in the works!
Sauces, dressings, salsas, chutneys, spices, rubs; depending on how you look at it they’re either my guilty little pleasures or my best kept secret weapons.
The fact of the matter is local, fresh, artisan eating can be boring. I think it’s what turns so many people away. Especially today when quick and convenience, for many, are not self-indulgent luxuries but rather must-haves just to get by.
Sure, it can be both convenient and exciting, but few of us have the pocket book to back such a diet in its entirety, myself included. And void those funds one can only eat so much cabbage before wishing that cabbage itself was extinct, after all. That is, unless of course, one has a pantry so chock-full of sauces, dressings and spices that cabbage is never really cabbage; potatoes are never just potatoes and even brussel sprouts become beautiful and awe-inspiring.
I believe this so whole heartedly, in fact, that many of my friends have stopped asking me for recipes. And not just because they know everything will be measured in handfuls, dashes and ‘just drizzle a little in’s either. They’ve simply started asking me what sauce I put on it this time instead, because that, when it comes right down to it is the recipe.
Toss it, drizzle it, brush it on. Want an exciting socially and environmentally sound meal in less than thirty? Get creative. Toss chopped cabbage with an Asian inspired dressing and serve it beside grilled, pastured poultry that was basted in the same or similar; Brush halved brussel sprouts with a spicy mustard and drizzle with olive oil before roasting in the oven; baste some grass-fed pork with your favorite jam and grill or oven bake until just done and still juicy.
Three of the most exciting sauces on Foodzie right now — all on my list to try next — are Terra Verde Farm’s Peach-Pear-Apple Hot Sauce, Uncle Berch’s Jimmie’s Mixed Berries and Chipotle Jam (destined for the pork as outlined above, if you’re interested), and Anija’s Finnish Style Mom’s Mustard.
However you apply it, as they say, the proof is in the pudding — or in this case, the flavor is in the sauce. What are your favorite quick and easy flavor enhancers?
When we were children, at one point or another, we always attempted to write on the wall. Most of us succeeded–much to the exasperation of our parents. If only they knew! One chalkboard paired with a few nontoxic chalkboard markers would have satisfied us for hours. I was an artsy kid, and that moose, painted by Houndstooth Design, is making my inner child squeal with glee. Josh runs Houndstooth Design from his St Cloud, MN home. He finds worn down toys, the sort most children would toss aside because of their chipped paint, and turns them into ethereal chameleons. You can leave notes on a pig in your kitchen or your kids can make a rainbow horse with non-toxic chalkboard markers. At the end of the day everything cleans up with a bit of soap and water.
Small spaces demand quite a bit from their dwellers. Every corner needs a purpose. “No wall left bare” was my motto when I moved into my first studio. Very often we overlook our walls when trying to figure out where to put all of our stuff. We buy boxes and baskets, maybe a few new shelves for the closet, but what about that 3’x3′ space on the kitchen wall?
Ken Rozema of KARoz Woodworking in Toronto, Canada builds these fantastic “Mail Message Centers”. I’m particularly fond of the chalkboard and corkboard combo. Sometimes a bit of paper stuck to a wall isn’t dynamic enough. Say it loud with a few bright colors or stick that very important receipt on the cork side. I’m always struggling with my mail (usually it ends up on the dining room table, after a 2-day layover in the living room) so a dedicated mail spot will help make it a one-way trip from the mailbox to the wall.
Speaking of kitchens, I’m sure you’ve got those random containers with random what-have-you stored inside them. I’ve tried label makers, but they look so boring, and the small font is hard to read. I like big, bold labels. The sort you can read from across the room, so there’s no question that yes, there is enough sugar for my husband to make me an apple pie this weekend.
Braden’s Grace Wall Art of St Augustine, USA makes peel-n-stick vinyl chalkboard labels. These little guys can be used indoors or outside, and can be transferred between surfaces with no messy glue or tape. A great solution for those random containers, be they in the kitchen, office, or playroom, that need a little bit of organizing to help make your life simpler.
Despite the magic of chalkboard, there’s really no mystery to it. Chalkboard paint can be bought at any hardware store, and almost anything can be painted with it. You apply it like any other paint. First goes down a primer and then the chalkboard paint. The best part is that it’s non-destructive. When your kids are grown and you don’t need that black chalkboard wall anymore it’s easy to prime and paint over it. However, most of these paints may have varying levels of toxicity. Carefully read the warnings on the side of the box.
There are companies that sell non-toxic chalkboard paint. Hocusadabra in Hong Kong is committed to selling non-toxic child friendly products, including chalkboard paint. Hocusadabra supports independent artists from around the world, and is opposed to BPA in children’s products. In a world where craft supplies tend to get made cheap, easy and chemically they’re doing their best to offer non-toxic alternatives.
In case you were wondering, chalkboard paint does come in different colors. Black is the easiest one to find in hardware stores, but I think it’d be pretty snazzy to have a cobalt blue or cherry red board hanging in my living room.