These gorgeous images remind me of my own childhood spent largely underwater.
Felt necklace by Danielle Gori-Montanelli: There are no lofty philosophical or theoretical concepts behind my work. I just throw myself into the rich warm textures and colors of the felt and watch the pieces evolve almost by themselves.
After years of working as a metalsmith, Danielle Gori-Montanelli felt as if her craving for color and texture was satisfied when she discovered felt. This vibrant medium enabled her to better explore her colorful, fanciful style in a larger scale. It also freed her from the confines of her workbench, allowing her to work with just a few simple tools, to follow where inspiration led, whether in her studio or in a flowery field in the countryside.
This week’s Shop Local post stops in Omaha, Nebraska. Below you’ll find my favorite picks from the Omaha craft scene. If you don’t find something that fits your fancy, check out the Omaha Craft Mafia website for more fabulous Omaha artisans. When you’re in town, you’ll want to visit the Hot Shops Art Center where you’ll find “over 80 studio artists, as well as four gallery spaces, in [the] building complex located in downtown Omaha.”
The crafter behind Stash comes to Omaha from Finland by way of Great Britain. She’s been sewing since she was tiny, making her own clothes in elementary school, as her mother was a textile designer. Now she makes chic bags out of vintage fabrics! The wristlet above is constructed from a chocolate & red vintage fabric, red canvas, and leatherette trim. Don’t you love the strong shape juxtaposed with the floral pattern & feminine pleats? Fabulous!
Continuing with the strong shapes, Bren Duvall, of BrenDesign, created these sterling silver “Building Earrings” in the image of a city skyline. She says has an “obsessive quest of building an eco-conscious small business from nothing more than a pile of recycled metal bits.”
Shifting gears a bit, when my baby girl gets a bit bigger, she must have one of these skirts! Many children’s boutiques do pillowcase dresses, cute hats, or leg warmers, but Bustle has crafted this flamenco skirt for your tiny dancer. Ellene Mcclay, the proprietress of Bustle, is inspired by vintage fabric and historical fashions. She also creates jewelry, accessories, and clothing for ladies of a more mature age at her other shop, Deciduous Soul.
Last but not least, this clever little idea caught my eye and couldn’t be passed by! September House creates embroidered flower pot wraps that are sure to add a nice touch to even the prettiest plant.
My best friend from high school got engaged this week and I couldn’t be more happy for her and her new fiance. She’ll be the first in my group of friends to tie the knot, making her wedding a momentous occasion for all of us. Despite the busyness and excitement around the engagement, I got a chance to speak with her over the weekend about the proposal, her engagement ring, and, of course, her ideas for the wedding.
My friend has loved the color baby blue ever since I’ve known her (we met in the 1st grade); therefore, it didn’t surprise me that she wanted to have it as one of her wedding colors. When I came across this beautiful baby blue dress by Ananya, I couldn’t help but think of my friend’s wedding. Besides being the perfect shade of blue, I love the elegant simplicity of this dress. The architectural collar adds just the right amount of elegance to this otherwise simple, but timeless piece. And just in case my friend changes her mind, there are plenty of other fabric colors to choose, everything from hot pink to black.
My friend wants to make sure that every girl in the bridal party feels completely comfortable in her dress, no matter what their body type. The Coda wrap dress by nataJane is the perfect solution. It can be worn a dozen different ways, from strapless to sleeveless to kimono style, and will look great on everyone in the bridal party. Oh, and it comes in baby blue as well as 44 other amazing colors.
My friend loves strapless dresses, and I think she would just adore the sweet ruffles and the architectural look of the Kia dress by Nostalgia. Accenting the smallest part of your waist and falling around the knee, this dress is universally flattering and timeless. With a price tag of only $89, it’s affordable as well!
I can’t wait to pass along the links to each of these dresses to my friend. With so many great choices, I have no doubt that her bridal party will look absolutely amazing for her big day!
**The photo featured at the top of this post was taken by CAPow Art & Design.
This week, in the Back-to-School Eats series, I’m going to talk Brown Bag Lunches. From planning to execution, purchase to lunchroom-feast I’ve got tips, tricks and ideas to make healthy, mostly local lunches quick, easy and attainable for even the busiest families. But before we get started on lunch, if you haven’t already, be sure to check out the Back-to-School Eats: On The Go Breakfast Edition for four wholesome ways to kick off your school-kid’s day. Because breakfast is the most important meal, one that sets the tone for success and health and if your child hasn’t had a good breakfast the quality of his lunch isn’t going to be able to make up the difference.
Have a System – When my oldest started Kindergarten I was still one of those really good parents. I was expending an obnoxious amount of time trying to Do It All and I was succeeding. Most of the remnants of that time are now long gone, ancient history, but a few usable bits and pieces still remain. One of those things is a lunch planning spreadsheet I created. Or, rather, several of them. They’re divided into four categories; main dish, fruit, vegetable and treat. Those categories are color coded and each spreadsheet represents a different season, a different part of the school year. In each of the categories, on each of the spreadsheets, are several items that we usually have on hand during that time of year. Some items make an appearance in more than one season — peanut butter and jam sandwiches and apples, for instance — but many are seasonal with temporary availability — like asparagus in the springtime, peaches and pears in the late summer and early fall. Each day my girls pick one item from each category to make up the lunch of their choice. You don’t have to use my system, though it works very well if you’d like to, but have a system in place to make everything from purchase to packing easy.
Start Big – It’s contrary to everything your mother ever told you — “Start small, deary! Work your way up! — but hear me out. What I mean is not to start big overall, but to start with the big things. To have the biggest impact start with the largest portions of the meal and work your way down to the condiments, the toppings, the little treats. If sandwiches are a common component of your kids’ lunch look for good local sources of bread (or the grains to make it in your very own bread maker) and lunch meat. Worry about the condiments later, for instance.
Understand Your Law of Supply and Demand – And obey it. If you have one child who eats an apple a day, chances are you don’t need a bushel of apples every week. It’s just as easy to overdo it at the Farmer’s Market as it is to not go at all. Buy what you need, eat what you buy.
Plan Ahead – Unless you’re fortunate enough to be in a temperate climate where the growing season and the Farmer’s Market go year-round, you’re going to have to plan ahead for winter. Last year, in On Year Round Appreciation, I alluded to the importance of asking your local growers about year-round product availability now, before the market closes, but that is doubly important when you’re trying to get three meals a day out of the local food scene. Remember, some products don’t have a set season. Meats, eggs, preserves, breads, and even some produce that keeps well in a root cellar like potatoes, onions, apples, hard squashes and garlic can be had in the dead of winter without trucking it in from miles out. Start planning how you’ll access these goods before the cold sets in. You may be able to buy them farm direct, you may need to stock up. Now is the time to know which it’ll be.
Whatever the system you choose and foods you pack here’s to happy, healthy, local and — most important — stress-free back-to-school lunches!