Archive for February, 2010

This week‘s favorite comes from the popular yarn artist and seller, Pancake And Lulu.  This yarn, “Wonderland”, is part of her art yarn series, all merino wool hand-painted with low-impact eco dyes.  I love the symphony of colors and the accenting coils of thread.  I had a wonderfully difficult time picking out which art yarn to feature, because they are all so unique and beautiful!


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My first terrarium; House and clothesline by me!

In the interest of spring and all that is lush and green, I decided to start a wet terrarium.  Perhaps I am a bit behind on the crafty terrarium craze, but I am no less fervent.

Terrariums are enclosed spaces for living things.  Just as aquariums house water creatures and plants, terrariums are host to plants and land animals (such as a pet turtle).  This is a guide solely for the plant terrarium.

Traditionally, they house their own little ecosystems: evaporation, condensation, and precipitation.  Therefore, terrarium plants have to love moist, wet environments. (Some terrariums are open air and different plants can be used).  Moss, ferns, African violets, baby’s tears are all great terrarium water-lovers. No: cacti or succulents (ie: jade, aloe, hens and chicks).

Terrariums are great because: they require little attention, they add a bit of green to the urban apartment, and they can be cute pieces of style!

Baby's Tears

You need:

Glass jar

Rocks or pebbles
Activated charcoal
Potting soil

Step 1. Pick out a glass with a lid.  The container can be as stylish as an antique apothecary jar to an old pasta sauce jar.  Make sure the container is clean.

Step 2. Cover the bottom of the glass with the rocks.  This creates a space for excess water to gather, without rotting the soil.

Step 3. The next layer is the activated charcoal.  This stuff also drains, but primarily prevents stinkiness.

Step 4. Next, add your layer of soil.  Make sure there is enough for the plants throw roots down into.

Step 5. Now, add the plant or plants!  This can be difficult if you’ve chosen a glass with a small opening.  I use chopsticks to place my plants where I wanted them.  You can also use tongs or tweezers.  Make sure to pat the plants down, so they are snuggled close to the soil. (Now you may also add cute miniatures and decorations, as you desire!)

Caring for your terrarium:
Spritz this baby with water once every few weeks.  Use a sprayer, not a watering can, so as not to over-water!  Let it air out once in a while as well.

My favorite terrarium sellers on Etsy:

The creative DoodleBirdie

The talented WeeGreenSpot

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My Etsy favorite this week comes in the form of a necklace I bought from Rafya.  The artist, Alona Lahav, uses cold clay and acrylic to create her beautiful pendants, earrings, rings, and tiles.

My fascination with the pomegranate goes back to an early obsession with the Persephone myth:

The goddess of spring, Persephone is kidnapped by the god of the underworld, Hades, while she is picking flowers.  Once in Hades’ kingdom of the dead, Persephone is tricked into eating the fruit of the dead, the pomegranate.  She eats several seeds.  Her mother Demeter, goddess of the harvest, searches for Persephone, neglecting her work and leaving the earth to die.  The leaves fall from the trees and the earth becomes barren.  Finally, Helios, the sun, tells Demeter what he witnessed the day of the kidnapping.  Zeus forces Hades to return Persephone, but the fact remains that she ate the seeds.  Zeus rules that she shall stay in the Underworld for as many months as seeds eaten.  For the rest of the year, she shall be reborn and live with her mother as the goddess of spring.  In her happiness for her daughter’s return, Demeter allows the world to blossom and grow once more.

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At the request of several lovely ladies in Melrose, MA, here is a short how-to about potato stampers!


You’ll need…red paint, a paint brush, knife, potato (cut in half), paper or cards to print.  Make sure your cut potato has a smooth, flat, even surface.  This is important because its current surface will be the stamp.  The paint and paint brush can be replaced with an ink stamp pad if you prefer.


Take the knife and slowly, carefully cut your shape down into the potato.  I usually cut about a centimeter deep.


Cut horizontally now, across the face of the potato, until you reach your shape.  If you cut a little bit into your shape, that’s ok, but try not to.  As your new cuts reach your previous cuts, you should be able to pull away the extra potato, revealing your shape!


Paint your new stamp and stamp away!  I recommend doing a trial run on a scrap piece of paper, just to see how your stamp stamps.  If my stamping surface isn’t as smooth as I thought it was, I usually stamp with a slight rolling motion (rather than pushing straight down) in order to make the whole surface kiss the paper.

Enjoy and Happy Valentine’s Day!

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portrait by bruce weber

Last month, I went to the Peabody Essex Museum on a terribly dreary day.   The perfect day to see the exhibit Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel, which explodes with color and flair.

The show exhibited 80 outfits of Apfel, a fashionista of a different feather.   Different rooms grouped the outfits in terms of style: a room for the glamorous clothing, a room for the ethnic garb, the winter clothing, the circus clothing.  In addition to the outfits, which all appropriately sat on identical mannequins with her enormous glasses, were cases and cases of jewelry.  I adored the ethnic jewelry, dripping with silver or fit with huge hunks of amber.

Who is Apfel? Why does she have money to buy the turquoise jewelry I want?  Iris Apfel and her husband began a business in textiles- specializing in replicating antique fabrics, a specialization that took them all over the world and even gave them several jobs at the White House. 

While she cannot sew or create, and certainly wouldn’t have an Etsy shop, Apfel would immediately be a hit as a Storque (Etsy blog) writer.  Her style is fun and bold because she didn’t and doesn’t follow trends.  And she believes it’s not about what you spend, but about what you’re buying.  Pieces from the collection came from designers and they also came from the bottom of a bin in a flea market.  Says Apfel:

I’m not too fond of real jewelry. I know it’s very beautiful and very valuable but I never had a yen for it. (What a lucky man my husband is!) My stuff is much more dramatic and much more fun.

My mum was fascinated with this breastplate and even more so when we realized it was a recent addition to her wardrobe (Apfel is 88 years old).  We both loved the metal dog shaped purse.  One of my favorite pieces is utterly make-able: the googly eyed bracelet.

Iris on shopping:

I’m a hopeless romantic. I buy things because I fall in love with them. I never buy anything just because it’s valuable. My husband used to say I look at a piece of fabric and listen to the threads. It tells me a story. It sings me a song. I have to get a physical reaction when I buy something. A coup de foudre – a bolt of lightning. It’s fun to get knocked out that way!

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