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DIY Project: Leather Folders

Design*Sponge | DIY Project: Leather Folders
I’m an avid believer in surrounding ourselves with things that inspire our work, because after all, work is what we spend most of our time doing. Though, maybe we can’t exactly watch our favorite TV shows or sip on scotch while we work (as much as I know that those things inspire me), we can always personalize the very things we work with every day to make them a bit more special. So for the papers, receipts, notebooks, tablet, e-reader – whatever it is that you keep around your workspace – these leather file folders will provide chic, stylish and fun storage for them. -Amy Kim

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Matisse-inspired Cocktail Recipe + DIY

DIY Matisse-Inspired Cocktail and Napkin by David Stark for Design*Sponge
The Museum of Modern Art’s incredible new exhibit, Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs, is filled to the brim with entertaining and craft inspiration, as well as some of the most exuberant artwork ever made. Open through February 8 (RUN, don’t walk!), it’s the ultimate excuse for an artsy cocktail gathering in honor of the master’s works.

We turned to our friends at Botanica, a bar owned by Red Hook’s Cacao Prieto Distillery, to concoct a special cocktail for the occasion. The “Bleu Céleste” pays homage to Matisse’s color palette and is topped with cutout-inspired garnishes. The drinks look even more animated sitting atop DIY cocktail napkins that we created with easy-to-find materials.

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DIY Matisse-Inspired Cocktail and Napkin by David Stark for Design*Sponge
The recipe is simple, so you can mix and chill a pitcher before your guests arrive. Arrange the napkins, glasses and garnishes in a Matisse-like composition on a prominent table in your home. Voilà, you’re throwing a fête to equal the best artist salons! -David Stark

All DIY, book and drink photographs by Corrie Beth Hogg. Book above is Henri Mattise: The Cut Outs.

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10-Second Studio Tour: Wishbone Letterpress

It’s hard to imagine that just a few short years ago, Danielle Bliss, the founder and creative mind behind Wishbone Letterpress, was working the overnight shift at a national news show, commuting hours for work, and barely having time to keep her life —or her mind—together. During this time, Danielle and her boyfriend began dreaming of a better (slightly less exhausting) life together, something that often materialized in the couple’s weekly tradition of making wishes over leftover dried wishbones. “These wishes,” Danielle says, “often revolved around me not having to work at night anymore, or commute. Starting a letterpress business was the way that I eventually saw that happening.” In 2010, after fortuitously stumbling upon a letterpress machine through a Craigslist posting, Danielle’s wish came true. Starting at first in a family member’s rented-out basement, Danielle quickly began accumulating more machinery and printing materials, officially opening for business in 2011. “We struggled for a few months to come up with the name,” Danielle notes. “Then we saw a wishbone sitting on the windowsill awaiting our next wish, and we knew right away that Wishbone was THE name.” Today, Wishbone has gone on to become a successful purveyor of beautiful (and hilarious) paper goods and Danielle’s commute to a light-filled studio in Kingston, NY is only a short drive away. Check out our 10-Second Tour of Wishbone’s digs above or continue after the jump to see all of the photos from our visit! —Max Read More

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The Velvet Ribbons in Saint-Etienne

Velvet Ribbons at Musée d'Art et d'Industrie de Saint-Etienne
Yesterday I talked about how the internet is full of some truly wonderful people and last night that was reaffirmed when I got an email from one of my favorite online friends, Neal of Present & Correct. Knowing my obsession with ribbons (I made them both the theme of this website and our book), Neal sent me a link to what basically became my new favorite place in the world, The Velvet Ribbon digital archive at the Musée d’Art et d’Industrie de Saint-Etienne.

Velvet Ribbons at Musée d'Art et d'Industrie de Saint-Etienne
Velvet Ribbons at Musée d'Art et d'Industrie de Saint-Etienne
For me, ribbons represent all the things I love about textiles, in one tiny piece. They are bite-sized bits of texture, color and pattern and they adorn everything from upholstery and clothing to treasured books and even people themselves. The Musée d’Art et d’Industrie de Saint-Etienne’s collection is full of the sort of detail that I love and is a wonderful reminder of how far some current trends can be traced back through history. All those geometric prints in pink and black? Yep, those have been happening over and over throughout time. I truly relish a chance to look through archives like this (if only I could teleport there to see them them in person!), so I wanted to share them here today, too. I hope they’ll bring the sort of sheer joy and happiness to your day that they brought to mine. Thanks so much to Neal for sending these over. xo, grace

*All images from the the Musée d’Art et d’Industrie de Saint-Etienne

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10 Things I’ve Learned About Life from Blogging

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I don’t know if it’s the impending cold weather or some changes that are about to happen in my personal life (more on that soon), but I’ve found myself reflecting on the lessons I’ve learned over the past few years. The blogging generation often gets a bad rap for being too focused on trends and topics that lack substance and depth, but I’ve found that the moments I’ve spent with my online colleagues over the past year have proved to be some of the most meaningful and real. Learning about real life from the Internet can be an odd thing (it often feels like learning about real life from TV or a movie) but it’s no less valid and helpful than lessons learned face-to-face. So today I decided to take a second to step back and look at the ways this incredible platform, blogging, has taught me lessons about real life. From learning to listen more and write less to trusting my gut and finding that patience isn’t everything, the life lessons I’ve learned from blogging are universal and will inform the way I live for years to come. I’m curious to know if these are things you all have learned from running your blogs, too? Or perhaps there are different lessons that I haven’t touched on here. I’m always fascinated to hear how working in this vast and varied community of ours has shaped people’s lives outside of the screen. If you have a moment to share your stories, I’d love to hear what your experiences have been. xo, grace

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Biz Ladies: How to Work With Influencers to Boost Holiday Sales

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As much as we may deny it, it seems as though the holiday season kicks into full gear even before the first leaves fall from the trees. For those in the retail industry, this is a time of year that can bring on major sales and business success, along with a little added stress. Mei Pak is all too familiar with the holiday rush as she coaches other creatives and blogs about small business marketing at The Pragmatic Designer. She is launching her e-course, In The Limelight, on how to be featured by popular blogs to get more traffic and make more money this holiday season, and today she is sharing some of that insight with us. Mei also designs a line of scented food jewelry at Tiny Hands that sells in over 90 stores across the US and has been featured in countless publications/blogs, giving her firsthand experience on how to market your products to the masses.  It’s time to ring in the holiday season and boost your sales! -Stephanie

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