#DSHoliday + Best of the Web

#DSHoliday + Best of the Web

woodlucker_butterfly

This week the holidays finally started to feel real because Julia and I went to our local Christmas tree farm to bring home a tree. Julia builds her own DIY menorah every year, so this month our house is filled with so much light and decoration. I’m always so inspired by the warmth this season brings, and I’ve been so happy to focus less on shopping and decorating (although I do love tree lights) and more on giving back.

This year we did our local toy drive and are volunteering at food and family shelters in our area, but we’re also following a suggestion left by writer (and D*S contributor) Ashley C. Ford that I wanted to share here. Ashley suggested people call up their local school system to find out about overdue lunch accounts for students in need. So many of these children aren’t able to pay off their bills and won’t be able to join their classmates for meals — or get the food they need (and may not be able to get at home). All you need to do is get the totals and chip in as much as you can afford, or coordinate with others (or local businesses) to help pay off the totals. It’s a nice way to get involved with your local schools and a great way to make sure that the next generation of makers, artists, dreamers and doers has the fuel they need to grow and learn.

Speaking of inspiration, I wanted to launch a short #Hashtag challenge for this month: #DSHoliday. Upload a picture (to Twitter or Instagram) of what YOUR holiday season looks like (traditions, decorations, giving back, etc.) and tag it #DSHoliday. I’ll pick one winner and mail them a signed copy of In the Company of Women AND a signed copy of Julia’s cookbook, Small Victories. Until then, best wishes for a healthy and happy weekend. xo, grace

Paper butterflies above by Woodlucker on Instagram. Peek inside their house here

bestofweb

Best of Design*Sponge This Week:

 

In the Kitchen With: Italian Doughnut Holes

In the Kitchen With: Italian Doughnut Holes

Castagnole by Kristina Gill | Tasting Rome

This week’s recipe is from my cookbook, Tasting Rome. Castagnole are traditionally a carnevale recipe, but I consider them the Italian equivalent of the doughnut hole. Even better, I consider them an easy cheat for rum balls at Christmas time. You can serve them strictly according to the original recipe or glaze them with something boozy (just make sure you omit the Sambuca in the recipe), and even add sprinkles of your choice. These are soft as pillows and best eaten immediately, but they will keep, and be perfect to have with coffee, even days after you make them. So make a beautiful batch, wrap, and give as a gift without fear. For an alternative recipe for castagnole from our archives, click here. —Kristina

Roman Street Sign photo by Kristina Gill | DesignSponge

Photography by Kristina Gill

VIEW MORE

Holiday DIY: Ombre Ribbon Tree

Holiday DIY: Ombre Ribbon Tree

maintree

Growing up in West Virginia, I saw every type of Christmas tree craft you can imagine. From starlight peppermint candy trees to faux pearl-tipped pins inserted in large sequins that covered the styrofoam tree form, I always marveled at how many ways the ladies at my church could (and would) embellish a tree. When I discovered the ombré ribbon in the Waverly Inspirations collection, I knew that there was a modern version of the ribbon tree in my near future.

I love this DIY for its simplicity and its colorful, nostalgic take on the ribbon candy holiday tradition. If you don’t have a chance to craft it up for this holiday season, bookmark it now for next year and be sure to have a few young helpers around when you make it. The younger set loves to help set up the scene where your tree will live!

Click through for the instructions! –Caitlin

*This post is brought to you in collaboration with Waverly Inspirations. This project, ideas, and words are from us here at D*S and were created by us,  for you and your family. Thanks for supporting our sponsors that help us create and publish original content like this. The Waverly Inspirations collection is available at Walmart.

VIEW MORE

A Jewelry Designer’s Home Studio Makes Use of Each Bit of Space

A Jewelry Artist's Home Studio Makes Use of Each Bit of Space on Design*Sponge

A Jewelry Designer’s Home Studio Makes Use of Each Bit of Space

What started as a hobby, over ten years ago, has turned into a full fledged business for new Oakland resident, (by way of Brooklyn), jewelry designer Jaclyn Mayer of Orly Genger. Working from home gives her the ability to be a working mom to their 16 month old son, even when it’s not the easiest of tasks to juggle the two. “My child is now 16 months old and it gets harder and harder to work at home as he’s getting to an age where he needs constant attention and supervision.  “When I was living in Brooklyn I took him with me everywhere.  To all my factories and suppliers.  They all loved him.  I had to plan work that I did at home around his nap schedule.  Otherwise we would be out running around the city.” said Jaclyn. 

Mixing her love of vintage finds with handmade treasures from their travels or made by friends, her home, which she shares with her husband and son, adds a layer of warmth to her home studio and each piece has a story. “Most of the art is by people I know.  It makes the pieces more special to me when I look at them.  Not only do I think about the picture but I get to think about the friend who made it.  The big drawing in our living room above the couch is by one of my closest friends, Orly Genger.  She is also my jewelry partner.  She gave it to us as a wedding present.  So I get to think about 3 things when I look at it.  The drawing, Orly, and our wedding!  I love that.” Jaclyn recalls. 

Staying organized when you share your work space with your family can be tricky. Jaclyn has found a way for the two to blend seamlessly. “By nature I can be a bit of a hoarder.  So I have to do major clean outs periodically.  Moving was probably the best thing for me as it forced me to go through my studio and get rid of things I’d been saving for 10 years.  I have to keep everything in labelled bins.  Otherwise I wouldn’t ever be able to find anything.”

When asked what song or band her home makes her think about when you walk in, Jaclyn replied, “My husband is obsessed with records.  He has over 3ooo of them so that record player is in constant use.  I don’t think I can pick one song or band as we listen to so many different types of music.  If I had to pick one, maybe Fleetwood Mac, only because it’s one we both agree on so gets listened to a lot!”

If this is what she and her husband could do with a tiny Brooklyn apartment, I can only image what her new home in Oakland will bring.

Erin Austen Abbott

Photography by Carolina Mariana Rodriguez

VIEW MORE

Inspiration Boards: The Why + How

Inspiration Boards: The Why + How

inspiration boards

If you’d asked me a few years ago if I would spend a few days every year making vision boards for life and work, I would have given you a huge Liz Lemon-level eye roll. But I would have been so wrong. Over the past four years, vision boards have become one of the most powerful tools in my life & work toolbox, and have helped me not only stay in touch with what I really want, but they’ve helped me envision a path to get there.

While there’s no wrong way to vision/mood board, I have learned some tricks and tips that have helped me get the most out of them over the years. And today I’m sharing those techniques, along with some tips for analyzing and understanding what your mood board is saying to you, after the jump. Happy collaging! xo, grace

VIEW MORE

Holiday DIY: Hanging Danish Bells

Holiday DIY: Hanging Danish Bells

bell2

I am so excited about the holidays this year! I’ve been menu planning and making all sorts of cutesy crafts in my signature bright patterns and old school touch. Had I not gone to art and then business school, I’m pretty sure there would be a kindergarten class with my name on the door. Drop the trendy-tiny-lights-in-a-vase idea, and let’s get super crafty with one of my favorite paper and fabric DIYs.

These Hanging Danish Bells are the perfect combination of quick and cute, especially when you pick out some of your favorite fabric to add to the project! And you won’t believe how easy it is to make a lot of them for a full-on installation effect for any occasion, really — just adjust your fabric and color choices and you’re good to go.

I’m a big fan of peppermint and candy canes, so I went a little wild with my modern take on the stripe motif with bright red chevron fabric, offset with a classic red cotton. I tend to keep my holiday vignettes monochrome, with a little red here and a little green there. Tomorrow’s holiday DIY will feature polka-dots and green and a giveaway, so check back in tomorrow at 11 am.

Let’s get started! Click through for the full instructions! –Caitlin

*This post is brought to you in collaboration with Waverly Inspirations. This project, ideas, and words are from us here at D*S and were created by us,  for you and your family. Thanks for supporting our sponsors that help us create and publish original content like this. The Waverly Inspirations collection is available at Walmart.

VIEW MORE

What’s In Your Toolbox: Xenia Taler

What’s In Your Toolbox: Xenia Taler

What's In Your Toolbox: Xenia Taler, on Design*Sponge

When I first came across Xenia Taler’s ceramic work for this column, I fell in love with her unique sensibility riding the full illustrative spectrum between gesturally playful and rigidly geometric surface patterns. As I clicked through her archives, I was surprised to find that I was already very familiar with her whimsical designs — the cup of coffee I was working through at home that morning was indeed resting on her swan coaster. Xenia and her partner Steven Koblinsky, who crafts the pieces on which Xenia’s designs are applied, created their studio 20 years ago. In addition to handcrafted tiles, they have added home accessories, paper products, and soon a children’s novel to their collection.

Always filling notebooks with her constant stream of creativity, Xenia never lacks for new ideas to explore. “I have more of a problem with creative focus than creative block,” she admits. “I really enjoy that initial part of designing, which is just exploring and seeing how many variations you can come up with.” If she ever needs inspiration, Xenia dips back into earlier fixations. Speaking to some of her influences, she finds “folk art across all cultures to be extremely inspiring, and also a big help in solving many design problems.” —Annie

Photography by Xenia Taler

VIEW MORE

9 Dog-Themed Home Goods

Dog portraitist, Sally Muir created this wallpaper that features a range of furry friends. $118 per roll.

9 Dog-Themed Home Goods

If you would have told me five years ago that I would be a major dog person, I would have laughed so hard (through a thick cloud of cat fur) until I fell over into a sea of cat toys. While Turk will always be my first, our dogs Hope and Winky have shown me that my heart had more room to love. And that space is now filled by dogs, dogs and more dogs. So today I thought I’d share some of my favorite dog-themed decor for anyone who wants to honor their favorite furry friend. And if you need any more dog love, check out our favorite dogs in home tours and dogs/dog owners to follow on Instagram, too. xo, grace

VIEW MORE

Q&A: Some Good Clean Fun with Nick Offerman

Q&A: Some Good Clean Fun with Nick Offerman

Nick Offerman for Design*Sponge

Let’s talk a little about wood. If you’re familiar with the TV show Parks and Recreation, you know the character Ron Swanson, played by actor Nick Offerman, was not only the endearing (even though we’d never tell him that to his face) director of the Parks and Recreation department, but also a carpenter and woodworker. This characteristic of Mr. Swanson is actually pulled from the real life of Offerman, who has been an avid woodworker for many years now. He’s out with his third book, Good Clean Fun, teaching readers everything from the tools of the trade to tips to get you started, including a range of interviews with fellow woodworkers and DIY projects.

This book is sure to fit nicely in your library and next to you, in your wood shop, whether you are just picking up a new hobby or looking to dive into a career of carving and turning wood. We could all get and give a little good clean fun to get us started this holiday season. Please enjoy this Q&A with Nick about his favorite craft. —Erin

Nick Offerman for Design*Sponge

Portrait by Emily Shur | Book cover by Penguin Random House

VIEW MORE

22 Gifts That Promote Self-Care

22 Gifts That Promote Self-Care

scg1

If you’ve been following my column, The Beauty of Self-Care, you’ll recognize the benefits of most of these gifts. When I give presents with self-care in mind, I like to take the time to write a thoughtful note describing what I hope the giftee can look forward to experiencing. Whether it’s a Mom Time Out with the Meditation Studio app and the lavender eye pillow, or a hearty late-night laugh with the You Are A Bad*ss book, the message is the same: take a little time for yourself. The holidays are always a super busy, and sometimes stressful, time. The positive reframe of that truth is that it is also a holiday that affords us some time away from work to connect with friends and family. Use that time to recharge yourself and share that message with those folks on your gift list! –Caitlin

P.S. Most of these gifts are affordable, but please know that you can make a lot of these items yourself! Take a look at our Small Measures column for some ideas and how-tos for crafting your own self-care gift.

Image above, clockwise from top left: 1. Thé des Moines (holding a warm ceramic mug helps you be in the moment) $21 | 2. Tulasara Awakening Ritual Kit  (dry brushing + aromatherapeutic oil) $89 | 3. Ginger & Lavender Body Wash (for long, lingering baths) $20 | 4. Human Body Book (to learn more about the body & how it works) $11.68 | 5. Colorful Matches (for lighting a candle during meditation) $36 | 6. Pick Me Up Book (helpful self-journaling & inspiration) $10.05 | 7. Organic Lavender Eye Pillow (for a quiet break)

Click through for the full guide after the jump!

VIEW MORE

Studio Tour: Oliver Jeffers

Studio tour with artist and illustrator Oliver Jeffers for Design*Sponge.

Studio Tour: Oliver Jeffers

It’s not uncommon to meet multitalented people, but when you meet someone who is a jack-of-all-trades and truly a master of it all, you take notice. Oliver Jeffers is just that: talented artist, author, painter, illustrator, storyteller, bookmaker and filmmaker, and he is brilliant with every medium he touches.

The Belfast, Northern Ireland native has been making waves (literally, you have to check out Oliver’s series on water and depth, Fathom Seascapes) in New York for almost a decade now, but will never claim that it has been a one-man show. “My studio is probably where I spend most of my waking hours. I have a team of people who help me: Hannah, Patrick, sometimes Steve, and Hayley is new to the team. The show is run by my wife Suzanne (so that I just get to draw the pictures) and our dog Scampi is Head of Security. I do a lot of very differing, often ambitious projects, and none of it is accomplished alone, it’s a team effort.” An effort that has produced numerous works that are constantly winning awards and praise from around the world, and he isn’t slowing down any time soon.

With a recent exhibition at Bryce Wolkowitz studio in Chelsea, the release of the first-ever illustrated version of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas for its 10-year anniversary and the recently released A Child of Books (which the NYT called “a fresh and fascinating collaboration between two gifted masters”), Oliver is on the move and the accolades are all well-deserved.

Prior to his current space, Oliver spent years in a shared studio that served as an old hot dog cart facility. There was a lot of charm, but the building was falling apart around Oliver and his studio-mates (and fellow artists Mac Premo and Aaron Ruff of Digby & Iona), making it more and more difficult to work. “One day the landlord decided to end our (nonexistent) lease, so we had to find a new place to work pretty quickly. We found this building because we were dumpster diving when the place was being renovated. I think I still have a photo from that day!”

As the scope of Oliver’s projects grew, so did his studio. Initially starting in a smaller space in the same building with a growing team and expanding workflow, the time came to find a larger studio. “I knew that I needed empty, quiet space so that I didn’t feel constantly mentally cluttered, and there was available space if a particular project demanded it. I knew that I needed space away from the front door so I could hide when on an important call or in the zone of writing or drawing. I knew that I worked quickly and needed to know EXACTLY where something was the instant I thought I might need it, so that required extreme organization of materials. You can often tell at what stage of a project I’m at by the mess in the studio. Very clean means just started, and very messy means close to completion.”

With everything they’ve been through in the past, Oliver is grateful for the things often taken for granted: a roof that’s secure and doesn’t leak, a hammock hidden away for emergencies, and heating and air conditioning; things that were all absent at his old studio. Choosing function over form, there is still a distinct style in which the new studio is set up that is a direct extension of Oliver’s unique and special work. —Gigi

Photography by Patrick Reynolds

VIEW MORE

A Love-Filled Home & Studio in Dorset, Ontario

Design*Sponge | A Love-Filled Home & Studio in Ontario

A Love-Filled Home & Studio in Dorset, Ontario

Some places are just special, evoking a feeling that we can’t quite put our finger on. Yet we are drawn in, wanting to stay awhile and bask in the goodness. In the case of Tara Gilchrist Love and Caitlin Hutt Love, two immeasurably creative women living amongst the trees and on the lakeshore of Canada’s Dorset, Ontario, it’s not just the beauty of their home, it’s the love they have poured into it and the people around them that makes it so special. Love, like their chosen unified last name, is at the core of everything this couple does and touches: they even started a summer festival for their community called Love Fest. The gathering was inspired by their wedding last September, where they shut down the street in front of their home and hung twinkle lights and celebrated their marriage and love late into the night.

Tara, Caitlin, and their sweet kitty, Devi, live in a rustic barn built in the 1890s. The space houses quite a lot: downstairs is a thriving pottery/yoga studio, retail shop, and espresso bar, and upstairs is a 600-square-foot apartment. Tara, a Toronto native, purchased the home initially to build her pottery business near her family’s summer cottage; and Caitlin moved in later, knowing this home was “the one” because Tara was in it. The space is not without its challenges — sometimes the pair finds it difficult to separate work from home, as they are “open” all the time — and as they prepare to grow their family, they know they’ll need additional space for children. In the coming years, they plan to build a larger home on their property, transitioning out of the tiny space they currently reside in.

In their home and studio, the pair has created an organic space that is truly reflective of their passions: items collected from travels to India, Guatemala, and Colorado, as well as pieces Tara has created at home and abroad. The things they love and are inspired by most are found throughout their cozy, lofted house with lake views. The women want to feel connected to the pieces they bring into their home, but not attached or bogged down by them, so they choose items carefully and purge regularly to keep the clutter from piling up.

Tara and Cait’s strict budget has also not limited them, instead it only inspires creative and romantic solutions. When Caitlin moved in and started her yoga studio as an extension of Tara’s business, the ladies built the outdoor studio floor from shipping crates that carried home pottery Tara crafted in India. That very floor was where Tara would later propose to Caitlin, and has become a tangible symbol of their lives and businesses intertwining. Tara and Cait love that their home is truly theirs and a part of their story, a work in progress that is constantly evolving, just as they are. —Kate

Photography by Kate Oliver

VIEW MORE

A Sewing Revivalist’s Quiet Home in Portland, OR

Sarai Mitnick's Home Tour on Design*Sponge

A Sewing Revivalist’s Quiet Home in Portland, OR

Sarai Mitnick left her tech job in Oakland, CA eight years ago with a heart for designing and publishing sewing patterns for women who wanted to make their own clothes. “It was something I felt deeply passionate about, but I couldn’t afford to start a business in the San Francisco area.” Sarai and her husband, Kenn Wilson, founded Colette Patterns in 2009, a publishing company that creates home sewing patterns, books and an online magazine called Seamwork for sewists of all experience levels. Since then, Colette has grown to an office of 11 enthusiastic and creative people with the goal to revive the art of sewing and home garment making. Their modern taste and variety give followers an open invitation and resources to curate a wardrobe with their own hands.

The couple has been a part of their current neighborhood since the move, and they feel fortunate to have found a house in the same area five years ago. “It’s really walkable and there are plenty of restaurants and bars around, but it’s still quiet and residential. I feel incredibly thankful that we get to own a home in such a wonderful neighborhood,” Sarai shares. Working with a small budget, Sarai and Kenn looked at a dozens of “run-down, creepy, smelly places” before walking into their 1923 colonial revival house. Sarai grew up in an old house and couldn’t imagine living in a space that lacked historic character and charm. They immediately refinished all the original floors, which had been covered with Pergo laminate, and coated the rooms with soft, cool colors to reflect as much natural light as possible and counteract dark Portland days. “One of the rooms was painted bright turquoise, including the ceiling, and the floor was painted shiny white. Because the floor reflected the turquoise, it gave the appearance of blue skin when you walked in!” After the initial renovations, they started taking care of little things like lighting and shelves, and tried not to overthink how the house should look, but focused on finding décor that captured their interests. “I tend to just collect things that feel like me or that I find particularly beautiful,” Sarai shares. “I like the way a house evolves over time and reflects the people who live there. That’s more important to me than whether or not it looks perfect.”

Sarai and Kenn work together all day, so their primary goal for the home was to create a space to recharge. Sarai believes that a home should, “inspire serenity and a certain amount of curiosity.” The space has a natural, homemade air with a penchant for vintage imagery, floral patterns and quiet, cozy vignettes that provide the perfect escape from an active lifestyle. Surrounding themselves with books, photographs, art and other personal items helps Sarai and Kenn unwind and activate the emotions they want to experience when they are home. “It’s like a good cup of coffee, relaxing and stimulating at the same time.” Bethany Joy Foss

Photography by Sarai Mitnick

VIEW MORE

A Home for Mom, Dad & Baby Dotted with Blues & Pinks

A Home for Mom, Dad & Baby Dotted with Blues & Pinks, Design*Sponge

A Home for Mom, Dad & Baby Dotted with Blues & Pinks

Over the past 17 years, architect Gerry Smith and his wife Erin, a historic preservation consultant, have swapped the rooms in their home around more times than they can count. Bedrooms have become offices, offices have become living areas, and the kitchen… well, the kitchen is the one place that’s stayed in place. You can’t blame them there, though. That’d be a huge undertaking! The latest iteration of their Williamsburg, Brooklyn spot was brought on by the couple’s change in taste or a simple desire to mix things up. One baby girl caused this shakeup, and her name is Cecil. She was born a little over a year ago, and since her arrival she’s turned her parents’ home on its head.

Her nursery, for example, used to be the home’s office, but it was overhauled the second Gerry and Erin found out they were pregnant. As time went on, without any pushing on the couple’s part, the space organically took on a vintage feel. All manner of pink-and-coral decor seemed to gravitate to this room, and with the addition of a few essentials, the space came together. On most nights, Erin rocks Cecil to sleep in a mid-century Eames chair, Cecil’s IKEA crib a few steps away. It sits in front of a custom paint job (my favorite aspect of the home) depicting an abstract mountainous scene that matches the wainscoting in the couple’s bedroom.

This painted touch helps Gerry and Erin’s personal retreat flow right into the nursery, and with an IKEA dresser that matches Cecil’s, the two areas feel as one. It was important to establish this sense of fluidity and cohesion throughout the apartment as its rooms aren’t super private. If you stand in the kitchen, you can even look down the hall into the majority of the rooms at once – a great thing to have when there’s a little one running around. See every corner of this family’s stylish and baby-ready home after the jump. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Carolina Mariana

VIEW MORE

30 Gifts for the Entrepreneur In Your Life

30 Gifts for the Entrepreneur In Your Life

biz_main

 

There are few things I love more than watching people pursue their dreams. Whether that’s turning a passion project into a new full-time job or pursuing a side project outside of a day job, getting to discover yourself as your own boss is an amazing feeling. So this week, I wanted to kick things off with a range of gift ideas for the entrepreneur (or soon-to-be entrepreneur) in your life. From office storage to desktop organizers to inspiring accessories, there’s something in here for everyone and hopefully a little extra inspiration to take your business dreams to the next level. xo, grace

Image above, clockwise from top left: Muuto hooks $23+, Custom keychain $15, Cork organizers $18+, Mint Fin File Sorter $16, Ban.do pouch $14, Componibili storage unit $390, Cubist shelving unit $255+, In the Company of Women (I’m so proud of our book and these amazing women!) $35, Rock Bookend $65, Shadow Scissors $14, Rose Gold Lucite Stapler $22, Amethyst Magnet $8.

Click through for the full guide after the jump!

VIEW MORE