DIY Upcycled Clock Frame

DIY Upcycled Clock Frame

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Since moving into our home, I’ve wanted to fill the walls with photos, quotes and things that hold meaning to my husband and me. It has been a process choosing what to hang, so our walls are pretty bare at the moment. When Fran and Grace contacted me to create a picture frame tutorial, I knew this was the nudge I needed to work towards my goal of printing and hanging memorable photos. This project took longer than I expected due to the time I spent reminiscing over our photos from our honeymoon in Maui, but the DIY process was a breeze. I finally landed on a photo from one of my favorite places we visited and got to work! I love how easy it is to transform a simple clock into a clean, functional frame. I’ll have to rotate the photo every once in a while so I can keep admiring all the treasured family photos I have stored away. —Courtney

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We Want Your Job: Art Director at Barneys New York

We Want Your Job: Art Director at Barneys New York

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Erica Choi is a talented NYC-based designer who I first discovered on Instagram before jumping over to her fashion and lifestyle blog, Egg Canvas (where I may have wasted an afternoon!). Her sense of style and personal aesthetic is a refined thing of beauty, which she’s currently applying to her role as the Digital Art Director at global luxury retailer, Barneys New York.

When I first asked exactly what Erica’s role was at Barneys, the list she gave was impressively endless: she works her magic in e-commerce, interactive, customer service, social media and marketing, and collaborating daily with an awesome team of innovative and creative people. Today, she’s taken time out of her busy schedule to take us behind the scenes of her daily life at Barneys and she’s sharing how she got there. Thanks so much to Erica for sharing her journey and advice with us! –Sabrina

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Things That Scare Me

Things That Scare Me

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Almost three years ago, Ez of the blog Creature Comforts did something exciting and new online: she took a moment to be vulnerable and transparent. Inspired by a post written by Jess Lively, Ez wrote about the things that she was afraid to tell her readers, and anyone else online. It spurred a movement on blogs across the globe and people participated in several rounds of sharing these fears openly on the web.

In my circle of blogging friends, this moment in time is one that comes up in discussions regularly. People often cite it as a real breakthrough in connecting with their friends and readers, an example of what there should be more of and something we should all strive to keep alive in every post, not just one every year or so. But when this was all happening, I was in too vulnerable of a space to join in. In 2012 I had come out to my friends and family, ended a longterm relationship and was recovering from a draining 30+ city book tour. I wasn’t ready to open up because I wasn’t ready to process all those things alone yet. But lately I’ve been thinking more and more about what that sort of openness means to all of us online.

The way we all connect to each other as writers, bloggers, makers, readers and humans matters. I’ve talked about why transparency and honesty is a valuable thing and it’s led to some wonderful conversations on and offline that make me think that making it a more regular discussion — and making sure all of our posts are infused with that spirit of openness — is the best way to move forward. It’s clear to see that almost everyone online is clamoring for “realness” and relatability. I think it’s part of a desire to see ourselves, even just a tiny bit, in the people around us and a way for us to feel hopeful, connected and inspired. So today I wanted to join in this discussion, albeit three years late to the party. In a world where it’s all too easy to celebrate just the pretty and successful parts of life, there’s power and importance in taking a moment to air out the things that are more about fear than success. My hope is that anyone reading here can chime in, too, and use this moment to start the spring season with a fresh and open mind and heart. If nothing else, maybe some of us can find a new friend who can help us through a shared issue or concern. xo, grace

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Modern Living in a Century-Old Home in Cleveland, Ohio

Over the bed are a series of Calcite Photographic prints by Hamish Robertson.

Modern Living in a Century-Old Home in Cleveland, Ohio

April Nemeth — not to be confused with the actress — is a maker and visual communicator. Her addiction to simple, clean design has inspired her home decor business and modern works of art as much as it has her furniture and decor choices at home.

April is the owner of Little Korboose, an eco-friendly business crafting wares for children and homes, with a name inspired by modern architect Le Corbusier. What’s even more fun: Corbusier is also the name of April’s Russian Blue cat! April has worked as a designer for more than 10 years after graduating from Kent State University with a BFA in Visual Communication Design.

Her century home in Cleveland, OH is tucked right outside of the city in a west-side neighborhood of Lakewood, which she chose for its central location to nearly everything: it’s 10 minutes from downtown and a walk to Lake Erie. She’s lived in the 1,200-square-foot home for over three years and her favorite room still remains her living room. “The room has good vibes,” she says, “It’s my place to obtain serenity. In the afternoon, the light pours in. It’s quite beautiful.” As much as the not-perfectly-square rooms have made her itch, she’s come to appreciate the crystal doorknobs, original wood baseboards, doors and floors, and plaster walls. But April’s not-so-modern older home has inspired a new side of her that has slowly fallen in love with mixing the old and the new.  –Sabrina

 

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After The Jump 2015: Your Requests for Next Season

After The Jump 2015: Your Requests for Next Season

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Last December I took a much-needed break from my weekly radio show to focus on everything related to our move upstate and to focus more on the site here, our team and what we were writing about. But after almost four months away from the radio, I’m ready to put my headphones back on to record season 3 and episode 101. So why am I writing about this now, without an episode to share yet? Because I’d really like this season to be shaped by all of YOU.

Rather than last year’s format of interview-after-interview, I’m going to be cobbling together (and editing on my own) slightly longer shows and an overall season that addresses deeper topics in each episode, with interviews, clips and advice from multiple guests around the world. Since we aren’t living just a few minutes away from Roberta’s anymore, I’ll be recording on my own, interviewing guests via phone, Skype and in-person at our home in Ulster County. Each episode will have a more narrative arc and will feel more like a crafted story, which will allow me to better ensure that each episode delivers the sort of high-quality content, advice and feedback that you all deserve.

So I would love to hear from you: what do YOU want to hear on Season 3 of After the Jump? I’m open to everything and anything, from recommendations for guests, to suggestions for the format to overall topics, issues and problems (or things you want to celebrate!) you want to hear addressed. This show is all about celebrating, encouraging and helping the creative community connect and grow, so your thoughts, opinions and feedback mean so much. Thank you for your feedback and I’ll see you back on the air by June of this year. Until then, you can listen to all 100 episodes of After the Jump (Seasons 1 and 2) right here online or here on iTunes. xo, grace

Why Customer Service Matters Now More Than Ever

Why Customer Service Matters Now More Than Ever

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Val Geisler has been planning and organizing for as long as she can remember; from being the (self) assigned cookie-sales organizer at Girl Scouts to being a stage manager of various operas. She was even the woman who organized bringing lululemon to the US! So it was a natural progression for her to open up her own consulting and support agency, aspire&grow, to help creative “solopreneurs” achieve their goals. No stranger to systems and technology, her 12 years of experience has led her to work with everyone from multinational companies to nonprofit groups and small-business owners, all in an effort to help them reach their goals, big or small. And the number one thing she thinks all businesses should have, big or small? Great customer experience. Today Val is sharing the three things you should be aware of — or implementing — to up the ante of your business. –Sabrina

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Life & Business: Kaye Blegvad

Life & Business: Kaye Blegvad

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Kaye Blegvad first caught my attention when I stumbled upon her interview on Your Dreams My Nightmares, an interview podcast hosted by Sam Weber featuring his conversations with illustrators, designers and artists. Her sincerity and gentle intelligence were as apparent in her chat as they are in her work; from her signature illustration style, to her line of handmade jewelry, Datter Industries — I’m eying her cat face ring — to her self-run, tongue-in-cheek pornographic magazine, Horizontal Press. Her process is always part of the finished product, and the subtle humor and commentary she injects into everything she touches is charmingly earnest.

Kaye currently lives and works in Brooklyn, but when she’s craving a change of scenery, she’ll hop over the ocean to live in London, England, where she grew up. And despite her busy schedule, she took the time to chat with us about how hobbies can be lucrative, streamlining your management so you can get to the things that matter, and the importance of enjoying what you do, “otherwise, you may as well be working for someone else.” –Sabrina

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Mumbai, India City Guide with Sheena Dabholkar

Mumbai, India City Guide with Sheena Dabholkar

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I’ve been fascinated with India ever since I watched the 12-episode travel documentary Around The Next Bend in 2012. Unlike many travel shows which can be over-produced or edited, best friends Adrian and Dustin had no idea what they were doing or where they were going when they signed up for the show. They only had two self-operated cameras and one mission: to row over 2,500 kilometers down the Ganges River in an inflatable raft, from New Delhi to Dhaka. What I loved about the documentary was that they filmed everything; they didn’t edit parts out, they didn’t avoid areas, instead they bonded and interacted with lcoals in an attempt to fully understand and immerse themselves in the history and culture.

Much like the documentary, Sheena Dabholkar’s guide to Mumbai (or Bombay, depending on who you ask) is just as candid, expansive and enlightening. Sheena is a freelance lifestyle photographer, design journalist and art director, who also blogs about travel and design. She’s collaborated with MTV and Hermes and has been published in the Wall Street Journal and Wallpaper* to name a few. Though she was born in India, she grew up in New Zealand and moved back to her hometown in 2009. Sheena makes traveling a priority, but her home base will always be Mumbai. Click through to read Sheena’s entire city guide, divided into four regions just to make our lives easier. –Sabrina

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A Spanish-Style Home in San Francisco That Balances Function and Beauty

Whoa! Their cacti is something to be proud of.

A Spanish-Style Home in San Francisco That Balances Function and Beauty

Right on the border of the Presidio and Marina in San Francisco live UI designers Sara (who also runs the blog Design Comb) and Rich Combs, and their two cats, Link and Elle. Together, from their 1926 Spanish-style apartment, they run the design studio Hexagon, so having a space that fosters their creative spirit and pays homage to the home’s Spanish influence was important to the couple. But, as with any rental space, their opportunity to customize and renovate was slim to none. They’ve had to practice patience and improvisation to create a functional, beautiful space: Instead of  tearing down walls and pulling out the power tools, they’ve utilized intelligent design, decor and cans of paint. But the age (and limitations) of their apartment doesn’t bring all bad. Both Sara and Rich are smitten with the charm and character of the building — from the beautiful, Spanish tile-studded entryway to the hand painted ceilings — and they have a view of the Golden Gate bridge, which can’t be beat!

Other than drawing inspiration from the building’s history, Sara and Rich’s love of travel and culture influences their home style: the walls are filled with artwork, surfaces are covered in plants, and their shelves brim with books. “It makes it fun to come home,” says Sara. And while their space is anything but calculated, they only had one design rule when it came to buying furniture (one I think we should all follow): they had to be obsessed with a piece in order to bring it home. So it’s safe to say that their goal of creating a space “that felt like us” was definitely achieved. –Sabrina

 

 

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Studio Tour: Block Shop Textiles

Block Shop Textiles Studio Tour, on Design*Sponge

Studio Tour: Block Shop Textiles

Makers, craftsmanship, heritage and tradition; while these terms have always been part of the design vernacular, they have become modern-day buzzwords. However, the larger commercial marketplace is still dominated by fast fashion and mass production. For me, it’s not enough to discover something beautiful — I need to know the back story in order to be connected to it in a meaningful way. Block Shop Textiles, with an ethos that combines artistic inspiration with an ethically-minded business approach, has this story in spades.

Today I am excited to give you a glimpse into the world of sisters Lily and Hopie Stockman. Together they bring that admirable combination of creative vision and business acumen to the table. Both with backgrounds in painting, they took winding roads to where they are today. Hopie worked in finance before turning back to creative pursuits. Lily followed her painting studies by leading a National Geographic-sponsored trek across the eastern steppe of Mongolia, followed by a move to Jaipur, India where she studied Mughal miniature painting. It was during this painting apprenticeship in 2010 that she met Vijendra Chhipa, a fifth-generation master printer, and learned about hand block printing and natural dyes. At a time when demand for this time-honored tradition was being replaced by cheaper, chemical-based screen printing, Lily and Vijendra started creating beautiful, oversized scarves. Six months later Hopie joined them and a business plan was developed. Fast forward to present day and Vijendra is now the foreman of Block Shop, where they employ over 20 printers in the village of Bagru, India.

Read more about the fascinating textile process after the jump!

 

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An Open and Industrial Loft in Brooklyn

An Open, Industrial Brooklyn Loft

An Open and Industrial Loft in Brooklyn

It’s not often that reconfiguring a home in terms of room size and family needs can come without remodeling or demolition of any kind — walls generally need to come down or go up and serious renovation plans are sometimes involved. In an open-concept loft, however, spaces are what we make them and the options are infinite. Furniture placement, rugs and clever dividers have given this industrial Brooklyn loft spatial definition while keeping the cool factor of the studio layout.

Natalie, a writer and blogger, Brandon, a tax attorney, and preschool-aged Huck Holbrook moved into this gorgeous space almost on a whim. They loved their West Side apartment, but when a Brooklyn loft in a better school district opened up at a great price, they were sold even before stepping inside. The blank canvas has given Natalie and Brandon a never-ending game of Tetris (that they kind of love). “We moved in on a Friday and I managed to get the entire place unpacked by Sunday, but the actual process of working within the space and finding the best layout took us almost a full year,” Natalie says. “It’s an open studio floor plan — one giant box — and so the furniture and space arrangement possibilities are endless. I’ve been very mindful the last few months of how we live and what we need our space to accomplish for us, and here and there I’ve been tweaking our space to accommodate.” The overall impact their loft has had on the Holbrook family’s lifestyle doesn’t stop there.

Without walls, keeping a clutter-free approach in each room is a necessity. “No bedrooms means no closets, and rather than stuff all our things into creative storage all over the place, we decided to just get rid of the stuff. We’ve learned to live with so much less, and it’s been life-changing,” Natalie says. “As a result, our space feels airy, clean, and calm. It’s been the most freeing, relaxing decision we’ve ever made. We absolutely love our new, light footprint.” Natalie and Brandon have turned their “giant box” into an intentional living space that is perfect for their current needs. And if those needs change, so will their home. —Lauren

Photography by Natalie Holbrook and Cheyenne Mojica

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Confetti + Donuts

Confetti + Donuts

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This weekend we found carpenter ants and wasps upstairs, heard something rummaging around in our attic and just before bed I managed to mess up our toilet and it overflowed into the bathroom and hallway. Whoops. So to overcome my major case of the Mondays, I’m starting the day with this sweet bit of (almost) literal design candy: donut and confetti napkins at Leif. A few of these and some actual apple cider donuts from up the street and I think I might just kick these Monday “time to call the plumber” blues. xo, grace

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Alea Toussaint Wallpaper Download: Day 7!

Alea Toussaint Wallpaper Download: Day 7!

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Today is the final day of Alea Toussaint‘s beautiful wallpaper downloads. It’s been such a pleasure to have her gorgeous handmade patterns on the site this week and I’m so appreciative for all the hard work and creativity she put into each handmade pattern. I’m going to rotate them around on my phone and computer all spring and today’s pattern (DOWNLOAD SUNDAY’S PATTERN HERE) If you missed any of her earlier patterns this week, download them all right here: Monday’s pattern, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Thanks, Alea! xo, grace

Click PLAY below to watch today’s pattern come together in a fun video from Alea and click here to follow more of Alea’s work on Instagram.

Free Pattern Download from Alea Toussaint: Day 6!

Free Pattern Download from Alea Toussaint: Day 6!

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Happy Saturday everyone! Alea Toussaint has been sharing beautiful handmade pattern downloads on DS all week and she kindly agreed to make some for the weekend, too! So today we’re sharing pattern number 6: a playful piece comprised of mixed nuts, seeds and berries. This makes me want to pack a snack and head out for a hike today. CLICK HERE to download this new pattern for your computer or phone backdrop. Thanks, Alea and have a wonderful Saturday! xo, grace

Free Pattern from Alea Toussaint + Best of the Web

Free Pattern from Alea Toussaint + Best of the Web

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It’s been such a treat this week to have artist and designer Alea Toussaint at DS, sharing custom, handmade patterns with all of us. Alea has kindly offered to continue through the weekend, so tune in tomorrow and Sunday for two more free downloadable patterns for your computer and phone backgrounds! To download today’s pink floral pattern from Alea, CLICK HERE. Julia and I are off to visit her family for Passover, so I’m closing up the laptop early today. Best wishes for a safe and happy holiday this weekend to anyone and everyone celebrating. xo, grace

Below is a summary of this week’s highlights from DS and around the web:

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