10 Indian Textile Brands

10 Indian Textile Brands on Design Sponge

10 Indian Textile Brands

Above all crafts, India is a mecca for fabric lovers. Textile designers and creatives have been flocking to the country for years to be inspired by India’s rich textile history in trade and innovation, and its vibrant bazaars brimming with roll after roll of covetable fabrics, trims and beading.

When researching for this post and exploring the collections of Indian textile houses, I began to remember the sheer amount of textile products that adorned our home in India.

For example, you’d think bedcovers would be a self-explanatory idea, but when I searched Western stores they were hard to find. A bedcover is a plain, printed or quilted sheet that goes over the entire bed to protect the duvet cover and pillows, because the Indian bed doubles as place to entertain family, friends and neighbors! Other popular textiles found in Indian homes include ethereal voile curtain panels — a necessity for balmy temperatures — and these can be found in every conceivable pattern and color you can think of. Also, guest towels abound — tiny towels with embroidered motifs — because Indian families have a lot of guests.

With a new crop of Indian designers tapping into the centuries of resources their country has to offer, today I am sharing the work of 10 Indian designers making collections out of India. —Rohini

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Yossy Arefi’s Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

Yossy Arefi’s Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

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Yossy Arefi, of Apartment 2b Baking Co., is one of the food photographers and bakers I admire most. I admire her photography because she shoots it with film, which means she has a great eye and technical knowledge of photography. And, I love her baking because it is creative, seasonal, easy to follow, and the recipes work. I was elated when I heard Yossy was making a cookbook, because it meant there’d be a beautiful collection of images and recipes that I could hold in my hands. Her book, Sweeter off the Vine, is a baking book focusing on recipes using seasonal fruit. This goes on my shelf right next to Nigel Slater’s Tender, Volume 2! The recipe we are sharing this week is a Rhubarb and Rye Upside-Down Cake. It is gorgeous! Click here to see a trailer for her book. —Kristina

Why Yossy loves this recipe: Rhubarb is my very favorite baking ingredient, and in my mind it is the best part of the Spring market (sorry, ramps!). It comes in many varieties, some green and celery-like and some rosy-red all of the way to the core. I always seek out the red varieties because that shock of color is so beautiful, especially in an upside-down cake like this one. I love upside-down cakes for a lot of reasons, but mostly because they are an all-in-one type of deal, you get the cake, fruit, and sauce all in one pan. Just add a bit of cream on the side and a cup of tea and you are all set.

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Tasting Rome Gift Package Giveaway

Tasting Rome Gift Package Giveaway

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To celebrate the launch of Tasting Rome on Tuesday, March 29, Design*Sponge is hosting a giveaway! If you read Wednesday’s Behind the Scenes post, you saw that Kristina used several of Andrea Brugi and Samina Langholz‘s designs for props in the book. What you may not know is that Kristina also used their cutting boards while she developed recipes for the book, too!

So we have put together two packages for two winners which contain the following: a signed copy of Tasting Rome, a medium Andrea Brugi handmade cutting board, a set of ten 5×5 inch note cards with envelopes depicting images from the book, and a full set of goodies from all three phases of the Tasting Rome pre-order campaign. All we can tell you about the pre-order goodies is that the first phase includes three 8×10 inch prints from the book! You will have to visit the Tasting Rome website on March 29 to find out about Phase 2.

To win one of the Tasting Rome packages, just leave a comment below telling us what you love most about Roman or Italian cooking — or a funny story about your own adventures in Italian cooking. xo, grace

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Our Most Beloved Instagram Photos Ever

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Our Most Beloved Instagram Photos Ever

In the beginning, blogs felt like the ultimate community connector. When I first moved to NYC, blogs were the platform through which I met all of the most important people in my life, from friends to cherished colleagues. But as time goes on, social media is becoming the world where I’m discovering new people, places and ideas at a rapid and exhilarating pace. I just hopped on Snapchat (“Designsponge” if you want to follow me, it’s the most personal updating I’m doing online), but my first love will always be Instagram. It was the platform that reignited my passion for art, design and makers, and it constantly reminds me that there is NO end to inspiration online. So today I wanted to celebrate that community and the amazing images that you’ve all been sharing with us over the years.

I’m sharing our 15 most beloved Instagram photos of all time. The majority of these are the results of our hashtag challenges and highlight just how incredibly talented, motivating and inspiring our creative community is. I have always been impressed by the people in our world, and this little highlight reel is just another reminder that each and every member of this online creative neighborhood is endlessly talented. Enjoy! xo, grace

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A Creative Twosome’s Tidy & Soothing British Victorian

A Creative Twosome's Tidy & Soothing British Victorian, Design*Sponge

A Creative Twosome’s Tidy & Soothing British Victorian

When video game designer Philip Mehr and his partner Lucie Eleanor, a food and lifestyle photographer, first moved into this West London Victorian, it didn’t have a front door or a floor. The pair even had to step over pipes just to get around the house! Living in a construction site for a year and a half didn’t bother this creative pair in the least, though. Their past apartments have helped them realize how much they actually prefer starting from scratch when decorating a space. This is a team that truly revels in the steady process of curating a look bit by bit and piece by piece.

When Lucie and Philip began decorating their Victorian, they were sure to make decisions that would help keep the space organized and tidy. They work from home on occasion, and between Lucie’s many styling props and Philip’s various tech accessories, the home can easily slip into disarray at any moment. Carefully planning how they utilize every inch of cabinet space holds off chaos and has allowed them to maintain the “… minimalistic [but not] empty” look they love. Even if they’re on their organizational A-game, however, it’s not realistic for the family to never use additional storage. Vintage trunks have proven to be a stylish way to add storage space without having to accomodate bulky wardrobes or furniture that would detract from their pared-down taste.

Speaking of furniture, in typical Lucie and Philip fashion, snagging the home’s larger pieces wasn’t a cut-and-dry experience. “I didn’t just want to buy all of my furniture at once and have it all matching,” Lucie shares. “I wanted to have different-looking pieces [I could] tie together to create a style.” Clearly this strategy has worked, as the couple’s years of collecting has awarded them a trove of great pieces they truly adore.

The more I think about how thoughtful each of these decorating decisions are, the more memorable the two-bedroom home’s moody color scheme becomes. Why? Well, during any design project, color influences everything, and it’s arguably the most important decision. That being said, you’d think planners like Lucie and Philip would ponder their home’s final palette for weeks. Nope. This time around, it came together, strangely enough, quite organically. “We like quiet, muted colors… it wasn’t really a conscious decision, we were both just drawn to those types of colors,” the couple tells us. Follow the jump to see exactly what hues the family landed on, and meet the pair and their foster cat, Enzo. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Lucie Eleanor

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Before & After: A Colorful Guest Bedroom Makeover in the Midwest

Before & After: A Colorful Guest Bedroom Makeover in the Midwest | Design*Sponge

Before & After: A Colorful Guest Bedroom Makeover in the Midwest

During their house hunt, Samantha McClelland and her husband Cody had three things on their must-have list – white trim, hardwood floors and character. The couple had been searching in the city of Des Moines, IA without much luck. Samantha, a blogger and project manager for a commercial interior design company, and Cody, an HR recruiter, both work and socialize in the city and weren’t interested in moving to a suburb. Their realtor encouraged them to look at a house in the town of Ankeny, just north of Des Moines. The trim was a yellowy-almond hue, the floors were carpeted, and they would be the first owners — but when the couple walked into the house that wasn’t even on their list, they fell in love.

Compromising on their list of must-haves was well worth it. Samantha and Cody love their home, even though it is nothing like they imagined it would be. Samantha has since been hard at work making this new-build feel cozy and charming. Her latest project was turning the small, empty fourth bedroom into a vibrant, inviting guest room. “We moved from a two-bedroom townhome to a four-bedroom house. The fourth bedroom, the smallest of the four, sat empty for months. It had become a catchall of miscellaneous items that we hadn’t unpacked, didn’t know where or how to store,” Samantha says. “We were starting from scratch. The taupe walls [covered] our entire house and were simply not my style. They were the first to go. Once I settled on the paint color and the headboard fabric, everything else slowly fell into place. For the additional pieces I was able to pull from other areas around our house. An extra ghost chair and floor lamp create a small reading nook or a place for someone to sit to take off their shoes, etc. I was able to repurpose my childhood furniture (it once belonged to my dad growing up) and splurged on some modern sconces to flank each side of the bed.”

The bold green walls and the patterned headboard give the guest bedroom the personality that Samantha and Cody had originally craved during their home search. The process took Samantha about a month to pull everything together from start to finish. The once forgotten spare bedroom is now a room that the McClellands both love. “Sometimes you have a vision of how a room turns out and it doesn’t meet your expectations. I can say this is not the case. Every time I walk past this room I just want to crawl into bed and take a nap. It’s a cozy retreat, and I am kicking myself for not doing this for our master bedroom. I love that we can finally host our out-of-town guests properly, instead of just offering a blow-up mattress,” Samantha shares. “It feels good to create a space where you can entertain and host your close friends and family.” The couple’s bright and cheery guest bedroom proves to them that no matter the age, style or size of a home, a little bit of well-executed DIY work can make all the difference. –Lauren

Photography by Austin Day

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Fine Art Focus: Tanya Aguiñiga

Fine Art Focus: Tanya Aguiñiga

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I met Tanya Aguiñiga for the first time when she joined me for the first-ever Biz Ladies West Coast meetup in Los Angeles in 2008. In addition to being completely and totally enamored of her work (I still have such a crush on her felted folding chairs), getting to know her in person started a lifelong appreciation for her generosity of spirit and all-around openminded creativity. I have quite simply never met anyone as creative as Tanya.

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What I love most about Tanya’s artwork is the message and mission behind it. While the colorful, texture-filled aspects of her aesthetic are of course beautiful, what strikes me most about her work is the way she combines art and activism. Tanya cares deeply about social justice, appreciating (and supporting) native cultures, and recognizing and fairly paying all of those involved in traditional crafts and artwork. Her “craft happenings” are a sort of arts-based sit-in that draw attention to the injustice and inequality in both the art world and the world at large. I couldn’t love and admire Tanya any more if I tried, and I was so honored to include her in our upcoming book, In The Company of Women (that’s her on the cover!). Read on to learn more about Tanya and her amazing work. xo, grace

Artist: Tanya Aguiñiga
About: Tanya was born in 1978 in Tijuana, Mexico. She received her BA in Applied Design from San Diego State University and her MFA in furniture design from the Rhode Island School of Design.
Work: Tanya’s work has been shown in galleries and museums across the world and Tanya was featured on the PBS series Craft in America. Her work combines art, craft and traditional techniques with activism and social justice. Felting and fiber work play a big role in her process, as do traditional crafting and artistic techniques from various cultures across the globe.
More: You can read more about Tanya here, here, here and here and follow her on Instagram here, Twitter here and Facebook here.

All artwork and images (c) Tanya Aguiñiga

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Paper Daffodil Tutorial

Paper Daffodil Tutorial

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The daffodil is a sunny, easygoing flower, so it seems fitting that it comes together quickly with little stress and a lot of bang for your flower-making buck. A mixed bouquet suits its cheery, informal charm, so have fun experimenting with colors and shapes. I can never pick favorites, but having spent the last two weeks developing this tutorial, I would have to say that cultivating my little garden of daffodils (or “dappadoes” as my 2.5 year old daughter calls them) has been the most fun I’ve had making flowers in quite a while. Maybe it helped that, while I drafted templates, my daughter dragged around her little blue watering can, happily tending to the little pots of daffodils we bought as models. Hopefully her springtime enthusiasm found its way into this project. —Kate Alarcón

*Check out Kate’s Paper Hellebore tutorial here!

Photos and styling by Grace Kim

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DIY Faux Stone Mirror

DIY Faux Stone Mirror

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I never intended on owning so many varieties of faux stone contact paper, but whenever I see a new one I add it to my collection. Some of the patterns are so striking and retro that I just can’t leave them behind. Part of the problem is that I regularly visit what I (lovingly) call “junky” dollar stores, and they always have the best selection.

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I was finally able to put my collection to good use for today’s DIY stone mirror. Adhere the contact paper to gem templates to update a plain circular mirror. I love how modern the finished product is! —Kathleen

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What’s In Your Toolbox: Rachel Wilkerson Miller

What’s In Your Toolbox: Rachel Wilkerson Miller

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A well-stocked digital toolbox can be just as crucial to modern making as any tangible art supply available in-store. Rachel Wilkerson Miller, one such inspired content creator, requires both to do her job. As a senior lifestyle editor at BuzzFeed, she packages DIY projects into popular posts, in addition to her frequent stories “about life, weddings, home, health, race, feminism, and vintagey things.”

Rachel started sharing her writing online “while in college before blogs were really A Thing,” she explains. Today she shows us some of her handmade creations, teaches us about her best tools for successful Internetting, and gives us a peek into her Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn apartment with original craftsman details — including the army desk she brought back from Houston that “weighs a million pounds,” but is the perfect place to practice a flourishing new calligraphy habit. Be sure to check out Rachel’s personal blog The REWM for a deeply relevant, curated weekly reading list by this prolific blogger who writes what she wants to read. —Annie

Photography by Rachel Wilkerson Miller, Cassandra Monroe, and Lauren Zaser for BuzzFeed

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Behind the Scenes: Making the Tasting Rome Cookbook

Behind the Scenes of Tasting Rome on Design*Sponge

Behind the Scenes: Making the Tasting Rome Cookbook

Tasting Rome is the name of my forthcoming cookbook, which I photographed and co-authored with food and beverage educator and journalist, Katie Parla. Today, I’d like to share a behind-the-scenes look at how I contributed to producing our cookbook.

If you’ve ever tried to interact with someone who is in the throes of writing a book, you know they are mostly offline for the duration of the project. If you’ve ever tried to interact with someone who is photographing and developing recipes for a cookbook, then you know that they are offline and most likely their hair (and probably something in the kitchen) is on fire for the duration of the project. That was me. I’d heard about how stressful the process was, but I never fully understood it until I started. However, I also had very fun moments along the way and the process was so very rewarding!

Fortunately, I had a co-author, so I didn’t have to worry about recipe headnotes (which I understand can be very challenging to write well) or features (research, research, and more research), both of which give voice to a cookbook and help inform and connect the reader to the recipes. I also didn’t have to handle the manuscript edits! I could focus on what I enjoy most — food and photos!

I’ll be writing a bit more about the personal journey later, but for now let’s delve into the technical journey!  —Kristina

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A Drive for Digital and Constant Learning With Dani Roche

A Drive for Digital and Constant Learning With Dani Roche

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For Dani Roche, self-employment has always been the only option, even when it wasn’t obvious. Since she was 16, her mind has been set on work and putting her heart and soul into her ideas, a natural tendency that has followed her into every full-time role she’s had. But as many entrepreneurs learn, Dani wanted more than what a 9-to-5 job could give her: as a child of the digital era, she wanted to breathe life into her myriad ideas and spend day and night perfecting them.

After enough dissatisfaction, she launched Kastor & Pollux and she hasn’t looked back since. A full-service digital and experiential agency and creative community, Kastor & Pollux works with progressive clients to create and distribute catered content and media with collaboration at the heart of it all. Just like Dani’s experience working for others didn’t satisfy her unique needs, she now offers that same considered and custom experience to clients such as Samsung and Maybelline. Today, she’s joining us to chat about everything from NeoPets and Twitter, to vision and the 5 W’s that should define your business. –Sabrina

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Using Creativity to Navigate Tough Lessons With Shalea Walker

Using Creativity to Navigate Tough Lessons With Shalea Walker

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Sometimes, in both life and business, you have to stumble a few times before you make it up the mountain and get your footing. For Shalea Walker, a licensed esthetician and makeup artist, it took her three tiring tries at opening a salon and spa before she learned what her customers really wanted — which, as it turned out, was even easier and more simple and than she anticipated.

Offering affordable, personable services, Walker’s Apothecary is a private, boutique salon and spa that merges traditional and cutting-edge treatments and products to soothe the mind, body and soul. Located in Brooklyn’s Clinton Hill neighborhood, the spa was years in the making, but all of Shalea’s vast experiences (working as everything from a receptionist to collaborating with celebrities such as Ne-Yo, MGMT, Diane Reeves and Lil Mama) resulted in both success and in happiness. Shalea is joining us today to share more about her own trek up the mountain — running her own business. –Sabrina

Photography by Seavy Sanders

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Before and After: A Dated, Dark Kitchen Gets a DIY Remodel

Before and After: A Dated, Dark Kitchen Gets a DIY Remodel

Before and After: A Dated, Dark Kitchen Gets a DIY Remodel

Having grown up watching her mother flip homes — and with a degree in fashion management herself — it came as no surprise to Sarah Alchmist when she discovered her own knack for interior design and house-flipping. “I knew deep down I needed to be a part of some sort of art program, and I loved everything fashion at the time,” she explains, “[it was] a stepping stone to the world of design and, once you have a few bits and pieces of knowledge in that industry, you simply brainstorm your ideas — which shortly gives you the ability to put ‘pretty’ together.”

Just one year ago, Sarah and her husband, Presley, bought this Ontario-based home in need of some TLC. The quiet, country environment with “lots and lots of land for the kids (Aiden and Kendyl) to adventure on,” was the main selling factor, and the main deterrent? The dark and dated kitchen, which had sent previous potential buyers running. Rather than run for the hills themselves, Sarah and Presley saw this as an opportunity and, after putting in an offer, they rolled up their sleeves and got to work.

Built by a German architect 40 years ago, the unique and structural home had great bones but needed a complete overhaul aesthetically, and the room in need of the most attention was the kitchen — which Sarah and Presley decided to completely demolish and relocate. After countless contractors let them down and fell through, Presley stepped up to the plate and completed all of the work himself. “Every night, [Presley would] come straight home from work and work [on the kitchen] late into the morning hours installing drywall, taping, installing the plumbing, applying heated floor plates and then our tiles on top,” Sarah shares. “He painted, installed all the cabinets and shelving, built a custom range hood and ran a gas line all on his own… I couldn’t have been more proud of him, nor did he know he was capable of doing such work!”

Despite the aches and pains that came as a result of the hard labor, the couple not only saved a ton of money by doing it themselves, but they’ve both caught the renovation / house-flipping bug: “We’re both confident in getting this kind of work done as a team and we’ve talked about future projects,” Sarah explains, “even though it was such a pain in the rear, it’s an experience we’ve learned to really love; and after seeing what it’s worth, we don’t mind doing it all over again!” Now, after working their magic in every room, they’re ready for the next house-flipping adventure, of which Sarah says, “Our next home will be filled with much more personality, warmth and character and I cannot wait to enjoy that!” –Sabrina

Photography by Sarah Alchmist

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Phoenix, AZ City Guide

Phoenix, AZ City Guide

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For photographer Heather Kinkel, there’s no place like home — which, for her, is sunny Phoenix, AZ. “I can’t imagine living anywhere else,” she says. Born and raised in the Phoenix desert, she’s still happily living in the same suburban neighborhood of Arcadia that she grew up in (which is small and culturally-rich). When Heather’s not rehabilitating her 1960s ranch-style home with her husband or spending time with her kids, she can be found gardening, cooking, or at a relaxing beach getaway — a must during the 2-3 months of scorching heat that even she finds nearly unbearable. “But the other 9-10 months of perfection totally redeem that little nuisance!” she adds, “And the desert is a really gorgeous place, as long as you stay away from the jumping cactus.”

To introduce you to the best of what Phoenix has to offer, Heather has narrowed the playing field to central Phoenix (namely the neighborhood of Arcadia) with a splash of Paradise Valley and Scottsdale thrown in the mix. “And since we’re all about the local love around here,” she explains, “most of the places mentioned here are locally owned and operated.” Enjoy! Sabrina

Photography by Heather Kinkel

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