Archive for December, 2009

iittala Taika Dinnerware

Last year I was out with three of my best girlfriends, cruising Beacon Hill, pretending to be Ladies Who Lunch instead of Ladies Who Make Lunch, when I spotted this gorgeous iittala pattern, Taika, at one of my favorite shops.  I scooped up a mug immediately and have fantasized since then about owning service for four.  Maybe for my birthday?  Just a few weeks away…

Image credits: iittala Taika Mug in white; also in red, black and blue from iittala.com; iittala Taika dinnerware from allmodern.com


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DIY Nouveau Wreath

Four days to go until Christmas.  Do you still need a little holiday kick to brighten up your house?  Try this easy wreath that I made in an hour, inspired by a recent post on Apartment Therapy

Get to your local craft store and pick up a styrofoam wreath form and thumbtacks. I used a 12-inch form and 800 tacks {seriously}.

Park yourself in front of A Christmas Story and get to work…

An hour later.  Easy peasy.  

Not your style?  Try this DIY lovely from one of my favorite design blogs…

Via {frolic!}

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And while we’re on the subject of amazing women who have left a career track to explore a creative interest, I have to mention artist Abby Glassenberg.  Four months ago, I was lucky enough to meet Abby when our kiddos ended up in the same kindergarten class at school.  A Hopkins- and Harvard-educated former teacher, Abby began reading craft blogs and revisiting her love of sewing while on maternity leave with her first child.  What followed was a decision to dive into art-making and motherhood full time, and a fabulous and fun blog on crafting and motherhood.  I have no doubt that Abby was an incredible teacher, but she happens to be a really incredible artist, creating pieces with which I would love to fill my house — handmade, beautiful and filled with personality.

I’ve seen her work up close and it is even more amazing in person than when photographed.  The detail is incredible, the craftsmanship is exquisite, and oh, those incredible faces!  But make no mistake, while her soft sculptures are meant to be adored, they are not meant to be tossed around like a stuffed animal (for hands-on lovin’, Abby offers a selection of soft toys).


Late next year, we can all get an inside glimpse of the talent and work that goes into her soft sculpture when her book of fabric bird sewing patterns published by Interweave is released.  But until then, the only way to own an Abby Glassenberg original is to visit her etsy shop or one of the boutiques and galleries that carries her work. 

Image credits: Abby Glassenberg

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As a risk-averse working mom who has many creative interests outside my day job, I am inspired when I hear about women who have left a career track to start a cottage business.  I’m even more inspired when that leap has been taken by a close friend.  But the absolute best is when that close friend has started her own biz creating ridiculously pretty and simple paper goods that you want to fill your desk and the desks of everyone you know.

Such is the story of Christine Koh, one of my oldest and closest friends, and the self-taught designer behind Posh Peacock.  Deciding she would rather “perish than publish,” Christine left the academic world (she is a former music and brain scientist) to pursue her creative interests…and we are all the luckier for it.

I started buying Posh designs before the business really launched in 2006, and have been a customer ever since.  Christine’s design work ranges from custom paper goods to web design to small business and non-profit identity, and it’s all beautiful.

Some of my favorite picks?  Semi-custom stationery, calling cards and the limited edition bird cards (I’m such a sucker for birds).  And because Christine operates at light speed, there’s still plenty of time to order for gift-giving.

Image credits: Posh Peacock

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It’s winter.

The weather in Boston on Wednesday was horrific, and although I would love to say it’s really early for the snow/slush/ice/rain situation that’s happening, I know as a New Englander that just isn’t so.  Instead, I’m accepting our reality, and offering up two gift ideas to combat the nasty weather in style.

After years of buying inexpensive rain boots and being annoyed and soaked every time a seam ripped (which was pretty often), I finally coughed up the dough for the original — Hunter Wellies.  Get them with removable fleece inserts and you’ve got a rain boot and a cozy snow boot, all for a little over $100.   Best thing is you can get these for everyone on your list — men, women and kiddos



When it comes to handbags, I never go pleather.  Something about the stiff, squeaky material that reeks of plastic just isn’t my thing.  But after a recent trip to Old Navy (yes, the same visit when I found the sparkly piggy), I’ve decided to let go of my outdated fabric stereotyping, and embrace the pleather of today.  This bag is just as cute cross-body as it is a top handle or shoulder bag.  Kind of like the Foley + Corinna that I lust after, but with a much smaller price tag.  Get it for your sister, girlfriend or any chic and practical woman in your life…my Aunt Liz loved my teal version.

Image credits: Hunter High Gloss Wellies, $115, Nordstrom; Faux-Leather Crossbody Tote Bag, $32.50, Old Navy

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One of my favorite gifts to give is a piggy bank.  Not only are piggy banks classic, but fabulously functional, inspiring a trait I wish I had.  If 2009 has taught us anything, it’s that you can never go wrong saving your pennies.  So here are my three favorite piggies, at least one of which some luckies on my list will be receiving this year.

Sort of creepy and very cool, check out Harry Allen’s Bank in the Form of a Pig, made from the cast of an actual pig (no piggies were hurt in the cast-making process).  Available at AREAWARE for $95 in pink; also available in white, chrome, gold, copper, hot pink, mint green and black to fit into nearly any color scheme.



For a piggy that will blend in anywhere, go for Roost’s Glass Piggy Bank, available at Velocity starting at $18.  Also, check out similar ones available locally at Hudson.

For the perfect amount of sparkle, and the perfect price tag, hit your local Old Navy for their bling-y piggy.  My shop only had them in gold, but I hear they’re available in a disco rainbow.  At a mere $5, you can get this one for folks on your list and yourself.  Y’know…if you needed a bit of inspiration to become budget-minded in 2010.  Not that I know anyone like that.


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For parents, all photos of their children are exquisite, even when taken with a crappy camera phone.  But when your kid’s picture is taken by a professional photographer, the result can make you feel like a stranger has witnessed the soul of your child and captured it for eternity.  At least that’s how I feel about Jessica McDaniel of Boston Baby Photos.

I met Jessica for the first time when Weston was nine months old.  Jess had been in the baby photography business for a couple of years and was shooting in a traveling studio at a local children’s clothing store.  The session prices were fairly inexpensive, so I signed up, hoping for a better result than what I might get from a cheesy department store set-up.  Not only was Jess completely accommodating (the store had double-booked me with another mom, but Jess hadled the mishap like a total pro when the teenage sales associate didn’t know what to do), but she made me feel at ease during the shoot, gently directing us, watching and capturing natural moments.  A couple of weeks later I headed back to the store to see the proofs (this was in the early days of digital photography), hoping that there would be one decent photo that I could use to get the free 8×10 that came with the shoot. 

I bought every dang picture.  

A few years later when Levi arrived, I contacted Jess and arranged an in-home shoot — her specialty.  This time, Jess casually and near silently followed Levi as he crawled around the house, onto a wooden wagon, up the stairs, and ultimately into a giant L.L. Bean bag.  About a week later when I saw the result (this time on the web), I bought every shot.  Again.

Not only is Jess an uber-talented photographer, but she happens to be a wonderfully nice person…the kind of person you want to stay in touch with even after your shoot is over, and the kind of photographer that you will want to shoot your kids and family every couple of years.  At least that’s how I feel about her. 

So this holiday season, consider putting a Boston Baby Photos gift certificate on your wish list.  Or if you happen to be a grandparent, aunt, uncle or other generous soul, consider springing for your local loved one (Jess will travel within 20 miles of Milton, MA for free, or beyond for a travel charge).

To see Jess’ portfolio, visit her here.

For gift certificates, contact Jess at jess@bostonbabyphotos.com

Image credits: Weston at 9 months and Levi at 10 months, Jessica McDaniel, Boston Baby Photos

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‘Tis the season!

Every year, I leave my husband and kiddos for four days and go for a long weekend of holiday shopping with my Mom, my Aunt Liz and Liz’s daughter Jen, who is like a sister to me.  The weekend is a celebration of my mother’s birthday, and for me, marks the official start of the holiday season. 

So, now that my mind is set firmly in gift-shopping mode, I’m dedicating the next two weeks of posts to great gift ideas.  Some gifts will be local finds and some available on the web, but all will be home design-y and wonderful.  So stay tuned…and happy shopping!

Image credit: Mahoney’s Garden Center (one of my favorite nurseries)

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