I am spending this quiet week between Christmas and the New Year in Connecticut, relaxing after a hectic summer and fall, topped off by a very busy 3 weeks in Chicago. We are supposed to have another snow storm tonight so I’m happy to get cozy and zen out by the fire with books and movies. Here are some beautiful quilts I’ve found in a book about the quilts of Gee’s Bend which have been made over four generations of women in Alabama. They are so curious, bold, and freewheeling while at the same time being minimal, graphic and modern. Abstract really. I love them!
Please check out this story I styled on DIY Menorahs for Martha Stewart Living, December 2012. The amazing Jodi Levine of Martha Stewart Crafts Department developed the Menorah ideas and did all of the crafting. I styled the shoot (and ate one of those delish Creme Brulee donuts in the opener from Doughnut Plant!). Linda Pugliese was the photographer. Happy Hanukkah!
girl, you’ve got to prove your love for Halloween, yeah… Oh, I just couldn’t help myself, could I?! Madonna wasn’t singing about pumpkins (lucky for her), but I am because it’s that time of year again– Halloween– which means I’m “getting in to the groove” for some big pumpkin stories for next year. Honestly, it’s a wonder my hands don’t actually turn orange. Generally, magazines shoot about 3 months ahead of time to allow for all of the phases of production that need to transpire before the issue goes to print and ends up at your door step. Halloween stories, however, are usually shot about a year in advance because pumpkins are only available in the fall, not to mention that it’s hard to find a spot with fall foliage and bare tree limbs in July.
“Bewitched” is a pumpkin story that I worked on in collaboration with Suzonne Stirling, of Urban Comfort, for Family Circle last year. She came up with the concept for the story and crafted the party decor; I contributed additional pumpkin ideas (to the ones she had already developed) and did the crafting of all of the pumpkins.
The crafting took place during that strange Halloween snow storm we had in the Northeast last year. I was running back and forth between my parents’ house and the barn (where the pumpkins were stored), in the snow, in October, and crafting these pumpkins while the lights in the house flickered like mad. I was so nervous that the power would go out and I’d be working by candlelight, but luckily it didn’t!
For those of you already in the Halloween spirit, an interesting and creepy side note about this story is that it was shot at a famously and “legally” haunted house in Nyack, New York– The Ackley House. I dropped the pumpkins off there early on a foggy Halloween morning last year. The turn of the century Victorian home is perfectly perched on the banks of the Hudson River. It is quite a beautiful house, so much so that I was inspired to google it when I got home, only to find out about its haunted reputation!
More Halloween stories and pumpkin pics to come– stayed tuned!
Happy Birthday to my June 1st Dad! He couldn’t be more of a June 1st person. He, like the very first days of summer, is full of hope, excitement, warmth and the promise of blue skies and endless adventures. June is so lively I feel, and no one quite loves life like my dad. He is a true American Original, which might just be the highest compliment in my book. I love him so much!
I have always quite liked making cards for people. I think it’s fun and I like to make my cards personal and playful for the people I’m giving them to. Often, I incorporate or embellish photos by photo copying them and adding stickers, words, and other silliness where I can. Here is the card that I made for my dad this year. I enlarged an old photo of the two of us (yes, that’s me! Looking crabby, I might add) on the color copier, cut out it out, pasted it on polka dot paper, and then added in some collage elements.
It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!
Pinwheels are to spring as ice cream is to summer
Here’s how to make your own:
What you will need:
Double sided paper. If you are unable to find double sided paper that you like, don’t worry! You can make your own! Take two pieces of paper and adhere them to one another using either rubber cement or spray tack.
Glue. Any type of Elmer’s glue or craft glue will work.
Plastic pony beads
MAKING A PINWHEEL
1. Cut a 3″ square (or a larger square for a larger pinwheel). Using a craft knife, cut a diagonal slit from each corner that goes approximately 3/4 of the way to the center of the square, leaving 1/4 uncut.
2. Gently bend every other corner in to the center of the square, gluing each corner down as you go. Curling the corners inward with a pencil helps creates a rounded shape and tacking the center down with a pin means you don’t have to hold it while it dries!
3. Once the corners are tacked down and have dried, punch a hole through the middle and insert your eyelet grommet.
4. Holding a pony bead in the back of the pinwheel, directly behind the grommet, secure the pinwheel to the straw by inserting a pin through the grommet and the pony bead and then in to a plastic straw. The pin doesn’t have to hold everything in place too tightly– you want your pinwheel to spin! You may need to trim the straw and the end of the pin if they are too long.
Take your pinwheel out in to the brisk March wind and let it spin, spin, spin!
A couple of days ago I arrived back to my apartment in Brooklyn feeling totally depleted after a busy day. Living in New York City can be both exhilarating and exhausting and if you don’t take time to relax and recharge, it can become unbearable. One of my favorite ways to decompress is by meditating. I put on my comfy clothes, darken the room, lay on my bed and ZONE OUT. The other day I also really wanted an eye pillow– the feeling of having a little bit of weight on the eyes really helps me relax– but I couldn’t find the one I’ve had for years. So before meditating I quickly whipped up this eye pillow and I thought I’d share the steps with you. Just kidding. I meditated first, then I whipped up my new eye pillow. It’s not hard to do and it’s such a satisfying and useful addition to your life!
You will need:
A piece of fabric that is at least 10″ x 20″. Something soft is extra nice!
Filler– lentils or whole flax seeds will do. I used lentils just because that’s what I had on hand. Mixing in lavender is a nice addition for a relaxing scent.
A needle and thread or a sewing machine
Scissors. A rotary fabric cutter is optional
A cutting mat (only if you are using the rotary fabric cutter)
1. Cut your piece of fabric in to two 5″ x 10″ rectangles.
2. Place the two pieces of fabric face to face so that the backs of the pieces of fabric face outward. The pattern side of both pieces of fabric should not be visible as they are sandwiched together facing each other. Pin the two pieces together by pinning around the edges of the rectangle.
3. Stitch the two pieces of fabric together either by hand or with a sewing machine leaving a .5″ seam allowance and a 2″-3″ opening at one end of the eye pillow.
4. Flip the eye pillow inside out through the opening so that the pattern side of the fabric is now facing outward. Push out the corners of the eye pillow so that they are crisp– using the tip of a pencil can help to get the corners crisp.
5. Fill the pillow about 1/3 – 1/2 of the way up with the filler through the opening.
6. Stitch the opening closed by turning the edges inward about .5″ and using a slip stitch to close the hole.
VIOLÀ! Eye Pillow. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz….
Shoot me a message if you have any questions about the steps.
** If you are interested in meditating and live in New York City, I would highly recommend checking out classes by Living Meditation with Harshada Wagner. He teaches Monday nights at Abhaya Yoga in Dumbo and Wednesday nights at Virayoga in Soho. He also has guided meditations available on iTunes.
Sometimes the best things happen by accident! I recently dyed eggs for a magazine shoot. In the process of making perfectly dyed solid colored eggs for the shoot, there were a number of messed up eggs that ended up in the outcast pile. In the end, there were practically as many odd ball eggs as there were “perfect specimens” for the shoot.
Working with dyes is always tricky and not something that I am an expert at. I can do it with confidence, but I don’t know the ins and out regarding the chemistry of the dyes… and that’s probably why strange things were happening with some of my eggs. BUT, I loved the interesting patterns and color variations created by the strange chemistry of my dyes. In the end, the outcast eggs were the ones I loved most. What’s interesting about perfection? Not much. There is so much more to love about the beautiful bad eggs!
Welcome to Like a Spark! My name is Elizabeth and I am a prop & craft stylist in New York City. I’m a maker by nature. I get excited about and inspired by so many things in this big, wild world. I spend most of my days making something… making pictures, making things for making pictures, dreaming about making things for pictures or making things just because. My hands, my head and my heart are always in motion!
My hope for Like a Spark is to create a place for compiling and sharing– compiling inspirations, thoughts, and ideas; sharing things that make my heart skip a beat with excitement, projects I’m working on, and all sorts of other curiosities that I encounter on this big adventure of mine. I would also like to share my creative process when I can, and provide how-tos for recreating things that I’m making.
I hope you enjoy my blog, it’s very nice to meet you!