A Brand New Bag…

I have been lucky in my career. I have never dreaded Monday morning, the opposite. I often cannot sleep because too many ideas swirl in my head, they keep me awake.

Along with directing a creative team on a category I loved, stationery & gift, for a brand I was passionately attached to, MARA-MI, I had the freedom to travel the world seeking inspiration. I’ve shared the edges of some of these travels on BLEU LENS.

This January, after much thought and endless lists, I decided to leap into uncharted waters. I am now a toy maker for THE MANHATTAN TOY COMPANY. New category, fresh faces, a different set of challenges, but I am fully engaged and again, can’t wait to get up in the morning.

What better place for a Peter Pan sort-of-grown-up to land!

Mara-Mi Books & Travel Diaries.

MARA-MI Books & Travel Diaries – one of my last projects. Available at Mara-Mi and Anthropologie.

Scene from a recent photo-shoot.

Scene from a recent MANHATTAN TOY photo-shoot.

One of a series of rag dolls I created while pursuing my new position, this is the Artful Doll.

One of a series of rag dolls I created while pursuing my new position, this is the ARTFUL Doll.

Catching Up

One of the most interesting things about travel is seeing how others live and navigate their way through every day life. My stylish cousin Sandra, defender of human rights, sophisticated traveler, gifted poetry reader and instigator of really fun times, invited us for a week-end visit to Chicago. Along with her gracious partner, Martin, we walked to the Lincoln Park Zoo, the botanic gardens, toured the historic neighborhood with all the lovely old apartment buildings, found a Spanish restaurant, listened to a concert in the park, enjoyed an evening picnic by the lake, had a fantastic time! But what most fascinated and delighted was their elegant, 3rd floor apartment. The century old space with large, rambling rooms, velvet drapes and creaky floors has a hushed elegance that places like The Bowery Hotel in New York are trying to recapture.
The little window fan, the book of poetry, the necklace on the arm of a wicker chair, simple telltales of the personality that has taken up residence. Thank you for the lovely weekend!

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Road Trip

It has been too long since I’ve experienced the thrill of packing only things that cannot be left behind and hitting the road. This trip would be new as there was one thing in particular that must be included, Barkley the little brown dog. I’ve never traveled with a dog, and though Barkley is very adaptable, I didn’t know how he would do. He has been an angel, our destination, a casita in Santa Fe is ideal for him. People here accept dogs, I didn’t get scolded for bringing him into Starbucks. Cheers to Santa Fe, good dogs and adventurous escapes!

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Beyond Reason

Roros Tweed was founded in 1940, but it’s heritage can be traced to the insightful vision of a copper mine owner from the 1700’s. Peder Hiort bequeathed his fortune to create a foundation to teach out of work miners the art of textile making. This provided a new industry for the region that continues today. Roros Tweed wool blankets are 100% created in Norway. The aesthetic is rooted in traditional Norwegian pattern, but kept fresh through collaborations with contemporary designers and artists, from Norway of course.

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My sourcing search was successful, I found a new addition to the blanket stack. I can’t explain why I need them, maybe it is a pragmatic art collection, a shelter from uncertainty? All I know is that they make me happy to look at, are great to hide under while reading one of those disturbing Nordic mysteries, and make a perfect spot to gaze up at the clouds.

In Search of Style

I am exploring a style phase that is defined by a simple code:
Comfortable.
Stylish, not trendy.
Well made.
Versatile, easy.
Simple shapes that can be altered with an accessory or two.

In search of this ideal, a couple Scandinavian brands have been inspirational. Hope of Stockholm Sweden captures it well, in a slightly awkward, yet charming statement “Simplify well-dressing for everyday life”.

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Another favorite is Acne.

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Margaret Howell exemplifies the simple beauty of well made and designed everyday clothing.

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Taking the concept a bit further, I have re-adopted a hair style from childhood, the Pixie.
Benefits:
You can ride in a convertible, bike or a boat without care…
In a word, accessories.
Getting ready everyday is simpler.
Thanks to Jean Seberg, it is timeless.

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New York Furniture Show

The New York Stationery Show is our industry showcase. Happily the International Contemporary Furniture Show is held at the same time. So much inspiration and so many objects of desire in one place. A longtime fan of wool blankets, I found a new pattern to covet, I am hunting for a source this minute. The weaver is Roros Tweed, the designers are Gunzler.Polmar. The blanket is meant to coordinate with the lovely bench, also an OOD.

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My Norwegian ancestors, apparently known as the Skultbak people lived in the same area as these talented textile designers. The story is they were gifted wood carvers. Maybe I could travel there and reconnect with my artisan roots, score some handmade furniture and a few additions to the increasingly unnecessary blanket stash…