ROCKPORT – A scenic, coastal town in Northern Massachusetts with sailboats in the harbor, delicious lobster rolls, and many local arts and crafts. The town is a vibrant summer tourist destination. The streets become packed with families headed to the beach and couples looking for a romantic bed and breakfast escape.
Wow!! It isn’t often that fashion celebrates or grants any attention to the style and dress of older women. This documentary is inspiring and a must watch! See article in full here.
“I don’t give a damn of what people think of me or the way I dress, I dress for myself because I love style and design and color.”
This statement may sound like the devil-may-care attitude of a stylish twenty-something, but this sentiment actually comes from the mouth of Bridget, a seventy-five year old Brit, one of six older women featured in the TV documentary Fabulous Fashionistas, which recently aired on Britain’s UK Channel 4.
As the title suggests, each of these six women is excited about her wardrobe (some shop at charity stores; others order from catalogues; others buy from fancy boutiques), and throughout the film, each woman explains the evolution of their personal style. Some of their choices are distinctly their own, yet each of them says they are past the point of caring what others think—instead, they dress for themselves and their own tastes. “Style, as one gets older, is more noticeable,” Bridget says. “How I look is to do with my identity and the fun of it. It’s nothing to do with looking younger.” The fifty-minute documentary moves beyond the wardrobe, and is ultimately a heartwarming account of women, ranging in age from 73 to 91, who are still active, engaged, and excited about life.
Director Sue Bourne pulls truthful, raw insight and paints inspiring pictures of each of the six women. Bridget, 75, spends her time fighting tirelessly against ageism. Daphne, 85, is signed with a modeling agency and is Britain’s go-to older model. Jean, 75, works in a high end clothing boutique and runs three times a week. Gillian, 87, is a professional choreographer for productions such as CATS and Phantom of the Opera on the West End, and she still works countless hours a week. Sue, 73, is an American transplant who made a name writing low-fat cookbooks, but she now focuses on creating art. Lady Trumpington, 91, is the oldest woman in Britain’s House of Lords. All six women have aged gracefully, without Botox or plastic surgery, and all embrace their lives with enthusiasm and wisdom.
Many of the women are widowed, and though the aches and pains of old age are ever present, none of the six embrace the stereotype of the little old lady. Instead, by the end of the documentary, you see that these inspiring women take life one day at a time, and they choose things that make them feel happy and fulfilled. The concept of death is addressed, yes, but none of these women are frightened by the thought. As one of the women says in a particularly poignant moment: “Yes, you think about death. But you choose life.”
The Fabulous Fashionistas:
(from left) Sue, Daphne, Lady Trumpington, Jean, Gillian, & Bridget
Watch the entire inspiring documentary below:
Thanks to UK Channel 4
Images courtesy of The Guardian
Johann Georg Hamilton, a painter who lived from 1672 to 1737, was famous for his stunning depictions of baroque horses.
July 24-25, 2012
Filled with delicious Chianti from the Castle Verrazzano, we made our way to the Hotel Albani in Florence. Arriving in the evening, drunk on wine and sleepy on food, we contented ourselves with a brief walk to the basilica and a stop for some delicious cappuccino.
We began the next day with a walking tour with local guide Andrea. Not hiding his contempt for tourists and modern art, he guided us through crowds of people to the Academy of Fine Arts where the David is displayed in all its glory. Using all the technical language of an art historian and art lover, he described in great detail the emotions and technique of Michelangelo as he carved the multiple unfinished works called the Slaves, forever enslaved within their block of white marble. Michelangelo specially picked out each piece of marble he worked with and believed that the sculpture was trapped within the block and he was merely God’s hand removing the excess marble from the figure.
The David swept away all breath and thought. Standing below the 17ft statue of the naked biblical David, portrayed not as a shepherd boy but as a strong young man with his sling over his shoulder, he imposed a sense of ancient glory and embodied strength and perfection. The David was initially designed to be in the niche of a church; therefore the sculpture has larger than normal head, hands and feet. It is an optical illusion to make the statue appear balanced when placed in its intended location, the niche.
Andrea then took us to the Piazza del Duomo to view Giotto’s Bell Tower and the Gate of Paradise.
We then walked through the narrow streets of leather shops and cafes to the Piazza della Signoria.
After our walking tour with Andrea, we headed through the streets to Misuri for a demonstration in leather treating, making and design and a display of local gold. The jewelry shop brought out a beautiful display of pieces, gold with brightly colored stones, twisted and braided chains of gold, rings, a necklace made with an ancient Caesar coin, and more. I was most impressed with the diamond cut gold. It sparkled like diamonds and they designed necklaces and bracelets using yellow, white, rose and even black gold. Stunning!
The leather was incredible! Silky soft and of spectacular quality. The sales associate brought out a few seasonal pieces and selected some of our tour to model, myself among them. We had an opportunity to wrap ourselves in the gorgeous pieces and strut around while others massaged the leather and admired the fit.
While I fell in love with a beautiful brown leather jacket, the store did not have my size, even though they offered me a custom made jacket for the same price. Instead I opted for a purse I loved just as much.
We ate a quick lunch at a local cafe before meeting up with Andrea again for a personal tour of the Uffizi Gallery. Sadly no photos could be taken inside, but Andrea walked us through the corridors to the most famous works of Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Giotto, Michelangelo, Raphael and others. My art history lessons came rushing back to me as I recognized the paintings studied years ago. Andrea weaved a beautiful tale for each painting and sculpture, explaining the symbolism, the people in the paintings, and the premise.
After the gallery we headed back to the hotel to freshen up and prepare for a Tuscan dinner out in the countryside.
We drove about 30 minutes outside of Firenze to a small villa and winery to enjoy a delicious meal of local specialties. The meal began with a buffet appetizer including grilled vegetables, meats and cheeses. I loaded my plate with a little bit of everything, enjoying some eggplant and mozzarella the most. We continued with two pasta dishes and then a selection of grilled meats. One of which I’m pretty sure was wild boar, but I never confirmed with anyone. Regardless, it was delicious.
The highlight of the meal was brought out before the food. As we walked onto the property we were greeted by the owner, Saraceni, who gave a welcoming speech as glasses of blue wine were being handed out. Yes, blue wine! A delicious bubbly wine, light and crisp with a hint of sweet fruit. It was the star of the evening. You can order it through the link provided here.
Drunk on way too much red, white and blue wine, delicious food, and charming people, we headed back into Firenze. I tagged along with a few people from our tour to wander the streets of Firenze to find the house the Jersey Shore cast stayed at. As our leader was a human map, we found it without too much trouble, stopping at a bar for some wine along the way and some strawberry daiquiris after the fact.
Get the Look Decor: Welcome to the Jungalow
Published on July 08, 2012 in Shop
Photo by Justina Blakeney
This weekend’s Get the Look Decor is inspired by Justina Blakeney’s gorgeous and unique LA home. She lives just south of Echo Park with her husband, Jason, their cat, Luda, and in just a few short weeks, a brand new baby girl lovingly referred to as “Boomba.” Nicknamed the Jungalow, Justina’s home combines tropical and bohemian styles, incorporating bold patterns, vivid colors, vintage treasures and lots of houseplants.
What is your favorite part about your home?
My favorite part about my home is that it grows with me and my family. It reflects all of our travels, our creative projects, our love for greenery and my fearless relationship with pattern and color. I love the afternoon light in my home. I love my yard. I love how funky and old it is.
[Clockwise from top left: Fairy Bed Canopy Crown by SoZoeyBoutique; Vintage Wedding Suzani by SilkWay; Wind Chime or Bell by ironaworks; Designer Pillow Cover by 3BModLiving; vintage Moroccan Slippers by capricorne; Four Birds Dressed in Red by edsplaceonetsy; The Canopy Lounge in Orange by CANOPYstudio; Large Framed Vintage Painting by MolecularModern; Vintage Wood Window Frame by BridgewoodPlace.]
Did you decide to decorate in this style or was there an evolution to your decorating process?
I think that my decor decisions are more visceral, so I guess an evolution would be more accurate. The more spaces I decorate, the more I realize my decorating habits, the types of things that I tend to incorporate. For example, it became clear after decorating several homes that I love to inundate spaces with plants. Once I recognized that about myself, it became part of my “thing,” and now I make more conscious decisions to add plants into spaces. Same goes for worldly textiles like Handira, Suzani, Kilim and Otomi, and same goes for mid-century lines and upcycled details.
[Clockwise from top left: Vintage 1973 Macrame Lamp by mrbarnes5; Ikat Pillow Cover by islimi; Reclaimed Wood Coffee Table by AtlasWoodCo; Grapewood and Air Plant Centerpiece by TheLivingArt; VIntage Kilim Rug by NoonGallery; Hanging Air Plant Pod Trio by mudpuppy.]
What inspires you when it comes to decorating?
I have a great group of friends that inspire me — my sister Faith, who is an interior designer, and my friend Dabito are two people who come immediately to mind. I am also very much inspired by travel — even local travel, like a trip to the beach or an art gallery downtown. I also find it inspiring to see odd pairings — things that normally one wouldn’t put together — which somehow work. And lastly, I am a huge fan of creative reuse. I love to see items in new contexts. I love to be surprised and delighted in design, turning form and function on its head and seeing where it takes us.
[Clockwise from top left: Hanging Wooden Wine Rack by AspenBottleHolders; Handwoven rag rug by Gunaspalete; Mosaic Steer Skull made with Handcut Glass Tiles by Jiveworks; Reclaimed Wood and Solid Steel Dining Table by dylangrey; African Inspired Art Quilt Wall Hanging by QuirkyQuilts; Fabric Spider Plant by sian.]
Where are your favorite places to shop for home items?
I love to shop while traveling, from the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul to the Souk in Marrakech, but when I’m local, I go religiously to the Rose Bowl Flea market. I also frequent random thrift shops — there are a lot in my neighborhood, along Sunset Boulevard. I also like a lot of boutique-type shops. A few that come to mind are Dekor, Rolling Green, Lawson Fenning, Inheritance, Amsterdam Modern…there are many. Online, I scour Craigslist, eBay and Etsy — daily.
[Clockwise from top left: Set of Two Turquoise Pillows by studiotullia; Custom Made to Fit Bay Window Seat Storage Bench by Ablesaw; Vintage Fishing Float by lightinawormhole; Topform Rosewood Modular Shelving System by AardewerkenZo; Green Diagonal Brick Planter by OpenSystem; Antique Mill Textile Wood Spools by thelostrooms; Glass Terrarium by JechoryGlassDesigns; Floor Cushion in Grey by madebyzigzag; Haldensleben Fat Lava Striped Vase by GoGoBerlinette.]
Does your home hold any strong memories?
I’ve lived here for a little over a year, but seeing as how this is the place where we’re creating a family, I’m sure this home will go down in the books for us. Also, we have a couple of possum friends who aren’t shy about visiting us through the cat door and eating all of Luda’s food. I don’t expect I’ll be forgetting that anytime soon.
[Clockwise from top left: Spotted Owl Custom Baby Bedding by birdshaveflowers; Modern Animal Bamboo Wall Clock by decoylab; Vintage Wide White Flowery Lace Panel by ghoghooghora; Silk Suzani Pillow Cover by sukan; Vintage Paint By Number Flamingo by cybersenora; Vintage Pink Dresser by suezcues.]
Today I had the luxury of working from home. Normally not something I am a fan of as it usually involves putting in a bunch of extra hours Saturdays and Sundays, but today was delightful.
I awoke early to the sun streaming through my window and the curtains billowing, filled with a warm breeze. Breakfast was simple – a plate of perfectly sweet, ripened strawberries and a tall glass of chilled nettle tea.
Work was pleasant. With the sun shining and gorgeous 80 degree weather, I took advantage and brought my laptop and work materials out on the porch. Something about the sunshine, the bamboo jungle surrounding me and the relaxing atmosphere of the dogs sunning themselves created an unbelievably productive environment.
Finishing most of my tasks quite early, I took an early lunch break and created this little bit of artwork out of old chalk I found from when I was a wee little tot:
While I am no artist (though quite proud of the butterfly on the right), I rarely have an opportunity to express artistic creativity. Even something as simple and chalk on the sidewalk allows for this beautiful expression of the right brain.
Today will conclude with a bright colored salad and a 3 mile run and some weight training. Have a great night!
I came across this great art project on Etsy for weaving your own Ojo de Dios. These stunning, brightly colored “Eyes of God” are made from simple sticks and colored yarn. All photos and text are courtesy of Etsy.
Ojos de Dios, which is Spanish for “Eyes of God,” are made from yarn and sticks by native peoples of Mexico and South America. Native Americans of the Southwestern United States adopted the craft more recently, and the eight sided mandala of the Navajo is the basic pattern that I’ve most often used in my own work.
These instructions are not intended to teach you how to construct one particular ojo, but rather to demonstrate techniques that you can use to improvise and create your own unique design. Let’s get started!
Supplies You’ll Need:
- Sticks — I use doweling, available at building supply places and hardware stores. You can use 1/4″ for up to 16″, 5/16″ for up 22″ Ojo de Dios, and 3/8″ for up to 32″, and 7/16″ for up to 40″ Ojo de Dios.
- Scissors suitable for cutting yarn
- A yarn needle — A large needle with an eye large enough for yarn to fit through it, and a blunt end where other needles are sharp.
1. Planning Your Ojos de Dios: For an eight-sided ojo, consider the overall pattern to be two four-sided ojos joined together. Each set of sticks for these two parts are notched in the middle, about 1/4 the thickness of the sticks, so the two sticks fit and stack closely together. Keeping yarn tight is a problem, so I’ll make small notches, with a file or pocket knife, every inch (closer on a smaller than 12 inch ojo) all along the doweling. Besides holding the yarn from slipping in towards the center, the notches act as guides for keeping the pattern even.
Equally important as the pattern that you weave in an ojo, are the color combinations that you choose. Myself, I tend to stick with colors from the American Southwest. I recommend choosing color combinations that you find especially beautiful in nature. There are also color wheel sites online that might be useful in matching up harmonious colors (such asCOLOURlovers), although I’ve always gone by intuition and schemes from nature myself, and drawn inspiration from other artists.
2. Start Weaving: Start with the two sticks that will be the top two of the eventual 8-sided pattern. The way of making the central diamond is exactly the same from the very start, and the pattern that makes that central diamond also holds the first two sticks together.
Holding your first two sticks as illustrated here, cross over the central joining of the sticks, wrap around one stick two times, bringing your yarn to a new starting place, then cross over again, wrap around the next stick, and so on, to build up your central diamond pattern.
From the very beginning, watch to keep the pattern even. Look at both the space between strands of yarn, and the amount the diamond pattern has expanded along each stick. If you’re not satisfied, start over. Errors are easy enough to correct when caught early.
3. Add New Colors: To add to this, cut the old color to where a one inch tail is left, and simply twist the new color to the old, leaving the tails running along the stick. After a couple wraps have securely held the new color in place, you can snip the tails shorter, so they won’t get in the way later.
4. Prepare the Second Set of Sticks: When you are finished with your central diamond, cut the color yarn you are working with, leaving enough tail to tuck under itself to hold it temporarily in place. Prepare your second set of sticks in the same manner. After finishing the central diamond, prepare a second set of sticks with a solid color diamond, to be used behind the central diamond. I always make this second diamond slightly larger than the first, so it shows up well in the finished ojo.
5. Attach the Two Sets of Sticks: Now comes the trickiest part. Most commonly I use a dagger pattern at this point to hold the two sets of sticks together. Choosing my next color yarn, I start the new color by securing it over the tails of the last color one twist under itself, leaving a tail running down beside the earlier color. Now, holding the sets of sticks together with thumb and forefinger, I use my other hand to bring the yarn underneath both from where I started, as illustrated.
This stage, so near the beginning of the project, is the most difficult stage, so take your time with it, and don’t be afraid to unwind and start over again if the dagger pattern you are creating to hold the sets together doesn’t look quite right. Remember, once you have this stage down, everything else will be relatively easy-going.
Surprisingly, with just one strand of yarn running underneath, and wrapped twice around the opposite end of your starting stick, your ojo is already sturdy enough that you can now twirl the ojo to continue wrapping. In this case I went back and forth four times, then did the same temporary tie as when ending the diamond, by tucking the cut end underneath itself once, leaving a tail long enough to start a new color later. Be careful to keep things centered, and remember, although the ojo at this point may seem horribly wobbly and unwieldy, it will now grow stronger with every wrap of yarn that strings underneath the two sets, holding it all together with more and more strands of yarn as the pattern grows.
6. Continue Weaving: As you work, use your fingernails to push the strands of yarn into a nice even pattern. Throughout any ojo I create, I’m constantly making tiny little adjustments with my fingernails, both on the front and back sides. Be sure to keep adjusting the sticks to be evenly distanced from each other, as well as evenly balanced on top of each other. With practice, making all these little, but necessary, adjustments, will become automatic.
With this ojo in the illustrations, I’ve decided to do what I call a kaleidoscope pattern, where I switch colors frequently, alternating between the two original sets of sticks with interwoven diamonds. First I wove the orange, then the gold added with the yarn, in the way I almost invariably add onto a pattern, running underneath the earlier color. These beginning diamonds have three rows of yarn each, wrapping twice around each stick, unless I adjust how far along the stick the pattern is growing, by either wrapping once, or perhaps even three times. Occasionally I’ll use my thumbnail to gently push a pattern into a more agreeable looking place.
A challenge for me with this type of ojo, is to try and avoid any part of the pattern looking like a boring square, or box, sitting flat. We see all too much of that kind of shape in our lives: walls, buildings, TVs, and so much more! I think that circles and interlocking diamonds are so much more agreeable to the eye in an ojo. The other main challenge is to use colors in a harmonious and pleasing way. Be sure there is enough contrast between adjoining colors, so that they don’t blend too easily into each other and create a kind of uneasy blurring of the line between them. Also, though, try hard not to have two adjoining colors clash sharply.
7. Keeping Color in Mind: It’s important, besides following the well known guides of the color wheel (search for online help if needed) to be aware of how color types fit together: primary colors; pastel colors, jewel tones, and earth tone colors. Some people would say not to mix these different types. I say, mix carefully, and be aware of the effect that the different types have. I often mix in a couple jewel tones with a mainly earth-toned ojo, using the jewel tones for highlights. I like that kind of effect a lot. Pastel tones can also be used for highlights against a background of earth tones.
I’ll start creating an ojo with as many as fifteen or twenty balls of yarn beside me to choose from, but usually narrow the colors down to seven, or maybe nine, for an ojo of this size. For one of my much larger ojos, I might actually use fifteen colors. I’ve found that it’s generally a good idea, once you have used a certain color, to repeat it again later in your design, rather than have any one color stand alone. Also, it’s often best to pick out one or two colors to be your dominant color theme, and let all other colors play lesser roles. However, any and all generalities about color I’ve made here, I’ve broken many times in my own creations, so never feel bound by rules, but rather try to let intuition lead you to the highest of artistic creativity, if at all possible!
8. Weaving Patterns: In this particular ojo, after a bit of contemplation, I decide to add a bold, simple pattern, to balance out the quick changes I’ve woven so far. Here I’ve added four rows of a mossy green, then one row of a bronze color, then two more rows of the green. To prepare for the next stage, which will be orange going to all of the sticks, I’ll snip the yarn seen closest to the bottom of this photo short, and start the pattern from the stick which you see here in my hand.
Next, I weave to every third stick, and wrapping around the sticks twice on average, I make an eight pointed star pattern. With this pattern, the angle to and from each stick is very sharp, and you can easily wrap three times around each stick without your yarn bunching up at all. Also, its a good time to really even up your pattern, as there is more flexibility than at other points in the process to wrap the yarn more times, or fewer times, around each stick and still not show too much of either separation between the strands of yarn or to have the yarn bunch up too closely together.
9. Creating a Border: Finally I add the border, wrapping on average once per stick. On the last time around, I might give some extra wraps to the stick ends; the last chance to make the pattern come out even. When I get back to the starting stick for the last time, I cut a tail two or three inches long, and wrap three or four times around the stick, tucking the end of the yarn underneath itself once on each turn around the stick. The tail left at the very end I cut to about one inch in length, and tucked it in between the wrapped stick and ojo border, on the back side.
10. Adding Embellishments: The ojo could be declared finished right here, but I usually add some embroidery to the border, using a yarn needle. In this ojo I’ve chosen to embroider a fairly complex circular design. When I curve back at the two ends of such a design, I find it’s best to run the yarn underneath the back strands of that section of the design, to hold the last stitch properly in place.
Experiment a bit as you make this type of design, and try and find a balance between the design made by the yarn, and the spaces created in between the design elements. I encourage everyone to try adding needlework to your ojos. The design possibilities are endless, and you can truly make an ojo your own with a new and unique bit of needlework. Designs can also be added to parts of the ojo before the
border, and can even be used to pull the yarn of an ojo into a new position. After getting the working end of the needlework yarn back to the starting position, I tie the two ends together with a square knot.
11. Finishing: The final step is to add a loop to the backside for hanging the ojo.
You can find many examples of Ojo de Dios possibilities in my Etsy shop, and also in a Facebook group I started, Ojos de Dios, Yarn Mandalas of the World, where weavers from many countries around the globe have showcased their work. Happy weaving to you!
If you make your own Ojo de Dios, share a photo with us in the Etsy Labs Flickr group.
Born in 1970, Sophie Blackall grew up in Australia where she learned to draw on the beach with sticks, which has not altogether helped her sense of perspective. She completed a Bachelor of Design in Sydney in 1992 with honors, which furnished her with useful Letraset, bromide and enlarger machine skills. The following few years were spent painting robotic characters for theme parks, providing the hands for a DIY television show and writing a household hints column.
Over the next several years Blackall had many exhibitions of paintings in galleries in Sydney and Melbourne.
In 2000, Blackall was seduced by New York. She has lived and worked in Brooklyn for the past ten years. Her editorial illustrations have appeared in many publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Architectural Digest, Town and Country, Vogue and Gourmet, and she has animated nine tv commercials for the UK.
In 2002 she illustrated the childrens book, Ruby’s Wish by Shirin Yim Bridges (Chronicle Books), which won the Ezra Jack Keats award in 2003.
Since then, she has illustrated seventeen other books for children including Meet Wild Boars by Meg Rosoff (Henry Holt & Co) which won the Society of Illustrators Founders Award, and the Ivy and Bean series by Annie Barrows (Chronicle Books).
Blackall also works in three dimensions and her mixed media sculptures made from Victorian doll parts, glove fingers and vintage taxidermy are currently on show in Paris at Galerie Epoca.
Over the past year she has collaborated with the pop star Mika on a number of visual pieces, including an anthology of paintings to accompany songs (alongside Paul Smith and Peter Blake among others), and an ambitious series of images for his latest album, The Boy Who Knew Too Much, and world wide tour.
Her recent and ongoing project, Missed Connections, is gathering media attention around the world, and will be published as a book in 2012.
In the rare moments that Blackall is away from her desk, she can be found in the kitchen making preposterous birthday cakes for her children or wandering the Brooklyn flea markets in a daze.
Some of my favorites: