Friday, October 30, 2009

Stylebook: Dennice of Fringe

Welcome to the second installment of Stylebook! Last time we took at peek into the home of Rebecca from The Vintage Closet and today we'll be chatting with the super talented and wickedly stylish Dennice of Fringe as she gives us a look at what defines her fashion Stylebook, shares some her favorite wardrobe and accessory finds and offers one of her beautiful scarves to a lucky winner!


Tell us a little about yourself and your Etsy shop
Before I begin, let me say thank you, sweet Nicole, for the honor of being featured on your beautiful blog. It’s such a thrill for me, and I truly appreciate this opportunity. I wish you every success in your personal and professional life. You’re an extra special person with a heart of gold.

I’m a girl that loves life and my family. My education is in electrical engineering, but my heart belongs to art and fashion, fiber art especially. It’s my passion. I’m obsessed with designing and creating.

I started Fringe on a bit of a whim, never dreaming it would come this far. It’s like a miracle to me. The idea that people all over the world have a little piece of my heart with them (in the form of one of my creations) just amazes me. It’s so rewarding to know my work is appreciated. I make my designs with the hope that they will give someone a feeling of self-confidence and uniqueness, style and happiness when they wear it.

Fringe is my line of handmade fiber art dear to my heart. These items are hand knit, hand-crocheted, sewn, and/or embroidered with care. My creations are original designs I create and they include scarves, cowls, capelets, shrugs, shawls, lariats, brooches and so much more. There are many types of styles in my shop. They range from high drama fashion to urban prairie and lots of styles in between.

A few Fringe originals

What colors in your environment are you most drawn to?
For me, colors are important in so many ways. They can change a mood, create an atmosphere, inspire. For that reason, I am hard-pressed to choose just one or two. When thinking in terms of my fashion sense, I would have to say that I’m drawn to turquoise, blues, and greens for accessories. I’m attracted to these colors in nature too. The sea, grass, trees, the sky...all of these beauties of nature are what I’m drawn to.

On the other end of the spectrum, reds, oranges, fuchsias and purples are also colors I’m drawn to. The colors of a magnificent sunset and vibrant flowers such as the bougainvillea and the California poppy. These are sexier colors, and very powerful for fashion accessories. They will completely turn my mood around. A deep red scarf or rich red lipstick will work magic on any woman.


What colors do you enjoy wearing?
I did sort of answer that in the previous question in terms of accessories. As far as clothing goes, I tend to keep it basic and neutral for my daily wardrobe. A neutral palette for all of my accessories to be showcased on. That’s what I feel is important for me. I have a lot of black, grey, white, beige and denim blue clothing.

What color combinations do you like best?
I tend to like neutrals for my clothing and depending on my mood; I will add splashes of color with the accessories I choose. That could even mean all neutral clothing and accessories with a beautiful red or plum lipstick, if I want my lips to be the focus. I love so many different combos and so many different styles so it’s really difficult to pinpoint one favorite. I think that’s the case for most people who immerse themselves in a lifestyle of creating.

What kind of patterns do you like?
I’m not big on patterns for myself. I rarely wear patterns. I only have a couple of classic plaid western shirts. I do believe that is the extent of my patterns in clothing. I have some tops that have embroidery around the neckline, and t-shirts with screen-print wording or images, but as far as patterns go, that’s just not for me.


Gingham Shirt found at J.Crew. Wool Skirt by sohomode.

I do love stripes and plaids and checks. Gingham is a favorite. I plan to purchase a blue gingham check shirt for myself this season. I love the look of it. There is a full-length wool skirt on Etsy by sohomode that I’m dying to own as well.

What kind of textures are you drawn to?
I love textures! Textures are so important to the overall affect of any ensemble. Organic textures, interesting edges, roughly woven, buttery soft textures. I love torn fabric edges. When textiles are made to look very sculptural, such as being gathered into ruffles, billowy, bubble-y, layers, I love it. I am extremely attracted to worn, torn, old, used and abused textiles.

Are there certain properties you look for in the fabrics you wear?
Softness is the most important property for me. One must be comfortable so the fabric needs to be able to breathe. Cotton is very much a part of my life. Silk is sensual, especially in and on the bed, but not very practical for my day-to-day wardrobe unless it’s in the form of a scarf. Buttery soft wool is essential. I love velvet, but really don’t have much of it in my wardrobe. Durability is also important. I want my favorite pieces to last and last.

Coat and Sweater from Anthropologie

What does your daily wardrobe consist of?
I’m fortunate to work from home and can wear whatever I feel like wearing. I’m a blue jean girl through and through. I mostly wear Levis, I’m a diehard fan. Not the classic 501 style (I do have some vintage 501s that I adore though), but the excellent styles such as superlow boot cut, skinny jeans, and such. They come in amazing rinses, stitches, and details and I have quite a collection. They fit me just right which is a hard thing to find in jeans, right ladies? My husband teases me about my jean obsession (as well as other fashion obsessions I happen have).

Living in southern California means there are several months of the year that are too warm for jeans, so on those days I wear lovely skirts of assorted lengths, shorts of many different styles, including cutoffs, and capris, sweet little dresses. I must say that I have always felt the “no white after Labor Day” rule is beyond ridiculous. I’m a proud rebel, in that respect.


Tops are casual as well. Tank tops, flirty little tees, cowboy shirts, feminine blouses with interesting necklines and sleeves. These are mostly in neutral colors so that my accessories shine through. I also wear little cardigans, shrugs, capelets (obviously, considering who I am) and such. Layers are fun and functional. My favorite thrift store finds are shrunken cardigans that are very worn with signs of aging.

As far as shoes go, in my daily wardrobe, I really have four basic styles. Flip flops, Chuck Taylors, boots (Frye boots and cowboy boots are my boots of choice for the most part), or ballet flats. I have quite a collection of all four of these styles (another source of wisecracks from my guy). I also have a thing for Mary Janes.

I almost always wear a belt, usually a black one or a brown one, depending on my shoes/outfit. I have a sizable buckle collection and I switch buckles almost daily.

Finally, jewelry, scarves, shawls and such, arm warmers, hats. I can’t stress how important accessories are to me. Depending on the season and my mood, I am always wearing something by way of accessories.

I am in love with coats. Fabulous long winter coats, coats of all styles. It’s slightly tragic that I live in Southern California when I yearn for coats the way I do.


What kind of outfits do you like to wear for formal occasions?
Most formal occasions I go to are in the evening. For an extra special evening, I tend to go with the classic Audrey-Hepburn-Breakfast-at-Tiffanys style. A long black dress, with either a low-cut front or a low-cut back, long gloves (a must), the shoes will be simple and sexy with 2-3” heel, and let the jewelry do the talking. I’ll either pay a lot of attention to my hair or my makeup, but not both. For formal occasions, I feel one should have some drama. Either drama with the makeup and simple hair, or drama with the hair and simple makeup.

What kind of outfits do you like to wear for nights on the town?
Oh, I love picking outfits for a night on the town! It’s the best time to go a little wild or dramatic, sexy and fun. I’ll whip out the high strappy heels or my coolest boots. I’ll wear a fabulous, deep or brightly colored blouse, or perhaps I’ll go dark and dramatic with black. The hair gets sexier, the makeup more daring. Perhaps the jeans get tighter or the skirt/dress gets shorter. It’s just the best opportunity for expressing myself and pushing the envelope a bit. The accessories become even more delicious too. Usually, the accessories become bigger, longer, more dramatic.

What types of fasteners do you like the look of most (zippers, buttons, hooks, belts etc?)
I love all of those fasteners mentioned. Probably belts are my all-time favorite because they accommodate my fiendish belt buckle collection. Zippers, buttons and hooks are very much important fashion features too. Especially for someone like me who uses detail as a strong form of fashion expression. I love them most when they are vintage, and perhaps show signs of wear.

A peek at Dennice's home office and a painting from her grandmother above her bed.

What kind of embellishments do you find most stylish?
Where to begin. The obvious answer, for me in particular, would be scarves, cowls, capelets and shrugs, lariats, shawls…you know, Fringesque type embellishments. However, I believe I can come up with many other examples. Actually, I could go on all day about this and never run out of examples.

I think a necktie on a woman is incredibly sexy, and I believe most men would agree with me. Corsets are heavenly too.

Little added details make a huge difference to me. A vintage brooch attached to a hat or an overcoat, a bracelet worn over a pair of gloves, a long red scarf tied around the throat leaving the flowing ends fluttering, a man’s watch on a woman’s wrist, a gigantic flower brooch worn with the simplest dress, a necklace that hangs past the waist(or worn backwards to hang down the back), a pearl choker, a huge sculptural ring, old trinkets (a skeleton key, for example) hanging on long chains or strips of leather or lace, layers of necklaces or bracelets worn together, belts of all kinds…the list is endless.

Ring by Concrete Ring. Cape by Bayou Salvage.

What is your favorite type of accessory?
I simply cannot pick one favorite! I am drawn to vintage, unique pieces. Sparkle and grit are all important. Sexy is good and so is fun. I do collect certain things that I can’t get enough of. I think I’ve mentioned them elsewhere in this interview.

Are you a jewelry girl?
I am most definitely a jewelry girl. Absolutely! I wear earrings every single day; even if I barely have time to get dressed, I make sure I’m at least wearing earrings. I have a lot of silver and turquoise. I have several antique Native American pieces that I cherish and wear often. I love big rings, cuffs and sexy, swingy earrings. I like my necklaces extra long or super short, as well as lariats. Turquoise is my favorite stone, but pearls are a close second. Silver is my metal of choice.

Accessorizing her home is as important as accessorizing herself.
Here is a cabinet in Dennice's hallway and a deer wall hanging she painted herself!

What fashion staples can you not live without?
Pretty much all of the items in my wardrobe are so very important to me. I can’t live without accessories, jeans, my boots/flips flops/Chucks. I have a vintage hat that I wear all the time. It’s a gorgeous hat and reminds me of the 20s. I adore my Leaves of Glass jewelry collection and cookoorikoo ring collection. Also, I have several pieces from bonzie and treehouse28 that I love and wear often.

I wouldn’t want to live without a few cosmetic staples either: mascara, eyeliner, bronzer, lipstick/lip gloss especially. Also, I consider the proper skincare products as important as any fashion staple. Ladies, it’s never too early to start caring for your skin.

Bolero by Bonzie. Earrings by Leaves of Glass. Ring by cookoorikoo.

What fashion trend do you hope never makes a comeback?
Please, please don’t let the big shoulder pads come back. For the love of humanity!

Based on fashion alone, what time period in history would you most love to live in?
This is a tough one. I do love at least one thing about all the fashion periods. At the top of my list of favorites is the 1920s and 1930s. The clothing Faye Dunaway wore in Bonnie and Clyde is to die for (pardon the bad pun, but you know what I mean). I adore the fashion from those decades.

If you’ve never seen the remake of A Star is Born with Barbara Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, I highly recommend you watch it because Barbara’s wardrobe was incredible.

I also love elements of the western, prairie days as well as the Victorian age. Some of the 60s and 70s still mesmerize me too.

I adore the Grace Kelly 50s style and the Audrey Hepburn 60s. Edith Head is my all-time favorite movie costume designer.

I feel that we are really in an amazing place right now, fashion-wise. Anything goes. As long as you’re true to yourself, you can dress however you wish, and you will be in style.

Tank top by fastfastfast. Lingerie by Under the Root.

Sum up your Stylebook
Whatever your style, the key is to be true to yourself and don’t be a slave to the latest trends. I feel it’s important for me personally, as I’m so interested in fashion, to keep up with the latest trends. That doesn’t mean I’ll implement them into my wardrobe though. I may, if I love what the latest and greatest is, but if it’s not my personal style, I won’t go near it. I also feel you can really stand out if you apply your own personal style to the latest trend. Make it a mix and you will be completely unique. Fashion and style is what you make it. Have fun and don’t be afraid to push the envelope.

You can check out all of Dennice's own stylish creations in her shop Fringe, and visit her blog for more fashion and decor inspiration.

ENTER TO WIN A FRINGE SCARF!


Yep, a giveaway! Dennice has generously offered one lucky winner their choice of her Poet Scarf, Snowdrift Scarf or Best Friend Scarf!

Here's how to enter:
Please leave a comment telling us what your favorite item is from Fringe and also what new color combos or types of items you would like to see Dennice add to her shop. YOU MUST INCLUDE your first name -AND- etsy username or email address with every entry. (If you are worried about email spam, you can spell out the 'at' and 'dot' rather than using the standard email format.)

Receive additional entries if you follow or subscribe to my blog, twitter and/or blog about the giveaway. Just leave a comment/link letting me know! You have until Tuesday, November 3 at 6 pm (est) to enter and I will announce the winner later that night. Good luck!


I hope you have enjoyed this installment of Stylebook! Stay tuned for more to come soon and if you are interested in sharing your own personal or decor style, contact me at stylebook@lillyella.com.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Slow Food in a Modern Kitchen

Hi everyone! My name is Shawna and I am the artist behind Pinkkiss Pottery and self-proclaimed foodie. I love all things food and am so excited for this chance to share some of my favorite cookbooks, recipes and kitchen décor with you on one of my favorite blogs!

I would like to begin by introducing you to one of my newest favorite cookbooks, Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François. Since bread is one of those kitchen basics I thought it would be a good starting off place for us.

I bought this book in the spring and it has gotten quite a bit of use since then, although I must admit, I haven’t made it past the first recipe. It’s the master dough recipe and it’s so yummy I haven’t tried many variations! This book covers everything from loaf bread to pizza, flat breads, brioche, bagels and even some desserts, many originating from the original master dough recipe. I came across Artisan Bread while searching through food blogs one day, trying to get ideas for how I could cut our grocery bill while still maintaining my foodie morals. I had just finished reading In Defense of Food by Michael Pollman and was all revved up about his five ingredient rule.

For those who don’t know, the five-ingredient rule basically says that the food you buy in a package shouldn’t contain more than five ingredients and you should know or at least recognize what they all are. I am not a stickler for the “five” personally, but I do check the ingredient list and if there are things I don’t recognize or can’t pronounce I put it back. One of the biggest offenders is pre-packaged bread. Have you ever looked at the list of things they put in a loaf? It’s crazy long, unpronounceable and expensive! This book shows you how to make bakery style bread for about 50¢ a loaf and there are only four ingredients; flour, yeast, salt and water. The last time I was in the market a small loaf of French bread was $2.50, and a normal size loaf was almost $4.00, big difference.



My husband and I are not huge bread eaters. I buy a loaf for sandwiches or a recipe and then the rest goes stale. One of the concepts of this book is that the bread dough is mixed in one container (hardly any cleanup involved) and kept in the fridge so you can pull off a hunk and bake it whenever needed. This is great for our little family because I can make just enough for dinner or sandwiches and it’s always fresh.

Now, I know they say that it only takes five minutes a day, which is true if you are talking about actual hands on time. Baking the bread actually takes about an hour for the dough to rise and bake but you don’t really need to be in the kitchen during this time so it’s still super easy. The book also recommends buying a baking stone and pizza peel but you don’t really need those things. I have been making mine on a regular baking sheet with parchment paper and it always turns out great!

So, no special tools required but if you want to serve your bread in style, here are some recommendations, after all you just saved tons of money by making your own bread….


Cherry Chopping Block by RipperArts
Handmade Bread Knife by RParish Woodworks
Bread Bowl by Why Not Pottery
Angular Cutting Board from Alder by Nature Design
Vintage Rolling Pins by Sadie Olive

So, now you have your bread made and some really awesome serving ware, how are you going to enjoy your tasty artisan bread? You could always serve it up with the traditional cheese or jam. Peanut butter and honey is a childhood favorite of mine. How about a hunk of warm bread served alongside a bowl of hearty soup for these chilly fall nights? Or a sweet treat of Nutella smeared on top? My personal favorite is a grilled cheese and apple sandwich (recipe below!), the toasty bread oozing with a nutty cheese and crisp sweet apples, yum! Here are some condiment finds to serve alongside your bread….



Serena Farmstead Cheese by Three Sisters Cheese
Mom’s Mustard by Anija’s
Figs and Black Tea Preserves by Quince and Apple




Time: 15 minutes | One Serving

What you'll need:
Two slices of good quality bread
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/8 of a crisp apple (I used honey crisp), thinly sliced
2 slices of Swiss or Gruyere cheese
1-2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Spray a grill pan with cooking spray and heat over medium high heat. On each slice of bread spread the mustard and top with sliced cheese. On one of the halves place the apple slices in a single layer and top with the other slice of bread. You should have a sandwich that is bread, mustard, cheese, apple, cheese, mustard and bread. This will help keep the apple slices from sliding off your sandwich. Drizzle a little olive oil on one side of the sandwich and place on the grill pan, oil side down. Drizzle the remaining oil over the other side of the sandwich and place a small heavy skillet on top. Let the sandwich grill for about 3-4 minutes and flip. Continue to cook until both sides are golden brown and crispy and the cheese is gooey. Enjoy right away!

I hope I inspired you to get out some flour and make a loaf of your own bread, even if you don’t use this book, there is really nothing better than a house filled with the aroma of freshly baked bread! Until next time when we look at one of my favorite foods…cookies!

~ Shawna of Pinkkiss Pottery

Welcome Shawna of Pinkkiss Pottery!



I'm so happy to welcome yet another amazing contributor to the blog this week, Shawna of Pinkkiss Pottery! You may remember seeing her here in the Spotlight back in March and she was also recently the featured seller on Etsy. Well now you'll get to see her here the last Wednesday of every month as she takes us into her kitchen for a look at her favorite recipes, cookbooks, serving ware and kitchen decor.

Shawna's first post will be up at 2pm (est) today so I hope you stop by to check it out and welcome her! In the meantime, you can browse her unique pottery collection at Pinkkiss.

Wedding Overload Continues Next Week

Well, I'm just about through all the wedding goodness I have to share! Goes so fast, doesn't it? Just like the day itself. What I do have left for you is a post about the flowers that made up my bouquet with some tips and a tutorial on drying it after the big day and also a step-by-step how-to on making my birds nest ring pillow.

I've decided to wait until next week to share those last little tidbits with you because today I have another new contributor to welcome and tomorrow I have a fantastic feature on one of my favorite Etsy sellers.

I hope you've been enjoying this little peek into all the pieces that made up my wedding day, and I hope it brings some inspiration to all of you who are currently planning yours. Be sure to stop back shortly to see who I'm welcoming to the blog today!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Our Wedding Cake Buffet

The very first thing I thought about when it came time to plan the wedding was cake. I mean, it is the most important part, isn't it? I knew from the start that a five-tiered, fondant covered masterpiece was not for me. I needed color, I needed interest, I needed flavors and by golly, I needed cake stands!



Tyler and I searched all of our favorite antique stores until we found the perfect collection of cake stands (see them in detail here) and we ended up having eight cakes at the wedding, enough for everyone to have at least two pieces, and of course they were all different flavors!




Meet the bakers! Our best friends Jim and Sal. They went above and beyond creating these masterpieces for us. We would have late night ichat video sessions to discuss flavors and decorations, they even made sample cakes and brought them over for taste testing. How we got so lucky is beyond me, but the day wouldn't have been the same without their special touch and I can't thank them enough.



My mom gave us this cute bird topper as a shower gift and I absolutely loved the white chocolate 'nest' that the guys created around it.




I had small birdbaths filled with taffy at either end of the table, along with a vase of flowers and a candle.




The cake buffet was by far the highlight of the evening! We had everyone come up to be served, giving them the chance to see all the cakes and pick the flavors they wanted. Some people even sampled every flavor! I was so pleased with how it all came together and it really added a unique and special touch to the day.




CRAFTING THE FLAVOR CARDS AND STANDS


I knew I wouldn't be able to find the perfect sign holders for the cake flavor cards, so we of course just made some ourselves! I don't have photos of all the steps because things were a little hectic at this point before the wedding, but you can get the idea.

We started with precut wooden bases in different shapes that we picked up at JoAnns. I also found the small wood flowers there, which we glued to the center of each base. We next drilled a hole through the flower into the base to hold a wood dowel and glued them in place.

We figured out the measurement needed for each stand (because they were all different heights) and cut the dowels. I picked up the small wooden beads at my local craft store to use on top of each dowel to hold the flavor card.


The holes in the round wooden beads weren't quite large enough to fit over the dowels so we drilled them a bit larger, glued them in place and sanded them smooth.

We then used a scroll saw to cut a small slit into the center of each one to hold the flavor card.


We painted them with a light base coat of some leftover paint from our living room. After it dried, we painted them with a darker color and them wiped most of it off, just leaving some dark accents.


To make the flavor cards, I started with the shape I created for the candy bar tags and designed seven different complimenting shapes so that each could be different, like the cakes. I colored them to fit with our palette but also with the corresponding cake. I printed them on heavy cardstock on my inkjet printer and cut them out by hand with scissors. I couldn't have been happier with how it all came together.


If you would like to use this art for your own DIY wedding projects (or anything else!), here are some editable files you can download:

Click here to download an EPS file of the flavor cards (You will need a program that can edit EPS files to use this)

Click here to download the font, Honey Script (Which is a personal favorite of mine, regardless of the use!)

It's tough to save the files in a format that everyone can use, but hopefully I'll have some time in the next week to save a few more formats for you. Please feel free to contact me with any requests or questions in the meantime and check back soon for additional downloads. (p.s. If you share this file elsewhere, please give proper credit - thanks!)

Our Wedding Candy Bar

Finally onto one of the best parts of the wedding — the candy bar! Rather than having favors at each place setting, we decided to go with a big buffet of candy so that everyone could choose what they wanted and have some fun with it. You can read my previous candy bar post here for all the details of how I put this together, determining how much candy you'll need, poll results of peoples favorite treats and resources for containers and bulk candy.





We included an empty bag at each place setting with a note that matched the design of our invites telling people to help themselves to some sweet treats at The Candy Bar.



We had extra bags on the candy table with a sign that included, "Don't be shy, take another bag!"






Overall, it was a huge success! Everyone loved it and I really enjoyed the interactive element of it. One thing I dislike most about weddings is feeling like you are stuck in this seat that you're assigned with no where to go but the bar or the dance floor. With the large deck off the back of our venue, the yard games outside, the candy bar and the cake buffet (more details later!), there were many reasons to get up, walk around and mingle, and this created the exact environment I was hoping for. Plus really, who doesn't love candy?


CRAFTING THE CANDY BAGS


I purchased 1/2 lb size glassine bags from Paper Mart. I wanted them to look more 'finished' so I trimmed the tops with scalloped scissors. Yes, it was kind of a pain, but worth it :)

By accident, I stumbled upon the little paper clips at JoAnn Fabrics on clearance in the scrapbooking aisle. Each had a different word on it like promise, love, memory, etc - they were perfect.


I used the clips to attach a card that I designed to match our invites and figured people could also use the clip to close the bag after filling it. They came out great and I loved how they looked on the tables.


CRAFTING THE TAGS AND LABELS


I was torn as to whether I should label each container with the type of candy inside or if I should just make a sign for the table listing them, since most were self explanatory. But I decided it would be fun and more aesthetically pleasing to design labels, and I really love how they came out.

I created them in Adobe Illustrator and printed them on my inkjet printer. I used ivory label stock for the labels and card stock for the tags. I cut them out by hand with scissors (which turned out to be much easier than I expected) and added two slits on the tags to run ribbon through for hanging. A small knot at the bottom held them in place.


If you would like to use this art for your own candy bar, you can download the files below:

Click here to download an EPS file of the labels. (You will need a program that can edit EPS files to use this)

Click here to download the font, Honey Script. (Which is a personal favorite of mine, regardless of the use!)

It's tough to save the files in a format that everyone can use, but hopefully I'll have some time in the next week to save a few more formats for you. Please feel free to contact me with any requests or questions in the meantime and check back soon for additional downloads. (p.s. If you share this file elsewhere, please give proper credit - thanks!)

Next up on Wedding Week, the cake buffet! Which was just about as fun as the candy bar – stay tuned!