Monday, April 28, 2008

new spring line of frames
remember from prior posts - the new-fangled picture frame
simply slip the photo between fabric and ribbon
easy to change the picture
no fuss, no muss

bellbottoms by jennifer paganelli 

a pretty splash of madras

pretty assortment of pastel colors 
front: circle bloosoms
middle: juicy & geo pink /yellow 
back: lifesavers

summer strawberries 
  l: new pink houndstooth; r: pink decals

casey scroll in an assortment of luscious colors from jennifer pagnelli
lime, pink, ocean, blue, brown, olive green, white/black

close-up of casey scroll 

lax on navy seersucker check; 
lax on pink check;
lax on pink linen
lax on blue chambray
close-up of lax

lobstah on navy seersucker check 
lobstah on blue chambray

sweet tea cups by kokko for mother, nana, favorite aunt or teacher

pucci inspired fun

why not buy one?
e-mail me or
 sea beans in wilton, ct
all she wrote, in chicago, illinois,
fuchsia frog in birmingham, michigan

any other stores that you think i should be in - do tell!

Thursday, April 24, 2008




reduce  reuse   recycle

What am I talking about?  My latest idea... you will see the finished product in a few days.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Illustration by David Small for the American Library Association in 1999
Today is the Rose Festival and International Book Day in Barcelona.  
How about that for a fun fact.

My sister gave me this box of cards - without even knowing that David Small was one of my favorite illustrators.  If you are in the bedtime story phase of life, try Imogene's Antlers and The Gardener, both illustrated by David Small and great stories.  Imogene, who has such a fantastic name, is loaded with spunk.

Back to Roses and Books... first of all, I love bookshops and bookshop websites.  I receive periodic e-mails from the Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver.  Last week they sent out the following blurb from which I quote verbatim:

"Every year on April 23, Barcelona erupts in a celebration of chivalry and romance, Book & Lover's Day.  It all began in the middle ages with an annual Festival of Roses to honor St. George, Patron Saint of Catalonia, who as a brave Roman soldier allegedly slew a dragon about to devour a beautiful young princess.  According to legend, a rosebush sprouted from the blood of the dragon and the soldier plucked its most perfect blossoms to give to the princess as a remembrance.  In 1923, the Rose Festival merged with International Book Day, established to celebrate the lives of Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare, both of whom died on April 23rd, 1616.  Now, bookstalls and flower stands sprout up along the Rambla, a two mile-stretch connecting the city with the Mediterranean Sea.  Thousands of Barcelonans crowd the streets to enjoy a festive atmosphere of readings, music, literature, and dance." 

So grab a book and your love and cuddle on the couch - maybe even a book of poems since April is national poetry month.   If you have not read this title - try it - Shadow of the Wind: A Novel by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, set in Barcelona and all about books.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


The little things you do add up.

Old Yankee saying:  Use it Up, Make it do, Do Without
The reworked version of this phrase for the 21st Century and
 environmentally conscious is 

My Grandmother always asked whatever child was visiting her at the beach to hang the laundry on the line.  She did not have a dryer at the beach.  "Who needs one with the wonderful breezes" I can hear her saying.   I really liked hanging the laundry and still do today when I have time.  I remember telling someone when we first bought our house that one of the things I was going to like best was having a clothesline - needless to say, the person thought I was a nut! But freshly laundered sheets on the line are hard to beat and you can save electricity.

Fun example of how any of you knitters can rework old tee shirts.
This bath mat was made from recylced old tee shirts.
You create strips by cutting in a circle from the bottom to the arms of the tee shirt and knit into a rug.
You can find the pattern in the book AlterKnits by Leigh Radford

I knit this rug two years ago and use it all the time.  It goes through the wash without any problems.  And it feels so good underfoot.

Environmental awareness is growing but it has taken a long time to get from 1970 to today in terms of general public awareness AND action.  Gasoline hit $4.05 at my local pump today!   People are starting to take notice because it is affecting their pocketbooks.  In the last six months the numbers of people who bring their own bags into stores for groceries has mushroomed.  It used to be just a few people.  I am guilty of taking too long to convert my ways. I always meant to bring the bags to the grocery store but somehow would forget - now the cloth bags are in the back seat of the car.  The other day a carrier bag from Target arrived in our Vanity Fair magazine - it is lightweight and tucks into my pocket book nicely - no excuses now!   And how about buying one water bottle and refilling.


"If you are stopped for more than 10, turn it off and on again"
Two students from Wilton, Connecticut
I cannot remember their names, sorry.

The children and young adults are so enthusiastic about the environment - I believe that they are going to be the force of change.  I see it around me everyday. They are doing a great job of educating their parents and elders.  

Unofficial Earth Day flag by John McConnell, who introduced the idea of a holiday to celebrate the environment, to be called Earth Day,  at a Unesco Conference in 1969

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Sunshine and deliciously warm temperatures jump-started Spring. Everyone was out enjoying the fine weather here in New England.  It was
strange to experience the summer-like temps while seeing the bare trees. The forsythia and daffodils were like dollops of bright yellow in the brown landscape.  And the beautiful pink haze of the weeping cherry. Hibernation is over.  Enjoy the weekend.  

All the yellow in the landscape inspired me to make this yummy lemon tart - with a cup of tea - and     the happy tea cosy - I am content.

Love the mezzaluna - first saw Nigella Lawson use this gadget - my favorite kitchen tool - fun and efficient.

Ciao for now.

PS I struggled with loading the pictures in the post for much more time than I will admit - adding, wrong order, tried to correct, whoops - all gone - how? sputtering words of frustration - kept trying to get it right - too much time on a nice day - so the pictures will be out of order.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Mix and Match... wondering what to say tonight and I saw my daughter studying diligently...she was sitting in a fun chair that we had reupholstered last year in the Sea Cloth fabrics that you saw a few days ago...
Check out the desk.  I found it at the Brimfield show two years ago.  It was a boiling hot day and I was determined to find a desk at a good price that we could fix up - I was almost ready to give up when I came across this beat up piece - it has the old-fashioned metal kitchen table top and a pretty crystal knob on the drawer.  I love the vibrant acid green color we used on the desk - same color as a band of color on the walls where we pulled off a very childish border... we cheated and just repainted the border area not the whole wall, but who's looking!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Color, pattern, design ... 
wait 'til you see the new fabrics... to arrive any day ... from designers like Jennifer Paganelli, Amy Butler, Heather Bailey, Alexander Henry, Joel Dewberry, Jessica Jones, Michael Miller... luscious, delicious, brilliant...take a look

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My first job as a young girl was at E.A. Davis in Wellesley, Massachusetts, an old-fashioned dry goods store, established in 1904 by Emma A Davis.  Miss Davis had a wonderful entrepreneurial spirit for a lady of her time; not many ladies worked outside the home, let alone owned a commercial establishment.  The ladies who worked at E. A. Davis stayed for years - we young girls thought they were so old... and their names:  Eunice, Doris, Ruth, Lucille, Elsie, Clara - from another century, but it was a great place to learn about the gentle home arts. My favorite place to work was the ribbon counter.  So the thread of ribbon began to wind its way through my life.  I still have some of the ribbons that I had as a young girl - Isabel uses them from time to time.  

My sisters and I started making all sorts of things from ribbon:  watchbands, belts, ribbon pillows (my father still has one of the ribbon pillows on his couch).  Here is one of the belts I made - I remember the fabric: Marblehead Handprints - a wonderful line of fabric, bags, clothing.  Can you believe that I still have these treasures from my young girlhood?  I am really not a pack rat! 

Monday, April 14, 2008

Ribbons, ribbons, ribbons... for as long as I can remember I have loved ribbon and making things.  My sisters and I always had big bows in our hair when we were dressed up, not as often when we were in our play clothes.  Look at those faces and those BOWS!

Guess which darling I am?

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.  This is my little girl in her fancy outfit with a pretty bow.  Isabel wore a bow in her hair every day until 4th grade or so, when she deemed herself too big for a bow.  She still likes a long hair ribbon every once in a while in her 16 year old ponytail.

This portrait of Isabel was painted by Marianne Rothballer, a dear friend of my Aunt Marion. It is such a treasure and so beautiful.  She captured Isabel perfectly.    The color blue is actually a little stronger in person - but you can imagine.  Thanks Marion and Marianne.  Funny, those two names are just like mine - I was named Marion, after my grandmother and my aunt, but my mother spelled it "the french way" (that's what she always claimed), so it is spelled Marianne, to further confuse things I have always been known as Marnie.  And on top of all that my hubby's mother's name is Marianne!  

These are all Isabel's bows of childhood.  They still hang on the back of her door.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Memento boards, inspiration boards, this is your life boards... whatever you call them, they are a great way to stay organized.  So much better than a plain cork board.  

Above is our family's board and below the command station with wall calendar.  If it is not marked or posted on the board or calendar, it doesn't happen!

This is my daughter's board - YIKES - definitely a "this is my life" board - not an inch of the terrific Sea Cloth fabric is visible on the board.  But you can see the Sea Cloth fabrics on the duvet covers, curtains, and window seat - also the frame on the night stand .  

I have used Sea Cloth fabric often in my work - people love it - the designs are bright, bold, cheerful and fresh.  Lots of positive energy.   I have a brisk custom order business from designers and decorators, including Rinfret, Ltd and Michael Whalley, both of whom have been featured in national publications.

Below is a memento board that I just made for the annual auction at my daughter's school - sans stuff - oh so pretty - and below that are some picture frames also in Sea Cloth - 

I sell my frames and memento boards to several stores and at charitable fundraising boutiques for schools and organizations or directly to individuals and designers.  I hope to have my ETSY shop up in the next week or so.  Here are some of the other places where you can find my frames and memento boards:  Sea Beans Studio in Wilton, Connecticut, All She Wrote in Chicago, Illinois, and The Fuchsia Frog  in Birmingham, Michigan.  
Take a look at the Sea Cloth web site.  They have a beautiful store in Greenwich, Connecticut, as does Rinfret, Ltd.

Contact me if are interested in custom work - I can send the pieces anywhere... e-mail contact info is available on this blog.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Yes, I know I need to work on better photography.

Now it's time for me to present my new-fangled picture frames.  I just love the word new-fangled.   Remember that advertisement about the new-fangled _______ (fill in the blank...hint, hint, double clue - it is a food product and the ad first appeared years and years ago)  First person with the answer gets a frame.

New-fangled picture frame, why?  No glass, no fuss, no muss - simply slip the photograph between the fabric and ribbon.  The frames are unique to me - I started making them about 10 years ago - people love them because they are so different and it is so easy to change the picture.  They were a natural outgrowth of the memento boards that I also make. 

Pictured above are my latest frames - personalized with monograms - for graduation - initials of school with year, for mother or father, or simply initials. I will have some madras with initials too.  These are already a big hit.  The rest of my spring line is in production.  Check back for the fabric swatches.

Originally each frame rested on a brass easel - but last year I added the black suede easel back - which has made a HUGE difference - now I can sell wholesale with much more ease and the frames are now "real" frames. 

The best part for me is the selection of ribbons and fabrics each season - I love fabrics by Jennifer Paganelli, Heather Bailey, Yuwa, Anna Griffin, Jessica Jones, Heather Ross, Anna Maria Horner, Amy Butler... check out some of their designs below

      Sis Boom Fabrics     

Michael Miller, Amy Butler

Alex Henry, Michael Miller & Heather Bailey

Last mention of the night - Polly thanks for the lovely birthday flowers xo m