Thursday, July 28, 2011

Go West!

Described as Seventies American meets Calamity Jane, Navajo and the American west was the featured trend in the February 2011 issue of Show Daily publication, WWDMAGIC. This trend can be seen all over the retail scene from friendship bracelets and feathered accessories, to fringed garments, to denim and suede apparel mixed with desert hues and vibrant color palettes. It's such an easy look to incorporate into your wardrobe because of the mix and match ability of the elements of this trend. Many of the same details of this Navajo look are found in the Bohemian trend as well. Lace, denim, fringe, corsets, etc., all flow easily between the two looks. The tribal elements play a role as well in the form of the bold American Indian and Aztecan prints and designs. Designers like Ralph Lauren have been doing this look for years--casual, comfortable, American cowboy out west. It's a modern classic.

Rockin' Moroccan

One of my very favorite shows this year is "Million Dollar Decorators" on Bravo. I am addicted! If you love interior design and peeking inside homes, hotels and hot spots this is the show for you. There was one episode where interior designer Martyn Lawrence-Bullard remade a room at the Colony Palms Hotel (photo, above) using a Moroccan-inspired theme. I loved it. It inspired me to add a bit of the exotic to my living room with some affordable accessories.

I added a beautiful ornately painted candle holder from Cost Plus World Market to my coffee table.

I gathered together all of my wood block prints and displayed them on my end table. They are like having little sculptures with a ton of history behind them. I find them in antique stores and estate sales. They are used to make dyed prints on fabric. I found these colorful pillows with beaded and embroidered details at Home Goods--a favorite store for cool and affordable home accents.

This cut-out clay lantern is from Pottery Barn. It comes in a tall version as well as this shorter one. When the candle inside is lit it puts on a light show on my ceiling. Great ambiance!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Another Random Act of Kindness

Today I've been working pretty constantly on a trend presentation I am giving in September at a convention. With only 30 minutes to catch lunch, I headed to Panda Express to get a rice bowl. I bumped into a co-worker who happened to be ahead of me in line. As we chatted and waited to pay we noticed there was a problem. Apparently the cash register wasn't in the mood to process credit/debit cards. Cashless, my co-worker and I both held up our cards when asked how we planned to pay. Oh no, what are we gonna do? At that moment, the guy working the register decided that rather than have us walk out hungry he told us our lunches were on him. What?! No, no, no, we said. He insisted. We asked if we could at least have a copy of the receipts to pay back Panda the next time we come in. Nope, no worries. I then looked at his name tag. His name is Yee. Thanks, Yee! Lucky for Yee there was only 3 of us waiting to pay at the time. What a nice example of real customer service. I made it back to my desk with just enough time to eat and get back to my trend report. Another random act of kindness exhibited at lunchtime! By the way, I opened my fortune cookie and it read: Enjoy the good luck a companion brings you. Maybe bumping into my co-worker paid off.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Simply Chic Disposable (and artsy) Dinnerware

I like the idea of serving really chic disposable plates at gatherings that require more than the standard paper plate I use with my children. Of course, just because something is disposable doesn't necessarily mean it's a throwaway item after the first use. It might just mean it breaks down really well after it is thrown away. Resposable Dinnerware is a creative new approach to dinnerware. This line can be reused a number of times if needed and then disposed of, making them resposable! Or you can throw them out after just one use eliminating clean-up time, without compromising style!. While I may not be the greenest leaf on the tree, I do like to practice earth-friendly living whenever I can. Wasara offers 100% tree-free products made from sugar cane fiber, bamboo and reed pulp that are fully biodegradable and compostable. Veneerware is made from 100% organically-grown bamboo and is an elegant alternative to paper or plastic plates. Plus, it too is biodegradable and breaks down in 4-6 months after disposal.

Palm Leaf products are environmentally friendly palm dishes made from a natural, renewable, and biodegradable raw material. Naturally discarded sheaths of the leaves of the Adaka palm tree are collected, which in the course of its biological life cycle, dry, fall and regenerate. No trees are cut down. The palm sheaths are then cleaned in fresh spring water and molded into shapes.

Off to camp...

This last weekend I spent Saturday getting my boys packed up and ready for camp: the oldest was headed to the mountains with his Boy Scout troop, the youngest to a church camp less than an hour away. Both of them were very excited to go, and their dad and I were equally excited to see them go. On Sunday we dropped our Boy Scout off around 9am at a place where the Boy Scouts were gathering to leave. And then we had to deliver the little fella between 2 and 4 pm. to his camp in the mountains. Last night our house was so quiet! No electric guitars blaring, no raised voices over whose turn it is to choose a video game, no jokes and stories during dinner, no one to hear me yell HAS ANYONE FED THE DOGS YET? It was really nice....until bedtime. I headed down the hall and saw their empty beds and wondered what they were doing at that very moment. I know one thing for sure, they both told me they would miss the dog. The dog! My youngest son had me include in his duffle bag a picture of the dog so he wouldn't be homesick. When we got him settled into his cabin and he chose his bunk, he laid out his sleeping bag and pillow and stuck Gabby's picture underneath it. Isn't that just like a kid? We'll see if he makes it to the end of the week.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Random Act of Kindness

As part of my job as a trends specialist, I write articles for various magazines within the craft and hobby industry. Recently I wrote about the trend of business owners and employees who offer 'random acts of kindness' as an way to build customer relations. I mentioned several businesses and described what they were doing, and how appreciative their customers were. Well, today it happened to me! I made an online lunch order to Chipotle as I do every few weeks. Just for me; just one Fajita Bowl and a drink. I like Chipotle but it's not like I hang out there. I maybe go twice a month. Anyway, my friend and I head over there to pick up my lunch. We walk up to the front of the line to pay--when you order online you just go in, pay for it if you haven't already, and they hand your food to you--and as I am handing the girl my credit card she says, No, no, lunch is on us today because you are a good customer and we want to thank you! What? Excuse me? Really?! Yes! And here's a bag of chips to go with that. My friend is looking at me like 'how do you rate?' I said to her, It's a 'random act of kindness', just like I wrote about. It makes the customer feel great and builds goodwill. And you know what? It really does. Thank you, Chipotle. That was a super nice thing you did for me!

The Nail Polish Economy

It used to be that the sales of lipstick was best way to gauge the economy. Well, move over lipstick! The new must-have body art accessory is nail polish. Last year Volvo offered three shades of nail polish to match the latest hues of their cars. It's not like I haven't talked about this before, but is there any TV show, blockbuster movie, pop star, or celebrity out there who doesn't have a nail polish deal with OPI? Even the Kardasians have a nail line--in 14 "Kolors"--coming out in time for the holidays.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Summer Dream

Here's my latest desktop image. I didn't take this picture, not even close. I found it on the Internet. I think I am experiencing a mid-summer crisis! I just can't stop thinking about this, my summer dream: I am on the secluded beach. I am looking out on the pale blue-green water (just like the one in this picture). All I can hear is the sound of the surf and my heartbeat--steady and relaxed. I have one of many summer reads in my beach tote. You know, the list of summer 'must-reads' that all the magazines recommend. Whenever I read those lists I think, Are there really people who lay around in the summer reading through this list of books? Can I sign up to become one? I have not had a real vacation, one where you go somewhere for at least a week and decompress, since I returned to work in 2005. I tend to spend my vacation time 2-3 days at a time on things like Awards Day at my boys' school, family weddings, family business, and to just get caught up on my life. I really do need to book a real vacation, on the beach, with a book, the sun on my face, and the sound of the surf and my heartbeat. Nice dream............ Did I mention I have a husband and two boys? My dream will have to adjust to fit the laughing, the playing, the bickering, and the demands for food, drinks, a towel, and a TV.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Nailed It!

I found this story on and just had to pass it along. With tie-dye being white hot it was only a matter of time before someone figured out how to make nail polish follow the trend.

Yarn it!

Photograph: Bournemouth News/Rex Features

Wheel spun ... a yarnbombed bus in Mexico City. This is so inspiring... It makes me want to knit a sweater for my truck!

William & Kate in L.A. getting crafty!

This was spotted by our own Swell Designer! Here's our Duncan® Ceramic glazes (at left on the shelves) in this photo of Will and Kate at the Inner City Arts Center in L.A! They got crafty with kids painting and doing ceramics. So much fun!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Celestial Inspired Tote Project

Get inspired by the celestial trend and make a super easy, stylish tote that you can load up with your favorite summer must-haves and head out the door.

Here's what you need:

A tote. I picked up this canvas tote bag fully lined at Walmart for a mere $10.Tulip Fabric Sprays in several colors. I chose Sapphire, Dark Teal, Black, and Grape.

Tulip Glam-It-Up Crystals and cordless heat setting tool

Add Image

Here's how you make it:

To create the look of a night sky, spray your tote with the Sapphire color first. Spray completely around the bottom of the tote. Next, spray the Dark Teal above the Sapphire color, letting the overspray blend the two colors. Spray Asphalt (black) on the bottom area of the bag. Be careful not to cover too much of the Sapphire and Dark Teal.Finally, spray on light touches of Grape here and there. Let dry.

To create twinkling lights in your sky, use the heat tool to randomly apply the crystals. It takes about 10 seconds per crystal. Use as many as you like.

Pack your tote and get going!

Star Gazing

Since my son joined Boy Scouts he's had to do various tasks in order to earn merit badges. One thing he's been working on this month is an astronomy badge. Part of earning this is that he has to get up one morning each week (for about 5-6 weeks) at 5am in order to observe a certain star in the sky. Apparently this star is best observed around 5am and disappears after about 5:15am. He then has to draw it and write about it in order to chart its movement in the early morning sky. Usually my husband is the one to get up extra early to get our son up and out in the front yard to make his observations. One morning this task fell to me. I usually try to squeeze in as much sleep as possible in the mornings before I rush off to work. My son and I stepped out into the cool of the early dawn morning and looked up. It was beautiful. I was glad I got up and had this brief moment of star gazing with my Boy Scout. It also made me think about the trend in celestial fashion that is here for spring and summer. I decided to make a galaxy-inspired project to commemorate our star gazing mornings.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Cool Never Fades at Target

Here's a cool thing I found as I was checking out the latest Seventeen magazine featuring Emma Watson on the cover. It's the Vintage Varsity Fall Collection at Target. Screen printing is HOT, and the gang at Target knows it. They traveled to the Hamilton Wood Type Museum in search of unique and timeless designs. What they discovered was a designer's dream--walls covered with inspirational, classic prints, some of which haven't been seen in decades. Their point? Cool Never Fades.


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