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DIY du Jour: Paper Leather Tote

Anyone else geek out over innovative materials–ones that make you stop and rethink the widely accepted use for a common item? I came across this paper product that’s WASHABLE. Yes, you read that right: Machine Washable. It has a resemblance to leather that ages and patinas with use, but it’s waaaaayyyy easier to sew on than actual leather. (Hint: no broken needles!) I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this stuff and make a grommeted paper leather tote for–you know–toting around town. I used two different colors of paper and added a little surface pattern with fabric paint. I think it came out kinda cool! Read on for more…

Ever heard of machine washable paper? Hop over to see what it's all about + a paper leather tote project to try! Click through...   Ever heard of machine washable paper? Hop over to see what it's all about + a paper leather tote project to try! Click through... Ever heard of machine washable paper? Hop over to see what it's all about + a paper leather tote project to try! Click through... Ever heard of machine washable paper? Hop over to see what it's all about + a paper leather tote project to try! Click through... Ever heard of machine washable paper? Hop over to see what it's all about + a paper leather tote project to try! Click through...

Find my full DIY tutorial over at Sugar & Cloth!

A couple things to note: A) Make sure to remove the handles/grommets before washing. B.) If you make it, tag me on Instagram so I can see your rockstar work!

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Ever heard of machine washable paper? Hop over to see what it's all about + a paper leather tote project to try! Click through...

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In DIY

The Great Labor Day Honey Harvest + 4 Easy Ways to Help the Bees!

Over Labor Day, we spent the weekend at my husband, Ken’s family farm in Manchester, Iowa harvesting honey from my father-in-law’s bee hives. Every year it’s a collective effort gathering the hive frames, using heat to open up the wax honeycomb, spinning the honey from the frames, and bottling it up.

Being this close to the harvesting process, has given me such an appreciation for the honey bees. Their social hierarchy, the work they do pollinating flowers, and collecting nectar & turning it into honeycomb is just all around fascinating. And I was surprised to find over the years, that unlike wasps, the bees are actually incredibly gentle and unlikely to sting. My husband, Ken, even got a bee in his bee suit one year and wasn’t stung!

Bees make it possible for us to enjoy a variety of foods as they help with the reproduction of upwards of 75% of flowering plants and crops. Unfortunately, our honey bee numbers were down this year at the farm, and it’s part of a larger trend due to a combination of stress factors including loss of habitat, parasites and diseases, and pesticide exposure. Without the bees many of our crops and flowers would no longer be available.

Here a few things you can do to help the bees!

  • Plant native wildflowers for bees, a strategy that has been shown to reverse the decline of wild pollinators and improve the health of honey bees. The ultimate goal is to provide flowering plants from April to September. Some bee-friendly Minnesota native plants include sunflowers, oregano and clover. See a full list compiled by the U of M Bee Squad.
  • Avoid using pesticides, especially insecticides.
  • Create homes for bees, such as brush piles and bumble bee boxes.
  • Spread the word to bring more awareness to the health of our bees!

Learn More:

University of MN Bee Lab

The Xerces Society

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In DIY

Artist Spotlight: Marquin Designs + A GIVEAWAY

Last January, while I was very pregnant, sans baby and still had free time on my hands, I took a bit of time and studied some of my favorite interiors I had pinned on Pinterest. What I discovered was that one thing all those amazing spaces had in common was ORIGINAL ART,  emotion-evoking, dynamic art. After coming to this realization, I decided I wanted work towards bringing more original art into our home this year.
 
Over the summer, I had the pleasure of getting to e-know the lovely, Marquin Campbell, painter, entrepreneur and creative brains behind Marquin Designs. I adore her work and was excited to work with her on a custom piece for my dining room. I love the dream-like quality of her painting style and that she draws inspiration from landscapes near the charming city of Savannah, Georgia.
 
This was the first time I’d worked with an artist on a completely custom piece, and it was so much fun! Marquin had me send photos of my dining room, as well as asked me to peruse her previous works on Instagram to hone in on styles and color palettes I responded to. I gathered my thoughts and sent her a long, babbling email about my work-in-progress dining room (remember when the china cabinet was red?), a paint swatch, ideas for color palettes & styles, a rant on how I like “negative white space” and shimmery metallic gold, etc. Honestly, I rambled.
 
But Marquin kindly took all my thoughts and translated them into a stunning abstracted piece for our dining room china cabinet. I wish I could have you all over to see the depth it has in person. There are so many rich layers of earth tones that a camera cannot do justice! She got my requested “negative white space” just right, and her thick, textural brush strokes of metallic gold shimmer in the light as you walk by it. Ah–it’s the perfect bridge between the new cabinet color, brass lighting, and black dining chairs. Don’t you guys think?
 
If you love Marquin’s work as much as I do, and want some of her magic in your own home, then hop over to Instagram to enter our GIVEAWAY! Marquin is giving away a 16″ x 16″ print of the custom piece she created for my dining room! It’s SUUUPER easy to enter, so what do you have to lose?!
 
Marquin was generous enough to do a little Q&A and share a little about herself + let me pick her brain as to how she got started painting professionally and advice for budding artists. I hope you enjoy getting to know Marquin as much as I have this Summer!
 
1. Tell us about yourself and your creative business, Marquin Designs: 
I am married, a mother of two, and live in a very sweet little Southern town called Greenville, South Carolina. I have had this business since college and named it ‘Marquin Designs’ to give me flexibility because I did not quite know what creative direction I wanted to go: I’ve pursued a bunch of different areas in the arts.  
Currently I am painting originals, selling prints, wallpaper, fabric, and a few gift items (like acrylic trays) with my art reproduced onto the surfaces. 
 
2. How would you describe your painting style?
Ethereal and atmospheric: the last few years my pieces have largely been driven by abstracted landscapes inspired by the island I grew up on outside of Savannah, Georgia.  That scenery has caused a creative spark that lead to a series which has evolved over the past few years.  
If I had to categorize my work in ‘art terminology,’ it would fall into the ‘abstract expressionist’ classification. 
 
3. You recently launched a new painting series. Was there a particular influence or inspiration that steered the collection?
 My last body of work was inspired by color ways in vintage textiles and vintage Turkish rugs and abstracted lowcountry landscapes. 
I am currently working on a series of faces in collaboration with one of my favorite jewelry stores that is pushing me creatively.  I can not wait to launch the ‘Ladies.’ 
 
4. In addition to Marquin Designs, you also run the art school, Vino & van Gogh? Tell us about this component of your business.
 I started the concept seven years ago loosely based around the ‘Sip and Paint’ concept.  It has grown into a school in a very organic way: we now have a wide array of Children’s Art Classes, host Visiting Artists for multi-day workshops, and have one night classes that allow students to dabble in different creative areas.  It has provided the community with accessibility to very approachable art making. 
The studio also doubles as a place for my work to hang and to meet collectors.  This set up and overlap has worked out very nicely. 
 
5. How did you get into painting professionally? Did you go to school for fine art?
 I attended the University of Georgia and received two majors: Drawing and Painting and a minor in Art History.  I then went on to Parsons School of Design in New York City and obtained a degree in Fashion Studies which touched on everything from design to marketing.  
I think like most creatives, I could have found myself in a bunch of different artistic fields.  But the opportunities in Greenville lead me down the path of starting the art school and painting full time. 
 
6. What is the best advice you have ever received, and what is the one piece of advice you would offer a budding artist, maker or designer?
Be organized. I think planning ahead and creating goals are very important. Coordinating planned release dates for work with collaborations or bloggers is important. By being organized, you can better forecast your money, social media campaigns, email marketing, and have a clearer head. I think it is very important to also be flexible when plans change, but to always have a clear direction you are moving.
 

GREENVILLE FAVORITES:

Favorite Gallery: There are oddly not a lot of galleries here, but they are coming.  Art and Light is airy, well curated, and filled with art made by with lovely people. 
Favorite Spot to Get Inspired: I love interior design and The Rock House Antiques is loaded with fabulous finds.  I am currently working on my master bedroom and they helped me redesign a pair of lamps I found in Savannah for a song.  I also purchased a pair of Faux Bois Garden stools from them that I could not live without. 
Favorite Dessert Place: I absolutely adore the dessert chef, Cynthia, at Augusta Grill, which is conveniently located right beside my studio.  If I’m working late, I love to pop next door and sip a glass of wine and nibble a slice of her Chocolate Sin Pie. 
 
Don’t forget to head over to Instagram to enter to win a Marquin Designs print! And if you don’t want to wait for the giveaway, you can also purchase an exact print of my painting here!
Photo credit for Marquin’s studio images: Angela Zion Photography
 
This post was created in partnership with Marquin Designs. I only partner with brands I personally use and love. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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In DIY

Global Style, Feel Good Design with Meridian

Exploring the handmade process involved in creating a Meridian bone inlay box made by a family of master artisans in Rajasthan, India.

As my tastes refine and style evolves, I find myself increasingly more intentional about the pieces I choose for my home. As you guys know, I’m a big advocate for mindful design, which emphasizes understanding the social impact of our purchases and celebrating the story behind them: where they’re made, what they’re made of, and who makes them.

I get so excited when I find brands like Meridian who are making change for good around the world. Meridian collaborates with master artisans from Ghana to Peru bringing their story to the global stage, helping to preserve indigenous crafts, and empowering often disadvantaged communities.  Every purchase through Meridian directly supports the artisan who made the piece.

Exploring the handmade process involved in creating a Meridian bone inlay box made by a family of master artisans in Rajasthan, India. Exploring the handmade process involved in creating a Meridian bone inlay box made by a family of master artisans in Rajasthan, India.

My exquisite Meridian bone inlay box comes from a family of master artisans in Rajasthan, India. The handmade box is adorned with intricately carved recycled and naturally occurring bone through methods that have been passed down through multiple generations.

Exploring the handmade process involved in creating a Meridian bone inlay box made by a family of master artisans in Rajasthan, India. Exploring the handmade process involved in creating a Meridian bone inlay box made by a family of master artisans in Rajasthan, India. IMG_5269

If you can imagine, it takes a entire team of individual artisans to make just one box. One artisan is responsible for hand carving each piece of bone into delicate leaf shapes. A second person affixes those pieces onto a wooden frame in the intricate botanical pattern. The third artisan fills the outline of the pattern with black resin to create the background. And finally, an additional person sands and seals the box to completion. Uffda–I need a nap just explaining the process! No doubt there is loads of love and skill that goes into each and every box.

Exploring the handmade process involved in creating a Meridian bone inlay box made by a family of master artisans in Rajasthan, India. Exploring the handmade process involved in creating a Meridian bone inlay box made by a family of master artisans in Rajasthan, India.

We use our box for storing TV remote controls in our living room. I love having a pretty spot to tuck them away when we’re not using them, and also knowing exactly where they’ll be when Netflix calls. It’s equal parts form and function–just the way we like things around here! I’ve been trying the box in a few different spots around the living room, and I think the media console is my favorite spot for it. What do you guys think?

Exploring the handmade process involved in creating a Meridian bone inlay box made by a family of master artisans in Rajasthan, India. Exploring the handmade process involved in creating a Meridian bone inlay box made by a family of master artisans in Rajasthan, India.

This post was created in partnership with Meridian. I only partner with brands I personally use and love. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Process photos courtesy of Meridian. Follow them on Instagram for more artisan stories and sneak peeks at their latest collaborations.

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In DIY

DIY Crash Course Event with Projects in Person – Nov 1st

 
Homeowners, get ready! I’m teaming up with Minneapolis remodelers, DIYers, and industry experts for a 3 hour crash course in all things DIY for the home. If you’re looking to makeimprovements or repairs in your home, this is an event you won’t want to miss! Here’s the skinny:
 
When: Wednesday, November 1st from 6-9pm
Where: Projects in Person in Hopkins, MN
What: 4 DIY stations with hands-on experience, tips + tricks led by Projects in Person, Construction2Style, Francois et Moi (Me!) and Rebuild MN:
  1. Drywall
  2. Tiling
  3. Wall Treatments
  4. Wallpaper (I’ll be tackling this station!)

PLUS:

  • Ask an Expert (plumber, electrician, handyman) ask your questions and see demos!
  • Test Drive Power Tools
  • Drinks and Apps
  • Giveaways & More!

Register to join us by Friday, Sept 15th at 5:00pm and receive 10% off your ticket using Promo Code: crashETMOI

Click Here for More Event Details & to Sign Up!

See you there!

Photo Credit: @katebecker.mn 

 

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In DIY/ Interiors

Pro Tips for Cleaning Your Vintage Rug

Kitchens, by design, are nearly entirely hard, wipeable surfaces, so I love the warmth and texture vintage rugs bring to these kinds of spaces. I have two Persian rugs that I switch back and forth with in my kitchen throughout the year, and whenever I post photos of my kitchen with the rugs on Instagram, I often get the question, ‘Doesn’t your rug get spilled on?!’ or the comment ‘You’re so brave to put a vintage run in your kitchen!’ Find out how to clean your wool vintage rug from rug expert, Kim Gunther from Woven Abode. Click for deets!

To answer that question…Uh-huh! Little spills and food are ground-in weekly; dare I say daily? Earlier this year, I was removing a BIG family size, take-and-bake pizza from of the oven, and accidentally flipped the ENTIRE pizza upside down on the rug pictured above. Ugh, cue near meltdown fueled by starvation. After running back out to order another pizza, tasking Ken with removing it from the oven this time, and devouring it at warp speed, we took the rug downstairs to rinse it off in the laundry area. I’ll spare you the saucy details, but obviously rinsing off the rug didn’t cut it. So how the heck do you clean vintage rugs anyways?

The rug is from Kim Gunter’s rug shop, Woven Abode, so I contacted Kim, and asked her to walk me through how to properly clean it. She’s a pro, guys. The cleaning went so well I went to town with the rest of my wool rugs, both vintage and new. Most recently I washed my white West Elm rug, and snapped a few pictures of the process. Hopefully you haven’t dumped an X-tra large pizza face down on your rug, but if you have, we have your back.

Find out how to clean your wool vintage rug from rug expert, Kim Gunther from Woven Abode. Click for deets!

To clean your wool rug, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Vacuum
  • Bathtub
  • Woolite or Comparable High Quality Wool Detergent
  • Drying Rack – I use one similar to this Ikea rack.

 These instructions pertain to unbacked natural fiber rugs.

1. First, remove as much dust, dirt and pizza crumbs from the rug with a vacuum as you can. The best way to do this is to first vacuum the rug while it’s upside down. Then vacuum the top. Repeat these steps until no dust/dirt falls out when you vacuum it upside down.

  Find out how to clean your wool vintage rug from rug expert, Kim Gunther from Woven Abode. Click for deets!

2. Then soak the rug in a luke warm tub of water + 1/2 cup of Woolite. Soaking length will depend on how soiled your rug is.

Find out how to clean your wool vintage rug from rug expert, Kim Gunther from Woven Abode. Click for deets! Find out how to clean your wool vintage rug from rug expert, Kim Gunther from Woven Abode. Click for deets!

3. Finally, squeeze as much excess water out of the rug as possible, and let it dry on a rack in the sun. If you don’t have a rack, you can also lay it on the grass where air can get up underneath and dry  it out. Just make sure to flip it over after a few hours.

So there you have it. Easier than you might think, right? I love Kim’s process because she uses tools you probably already have lying around the house. 

I most definitely have more confidence now rolling out my pretty vintage rugs in messy areas like the kitchen and dining room, and hopefully you do too!

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LESS DIY INCLINED? Kim says you can also take your rug to an actual rug cleaner. “If you Google antique carpet cleaners you should be able to find one in your area. However, sometimes it’s tough to find them because carpet cleaners will pop up. Just make sure they are not people that come out and clean regular carpets because they will destroy it.”

If you’re in the market for a rug, pop over to Woven Abode, and browse Kim’s fantastic curated selection of hand-knotted vintage beauties. She adds new rugs weekly!

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1 In DIY

DIY Geometric Metal Wall Hanging

Add interest to your gallery wall with a geometric metal wall hanging. Get the tutorial link here!

I’ve been playing around with geometric metal shapes that I found on Etsy recently, and rather than making some kind of statement jewelry with them, I decided to make something pretty for my walls. I came up with this cool brass + cotton flossing wall hanging. A little bit boho and a little bit modern, it pairs beautifully with a mixed art grouping or on its own in a small nook area, and it’s one of my favorite things I’ve made in a while. Check out the full DIY tutorial I did for Sugar & Cloth!

  Add interest to your gallery wall with a geometric metal wall hanging. Get the tutorial link here! Add interest to your gallery wall with a geometric metal wall hanging. Get the tutorial link here!

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Add interest to your gallery wall with a geometric metal wall hanging. Get the tutorial link here!

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In DIY/ Interiors

Mindful Design: Redefining Luxury with St. Frank Textiles

Apply the concept of Mindful design to your home through beautiful handmade home decor from St. Frank.

One of my most favorite design trends or movements at the moment is the concept of mindful design. Socially conscious by nature, mindful design is the push towards surrounding ourselves with unique, handmade pieces in our homes–ones that are made of high quality materials from ethical sources.

It’s knowing the stories behind our belongings: Who made them? Where were they made? How were they made? And I think it’s a new way of defining interior luxury. I’m always on the lookout for brands, like St. Frank Textiles, who resonate with this approach, deviating from the mass market and bringing something more meaningful to the table.

Apply the concept of Mindful design to your home through beautiful handmade home decor from St. Frank. Apply the concept of Mindful design to your home through beautiful handmade home decor from St. Frank.

I was first captivated by luxury home decor brand, St. Frank, and their extensive framed textile offering on Instagram.  The more I learned about their mission, the deeper in love I fell with their company as a whole. I think we can all agree that St. Frank’s one-of-a-kind pieces are the stuff interior dreams are made of. But beyond simply offering beautiful pieces for the home, they’re committed to curating product with a story. St. Frank works with artisan groups in 25 countries around the world with a goal of preserving traditional crafts within these communities. Their collection includes the most luxe framed textiles (my personal favorite!), soft goodsaccents, accessories anyardage.

Apply the concept of Mindful design to your home through beautiful handmade home decor from St. Frank. Apply the concept of Mindful design to your home through beautiful handmade home decor from St. Frank.

The framed textile I have in my living room is the Biddew Noir designed by fiber artist, Johanna Bramble. It’s constructed with labor-intensive Senegalese weaving techniques rarely used anymore, as it requires two weavers and meticulous attention to detail. It’s praised, though, as being the precursor for mechanized Jacquard weaving (an extremely complex weave structure!).

I chose the Biddew Noir for my home because I love to the graphic hexagonal, yin-yang design, but I later came to find out that in Senegalese culture, woven textiles like the Biddew Noir, are often presented at big life moments such as the birth of a baby. The hexagon is a universal symbol of wisdom, life, and health, and so with the arrival of our daughter, Sylvia earlier this year, this symbolic textile could not be a more perfect addition to our little home!

Apply the concept of Mindful design to your home through beautiful handmade home decor from St. Frank. Apply the concept of Mindful design to your home through beautiful handmade home decor from St. Frank.

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Weaving photos courtesy of St. Frank.

This post was sponsored by St. Frank. However, I only work with brands whom I love. All opinions are my own.

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