diy project: a tea towel tote via the curiosity shoppe at target

The smart folks at Target continue to give some of our favorite independent design brands a guest platform in their stores. Starting September 9th, they are unveiling The Shops at Target, and you’ll have access to one of the most creative stories in San Francisco, The Curiosity Shoppe. The spirit of The Curiosity Shoppe is to encourage your own DIY projects with other beautiful goods, so Lauren Smith and Derek Fagerstrom, the clever team behind the brand, put together this awesome craft project — the “Tea Towel Tote Bag.” Here’s what you need to make this cute carry-all: 1 tea towel from The Curiosity Shoppe at Target (set of 3 is $10). 1.5 yards of 1” cotton webbing. 1 pair of scissors. Some pins. Thread. And, a sewing machine.

Here are the super-easy step by steps:


Fold tea towel in half, right sides together


Using a half-inch seam allowance, stitch up the sides of the towel, back-stitching at the beginning and end of each seam. Turn bag right side out. Cut the webbing in half to make the 2 straps.

Pin the ends of each strap 1” down from the top of the bag and 3” in from sides, making sure they’re not twisted.


5. Attach the ends of each strap by stitching a square around the edges of the 1” tail of webbing, removing the pins as you go.

Carry your new tote bag!
(And don’t forget to look for The Curiosity Shoppe in Target, starting September 9th!)

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shelter-spotting: what we loved at nyigf, part two

Continuing our tour of what we loved at the NY International Gift Fair last week, we thought we’d show some of the more clever things we saw. A bit of whimsy always excites us. Look at what’s coming to stores soon:

Areware‘s mixed media wastepaper baskets, Bow Bins by Cordula Kehrer.

Cracked Colander from Fred & Friends.


Exquisitely mismatched “hybrid” plates by Seletti from Italy.

And, from the design’s more prolific leading man, Jonathan Adler, comes his long awaited Junior line. Who says baby girls have all the fun?

Want to see more from NYIGF 2012? See this post.

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shelter-spotting: what we loved at the nyigf, part 1

Katie D. and I wondered past the construction zones on Manhattan’s far west side last week to take a cruise around the annual International Gift Fair. It’s two enormous floors of everything from bedding, tabletop, stationary, and more Christmas tchotchkes than you ever dreamed possible in one place. It’s also a place where some of our favorite home-goods designers turn out to show off the newest additions to their catalogs — all the things hitting store shelves in the next couple of months. We started working on our wish-list for the coming season. Here are some of the things that we love most:

Faux cowhide placements, $20 each, from Chilewich, available now on their site. Can’t wait to serve a vegetarian feast on these!

Candlewick covers from Pine Cone Hill. Reminds us of the chenille bedding our grandmas had and we can’t wait to get. Available in five colors, shown here in Dove.


New, vibrantly-colored indoor-outdoor rugs from Dash & Albert.


Insanely cool dinosaur bedding from Dwell Studio. Do we have to be a kid to have?

More NYIGF picks coming soon!

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happily retro: customized cutout leather moleskin notebook covers

In the age of everything digital, I still can’t give up the notebook in my bag. I grab it out more often than any of my i-devices when I’m in a meeting, and more often than not, that notebook is Moleskin. Now I can make that Moleskin as personalized and as groovy as my iPad (which is covered in a DodoCase, btw). The Grove Notebook cover is made in Portland, Oregon to order. You can chose from one of their lovely designs, or customize your own. I recently ordered one for a friend’s wedding gift, based on an illustration they included in their invite. It’s perfect for travelers, dreamers, scribes, and those of us who can’t function without our to-do lists. To customize your own, pick a high-contrast black and white image, and download Grove’s online template here. Small business owners, it’d be a great premium gift for your top clients, don’t you think? $79 each.

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meet kim piotrowski: our etsy artist of the month



If the seasons inspire our decorating desires, than Kim Piotrowski is the perfect artist for summer. Her prints on Etsy conjure up days spent strolling through gardens and trolling countryside antique barns. Painted on pages from vintage books, Kim’s patterns twirl and spiral like the loveliest in nature, with vibrant colors bursting off sepia-faded paper. We imagine lining an entire small room with a framed collection of her painting. At only $60 each, it would be an affordable, and stunning, undertaking. (Prints even more affordable, at $30.) We asked Kim to tell us a little bit about her artwork, what inspires her, and the place she calls home. Be sure to check out her shop, Kipi at Etsy. More prints are added frequently.


How would you describe your work?

They are largely pattern-based, and are inspired by different textiles or shapes that I see in my day-to-day life. Earlier, my work was much, much larger (7 or 8 foot canvases) and depicted colorful microscopic cellular forms. In college, I was on the pre-med career path then changed my major to art half-way through my studies. I’ve always been artistic, and this was a very passionate choice. I still like to use a lot of dynamic color, and have a scientific feel to my work even though it may not literally feature those earlier biological forms.

When did you start making your prints?
Offering prints is a fairly new development- just about half a year ago. It was a long process to figure out how to get to the sizing and coloring correct, but I finally found a great quality place to work with.

People have always been suggesting that I make reproductions of my work for the purpose of using them on textiles or just to make them more accessible as multiples. The final prints are slightly larger than the originals too. In the next year, I hope to take this idea a little further and make my own scarves, decorative pillows, and other decor items for the home.

How does your home/city/neighborhood inspire you?
Items that can be found in my home in my Moroccan plate collection that I got from traveling through the medinas of Marrakesh and Fez on a family trip back in 2003. I absolutely loved exploring the labyrinthine bazaars and haggling with the vendors even in the 110 degree heat. I brought a duffel bag and filled it with the unique treasures. They are placed prominently in my kitchen, and I love looking at them everyday. After all, I worked really hard for them! I often use an Arabic pattern similar to the pottery as a background and design source for my larger paintings. This same pattern is also in my Moroccan Stars print that is currently in my shop.

My former Brooklyn neighborhood (Greenpoint/Williamsburg) was really inspiring because there was street art all over the place. I love to scout it out and take photos of the unsolicited art. I had favorite spots that got hit all the time with new pieces. Every couple of weeks, I would go out for long walks or bike rides and just photograph anything I could find that was new. I like to document things that will disappear or fade with time. I miss this aspect of Brooklyn, but there are plenty of places out there if you just seek them out. I haven’t quite explored the Bronx yet.

I now live on City Island off of the Bronx now, and it is completely different from Brooklyn. Living here gives me the access to nature that I was craving for a long time. Nautical themes and sea motifs are everywhere. I used to think boats, sea monsters, and starfish were kind of kitschy, but after spending time here on sailboats and living so close to the water, I see how easily it can become part of your decor. I think our fascination with the ocean will always be there, and it is slowly sneaking into the way I decorate my home.

What kinds of artwork would one find on the walls of your house?
I’ve hung a lot of my favorite pieces of my own art (old and new), but I also consider myself to be somewhat of a collector. I have a very quirky eye, and nothing really matches at all. I bought a lot of prints by Betsey Walton and Julianna Swaney on Etsy a few years ago. I also really like the work of Martha Rich who is from my native Philadelphia area. However, my main interest these days continues to be street art. I like having things around my home that I could find plastered around my old Brooklyn neighborhood or downtown Manhattan. In some cases, I like knowing the individual behind what the police consider to be an art crime. I have work by ROA, Dark Cloud, Sweet Toof, Skewville and Stikman around my apartment.

Describe your decorating style.
It’s very eclectic, but it’s all the stuff that makes me happy. I like antiques, kitsch, retro, modern and things that I’ve brought home from my travels. The piece usually comes with a story that I can tell about it. I like to display my artwork and collection of things usually in groups. Aside from artwork, I also have many devotional objects – sacred heart milagros and byzantine icons that are indicative of my family background and also my graduate thesis. It was about the influence of the Byzantine world on Modern Art through the work of two of the most recognizable artists: Matisse and Picasso.

To learn more about Kim Piotrowski, visit her Etsy store.

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