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Archives: February 2007

DWR’s Annual Popped Corks


See, we’re not always about stock market goings-ons and other such business when it comes to Design Within Reach. Case in point, Popgadget‘s got a nice story up about their annual Champagne Chair Contest. Here’s a bit:

Design Within Reach sponsors a fun design contest every year. The public is invited to design and build a chair using only the corks, foils, and labels of two champagne bottles. The sponsor this year was Veuve-Cliquot Champagne, and the majority of the chairs produced shows nice flashes of color from the yellow labels. The have been announced and will be making a tour of sixteen US cities this spring.

Pamela Anderson Gives Not-So-PETA friendly UGGs the Boot

pam_anderson180.jpg The People web site, apparently taking a break from reporting about Britney Spears’ rehab, has reported that former Baywatch Star Pamela Anderson has given UGGs the short shrift. She apparently just recently learned that the trendy boot is made from sheepskin with the fur intact, not a wooly lining attached to a synthetic backing as Pam thought for a long, long time.

As you can imagine, Pam feels really guilty about starting the trend back when she was just an upcoming star in a red-hot bathing suit. She’d wear UGGs to fend off ocean breazes on the Baywatch set.

Now she knows better:

“Do NOT buy UGGs!” Pam writes on her blog. “Buy Stella McCartney or Juicy boots – I’m looking for alternatives myself for my boys and the men in my life! I’m designing some right now for my family and will try and have some available on my Web site soon.”

Is it only a matter of time before we see Pammie boots in stores nationwide? This writer is counting the minutes. And on that note, she’s signing off on as the mysterious “guest blogger.” Alissa will back on Monday with design-related news about the Academy Awards.

Tie Another One On in an Retro-Style Apron-making Class

B4945.jpg It would seem that just about everywhere you look there are vintage aprons or retro-style new ones like this Butterick pattern. Look all those purty aprons stitched up in reproduction 1930s and 40s fabrics. It just makes you want to be the hostess with the mostess and get all dolled up for an evening of entertainment. But you have to wear a smart dress or a skirt and top at the very least; these little kitchen accessories don’t quite look the same with a pair of Seven jeans. In any event, wearing the apron is only half the fun, making it is the rest of it. Here’s a handy-dandy “vintage immersion” class to learn how to apply that rick-rack and all that other stuff on April 22.

A Place To Go Shopping If You Don’t Have Anything Better To Do

pill1.gif The Midwest Vintage Clothing, Jewelry and Textile Show and Sale (boy that was a mouthful) in Elgin, Ill. is the place to go tonight if you like to shop and you adore vintage clothing. Got an itch for Alfred Shaheen sheaths or Dior dresses? Dealers can cure what ails you. Ditto a fetish for 1940s platform peep-toe shoes, hats, blouses, pins, stockings and even undergarments. You can even find quite a few old Victorian floor-length gowns here. Yet you don’t have to drop a penny just to have fun. Plenty of shoppers dress up in head-to-toe vintage in a chance to win a pair of tickets to the next sale. So that’s a hoot and a half to watch. If you can’t get in on the action this weekend, you can always save the date for the Minneapolis show in June.

A Clarion Call to the Faithful: Saving Old Houses of Worship Whether or Not You Believe

Saving our country’s old houses of worship is a hot topic of conversation these days whether or not you believe. These architectural wonders, particularly in rural areas, are disappearing faster than a group of nuns after a novena. Out in the country, there isn’t a congregation available to fix up the premises or even to raise money for restoration. But there are some answered prayers. Here’s a great story in latest issue of Preservation Magazine. Baltimore’s Basica by Benjamin Latrobe has been restored. In Chicago, St. Mary of Perpetual Help has fixed up its dome to celebrate the church’s 125th anniversary. Saint Mary of the Angels church continues to raise funds to return the grand edifice to its original appearance. Now there needs to be a miracle for Louis Sullivan’s Pilgrim Baptist Church, which was nearly destroyed by a fire. Anyone want to petition a saint or cherubim upstairs?

Dwell Fixes Up Their Home


We heard from our pals over at Dwell this week, who alerted us to big changes over on their site. In fact, it’s nothing but changes. They’ve completely overhauled the whole, putting into place a whole new look, novel things like a blog, shopping, podcasts, and even this Web 2.0-ery networking thing called Dwell Connect. Personally, we really dig it and think it’s a great step for the magazine. Here’s straight from the PR department to you:

Michela O’Connor Abrams, President of Dwell, has announced the launch of an extensively updated, going live Wednesday, February 21, 2007. Offering networking, audio, video and expanded archived content as well as a wealth of resources and information, the site is designed to be a destination for an ever-growing community interested and invested in modern architecture and design.

“Our mission has always been to deepen our connection with the wonderfully engaged community of people who are inspired by modern architecture and design,” says O’Connor Abrams. “ offers visitors the opportunity to build upon and benefit from an ongoing dialogue that began with the inception of Dwell magazine in October 2000.”

Fast Company Wonders How to Measure the Worth of Design


An interesting story over at Fast Company, “No Accounting for Design?” about figuring out and somehow quantifying the rate of return on instituting inventive design. The story starts out about Chuck Jones, Whirlpool’s design chief, who had to take on the corporation’s heads to getting more novel looks and devices into their product lines, but the underlying theme of the piece is about the afformentioned discussion on ROI. We found it by way of MarketingProfs: Daily Fix, who also has a great essay in response to the story. Here’s a bit from Fast Company:

…designers themselves can’t agree on how to approach return on design–or even whether to. One camp argues that the surest way for designers to make manifest their capacity to drive corporate success is to bring objective business measurements into the process. A design solution might be technically masterful and aesthetically pleasing, but if you can’t quantitatively calculate its clout, you can’t claim its success. “If we don’t sort out the ROI, design will continue to be viewed with skepticism in many corners,” warns Rob Wallace, managing partner of Wallace Church Inc., a brand-identity consultancy.

Google Images Goes Back to Looking Like Google Images


If you’ll remember from a little while back, we reported that Google had randomly swapped out their regular Images search layout into this new thing where you had to roll over an image to get details. Well, as reported by Search Engine Land, as well as witnessed by anyone who happened to be doing any searches later this week. If you haven’t been over to see it, head over, and welcome back the old design we knew and loved. As they put it on Search Engine Rountable: “This overall makes everyone happy again, so Google, good job with listening on this.”

Fashion Bloggers’ Favorite Topic: What Should the Jennifers Wear to the Oscars?

9014.jpg We’re talking Jennifer Aniston, Garner or Lopez. Take your pick. They’re all likely to show up on the red carpet. Let’s just hope Aniston doesn’t bump into her ex-husband, Brad Pitt. Anyhow. Back to the topic of conversation for many fashion bloggers, including Erin McKean (who by the way, writes specifically about dresses, not makeup, shoes or hair, but dresses everyday in just about every way on her blog). She and some of her readers think the Jennifer who’s married to Ben Affleck would look good in this gown. And the other Jennifer, who calls Marc Anthony husband, would look smashing in this.
This writer agrees on both counts. Nobody has figured out what the happily single Jennifer should wear just yet. But we had to ask Erin what she would wear to the Academy Awards. Erin, a lexicographer by profession, would sew (yes!) the dress on the right side of the above pattern. Here what she says:

“The whole question, I believe, is whether you try to wear something
unbelievably becoming (“bride” thinking) or whether you wear something very photogenic (“stunt” thinking). Of course I’d do it in a heavy silk (not satin) in an unusual color, like a bright green.
“Bride” thinking, of course, is also dependent on losing 20 pounds
and wearing the kind of undergarments that actually shrink your internal organs. For a stunt dress, I’d use the same kind of pattern, but I’d make fabric that was a design of little Oscar statuettes. :-) I might get sued by the Academy, but I’d also get in every photo spread!”

Can We Have a Drum Roll? We Have Two NICHE Awards Winners…

WT_PrairieR_071052.jpgIllinois Furniture artists Leah Woods and Thomas Skaggs received the prestigious NICHE Award in a ceremony today at the Philadelphia Buyers Market of American Craft. The award was presented to artists in 36 categories including glass, ceramics, jewelry, wood, metal and fiber.

Woods and Skaggs were judged by Camille Cook, President and Founder of Friends of Fiber Arts International; Cindy Edelstein, President of the Jeweler’s Resource Bureau; Sherman Hall, Editor of Ceramics Monthly; Don Muller,Owner of the Don Muller Gallery and Sherrie Boyer, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen.

Skaggs and Woods’ work were judged on technical Excellence, market Viability and originality and creativity. Skaggs (work pictured to the left) won in the category: Wood – Turned. You can see more NICHE Award finalists’ work here.
We’re in awe frankly since it’s been a while since this writer has even come near a saw.