You know, we all seem to have a dozen or more totebags but few of them are chic or stylish. In an attempt to change that ethos I’ve come up with a stylish, chic and utilitarian version of a Totebag, smart enough to double as a handbag. The fabrics are chic, honest and rooted in traditional textiles. The main body of the bag is a heavy-weight cotton ticking made in the USA. The exterior pockets, the lower part of the bag, are in a polyester ultrasuede made in China, trimmed and lined with the charming Provencale fabrics that we’ve imported from France, which also line the interior of the tote, which features an interior pocket for a cell phone or, whatever… The straps combine the durable ultrasuede and the yellow ticking fabric.
I’ve been working on a number of projects, most notably a series of tea and coffee cozies. It’s odd how all of this has come about. A friend admired a tea cozy I’d made and asked if I’d make him one for his 50th birthday. I did. I made a few, tweaking the pattern, experimenting with remnants of some very expensive and very luxurious fabrics that I’d had acquired through my interior design business. Through word of mouth, I was approached by someone who asked if I would make a large tea cozy to fit both her teapot, as well as her french-press coffee maker. (The glass on the french presses is thin, thinner by far than a ceramic teapot, and no sooner is the coffee ready to’press’, than its barely warm.) I thought about it and said I’d make a coffee cozy to fit the cylindrical shape of the french-press, and a tea cozy to fit her teapot.
I tried several different shapes but finally settled on the triangular tower, which looks a lot like papal headgear, as it accomodates the handle while still fitting snuggly around the glass cylinder. At some point in the process, I remembered my treasured stash of french, provencale fabric. I’d purchased it in 2001 in order to make a wedding quilt for my future husband Andrew, as well as a bedskirt. These brightly colored prints are a tradition in the South of France, which was my home for a number of years, and their charming patterns and crisp finish are cheerful, vibrant and perfect for accent pieces and tabletop furnishings. A few people had seen them and the next thing I knew two forces were at work. Requests started rolling in for similar objects, or, as the french would say, ‘confections’, and several people suggested that I open an Etsy shop. I started to give it some serious consideration and knew I needed help. Enter Sara, long time friend, computer maven, seamstress, former pattern-maker, sculptor and general renaissance woman. I hear the seraphim sing.
We’ve opened a storefront on Etsy called the Stonewell Cottage Shop, but there’s a lot to do before it’s fulled stocked and properly organized.
We’re getting ready to launch the Stonewell Cottage website (presently under construction). We’re sewing, tweaking patterns, designing a logo, ordering fabric (finally there’s a reason to use our french), having labels made, photographing finished products, reorganizing the studio to more suitably accommodate sewing, and designing an expanded line of goods that will include kitchen appliance covers, table linens, handbags, totes, and some gardenwear.
It’s an exciting time
Another day; another watercolor; alas, a bit of the grey of the day has managed to creep into colorland. That said, the torrential rain is swiftly erasing the snow that has certainly worn out its welcome. Thanks for hanging in with me during my countdown to Spring gardening season, and thank you for your kind comments. Cheers!
Last weekend was our Open Garden Day. The weather was, weathery.
Two days before the event, the peonies, what some call ‘the queens of the garden’, were the picture of perfection and we hoped against hope that their splendor would hold out through the weekend. Alas, their natural senesence and strong winds deprived visitors of the indescribable beauty that Andrew and I witnessed on May 28th. Nevertheless, peonies alone do not a garden make, and the catwalk challengers; roses, poppies, nepeta, salvia, foxgloves, honeysuckle, clematis pulled together as a team along with the hostas, lady’s mantle and colorful shrubs, to dethrone the peonies and assert their own collective beauty.
Michael Fogg’s incredibly beautiful sculpture as garden furniture, must be seen and touched to be believed.
We hosted a cocktail party after the event to give people a chance to learn more about Mike’s creative process as well as to introduce long-time firends and clients to one another. It was a fun time, and birds of a feather flocked together. Speaking of that, of our 28 free-range chickens, only Benazir, the matriarch, who understands that scratching in the perennial borders doesn’t go over well here, was permitted to mingle with the crowd. She’s a clever bird and quickly sussed out who was most likely to drop their cheese and cracker, and hung around them, tactfully but alert. She too enjoyed the party; immensely.
Following a NY Times article on Andrew’s stone work, he was contacted by Fenella Pearson, who interviewed him for a piece in a publication called The Daily Norwalk (as in Norwalk, CT). Here’s the link:
ShoreTalk; People, Trends and Lifestyles
ShoreTalk; People, Trends and Lifestyles on the Connecticut Shoreline is the brainchild of Belinda Jones and Dr. Kathleen Skoczen. This much-needed Public Access TV program does just what it says it does; introduces us to the rich and diverse community that we share here on the CT shoreline.
I am honored to be a featured guest on the show to discuss the work I do in decorative painting, paint archeology, and fine art paintings. I will appear on the show in the following time slots: