Friday, November 25, 2011

Cheese Boards: Love At First Sight

Russell James Ooms loves wood. I love cheese.  When I came across these gorgeous boards, I knew I had to make these available to Chic By Design's customers.

Gently priced at under $50.- and ideally sized at 8"x10",  they make great gifts this Holiday season.

I sought Russell out and was graciously invited to witness the process, from start to finish, that goes into making these hand-crafted beauties.  He even encouraged me to make my own board, which I did, though it was not as easy as it looks!

Using  a trove of found and  recycled woods - everything from a local wild plum tree on his property, to wood from the island of Palau in Indonesia, as well as poplar, mahogany, Douglas fir, padauk, purple heart, mulberry, Mexican rosewood, amongst others - Russell and his companion Debbie waste not a single cut-off from his commissioned pieces.  Carefully considering a collage of complimentary colors, each board quickly takes on its own distinctive personality .  The result, several days later, is a silky smooth, vibrant, one of a kind board stamped with Russell’s signature.

To purchase, click here.

Happy Gifting!


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Felt Rules! iPad Sleeves We Love

I am a big fan of 100% wool felt: classic, eco friendly, water and stain repellent, soft to the touch, light weight yet luxurious, felt is a great material to use to protect your iPad from dust and scratches.

From minimalist to whimsical, these smart felt sleeves are designed to safely contain the iPad 1 or 2.  Ranging from $45-$69 and  found on Etsy, I love them all!  Which is  your favorite?  

Fuzzy Logic Felt by Deborah Brackenbury
Inspired Stitching by FuzzyLogic Design
Sleek Leather Details from Charbonize
Chic Design By Just In Case

Burgundy Leather & Charcoal Felt from IbagsnMore

Designer German Felt & Distressed Leather from Feruto Bags

Feruto's Dachshund Love: Too Cute For Words! 

BoutiqueID HasTheir Eye On You
From Sunny Australia:  Ambette's Colorful Solution
For more great felt items, check out Graf & Lantz' felt wine holder and baskets in our store!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wendy Verlaine is Consumed by Python

Sitting across from my friend and Bay Area jewelry designer Wendy Verlaine at Zuni Cafe last week, I was struck by the beauty of her latest creation - a pair of 'double' python vertebrae earrings with black onyx.  

Absolutely stunning!

Wendy confessed to being 'consumed by Python' at the moment, as she prepares for the Annual Artisan fair November 18 & 19 at the deYoung Museum in San Francisco.

Here are some examples from her latest collection, using the python's  delicate silhouettes with gold, silver, gems and antique charms.

Python Vertebrae and Citrine with 24K Gold Vermeil Details

Python Vertebrae, Large Citrine, 24K Gold Vermeil Details and 18K Gold Vermeil Chain

Python Vertebrae, Green Amethyst, 14K Gold

Python Vertebrae, Blue Quartz (left), Green Amethyst (right); 18K Gold Vermeil Chain

Antique Silver Charm and Python Vertebrae
Spinel (or black ruby), Pave Diamonds, Python Vertebrae

 A true artist, Wendy  finds inspiration in the timelessness of nature's elements.  Her unique, affordable jewelry  appeals to a woman's sense of individualism.  Dress it up, or dress it down, each piece will elicit compliments!

If you can't get to the show at the DeYoung, and would like pricing and ordering information, please call 800.745.9239 and we will gladly guide you.

Happy Gifting!


Monday, October 24, 2011

Must Have: A Stylish Bicycle

I recently stopped by the Renovo storefront in Sausalito to gaze, lovingly and longingly, at their collection of  superb hand crafted wooden bicycles. 
The Audi Duo

The Badash 29er

The style you eschew on a bicycle is limited only by your imagination... or, in the case of Lance Armstrong, by your calf muscles!

On the Street….Place Vendôme, Paris  by Sartorialist, Scott Schuman

Tour de France 2004.  Lance rides the Madone by Trek

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Board Games & Back Woods

Deep in the woods of Northwestern Wisconsin, on the Brule River, there is a  magnificent log home shared by 80 family members, descendants of my great great  grandmother Agnes Noyes, who, along with her husband Judge George Noyes, built this 'camp' in the early 1900's.
The Dock
 Favorite Place
Enterprising Visitor

The lodge can accommodate up to 20 family members and their guests.  The living room is a favorite gathering place for young and old.  Many an evening has been spent at the bridge table, crafting a puzzle, playing backgammon, or hunched over the chess board.

These fabulous game boards remind me of those gatherings. 

Leather travel backgammon set rolls up for easy packing.
Bauhaus-inspired Chess Set

A luxury all-leather Scrabble to be handed down through the generations!

'Star' backgammon set, from the  Lucilla collection by Ercolano.  Generations of talented artisans have perfected the artistry of inlaid wood patterning.
    Interior of Star backgammon.
All of these geat games are now available at our online store, Chic by Design Collections.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Etsy Pick-Of-The-Week

The promise of Springtime hangs heavy in the damp, chilly Northern California air.  We yearn for renewal and remind ourselves that Easter is around the corner - April 24!

These simply delightful, whimsical creations by Bossy Feltworks make us smile. 

What could be better than a lasting token for a child's Easter basket from this collective of talented women, who toil joyfully together on Orcas Island, in Washington State?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Etsy Pick-Of-The-Week

We salute and hold close to our hearts the people of JAPAN, as they struggle to come to terms with the devastation caused by the recent earthquake.

Sheryl Iledan, a talented San Francisco graphic artist with a shop on Etsy, has created several 81/2x11 prints and is generously donating the proceeds to the American Red Cross.  Be sure to check out her shop , purchase a print and 'like' her on Facebook!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Etsy Pick-Of-The-Week

I love these witty Letterpress messages from Lisa Krowinski of Sapling Press.
Check them out in her store on Etsy.
You Are The One

The cards are 'printed one by one on 100%  post consumer paper made from recycled clothing'

Image Credits:  Sapling Press

     (Image Credit:  Nicole LaFave)

At Chic By Design, we're  committed to the craft and elegance of Letterpress.  Both our business cards and gift notes were made locally for us by Dependable Letterpress and  designed  by the multi-talented Nicole LaFave

The cards, though expensive to produce, always elicit raves!

And on that 'note', it's time to send out my weekly handwritten notes to everyone I came in contact with this past week...

Happy Gifting!



Sunday, March 6, 2011

On The Hunt In New York City

When it comes to finding the stuff that makes my heart sing, I am relentless in my quest.  You cannot call your company 'Chic by Design' and offer anything less than, so finding those ‘pearls’ takes drive and abundant energy, not to mention shoe leather.  When I find ‘it’, I know it at once but oh!  the journey getting there could be a prescription for the next great fitness workout, especially at a gift show the size of the Jacob Javits convention Center, with 675,000 square feet of exhibition space!

February’s trip to the New York International Gift Show, two days after a blizzard had blanketed the city, was no exception.  I hit the aisles running, despite a sleepless night on the red-eye from San Fran. After a welcome shower and nap, I put on my winter gear and headed out on foot (my preferred way of navigating NYC), trudging happily through Hell Kitchen’s snow covered side streets, stopping for a delicious lunch at my favorite bakery on 9th Avenue, Amy’s Bread. Restored, I was primed and ready. 

Last year, my first at the show, I was determined to find the ‘perfect’ wine holder, but it wasn’t until my 3rd day there (and many, many vendors of less-than-chic wine holders) that I discovered the charming duo, Holger Graf & Daniel Lantz, and their eponymous LA based company, Graf & Lantz. I instantly fell in love with their felt and leather wine holders, and returned the following day to propose a bespoke order of felt baskets with which to anchor our collections.

This time, my all-consuming objective would be to discover exceptional items to merchandise as part of a Baby Collection.  With that I became obsessed with finding the perfect mobile to hang in the nursery.  Two days and countless miles of aisles later, far away from the Baby/Child section, I fell upon a small company from Canada called Pi’lo .  There, hanging above my head, were the most perfect mobiles - handmade, white felt, fairies, angels, birds and tiny teddies.   Pure whimsy!  Delightfully etherial!


Happy Gifting!