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A Collection Most Curious

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We’ve seen some pretty nifty collections from our magpie employees so far—travel pens, brooches and even faux food—but today we bring you the most curious one yet: flower frogs. Flower what? Yep, we had the same question. Flower frogs are what florists used to hold stems in place before floral foam was invented. Spiky, patinated and strangely beautiful, our creative director Carolyn has dozens of these antiques on display in her New Jersey lakefront home.


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“The obsession began with my grandma. She had a glass flower frog that she passed onto me. Since then, I’ve picked up one every time I’ve visited an antiques
shop on my travels.”



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“I love that they look like medieval torture devices, but are still somehow strikingly pretty. All of the different greens are just gorgeous.”

 

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“They are incredibly versatile. I use them as toothbrush holders, office organizers, jewelry stands, photo frames and, of course, for displaying flowers.”


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“Everyone has a collection in this house, even my dog, Mr. T. I’ve lost count of how many toys he’s in amassed in the four years he’s been a part of our family.”

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A Is for Art, Latte Art

Mmm, lattes. Typically we’re so bleary-eyed before that first sweet-and-smoky wave… >

A Is for Art, Latte Art

Mmm, lattes. Typically we’re so bleary-eyed before that first sweet-and-smoky wave of milky espresso hits our lips that we don’t take a moment to appreciate the laurel leaf or swirly heart gracing the surface of our morning cuppa. Well, at least not until we had a latte made by the one and only Michael Breach while shooting our April catalog at The Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. True story: this coffee wunderkind made us lattes featuring the faces—yes, faces!—of famous folk. (Too bad we drank ours much too quickly before realizing “That would make a killer snap.” Curses, caffeine-free brain!)

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Regardless, having seen and tasted Michael’s work firsthand got us all charged up (literally), so we just had to dabble on our own. Yes, indeed: A is for Arabica.

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Meet the Maker: Michelle Morin

Former garden designer Michelle Morin abides by classic wisdom and… >

Meet the Maker: Michelle Morin

Former garden designer Michelle Morin abides by classic wisdom and paints what she knows—each of her compositions is inspired by nature. Lucky for the New England artist, she rarely needs to look further for subject matter than her own backyard. Tag along as the creative mind behind our Garden Buzz Collection gives us a glimpse into her new home and studio space.

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"Happiness last year was moving into our new home and slowly becoming acquainted with the flora and fauna living in our backyard."


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"My work space is on the third floor of our house. It is very quiet and filled with afternoon light. There is a large birch tree outside my window, which makes the space feel like a tree-house."


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              "I found this drafting table from the ’50s on the side of the road."


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      "It’s important to have a really good sable brush. They are worth every penny."


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        "I’ve carved out a space in our barn for pottery—it’s a nice change of pace."



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"Being out in the field, gathering references, making quick sketches, observing—these are the most rewarding moments of design."

 

Photos by Jesse and Allison Stansfield



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Drawing April: A Home
Office Doodlefest

In honor of our April catalog shoot at the Brooklyn Art Library, we decided to… >

Drawing April: A Home Office Doodlefest

The Brooklyn Art Library, where we shot part of our April catalog, is home to The Sketchbook Project, an amazingly huge collection of artists books, crowd-sourced from around the world. How cool, right? It gets better: contributors to the artistic undertaking will have their books displayed not only at the Brooklyn Art Library but also at museums and galleries across North America, once the mobile library hits the road next summer. In that spirit, we decided to throw a sketch party of our own here at the Home Office. We asked three of our favorite doodleistas to create an off-the-cuff work of art around the theme April. We hope the results inspire you to sharpen your pencils, dust off your paintbrushes and create a spring masterpiece!

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    “Wouldn’t it be fun if all the colors dripped from your umbrella on a rainy day?”

                                           —Lauren W., retail visual merchandising manager



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                “This is an Italian phrase that translates to April sweet sleeping.”

                                         —Margherita U., catalog production designer



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“This is a $4 watercolor set and it’s my absolute favorite. Any time I see one I snatch it up because they’re hard to find.”

                                                   —Lauren W., retail visual merchandising manager


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“I love collage as a medium because it lets the materials speak for themselves. I tend to keep things abstract—perhaps a vague sense of terrain, a hint of horizon, but nothing too literal.”

                                                                  —Audrey R.,  junior graphic designer



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   “I’m excited for spring to come because it brings a lot of good light for drawing.”

                                                      —Margherita U., catalog production designer

 

 

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The Spring Table:
So Fresh, So Green

With the spring equinox just having passed, and Easter right around the corner… >

The Spring Table: So Fresh, So Green

With the spring equinox just having passed, and Easter right around the corner, we’re embracing the renewal and return to nature that the season brings with it; it feels particularly sweet after the Winter. That. Wouldn’t. End. So revel with us and our friends from The New Potato, Danielle and Laura Kosann, who have set a table, planned a menu and shared recipes in celebration of all things lush and green.

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                  Laura in the Layered Willow Cami and Pilcro Hyphen Cargos,
                                        Danielle in the Tisana Dress.


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                Prepping pesto ingredients on the Cedar & Stone Cheese Board.


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                  A green tablescape, featuring the Old Havana Dinnerware, 
                                        and Highland Flatware Caddy.



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        Basil-Watercress Pesto in the Glenna Bowl, Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad in                      the Glenna Serving Bowl, with the Natural Linen Napkin.


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               Green tea ice cream scooped into the Majorelle Teacup and Saucer.


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        Mojitos mixed in the Arrondi Pitcher, and served in the Cumulus Glassware.



      Getting hungry? Snag the recipes you’ll need for a green dinner party of your own.

      Flowers provided by Sullivan Owen.

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The Designer’s Desk: Inge Onsea
of Essentiel Antwerp

When we first caught a glimpse of Essentiel Antwerp’s collection, we thought… >

The Designer’s Desk: Inge Onsea
of Essentiel Antwerp

When we first caught a glimpse of Essentiel Antwerp’s collection, we thought, This must be a lively bunch. Their use of colorful patterns (feathers!), shiny embellishments (sequins!) and unique fabrics (neoprene!) gave us an instant jolt of happy. When Inge Onsea, Essentiel Antwerp’s co-founder and designer, gave us a tour of her office in—where else?—Antwerp, Belgium, our hunch was confirmed. A cacophony of color and pattern, this isn’t exactly what one might call an understated workspace—amplified is more apt. But at the onset of spring, after an especially grey and trying winter, amplified is right up our alley.

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On details making a room. "I love the stories behind a lot of these pieces. The carpet was in the Chinese Pavilion at the Word Expo in ’58 in Brussels. The porcelain stools were used in China as little stoves; they put hot coals in them in winter, so you could sit on them to warm up. There is a big shiny ball above my mirror called a heksenbal, which translates to ‘witches ball.’ They were used in houses in the Middle Ages; when you look at the ball, you see all corners of the room. This comes in handy now as well—nothing escapes my eye!”


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On jewelry as décor. “The necklace on the poster is Essentiel, from last summer’s collection. I keep it close by because sometimes I have to do an interview or meet clients, and I can put this on and feel instantly glammed up. The earrings and bracelet on the little statue are from my holidays in Greece.”


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On going green. ”The green walls were something I didn’t really think about. I am attracted to bright colors in general, and I thought the contrast of the green with the classical features of the room would make an interesting clash!”


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On collecting…or not. “These are the only two cat statues I have. I like to think they protect me. Actually, I am not into collecting. I am drawn to so many things that it would be too much work to collect all of what interests me. I guess the only thing I truly collect are shoes!”


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On getting moody. “These are the mood boards for Spring-Summer 2015. I make mood boards all the time…I find it very necessary. With a mood board, I can directly see the general idea and quickly get back in the vibe of a particular collection.”


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On saving face. “The man with the sunglasses is Charles Tennant, photographed in ’79 by Robert Mapplethorpe. This was an invitation by a gallery, but I kept it because I loved the atmosphere of the photo—he has a cool look. The book is called The Age Of Collage. When I’m working heavily on collections, sometimes it is nice to just open a book and get fresh inspiration!”

 

 

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Make It Happen: An Entryway
with Something to Say

Our visual communication manager Kayte is a whiz when it comes to sprucing up spaces… >

Make It Happen: An Entryway
with Something to Say

Our visual communication manager Kayte is a whiz when it comes to sprucing up spaces, so we knew she was just the gal to fill us in on some easy and unexpected ways to freshen up the “face” of your home. Take it away, Kayte!

Ah, the home entryway… the oft-forgotten zone where we drop our coats and kick off our shoes after a long day. But why treat your foyer so shabbily? Instead, think of your threshold as a way to set the tone of your home. Here are five quick fixes to make your entryway sing this spring.

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Closet Cues: Take a page from your wardrobe to style your space. Are your spring clothes all about budding botanicals, bright hues and texture galore? They work in your home, too! An entryway, with its petite stature, is the perfect room to try something new.

Get Organized: Instead of tossing your belongings here and there, turn to creative catch-alls to organize them—a key hook pulls double-duty as a necklace rack while a chair rail holds (and displays!) a few favorite heels.

Think 3D: Simple shelving on brackets adds dimension and storage to walls with ease. We picked a warm wood shelf set atop the Tour Eiffel bracket—an all-time favorite for its classic, graceful lines. Pile your shelves with a stack of favorite novels, or, like us, a collection of vases filled with happy spring blooms.

Be Bold: A small space is a brilliant way to experiment with bold wallpaper—high on impact, low on commitment!

Mix, Don’t Match: A dash of feminine (the floral wallpaper), a bit of industrial (the basket and shelf) and a dose of vintage rustic (the bench) make for one great room. Too much or too little of one of these elements, like a too-matchy outfit, would simply fall flat.




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A Moroccan Dinner Party with
The New Potato

To say that Danielle and Laura Kosann write about food on their blog, The… >

A Moroccan Dinner Party with The New Potato

To say that Danielle and Laura Kosann write about food on their blog, The New Potato, is to put it simply. The sister epicures are rising stars in the culinary blogging world, thanks to their trademark mix of interviews with fellow foodies, finely curated recipes, in-the-know travel, décor and lifestyle tips, and a heaping helping of flat-out funny (check out Laura’s forays into hot yoga and juice cleansing if you don’t believe us). We can’t think of anyone better with whom to throw a Moroccan dinner party, so we asked Danielle and Laura to dish about hosting a festive ‘do. Here, the pair tells all, from soup to nuts.

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                  Laura in the Boteh Maxi Dress and Danielle in the Canna Shift.

What is your favorite part of dinner party prep?
DK: Having a glass of wine and listening to music in the kitchen, by myself, before everyone comes over. My favorite part of the party itself is when guests arrive, welcoming everyone and making cocktails. That’s the most exciting part of the night.

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How about the ideal number of guests?
LK: That depends on the size of your home! I think twelve is a really good number for a dinner party, because it’s big enough that everyone has someone to talk to and it feels really festive, but it’s not too big of a group that you can’t give everyone the attention they want. Any bigger than that, and it’s a cocktail party.


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                                       Ingredients on a Kalindi Napkin.

Let’s say a hostess is running short on time. Any recommended shortcuts?
DK: Cook something that can go undisturbed for a long time. Something like short ribs can simmer away for a few hours, giving you time to get the rest of the party ready. If you had planned to make something that’s a little more complicated, like a fussier appetizer, do a beautiful cheese plate instead. Or cut that extra side dish. People are happy when there’s good food and the company is great.



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                   Couscous and carrot salad served on Blooming Lace Serveware.

On the flip side, where’s the best place to “go big?”
LK: Décor. Ambiance is so important. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend more money; think about things like napkin rings, beautiful place settings, fresh flowers and extra candles. If you put a little more time into setting the scene, the results can be amazing.

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                                 Fresh flowers in the Pinched Garden Pot.

What is your go-to drink for a dinner party?
DK: Wine is always a safe bet and goes with everything. In terms of cocktails, I love Moscow Mules. They always go over really well before dinner. (Editor’s note: the Moscow Mule is composed of ginger beer, vodka and fresh lime juice.)


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                    Blooming Lace Dinnerware, the Balancing Elephant Taper and
                                  Palace Trellis Glasses set a pretty table.


What is your stance on sending invitations?
DK: I’m old-school: paper invitations all the way! I’m obviously a huge proponent of digital, but there’s nothing like a handwritten invitation.



Have a sudden craving for couscous and carrot salad? We thought so.
Check out the recipes here.

Flowers provided by Sullivan Owen.




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Meet the Maker: Andrea D’Aquino

Although she’s lived in the West Village for the last 20 years, artist Andrea… >

Meet the Maker: Andrea D’Aquino

Although she’s lived in the West Village for the last 20 years, artist Andrea D’Aquino feels inexplicably drawn to the colors, shapes and designs of Morocco. It was a happy accident when we stumbled upon her brilliantly collaged work on Pinterest—just like that, we had found the perfect collaborator for our Morocco-themed lookbook. Here, Andrea dishes on the series, her creative process and life as an artist in NYC.

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How do you create the collage effect in your pieces?
I cut up, tear, chew, and otherwise mutilate paper that I’ve painted or printed on. Even paper that I’ve just used as scrap to protect a work surface, I’ll look at it and think, well, that looks better than anything I could paint on purpose. Accidents are more organic, spontaneous, and interesting. I basically make a mess, then sit down with it later, draw on it and refine it so that it makes some sense. Ok, I don’t really chew paper.

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Tell us about your workspace.
It’s not easy to have the luxury of space in NYC. My workspace is in my home, so, it is comfortable. I’ve got nice windows with a view of actual sky (not just buildings!), and I live very close to the Hudson River. Having my dog, a schnauzer named Marcello, here is another big upside to having a home studio.

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What’s in your toolbox? 
X-Acto knife, boxes of color-organized paper, paint, charcoal, glue. I rarely use expensive or fancy art supplies. Also, I couldn’t live without my Mac. Everything I do is scanned—often in pieces—and from there I tend to layer and edit where necessary.

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What do you love most about the Moroccan Series?
The pieces in this series came very quickly and naturally—the best ideas seem to be the most effortless. Of course, I still have to put in the time and intention, but if you keep up your end of the bargain, I do believe the universal energies around us take care of the rest.
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Oscar Night Must-Haves

If you’re anything like us, you’ve been looking forward to the Oscars all year… >

Oscar Night Must-Haves

If you’re anything like us, you’ve been looking forward to The Oscars all year long—after all, who doesn’t love gazing at dreamy actors, critiquing a dress or two, chuckling at acceptance speech blunders and, let’s not forget, celebrating the art of film? Whether you’re watching solo or with a crowd of fellow film enthusiasts, we’ve put together a can’t-miss list of all the essentials you’ll need to survive this star-studded evening.

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                                     1. The
pre-show to the main event

                                            2. Best Supporting Snack

                                      3. Share your red carpet favorites

                                       4. BYOG (bring your own gold)



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                                 5. Sip when you hear the word “academy”



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                                 6. The Academy Award goes to…cupcakes!

                                        7. Avoid post-viewing puffiness


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                                          8. Sweets for the goodie bag