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Friday
Aug012014

animal rescue: maui

Nicknames: Snaggle-tooth, Falkor (from The NeverEnding Story), Baby Maui

Likes: Beaches and snuggling under blankets.

Pet Peeves: Being alone.

Favorite Toy: Up until last fall, my late 13-year old Cocker Spaniel.

Favorite Snack: Anything soft.

Guilty Pleasure: Hiding socks.

Talent Show: Prancing like she’s jumping rope.

Before she was famous: Maui was discovered near the boardwalk of Venice Beach, CA. Her owner, an older woman that called the beach her home, was trying to find homes for her and her brothers and sisters.
A well-intentioned teenage girl picked out Maui and took her home but unfortunately, she couldn’t keep her. So her friend, my co-worker at the time, offered to house Maui for a couple days until a new home was found. A week passed and no one adopted her. Before taking her to a shelter, she sent out a desperate inter-office email with Maui’s picture attached. Immediately after work I picked up Maui and brought her to her new, and permanent home.

Cat and dog adoption fast facts:
…every year approximately 2.7 million adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters.
…25% of adoptable dogs in animal shelters are purebred.
…adopting a dog or cat from the Humane Society, ASPCA—any rescue group—can save their life.
…and, being a pet owner can add years to your life too.
To find your next pet, check out adoptapet.com

Monday
Jul282014

10 essentials: david

1. Black, bottomless cups of coffee—Seattle.

2. Bourbon. Blantons Bourbon. On the rocks.

3. My mom’s an interior designer so growing up with mid-century furniture and fine textiles—I can’t get enough furniture by Charles and Ray Eames, their textiles, and other infamous designs like the Womb and Barcelona chairs.

4. My dad’s a chef and one of my best friends is a foodie—so I have had a lot of exposure to the kitchen and baking is my favorite. I love how relaxing it is and how giving people baked goods on an unexpected day makes their day better. Pies are my favorite, but I’ll try anything and try to work entirely from scratch—even if it means carving and roasting the pumpkin for pumpkin pies.

5. About 6 years ago, a friend signed up for too many golden retrievers—so I was fortunate to step in and get Jake when he was 6 months old.

6. I’ll take any opportunity to travel—to visit amazing places like the Temple of Heaven in Beijing and the Humayuns Tomb in New Delhi; to try new, spicy, and flavorful foods—especially Indian food from India. My favorite restaurants in the world are Bukhara and the Spice Route—both in Delhi.

7. Since high school I’ve enjoyed rowing for exercise—sweep 8’s in college but mostly singles.

8. Not just music—the Alt Nation station on Serius—The Black Keys, Mute Math…

9. Jeans and concert t-shirts—which I’ll wear until their done. A current favorite is from The Sounds concert in Dallas a few years ago.

10. The one family tradition I still follow is Fruity Pebbles on my birthday—it was always a treat to get whatever box you wanted and to make it last as long as you wanted.

Thanks to david, product manager, for this submission.

Monday
Jul072014

how it's made: vixen blockprint tablecloths

To create the modern striped pattern of the vixen blockprint tablecloth, the process of transferring a pattern on to wood blocks using paper and charcoal—then hand-carving the pattern out of the solid wood—has been the first step for hundreds of years.

In 2008, we happen to pass by a small group of workers carving very traditional patterns in Jaipur, India—an area famous for block printing and where vixen is produced today.

While vixen’s pattern is much cleaner and more simplified than the detailed patterns shown above, it actually makes the process all the more challenging to precisely align each press of the block—and to keep its very long lines as straight as possible.

To get started, the printer prepares the fabric by measuring the length to be folded for the hem—so that the stripes start from the corner—points are then marked on all four corners using a tailors awl.

The cloth piece is then laid out diagonally across the printing table aligning the awl points and a strong line of twine is stretched across the cloth and connecting the corner points—creating a full-length guide for the printer.

Printing begins with the darker color as the background, then the fabric is repositioned and pinned for the second color—so the diagonal stripes cross each other and create the overall pattern.

Once completely printed, the cloth is hung to dry then washed to process and set the colors. Lastly, the hem is sewn and the finished tablecloth pressed for packaging.
hint: if you look very closely at a finished tablecloth, subtle breaks or overprints in the line can be seen which indicate each hand-pressed print of the block.

Saturday
Jul052014

animal rescue: cassius

Nicknames: Cash-Money, Roast Beast.

Favorite Snacks: Carrots, Peanut butter, Smoothie leftovers.

Before he became famous: I found Cassius at the Chicago Animal Care and Control shelter—I was told it was his second time behind the CACC bars since his previous adopters had to return him.

He had already been housed at the shelter for over a month when I visited and things were looking grim for this energetic Lab/Pit—but fast forward 6 years, Cassius is still with me and very happy to share a home with two cats.

Hidden Talents: Despite his size—and 85lbs—Cassius thinks he makes for a fantastic lap dog… he is however very good at pulling me around Humboldt Park on my bicycle… raiding the recycling bin for plastic bottles he can chew on… sneaking on the couch when we’re not home.

Cat and dog adoption fast facts:
…every year approximately 2.7 million adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters.
…25% of adoptable dogs in animal shelters are purebred.
…adopting a dog or cat from the Humane Society, ASPCA—any rescue group—can save their life.
…and, being a pet owner can add years to your life too.
To find your next pet, check out adoptapet.com

Thursday
Jul032014

how to: create paint-bombed wallpaper 

Supplies: 
DYI self-adhesive wallpaper
wall paint
acrylic faux glaze liquid
sponges
bowl of water
containers for paint mixtures
drop cloth
rubber gloves
scissors
rubber bands

Directions:
1. Measure and cut sections of wallpaper that will fit the wall that you want to cover.
hint: be sure to mark which section goes where so the pattern flows accordingly.

2. To avoid paint drippings in the pattern, clear a large area of the floor or set up a long table and cover either with a drop cloth to best contain the liquids—then lay flat a section of wallpaper, DIY side up.
hint: the artwork we created is per panel so if a matching pattern is desired, use painters tape on the backside and join panels to create a mural effect.

3. We chose a look that required round/ball-shaped sponges. If this type isn’t readily available, or if another shape is desired, one can be made with a few scissor snips and rubber bands. For our project, we cut off about a third of the end of the sponge and formed the large part of the sponge into a ball by folding corners back and under, securing it with a rubber band so it stayed in a ball shape. Cut the remainder in half to use as secondary tools.
hint: a damp sponge is easier to shape than a dry one—just dip, squeeze, and then form it.
hint hint: if the sponge is large enough, simply use scissors to cut a ball, or other shape out of it.

4. Pour about a 1/2 cup of each paint color into separate containers. Ultimately the consistency of the paint mixture should be similar to milk so add about 1/4 cup of faux glaze liquid and a little water
hint: the glaze is optional but we found it was helpful to thin the color without making it too watery.
hint hint: disposable plates worked well as containers for the paint since they allowed the sponges to easily absorb the paint mixture and clean up took no time.

5. Immerse the sponge ball in water and give it a couple squeezes to make sure it’s saturated. Dip the end of the sponge into the paint mixture and with a little force, pounce the sponge against the wallpaper to achieve the paint-bombed/splatter effect.
hint: test the technique on scrap paper to know how much force is needed.

6. Cover the wallpaper with a desired pattern and layering colors as desired, then use a clean sponge to pick up any excess paint mixture.

7. Allow the painted wallpaper to dry for a full 48 hours—initially the paint may be fragile and easy to scratch off, this will allow it to cure fully and be more stable.
hint: set up a fan on low to help air circulate and speed the drying process.

8. Lastly, apply the self-adhesive wallpaper per the enclosed directions.
hint: to avoid cracking the paint, bend the paper as little as possible when peeling/adhering.