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Japan Sight / Taste / Find: 3/10

Day 5: A little nostalgic


This photo wouldn't be as awesome if the women sleeping wasn't sitting on the 70's upholstery on the train...

Freshly made rice crackers in the historic neighborhood of Tokyo in 浅草 Asakusa.

One of my favorite item...Japanese 手ぬぐい Tenugui. They're simple cotton  hand towels with a  versatile purpose and can be used for wrapping, cleaning, or simply for decorating.

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That's SO Fair!

Check out these beautiful textile designs and wearables by Bhalo with a powerful fair trade mission to facilitate women in rural Bangladesh.

"Bhalo is a fair trade design label that aims to create desirable fashion whilst empowering disadvantaged people, especially women, allowing them to work their way out of poverty.

Our cotton is hand loomed and hand embroidered by women in rural Bangladesh, not only giving them much needed employment and training, but providing them with simple things that we take for granted - education/childcare for their children, basic health care, and most of all, dignity. We oppose human exploitation and feel everyone should be given the right to fair employment terms, and given a decent price for their work. Wouldn't you expect the same?"

You can read all their fascinating process, here! I would love to go there in person one day and learn all about their process! One of my dream is to travel from place to place and learn the regional crafts whether it be weaving, carving, dyeing, or casting....It'd be like the show "How it's made" but specifically for arts & crafts from around the world....wait....I think I should totally pitch that idea to Discovery Channel!!

Via Johnny&Stacie



Paper, Scissor, Rockin' Clothes

This is something I just stumbled's from 2009, but still pretty freakin' amazing!
This whole line designed by Alexandra Verschueren reminds me everything great and fun about elementary school. You know...doodling with color pencils and folding & cutting with paper using mix array of line papers...all the things I love to do at school!

Except all these pieces are simply stunning and are WAY more amazing than your typical school craft project covered in Elmer's least mine was like that!
I especially love seeing the stylized sketches and swatch boards... I'm obsessed with general office & school supplies...and I'm especially drawn to the graphic quality of grid & line paper of all sort. So I think it's freakin' brilliant that Verschueren has turned such ubiquitous graphic into high-end textile prints...and on top of that with all the added colorful hand drawn/hand painted texture!
....It's all just too cool for school.


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Newly Coveted From Grain

I'm totally psyched to share that I got some of these AMAZING purses from our friends, Chelsea and James of Grain Design. I been thinking about them since JOIN's Design Shoppe event last November....and FINALLY decided to just make a nice field trip over to their house on Bainbridge Island and pick them out myself!

Their new line of purses,
Sololá, is one of their awesome collaborative efforts to
celebrate the artistry of Guatemalan women weavers in creating beautiful, one of a kind purses.
"Each purse upcycles a vintage huipile (traditional women's blouse woven on the backstrap loom) to create an individual statement. Turned inside-out, the huipiles are an explosion of color and handwork. Each purse is assembled by Guatemalan artisans in Antigua from textiles sourced at the famous Chichicastenango Market."
I love how they highlight the textural quality simply by using the back side as the exterior. So clever. I had the hardest time picking the ones I want since they're all so beautiful! I'd take them all if I can...

They're available in the Grain Shop!

Also I'm excited to share that they'll be in the NY International Gift Fair starting Jan 31-Feb 4. Grain
have been selected to to participate in the "A+: The Young Designers' Platform" section of Accent on Design along with 6 other designers.
Both Chika and I will be going there to check out the NYIGF for the first time, and I'm totally excited to see some exciting new things, eat good food, and ride the stinky subway!
Can't wait!

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Tea Towel Love

I had the pleasure to meet a local Seattle designer, Dinah of Dinah Coops this last weekend at the UCU sale as her neighbor vendor. Dinah creates a sophisticated line of sustainble slikscreened tea towels made with 100% linen from Eastern Europe as well as printed wooden tablemats, coasters, and jewlery. All her creations are as nice and humble as Dinah herself.
We did a trade and I had to get the green and yellow tea towels for the great design and especially since they're the colors of our kitchen! There's always room for one or two more tea towels!
In return, Dinah picked up Piano Nobile's Sweet Pea print notebook!
I love trading for goods!
(Photo from Dinah Coops)
(Photo from Dinah Coops)




Feeling Hot! Hot! Hot!

This weekend I'll be at the first Summer Urban Craft Uprising (UCU) indie craft show!

When: Aug 1st-2nd, Sat/Sun 11am-5pm

Where: Seattle Center Exhibition Hall (map)
What: Seattle's biggest indie craft show with a wide array of handmade goods, workshops, book signing, and more!

Why: Do you really need to ask? My answer to you is....why the hell not? it's gonna be 100+ degrees in Seattle this weekend (miserable!!), and why not come hang out inside at UCU WITH AIR CONDITIONING...need I say more?
But come check out awesome stuff, do some shopping, meet some people, and then go back out to the giant fountain at the Seattle Center to have more fun!
I might even do that during my lunch break!! :D

Here's a little sneak peak!

We will have some new items like these wooden plant labels for your garden or plants! Every plant needs a friend just like all of us!
Another new exciting items we're gonna have are these notebooks we're debuting at UCU! These are made with LOVELY hand printed fabric by Isabelle of Piano Nobile. We recently befriended Isabelle and Nicholas and they're wonderful enough to print these fabric in time for us to sell at the show! I'm drooling over them myself....don't worry, I'll wipe off my drool.
We'll also have tons of other items marked down, too! I mean, who doesn't like to brag about how good of a deal they got, right?AND our dear and super talented friend, Ingrid will be selling her awesome bags at our booth as well! I'm totally excited to see what she'll be bringing!
So lot of exciting come by to check out our stuff and say hello!!..... and while you're at it bring us some ice cone or treat, too! :D

Hope to see you there!


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Chikabird + Piano Nobile (New Friends in Ballard!)

Through a series of events and connections this Spring, we've been lucky to meet some nearby and very talented neighbors! Isabelle and Nickolas, founders of Piano Nobile are a short bike ride away from us in Ballard - and Chikabird have some exciting things brewing with them.

If you're in Ballard this Friday or Saturday, stop by Piano Nobile's home/studio for a Summer Studio Sale. Part of the City Stimulus event running all week to encourage folks to shop local - it's a great opportunity to do a little shopping and check out a stellar transformation in the Ballard industrial zone. Prepare yourself to get incredibly jealous of PN's space, talent, resources, furnishings, dog, Vanagon, and Volvo. The sale features handmade goods by some fantastic local designers and we feel flattered to be included in such a group.
Chika and I met with Isabelle last Monday. Over coffee, berries, and coffee cake - we decided to do some collaborating! Isabelle has been printing her own textiles for home and personal accessories, so her scrap bin contains a lot of high quality fabrics. The following pictures feature the various patterns and pieces she gave us, and what we did with them.

Anyone want a silk dupioni notebook? Perhaps taffeta or linen is more your style? These beauties make their debut at the Piano Nobile Studio Sale and are just the teaser for what we have in store for the Fall!
Stop by, check out their amazing space, do a little shopping, enjoy some snacks and drinks, and meet some talented people!

Piano Nobile Studio Sale
Fri & Sat July 17th&18th
11am - 6pm

908 NW 50th St
Seattle WA 98107

Unfortunately, neither Chika & I will be there, and we sincerely apologize for the fact that we're unable to be there to support and see everyone....but don't let that get to you. We'll be there in spirit while we do the Renegade craft sale in San Francisco. :)

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Interview with La Casita De Wendy

I am super excited to share a little story behind the magic of La Casita De Wendy. Thanks to the invention of blogs, I had the pleasure to "meet" Inés & Iván on my blog through L&G blog!

I decided on a whim to contact Inés & Iván to share my love for their clothes. I wanted to find out how I can get my hands on their adorable dresses! (especially the top right, and the dress with the mug prints...actually all of it!!) I also asked them if I could do a blog post about them, and to my delight, Inés & Iván replied kindly and agreed!! I was thrilled that they took the time out of their busy and exciting life to do this. Thanks guys for all your awesomeness!
I'm excited to share everything about them and what they do! They make work seem so effortless and life more fun than the Wii! There's too much to talk about and I wouldn't do justice if I didn't share all this goodness with everyone! So be prepared to read a long post!
Inés & Iván are two super talented fashion & textile designers based in Madrid,Spain. (cool!) They often use colors and patterns that are nature inspired and motifs that reference Iberian fairytales. The result is carefree, passionate, romantic,and expressive. In essence, their designs capture the spirit of a fairytale girl living in a modern world...
Their designs are in tons stores around the world including Barneys in New York, Matsuya, Lamp, Koh Samui and Fenwick in London, Surface to Air in Paris, Suite in Barcelona, Deli Room in Madrid, and more. (even cooler!)
The two of them started La Casita De Wendy in 02' and they both actually first got their degrees in architecture. Clothing design started off simply as a hobby, but it's a total meant to be, because it seems that everything just fell into place for word.....Bjork.
Yes, no joke.....Bjork wore their designs for one of her photoshoots for a magazine spread at one point!! (WHAT?!? that's just freaking ridiculously insane cool!) I can't even imagine how I would react if Bjork ever came to me and wore clothes I designed....if that ever happened to me in a million years...I think I would be happy to just dig a grave and bury myself alive...Yeah...since I'm pretty sure that I would probably just freeze and fall into a OH-MY-GOD-BJORK-WORE-MY-CLOTHES-coma for the rest of my life anyways....
Change subject. So here's my first little interview with La Casita De Wendy!
What's the main vision behind La Casita De Wendy?
We want to design beautiful stuff for creative people and we want to be inspired by the greatest beauty of nature.

Both of you hold an architecture degree, so what inspired you both to get into fashion design?
we started to make clothes just like a hobby and because it was difficult to find beautiful designs in Madrid, so we started to sell our collections to friends... and after a few years we realized that we liked designing soooo much that we decided to continue. It was a great help that we had a big success the first time we went to an international trade show and many shops like Barneys in New York wanted our stuff... and Bjork wanted to wear some of our designs...

How did you two meet and how did the teaming up happen?
We met dancing Pulp!! and we start to go out together and that's all... we connected!

What are your main roles in the Company?
Now we have a lot of work so we have to organize ourselves, Inés takes care of the collection, the samples, the sales... and Iván takes care of the production and special events, collaborations, consulting etc...
Where do you get your most inspirations from?
We are inspired by Fairy tales, imagination, painting and of course nature.
Besides your love for fashion, what are some other loves you have?
we love cooking, staying at home, reading, painting and living.
What would your dream studio look like and where would it be?
we love our studio as it is, but we would love to be more in the country, we are doing a vegetables garden in our backyard and we dream about having a big garden in the mountains and being able to work from there...

So, I found out after the interview that besides all the amazing things they do designing clothes and ALSO turns out that Inés & Iván have started teaching fashion workshop called El Estudio!! They teach fashion workshops right from their atelier with students from all over Spain, Britain and beyond! They teach them everything from creating their own sketch/inspiration book, to creating their own line, to branding, to ways to start their business! So by the end of the 16 week course, the students themselves can achieve their dream of designing their own line! You can see lots of great process photos from their El Estudio blog, too. I love seeing all the rich watercolor drawings and inspirations.
God! I so want to take off and live in Madrid for 4 months and take that workshop! (I'm talking to you God....can you make this happen?? it can count as my birthday present!)

Hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing about them!
Okay, gotta go and figure out a plan to live/work/study in Madrid now since God isn't responding to me....I can never count on that guy!

You can also read their blog to read more about their inspiring lifestyle! If you can't read Spanish like me, use the handy google translate to read their site!....I don't know what I'd do if google didn't exist. Cheers!


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Wool blankets+Doilies+Chair= Most awesome chair!

Spotted this fun colorful upholstered chair in quilted wool blankets by Jan Schouten from All The Luck in the World based in the Netherlands. The colors, the patterns, the warmth of the material, the little added delights of the doilies and stitched on words...everything about it makes me want go to the Netherlands and steel that chair. I especially love how she treated the back with the fringe still intact. It seems as if the blanket is just draped over the chair. So cleaver!Jan also has a vintage shop where there are lots of awesome stuff that..once again... makes me want to go to the Netherlands and raid all the flea markets to find stuff like that! I want that black Joe Colombo-esque lamp so bad!!

Check out Jan's flickr with tons of great photos of her space and work.

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