Sunday, January 31, 2010

little cage

Pico's bird cage isn't actually the first bird cage I have built. Back in college I made little chicken-like creatures named Shmaltz and they were individually housed in a crammed little cage. Made quite similarly to how I built the life size cage but using dollhouse parts, their purpose was very different. The idea was to illustrate the factory farming of chickens—how they are raised in confined spaces (the cage) and how most are deformed (the one eye). I won't get into a spiel on animal rights in this post and if I were going to re-make these to represent what I had intended, they would be much more severe.

Friday, January 29, 2010

the bird cage

A picture of the bird cage will be up on Martha's website probably on Monday but here are a couple our studio photographer, Nick, took for me. Sean Ennis is the show carpenter (and also my good friend & my sister's boyfriend) and he worked with me on this project. Without his skill with power tools and construction knowledge, I probably would have struggled a bit with actually building the cage. I learned a lot about carpentry from him and this project. Thanks Sean!

Please, if you want me to take any detail shots or have any questions about constructing the cage, I will be glad to help. This was a project I developed because I was in search of a big, beautiful, safe cage for Pico and when I saw Martha's, I was truly inspired to build my own. I know there are many other pet owners who want the same for their loving pocket friends!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


NBC at 11 am eastern time on The Martha Stewart Show!
Finally Pico will have her own house!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Martha's birdcage

Back in August, before we started taping season 5 of the Martha Stewart Show, the art department of television was invited to Martha's home, Cantitoe Corners, in Bedford, New York. Whenever we take a trip to Martha's home, we are inspired by so many elements of her world. Her property is exquisite and encapsulates insight into Martha's mind—visiting her at home is a chance for us to see what new things are sparking her and a way to spark up ideas in us. I was certainly influenced and there were many notes that needed to be explored, but I was sure about one thing–Pico needed a new home.

I had seen Martha's canary cage before and it made me think about getting a bird, but seeing it again and having Pico in my life, made me think on grander scales. Immediately following inspecting her pet canary heaven, my mind was brewing up ideas of how I could do this for my avian love. As we perused through her house I jotted down some notes and when we returned to the studio to develop our craft ideas I sketched out the plans.
Everyone in my department thought I was insane when I was building my bird cage, but when I showed Martha the results, she was just as excited as I was to share with everyone an affordable and aesthetically pleasing birdcage you can make at home. Tune in this Thursday, when I join Martha to show you how.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

someone else's memories

I bought a deceased couple's family photo album from a tag sale when I was in middle school. They were Greeks and had traveled all over Europe, photographing everything, from hotel bidets to well, you get the picture. These are my two most treasured shots.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

love is in the air

I was majorly influenced by Courtney when I was an adolescent. She was a riot grrrl and I admired her "I don't give a shit" attitude. She rocked vintage baby doll dresses and ripped tights, fried her hair with bleach and exposed herself any second she got—she was cool. She was young, wild, a rock star and married to Kurt Cobain. He is an entire chapter in my book—it almost feels cliché right now to talk about how much Kurt means to me—I won't go there now...back to the bitch, who needs the attention anyway...

Courtney has been in the news a lot recently—I get "Kurt Cobain" google alerts but it's usually just gossip about Courtney. Frances (her daughter) left her before Christmas, she is coming out with a new album one of these days, possibly working on a clothing line, has been fat & anorexic, has had lots of "work" done, is being sued by American Express & counter-suing them, is broke, moved to NYC, is producing a film based on her relationship with Kurt, and showed off her new tit tattoos on twitter. Really I don't f-ing care anymore; I just find it amusing and like to calculate all the reasons Kurt would have divorced her ass. I'm being cruel. No, the truth is, I have a love/hate relationship with her, like you do an old friend that once stabbed you in the back.
Anyway, Valentines Day is creeping up and I thought I would write something about Love, Courtney Love that is.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Mushrooms, and specifically toadstools, have always enchanted me. Their whimsical charm and natural cuteness—it's no wonder everyone likes to craft them! Since we don't get to see the real things too often, if ever, I thought I would gather some of my favorite toadstool crafts and share them with you...

I think it was the third time I was on Martha's show that I demoed how to make actual toadstools. It was certainly an involved craft and one of the bigger projects I have developed, but is definitely my favorite. I wound up making eight for Martha and I got to keep my prototypes, which I use as extra seating whenever I have guests.
How about an adorable felt toadstool brooch to adorn a sweat or a coat or a plush toadstools sweetly sewn with button dots?
I love the painted toadstool directly on a page of an old book and the neat little felt sculpture trimmed with a bit of green grass.
Hosanna, who I work with at Martha TV, also is infatuated with toadstools and obsessively felted a pin cushion for me when I was preparing my toadstool segment. Then, she used little bits of polymer clay to make the most adorable pinheads with hand-painted white dots—I snagged a couple of those to go with my pin cushion. She also has endless other mushroom paraphernalia, like the vintage pips that are kept above my desk.
Etsy is overgrown with toadstools in all different styles, shapes and sizes. Micro mini toadstools are perfect to make a terrarium playful and wooden toadstools would be fun to play with too.
You can find handmade toadstools in the strangest places—I bought ceramic garden mushrooms right off the sand in Laguna Beach! Martha sells a pack of stickers at Michael's that is woodland themed and includes a toadstool of course. And what is a toadstool craft if it is not done in paper, or quilled for that matter!
I heart toadstools! Don't you?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hermes crafts. paper studs.

I was traveling the world of Hermes this afternoon and stumbled upon a petite dIY project that was right up my alley—recreating the Collier de chien Hermes studded cuff in paper! They provide the downloadable template and the rest is up to you. I revel in seeing luxury brands like Hermes encouraging crafting! Bien fait!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Not sure how I came across Carl Warner, but I think his work is pretty incredible. These landscapes are completely composed of food. He has mastered these illusions by virtue of his quality. Broccoli can easily resemble a tree—it is a plant!—but at first glance of his photographs, you might never realize that the sea coral is actually cauliflower, the ocean waves are cabbage and the distant mountains are loaves of bread. Though they are mysterious, they are also realistic—all effectively composed and put together. I feel like a bug when I look at his work.

Monday, January 11, 2010

cooking's for the birds

Instead of crafting last week, I did a little cooking. On top of this being the first recipe I've ever followed, I had to substitute some ingredients from the original recipe as well. Needless to say, it was a bit messy, utterly experimental, but certainly satisfying. It's called Pico Pie—it's a recipe for parrots.
Here's was I used:

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup wheatgerm
1/4 cup millet flour
1/4 cup quinoa flakes
1/4 cup buckwheat
1/4 nuts coarsely ground
1 cup shredded carrot
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
1 cup chopped greens (I used kale, Brussels sprouts, & green beans)
1 chopped apple
1/2 cup soy milk
1/8 cup olive oil
3 eggs (shell included)
optional jar of baby food

Prepare all your ingredients. Try to use organic, fresh, raw products. Mix all the dry ingredients together and then add the wet. Mix thoroughly—it should resemble the above picture. I added a 4 oz jar of baby food (garden veggies) to moisten it a bit and because Pico needs to eat her vegetables! The reason for making this concoction in the first place is so my parrotlet has a better diet, rather then the seed diet she prefers.

Prepare a 10" x 10" pan (nothing none stick) or a dutch oven with olive oil and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, then at 350 degrees for another 25 minutes. Let cool and remove from pan.

Cut into cubes and serve. I kept a few pieces out and froze the rest in a ziplock bag. If you take a couple cubes out at a time, the night before feeding, you are good to go. I was very pleased that Pico really liked her healthy treats, but I think I would rather craft than cook!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

artist or zoologist?

I know for sure, if I wasn't an artist working with my hands, I would be a zoologist working with animals. I feel like I'm five when I say, "I love animals!"
One of the benefits of working for Martha's TV show, is once a while we have an animal expert guest, accompanied by animals of course! I am always very curious to meet them and yesterday I was lucky enough to get up close...

Here are two Barbary Lion Cubs that visited the show. They were bewitched by their new surroundings and it was difficult to get a shot of them staying still. Finally something caught their eye and brother and sister laid next to each other for a few moments.

I got to pet one of the cuties. You can tell by their paws, these are going to be some big cats! Apparently the last wild Barbary Lion was shot in Northern Africa in 1922. It saddens me, to say the least, that such an incredible creature is extinct in its nature habit.

Here's the spunky red kangaroo joey—amused with me taking her picture, she took a break from bouncing around the green room back stage.

After only 33 days of development, the kangaroo fetus (neonate) emerges out of its mother. It is blind, hairless and only about the size of a Lima bean. Taking about 3 to 5 minutes, it uses its arms to climb its way through the thick fur of its mum's abdomen into her pouch. It remains in the pouch for about 190 days before it is ready to come out; at which time, it will leave & return to the pouch for about another 50 days. At around 235 days old, the joey will leave mum's pouch for good.
So incredibly foreign yet fascinating! Imagine homosapians did the same thing—crawl out of mother's vagina, when you're the size of a pinkie mouse and burrow into her belly button...I could see it.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

currently on my desktop

My beautiful Pico.


I have been working on some new bird-on-a-branch necklaces. In the hopes of creating the most perfect gift for my mom for Christmas, I experimented a bit and made a few different pieces. Mommy was very happy with the one I decided to give her. Look how darn cute she is!

Here are the different pieces, not yet finished, that I will soon have available on Etsy.

Please let me know if you are interested in any of the styles. They can be customized to be any length necklace. Super cute and super unique! ox k

Monday, January 4, 2010


Since Melissa recently moved to Manhattan and purchased a new couch, I decided to make her some pillows for Christmas. Meli and I always go a little crazy with presents for each other on Christmas for a couple reasons...
1. we love giving each other things.

2. what's Christmas without a mass of torn wrapping paper?

3. it makes us feel like little kids again! yay!

The pillows I made her were extra special because the floral print fabric I used was from a vintage sun dress that belonged to our mother—so mom got a kick out of them too!

I consider myself a beginner sewer, having never completed a "real" sewing project. So I was really excited to have successfully finished this set of pillows. I even made them removable, leaving an opening in the back piece of brown fabric. There's a great tutorial here on how to easily do this. Ahhh... why are pillows so satisfying to make?

While I was at it I also made her a laptop pillow. This one was a little more of a challenge for me since I used a block of latex foam—quite different than the simplicity of sewing two pieces of fabric back to back for a regular pillow form! Well, needless to say, I almost gave up on this one and sent it to craft fail, but with trial and error, I figured it out. I won't get into the backwards way I wound up completing it!

Friday, January 1, 2010

paper tree

I was a tourist in Manhattan the other day. I checked out the windows at Bergdorf's to see what magical vignettes they put together this year for the holidays. I am always dazzled and like a child, want to stand right in front of them and stare—study them like you can a piece of art in a museum. This time of year, with the crowds, there is limited viewing time though. I didn't want to be rude so I owed and awed and moved on. I did ask Ashley to photograph one minute detail in one of the windows for me though. An open book with paper trees growing from the pages, so great and so Lewis Carroll.

Some more photos from others here, here, and here. It's amazing what each person decides to capture. Definitely worth seeing in person, photos just don't do the windows justice.