February 28, 2010

And the Winner is…

The Chic Coles! They liked pillow no. 1 and when I went to get their blog address for the link, I could understand why! Their header has Trina Turk’s Santorini print as the background.02-15-10 004Mesdames Cole, please e-mail me with your mailing address and I will get the pillow out to you ASAP!

Sorry about being late in the picking… as you might understand, it’s not been a good couple of days, and Connor and I haven’t been having cocktails.

I am just starting to put some of the pillows on my Etsy Shop, so check them out!

February 26, 2010

A Good Friend. Gone.

When I first started writing Pigtown*Design, one of the first posts I wrote was about an old friend, John Gutierrez, and his metal-working shop, Gutierrez:Studios. As you drive around Baltimore, you see lots of his iron works gracing buildings, gardens, interiors and exteriors. Always perfection, always interesting works.atlanticstoolYesterday, John lost a very short battle against cancer, and I am heart-broken for a talent lost, for a friend who is no longer here, and for his family, especially his brother, Richard with whom I have been best friends since my first day at college, many years ago.

For the past 24 hours, memories of John have been swirling around my mind, first as my pal Richard’s brother, a young artist. Then at Richard’s wedding, presenting the new couple with a custom piece of furniture. On my return from Wales, attending a huge party at his studio where I re-connected with so many friends I hadn’t seen in ages. clipper 021More recently, allowing my niece and me to come and visit his amazing studio one winter afternoon.  Watching John cook his specialty, goulash, halloween party 027in a hand-crafted cauldron over a wood fire at a Halloween Party, where I’d gone as Kitchen Nightmares, and he was the cook.   halloween party 003aAs I was driving home from work one afternoon, I saw John and his crew putting the final touches on the Pope John Paul II Prayer Garden in Baltimore and drove around the block just so I could say hi to him. He was that kind of person. pjpstatueMany years ago, as a student at RIT, John first presented his work at the American Crafts Council show. Today, I attended the ACC show in Baltimore and saw the booth that John and Roya, his partner of 30+ years had put together, not knowing if he’d attend. It is a testament to his workers that they loved John enough to be at the show, greeting hundreds and hundreds of people, in their time of grief.Gutierrez Studios 001Richard Gehrman, principal at Brown|Craig|Turner architects put it beautifully in an e-mail this morning:

Mies van der Rohe famously stated, ‘God is in the details.” John walked with God in creating the details that made our ideas look really good. Excellent craftwork is rare these days, and no one was more concerned with craft and design than John. Aside from being an outstanding individual and a personal friend, he mentored anyone with an interest and passion for design. His life was his work, and vice-versa. I can only hope to achieve a percentage of what John’s contributions to our built environment have made in his 45 years of full life.

John Kennedy Gutierrez was loved by many and will be missed by all.

February 25, 2010

Don’t Forget the Pillows!

I hope that you won’t forget to enter into the drawing for one of the Pigtown Pillows. After cocktails on Friday evening, Connor will be selecting one special person who can choose from one of the four pillows below. Just leave a comment here.

02-15-10 004

Pillow 1
Duralee Kelsey with Trina Turk Sunglasses Obi Sash.

02-19-10 002

Pillow 2
A combination of three patterns, including Trina Turk Fronds and Cyrus Clark Mistral.

02-19-10 008

Pillow 3
Coral print background with Duralee Anana, with coral print detail on reverse

pillows 008

Pillow 4
Dwell Studio Chinoiserie Birds print with Victoria Hagen Lucky Match in beige on white on reverse. All linen.

I am making a special pillow for a friend who has cancer. She’s someone who epitomizes grace and charm. She has been in and out of my life for almost 30 years. I’ve just recently heard that one of her joys is watching the birds in her garden. I thought that if one of my squishy down pillows with the birds on it brings her a little comfort, that will make me happy.

Liberty Magazine

Have you seen Liberty of London’s on-line magazine? Although it’s basically a huge advert for the store, there are some interesting articles, and it’s always fun to see the different things on offer. liberty2

Check it out here.Liberty

February 24, 2010

The Dog Ate My…

As sweet and cute as my dog Connor is, he can also be a terror. Every so often, he gets a wild streak going and goes around rearranging things and tearing up papers. poor paris map 002I heard him downstairs the other night and came down to find that he’d shredded pages of my Turgot Plan de Paris! I had mounted it on the wall, but since the wall is plaster, and as the temperatures changed and the heat went off and on, it gradually came off the wall, piece by piece.poor paris map 004I finally removed it and had it on the floor to make sure the pieces were flattened before it went into storage in preparation for moving.poor paris map 005Anyway, it’s now in bits and pieces. And I am super peeved at Connor. 02-07-10 019

Bad dog.

February 23, 2010

I’ll Take These… New Mitford Editions

You know that I love books, and I especially like good-looking books, so when I saw these new editions of Nancy Mitford’s stories, I fell madly in love with them!Mitford1

Five of Nancy Mitford’s books have been republished by Penguin Books, and they all have new introductions and fabulous new covers by Lab Partners. They will be released in early March in the UK.

Mitford2 Mitford3
Mitford4 Mitford5

Which one is your favourite?

February 22, 2010

Evergreen Lecture Series

For the last two years, I have attended the Spring House Beautiful Lecture Series at Evergreen House in Baltimore, and have found them to be outstanding. Two years ago, there was an excellent talk on Maison Jansen and last year, one on Billy Baldwin, both given by James Archer Abbott, an expert on both topics.

This year’s lecture series has been announced and each of the lectures will be on the topic of “houses with theatres”. First up is Ten Chimneys: A Design for Living, the Wisconsin home of Broadway legends Alfred Lunt and Lynne Fontanne. Keith McKay, the estate’s director of historic preservation will talk about Ten Chimneys’ whimsical interiors. Keith is one of the original members of our Historic House Group, and so I am sure the audience will be packed with friends!10 chimneys

The second lecture is Discovering Evergreen: One Degree of Separation, which is a perfect title for a lecture about one of the most significant houses in Baltimore. Susan Tripp, who lead the restoration of Evergreen, will reflect on how learning about the Garrett family from those who knew them helped with the restoration. 

Evergreen 019 The final lecture is The Silver Screen: Hearst Castle and Hollywood. William Randolph Hearst was not only a newspaperman, but also an early film pioneer and producer of 120 movies. Victoria Kastner, historian at San Simeon, will detail the rich social and architectural history of the theatre at San Simeon, designed in the 1930s by Julia Morgan.San Simeon

If that’s not enough excitement, the exhibition on Baltimore’s Billy Baldwin opens on May 20th with a reception.

Click here for the details of the lecture series and to purchase tickets.

February 21, 2010

Pigtown Pillow Give-Away

When I bought my little sewing machine two weeks ago, little did I know that I would fall in love with the process of making pillow covers. I am having such fun creating combinations of colour and pattern to make something new using the amazing selection of fabrics that I’ve been finding at DeBois Textiles. It’s rapidly becoming an addiction, as I dragged myself from my sickbed last week to make a run for orange juice and more fabrics!

Several people have asked if I will be selling the pillows, and I am sure that eventually I will do it on my Etsy site. But before I do that, I thought I would offer one to my readers, as a thank you for taking the time to visit and read Pigtown*Design.

I have chosen four of my designs, from which you may select one. They measure either 16x16 or 20x20 and have a feather/down inset.

02-15-10 004

Pillow 1
Duralee Kelsey with Trina Turk Sunglasses Obi Sash
02-19-10 002

Pillow 2
A combination of three patterns, including Trina Turk Fronds and Cyrus Clark Mistral.
02-19-10 008

Pillow 3
Coral print background with Duralee Anana, with coral print detail on reverse

pillows 008Pillow 4
Dwell Studio Chinoiserie Birds print
with Victoria Hagen Lucky Match in beige on white on reverse. All linen

Just leave a comment by Friday, February 25, letting me know which of the pillows you would like to win and I will get Connor to choose the winner.

February 20, 2010

Please Save the Date

After a lot of e-mails and calendar checking, I have decided to host the Spring 2010 Tour de Baltimore on Friday, March 19 and Saturday, March 20, 2010.

save the date 2010 We will be visiting DeBois Textiles, Housewerks, McLain Wiesand, Gore-Dean, and a few other special places. For the Saturday tour, McLain Wiesand will open specially for the tour, and we will also visit the Book Thing.  Debois Textiles will also open an hour early for us.

If you are interested in joining either of the Tours, please e-mail me, and I will add you to the list. I am trying to keep track of everyone interested, and can do it more easily via e-mail.

Hope to see you in March!

February 19, 2010

Liberty @ Target

I can’t tell you how excited I am that Target is partnering with perennial favourite, Liberty of London for a massive new collection spanning many departments. This limited-time project debuts on March 14, 2010. Click on the logo below to go to the Target & Liberty site.liberty at target1I heard about this a few months ago, but was reminded by Tracy at Comfort & Luxury who showed an amazing paisley bike that is being produced! liberty bikeThere have been some glimpses of what will be on offer, including the bike, liberty at target2a paisley piggy bank, liberty at target3bedding, lighting, dishes and china, liberty at target4 gardening accessories liberty at target5 and clothes. 

I am so excited about this!

February 17, 2010


One of the projects I started working on during the storms was a patchwork quilt. 02-17-10 002 I selected a lot of small remnants from DeBois and worked on learning to use my sewing machine by putting different patterns and colours together in not-so-neat rows. 02-17-10 005Once I decided I’d had enough, I put the rows together to make a top and then by a nightmare process of trial and error, I added pink blanket binding and a backing of a charcoal gray fleece.  02-17-10 009 The blanket measures about 60 by 80 inches and was very unwieldy to manage as I sewed it all together!02-17-10 003I think that I will secure the back on to the front by sewing on some buttons on the fleece side.

02-17-10 006 02-17-10 007

I can’t decide whether it will be my blanket or Connor’s.

February 16, 2010

** UPDATE** Call for Fabric

I got a message from my friend, James Archer Abbott today. He is the curator of Evergreen House here in Baltimore and also the author of two definitive books on Maison Jansen.

Evergreen is putting together an exhibition on Billy Baldwin, who was a friend of the owners of this house. You can read a little about the friendship here. As part of the exhibition, they are looking for a piece of the dark-chocolate-on-white textile that was based on a Matisse drawing. It was used in the apartment that Baldwin and his partner, Woodson Taulbee owned in the 1960’s. The fabric is on the cover of Billy Baldwin Decorates.BB Decorates CoverIf you have any of this amazing fabric, and would be willing to lend it to Evergreen House, which is part of Johns Hopkins University, they would be more than happy to acknowledge your efforts. I know Jim Abbott would love to hear from you if you can lend a piece of history.

The Billy Baldwin exhibit will open at Evergreen in May 2010.

**UPDATE** My friend Christopher found the fabric, after a bit of searching. It’s called “Arbre de Matisse” from China Seas and it’s available through Quadrille at $110/yard. Click on the image for the link.arbre de matisse Thanks to everyone for their suggestions!

February 15, 2010

Pillow Talk

I’ve never been addicted to drugs or alcohol, but fabrics may be my downfall. Because DeBois Textiles is so close to my house, it’s simple to pop over there and check out what is new. They are kind enough to let me poke around in the warehouse section and take some small bits and pieces of fabrics, most of which are less than a yard.02-15-10 012 After I made the pillow for my mother, and realized that it was pretty simple, I worked on another one. 02-14-10 007Because the pieces of fabric are small, I have to be creative in how I make the best use of them. I was playing around with some pieces and came up with this pillow, using some of the Trina Turk “Sunglasses” print as the accent. 02-15-10 004I took the pillow over to show the gang at DeBois and a man who does upholstery was in there picking out some fabrics. He asked to see the pillow and after he examined every seam and stitch, he declared that I couldn’t possibly have just learned to sew since it was so well made! That really delighted me.

I also showed him my pig-adillos, one of which had been dog-tested this morning by David Wiesand’s Jack Russell, Pinky. 02-15-10 001 He ran around with it for about five minutes and only one of the eyes fell off! I am pretty pleased with that performance.  Here’s a little video I took of us throwing the pig to Pinky.

Here are some of the other combinations I’ve been playing around with for future pillows.

02-15-10 006 02-15-10 007

I can’t wait to play around some more!