Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Handmade Holiday – Spotlight on Pillows

  etsy - JolieMarche

 Finding the Perfect Gift

With Thanksgiving behind us, we now turn our attention to finding that perfect gift for our loved ones.  Heck, with the busy schedules we all keep, we’re lucky to find “A” gift, much less the “perfect” one.  Truth be told, it doesn’t have to be that hard.  Even if I get every item on my wish list, nothing ever compares to the presents my nieces and nephews get me from the Secret Santa Shop at school.  The vision of them picking it out special for me - all by themselves - has meaning beyond measure.  

etsy - LeiLiLaLoo

What makes those gifts so special is that they hold the innocence of thought behind personal giving.  Handmade gifts have a very similar effect.  Michigan is full of small, unique downtowns like Plymouth and Rochester, and bigger urban shopping districts like Royal Oak, Birmingham, Ann Arbor and our beloved Detroit.  These areas are filled with merchants whose lives are dedicated to finding those special items for you and making your holiday shopping experience pleasant and rewarding.  Yesterday was Small Business Saturday and I was inspired by the overwhelming movement to support businesses in our small towns.

etsy - livycreationKnowing some folks are better than others at selecting personal gifts, I decided to do a little digging myself.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll do my best to find hidden treasures that I know would put a smile on my face, if wrapped in a pretty box for me.  Hopefully they will provide great ideas for you (be sure to click on the photos if you like something – they will direct you where to buy).  Today, my focus is on handmade pillows all found on Etsy – but remember that if you have the time to shop your downtowns…you can find many of these types of treasures there.  I’m focusing on pillows because they can warm up a home or office and make a great, thoughtful gift. 

etsy - MyVintageBlankieAs my colleagues can attest, I have a pillow and blanket in my office and am known to use them….perhaps a pretty cot might be a good gift idea for me.  Wonder if they have any of those on Etsy?  :o)

Either of these floral inspired pillows (and the one at the top of the page) would look great in my office – everyone knows I can’t get enough of ruffles & flowers. 

Pillows are great because they can be surprisingly personal – in obvious ways like the monogrammed versions below or by simply fitting the style and color scheme of a friends home. 

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  etsy - myadobecottage 

I think this pillow is simple and cool and perfect for that special someone that has an appreciation for nostalgia and vintage holiday style. 

This is a fun, “low-risk” gift because its seasonal.  The recipient will bring it out each holiday and think of you as they display it  every year. 

It’s basic, rugged style will fit any decor, giving it yet another advantage. 


etsy - redtruckdesignsFor fans of the whimsy – who doesn’t adore lovebirds?  Over the years, I’ve become as fond of them as I am of ruffles and flowers. 

I fell in love with this sweet birdcage pillow with its lovebirds giving each other a heartwarming gaze.  The handmade flower at the top and mix of pattern and color, make it extra special. 

Etsy is also filled with lots of fun pillows that kids would love.  I found these adorable little owl pillows (below) with lots of different pattern combinations.  A great solution if you have many kids to buy for and are cautious about buying them different presents (for fear they will like another's better).  Here, you can select their favorite colors and they then have a unique, but similar present. 

etsy - sasaoriginals   etsy - aprilfoss 2









And finally…for the humorous friends and family in your life – these witty little finds are sure to be a big hit and may even cause someone to take action (Door #3 please). 

etsy - alexandrafergusonil_570xN_189471572il_570xN_159662319

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Style


A Tradition of Style

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  It’s a day where everyone makes time to give thanks, say thanks and to be thankful for all they have.  It seems no matter where you are, who you are, how much you have or how much you don’t have – this day provides all of us the chance to reflect and realize what a blessing this life really is. 

etsy - sweeteverythings

My Thanksgiving always starts out with the Parade Company’s Turkey Trot in downtown Detroit.  Rain or shine, thousands of metro Detroiters gather to start their day with a healthy run along the streets of Detroit. 

Folks lining up early and eagerly awaiting America’s Thanksgiving Parade cheer us on – it’s the greatest feeling.


etsy - sweeteverythings 2Following the run, I’m ready for my traditional holiday meal and gathering with family. 

I love dressing for Thanksgiving because it’s such a celebratory day….and well…I love fall colors.  It’s important to dress comfortably for Thanksgiving  - to make room for the excess of food and to lie around watching football in comfort.  

So what to wear on the big day?  Definitely nothing with fuss.  I always like to go for an autumnal cozy sweater and great accessories.  Anthropologie always has an amazing array of sweet sweaters that make you want to celebrate everyday, but provide the extra special touch on holidays (like the one featured at the opening of the post).

etsy - necklacependantworldil_570xN_192132870

Accessories are the best way to put the holiday in your Thanksgiving style.  Etsy is my favorite place to find unique, special pieces that mark a special occasion.  I love the delicate camera pendant I found from Necklacependantworld.  With all of the family photos taken on this day, its the perfect fit.  For a more traditional fall fare, the acorn necklace from RhondasTreasures is great too.

KimArt - etsyFall inspired headbands and hairpieces are inexpensive, simple ways to create a special holiday look and Etsy is full of these handmade treasures.  A few are featured above in this post.  I also adore this little hair pin to the left from KimArt…and only $4.50!


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Necklaces are an easy breezy way to jazz up your holiday look.  The pretty pieces above make a great statement and are made with divine craftsmanship. 

And for a little kitschy cool…who can resist these Thanksgiving inspired accessories?  I mean…common – Turkey cufflinks?  Turkey leg pendant?  You know you know someone to buy these for….!!! 

          Happy Thanksgiving!          etsy - charms4you         etsy - schickieMickie

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Fashion In Detroit – Motor City Denim


  Made in Detroit

What better subject for my final Fashion In Detroit post than Motor City Denim.  Detroit native and Project Runway alum, Joe Faris, created the line which is manufactured right here in Detroit

IMG_8721The edgy collection – for men and women – includes jeans, skirts, dresses, western shirts, t-shirts, outerwear and accessories.  Fitting for a line manufactured in Detroit, it’s branded as “Industrial Couture,” and mixes high-fashion elements with an industrial edge. 

Faris is a casual kinda guy and wanted to bring that easy but fashionable appeal to the t-shirt and jeans crowd.  The pieces have a cool rocker chic, but they’re very accessible and wearable. 



IMG_8692Faris has spent his career working with denim and leather, which made this line the perfect fit – and allowed him to take his first steps toward establishing an apparel industry in southeast Michigan.  He realized through the success of the first Fashion In Detroit that there was potential for an industry here.

For years he has dreamed of starting a small factory here and controlling production.  As he was contemplating how to do this, he found Mark D’Andreta, president of TD Industrial Coverings, a Sterling Heights maker of coveralls for auto industry assembly line robots. 

IMG_8730D'Andreta, was looking to diversify production, especially after a tough time in the automotive industry.  He had virtually all the machines necessary to manufacture the product – and the line was born. 

The partnership is the perfect marriage because Joe can be the creative force behind the design of the product and Mark can run the shop. 

Motor City Denim Co. is aggressively working to ramp up production and have clothes in stores in time for the holidays.




Capping off the show was a catwalk with five celebrities that Joe collaborated with to support breast cancer awareness month. 

Joe teamed up with WXYZ Channel 7’s Christy McDonald and Erin Nicole, Detroit 1-8-7 star, Erin Cummings, WDIV Local 4’s Lauren Podell and Detroit’s own Karen Newman.

The ladies each designed their own garments to be auctioned off to support breast cancer research.  

Don’t they look great??!!



IMG_8755   A final thanks to photographer Winnie Jeng for sharing her runway photos and to FORMzine for allowing me to publish them. 

FormZine: web, Facebook, Twitter

Winnie Jeng: web, Facebook, Twitter

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fashion In Detroit - Prophetik


Wearable Philosophy

Detroiter’s recently enjoyed the special treat of a visit by Prophetik designer, Jeff Garner, whose line graced the runway at Fashion In Detroit.  He documented his visit to the city in this video.  Prophetik was launched eight years ago in Franklin, Tennessee and focuses on combining environmentally friendly materials to create sustainable men’s and womenswear.



Without a doubt, Prophetik was the most theatrical of all the FID shows, wowing the crowd with live music and a grass runway.  Honestly though, the beautiful clothing is what made this show memorable.  With its romantic renaissance flair, it takes you to another time, while also highlighting modern, wearable trends.  

Locally, the line is available at Perpetua Boutique Organique in Ann Arbor.



 IMG_8593Prophetik uses plant and earth based dyes to create all of their colors.   They use a low impact production process with minimal water and no toxic additives.  They’re developing a “zero-waste” operating model for their dye production facility based in Nashville, TN.  Through their natural dye research farm and regional farmer collective, their dye house sustainability cultivates the raw materials for their colors.   





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I found this collection, and its designer, to be fascinating.  A few interesting facts about Jeff – He also is a consultant for Whole Foods apparel buying division; and he was contracted to design a sustainable carrying case for the iPhone as part of their eco soft goods development, which is set to launch in Apple Stores worldwide.

Garner also commits proceeds from each of his shows to a charity whose mission reflects the Prophetik philosophy.


IMG_8659IMG_8669  IMG_8673

Once again, a heartfelt thanks to photographer Winnie Jeng for sharing her runway photos and to FORMzine for allowing me to publish them. 

FormZine: web, Facebook, Twitter

Winnie Jeng: web, Facebook, Twitter

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fashion In Detroit – Femilia Couture


Detroit's Rising Stars

I’m a little behind on my blog, but would be remiss if I didn’t report on a few more collections from Fashion In Detroit.  Two of Detroit’s Rising Stars -  and IADT grads - were first to show on Day 2 and did not disappoint.  Fotoula Lambros and Emily Thornhill founded their label, Femilia Couture, in 2007 and have quickly become Detroit’s fashion darlings.  Their innovative line uses 95% organic and sustainable materials.  Fibers include cotton, bamboo, soy, hemp, linen, silk blends and eco-friendly fabrics.

IMG_8302The Spring/Summer collection was inspired by natural elements that compliment the organic fabrics they’re using. 

The collection was presented with a blank palette, creating a stunning, ethereal runway show.  This allowed the designs to take center stage along with the imagination of the customer. 

While the collection was shown completely in white, pieces can be ordered in a variety of colors, including: Ecru, Ochre, Crimson, Onyx, Royal, Violet, Kelly Green, and Gunmetal.



Designer Fotoula Lambros calls this approach “customizable Ready-to-Wear for the masses,” and allows clients to order colors that match their personal style.

The Spring/Summer 2011 “Future Vintage” collection uses unconventional draping and layering to create a contemporary classic look that results in less wasted materials.  Whatever is left in excess is reused in trims.  





In the last few years, the girls have moved all operations of their company from home-based separate studios to one quaint boutique in fashionable Ferndale.  The label is handmade and produced in its Michigan based showroom and the designers are dedicated to keeping it that way.

Femilia Couture is a supporter of the Arts in metro Detroit and has been involved in events focusing on creative professionals and the community. 



In 2008 they were honored with the title of Best Emerging Designer by Real Detroit Weekly – and I can certainly see many more accolades coming their way.

Currently, the appointment only boutique allows clients to shop the racks of new one-of-a-kind designs, private archive, collection viewings and Bamboo Ready-to-Wear collections each season.  For more information, please view their blog, call at 248.850.8939 or email at


                    IMG_8316Many thanks to photographer Winnie Jeng for allowing me to use her amazing runway photos for my blog.  Also thanks to FORMzine for allowing me to publish them. 

FormZine: web, Facebook, Twitter

Winnie Jeng: web, Facebook, Twitter