What ever happened to Spring?

It might be bright and sunny outside but everything is still covered with snow where I live.  I cannot stand it anymore; for some reason this winter seems especially long.  I dream of the days when I can play tennis again, but that might be a while longer.  Anyway, I managed to find this photo from Jak and Jil which I love because it represents everything that Spring should be:  fresh and light, with subtle hints of colour and the ushering of the colour white in fashion.  And the model couldn't have been any more perfect; just look at her features.  If you zoom in you'll see what I mean.

Today seems more like a Sunday to me.  And after all the hard work of the past week I've decided to bake a pumpkin cheesecake and watch The September Issue as a small reward.  I've heard mixed reviews, but I think it's always better to find out things for yourself.  Besides, I'm interested in seeing the dynamic between Grace Coddington, the creative director of Vogue, and Anna Wintour. I bet that the behind-the-scenes footage that go into the making of the magazine will be fascinating. 


Weekend Links...

Perhaps I'm a day late with this post but these articles are a great read for a Sunday afternoon.  I found them all over the place and picked out some of my favourites ones here.  If you are addicted to information as much as I am then you might like them too.  Give them a try and see for yourself.  (Focus is less on politics and more about the arts).

1.  From New York Magazine, a tribute to Elizabeth Taylor: Jerry Saltz on Andy Warhol's Portraits of Liz.

2.  New York Times interviews Julian Schnabel:  Julian Schnabel discusses his new film, a Palestinian story

3.  A New York couple leave the city to open a restaurant in Mexico: Border Crossing
(Beautiful photographs from the Edible Selby section of T-Magazine)

4.  An artist who photographs herself naked with pigs:  High on the Hog...

5.  Read about Lebanese poet and journalist Joumana Haddad in Sex and the Souk

6.  Finding peace through art in the Middle East:  Dialogue by Way of Art In Israel

7.  A review of new book by Sophie Dahl:  Ten Poems about Tea by various authors ...

8. A spotlight on Essential Killings, a new film by Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski.

9. Writers on Writing from The Guardian  featuring Ian McEwan, Howard Jacobson as well as others: On Writing, authors reveal the secrets of their craft.

10.  Oprah and poetry are apparently not a good mix, read this critic's take:  Oprah Magazine's Adventures in Poetry

11.  Director of The Outnet, Net-a-porter's younger sister speaks to the Wall Street Journal: Bargain Hunting Tips...20 Odd Questions: Stephanie Phair

12.  The power of Anna Wintour:  The Business of Being Anna 
 (I'm starting to wonder whether I should delete my article on Vogue having a thyroid problem?)

13.  It was bound to happen and why the rest is yet to come:  The Middle East Crisis Has Just Begun

14.  How the internet is changing Africa from Intelligent LifeDigital Africa
15.  All about Vogue's creative director:  Grace Coddington: Creative Indeed

16.  Fashionistas have all been waiting for this:  A look inside Emmanuelle Alt's First Paris Vogue Issue from Fashionologie

17.  Lady in Vogue, Interview magazine's profile of Rula Jebreal

18.  Not as recent as the above but a fascinating look at Norway:  In Norway, Start-ups Say Ja to Socialism.


Beautiful Necklace Finds

If these pieces make you want to take out your credit card please don't blame me. They are all so unique that I wish I could have each and everyone of them. I have to admit I've always had a weakness for good jewelry design having once considered the profession myself. And when I look at these lovely necklaces I am reminded once again why I appreciate this area of design so much. The creative possibilities are simply endless.
Odette New York
This beautiful Petal Necklace above in Gold Vermeil was designed by Jennifer Sarkilahti, an artist and jewelry designer from Brooklyn, New York. I really like the softness and textured quality of this piece; it has a nice organic shape to it too.  To see more work from this designer you can visit her Etsy shop or her website at Odette New York. 

And what do you know, this gorgeous Giant Silver Dandelion necklace from Swedish designer Anna-Karin Hallström from Black Daisy Designs sold out two days ago on Etsy.  Just my luck.  For some reason I always seem to pick items that sell out right before I have a chance to write about them.  Anyway, this piece was made to order so hopefully the designer will replenish her shop soon enough.
Black Daisy Designs

This 13 Silver Nugget necklace made from sterling silver is from Julie Nolan a designer from Brooklyn, New York.  It's simple and playful all at the same time.  I also like how these little clusters of silver hang on a long 16" chain.  You can read more about Julie Nolan and her jewelry on Etsy.  I have to add that I love this photograph, I think the background goes so well with the jewelry piece.

Julie Nolan

I can't get enough of this Finger Print Necklace from Alejandra who is the designer behind 2212 Jewelry from Buenos Aires, Argentina.  It's stylish and über feminine.  I only wonder if it's possible to order your own fingerprint to be designed on top. 

2212 Jewelry

While this necklace below might be called a Glacier Necklace, I don't know about you but all I can think of is Cheerios. But in a good way.  It's both adorable and modern and made from recycled African glass.  You can also find it on Etsy from designer Cassie's Shop Clementine.

Shop Clementine

Made from liquid porcelain this Mama Camillia necklace comes from Wapa Studio in Israel.  It is designed by Ady Shapira who is as talented in jewelry design as she is in ceramics. I really enjoy anything white and like many of the other necklaces in this post it has organic written all over it.  But then I've always preferred natural, fluid lines and shapes versus anything remotely geometric.

Wapa Studio

Here is a pretty necklace from another Israeli designer this one from Etsy shop Rio Rita.  I love the little granules on the perimeter of the necklace and all their different sizes.  The pendant is a good size too and the convex shape balances the design very well. The textured quality of the chain is a nice bonus.

Rio Rita

If you like the use of bronze in jewelry then this Eternity Necklace from Peaces of Indigo is for you.  It has a great shape and texture and there is also something quite subtle about its design that I find really appealing.  To see more designs from Dawanna Young you can visit her Etsy shop or read about her on her blog.

Peaces of Indigo

If you're looking for something different and unique you can't go wrong with this large rose necklace from Blue Serendipity by Jill.  I think there's a reason it's called Je t'aime; it's full of romantic sentiments.  I'm also a big fan of the contrast between the white and burgundy colours. 

Blue Serendipity

This emerald green Tulip Drops necklace below is simply gorgeous.  I like the addition of white pearls just below the petals; it gives it a nice touch.  The piece hails from Singapore and is designed by Maddy whose work is also available on Etsy from her shop Marolsha.


And how about a Creamy Butter Swirls Necklace from Paris-based designer MiniCyn.  I like the shape of this, though I'm still struggling to figure out what it reminds me of, definitely something edible.  If only it was made of chocolate.  I love the delicate quality of this piece. 


This curved Matt choker reminds me of a graphic brush stroke.  It is designed by Australian designer Melanie McCleary whose work is available on her Etsy shop Anthaus.  This is a really elegant piece of jewelry that is both sophisticated and chic at the same time.

One of the reasons I'm really attracted to this Drop Trio necklace from Lauren Haupt Jewelry below is that it reminds me of one I already have.  Or at least used to have before one piece unfortunately fell off.  If I don't fix it I will have to find a replacement. I first found it on Lauren's Etsy shop, Local Library and I love how it is classic in its design and also charming in shape and size.

Local Library (Etsy) by Lauren Haupt Jewelry

I didn't realize when I started to write this post that it would become an all Etsy cast.  As you can probably tell I'm quite enamoured with the site.  I think there is an incredible amount of talent on there that's just bursting with creativity and waiting to be discovered.  I have plenty more jewelry designs to show you, from Etsy as well as other sites that I uncovered recently but I will have to post them in a bit.  For now, have a good weekend.  I'm off to work on an artist profile/interview that should be up shortly... 


Movie: The Song of Sparrows

If you're looking for a sweet and funny comedy this well-directed film by Persian director Majid Majidi is simply charming.  Beautifully set in the Iranian countryside it is a story as much about family as it is about the contrast between city values and the simplicity of rural life.  It will make you laugh; it will certainly give you something to be optimistic about, and it might even make you want to become an ostrich farmer.

The hero of this movie is Karim who works on a farm to support his wife and three kids.  After losing one of the ostriches he is entrusted to take care of he is quickly fired.  It is around this same time that Karim finds out that his daughter requires a new and expensive hearing aid.  By chance while he is visiting Tehran he ends up working as a taxi driver to earn a living.  It is here, that the combination of financial pressure and his seemingly first confrontation with the wealth of the city, that his good nature quickly channels into an increasingly hostile and unethical one.  It takes an accident for him to finally realize the nature of his ways and the endearing and creative ways with which his kids are trying to help him.   


Japan we care...

I spent the last couple of days designing this print in order to help the people of Japan. I hope they know that everyone is thinking about them. If you would like to purchase one for $10 to raise money for the relief efforts please do so below. I will sign each one and donate 100% of the profits to the Japanese Red Cross.  This print measures 5" x 7" and is printed on glossy paper.  If you would like to order a larger size please email me at: bighugstudio@gmail.com.

© Big Hug Studio


And The Heart Says Forever

I thought I would post something uplifting today in light of what's happening in Japan.  Regardless of where you live, these events are going to affect you in one way or another even if only economically.  And while I work on some hopeful prints of my own, in the meantime, I hope you enjoy these heart-inspired designs.  The first one is a mug designed by Jen Ray available from her Etsy shop Corduroy.   Ne sois pas triste means, do not be sad, in French.

Next is a ring called Heart Dance designed by Nafsika from Greece who also has a shop on Etsy.  This is such a lovely design, I think it would make a great gift for anyone.

These earrings are from designer Jeanine Payer who has a penchant for writing poetic quotations on her jewellery. How can you not like these?

And I just love this necklace from Pat Falcão a Brazilian designer whose work is available from Colette.  The shape of the hearts has an almost graffiti-like quality that I think is really unique.

This pretty necklace, also discovered on Etsy, is from Minty Fresh Fushions.  I love the touch of copper here, I think it's such a nice contrast to the silver. 


A Poem by Fernando Pessoa

This Morning I Went 
Out Very Early

This morning I went out very early,
Because I woke up even earlier
And had nothing I wanted to do.

I didn't know which way to go,
But the wind blew hard toward one side,
And I followed in the way it pushed me.

So has my life always been, and so I would like it always to be --
I go where the wind takes me and I don't need to think.


I feel so bad for the people of Japan...

I'm not even sure what to write today.  There's been so much damage in so little time.  How does a country recover from something like this?  And to think of all the people who have been swept away that haven't even been accounted for.  So sad...
© Big Hug Studio


Sharing Means Caring and So Does Editing...

I feel guilty today because I promised to spend the entire weekend improving my blog. And what did I do? I organized my pantry instead. Don't ask me why but it made me feel really good. I think there's something about creating a clutter-free environment that really calms the mind.  It was a nice (and much needed) reprieve from my daily routine and I highly recommend it.  Now, I feel like I am ready to tackle my blog again.  So, if you notice changes, please be patient, I am just trying to make it better.
A cafe somewhere in Venice
In the interim, I wanted to share with you some of my favourite sites.  If you're looking for a bit of inspiration and some interesting reads these are well worth the visit.  I could not include all of them of course but if you want more please check out all of my favourite site and blog links. So, wherever you are, at home or at work, or if you're lucky enough to be sitting in a cafe like this girl above in Venice, I hope you find some quiet time for reading.

1.  Notcouture - For daily trends in fashion and design this site is fantastic.

2.  Closet Visit - Creative lady visits other creative ladies and their closets.

3.  Prospero Blog - Everything about arts and culture from The Economist magazine.

4.  Bright Bazaar - Bright and cheerful design blog from England. You'll love the layout.

5.  Daily Imprint - Great interviews with creatives from Australian blogger.

6.  Cupcakes and Cashmere - This stylish blog from L.A. has a little bit of everything.

7.  Mochatini - A lovely blog about style and interiors from Washington D.C.

8.  Elements of Style - Style and interiors with a sense of humour.

9.  High Street Cardigans - A self-styled fashion blog set in beautiful Romania.

10.  Lanalou Style Cape Town - An interesting look at design from South Africa

11.  Jollygoo - If you like all things Japanese this blog from Tokyo is for you.

12.  Lee Oliveira - Fantastic streetstyle photography from Sydney, Australia.

13.  Style Made Simple - A blog about interiors that will make you marvel.

14.  The Scent of Obsession - Beautiful fashion and style pics from Italy.


Chic Jewelry

Remember that jewelry post I promised to write?  Well, it's finally here.  After weeks of research, I have amassed roughly 200+ jewelry pieces which are currently saved on my desktop.  Needless to say, I will have to post them over the next few weeks, maybe months.  Here is the first batch starting with a pair of beautiful Ginkgo Biloba earrings in emerald green from Aurélie Bidermann.  If you think they look rather organic it's probably because they are real ginkgo leaves that have been dipped in gold and then enamel.
I don't know about you but I think this ring from Hervé Van Der Straeten looks more like a sculptural piece to me than jewelry.  The craftsmanship is simply impeccable.  Straeten who was once a jewelry designer for Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Lacroix now also designs accessories for the home.
Although this bracelet from Isabel Marant is now sold out (sorry) I thought I would include it anyway.  I love red accents as far as jewelry is concerned and this is nice to look at even if only for inspiration.  Maybe if you're lucky you can find it somewhere online.
If you're seeing or reading this post for the second time, you'll  notice that I have changed the Eddie Borgo bracelet to another one from his collection.  It was bothering me all weekend and I decided that I had to change it.  I guess you could say I am somewhat addicted to the edit button on my blog.  But anyway I think this one below works better with this post.  I still chose one of his non-geometrical inspired pieces, because that's generally what I prefer in jewelry.  And I like the mix of gold and black here. 

Jeanine Payer is a San Francisco-based jewelry designer who often uses text from writers new and old to engrave her jewelry work.  These teardrop earrings, available both from her website as well as Barneys, feature a quotation from Henry David Thoreau.

I have a lot more pieces to show you, but I thought I would start small with these six pieces.  And I can't think of a better item to end on than this adorable little elephant necklace from Aurelie Bidermann; just seeing it made me smile.  I hope you like it as much as I did.  I will have more for you later.  Take care for now.