{DIY} High-Design DIY

For many, “crafting” conjures images of kitten sweaters, macrame plant holders and cross-stitch samplers. But a new generation of DIY-ers has created an online crafting Renaissance, of sorts, with sophisticated, high-design patterns and projects. Why check your style at the knitting-store door?  You don’t have to…. Here, our FOF knitting & sewing gurus recommend the websites that will inspire you to make something FOFantastic.

1. Deborah Purtell Coaster Squares. FOF Deborah Purtell designs delightfully preppy needlepoint canvases for beach totes, belts, glasses cases and more. Your family will be shocked when you DIY your own Lilly Pulitzer look-alikes.

2. Hazelwood by Robin Melanson Pattern and Budding Apple Shawl, (9). This nifty nautical sweater looks like J.Crew’s fall favorite but it’s actually a knitting pattern from Twist Collective, a carefully curated online magazine created in partnership with top knit designers and photographers. –Recommended by FOF Guru Diannerj

3 Purl Soho Color Change Scarf & (7) Purl Soho Pillow Purlsoho.com is the web home of Purl shop, a crafting mecca in Manhattan launched by two former Martha Stewart editors. The site is a beautifully organized archive of knitting, sewing and needlework ideas inspired by vintage clothing, folk art, modern art, Asian art, and of course, Martha.

4. Decorative Figure on an Ornamental Back, Henri Matisse, $8. Put down that “Home Sweet Home” cross-stitch sampler, and take a tip from FOF Guru Corky. “I love counted cross stitch, but most kits are mawkish. The Art of Stitching offers something totally different: fine art transferred onto cross-stitch canvass. The level of craftsmanship needed to create many of these masterpieces is very high. The results from some of the stitchers rival the finest Renaissance tapestries and anyone would be proud to display these works in their homes.”

5. Loom Knitting Bangles, free pattern. “I enjoy the work of Purling Sprite…a blog that includes lots of info on loom knitting (one of my passions!)” says FOF guru Dmhsny.

6. Penguin & Fish blog is a site filled with wonderfully quirky needlepoint canvasses designed by children’s book illustrator Alyson Thomas. Don’t miss her children’s alphabet series.

8. Brighton Bag from Knitty.com, FOF Amy Singer launched Knitty.com over ten years ago to showcase the gorgeous knit designs of amateur crafters across the country. As curator, Amy offers a discerning eye–and lots of fab free patterns. —Recommended by FOF Guru Diannerj

{What do you think of this look?} Crafty? couture? (or crazy?)

Some FOFs are just cut from a different cloth. This FOF ditched the usual Dior, DVF and Donna Karan duds in favor of hand-stitching her own Fashion Week getup. Was this a fashion risk worthy of reward? Read what our FOF style gurus think. Then you weigh in. Tell us, is this look: Crafty? Couture? (Or crazy?)

FOF Susan Grant: “This certainly doesn’t flatter her nor have any attractive qualities on it’s own. The coat is too voluminous and garishly adorned with flowers and mismatched buttons. Her outfit screams ‘look at me,’ or actually, ‘look away!’”

Susan Grant is merchandise manager for Muse, a full-service jewelry showroom.

 

FOF Sherrie Mathieson: “This outfit has a ‘crafty,’ home-sewn look. It’s girly with a potholder motif. I’d never confuse this with couture. Was she wearing this long ensemble during daytime? If so, add ‘inappropriate’ to my less-than-enthused reaction.”

Sherrie Mathieson is a leading style expert and Random House author of Steal this Style and Forever Cool.

 

FOF Lovey Dash: “It is very crafty but not very couture. She could improve this look with black boots, leggings and a black top. She’d be better off without the dress entirely, it’s too glam with the casual coat.”

Lovey Dash is a Beverly Hills-based stylist. She was formerly in VIP sales for Louis Vuitton on Rodeo Drive.

 

FOF Sandra Soich: “Oh my! She’s dating herself with too much fabric for a mature woman. Something with cleaner, moving lines would be a better choice. This ensemble says, ‘matron.’”

Sandra Soich is wardrobe stylist to the stars and founder of YourFashionTherapist.com.

 

FOF Terry Gibralter: “I salute this FOF’s attempt to express herself through fashion, but it really looks like a home ec project gone astray. I don’t like the muddy-color palette paired with the badly appliqued pink flowers. Then there’s the striped, chain bag piped in red… Yikes! If you want to wear something this bold it must be impeccably tailored and well thought out.”

Terry Gibralter is the founder of Bespoke Custom Shopping Tours, carefully-crafted shopping “vacations” and a self-proclaimed, “fashion-obsessed” FOF.

 

FOF Susan Hersh: “This is definitely NOT couture. It looks more like a costume you’d see at Disney World. You could get lost in all that fabric, and even if not, it adds an extra ten pounds to your figure.  I cannot think of one place or event a woman could wear this.”

Susan Hersh is a Ford model and the host and executive producer of Meet The Experts.

 

FOF Linda Cohen:She obviously has her own point of view–I give her credit for that. She may be making a statement using recycled and vintage materials, but there is nothing appealing about this outfit at all for any FOF women. In the fashion world we used to call these home-economic  project looks ‘loving hands at home.'”

Linda Cohen owns her own consulting business specializing in retail merchandising.

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{DIY} A Genius Flower-Arranging Trick to Use All Summer

FOF editors couldn’t stop talking about this brilliantly simple trick taught by Mike Gaffney, a master florist and owner of 8 flower arranging schools across the country. “Making a beautiful bouquet is not about being a creative genius. It’s about knowing some simple rules,” he explained.

Did your hubby forget to pick up a housewarming gift for the neighbors? Daughter getting married on a budget? Turn ho-hum garden geraniums or grocery store tulips into a beautiful bouquet in a flash. Just, watch this video:

{Art} 7 Sites for Affordable Art

So, you want to put art on your walls without burning a hole in your wallet? Here are 7 sites we love for price-controlled pieces:

1. Etsy – Hundreds of thousands of artisans selling prints, crafts, photography, sculpture, pottery and more. Several FOF members, including Shann Spishak feature their reasonably priced work here. You can search by category, artists and color or look up products by time it was listed, where it was made and browse “curated collections” by other members. Buyers can also request custom items from Etsy artists.

2. 20X200 – Jen Bekman, of her eponymous NYC gallery, started 20X200 to bring art to everyone. Each week two new artist editions are released with at least one print (depending on the size) at $20. There are only a certain number of each print, so grab them up quick.

If you like 20X200, you also may like: 3. EyeBuyArt, 4. Tiny Showcase

5. UGallery – An online gallery for students and budding artists to showcase and sell their work. They have two sister sites: Daily Deal, a one-of-a-kind, discounted piece of art released every day at noon, and Paperwork, weekly discounts on sustainable art.

6. The Working Proof – Each print sold on this site is paired with a charity of the artist’s choice, and 15 percent of the sale is donated to that organization. Every Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. E.S.T. a limited quantity of a new print is released on the site.

7. Society6 – Society6 connects artists with opportunities–such as designing the cover of a magazine or a major album. Artists also sell their work on the site. Society6 produces the art, packages it and ships it so that artists can focus on what they do best: making art!

Images via 20×200, Etsy, Ugallery, and Society6