DIY Magazine Stool

Someone in my house hoards magazines. When she left for college a few years ago, I found magazines in every nook and cranny of her room. Oops, just outted her...Hope you are OK with that, Sweetie?

Since the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree in my nest, I will take total responsibility for the magazine-stockpiling gene. I’ll also foot the blame for being the enabler – I did not punish her when she stole my Vogues... Sorry hon!

Can you tell the parental guilt is just killing me?

Anyway, when I stumble across an ingeniously designed product that screams out DIY PROJECT, I just have to share. This is another one of those easy inspired ideas, like the felted sleeve cozy. This stool may even help you make less trips to the recycling center!

DIY Magazine Stool

You'll need two extra-large leather straps or belts. They should be adjustable to make it easy to sneak a few mags into your collection. Scrap wood for the base and a magazine-sized cushion. That's it.

Don’t want to make one? Then you can fork over the $185 here.

Credit: via SwissMiss

Armchair Creative

Do you read your horoscope? You don't need to answer that. I believe many of us do and won’t admit it. I'll confess to reading those snippets of monthly predictions, and of course at the time of the reading, my horoscope (Gemini) always seems spot on. Then I forget all about it and get on with the month.

Today I clicked onto the February horoscope from The Sister’s Project, a companion blog to A Way To Garden

"We live in very modern times and many of the old rules no longer apply. One of those changed rules is a very important one for you to remember—“it’s OK for an artist to be an intellectual and it’s OK for an intellectual to be an artist.” In other words, do acknowledge and nurture the many wonderful dimensions of yourself and allow your creative and intellectual energies to work together."

OK, knowing that my month will now be in sync, I deleted the post and headed down my long, snowy driveway to retrieve the mail. I grabbed a packing envelope that I immediately knew held the dimensions of my creative and intellectual energies.

A Twilight Zone moment? A celestial success story? An alignment of the stars? A serendipitous coincidence?

Whatever the reason, the Spring issue of Where Women Create: Inspiring Work Spaces Of Extraordinary Women hit the newsstands (and my mailbox) today, and I am elated to be one of the profiled women that will "nourish your soul and inspire the creative process."

Now, you may ask…How did an environmental writer/blogger end up in a magazine about the work spaces of creative women?

The short answer is…A fateful phone conversation with the fabulously energetic and passionate editor, Jo Packham led to an invitation to submit my story of reinvention with pictures of my work spaces.

My thoughts about it at the time…No way this will happen. I may be creative, but I'm an "armchair creative." It's not that I sit and watch others work, my work takes place within the confines of a chair and a computer. Where Women Create profiles famous (and not so famous) artists and crafters.

An Armchair Creative's Story

Reinvention is a buzzy word that seems to coincide with life shifts. In my case, a bunch of eco "re" words like: reinvention, recreated, reworked, renovated, repurposed, reimagined, were playing out simultaneously in my life. I did not lose my job. I chose to leave it. That is what I wrote about.

Three photo shoots later with the talented Jen Kiaba, which included many images of my work spaces (dining room table, couches, one of my kid's repurposed bedrooms, comfy chairs, a window seat…), I can now share with you the humbling acknowledgement of the convergence of the creative and intellectual.

Thank you Jo, it is a true honor to be among the creative women profiled on the pages of Where Women Create.

It would make me so happy if my lovely readers picked up a copy of the magazine and read my story.

Photos: Jen Kiaba for Where Women Create

Amy Butler Does DIY

In the textile world, Amy Butler is like a rock star. She does it all - designs sewing patterns, organic fabric, yarn, bedding, wallpaper, rugs, and writes books. Her designs are colorful, earthy and boldly patterned. Many are reminiscent of the era she (and I) grew up in, the 1970’s. Her style has been called, "vintage modern". I recently picked up a copy of the magazine, Where Women Create, Inspiring Work Spaces Of Extraordinary Women and Amy’s deeply patterned pillows grace the cover. The article that accompanies the image is an inspirational profile of Amy and her workspace.

A few months ago, the publisher of Where Women Create, Jo Packham invited me to join the ranks of women who have been featured in the magazine. It is an awesome opportunity for me and I am deeply honored. As a writer, I create wherever my computer is. That will be an interesting spread. Will they follow my trusty laptop and me to the local coffee shop? More about that to come…

Back to Amy…It is her work philosophy that truly inspires me (not that her designs aren't to die for):

“Being generous, fair, and honest in business and in life rewards you with grace and is it's own success. Giving back to your community is sewing what you reap (sharing the love)…Care for YOUR community and it will take care of you.”

Love it! I thoroughly agree with Amy about giving back to the community that nurtures you. I also like to support artists and designers who give back. Amy gives back to her fans too. She provides free DIY patterns. Here is the link to Amy Butler’s DIY pillows, scarfs, quilts, yoga bag, duvet cover and wall art. Sweet!

Credits: Amy Butler Design

Magazine Love: Print vs. Online

I was in Toronto last weekend for my nephew’s wedding, there and while we were prancing around that lovely and lively city, treatment I ducked into a newsstand and spent the better part of a precious hour devouring the Canadian and European magazines. I no longer do that in the States unless I’m in a big newsstand in NYC. Many of my favorite magazines (Domino, House and Garden, Cottage Living, Blueprint, O at Home and Gourmet) have been served a swift death. Leaning against the shelf of magazines, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Has the American reading public moved on?" CLICK HERE FOR MORE

Slow Love Shows Us The Purpose of Life Can Be Just That

Soon after I wrote about the “reinvention generation, treat ” I received a review copy of Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, hospital Put on My Pajamas & Found Happiness by Dominique Browning. This book totally captivated me. It was written by an author that I’ve followed ever since she took the editorial helm at the now deceased House and Garden magazine. I looked forward to Browning’s reflective editorial letters each month. I kept a file of those pages because they touched me in so many unexpected ways – the writing style was graceful and casual, the tone of the editorials had an eclectic mix of something you didn’t read about when entering a shelter magazine. The topics she chose touched a chord that glimpsed the purpose of living fully (even if you couldn’t live in one of those magnificently staged House and Garden homes). She discussed her emotional angst about her children growing up and the difficulty of adjusting to an empty nest (she didn’t like not having a choice about it), the end of a fine dinner party (peace and quiet), renovation nightmares (Why do we keep doing it?) and her environmental activism (she writes a column for the Environmental Defense Fund). Actually, now that I think about it, and reread those letters, Browning’s musings read like a blog conversation waiting to be commented on. She describes her personally tumultuous situations so eloquently, and with humor. When House and Garden folded in 2007 without warning, her purpose-driven life came to a deafening halt...CLICK HERE FOR MORE

Here is an interview with Dominique that I did for Planet Green.