Monday, June 29, 2009

Delicious Crush on Wendy Hacker Moss

What is it about the warmer months that makes a girl want to throw on a little floral dress (or seersucker pants, whatever) and the strappiest shoes she can find? Is it, as many would suggest, a desire to mimic the nature that is suddenly bursting from every nook, cranny, and sidewalk planter? Is it that we get so excited to be shedding the more somber colors of fall and winter that we feel the need to cover ourselves in pretended foliage? I don't know what it is, but I know that I happily succumb to it, and make no excuses, which is why I was so excited when the work of Wendy Hacker Moss came across the counter here at the MOCFA. Wendy's pieces are unlike anything I've ever seen, and, since I'm a girl, I fancy myself a jewelry expert.
These are the ultimate in "double-take" jewelry - Ruffly, delicate, by turns shiny and matte, these delicate-seeming pieces are made with the most unlikely jewelry material ever
- steel mesh.
That's right - Wendy and her sister Elisa have elevated the humble window screen from utilitarian to high art, creating lightweight origami blooms accented with freshwater pearls and gleaming sterling silver.
The Bouquet Ring sits on your finger like the sweetest bunch of tiny blooms, while the decadent Wreath Bracelet covers your wrist with a garden of lush flowers that move slightly and just beg to be touched.And for those whose tastes run more towards the bright and punchy, Wendy offers the Rock Candy collection, tiny semi-precious stones and seeds beads on sterling silver that look just like those elegant sweet treats you loved as a kid. Try not to taste the tiny black spinels, red rubies, and turquoise chips - these are strictly candy for the eyes. Whether you pair these with jeans and a tee shirt, or a favorite floral print, if you're not careful you might find yourself attracting legions of butterflies as well as admirers.

Wendy Hacker Moss jewelry, available at the Museum of Craft and Folk Art, 51 Yerba Buena Lane, San Francisco. Visit for more info.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

MOCFA Store Fabulous Finds, Vol. 1

In February, I became the Buyer/Store Manager for the Museum of Craft and Folk Art in San Francisco. If you know me at all, you will understand that this is the PERFECT job for me - I get to scope out independent designers all day long and get paid for it. As someone who is always trying to expand the crafting community, having the chance to share the work of independent artists with a broader audience is a dream come true. In many cases artists that I am working with have never sold in a retail space before; I have even had a couple of people create products especially for me to sell. Needless to say, I have sometimes been the store's best customer. I can't help it though - we have such a fabulous array of people represented, including Loreto Remsing, the brains (and nose) behind L'Aromatica perfume, a line of hand-blended perfumes often made with organic flowers and perfume oils. Our entire staff is enamored of the Gardenia, Yellow Rose, and Kulfi scents, though the new shipment of summer scents has made me obsess over the Madcap Violet and Pink Peony. Loreto, a graphic designer by trade, blends her creations in her gorgeous, sun-filled home in Haight-Ashbury, and when she's not making the world smell better, she will also design a mean set of wedding invitations for you (including mine).
Also new to the MOCFA store is Jen Hewett, creator of the extremely popular Michelle Obama Paper Dolls and fishnet silkscreen prints (favorite quote "Before I went on a job interview a few years ago, my mom called me and begged me not to wear fishnets with my suit. Please. As if I'd ever wear a suit"), and Julie Brookman, who looked at a plastic bag marooned on the beach and decided to use it as inspiration for a series of glass vases.

Lately I've become enamored with a couple of fabulous finds from the home-decor and jewelry worlds whose work will brighten up any corner of your casa, or your cuerpo.

One of the most recent jewelery additions to the stable of artists in the store is Florabond of Idaho Falls, ID. Made by the wonderful Nicole, these necklaces are little works of art featuring repurposed vintage buttons and flowers combined with delicously textured fabric foliage, plastic beads, lace, and stainless steel chain. Putting one of these babies on will instantly class up an outfit, and they are sure-fire attention-getters. I sold the Strawberry Lemonade necklace literally within ten minutes of unpacking it from the box (the best part is that I was wearing it when I sold it). Florabond's MOCFA pieces retail between $60-$80 and employ at least twice that in terms of creativity. I love the romantic feel of them - having them on makes me think of drinking lemonade and doing the Charleston on a wet summer lawn at twilight, which since I now live so close to Golden Gate Park, is within the realm of possibility.
Also new on the horizon is Kellie McCool, who translated her beautiful drawings of scales, umbrellas, and antlered people to blank greeting cards for the store. The scales are currently the most popular of the bunch, though I love the "quotation" card, which has a little space on the front for you to add your own greeting. Genius!
If you find yourself in the San Francisco area and need to find a gift or just want to treat yourself, please stop by the store and visit us - most items are under $100 and we feature mostly Bay Area talent, because this city is just bursting with crafty goodness!

New Blog Mention

Oh gee, thanks so much to the loverly folks (folk? I don't know how many of you there are!) at PaperMichelle for the bloggy mention about the Anne Dress. I have been an Anne Dress factory lately - I'm even sending one to Paris in a few weeks for a wedding in Greece. The dress is officially better-traveled than I am.

But if you are feeling like looking at some beautiful stuff online, the PaperMichele blog is the place to go.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I know I haven't blogged in forever, but...

Please forgive me by joining me on Saturday, May 16th at the Museum of Craft and Folk Art in SF for a book launch and crafting party hosted by the amazing Lotta Jansdotter!

More deets:

Time: 1-4 pm May 16th

Place: 51 Yerba Buena Lane, SF

Why: Lotta, cupcakes, and crafting! The holy trinity of DIY!

If you are a fan of modern design, you will understand why this event is such a huge deal for me (besides the fact that I am the one throwing it, of course). Hope you can join me!

The event was SO much fun! The lovely Christina and Kate from Chronicle Books even made a little YouTube video of the day so that you can see the fun for yourself:
cupcakes, crafting and Lotta, oh my!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hooray! More love for the Anne dress

Whee! Local blog Santa B Style has given us a shout-out today. Check it out here.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

D2D St. Valentines Dress

After two long weeks of trying to kill myself via sewing machine, I have finally finished my entry for Discarded to Divine. I am also putting a version of it up for sale on Mignonette Design's Etsy page here.

I am pretty proud of how much work went into the dress and how it turned out, especially since this is how it started: Can you believe this is what I started with?

Friday, January 23, 2009


My first press of 2009 (I think) - The ever-popular Anne dress got a lovely little posting on Love Is Near's beautiful blog, which you can peek at here.
Thanks so much, Tara! I am so honored. :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Draping the Waitress Dress 101

Listening to: My Frenchie Playlist (April March, Camille, Stereo Totale, Edith Piaf)
Current Mood: Overwhelmed with sewing responsibilities

One of my 2009 resolutions is to return to my roots and spend more time crafting with others; it's inspiring and it also helps to keep me from just watching television all day (or reading Jezebel, not that there's anything wrong with that) instead of sewing.

I've been meeting with my friend Rachel to share ideas while taking the quizzes in Twyla Tharp's "The Creative Habit".

Besides learning that I am should probably pass some of the administrative worries over to someone else so I can get to sewing, crafting with others (and talking about crafting, which inevitably leads to talking about shopping, and then going shopping)is an amazing way to build community, share some knowledge, and pick up skills along the way. Right now I am trying to perfect my group-teaching skills for a class I will be teaching on how to make the Waitress Dress. I'm also trying to get it perfected so that I can take a bunch of them to Viva as Vegas this year. Here's hoping.

Dear friend Lauren came over to help me re-draft my pattern and teach Rachel the basics of draping, and Rachel brought Bing for some puppy socialization. The poor kitties had to hang out in the bedroom all day, which they only pretended to mind:

I first draped this dress in 2006, and I've been trying to perfect the pattern for it ever since. When I first made it I combined my pencil skirt pattern with my sundress bodice, which looked fine on the dummy (and a lot of people) but required a certain amount of fudging that I would rather not have to deal with every time I make the dress. I scrambled around in my sewing room but couldn't find the skirt pattern this morning so we're draping an entirely new one.

Because I like to bring out the girliness in everyone, and because my friends are perfect fit models, we decided to try it we decided to try the sample on first one body and then another to see what we needed to fix. :
It's cute, no? But still it needs a something.

Now that we've figured out that the waist is too long in the back and there needs to be more ease in the hips, it's time to block the muslin and get to draping on Blanche, my elegant and long-suffering dress form:

Should we do it as one long piece and shape it with the attached waistband, or make a bodice and skirt separately? Questions, questions.
And how much allowance to give the waist so that I can raise or lower it depending on the body it needs to fit?

We decided to give the waist a 1/2" allowance so that it could be raised or lowered and the darts could be re-positioned. We probably draped that waist dart for an hour - Lauren is obsessive about fitting darts, Rachel likes the entire process, and I wax rhapsodic about fabric, so we're a good team. When we finally agreed that the dart was laying flat enough (after much debate and a lot of prickling with pins), it was time to take the muslin off of Blanche and true the pattern, taking the fabric we draped and straightening up the markings so that we could transfer the whole thing to paper with my arsenal of rulers.

Lauren showed Rachel how to fix the waist darts while I ironed the muslin for our sample and ran around making endless cups of tea (did I mention that not only do I have the attention span of a hummingbird lately, but that I've also had a fever all day?) and wondering what to get for lunch.

After a quick call to Andy's for some veggie delights, we sat down to bean curd, broccoli, and the other thing I am trying to cut down on in '09, namely soda. I'd like to be in better shape for the wedding in August, so perhaps I should also cut down on the takeout food. One thing at a time.

Meanwhile, Rachel brought Lauren over for a closer look at the muslin and a couple of tips.
The ladies got to work on fixing the waist darts with the hip curve and putting in a seam allowance while I took a break to check on the cats (luckily Lauren noticed that I was only giving it 1/4" instead of 1/2" - like I said, I'm pretty feverish, so it's awesome to have friends who can offer good advice), who were completely unconcerned with what we were up to and just wanted to be left in their patch of sun. I can relate, especially today.

Now that we've gotten the pattern in a relatively happy state, it can be cut out of the fabric, a tightly-woven linen in pepto-pink which is strangely fetching, though it looks oddly like a big slab of bubble gum when it's all pinned together. We are nearing the 5th hour of our adventure and the darts are matching up, so it's time to sew, sew sew, and then back to the ironing board to check on the results of our experiment:

Which looks awesome so far. It lays perfectly on the dummy, and Rachel is happy, so everybody's happy! Next week we'll drape the back of the dress.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Happy New Year!!!!

I have decided to update my Etsy page, won't you surf on over and take a look?
Mignonette on Etsy!
I've been looking at my super-glam New Year's Eve photos and wondering how I can use them as inspiration for this season. Seriously, I have more ideas than I can shake a stick at, but lots of trouble organizing them in my pointy little head.

In the meantime, I will be updating this blog more frequently. I am planning part two of my wedding in Montreal, if you have any advice (seriously, we have NO IDEA what we are doing and neither of us has ever been there) I will gladly take it.