Hi everyone! I really hadn’t planned on this being a double post, but here it is.

This past weekend we set up at the Crafty Wonderland show here in Portland. We sold lots of our lasered goodies (pop-up cards, pop-up toys, optical toys and lamps) and some of my new lasered and ribboned jewels as well. I have these styles and more in mind, and will be putting them up on our etsy store over the next few days and weeks so check back often!

In the meanwhile I’ve gotten four fabulous New York Times Magazine covers and so am ready for a fashion show!

The Women’s Fashion Summer 2010 Style Magazine not only didn’t inspire (alas) but I found what I hope to be a disturbing typo. This image, reproduced in the magazine from Bettina Rheims’ 2007 book “Heroines” could perhaps more aptly be titled “Heroin’s”. If the title is not an error, I question the judgement of what we’re saying about women. This is as troubling as the fashion world glorifying a starving Kate Moss in the 1990’s. I remember someone going around New York putting little stickers on her posters that said, “Feed me”! My sentiments exactly.

This week’s Design and Living Style Magazine on the other hand is fabulous.

There are many wonderful images here to delight the eye and the imagination.

Miniaturists are always looking for ways to incorporate their collections into their full scale lives. This Fornasetti secretary desk brings a dollhouse to the living room in glorious high style.

There is a treasure trove of tantalizing textiles…

a couple of jazzily covered chairs…

and some designerly Swiss typography.

I didn’t have particular thoughts on what to do with the cover for The New York Times Magazine for April 23rd,

until I saw the perfect dress in this week’s Style section.

Here’s the terrific cover for May 2nd.

The aforementioned Swiss typography put me in mind of another typographic movement, Dadaism, which guided my thoughts as I collaged together this ensemble,

and other fashions from the other covers followed.

“Don’t tell me you’ve finished already and you’re still making more?”

“Yes, Tim. All these tasty fabrics were too tempting.”

“Designer, can I just say that this is looking dated to me. I would urge you to scrap it and just start over.”

“I know, I was starting to worry about it myself…”

“Oh, now this is fun. I like the typographic stockings. This is much better.”


“What is that you’re wearing?”

“Oh, just a little something I whipped up….”

“Well, that’s fun too, anything else?”

“Just one more….”

“Mmmmm nice… love those Turkish shoes… You know Designer, this is quite a collection you’ve made this week, but I think your evening gown is the real show stopper. It looks like it’s made of silk charmeuse. You’d never think you only had a budget of $6 at Food for the Sunday Seattle edition of The New York Times.”

“That’s part of the fun of it Tim, making that kind of transformation.”

“Well, I commend you on your efforts.”

“Thank you so much. That really means a lot.”

“Hi Designer, welcome back!”

“Hi Tim, it’s nice to be here.”

“Did you have a good show?”

“Yes, the Chicago International Miniature Show is fabulous! It’s amazing how all these people from all over the world come together year after year to share their passion for tiny details, and then disperse again back to their normal lives.”

“So much has happened since you’ve been gone. First of all, Seth Aaron Henderson won season 7 of Project Runway! As you know he’s from Vancouver, WA, just north of Portland, and I understand you have a friend who carries his line at a local boutique.”

“Yes, Anne Bocci has long been an appreciator of Seth Aaron’s work and has some of the actual one-of-a-kind pieces worn by his models at Bryant Park for sale in her beautiful shop!  Take a look, it’s very exciting: www.annebocciboutique.com.”

“Wow…. and what have you been up to design-wise?”

“Well, I got lots of my new paper dolls packaged and made up in their little beds with templates and creative papers, and brought them with me to Chicago where they were a big hit!”

“I bet they were!”

“This Saturday I’ll bring them to Crafty Wonderland at the Convention Center in Portland along with our pop-up toys and cards and lamps and my new ribbon necklaces.”

“I hope you’re not too busy to pretend you’re on Project Runway.”

“Not at all! Now that I’m back I’ve had a look at The New York Times Magazine covers for April 12th and the 18th and I’m starting to think about what kind of clothing I’d like to make from them.”

“Great! I understand there was a Design magazine in there too.”

“Yes, my favorite!”

“Perhaps you should have a flip-through to see if you get any cool ideas.”

“Yes, I’d love to….. Here’s some yummy furniture from Milan.”

“I like this flower power…

and these pretty blue dishes…

and I totally LOVE these paper shoes by Emilie Roca and this Klimpt-like Munnu Gem Palace cuff.”

“These delicate mushroom layers are pretty inspirational too, I have to say…

and I’m amused by this fanciful bird-footed table by Meret Oppenheim.”

“Well Designer, it looks like you have a lot to think about.”

“Model, what were you doing while your designer was away?”

“I was practicing for a water ballet.”

“What? That’s a surprise! You are a woman of many talents!”

“Thank you Tim.”

“Why don’t you two go up on the roof where we’re having a little party this evening. You can have a chat about your looks for this week, and then I’ll see you on the runway.”

“Ok! Thanks Tim.”

“Wow, Designer, look at you!”

“I know, I didn’t want all this fabulous color to go to waste. My model wanted something clean and contemporary and I agreed that would be a nice foil for the other looks, but then I had all this leftover fabric and started thinking along the lines of something Manchurian.”

“Well, you certainly are showing a nice range.”

“Model, are you pleased with your outfit?”

“Yes, I like it and I like these slip-on sneakers with their rounded toes and flanged tongues.”

“Mmmmmm. They do look kind of snazzy.”

“I like how your water dress seems to float a bit and I like the reference to a swim cap.”

“Thank you, Nina.”

“Your lace dress is beautiful, very delicate. Does that gather into sort of cuffs at the ankles?”

“Yes Michael, I wanted it to be feminine but also encourage movement.”

“That’s unexpected, I like that you’ve controlled the layering so it’s feminine yet practical.”

“Good job, interesting work this time. We’ll see you next week.”

“Thank you Everyone!”

I have a longtime favorite author, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. She writes prose with a poetic voice, describes silken fabrics and golden threads with tactile elegance, and infuses her words with the pungent sweetspice aroma of Indian flavors. The first book I read of hers was a collection of short stories called, “The Unknown Errors of our Lives”, a poignant description of a myriad of missed connections between caring, well-meaning people. I have since read the works of other Indian authors: Jhumpa Lahiri’s short stories in “Interpreter of Maladies” were especially moving, and I loved the darkly layered, rich complexities of  Bharati Mukherjee’s “Desirable Daughters”. Even Rohinton Mistry’s “A Fine Balance”, a brutal portrayal of the seedy underbelly of Indian society, had hard won moments of transcendent clarity and beauty. One of Chitra Divakaruni’s longer explorations is a book following the lives of two young girls raised side-by-side as siblings, “Sister of My Heart” and its sequel, “The Vine of Desire”, which follows their relationship into adulthood. Today I want to write about my friend Danielle, a sister of my heart.

The New York Times Magazine for April 4th features an article on Norris Church Mailer, the former model and last wife of Norman Mailer. In it she talks about her new book describing her long relationship with Norman, about living with his children from his earlier marriages, and about living with her own art and with art by other family members in her home. There’s only one picture of Norris in the article and you can only see one of her paintings, but I thought I’d share a couple of the other works Norris has which were painted by my friend Danielle.

Both of these pieces are from Danielle’s “Good Daughter” series in which she cradles a book of her father’s and clearly reveals a tenderness in their relationship.

I used to love sitting with Danielle in her studio, knitting and painting, and I used to love our long walks in the forest sharing secrets. Now we live with our families on opposite sides of the country but still have our studio talks by phone and still keep each other close at heart.

Born a day apart, we both started out as child artists, she painting elaborate patterns on kid gloves which she sold at Henri Bendel’s in New York and me making intricately patterned textile designs which I also sold in New York, to the trade. We didn’t know each other then nor when we overlapped junior year at Smith (living in neighboring houses), but met years later as adults in our tiny town in Connecticut. In time we returned to New York for a show of our figurative works in a gallery on Lexington Avenue.

While gazing at the cover of The New York Times Magazine this week, I imagine I can find all the colors of Danielle’s rainbow.

I will be away next week for the Chicago International miniature show where I’ll be offering my paper dolls, miniature buttons & wooden shops, www.bishopshow.com, and so will write a double post the following week using today’s fabulous New York Times Magazine covers plus other surprise covers yet to come. In the meantime, please visit Danielle’s site, and enjoy! www.daniellemailer.com


And PS, about the gay bunnies and the 450+ other species of animals that have been known to exhibit homosexual behavior (according to today’s cover story)… well… I hope these findings will give the antigay movement a thing or two to contemplate.


This week one of our designers went out on a date with our friend and fellow blogger, Marty Wombacher. Marty’s embarked on a tour of 365 New York bars, visiting one a night, sampling a few beers, and writing up an enjoyable review. It seemed Marty could use some company on one of his excursions, so our designer, deserving a break from all the hard work of being on Project Runway, met Marty at his place with butterflies in her stomach, before heading off to one of the hottest date bars in New York, “The White Rabbit”. As you can see, he was a gentleman and most attentive host….

Marty has a book out called, “99 Beers”. It’s about an earlier bar crawl where he visited 99 bars on his 2 week vacation from his night job and lived to tell the (often hilarious) tale. To ask Marty about his books and follow his exploits, you can visit his blog: http://www.aguywalksinto365bars.com/ Thanks, Marty, for a lovely evening!

Here’s the cover of The New York Times Magazine for Mar 28th. Someone seems to be missing. Who’s not there?… Ah, it’s Tiger…. Perhaps he’s also out on a date with a doll…. He’s thinking of coming back for the Waste Management Tour, and while golfers miss him, I’m not sure everyone in America is ready for him to come out of the Woods just yet. We may all be holding our breath….

Here we have a New York Times Travel Style Magazine too, something definitely worth a flip through.

Ohhhh, Alice’s caterpillar!

Some gorgeous foliage….

Mmmmmm, paper doll collage! Now we’re talkin’!

And look at this lovely fluttery dress made of vintage silk Balmain scarves by the Paris-based label E2. It’s charming, unique, reused…

and best of all?… It fits!!!

I think it’s time for all the caterpillars to become butterflies….

“Designer, that lava butterfly dress is HOT.”

“I think the proper term is, ‘Smokin”!”

“Yes, and it has a nice flow to it….”

“It looks expensive too, with the diamond broach and shoes and the contrasting combination of fabrics. It doesn’t look like you only spent $6 at Food.”

“I agree and I’m also liking the Tiger butterfly outfit with the Nike hat.

“Well, thank you everyone!”

“Good work, Designer, you’re IN. You can leave the runway.”

Wow! Check out this house, featured in The New York Times Magazine, for March 21st. It was built by a couple who found an unlikely spot (an old sandstone quarry in Festus, Missouri) and moved in, accessorized it, and made it their own. Next time I’m in the market for a cave I’ll be sure to check eBay!!

I wonder what the building inspector had to say, let alone Planning and Zoning.

I’m going to do something similar this week with the cover of the magazine: move into it and customize it to my liking….


“Yes, Tim?”

“We have a surprise for you today.”


“Uh-oh is right. We’ve decided to have you make a second outfit from the same cover this week, with no extra time or budget.”


“Whoa indeed, AND we’d like you to pick one page from inside the magazine to make a third look as well. Two of the outfits will be for your model and one of the cover looks will be for you.”

“Wow, I’d better work fast, I don’t have much time!”

“Ok Designer, but work thoughtfully, you only have one chance at this. Ok?”

“Ok, Tim.”

“Ok… work, work, work. I’ll see you on the runway.”

“Wow, Designer, you’ve really hit it out of the park today. This is great!”

“What’s the story with those sort of sneakers?”

“Those are newfangled, modernist, bunny high-tops.”

“Very cool. These looks are fabulous. You seem to have a way with menswear and the accessories are to die for!!”

“Thanks, I feel good about the looks I’ve created today.”

“Well you should, Designer. You should be very proud of yourself. Well done. In fact, you are the WINNER today! You’re IN. You can leave the runway.”

“Whoopee! Thanks!”

Everything I need for inspiration this week is in The New York Times Men’s Style Magazine.

Now here’s a guy who looks like he’d rather be wearing something fun!

How about these looks by Dries Van Noten and Thom Browne for example? You’ve got yellow edged with black, some diamond and plaid patterning….

I happen to notice both these fellows are wearing socks. A lot of the models in the magazine don’t seem to have any and I know a lot of sock knitters who’d probably be more than happy to help them out.

Here’s the cover from The New York Times Magazine from March 14th.

Hmmmm, yellow and black. I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to see a bit of a thread here.

I’m finding it difficult to find words to to express my passion for this suit from Alexander McQueen’s fall 2010 collection. It’s wonderful that he invented such beauty. I wish he could have continued to lead a creative life. I love the way he married a large scale print with the clean lines of this slim suit. His stunning confection is thoughtfully paired here by Suzy Menkes with William Morris’s Acanthus wallpaper from 1875.
I think it’s relating to this braided wheat and dandelion “Nouveau” pattern by Jennifer Sampou, as well, which I happen to have in these two related colorways. While I’ve loved these fabrics for years, I found them difficult to wear, but see now they can definitely be used to magnificent effect.

“Designer, how are you doing?”

“Pretty well, I think, Tim. I’ve got some great covers to work with this week.”

“Yes, I agree… striking color, some rich tonalities….”

“I’m thinking I want to cut my garments very carefully, to do some impeccable tailoring for this challenge if I have time.”

“Ok Designer, but don’t try to do too much. Simplicity and clarity are important factors too. I’ll let you be. Make it work!”

“Thanks, Tim, I will!”

“Designer, this is the oddest looking getup you’ve sent down the runway yet. What happened?”

“Well, I was thinking about the curved shapes in the print in Alexander McQueen’s beautiful suit. I looked at the cover I had to work with and thought I’d feature those nice curves in the golden T. I cut the bowl shape in half along the median to make two crescents, but they were different sizes, so I didn’t have the desired symmetry and ended up offsetting them. I made two shapes out of the top of the T also, again by cutting lengthwise along the midline, but they came out being pretty similar and I couldn’t get a mirror symmetry by rotating them, so my efforts to make matched opposing elements to work with came to naught.”

“Designer, you did all this thinking, but you didn’t think about covering the human form in a flattering way.”

“And her boobies don’t show!”

“Well, yes Nina and Heidi, you’re both right, but I did try to go for flow, in hopes it would suggest fabric.”

“Hmmmm, I see that, and we do like your yellow and black number, but we’re disappointed in your homage to Alexander McQueen.”

“I agree. I really think so highly of him and feel he’s greatly missed in the fashion world. I hate to do an injustice.”

“That’s all right Designer. You gave it your all. You’re IN, we’ll see you next week.”

“Thank you so much.”

While The New York Times Magazine for March 7th is hotly debating the merits of electronic books on Kindle (“Shelf Life” by Virginia Heffernan) vs. The New York Times Book Review’s “Library Science” which extols the virtues of books printed on paper, I’m finding myself (a dedicated paper book lover, married to a former Knopf designer) not so interested in the debate, and captivated instead by the new home of the BodyVox Dance Center which is located around the corner from our shop in Portland, Oregon.

The BodyVox Company, formed by Artistic Directors Jamey Hampton and Ashley Roland (formerly of Momix, ISO Dance and Pilobolus) has developed a form of movement that is wonderfully creative, lyrical, accessible, humorous and enjoyable for all. BodyVox offers outreach programs to schools in the community, and as a result, children familiar with their work take obvious delight in the playful choreography at BodyVox concerts. The center offers a dance camp for kids, boom box ballet and break-dance for teens, modern and classical ballet classes for adults, as well as Laure Redmond’s fabulous Stretch Appeal class, which looks something like this:

(This is the first time all 12 of my paper dolls have been together, since I just finished making them all. They’ll soon each be available in their own kits with creative papers for budding fashion designers to work with, but first they need to get a little exercise.)

I attended the recent BodyVox-2 performance and found the quality of these skilled younger dancers to be excellent and the choreography to be fun and endearing.

I can’t wait for the next BodyVox concert, March 26-April 10, where the whole company will perform Smoke Soup.

Watching the dancers rehearse has been truly inspiring,

and the costumes Ashley Roland is creating for the Smoke Soup concert are beautiful and inspired too.

Imagine, Ashley Roland is not only a Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of the company, but a choreographer, dancer and costume designer as well! My hat’s off to her!

To find out more visit:  www.bodyvox.com