June 28, 2013

Origami Wedding Cake Toppers


Lu Sun, a talented origami artist, 
has found a perfect means to uniquely express her creativity: 
wedding cake toppers!

Unique, custom designed art that will add personal flair to the wedding festivities! 
Listen in while I interview Lu and find out a little more~

When did you first learn the art of origami?
Sometimes I feel like origami is in my genes. Ever since I can remember, which is at around 2 years old, I've been playing with paper. In the remote village in China where I grew up, manufactured toys were scarce and expensive, so I was lucky to have such a versatile medium through which I could unleash my imagination. My favorite activity as a toddler was opening an origami design folded by an adult and coloring in the squares and triangles created from the folds. It wasn't until I was 3 years old in preschool that I first learned how to fold origami animals.

How did you happen to start creating your bride and groom cake toppers?
My favorite thing to make is people, hence the custom bride and groom cake toppers. I find the shape and proportions of the human form absolutely beautiful. With a few bends of the paper at just the right places, a flat surface transforms into a figure.
I had the desire to create something unique and memorable for such an occasion. The brides and grooms love the fact that we can replicate them on their wedding day: from hair to dress, shirt and tie. We purposely make the toppers featureless to emphasize the timelessness of the husband and wife in wedded bliss.

With a background in art and industrial design, Lu makes gift items for her online store, "Lulu's Little Shop".  She and her business partner, Hun, are both 1st generation Americans and share "a great appreciation for different cultures around the globe." 

I can't get over the detailing! Exquisite!

Look at the back view of this couple. Her hairstyle is amazing!

Have you had any unusual special order requests? 
After about a year of making bride and groom toppers, we received a request from a couple in Brazil to include their dog in the topper. It only makes sense; pets are an important part of the family!

To learn origami techniques, has there any one special book or website that you've used?
I admire many great masters of origami, and collect books of their art. Each one has his own unique style of recreating objects and animals in paper form. Today, my one-stop-shop for learning origami is the internet. YouTube offers easy step-by-step instructions for folding popular origami designs, and Flickr shows a wonderful collection of inspiring designs.

You can see/touch/feel Lu's cake toppers in person at 
Creative Invites and Events, 121 West Benson Street in Cincinnati, Ohio. 
It's an adorable wedding stationary boutique located in the heart of the Reading bridal district. 

Lulu's Little Shop will be exhibiting in downtown Chicago, Illinois 
with the Chicago Loop Alliance in the upcoming months.

I'm crazy about this fabulous origami!
Can't say that I'm not partial to her name, either. ;)

More of Lulu's Little Shop here:

Images used with direct permission from Lu Sun.

June 26, 2013

Food Cross-Section Photos by Beth Galton


Check out these fun pics of cross-sections of food,
taken by New York photographer Beth Galton.





A shout out to Charlotte Omnes, Food Stylist.

Visit Beth Galton's website and Facebook page.

Photos used with direct permission from Beth Galton.

June 24, 2013

Michael Swaine - Mending for the People

photo credit - Gil Regio, Jr.

This month, as part of my "Let's Give Back" series, I'm featuring Michael Swaine. A ceramics professor at the California College of the Arts, Michael gives back by devoting the 15th of every month to helping others less fortunate.

Helping doesn't have to mean writing a big check, or committing to huge chunks of time. Michael is the perfect illustration of somebody who does a small thing that means a lot. Having recognized his talent for sewing, he decided to offer mending services free of charge to the community, expecting nothing in return.

Michael built himself a wheeled push cart, similar to an old fashioned ice cream cart with an umbrella. It's mounted with a simple treadle-operated sewing machine.

He chose the Tenderloin District of San Francisco, an area with a rough reputation of drugs, crime and homelessness. In particular, he heads to the Tenderloin National Forest, an alleyway turned neighborhood park.

Michael likes the idea of repairing what we have, in a world more apt to throw things away. He enjoys meeting people, connecting with each one. Many customers have become regulars. They often pull up one of the chairs that Michael brings, and hang out for a while. They appreciate that he's there with a smile and a listening ear, happy to share stories.

What a great inspiration for how each of us can turn our efforts toward giving! The beauty is in the giving of ourselves. What are my particular skills and talents? How can I use them to help others? The mending is just part of the gift that Michael gives; the better part is the gift of caring.

Watch this fabulous YouTube video to learn more about Michael's mending. 
You'll also hear about the Tenderloin National Forest. 
Be inspired!

June 21, 2013

Mimi Kirchner Dolls

Mimi Kirchner works from her home in Arlington, Massachusetts. She designs and hand-stitches dolls, each one unique and seeming to exude its own personality. I'm enamored with these baby dolls - such precious papoose bundles! They're embellished with Mimi's sweet applique work.

Her supply stash has both new and vintage items she's collected through the years, including a treasure trove of fabric, bric-a-brac, scraps and trims from her mother's accumulation of over 50 years as a fashion seamstress. The magic happens when Mimi chooses just the perfect detail to finish off each and every doll. It's all in the details!

Here's Mimi's studio, where she kicks her creativity into gear!


Here's a close-up of one of Mimi's owls, 
looking most debonair in his hounds-tooth waistcoat.


 How about this young lady? I love her tweed tights.


The workmanship is truly impressive.


A school of Mimi's fish.


A macho lumberjack in his traditional buffalo plaid shirt. 
His curly black hair and beard are made from wool chenille fabric, 
and his tattoos are toile.

The generals, so handsome and resplendent in uniform!

A closer look at the regalia of medals.


Now, get ready to be charmed by Mimi's Tiny World Pincushions!



She makes animals, as well. Here are two of my favorites.



Meet Mimi Kirchner! 
She tells you her story in the following Etsy video. 
I'm sure you'll find it infatuating!

Photo credit - Sarah Deragon

Explore The Art and Craft of Mimi Kirchner:

All photos used with direct permission from Mimi Kirchner.

June 20, 2013

The Art of ... Owls


A wise old owl sat on an oak;
The more he saw, the less he spoke;
The less he spoke, the more he heard;
Why aren't we like that wise old bird?
-Edward Hersey










June 19, 2013

Eldreth Pottery


The Eldreth Pottery Showroom and Factory is located in 
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in a town called Oxford. 

After driving down bucolic country roads, here's what you see. 
Doesn't this just beckon you to go in and take a look?


What a welcoming entrance!


Meet Dave & Faye Eldreth, and their daughter Dana.
All the warmth of a family-owned business!


Eldreth Pottery was established in 1982, with beginnings in a basement, followed by growth and success!


I'll take one of each of these great coffee mugs!


All the pottery is handmade using traditional German techniques.


Everything is food safe, plus oven, microwave & dishwasher safe.


A lovely menagerie!


The sheen of salt-glaze!


Oh, the variety of beautifully painted plates!


Here are some of the Redware Annual Santas. 
Other Annual Collections feature Snowmen and Salt-glazed Santas.


Accent your garden with Bird Houses and Bird Feeders!
Toad Houses, Lanterns and Bird Baths are available too.


Lovin' the koi, and this whimsical mermaid.


Pete took me behind the scenes. From the mixer to the kilns, this is where the action is!


Snowmen and Santas all lined up. Everything was so orderly. 


Talented artisans at work.


Every piece is hand painted, then signed and dated by the artist.


Tools of the trade.


The big kilns.




The Oxford Showroom & Factory is located at 902 Hart Rd. Oxford, PA.

There's a Strasburg Showroom at 246 N. Decatur St. in Strasburg, PA,
and a shop in Peddler's Village located at Routes 202 & 263 in Lahaska, PA.


Here's the Eldreth Pottery website.

Also find them on Facebook!

I so enjoyed my visit! I couldn't resist bringing home a purchase,
which I can't tell you about since I'd reveal the secret gift for a special someone!
(After I give it to her, I'll come back and show you a photo.)