The Beauty of Fall in Your Home

By Naira Ruiz

There’s so much to love about fall. The temperature is perfect, our favorite treats get a pumpkin spice makeover and fall foliage, with its vibrant red, gold and orange tones, is absolutely gorgeous.

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It’s the one time of year where I’m constantly stopping to soak in the rich, natural beauty around me.

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But it wasn’t until fairly recently that I realized fall décor can be equally stunning. Take a look at these high-quality, hand-crafted items that evoke the spirit of fall but also work if you decide to display them all year round!

A nod to fall’s rich colors 

From the moment I first saw them, I fell in love with these metal leaf ornaments by Still Life.

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They start with an actual leaf that’s then preserved in gold, silver or copper. Each ornament takes approximately seven hours to create and the detailing is so remarkable that you can actually see the leaf’s intricate vein pattern.

 

These make perfect host or hostess gifts. You can give one by itself or use it to spruce up a bottle of wine.

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Go here to choose the Aspen Leaf style or here for the Sugar Maple. Once you decide on which leaf you want, you can specify if you want it in gold, silver or copper.

 

A nod to fall’s cheerfulness and whimsy
Jack Pine’s iridescent, mini glass pumpkins look charming displayed on table tops and bookshelves.

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And you don’t have to stick with traditional orange— they come in an assortment of vivid colors!

Click here to see a selection.

 

A subtle nod to fall

These functional, stoneware leaf trays and plates by Hank Goodman are great for those looking for fall décor that’s very subtle.

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With their simple but elegant lines, they complement both contemporary and traditional settings. You can use them to serve appetizers or use a plate stand to display them like art.

 

You can find the leaf tray here.

 

Four Gifts That Will Spark A Child’s Imagination

By Naira Ruiz

Have you ever given a gift to a small child but soon discovered they were more fascinated by the wrapping paper or box the gift came in, than the gift itself? If so, you’re not alone. Almost every parent has a story like this. That’s because small children can be notoriously finicky when it comes to toys.

Over the years, I’ve learned that high-tech or expensive toys aren’t necessarily the best toys. Good toys, the ones kids cherish, engage their natural curiosity without feeling too obviously educational. As one wise blogger at Babble put it, if a toy “screams ‘this is for learning’” it feels too much like school and that can turn a child off.

But don’t fret! If you’re determined to buy something that a child will actually play with, I’ve got you covered. Here are five simple gifts that are sure to spark a kid’s imagination.

1.) A Wooden Teleidoscope (for ages 9 and up)
Teleidoscopes allow you to see the world around you as though it were an intricate quilt or creative work of art. Unlike kaleidoscopes, teleidoscopes use objects outside the instrument to form patterns. This means the possible visual effects are endless.

For example, see how a teleidoscope transforms a crosswalk and my face into quilted patterns.

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But what truly makes this wooden teleidoscope so special is that not only is it fun to play with, it’s also gorgeously designed. Older children will be able to treasure this gift into adulthood.
You can find a wide range of teleidoscopes in our stores or click here to check out the kaleidoscope and teleidoscope section on our website.

2.) Stack and Scare Wood Block Set (for ages 3 and up)
The traditional wood block set gets a quirky spin with this stackable monster set. It’s crafted from sustainable basswood and printed with non-toxic inks. Children can mix and match shapes to create numerous creature combinations.

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You can find the Charlie Monster Block Set here and the Rodney Monster Block Set here.
3.) I Can Dance /I Can Play Board Books (for ages 2 and up)
Parents who are just beginning to read stories to their small children will appreciate this interactive board book. Using the holes (which are on every page), little kids will get a hoot out of making dancers tap and athletes sprint just by wiggling their fingers.

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You can find both books in our stores. Click here to see which store is closest to you.

4.) Walnut Shape Stacker (for toddlers)
This beautiful, handcrafted, developmental toy will provide a baby or toddler with hours of fun as they work on their fine and gross motor skills. The different shapes and types of wood encourage shape and color recognition.

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You can find the walnut shape stacker here and other handcrafted toys for babies here.

Inspired By Nature

Recently I had the good fortune to travel to the beautiful city of Barcelona.  There are many things to love about the city, but the most impressive of all was the proliferation of buildings designed by the renowned architect Antoni Gaudi.

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Sagrada Familia Cathedral Interior

Gaudi was highly skilled and used nature as one of his primary inspirations.  The magnificent Sagrada Familia Cathedral is one of the finest examples of this fact.

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Appalachian Spring features jewelry that is also inspired by nature.  Michael Michaud is the designer of Silver Seasons Jewelry.  This unique jewelry is made by creating molds that are taken from an actual leaf, branch or flower.  A mold is created around the botanical element and as it is heated the plant matter burns away and leaves behind a beautifully detailed mold of itself.  The result is a stunning piece of jewelry that captures the exquisite detail of nature.

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Color Your World

 

Ann Carol Bracelets

Janet Schroeder has been fascinated by Classical and Modern art from an early age.  When she was a teenager she discovered that she loved to create jewelry, and she began honing her skills to become proficient in silversmithing.  In 1999, Janet began working with Carol Baretz of Ann Carol Designs and was then able to combine her two passions.  Carol introduced Janet to resin enamel colors, and the two began to fabricate unique pieces of jewelry.
Earrings

Using sterling silver as a canvas, the resins are hand painted and then allowed to air dry. Meticulous care is taken to ensure that every detail of Ann Carol Designs jewelry is special and something to be treasured. Some pieces may take many cycles to fuse the colors into an intricately beautiful piece of wearable art.  The result is a beautiful treasure meant to last a lifetime.

Janet Schroeder

Janet Schroeder

Going green…or blue or yellow!

 

 

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Buy 3 and get the 4th piece for FREE! *

My favorite “green” artist today is Fire & Light. This studio is at home in the first community in America that took serious action on recycling. After hauling their recyclables miles and miles away to the nearest big city to re-purpose, the town met and decided they needed a better solution. Breaking up into groups for glass, paper and plastic, each team brainstormed. And the glass group came up with the Fire & Light studio concept. Collect the glass, sort the glass, teach young people how to melt it and cast it into brand new pieces to delight the eye and dazzle the table. 363 group 2106 group

 

And there we have it. Eight colors, eleven forms and enumerable ways to mix and match to set your table for summer. Dishwasher safe, table ready and the perfect accent to your everyday china, Fire & Light offers years of pleasure and service. My personal favorite is the “pasta” bowl, which I use as a dinner plate over and over. Grilled salmon in a nest of polenta with a tangy sweet pepper sauce and a side of shaved brussels sprouts with cranberries and pecans makes a beautiful presentation in my citrus colored bowls.

Breakfast is always brighter with juice in my Fire & Light tumbler. Weighted on the bottom, I never fear that I will tip it over before I am awake enough to meet the day!

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* Lowest priced item will be credited as free.
Can not be combined with other offers or promotions/discounts. 


 

 

 

Everyday is Earth Day

Although the calendar reminds us April 22 is Earth Day, everyday is Earth Day for Colorado-based textile artist, Ayn Hanna.  Formally trained as a professional fine art printmaker, Ayn began exploring the textile medium in 2005.  We are delighted to be carrying Ayn’s Eco-dyed, silk charmeuse and crepe de chine scarves at Appalachian Spring.

Ayn Hanna Leave on Fabric

Ayn begins the eco-dyeing process by collecting local plant leaves, flowers and stems and bundling these within the silk fabric.  The bundles are then tightly wrapped around a stick, sometimes adding metal pieces to achieve even greater color variations.

The next step is to boil or steam the bundles in a pot of water with leaves of various color hues.  The bundles rest a while before Ayn unwraps them to reveal the unique colors and marks left upon the silk.  Ayn then works her magic to skillfully finish the eco-dyed silk into beautiful scarves.

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We encourage you to visit any of our four store locations to see for yourself the beauty of nature’s colors and marks that can be achieved when combining water, heat, plants and metal.  Although these scarves are not available on our website, you will find many other beautiful scarf selections in our fashion department.

Ayn Hanna

Ayn Hanna

Shout Out to Spring!

Awww…  gorgeous Springtime!

Who doesn’t love this time of year, with all of its glorious colors!

Tulip Fields, Willamette Valley, Oregon

Tulip Fields, Willamette Valley, Oregon

Springtime is also a time of year when many floral designs make an appearance in Appalachian Spring’s jewelry. 

One of our latest offerings can be seen in the new Terry Pool collection.

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Each of Terry’s creations begins with a handmade sketch, where Terry works out the details of each piece.

Tool Drawing

Tool Drawing

Terry also has a sense of humor, as evidenced in this photo we took when we perused Terry’s newest collection, premiered at the American Made Show in DC.  We laughed and enjoyed, as we know you will!

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A State of Wonder

Those of us lucky enough to live in Washington DC were treated this past season to a ground-breaking exhibit at the Renwick Gallery entitled “Wonder.”  Much has been written about this well-attended installation and I for one think it speaks for itself.

Jennifer Angus, In the Midnight Garden detail, 2015, Photo by Ron Blunt

Jennifer Angus, In the Midnight Garden detail, 2015, Photo by Ron Blunt

My favorite room in the exhibit was Jennifer Angus’s “insect room.”  It was simply mind-boggling!

Photo by Ron Blunt

Photo by Ron Blunt

 

Ms. Angus’s insects reminded me of a jeweler whose work we’ve carried for years, Laurie Flannery.  Laurie’s charming bees, dragonflies and birds are the perfect reminder for us to rejoice in the fact that springtime is a glorious time to live in this vibrant city!

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Dragonfly Pin by Laurie Flannery

Gardening in DC in April!

It’s springtime in DC and we are enjoying the bounty of the Cherry Blossom bloom!

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Photo credit Copyright: David M. Dworkin 2016.

 

Now all things turn to gardening and spending time outdoors.

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So we set out our birdhouses

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including our latest acquisitions from Five Ply

 

5 ply bird houses

and plant Carruth critters in the moist mud.

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And we wander back down to the tidal basin for inspiration.

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Photo credit Copyright: David M. Dworkin 2016

 

 

 

Picasso and NY NOW

This year the NY NOW trade show coincided with MoMA’s unprecedented Picasso sculpture exhibit. Being able to take time to attend this once-in-a-lifetime exhibit helps me appreciate all the great design I see when buying jewelry at the show.

Woman in the Garden, 1929-30, Paris

Woman in the Garden, 1929-30, Paris

It’s always exciting to see new work from our jewelers.  One of my favorites is Stacy King, who started Lulu Designs in 1997.  Working as a production potter for 10 years gave Stacy insight into the art of balancing form with color. As Stacy became interested in jewelry, her mastery of ceramics gave her unique tools for becoming a self-taught jeweler.

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Lulu Designs began as an idea, a desire to create beauty in the world.  Clearly, Stacy’s vision is being realized in every one of her designs – jewelry that is simple yet elegant, handcrafted to let the life and power of each stone and metal shine through.

Stacy King

Stacy King

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