Color Trends: I’m Loving SAPPHIRE

May 14, 2015 Trend Love 0 Comments

I LOVE color. I also love the color sapphire, so much so that it was my engagement ring stone of choice (I know how Princess Kate of me). It just so happens that in 2015, I’m noticing the color sapphire everywhere. You could call it a trendy color at the moment, but it’s also classic and sure to never really go out of style.

Trends come in and out of favor, most repeating themselves, over and over again in different iterations. As for color, there are big color forecasting organizations that conduct lots of research to issue new “hot” colors each year. The fashion industry, the automotive industry and even the home design industry all weigh in and (I would guess) cater their product lines toward the colors that their team of experts think will sell best to the masses.

I enjoy looking at what paint companies have deemed their “new” or “top” colors of the year. Also, keeping an eye on the fashion industry helps since they move so quickly from season to season, and collection to collection. Often interior design trends follow fashion trends.

Alright, so that’s my diatribe on color trends at the moment. Here’s a look at a pretty moodboard for all you other sapphire lovers out there. I think decorating with sapphire, especially in large quantities, feels bold, moody and regal. I’m usually only one of the three (read: moody), so I think that’s why I love sapphire so much. I want to be more bold and regal. Who doesn’t? See all the links below!

color trend sapphire mood board



My Favorite Art Resources

There comes a moment in most 20 or 30 somethings lives when you realize that you need art, you need art real bad. You need actual frames on the walls, and heck you might even be up for that “gallery wall” everyone is talking about. When I moved in with my boyfriend (now husband) six years ago, he actually tried to convince me that his precious, The Price Is Right T-Shirt, complete with name tag was sufficient wall art for our apartment. I strongly disagreed and proceeded to bury the t-shirt in a moving box he would never find.

Fast-forward to today, and I know a lot more about where to buy prints and affordable art. We love to collect original artwork when we can, but right now those are still splurge moments. Artwork (prints or originals) can really complete the look of a space, and even become a central inspiration or focal point for a room. I find that many of my clients have trouble trusting their instincts when it comes to choosing artwork, and they are always interested in my suggestions and resources.

Luckily there are many awesome art marketplaces popping up online, which make it easy to order framed works and support artists. One such marketplace is MINTED. Minted started out with stationary and still does great printable invitations and such, but what I love most is their art marketplace. They use a crowd-sourcing model to decide which artwork will sell, and they offer multiple framing options for each print. They have good search functions if you want to narrow your medium to illustration, photography, etc. Here are some of my current favorites on the site.

minted artwork centered by design

1. Life on Mars – Matthew Sampson  2. Point of View – R Studio  3. Mineral 03 – Lily Hanna  4. Do It Anyway 2 – Kristi Kohut  5. California Dreams – Alexandra Nazari  6. Distant Island Pier – Julia Contacessi

Another site that I think curates their selections well is One Kings Lane. I especially like the Gray Malin prints they carry, and I also enjoy their partnerships with lesser known artists. I was thrilled to see they were carrying work by Emily Proud, a California-based watercolor artist, I had discovered through Instagram. I was so happy to be able to purchase one of her prints in a large scale and at an affordable price!


1. Gray Malin – La Fontelina Beach Club  2. Emily Proud – The River

Natural Curiosities is a great resource for designers, and they do sell to the public as well (although it can be on the pricey side). They are based in LA and their founder, Christopher Wilcox, has been collecting art work for more than 20 years. I am obsessed with the Paule Marrot (1902 – 1987) art prints they carry. Marrot was French-born and was known for her innovative use of color and textiles.

pm2 pm1 pm4 pm3

Butterfly Blue, Fete, Clouds, Pink Birds. All works pictured by Paule Marrot sold through Natural Curiosities.

Etsy and Ebay are my other go-to places to find artwork. I’ll often use these sites when I’m trying to find something vintage. Etsy also has pretty good search functions when you are trying to find something very specific like “mermaid artwork” for a little girl’s room.


Mermaid print by Sascalia on Etsy

A few last sites to check out include the following. If you are based in Chicago, it’s worth a trip to Ravenswood to visit Neighborly. It’s a great little gift, home accessories, and poster shop that curates and frames a nice selection of local art prints. I especially love the Flatmade print pictured below, which Neighborly did carry (and hopefully still does!).

chicago has a great lake print flatmade

TONS of places to get some killer art. Go put something on your walls!


The Best Spots for Outdoor Summer Yoga in Chicago

What’s better than a well-rounded yoga class? In my opinion, it’s yoga in NATURE!

There’s nothing better than breathing in fresh air and feeling the breeze on your toes, while you practice yoga outside. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to teach yoga at some pretty neat places in Chicago. And, since our outdoor yoga season is limited, I wanted to share some of my favorite spots with you ASAP, so you can get your outdoor yoga ON this summer!

Below is a list of all my favorite Chicago yoga spots for summer, and my upcoming yoga schedule. I’d love to see you at yoga!


 Claire’s Summer Yoga Class Schedule:

  • Saturdays, 9 – 10am, Hatha/Vinyasa, Lincoln Park Zoo Nature Boardwalk, $20 drop-in, begins May 30th
  • Sunday, May 31st 10 – 11am, Logan Square Farmer’s Market, FREE class
  • Tuesdays, 8:30 – 9:30am, Vinyasa Flow, Tula Yoga Studio
  • Butterfly Haven Yoga – Pre-registration only



Take in views of the city skyline as you connect with nature at the zoo. Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo provides a unique, peaceful environment for practicing yoga amidst shady trees, chirping birds and the warm summer breeze.


  • Wednesdays 6:30 – 7:30pm
  • Saturdays 9 – 10am
  • Sundays 9 – 10am and 10:30 – 11:30am



Try a rejuvenating class in the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven. Warm temperatures, lots of greenery, a waterfall and butterflies make for a tropical yoga experience. Students will leave class feeling energized, balanced and ready to take their practice off the mat and out into the world. Space is limited and registration required.

  •  CLASS TIME: Saturdays 8:30 – 9:45am



Challenge your balance and water skills with SUP yoga and Kayak Chicago. Bring your own paddleboard or rent one and try a yoga class on Lake Michigan! Class times vary, private lessons, and private group classes are available.



Sun and Moon Beach Yoga offers a serene and beautiful environment for your yoga practice. You can connect with Mother Nature as the sun rises or sets while the waves crash against the shore. The instructors are here to guide the students through physical postures (asanas), and breathing techniques (pranayama). Classes will start Friday, May 22nd and run through Monday, September 7th.



Start your weekends with Saturday morning Workouts on the Great Lawn and enjoy classes in tai chi, yoga, pilates and zumba. Classes begin June 6, and run through Sept. 7, 2015.



Join Tula Yoga Studio instructors and BYOM (bring your own mat) for a lively yoga session along Logan Boulevard. After a few sun salutations, enjoy the delicious food and market stall vendors. Class every Sunday at 10am during market season.

I can personally vouch for all these yoga locations! You’ll have a blast wherever you end up. Grab your mat and head out to your backyard too, there’s nothing like savasana with some sun and a breeze. Happy almost summer Chicago!



Women Who MAKE: Argaman&Defiance

April 30, 2015 Interviews 0 Comments

It’s the second installment of Women Who MAKE, yay! If you’re new to the blog, welcome! This is a monthly post profiling creative women who inspire me with their hands-on talents. This month, it’s my pleasure to introduce you Lydia Crespo of Argaman&Defiance (see below for more about the company namesake).

Lydia has a natural gift for taking everyday items (what have you ever done with onion skins?) and making them into extraordinary things of beauty. I fell in love with her silk scarves and bought one in gray (who knew it was the most popular color). I have been admiring her work since! Read on to learn more about how Lydia got her small business started and what she’s dreaming about five years down the road.

Name: Lydia Crespo

Age: 29

Current title/company name: Owner – Argaman&Defiance

Years in operation: 5


Argaman&Defiance explained: My first name, Lydia means ‘the maker of purple dye’. That purple dye was described as Argaman, which translates from Hebrew as crimson. Growing up, my grandparent’s home was in Defiance, Missouri located near a popular Missouri nature preserve, Busch Wildlife Sanctuary. This is the place where I spent a good portion of my childhood learning, discovering, nature, which had a great impact on my artwork and designs.

What is your first memory of making [art]?

My grandma is a master of craft. She was always encouraging us to draw, paint, and try book making. My earliest art making memory was of course shared with her. She lived near a nature reserve, so there was lots of wild life running around. She mixed up some plaster and we made molds of the footprints left behind by the deer, foxes, and bunnies.

How did your education or past work experience give you the confidence to go out on your own as a small business owner?

I graduated from SAIC in 2010. I focused my education around the fiber department where I learned how to natural dye. I took advantage of SAIC’s wonderful COOP (intern) program. The COOP program allows students to work side-by-side with professional art administrators, artists, and makers in their studio. It was vital to the success of Argaman&Defiance. I was able to experience first hand the incredible amount of work that goes into owning your own business. Everything from time management, to staying creative, to managing finances was covered. There is no way I would be where I am today with out those amazing learning opportunities and the incredible woman who led me and still continue to do so!

naturally dyed silk scarves argaman&defiance

Tell us about the process of launching your own business, Argaman&Defiance. Best parts? Biggest challenge?

I launched Argaman&Defiance after receiving the James Nelson Raymond BFA Fellowship from SAIC in 2010. The fellowship gave me the means to purchase dye, fabric, a website, and other materials needed to get my studio up and running. The first few years were slow going. I was building a following and brand, which takes times. I used that time to explore what in my collection was working, and who my audience is.

The best part about owning your own business is being in control! I love that I get to choose what stays, what goes, and what direction to take my brand!

The most challenging part is juggling all the roles! I create the collections, I do all my own photography (another best part, I love photo work), I do all the selling, invoicing, and keep the books. My to-do list rarely ends, but I would not have it any other way!


What is your favorite part of the creative process? What inspires you and why?

My favorite part of the creative process is just that – the process! I love problem solving. I am inspired most by other makers! I love seeing their process, working collaboratively, and seeing what they are up to at maker events.

What is the best advice you have for other female entrepreneurs/artists? 

Remember to take care of yourself. Take a coffee break, or an hour off.


Do you have a design philosophy, and if so, what is it?

Try it and see.

Imagine Argaman&Defiance five years, how would you like to grow?

We are moving into a big and better studio this year. In five years, I would like to have three full-time employees and a thriving intern program. As far as product goes, my venture into clothing has been pretty successful so far! I would like to continue to expand that. I have been playing around with the idea of creating a wholesale bridal line. Which will be my focus come 2016.


Do you have a most popular item?

Anything gray. And I have to agree with my buyers, it’s my favorite too!


What do you enjoy most about the creative community here in Chicago?

I love that everyone is so pleasant and willing to help in any way. We might live in a big city, but that Midwest charm is at the heart of the creative community here.

Centered By Design is my business name, but it’s also the idea that we can find a bit of sanctuary each day through design, that good design can center us and make us feel great. Does your design process center you in any way? If so, how?

Absolutely! After a full day in the studio I feel confident, strong, and at peace because I love what I do.


Lydia’s Chicago Favorites:

Your favorite spot to get inspired:

If I need to get out of my studio a really long walk around the city, a coffee house or library does the trick.

Your favorite place to shop for clothes:

Dovetail – 1452 W Chicago Ave. Chicago, IL 60642

Your favorite place to shop for home décor/furniture:

Modern Cooperative – 1215 W 18th St. Chicago, IL 60608

Your favorite place for coffee:

The Winchester’s bottomless cup – 1001 N Winchester Ave. Chicago, IL 60622

Your favorite place for dessert:

Bite – OMG the Fudge Salted Carmel Brownie – 1039 N Western Ave. Chicago, IL 60622


You can find more of Lydia’s work, grab the perfect summer crop top, and pre-order the fabulous kimono pictured above at

Also, don’t miss the Instagram giveaway with Lydia and the monthly giveaways to come! Join me at clairerose1212 on instagram and WIN!


Hope you are inspired to MAKE!


Photoshop Tutorial: Create Your Own Color Palette

I’ve been slowing building my Photoshop skills. Digital design skills are very important for interior design work today and there are lots of ways to learn, but I’ve found the best way is to keep practicing! I took a local course at the School of the Art Institute Chicago last year, and I’ve done a few quick online classes like THIS one on Skillshare. I like to try and master one or two tools at time and repeat the same steps over and over, which I find is the best way to imprint that tool’s function in my brain.

This brings us to the inspirational color palettes! I am in LOVE with color. Color makes me happy, people respond to color, it evokes our emotions and can set the stage for your design whether it be an interior, event or outfit. Color palettes are uber fun to create, and I wanted the ability to create my own very specific palettes from photographs that inspire me. I find nature especially inspiring when it comes to color, and Photoshop’s tools give you the ability to really hone in a specific hue, tone, tint or shade. The Eyedropper tool makes it really easy to pinpoint colors and their endless variations in Photoshop.

shade tone tint hue color wheel

Here’s a quick review on what those terms mean. Hues are pure color, tints add white, tones add grey, and shades add black – all to the pure color.

Okay, so here we go with the tutorial. It might seem a little daunting, especially if you are very new to Photoshop but don’t worry! If I can figure it out, I promise you can too!

Step 1:

Open Photoshop and click File > New. You’ll see this box pop-up. Name your document and create a width and height. Since I’m usually posting for Instagram I’ll go with a square size, something like 1000 pixels x 1000 pixels. This is a good size for the web. You can leave all the other boxes as is and click okay.

step1Step 2:

You should now see your white box on the screen. It’s time to use the rulers on the top and left of the screen to create divisions to help you keep your image and colors in line. You click and drag on the ruler, and you’ll see a blue line appear. Drag the blue lines from either the top or side to create the desired divisions. If you drop one and don’t like where it is placed, hover over the line and you’ll be able to move it. You can also drag it completely off the white box and it won’t be seen in the final image. Actually, the rulers won’t be seen at all anyways, but just so you know, anything that is not on the white box or your “art board” won’t be seen when you save the image.

step2 Step 3:

You need to bring your inspirational image into Photoshop now. First, save the image to your desktop. Next, drag that image until you are hovering over your Photoshop icon. You will know it’s okay to drop the image when you see the words Adobe Photoshop CC highlight over the icon (I’m doing this on a Mac, btw). When you drop your image the screen will look like the photo below. You’ll have two tabs on the screen. The first is your new file (mine still says Untitled), and then you’ll have the name of whatever image you brought into Photoshop.

step3Step 4:

Okay, here comes the trickiest part. You now have to pull your inspiration image into your file. This takes some trust so just go with it! There are two main steps. 1. You are going to click and drag the tab of your inspiration image and pull it onto the tab of your new file. It’s one motion, just click the tab on the right and drag it towards the tab on the left. When you let go, your screen should look like this. Your image will be on top of the white box and have the label on top. You should see it over on the right labeled Background. 2. To merge the image into the white box you need to do one more drag and drop. Click and drag the whole layer labeled Background into the Photoshop/ art board area. If you look closely, you’ll see a white line come up around the black Photoshop background when you drag it in. Let go and it should like the image has merged with the white box. Go to next step immediately.

step4 Step 5: 

When you drop your image into the white box, you won’t have much control over it until you hit Command – T, this is the transform command and you will see little boxes around the image (just as pictured below). You will also notice that the image is now operating as it’s own layer (look to the right). This is important because we are creating several layers and organizing them within our grid to create the final color palette image. Hold down the shift key and grab a corner of the box to scale the picture bigger or smaller. Fit in inside your grid to your liking.

step5 Step 6:

I’ve placed my inspiration image in the lefthand 2/3 thirds of my grid and divided remaining 1/3 third into 4 parts. You will not see these blue rectangles! In this step, we are creating the rectangles. You should see your blue ruler marks, and if you are creating an image like mine you’ll have grid lines that you need to fill in so we can finally get to the COLOR part! Towards the bottom of your tool bar on the lefthand side you will find the Rectangle tool (hover over tools to read their names). When you click on the rectangle tool you’ll notice your mouse changes to a cross bar, click and drag within your guideline to create a rectangle in each of your empty spaces. Each time you draw a rectangle Photoshop will make it a new layer, and it will name them 1,2,3,4 and so on (see image below).

step6Step 7:

Now comes the fun part!! You are going to change the color of your rectangles to create the perfect color palette. First, click on the layer you want to alter and then double click inside the little box showing your rectangle. When you double click the color picker box will pop-up (like the image below). You can change the rectangle’s color from here, or you can use the Eyedropper tool to pick out an exact color in the image (this is why I do this whole thing in the first place!) being able to pinpoint a color is really fabulous. With the color picker window open, click the eyedropper tool and click anywhere in your image. You’ll see the current color in the bottom of the window and whatever color you’re clicking on in the top window (notice the blue/green split on the image below). You can click around as much as you want, once you have found the color you want to use hit Okay in the color picker box, and that rectangle is good to go! Repeat this step for all your rectangles.

step7Step 8: 

You are almost done! The image is ready to save. Go to File > Save for Web. The following box will pop-up. You can leave everything as it is, but you have the option to adjust the image size (px = pixel) if needed. Simply press Save and save your customized color palette so you can share it with the world!

step8Here are some of my color palette creations:






Hope you give this a try! Feel free to message me with any questions or issues that arise.



A Quick & Dirty Gallery Wall Tutorial

All right DIY lovers, this gallery wall tutorial is called “quick and dirty” for good reason. This isn’t your perfectly positioned, heirloom framed; spend all day nailing holes in your wall type of gallery wall. This sort of gallery wall has a modern elegance that says, “I’m creative, on a budget, and I like to get things done.”

I was inspired to give this project a shot when one of my favorite online design sites, Rue Magazine, suggested using magazine tears as artwork. Brilliant! The entire project cost less than $100 and once the frames were purchased it only took about two hours to complete the finished look. There are of course endless variations on the gallery wall theme, but here’s how you can give this look a go.


  • Picture ledge (mine was Ikea’s RIBBA) & drill
  • Picture frames (mine were a selection of black frames with mats)
  • Magazines from around the house. Good places to pick up free magazines (with nice editorial photos) are clothing and home stores. Also, calendars work well too!
  • Masking tape/scissors

Step 1 –

Purchase your picture rails and frames. Install the picture rails according to the directions. If you want to one-stop shop you know where to go. I highly advocate thrifting of course, but for this particular look I wanted all black frames, photo mats, and to work quickly.


Step 2 –

Go to town tearing up your magazines. If you’ve got a bird calendar, try going with the theme. Another option is to create categories of what inspires you such as travel, food, pattern, fashion, textiles…whatever it maybe. As you rip, put the tears into the different piles. Begin to pull out the images that you are drawn to, being mindful that there is some color cohesion, balance and/or juxtaposition. For example, all bird pictures represents cohesion of imagery, balance could be found by using a particular color to unite the imagery, juxtaposition might work by mixing interesting food photography with high fashion model shots.


Step 3 –

Use your mats to help you frame photos. Take the mats out of the frame and place them over different tears to get a feel for if you like the composition. Once you have the photo placed to your liking, tape the back so it does not shift while you move it into the frame.



Step 4 –

Play around arranging your frames on the picture ledge and stand back to admire your handiwork! There’s no magic formula for arranging the frames. I find they are much easier to arrange once the imagery is inside. If something is not working or bugging you, have a few back up photos that you can switch out to see if you can improve the composition.



Finally something to do with all those old magazines! Good luck and have some fun with this one!


Bedroom Design: Splurge or Steal?

April 13, 2015 Interior Design 0 Comments

I am always a fan when fashion magazines do the splurge vs. steal page layout for an outfit. It’s not always easy to spot the designer label versus the bargain brand! I’m working with a new client this week, and while pulling her bedroom design together, I realized I could easily put together similar looks at drastically different price points.

The client already has a dark wooden bedroom set and light colored bedding. I’ve added a rug, bedside lamps, chaise lounge, bench for the end of the bed, and accent pillows.

One of these rooms retails for $6,200 and the other for $1,600. Can you spot the splurge vs. steal?

ROOM #1 – Muted grey, lavender and beige

modern grey bedroom design

ROOM #2 – Creams, grey, beige and a hint of blue


Okay, did you guess?!

The pricey room is #2. What makes the price difference so drastic? It really comes down to the rug. The rug options in #1 both retail for about $500. They are mostly synthetic fibers and not handmade. Neither of them will probably last as long as rug #2, but they are good options if you are on a budget. Rug #2 is hand knotted wool and should last a lifetime with proper care. It retails for almost $4,000. All the other items in #2 are a few hundred dollars more than #1, with the exception of the pillow (which is just slightly more expensive).

Do you like one room better than the other? I think they are both fabulous options. It’s great if you can save up for quality items, but you can still get good products at reasonable prices and put together a stellar steal of a bedroom!

All of these pieces were sourced from and




Colorful Exteriors & Wanderlust

Lately I’ve been dreaming about two things, 1. My client’s homes (there are many days I wake up debating paint colors) and 2. TRAVEL. I have a major case of wanderlust at the moment. It’s been more than three years since I’ve lived abroad. My boyfriend (now husband) and I lived in New Zealand for all of 2011. It was a pretty epic adventure, and possibly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I do have hope for another travel adventure in my lifetime, but it was not easy to move across the world for a year, so here’s hoping we make it happen again someday.

If you are thinking about a major trip or adventure, I want to share with you the best piece of advice I got when deciding if I could quit my job, and make the trip a reality back in 2010. The advice came from my dad, whose always been my travel inspiration. As a young girl, I remember hearing him reminisce about his trek to Everest Basecamp as a highlight of his life. I was hemming and hawing about leaving my good job, which I actually really liked, and was scared taking the time off would stunt my “career” future. Dad said the following in so many words, “When you are 60 and look back at your life…are you going to remember if you worked [at your job] for three years versus four, or will you remember the year you set out for adventure in New Zealand?”

Dad’s advice really stuck with me and I decided to make the leap. I can honestly say it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I sincerely hope if you have a travel or vacation dream that you find a way to make it happen. Travel (or a working sabbatical, which is what I called leaving the country for one year) is not only inspiring, full of new challenges and opportunities – it is just plain eye-opening (and soul opening) to get out of your comfort zone for awhile. Until we can all travel again here are some colorful and far away exteriors, which are keeping me inspired and full of wanderlust here in gloomy Chicago at the moment!


New Zealand wanderlust - Luke and me during our engagement pictures shot in Wellington.

Wellington, New Zealand. Luke and I stealing a kiss in front of one of my favorite exteriors, the boat house.


via @mayamueble – Guatemala


via @lucylaucht – Cuba


@theonewithwanderlust – Venice


via @brightbazar – London


via@charish – multicolored Portofino

via @Flat15 - SugarHouse Studios, London

via @Flat15 – SugarHouse Studios, London


via @mysimplesol – Mexico, Rosas & Xocolate Boutique Hotel

So much beauty, so little time! Send any New Zealand travel questions my way!


Women Who MAKE: Lady Faye Jewelry

April 2, 2015 Interviews 0 Comments

Super excited to share with you my first interview of this new series, Women Who Make! I’ll be profiling a creative woman whose work I admire monthly, and to kick it off we have the lovely, talented, and oh so natural Katie Mills.

Katie and I first met at Lillstreet Art Center (an awesome place to start making). We hit it off, and I’ve been admiring her style ever since. I think you’ll love it too! Also, don’t miss the giveaway contest and a chance to win earrings from Lady Faye Jewelry! Details on Instagram @clairerose1212, the contest runs through Sunday 4/5/15 – 12pm CST.

Name: Katie Mills

Age: 35

Current title/company name: Lady Faye Jewelry

Years in operation: 3.5 years

Lill Street Art Center

What is your first memory of making [art]?

My very first memory making art was working sitting on the kitchen floor making a paper mache globe. My first memory working with metal was during 2nd grade when I made a cuttlefish casting of a fish (editor’s note: see the adorable pic below).

2nd Grade Cuttlefish Casting

How did your education or past work experience give you the confidence to go out on your own as a small business?

I’ve learned from each and every job I’ve had. My first entrepreneurial stint was making fimo jewelry in grade school (ha!) and selling it at my grandmother’s clothing shop. She’d display my jewelry in the front case and every so often I’d get an envelope with a few dollars from sales! During college, I was a waitress and barista (customer service skills are key) and then it was onto design and craft internships. Also, regarding metalsmiting specifically I took my first class in college and was immediately captivated by the process of working in metal. I was inspired by my professor who ingrained the importance of craftsmanship and stressed the idea of “measuring twice, cutting once”.

When I first moved to Chicago, Jen Farrell Starshaped Press hired me as an intern. The experience was very inspirational and influential to my development in small business and the creative community here in Chicago. It also led me to my job teaching classes at Columbia College. With my variety of work experience, my desire to start my own creative business, and my experience with metalsmithing I felt confident enough to start something on my own.

LFJ_StudioSpace LFJ_Tools

Tell us about the process of launching your own business, Lady Faye Jewelry. Best parts? Biggest challenge?

You might say I went about it backwards. I started making my glass button rings and decided on a whim to apply to a large craft fair. To my surprise, I got in and had a few months to develop a small line to go with the rings. It’s been a pretty natural evolution, and I’ve been figuring it out along the way. With a few novice years under my belt I’m excited about what the next couple of years might hold.

  • Best parts: Having found an outlet to focus my creative energy. I also love the process of developing a jewelry line that represents me (and the ever evolving me). I love the idea that my line can evolve as my interests evolve.
  • Biggest challenge: Managing everything! Maintaining a balance between the creative time (designing, studio time, making, reserving time/space for inspiration, skill development) and everything else (promotion, marketing, events, emailing, business development side of things).

LadyFayeJewelry)Process1LadyFayeJewelry_Process 2

What is your favorite part of the creative process? What inspires you and why?

  • Inspirations: the everyday, travel, nature, simplicity, wanderlust, city living.
  • Favorite part of the creative process: Spending hours in my studio working, making, designing, and getting my hands dirty. Sans computers!

What is the best advice you have for other female entrepreneurs/artists?

The advice that I often give myself is to just get started! Whether I’m sitting down with an idea or no idea. I sometimes struggle with getting the ball rolling on a new project, and have found that experimenting with the materials usually jump-starts the process. Things usually fall into place from there.

Do you have a design philosophy, and if so, what is it?

I like the notion that jewelry can have a story, remind you of a time and place, playful, like something you picked up from a market in a foreign land. I also value a high level of craftsmanship and affordable prices.

Imagine Lady Faye is five years, how would you like to grow?

My goal for Lady Faye Jewelry is to continue to develop the product line, producing jewelry that maintains a small-batch collection. It is important to me to maintain a personal connection with everyone involved in the everyday process such as, vendors, coworkers and customers. I would love to establish a boutique storefront that functions both as studio and retail shop, while developing a strong online presence. I would love Lady Faye to become my full-time gig as well; I’m still juggling multiple jobs.

Do you have a most popular item?

The most popular items are my Czech glass button rings. The color and intricate hand painted detail of the glass button speak for themselves. I like making a simple bezel setting to showcase the glass. Also, pieces from the Volcan rock series are very popular as earrings and rings.






What do you enjoy most about the creative community here in Chicago?

Being part of a local creative community is priceless. I’m inspired and in awe of the Chicago creative community that spans across all mediums. Everyone works so hard! From the first day I arrived in Chicago, through the letterpress internship and Columbia College community, I’ve felt the love from the Chicago creative community. Nine years later, and since beginning Lady Faye Jewelry, the network continues to grow larger and stronger. I love running into my neighborhood creative friends and business owners in Ravenswood.

Centered By Design is my business name, but it’s also the idea that we can find a bit of sanctuary each day through design, that good design can center us and make us feel great. Does your design process center you in any way? If so, how?

I love the name of your business and idea behind it. Yes, I find so much inspiration, calm and focus from my surroundings. My home definitely centers me, as do my long studio days where I’m lost in the process of making sawing, hammering, filing and soldering.


Favorite spot to get inspired:

Generally speaking: the great outdoors: fresh air, sunshine and greenery a must. I also find camaraderie at Union Handmade, where I’m surrounded by a lovely and inspirational group of women working in a variety of mediums.

Favorite florist:

Favorite place to shop for home décor/furniture:

  • Scouring Wisconsin flea markets for home treasures.

Favorite place for coffee:

  • Intellegenstia in the Monadnock building. Love the historic feeling of the building and shops (hat maker, florist, barber…).

Favorite place for a sweet treat:

  • Hoosier Mama Pie Company

You can view more of Katie’s work at her website, and shop in-person at great local stores like Lillstreet Art Center and Union Handmade. I hope you are inspired to MAKE something today!




photo of Katie credit: Nicole Radja / Time Out Chicago

all other photos courtesy of Lady Faye Jewelry

Shibori Dyeing Tutorial

Shibori fabric has hit the mainstream design market big time this spring. You will see designer dresses, pillows, bedding and scarves all for sale for upwards of hundreds of dollars. Many of these items are beautiful and artfully made, but you can definitely get the designer look without the price tag with this DIY tutorial!


What is Shibori?

It’s a Japanese term for various methods of dyeing cloth by binding, folding, twisting and compressing. The earliest known examples of shibori techniques date back to the 8th century, when indigo dye was commonly used.

How Do I Start?

Indigo Dye Kits are available and easily found online, but they require air, work better in sunlight and need additional time to work correctly. I used a shortcut that produces similar results to indigo dye, but is essentially the common tie-dye technique. Here’s what you’ll need to gather to get started.

Supplies Needed:

  • Natural fabrics such as 100% cotton or linen
  • Soda Ash Dye Fixer (fixer and dye is commonly found at art/craft stores)
  • Cold Water Dye for Natural Fibers (MX Dye) – Blue/Indigo/Navy
  • 2 large buckets
  • Scissors
  • Rubber bands – multiple thicknesses
  • Stones
  • Optional for more folding techniques – wood, cork, PVC/copper pipe


Okay I have all my supplies. Let’s begin.

Step 1: Fill your two buckets with cool water. Follow instructions on your soda ash and pour fixer into one bucket.

Step 2: Place your fabric into the bucket with the soda ash and let it set per package directions.

Step 3: While fabric is one bucket, mix your dye in the other bucket. It’s not going to look like a ton of dye, but don’t worry a little goes a long way.

Step 4: Remove your fabric pieces from the bucket and begin to wrap/fold/twist each piece with your desired technique and pattern.

Step 5: Dip each piece into the dye bath.

Step 6: Place all dyed fabrics into a garbage bag and let them set overnight.

Some Additional Tips

It is best to wash and dry all your fabric before beginning this process for the best results. After the overnight setting of dyed fabric, rinse each bundle under cool water until the water runs mostly clear. Then cut off all rubber bands/string and wash and dry again. Don’t worry the dye is set and will not run.



Here I’ve shown three different techniques to try. These are all resist techniques, this means where you fold, bind and rubber band your fabric you make it harder for the dye to pass through, and this creates a resist or white space where the dye cannot penetrate.


Kumo – This is a twist and bind-resist. I used river stones from a craft store, but found objects such as rocks, pebbles, and even ping-pong balls could work! It’s important to wrap your rubber bands tightly around object, so you get the white circles.

Tie-Dye-Style – You probably did this in kindergarten at some point. Pick a point you’d like to be the center of your design and pick up your fabric from that spot. Then rubber band it all the way down creating a sort of fabric snake.

Itajime – This is a shape-resist technique. Fold your cloth like an accordion back and forth, and then in half once or twice you want it to be a similar size to the piece of wood or cork you have. Sandwich the fabric between the two pieces of wood and use various rubber band pattern/widths to create an endless variation depending on your placement.

handmade shibori pillows

Here are a few of the finished fabrics, which I sewed into pillow cases. I made 10 yards of fabric in this one trial with the help of a friend. This is a nice project to do with someone if you can find a DIY buddy. I hope you are inspired to give it a go! Let me know if you have any questions!