May 22, 2015

Painted Lady:’s Pick of the Week from Neighborhood Boutiques

This week’s on-the-ground local boutique intel from‘s San Francisco editor, Ashley Laurel: I’ve been in an artistic mood lately, so when I was out and about the other day, I was excited to see some very creative pieces that were made by designers who clearly have a love for the art world beyond fashion design.

Over at D-Structure on Haight Street, I came across a really cool silk top (by Costa Blanca, $40) that’s perfect to wear for a night on the town or easily toned down with a basic blazer or cardigan for a day at the office. (Denim by Cheap Monday, $65). The artistry looks straight out of an art gallery.

However, it wasn’t just this top that reminded me of something you’d see in an art space, but also the setup of paintings (in the $300- $400 range) that decorated an entire wall, with an eclectic collection of tee shirts for sale on the shelves just below. D-Structure is, in fact, half art gallery and half boutique and makes you feel like you’ve entered a world other than Haight Street when you step inside.

A great tie-dye print maxi dress by LA-based designer Raquel Allegra (on sale for $430) at Dish in Hayes Valley grabbed my eye next. It would be perfect for the woman looking to really make a statement with her style through pattern and texture.

Lastly, I fell in love with some beautiful scarves at Polk Street’s six-month old boutique Capulet. One scarf was vibrant with a mixture of oranges, yellows and greens and the others, though more muted, definitely had detailed enough designs that would make great accent pieces for a top of almost any color. Each scarf is by Subtle Luxury and retails for about $88.

After my time half in the fashion realm and half in the art world, I now feel inspired to do some of my own work with fabric manipulation.

This post originally appeared on SF Indie Fashion content partner ShopNearMe, contributed by editor @AshleyLaurel. is the new style app for finding and buying amazing fashion from local boutiques near you. Download app or visit website to discover and shop local starting today!

Anyi Lu Crochet Shoes Make Brides Comfortable

San Francisco Bay Area shoe designer Anyi Lu is debuting a bridal collection for Spring 2012 and it features two things that are popular with brides right now: comfort and crochet!

Comfort is Key

Anyi Lu has designed her footwear with the word “comfort” in mind. Her company has a patent-pending technology designed to provide shoes with a perfect fit with flexibility as well as support. In other words, these shoes are made for the modern woman who is running around the city on her heels. Sure, some women still do the 1980′s thing and wear running shoes with their business wear except in the office but it’s not exactly the look most of us are going for. Comfortable-enough heels mean you can wear them all day long if you’re a heels-wearing woman.

And it’s the same deal for brides. It’s common to see brides wear one pair of stunning shoes for the wedding itself and then another pair (or no shoes) for dancing all night at the reception. But a lot of women don’t really want to go that route. Anyi Lu’s new bridal collection is reported to be comfortable enough to wear throughout the entire wedding and reception.

Now I can’t vouch for the comfort of the shoes because I haven’t worn them but what I can say is that I’m intrigued by the crochet factor of the bridal collection.

Crochet on the Shoes

Here’s what a press release about the collection had to say:

“The new collection, handmade in beautiful Tuscany, is styled with intricate lace and crochet fused directly on to the leather, resulting in an unfussy elegance. The shoes will come in ivory on ivory, ivory on pastel pink and blue, and black on nude.”

Crochet is popular at weddings because of its classic look and I love the idea of adding it in a modern way to the bride’s shoes. The only photo that I’ve seen so far is the one above (image source) but I’m curious to see an up-close image of the crochet detail on the shoes.

This post originally appeared on Crochet Concupiscence.

A Shiny Little Something: Earrings By Furstman Designs

When it comes to picking out presents for yourself it’s always a bit more enticing if said present happens to be under $50. It’s like in Breakfast at Tiffany’s when Holy Golightly politely inquires about a shiny object for just $10 at Tiffany & CO. It’s not 1961 and Tiffany is the very last thing on my mind these days. In fact I am more enamored with these sweet little oxidized sterling silver earrings by local jewelry artist, Susan Furstman. She has a knack for picking up on simple elegance and channeling it into her pieces.  A little bit of  charm from Furstman Designs may be that shiny little something that makes your week just a little bit brighter. Click here to buy with a 10% discount when you mention the discount code MICHELLE2011.

This post originally appeared on Modelina Michelle

I Fell in Love With Lenny

The best part of Charity Fashion Show 2011 was watching New York label, Lenny swimwear march down the “runway.” It was a highlight with sophisticated patterns complimented with beige and black hats a la Audrey Hepburn. The crowd that wasn’t taking a break from the two hour performance was delightfully alert as soon as the camo-colored green one pieces and zebra print suits appeared in sight. These bathing suits are grown up without being boring and made me happy to be in my late 20′s.  To you I say this Lenny, thank you for being in my life Saturday night, you made the trek out to Fort Mason worth it.

This post originally appeared on Modelina Michelle.

Interview with Bay Area Etsy Crocheter MHandmade

Cowl of Crochet Chains Neckwarmer by mhandmade

Today’s post is part of an ongoing series of interviews with crocheters who sell their patterns or products on Etsy. I’ve been focusing mostly on people from the San Francisco Bay Area and today is no exception. Mille Chauser (mhandmade on Etsy) is local to this area as well. She has been crocheting and crafting for more than fifty years so I was really excited when she was willing to share her knowledge with us through an interview here on the site.

CROCHETBLOGGER: You have been crocheting for a long time. How have you seen this craft change over the years? (Personally or as an industry …)

Mhandmade: There are so many more yarn options today, from bamboo to cashmere, fun yarns, hand-painted yarns, sock yarns, etc. Crocheters today are able to make so many more things, not just doilies and bedspreads. Crochet hooks are no longer just the skinny steel ones, either.

CROCHETBLOGGER: It’s so true! I haven’t been crocheting too long but I’ve seen my mom’s old stash as well as the vintage magazines from thirty or forty years ago and it seems like we have such a greater array of options for crochet now!

CROCHETBLOGGER: Your Etsy profile mentions that you repurpose wool sweaters. Can you explain how that works and why you enjoy doing it?

Mhandmade: I repurpose old sweaters as handbags, cozies and jewelry trays. As with most everything I make, upcycling an old wool sweater began with a need. I needed a tissue cozy for my purse and I had this old ski sweater that I loved but never wore because it was too itchy, so I threw it in a hot wash and made a tissue cozy. It’s a red nordic stripe and it makes me smile whenever I reach for a tissue. I have made so many since then. I now have this huge collection of old wool sweaters. For the handbags, I cut a shape from sweaters, needle felt a design on it, add a handle and lining, blanket stitch the sides and crochet a trim around the bag. The jewelry tray is an idea that I got from one of the Japanese craft books I have in my collection. Because I don’t read or speak Japanese, I can’t really follow the directions or even know what’s included in the materials list, but I love looking at the photos and enjoy trying to figure out the graphs.

CROCHETBLOGGER: Is there a favorite item that you particularly enjoy crocheting?

Mhandmade: Right now, I am loving crocheting my ropey cowls. I had a low cut (for me) shirt but I really loved the print and the color. I had some yarn that matched it exactly so I made a necklace of crocheted chains. It worked so perfectly, I decided I should make more, but it was winter and I thought it would make a great cowl if I made the chains shorter and increased the rows, so that’s how the ropey neckwarmer came to be.

CROCHETBLOGGER: I particularly love your cowls … how long have you been making them?

Mhandmade: Thank you for noticing my cowls. They have been selling really well and I love making them. I started making them after Christmas 2010. For spring, I plan to crochet more chain ropes for different length necklaces, adding felt balls, crocheted flowers and other motifs.

CROCHETBLOGGER: That sounds like a great idea. Looking forward to seeing that!

CROCHETBLOGGER:What crochet magazines or blogs do you read (if any)?

Mhandmade: I subscribe to ALL the crochet magazines, a little crazy huh? I also subscribe to a lot of blogs, like stitch diva, crochet spot, future girl, purl bee and lindamade. Ravelry is great but I try keep away because it’s so addicting, I could play there for hours.

CROCHETBLOGGER: So true! And some great choices there for good crochet blogs.

CROCHETBLOGGER: What else would you love for other people to know about crochet?

Mhandmade: Crocheting is so relaxing! Everyone should try it. The hardest part is deciphering the directions. Once you know a few stitches, you can go on to crochet things. Magazines and booklets always include instructions for different stitches, so that’s easy to refer to. The best thing about crocheting is the instant gratification; it goes so much faster than knitting and if you make a mistake, just undo the mistake, no big deal, unlike knitting. I am lucky I was taught to crochet as a child and it is definitely my “go to” craft when I need to calm down and relax. So moms and grandmas, if you crochet, teach a child this lifelong skill!

CROCHETBLOGGER: Thanks for joining us. I hope that everyone will check out your Etsy shop and see all the great stuff you’ve got to offer!

This post originally appeared on Crochet Concupiscence. Check out the blog for additional interviews with Bay Area Etsy crocheters and other crochet information.