February 19, 2014

The Bewildered Gardener: Clockwork Camellias

Posted by Cathy Heck

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As you know, I am an accidental gardener.  Thus, every single year, on February 15ish, when our camellia bush puts on the show dog, I am simply amazed. It’s like clockwork. All the other flowering shrubs are still getting their beauty sleeps, and yet the camellia thinks it’s time to say, “HELLO DAAHLING!” (I think that’s how she might say it, if she could talk.)

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And, it’s possible that our show-off Southern florabelle must know she has a fan club.  Of all of our Pinterest pins, this one (shown below) has been re-pinned the most. We have even had a bride-to-be contact us to find out the way she could replicate these for her wedding. We were proud.

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If you would like to receive some excellent camellia decor cred, you can try this treatment above: stemless wine goblets (from Target $9.99) + camellia blooms + water = perfect. And, perfectly easy. Plus, when they have gone to camellia heaven, you can use your wine goblets for … well, wine … perhaps a rosé in honor of the flowers that christened them.

If your blooms are a bit smaller, as ours are this year, you can put several in one bowl. I picked these three today. They are happily floating together emanating just a faint scent … and hint of springtime to come.

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February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine’s Day from Cathy Heck Studio

Posted by Cathy Heck

Hope your day is full of hugs, kisses and chocolate!  From your Cathy Heck Studio valentines.

 

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Categories: about us

February 7, 2014

Studio Break: James Turrell’s Skyspace in Austin, Texas

Posted by Cathy Heck

Our new official full-time studio member, Julianna, is our blog guest today. Since we have been chained to our computers all week, Jim decided to kidnap us for a forced zen moment at exactly 5:32 on Wednesday. Here is Julianna’s account.

There is a lot going on in the studio as of late. New collections are brewing, our workspace is undergoing a huge pre-spring spring cleaning (both digitally and physically), and I am now present in the studio (both digitally and physically). With our noses to the e-grindstones, Jim decided to switch things up and instead of the traditional Tuesday night yoga session, we all got our zen on at the James Turrell Skyspace, The Color Inside, at the University of Texas.

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The Skyspace is an observatory in the middle of the UT campus, and anyone can visit to watch the sky change through an oculus. It is best to go at either sunrise or sunset, because during those times, colored lights illuminate the walls, which contrast with the natural light that is seen through the oculus. (Photos included here were quietly taken with my iPhone. No clicking allowed.)

The entire presentation lasts about an hour. I know what you are thinking: “Staring through a hole for an hour–I don’t think so.” Well, first of all it’s free, so, that’s a bargain. And, secondly, I never felt bored. It was like watching Mother Nature creating a color theory assignment. How was it possible that the sky looked as if it was getting lighter, even though I knew it was getting darker outside?

If you are in Austin and are looking for something to do that is both inspiring and calming all at the same time, I really recommend the Skyspace. Also, there is an added bonus–the black basalt seats are heated. And, if you are really lucky, like I was, as the sun sets, a faint scent of fried chicken will wash over you, courtesy of the Chick-fil-A in the student center, three stories below. I hope you enjoy this multi-sensorial evening as much as we did.

Note: It is a good idea to make a reservation, because only about 25 people can comfortably sit upon the warm basalt benches for this zen event. Namaste lumos!

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Categories: about us

February 4, 2014

Painterly Birds: A New Spring Collection for Pottery Barn

Posted by Ellen Heck

Spring feels like it’s in full swing here in Berkeley, where the magnolia trees are bursting with their palm-sized leathery petals and all the ornamental pears look like brides. It feels like the perfect time to share some glamour shots of one of the new Spring groups we’ve designed with Pottery Barn for 2014.

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This new painterly bird group is light and colorful with splashes of flowers and paint. We enjoyed working with Pottery Barn last year on a small group of bunny-themed pillows and towels, so it was fun to work with them again on a collection that has a completely different feel. Here is some of the melamine dinnerware. I think it would be fun to eat bright fruit off of these plates – pineapple chunks and green apples.

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And here is the bedding collection, looking crisp and fresh (and, thanks to PB) gorgeously photographed. I think they did an amazing job translating all of the many watercolor hues onto fabric.

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Stay tuned for some more new products next week. But for now, imagine falling into this cool, crisply-ironed pillow for an amazing afternoon nap… I’m talking to you, Cathy Heck! :)

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January 29, 2014

Crocheted Headbands Are Handy on a Snow Day

Posted by Cathy Heck

It’s was a really-and-truly no-school Snow Day here in Austin, Texas, and we actually had the opportunity to wear Margaret’s holiday craft projects.

This Christmas, Ellen gave Margaret a crocheting lesson and some yarn to start. And, Margaret became a crocheting ninja. I’m not kidding. She was so fast. Her fingers looked like spinning machine wheels whirring along at top speed. I admit that it is possible that her nimble needle rhythm was partly due to One Direction tunes playing in the background. But nevertheless, that only added to the wonder of it all.

As you can see, she started with an infinity scarf. Next a headband. Then another headband. “Oooo, I like that. Will you make one for me?” “Me, too. Me, too.” Another. And, another.

Next thing you know, she had started her own indie craft store. In our living room.

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Above is Jules modeling a forest green version with Margaret’s signature red stripe. She started adding it to every piece. If you see one like this when you are on the streets of New York, you will know it’s an original Marge. Watch out Christian Louboutin!

You might not be able to tell from there, but these two pieces (above on Jules and below on Margaret) are made from yarns that contain threads throughout, which glow under the light of a car’s headlights … it’s true … I tried it and I looked like a giant candle … so there ya go … they are not only fashionable accessories, but glowing safety attire, as well.

If you, too, are yearning for a fancy new ear sweater (with a signature red stripe), just let me know, and I’ll ask my source to make some more. However, she has headed back to college, so we might have to place you on the “after finals wait list.”

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Above is the designer, with her favorite model of all, wearing his very own Margaret original. It’s a little toasty for him with his thick part-Husky mane, but even Neville knows how important it is to accessorize.

And speaking of warmth, we would like to take this opportunity to send wishes to all of our friends in the snowy parts of the country that you are staying as warm as our trusty, obedient and patient pup!

January 24, 2014

Window Stitching: Atlanta 2014

Posted by Cathy Heck

Gosh, I am so sorry to be so long in posting some pictures from the Atlanta Show. I just have one excuse. Food Poisoning. If you have ever had it, you will know why I can’t really say the words “shel_ fi_h” ever again.

BUT, the good news is that we were able to see our pretty window in the front of the C.R. Gibson showroom before I went for a fun dinner and ordered … well, you know … the food that shall not be named.

So, finally, here are some pictures from the debut of our Made With Love collection. The original stitchwork for the covers and interiors, fronts to backs, were stitched by our own little fingers. We were drawing with thread! We hope lots of new babies will feel the love we poured into this group of baby memory books.

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Above are several of the new products from the collection, which you will be able to buy at retailers across the country. You can contact C.R. Gibson for more info. (The new collections are not up on their site yet, but will be soon.) The cute fox seen in the photo above, however, is not part of our group …  he was just the perfect spokes-model for our Made With Love stitches. (He comes from the family of adorable critters from the blabla group of knitted toys.)

One of our favorite additions to the collection is this adorable jaunty elephant coin bank, pictured below. And the cute Grandma’s Brag Book will just make you want to … well … smile!

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Of course, the best part of seeing a new group introduced, is seeing the wonderful people who collaborated to make it happen.  We were so happy to see the director of the project, Sherrie McCulloch, (below left) who worked with us on every detail, from the perfect paper stock to the prettiest book binding.  And, below right, is Betsy Ferg, who we know gave up some Christmas holiday time to make sure that the fun window display was ready by the first of January!

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And, below, is the person we really have to thank for this inventive collection coming to life … Ellen, herself. The original sketches for this group came from her head and hands.  Her persuasive encouragement went something like this …

Ellen on phone: “Really, mom, I do think we can stitch a 72-page interior by the deadline … if we all do it together. Jules can help, too. We can do it!”

Mom: ……..

Ellen: “Mom … mom … hello, Mom, are you there?”

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But, Ellen was right … we did it … and it is, indeed, a labor of love. Be sure to keep an eye out for our new collection … and as soon as we receive our samples, we’ll be hosting a fun giveaway.

In the meantime, here is my next call to Ellen:  “So Ellen, I had this idea for a 72-page interior that we would mold out of clay, what do you think?”

January 8, 2014

Hello Atlanta, Hello World

Posted by Cathy Heck

We are off to the Atlanta Gift Show for the debut of our new collection, Made With Love. We created this group of friendly characters one stitch at a time, and, it is indeed made with love just in time for cute babies arriving in 2014.

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If you are headed to the Atlanta Gift Show, be sure to stop by the C.R. Gibson showroom to see our new baby collection. We hope you will feel the love, too!

We’ll be sure to tell you all about the show and share pictures when we return.

Love, the Heck family stitchers … well, except Neville (the dog) … he can croon, but he does not stitch.

January 1, 2014

Celebrate!

Posted by Cathy Heck

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Wishing you a very happy new year from everyone at Cathy Heck Studio.

 

 

Categories: about us

December 21, 2013

Neville’s Christmas Croon

Posted by Cathy Heck

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Many of you might remember that Neville began his singing career as a mere pup. His talent was discovered when he was only six months old, while the girls were singing the woo-woo-woo part of the Charlie Brown Christmas song. Suddenly, Neville began to chime in. A star dog was born. Now, four years later, he has perfected his craft with hours of hard work and by singing “Happy Birthday” to family members via telephone. We think he might be ready for the big time … the Heck family Christmas card video.

We hope this little recording brings you 40 seconds of Christmas joy.  Love, the Hecks

 

December 17, 2013

The Christmas Tree Library

Posted by Cathy Heck

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When the girls were growing up, we read a story or two every night before bed. I know you know that delightful scent of a just-bathed child curled up in your lap with a book. Heaven!

And extra heavenly is when the first day of December arrives, and we get to pull down all of our Christmas books. I put them in a basket right under the tree. While our tree waits for presents to arrive, this basket of books is gift aplenty.

My girls are all taller than I am now, so they can’t really sit in my lap … comfortably anyway. But, when they come home for the holidays, I will often see them pull out a favorite book from the basket, curl up on the sofa, and remember.

You might want to add this little holiday decoration to your own house. Depending on the style of your decor, you could put them in all kinds of containers from a wrapped box to a red wagon. Oooo, I wonder if I need a red wagon? No, Cathy, you do not!

Here are some of our favorites that you might want to try if you are just starting your tree library. I put them in the order that their book jackets are worn and tattered:

1) The Sweet Smell of Christmas, A Golden Scratch ‘n Sniff Book, by Patricia Scarry, pictures by J.P. Miller.

I have to admit that this one is the most frayed, and, in fact, we are on our third copy, due to its scents having been sniffed away over time. Because of this book, Santa has not ever forgotten to place a juicy orange in the stockings, even if it has meant a midnight run to the grocery store.

2) The Polar Express, written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg.

And here is a tale about a little girl who had the chance to meet the writer of the story she loved.

3) Mousekin’s Christmas Eve, story and pictures by Edna Miller.

We have had this book since 1986! Its book jacket looks like it could be used as nesting material for Mousekin himself.

4) Why Christmas Trees Aren’t Perfect by Richard H. Schneider, illustrated by Elizabeth J. Miles.

Who would ever guess that a small little pine tree could have such a big heart? This story added a little magic to many of our tree-choosing occasions, when we could discover the little gaps and imperfections that made our tree perfect.

5) A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote, and there are many versions, but our favorite is illustrated by Beth Peck.

When your children are a little older, this is a wonderful book to read together. You might read it first so you can decide if your child is ready for it. When we read it these days, my girls still have to say, “Oh no, is Mom going to cry this year, again?” Even though I have to use a tissue at the end, the happy memories throughout the story will keep you smiling all season long.

There are so many more, but those are our top five most tattered. What are your favorites? Please share so that new moms and dads can begin to collect their Christmas tree library collection. Merry reading!

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