Wednesday, December 7, 2011

DIY Gift Wrapping with Washi Tape

Even CB2 is onto washi tape this year. Clever inspirations from Bonnie Cauble turn simply wrapped packages into works of art with craft paper and colorful tapes.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

DIY Ornaments with Washi Tape

This season, create your own fabulous and easy ornaments with washi tape and a little imagination.

To make beautiful ornaments like these 4 from Zakka life, just follow their instructions:

Cut or rip the tape and apply it to the ornaments anyway you wish. One of the wonderful qualities of washi tape is that it's semi translucent which creates a wonderful overlapping effect. You can kind of see what I'm talking about with the Christmas tree ornament. I experimented with shapes, monograms and just random ripped squares. If you don't like what you make the first time, just peel the tape off and start again. Washi tape is low tack so it won't leave a sticky residue.

Many thanks for sharing with us at 973.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Embellish Instantly with Washi Tapes

Simplify your holiday wrapping and embellish your own crafts and decorations with washi tape, available in paper shops and art supply stores everywhere.

Please click on images for more information.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving from 973

Wishing you a very Happy and Delicious Thanksgiving!

1905 menu card and illustration by American illustrator George Elbert Burr [1859-1939]

Monday, October 31, 2011

It's Halloween - What's for Lunch?

Happy Halloween! It's a day of mummies, goblins, ghosties, spiders, and lots more of spooky and scary. So go ahead - eat it, if you dare!

Lunch food images (and other inspiring brown bag ideas) from Another Lunch (top 2), Just Bento & Lunchville

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Decorating with Pumpkins

With pumpkins this pretty and decorative, why not use use them as a simple decoration and pass on the carving. I like them flanking each step at the front entrance or in a short stack by the door.

Check out the stems on these orange beauties. They are perfect for a traditional looking jack-o-lantern.

Pumpkins that are hollowed out also make great looking containers for seasonal arrangements indoors or out.

Have a Happy Halloween!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Every Doorway Has A Story

This image of a mystery door was taken by my dear friend Susan, on her recent trip to Creede, Colorado.

I'll leave the door metaphors to you, clever readers!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Letterpress Printing - an intro

Letterpress from Naomie Ross on Vimeo.

This nicely made video provides a great overview of letterpress printing in less than two minutes.

If anachronistic and custom small press printing designs appeal to you, check out this site for inspiration and free downloads.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Classic Wire Kitchen Basket

I have always been drawn to old wire baskets. I love the simplicity of their appearance and their no-nonsense functionality. Here is a favorite collapsible basket, made in France, intended for gathering, storing and cooking food. The original label is beautifully designed, too.

The obverse of the label also recommends using it whilst camping.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Seeing Ground Zero Today

Dear Readers,
I came across this beautiful NG image of Ground Zero where the Twin Towers once stood. It is the New York that survived and is rebuilding to remember those we lost. It seems appropriate to include it now as we mark ten years since the horrific events of 9/11.

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center opens to the public next week. Information on the monument and how to reserve free passes to visit may be found at their website:

More views of the rebuilding on the site are available on the EarthCam - World Trade Center Cams.

National Geographic has a thoughtful online exhibit, Starting from GROUND ZERO: Ten years after 9/11, how have the survivors healed—and what wounds still remain?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July 4th Idea to Recycle

July 4th - I admired the hostess's clever party decorations and her use of red, white and blue on the holiday buffet table. The striped grosgrain ribbons tied casually around the cutlery rolled in napkins was an idea I am definitely going to recycle and reuse for my next party.

Thank you GM, it was a fabulous celebration, as always!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Airstream Envy

Eco-think, Do it yourself, Live green, Go sustainable, Reduce your footprint, etc.
Whatever your mantra, here is some inspiration from the green redesign and renovation of a 1978 Airstream and a proposed rethink for a 1972 Airstream Tradewind.

For more images and info, please click here.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Make Your Own T-Shirt Quilt

My inaugural experience creating a t-shirt quilt has been mostly trial and error, with more emphasis on the error. Thank goodness for my seam ripper!

If you are also crazy enough to think this would be a fun gift to make, please read on. Otherwise, I hope you will enjoy other entries on this blog that have absolutely nothing to do with cutting out 30+ t-shirts as a first step.

I started with 35 of my gift recipient's thoughtfully selected, favorite t-shirts from her extensive collection. Looking at the size and shape of the graphics, I decided to cut each square 14 1/2 inches. I started cutting them with a pair of scissors. (A smarter person would have used a rotary cutter on a self-healing cutting mat.) Then I created and recreated layouts on the floor until I was quite tired, but satisfied with the balance of colors.

I documented it with a few digital images and waited for approval from the recipient. Immediately, she signaled back with the green light on the layout. Next, I started cutting out 14 1/2 inch squares of soft, light-weight fusible interfacing for the backing of the cut tees. (This prevents each t-shirt square from stretching out as you assemble the quilt.)

Using my vintage Singer, I started attaching the squares in rows, with a uniform seam allowance. All seams were pressed open. When the rows were completed, I attached each to the next and pressed the seams again.

Using two lengths of 45" wide fabric selected for the quilt project, I created a backing piece that was intentionally larger all around than the finished t-shirt quilt top. For a neat appearance on the back, I centered the width of the backing fabric and pieced two half widths on either side of the centered fabric to create the overall dimensions needed. I knew enough to avoid a seam down the middle.

Starting from the bottom I created a quilt sandwich, with the backing, right side down, then the batting on that and the quilt top, placed right-side-up and centered. I hand basted around the outside edges to hold all three layers in place. Then, I trimmed the excess batting beyond the edge of the t-shirt quilt top and trimmed the backing (bottom) layer to allow a 2 inch overlay all around.

Working along each edge, I wrapped the two inch overlay of the backing fabric onto the top of the quilt, folded it under twice, pinned and pressed as a 1/2 inch binding. Lastly, I carefully topstitched the self-binding around each side of the quilt. VoilĂ !

Sweet dreams and happy graduation Coco!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Chalk Lettering to Keep

With chalk in hand, Dana Tanamachi creates elegant and refined custom lettering. I recently found her work and have been absolutely mesmerized by the beauty and lightness of her artistry. As faithful 973 readers know, I am always interested in typography and lettering, but finding a simple medium as chalk on a chalkboard made exceptionally stunning is truly brilliant. I hope you'll enjoy it, too.

Here's a time lapse video of Dana creating one of her pieces.

For more examples of her work see

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Greetings from 973

Vintage card images above and more may be found here.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day - Recycle and Be Happy

We love to recycle. We love to reuse materials for new projects and the creativity they inspire. To celebrate Earth Day everyday is our motto here at 973 Third. Every little effort we make helps clean our environment. So go ahead and reduce, reuse and recycle. It's good for all of us!

Top image: Shared by a friend
Bottom image: Sand sculpture by artist Todd Brittingham titled "Sun and the Moon" at Jetty Park in Cape Canaveral, Fla., during an Earth Day celebration, The Washington Post.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Pulp Fashion - Paper Couture

An exhibition at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco features five new spectacular works of paper dresses inspired by paintings in the European collection of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. For more than 15 years, Isabelle de Borchgrave has been recreating historical costumes in exquisite detail, life sized and entirely of paper. Drawing from paintings, textiles, and descriptions, she has made over 60 trompe l'oeil fashion sculptures. Now, they are on view in the US.

Here's an introduction to the exhibit...

"Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave is a painter by training, but textile and costume are her muses. Working in collaboration with leading costume historians and young fashion designers, de Borchgrave crafts a world of splendor from the simplest rag paper. Painting and manipulating the paper, she forms trompe l’oeil masterpieces of elaborate dresses inspired by rich depictions in early European painting or by iconic costumes in museum collections around the world. The Legion of Honor is the first American museum to dedicate an entire exhibition to the work of Isabelle de Borchgrave, although her creations have been widely displayed in Europe."

Above, Marie Claire de Croy and child, 2010 based on the painting below,

Anthony van Dyck (Flemish, 1599–1641), Marie Claire de Croy, Duchess d'Havre and Child, 1634.

Pulp Fashion: The Art of Isabelle de Borchgrave will be on exhibit at the Legion of Honor through June 5, 2011.

Top image: a detail of an elaborate paper sculpture, The Medici

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Paper as Sculpture

Catching up on lots of design ideas and inspirations this season, I would like to introduce some fabulous creations I've seen recently - made of paper. Enjoy!

The paper sculpture shown here is the work of artist Makiko Azakami.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Signs of Spring

We must be getting close to spring if the cherry blossoms are coming out. This beautiful photograph by Raymond K. Gehman captures a cheery warbler perched on a cherry blossom tree near the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC. The striking colors and delicate composition could inspire a wallpaper design I'd like to have at this address all year long.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Universal Design as Nouns

Free, fun, educational and loaded with really good designs - that's a winning combination. And you, the design savvy followers at 973 Third, can be part of the effort.

Check out the the Noun Project - the mission is "sharing, celebrating and enhancing the world's visual language."

"The Noun Project collects, organizes and adds to the highly recognizable symbols that form the world's visual language, so we may share them in a fun and meaningful way."

Click here for more on universal messaging.

Thanks to Grain Edit, a print design blog, for introducing us to the Noun Project.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Red Velvet Valentine Treats

Make a delicious gift this week for Valentine's Day. Here are some beautiful inspirations. Click on the images for more info, recipes, and ideas.