Looking for Quirky, Creative, Unexpected Gifts? Something simply Fun…

The work known as ‘needle felting’ seen seen here, as far as we’re concerned, screams CHRISTMAS GIFT!  Meaning, for someone who has everything, what could be better than opening a box containing a cool, eccentric, and totally unexpected object? I say: Look no further. Dive into the sculptural work of Heidi Bleacher.

It’s not only that these items are whimsical, clever and hand-made; although they are, and we love that, it’s also that they are so simple and delightful and evoke a sense of innocence that we all are longing for right now. Right? Right!

Needle Felting you ask?  It’s a relatively new fiber art form that evolved from industrial felt making. Yes it too uses wool fibers that become shaped and compacted by the maker into anything their imagination can envision.

Bleacher, who studied commercial art and graphic design, has spent 30 years working as a florist. She co-owns (with David Huntsinger) George Baker Flowers, a charming high end boutique flower shop in Philadephia. They’ve owned the shop since 1996. Yes there once was a George, he’s alive and well and living in Maine.

Clearly Beacher is gifted when it comes to working with her hands, and when she discovered ‘needle felting’ about eight years ago, she says she fell in love with it immediately. She taught herself the technique which involves working with a special barbed needle and dry wool (or other natural fiber).  All of the figures, food, and animals seen here are done using the needle felting technique.

For those curious to know, needle felting starts out with a blob of loose wool fiber that has been processed (washed, carded, dyed). The barbed needle catches the fibers and matts them together with every jab into the wool. And, says Bleacher, “after a few hundred or thousand you have felt.”

To purchase, head to: Stadler-Kahn, a must-see jewel box-like- gift/antique/gallery  in downtown Philly, just off Rittenhouse Square, which is where I discovered Bleacher’s work on display.

Stadler- Kahn, 1724 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA 1910  Phone:(267) 242-7154

Buon Natale Promemoria –looking forward to more beautiful furniture in 2015

This year the Christmas parties have been beautiful, yet one is especially memorable: At the Promemoria showroom, a few days ago, I felt— for a moment— transported to Italy.  I was suddenly in Milan. The crowd was chic, the Proseco was flowing; the pasta abundant. I was actually attending their celebration, “the traveling pasta party,” held by the Milan-based company for the holidays in NYC, and today on, December 18, it will take place in Milan, although (sadly) I won’t be there.

To experience the atmosphere in a Promemoria showroom is to feel enveloped in a timeless sense of luxury. One is surrounded by what can only be called couture-like furnishings. And, it’s a sensory experience. The sofas, fabrics, cabinets, chairs, lighting, tables and objects, aren’t only alluring to see, one feels compelled to caress them.

A finger slipped through a cast bronze sculptural form opens the elegant cabinet doors; like jewelry, it adorns the exotic woods (maccassar, ebony, Tuscan cypress) favored by the creative team who craft such pieces. The sumptuous pleasure of sinking into the silk, cashmere and velvet, that drape the sofas and chairs so elegantly, is seductive and memorable.

The exquisite level of detail, the finest materials, the influences of Art Déco and Far Eastern culture, combined with the best Italian craftsmanship, is the distinctive achievement that belongs to Romeo Sozzi, the founder and creator behind the divine collections of Promemoria.

On the showroom floor in NYC right now, one can find pieces from the 2014 collection, as well as others for 2015, several, I’m told are dressed in Loro Piano cashmere.

And if I could be in Milan tonight, I’d eat pasta, run off with another of the famous Milanese Panetone, (specially made for Christmas) that Promemoria gives guests every year.

I would tell Mr. Sozzi how much I admire his work. I would wish him a Buon Natale, and ask for an invitation to next year’s party!

Promemoria showrooms are found in Milan, Paris, London, Moscow and New York.

PROMEMORIA NEW YORK -The Fine Arts Building – 232 East 59th Street

tel. +1 646 588 4409



Pasta photo by Josh Wong