Enough Already!

This is how I felt for the entire month of May, and things haven't gotten better now that June has arrived. If memory serves me, it rained every weekend in May (except the first weekend.) I don't know about other crafty folks, but I make most of my money during the month of May (except for the Holiday season.) This was not the case this year. I mean, who really wants to go to a craft show in the pouring rain? It turns out that most do not like strolling through a rainstorm....just to get some handmade goodies.

I try to look at the bright side....at least I had my tent this day at the 5th Ave Fair in Brooklyn. I felt kind of bad for this girl that was set up across the street selling little blow up toys for kids. Sure my tent was leaking, my shoes and jeans were soaking wet, and it was FREEZING...but I was trying to stay encouraged and celebrate the small things....like the fact that my tent did not blow away in the 20-25 mph winds!

So, please join me as I do my anti-rain dance this weekend. I am just so tired of the rain!

Until next time....happy crafting!



Inspired By: The Sand and the Sea

Over Memorial Day weekend, I took a day trip with some friends to Long Beach.  We spent the day soaking in the sun, getting up the nerve to dip our toes in the frigid water, starting our summer reading, and just generally having a good time!  Since our little journey I've been dreaming of a proper beach getaway- nothing but the sand and sea for days and days.  There's just something so relaxing about laying on the beach with the sand between your toes, listening to sound of the waves rushing back and forth.

Tell me: Are you planning to take a trip to the beach this summer?

By Nnenna of star-crossed smile

Work Out with the NewNew

Lately the weather in NYC has been perfect for enjoying the great outdoors and getting some exercise. Here are some picks from your very own {NewNew} team, reminding you to keep your body and soul healthy.

Know any marathon runners? Celebrate them with a beautiful place to keep their marathon medal.

Everyone needs a little reminder sometimes...

Show the world you love your bike with their cool hand sewn silk ties.

Remind yourself to get your blood pumping!

Keep warm and in style on those cool early morning runs with this lovely slouchy hat.

Enjoy the wonderful weather!


Enjoy Governors Island in August!

Summer is over halfway through and soon Governors Island will be closing until next year. If you haven't made your way to the island yet, August is a perfect time to take advantage of the smaller crowds and breezy trade winds.

Here are some of the great activities going on at Governors Island this summer:

Better Than Jam Pop-Up Shop: Handcrafted items from over thirty artisans from the {NewNew} team are featured in a pop-up shop in one of the Island’s historic buildings. See www.betterthanjam.wordpress.com for more details.

Bike & Roll: Rent a bike to explore the car-free island! On Fridays, you can take advantage of their one hour of free biking.

Mark di Suvero at Governors Island, presented by the Storm King Center: The exhibition is the largest outdoor presentation of Mark di Suvero's sculptures to be shown in New York City since the 1970s and includes loans from public and private collections, including a number of sculptures from Storm King's own celebrated installation of the artist's work. The exhibition is free and located throughout the island's vibrant public spaces. Learn more about the Storm King Art Center.

FIGMENT 2011 Mini Golf: This summer, FIGMENT is giving its own participatory, free and inspired twist to the unknown and fascinating world of bugs with a return of the celebrated FIGMENT Minigolf Course, themed this year around "Bugs and Features". In the Liggett Hall courtyard, man and bug can putt away in harmony. The FIGMENT Minigolf Course is open and free for the public to play. For more information, visit www.figmentproject.org/minigolf.

Added Value Farm: Come to Picnic Point to take a tour and see the workings of Added Value’s three acre organic fruit and vegetable farm. Beginning in July, visit their Farm Stand where you’ll find locally grown produce, cut flowers and more. For more information, visit www.added-value.org.

See you on  the island!

Windows of Agate

Summer Workshops at Governors Island

A couple of Saturdays ago, Simone from Groundsel and I led a sailor's bracelet workshop at the Better Than Jam Pop-Up Shop on Governors Island. It was a fun craft day that drew in an assortment of great people looking to learn a new skill. Here are some photos from the day:

We've got two more workshops lined up this summer at Governors Island. On July 16th, Pria from PriaVanda will be demonstrating how to stab bind a journal. On August 20th, Lu from LuCrafts will be doing a workshop on origami creatures. Both workshops go from 2pm - 4pm and will be held at House 6B in Nolan Park at Governors Island. Hope to see you there!

Windows of Agate

Handmade Heaven on Governors Island

View of Lower Manhattan from Governors Island

I recently made the easy-breezy trip to the Better Than Jam Summer Pop-Up shop on Governors Island, a project of the Better Than Jam handmade cooperative and The NewNew (see full story posted here a few weeks ago). First, I have to say, How super-easy is it to get there? Not to mention ferry-ride fun? Very.

The shop is housed in Historic Home 6B in the Nolan Park section of the island. The house and setting are just adorable.

Then there's the worn elegance of the shop's interior, which meshes beautifully with the house and setting: Rustic and classy in whitewashed and natural wood, it sets the stage for visitors to fully appreciate the impressive array of locally produced housewares, jewelry, clothing, accessories, stationery, art and toys on offer.

Words don't do it justice so I'll stop my yakety-yak here and just show you some pictures!

Until next time -


Get Fruitful with the {NewNew}!

In true NYC fashion, we went directly from winter to summer. One of my favorite things about summer is FRUIT! I am crazy about berries, cherries, and peaches. There is nothing quite so excellent as biting into a luscious strawberry or peach or as disappointing as finding them tasteless or mealy. For me, a perfect fruit salad consists of orange segments, pineapple, strawberries, blueberries and peaches. And then with a little vanilla yogurt mixed in? Heaven! Ooh, I can't wait to visit the farmers' market! So being in a fruity state of mind, I thought it might be fun to see how our talented artists and crafters have been inspired by fruit!

Look at this adorable banana bag charm by Dessert First Designs. Judging by her shop name, I'd say this crafter has her priorities straight!
Strawberries are excellently represented by Mulry Jewels Swarovski pendant.
hycCreatives has these beautiful pear blossom letter-pressed note cards
I love the gorgeous greens in The Honey P1e Tree's zippered pouch.

Having kgudahl's matted cherry blossom photo on your wall will put you in a spring state of mind all year round!
What summer fruits are you dreaming of?

Until next time, say hello to the dang pansies!


Better Than Jam Partners with the {NewNew} at Governors Island!

This summer, the Better Than Jam Co-op is bringing the work of some of New York City’s most talented artists and crafters to historic Governors Island!
From May 27 through September 5, one of the island’s historic houses will become a veritable treasure chest, filled with the work of local designers who have turned their eye toward the island just off the shore of Manhattan for inspiration.
Once used by the local Lenape Indians, Governors Island received its name when New York was a British colony and it was reserved exclusively for the royal governors.  Two historic fortifications were placed here preceding the War of 1812.  In 2001, this strategically located island became a national monument and remains the perfect summer day trip destination thanks to its vast public open spaces, biking, concerts, festivals and more.
“Because of its special place both geographically, Governors Island has a feel that is completely different from anywhere else in New York City,” says Karin Persan, proprietor of Better Than Jam. “This has been a source of incredible inspiration for our participating artists, who’ve drawn on the island’s past and present—both real and imagined—to create products especially for the shop.”
For example, Groundsel is producing a line of recycled cotton messenger bags, hand-embellished with motifs inspired by the history and architecture of Governors Island. It’s the perfect bag for your bicycle outings around the island and elsewhere in New York.
J. Topolski has created hand-cut and -etched copper pieces in the shape of a giant squid, spinal vertebrae, and an ouroboros (the snake that eats its own tail). The ouroboros also features real snakeskin in the groove of etched metal, covered in resin, continuing the artist’s use of natural materials like shed reptile skins and bones.

 “Ultimately, the goal of Better Than Jam’s collaboration with Governors Island is to offer visitors a handmade and local shopping experience within the setting of a unique and historically rich public space,” says Persan.

In partnering with Governors Island, Better Than Jam hopes to create context around artisanal processes and inspiration. Better Than Jam’s pop-up shop will complement and add to the Island’s growing popularity, allowing visitors to take home a tangible memento from their Governor’s Island visit—a souvenir that was designed and created just a ferry ride away!
About Better Than Jam: Established in Bushwick Brooklyn, a neighborhood rich in history and brimming with an artistic community, Better Than Jam Handmade Co-Op showcases a variety of clothing, jewelry, and accessories created by some of NYC’s most talented artists and craftspeople.  It brings to the forefront local accomplished designers that make 100% handmade and high quality items at a fair price.
WHAT: Better Than Jam Summer Pop-Up Shop
WHEN: 11am – 4pm Friday, 11am – 5pm Saturday and Sunday from May 27th-September 25th 2011
WHERE: Historic Home 6B, Nolan Park, Governors Island

A Farewell to Summer

Even though summer does not officially end until September 22rd this year, Labor Day unofficially brings it to a close.  But before the leaves start changing and we pull out our woolen sweaters there is still time to enjoy a few final summer indulgences. 

One of my favorite places in New York is the Union Square Green Market.  There is nothing better than filing my trusty shopping bags with fresh produce, bread and flowers.  Copabanana has a great selection of market bags in vintage fabrics.  Since everything is so fresh and fragrant all you really need to do is toss your market finds in a bowl or on a platter and enjoy.  Check out Take Me Homeware for some terrific pieces.

Get out and enjoy the last few days of summer.

Ellis Designs

P.S. Apologies for there being no images in this post.  Apparently my image files decided to take the holiday off.  


Fresh Berry Crumble

The best part about Summer is the fantastic fresh fruit available. Sure, you can pretty much get anything all year round in your typical supermarket, but nothing beats fresh fruit that is in season, and even better, that is local.

A couple of months ago, I was visiting a farmer's market and came across a nice gentleman selling some raspberry/apple crumble. It was simply delicious, and left me wanting more. I went back to the same market a couple of weeks later, and could not find the same vendor.

I was crushed, and still craving this delicious dessert. Frustrated and seriously upset, I went to my fave recipe spot: allrecipes.com and found a great recipe so I could make my own fruit crumble!

I settled on a recipe that called for 3 berries, but I decided to use blueberries and strawberries. I also loved this particular recipe because it was made with crumble on the top and bottom....yum!

So without further ado, here is the recipe (w/a few tweaks.)


2 pints of strawberries (sliced)
2 pints of blueberries
1 cup of flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp of ground nutmeg
1 stick of butter


1. preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2. melt butter in a saucepan, remove from the stove & mix in the rest of the ingredients except for the fruit
3. press 1/2 the oat mixture into the bottom of a small cakepan (8" or 9" square,) top with the fruit, then cover with the remaining crumble
4. bake in the oven for 30-40 mins, or until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown.
5. spoon into small bowls and enjoy (also tastes great w/ice cream!)

ok, a few notes/variations....

1. you can add a few tbsp of regular sugar (or splenda) to the fruit depending on the tartness
2. you can sub peaches, apples, raspberries, or whatever fruit you like best (keep in mind, apples may need a bit longer in the oven)
3. this recipe is really easy to double...just make sure to use a larger pan.
4. be careful, this crumble is a bit addictive. I have bags of fruit in my freezer just waiting for the next opportunity to make some more!

Nordea's Soaperie
Nordea's Soaperie (on etsy)