Friday Favorites 2/18/2011

Cheryl Katz, Contributing Editor
This may sound funny, even a little kinky, but I adore ribbons. Not fake velvet or overly wired ones. But 100-percent cotton ones. In glorious colors. Whether stitched along the edge of a toss cushion, sewn down the front of a sweater or wrapped around the humblest gift, ribbons are a lovely, simple pleasure.

Angela Ligouri of Studio Carta imports her loose-weave cotton ribbons from Rome and sells them in 50-meter rolls for $36.00. By appointment at Studio Carta, 97 Boylston Street, Brookline, Massachusetts.

Photo courtesy of Studio Carta

Kyle Hoepner, Editor-in-Chief
For all you dyed-in-the-wool urbanites who adore midcentury modern design but can’t possibly be expected to make a trip all the way out into the wilds of Concord Avenue in Cambridge, the vintage furniture shop Reside now has a location in the heart of Boston’s South End. A former dollar store at 1409 Washington Street, just two doors up from Foodie’s, became in mid-January a long, tall, pleasantly brick-walled space full of owner Pamela Watts’s signature furniture and accessory finds. Watts says the additional space will allow her to show a more eclectic range of twentieth-century work; check out, too, the case of jewelry designed by her daughter, Nicole. By the way, when you head over you’ll need to be alert–there’s no sign up yet.

Paula M. Bodah, Senior Editor
In this bleakest of months, spring always seems mercilessly far away. I’m going to get a head start on the season by following the advice of Connecticut designer Karen Davis, one of our featured designers for Perspectives in our January/February issue. She goes to a nearby apple orchard and asks to pick up the branches left by the late-winter pruning. Then she brings the branches home and plunks them into vases of warm water to force an early bloom. Hint: crush the tip of the stem a bit with a hammer so it can draw water more easily. If you’re not near any apple orchards (to find out, check in with the New England Apple Growers Association), you can use any spring-blooming branch: forsythia, crabapple, pussy willows, even quince or wild plum. Davis says she likes to use her blossoming branches in dramatic arrangements with florist-bought flowers. I like the more minimalist look of a bunch of branches in a tall vase or a sprig or two in an ikebana vase.

Forsythia brings the color of sunshine to my own house.

Go for a dramatic look with long branches of quince in a tall vase.

Photo courtesy of Winston Flowers

Vermont-based garden blogger Michaela Medina created this pretty arrangement with pussy willows in a pewter vase by artisan Aletha Soulé.

Photo by Michaela Medina, courtesy of The Gardner’s Eden

Metal artist Reed C. Bowman’s brass Ikebana Lens Vase makes a perfect companion for a graceful wild plum branch.

Photo courtesy of David M. Bowman Studio

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