Saturday, February 28, 2009

Meet Charmaine of Charmaine Manley Design

Here at 32 Degrees North, we're big fans of Charmaine Manley and her work, and regular readers of her blog.  She has a phenomenal eye for design, takes beautifully composed photos and has left us wanting to know more about the High Desert Diva:

Photo by Philip Clayton-Thompson of Blackstone Edge Studios.

*A bit about you (name, location, where you can be found on etsy & online).

Charmaine Manley: artist, designer, interior decorator & antique seller living in the high desert of Central Oregon.

Portrait of the artist.

* When did you know you wanted to be a designer?

I don’t think I ever wanted to be a designer as much as this is, and always has been, a part of my persona.

* How did you get involved in the antiques business?

I was raised around antiques. My mother would find furniture at garage sales, buy it, bring it home, strip and refinish it (this was in the 1970’s when stripping furniture was ‘in’.) When I first moved out on my own, and was very poor, buying second hand was a necessity. I was always drawn to the old, antique pieces at thrift stores or garage sales. Picking up furniture and small decorative items (for very, very cheap) when I saw them became second nature. I couldn’t imagine not going to flea markets or sales and finally knew I needed to stop collecting and start selling. One can only have so much.

* Describe your signature style.

In the mid 1990’s I started referring to my style as timeworn elegance. I think that still fits.

* How has your approach to design changed over the years?

I’m more aware of what products are made from now. Since I don’t want anything toxic in my own home, I give my clients that same courtesy by sourcing out sustainable furniture and design elements.

* Do you collaborate with your husband on metalwork design?

Sometimes. Mark is very independent and has very strong opinions on how his metal work should look. He listens to my suggestions and incorporates them if he feels it will enhance his artwork. For the sculpture in the kitchen I told him I wanted a grape branch growing up over the window, and I wanted it wild. This is his interpretation of my request. It is my favorite piece to date.

Photo by Philip Clayton-Thompson of Blackstone Edge Studios.

* What are your favorite materials / favorite materials to repurpose? Who / what are your creative influences?

I’m currently drawn to old bits and pieces: skeleton keys, clock parts, jet buttons, metal tags. Jewelry made from this jetsam is high on my list right now. For the most part, I don’t follow trends (or design shows). A plethora of creativity can be found on the internet; Etsy has been a huge influence to me in the last year and a half.

* Any shops you can't get enough of or favorite shops on etsy?

In Portland, Oregon my favorite shops are Justin Burks and Bernadette Breu, on Etsy…oh boy. As I write this, I have 433 shops on my favorites list and I haven’t even begun to tap into all the creativity Etsy has to offer. What a treasure trove.

* What do you like to do besides etsy/design?

I love to read. And go to the beach. The ocean is my favorite place to be. Last fall, we adopted a he comes with us and we have an entirely different beach experience.

Photo courtesy of Charmaine.

* What has been your biggest design challenge so far? What was the biggest challenge in the double-wide remodel?

Remodeling a double wide (on a tight budget) definitely tops the list of challenges. Turning a long, narrow, low-ceilinged metal box into a home took months. I’d say my persistence paid off...I wasn’t willing to live in an ugly home. Challenging, but worth it in the end.

Photo by Philip Clayton-Thompson of Blackstone Edge Studios.

* People are often intimidated by re-doing a room / space and it seems like having virtually unlimited choices in colors / styles / ideas is just plain overwhelming. What advice would you give to someone tackling a design project on their own to get them on the right track? Are there any color combinations that you often turn to that work with a wide variety of tastes and can be styled up or down?

I suggest starting with color. Changing wall color is one of the cheapest things one can do to change the entire look of a room. I always recommend either Devine or Yolo paint. (Devine is low VOC, Yolo zero VOC.) These paint lines have limited color palettes so the choice isn’t overwhelming. People are still interested in soft green: a sage or olive. The color works well with a variety of styles, easily lending itself to white cottage furniture, or dark stained modern décor. I tend to like darker, more vibrant colors. If clients are open to this; deep reds or chocolates make a beautiful backdrop. In our master bedroom I saturated the room with color. It looks very rich with the ceiling painted the same red: Devine’s Saffron; I’ve never cared for white ceilings.

Photo by Philip Clayton-Thompson of Blackstone Edge Studios.

*Anything you want customers/etsians/readers to know about you?

I believe design should be a fun process and the end result should reflect one’s lifestyle. One of my favorite quotes is from Designer Billy Baldwin: “Nothing is in good taste unless it suits the way you live. What’s practical is beautiful…and suitability always overrules fashion.”

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Recently Listed...

We've just added three crafting kits to our etsy shop to make your own vintage-inspired Easter chick candy containers. Two have bobble heads, the other sports a pink top hat; all are adorable and available now.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Origins of The Easter Bunny

The first written mention of the Easter Bunny was made in southwestern Germany in the 1600s. By the early 1800s, Easter Bunnies, or "Osterhase," were being made of sugar and pastry. When Germans emigrated to Pennsylvania in the 1700s, they brought their traditions to America, including the yearly visit from the Easter Bunny. Children typically built nests using their caps and bonnets and tucked them away at home to receive colorful eggs, if they'd been good boys and girls. The nests were eventually replaced by baskets, which are still commonly used today.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Speaking The Language of Flowers

Known in Japanese as hanakotoba and in English as floriography, the language of flowers has long been used to convey emotions that people have been hesitant to speak. Though most popular in the Victorian period, the symbolic use of flowers dates back to antiquity. In medieval and Renaissance culture, flowers were often given moral meanings and certain flowers were commonly known to represent specific feelings. Interestingly, many of the same flowers in both hanakotoba and floriagraphy have the same significance.

Here is a partial list of a few common flowers and their meanings in the language of flowers.

daffodil - regard
ivy - fidelity
gerbera daisy - innocence
white rose - chastity
yellow rose - friendship
red rose - romantic love
pansy - thought
acacia - secret love
buttercup - riches
canterbury bells - gratitude
yellow carnation - rejection
nasturtium - patriotism
geranium - gentility
hollyhock - ambition

We love arranging fresh flowers that we've grown in our gardens. But when season or weather does not permit bountiful blooms, we consider working with these as the next best thing:

Pretty assorted flower scraps made in England.

Dainty handmade paper pansies.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Brief History of Paper Scraps

What we refer to as Victorian paper scraps were initially used in German bakeries to decorate cakes. They soon found their way to family albums and personal journals, as people used them to decorate the chronicles of their travels, visitors, their daily lives and important events of the day. Colorful paper scraps and Dresden foil die cuts were also used to embellish greeting cards, valentines, and ornaments to celebrate important holidays, such as Christmas and Easter.

Assembling scrapbooks was a popular pastime in the Victorian home and these small colorful paper scraps lent themselves to other craft projects, as well. They were included in decoupaging of trays, screens and boxes.

Most paper scraps are chromolithographs, stamped with embossed reliefs. They have a coating of gelatin and gum that gives them their glossy finish. When they are passed through a special pressing machine that punches and stamps them, it cuts away the extra paper and leaves them connected on the sheet with small paper links.

Vintage and new designs are still being printed in Germany and Britain, in the same manner they have been made since the 19th century. We use them constantly in our own projects, and are happy to provide you with a large selection of traditional Victorian paper scraps from both Germany and Great Britian and a wide variety of the finest authentic Dresden gold and silver foil embellishments available today.

Easter theme with children and bunnies ~ Made in Germany.

Vintage babies in flower blankets ~ Made in W. Germany.

Pretty floral letters ~ Made in Germany.

Heavily embossed angels ~ Made in England.

Colorful nursery rhyme scraps ~ Made in England.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Esther Howland - Mother of The American Valentine

Esther Howland was born in 1828, the daughter of the owner of the largest book and stationery store in Worcester, Massachusetts. She was a contemporary of poet Emily Dickenson, attended Mt. Holyoke Women's Seminary College and graduated at 19. Shortly thereafter, she received an ornate English valentine from a business associate of her father. Said valentine sparked an idea that created an industry.

Convincing her father to order paper laces and colorful paper scraps for her from London and New York City, Esther set about creating valentines of her own. When next her brother set out on a selling trip, he took along a dozen samples of Esther's creations, which she hoped might garner some interest. The cards were popular beyond her wildest expectations, as her brother returned with $5,000 in advance sales.

Esther enlisted friends as employees, created an assembly line and manufactured hand made valentines. She ran her first ad in 1850, in her local Worcester newspaper, and developed her line of greeting cards into a business that grossed $100,000 annually. Her company continued to thrive and she eventually sold it in 1881.

Pictured are three of Esther's valentines.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Handmade Valentines

Handmade Valentines are always fun to create, and exchanging them is always a special treat. Here are a few favorite supplies from our etsy shop:

Assorted foil and paper heart doilies.

Metallic trim with red foil.

Red foil embossed paper with flowers.

Dresden gold foil hearts from Germany.

Vintage red metallic honeycomb trim from the 1960s.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Welcome to our Blog!

Thanks for stopping by and welcome to 32 Degrees North Supplies! We offer a mix of Dresden foils, scraps and die-cuts, pretty trims, fancy paper in sheets, millinery flowers, and unique vintage supplies.  We hope you'll visit often to keep apprised of new items, learn more about select supplies and their history, and get ideas about how to get creative with what we offer.

Two ways to and

Die-cut and embossed Victorian butterfly scraps.

Handmade paper pansies.

1950s plastic rooster picks for cupcakes and treats.

Mixed sizes of pastel pink eggs perfect for decoupage.

Gold foil Dresden trim imported from Germany.