January 2012

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Most people find old-fashioned radiators unsightly and a decorating hardship, but I have a nostalgic affection for them.

As a kid, my morning dreams were pushed aside by the reassuring clonking of pipes and the sputtering and hissing of cast iron radiators as they pushed an even warmth through our rambling old house. After a cold day of skiing I would press myself up against a radiator until my long underwear felt like it was going to burn my skin. The cats and dogs nestled up against them too.

I wish I’d thought to paint the radiator in my bedroom in a gradient of warm colors. But I would’ve reversed the colors so that the hot red was at the end of the radiator where the steam pipe entered it and became warm first and then fade the color out to yellow at the cooler far end.

Via: Pattern People 

For more color inspiration click here.


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When one imagines carved saddles, images of scroll and acanthus leaf patterns and shiny hardware atop Palominos come to mind. Craftswoman Kara Ginther has envisioned an entirely different kind of saddle. She expresses her design through intricately hand carved Brooks leather bicycle saddles. What a brilliant idea!

According to Ginther’s website her techniques for carving leather seats are quite straight forward. She only uses world renowned Brooks saddles. First she traces her design by hand and then embosses it with an awl into the surface of the saddle. She then carves away super thin slices of the outer layer to achieve a light and dark contrast. Some of her designs are hand colored. The carving doesn’t hamper the integrity of the saddle – it only enhances it.

She welcomes custom designs and her prices depend on the size,  complexity and content of the design.  Text, for example, is much more difficult that an organic pattern and is more expensive. Custom saddles range in price from $99 to $400 – that’s after you provide the saddle. When you’re splurging on a handmade custom titanium and carbon bike, what’s another couple hundred bucks for a really special saddle? Tally-ho!


If you’re not into cycling, she also custom carves Dansko clogs! Visit her etsy store here.

For more 2-wheeled inspiration click here 


“Like” Poppy Gall on facebook here.



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There is something arresting and sensuous about Françoise Tellier-Loumagne’s photograph of a moldy orange. It evokes contradicting scents of sharp citrus and musty decay. It’s fascinating textural surface is both soft and velvety, glossy and firm. The shades of blue are unlike any mold that I have ever seen before. Tellier-Loumagne suggests using it as inspiration for embroidery.

For more color inspiration click here or click here to like Poppy Gall Design on facebook.

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Another Outdoor Retailer trade show has come and gone and I’m back in my studio sifting through meeting notes, sorting business cards and following up on all sorts of leads.

For me, one of the highlights of the show was being included as one of the judges for Project O.R. – a competition for design students that celebrates the functionality, originality and design of outdoor recreation clothing.

Six design students from top design programs from around the country were chosen for the competition. On the first morning of the show they were handed a design brief requiring them to produce a prototype of an innovative, original and functional backcountry ski pant for women using performance and eco-friendly materials – within 48 hours! Contestants chose the latest technical fabrics and trims provided by exhibiting industry suppliers.

Because of my experiences of designing such pants for Isis, I was well aware of the multiple challenges this assignment provided for the designers. Problems such as how a woman relieves herself in the backcountry without undressing, how to provide adequate venting, what kind of fabrics to use to help regulate fluctuating body temperatures, where to place pockets so they won’t interfere with a harness etc., would need to be resolved.

Later in the day a panel of judges, comprised of five industry insiders, reviewed the designer’s initial concept sketches and storyboards, fabric selections and garment features and made suggestions that would help improve the functionality of the designs.

Margaret Mussman's storyboard and concept sketches

After the judge’s critique the designers made changes and settled into their personal work stations equipped with sewing machines, cutting tables, tools and pressing equipment to start making their patterns and building their prototypes.

Julia Mangelsdorf starts drafting her pattern

Paula Lam working with her pattern pieces

Lauren Mellor applies seam tape to the inside of her pant

When the judges checked back in with the students, less than 48 hours later, they all had garments ready to present to us. I for one was totally blown away by their ability to pull together such well thought-out and finished garments in such a short timeframe. Grace under pressure!

Project O.R. is a truly wonderful opportunity to introduce students to the Outdoor industry. The beauty is that they can tap directly into knowledgable people who work for well-known apparel and hard goods brands and fabric suppliers, because all those people are all under one roof during the show.

Margaret Mussman from the University of Cincinnati was the undisputed winner of the contest. Her exceptionally detailed bib pant showed a clear understanding of the end-user and her needs in the backcountry. The pant was beautifully constructed – mostly using Bemis adhesive tape, instead of stitching, to bond waterproof breathable stretch fabrics together. Margaret, a former competitive snowboarder imaginatively used her snow sport experience to influence her design.

Margaret Mussman with her winning design celebrates with a glass of champagne

A few of the designers had little or no prior exposure to skiing. It was impressive how all the contestants took the judges first feedback to heart and made some extraordinary changes to their initial designs and fabric selections. All of them created a pant that surpassed their original concept sketches. It was a real pleasure to be in the company of such talent!

Lauren Mellor's pant was highly praised for it's interesting fabric selection and forward styling

Kelsee Morefield's pant included a discreet front to back zipper system, an efficient system for when nature calls.

Jennifer Hirsch's ambitious design took it's inspiration from fresh ski tracks.

To “Like” Poppy Gall Design Studio on facebook  - click here  



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via: Smith Optics 

On January 19, 2012 Sarah Burke, freeskiing pioneer, six-time X Games gold medalist, role model and inspiration passed away from injuries sustained in a training accident.

Female athletes everywhere owe a debt of gratitude to Sarah’s passionate trailblazing efforts over the last 15 years. As the first competitive female freeskier, she successfully lobbied the Winter X Games to include women in freeskiing events on equal standing. It is because of Sarah’s efforts that female winter athletes are some of the only athletes in the world to receive equal prize purses to that of men.

Sarah brought worldwide recognition and validation to the sport she so loved. Without her efforts, the halfpipe competition for skiers would not be included in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Sarah is a pioneer of her generation. Her life and legacy embody the true spirit of action sports; a movement of individuals driven to innovate, master and explore the frontier of physical possibility. Sarah’s love of skiing took her life to amazing places.

Her accomplishments on skis continue to inspire girls and women everywhere to believe in themselves and follow their hearts. Her passing is not a cause to pack up our skis, but rather a reason to step-in and ski for Sarah and the dreams that inspired her star to shine.





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Here’s an innovative product that I probably won’t see at the Outdoor Retailer Show this week – snowball making gloves!

Have a nice weekend!

Design: Janet Emmelkamp,Utrecht School of the Arts

To “Like” Poppy Gall Design Studio on facebook  - click here

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I love the three dimensional patterns and colors of the frozen bubbles in the ice in this photo taken by Emmanuel Coupe. They would make a lovely textile pattern.

I’m on my way to The Outdoor Retailer trade show this week. I am excited to see all the latest and greatest outdoor gear and clothing that will be appearing in stores next fall, and to see sales samples of my various designs. I have a schedule filled with meetings with clients – current and potential, fabric vendors and industry friends.

I’ve been asked to be a judge for Project OR a student apparel design competition, similar to the reality show Project Runway. Students are handed a design brief the first morning of the show and then must conceive, design and sew a garment meeting the specifications of the design brief in just three days. It’s a great way to introduce young designers to the Outdoor market and vice versa. I’ll let you knoe how this goes when I return.

More photos by Emmanuel Coupe 

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via: pixdaus.com


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via: puddinhead.com.au


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Bromley, “the sun mountain”, founded by brewery mogul Fred Pabst, turns 75 years old this winter. I love this mountain because I grew up skiing there.

These postcards were old when I got them as a kid. I wasn’t born yet when they were taken, but Bromley was enough the same when I was young that they make me nostalgic. They must be from around WWII as a skier on the Sun Deck in the top postcard is in uniform.

“Flags of Skiing Nations – The flags of the United States, Canada, Austria, Switzerland, Norway and other skiing nations make a colorful display on the Sun Deck at Bromley’s Wild Boar Restaurant. Located in the heart of the Green Mountains, the Manchester, Vermont ski resort is only 197 miles from New York City and 143 miles from Boston.

Most ski areas at the time hired instructors from Austria or Switzerland, many who stayed on and enriched the fabric of our communities.

When I was a kid the Wild Board lodge was jammed with taxidermy antlered beasts hung on pine paneled walls and above the stone fireplace. There was an old wooden telephone booth in the back corner where everyone ate their bagged lunches.

In this postcard season passes were $75 and a week ticket was $21. Sig Buchmayer’s Sportshop is beneath the deck. Wooden ski patrol toboggans are lined up along the front of the building. The lodge has undergone some change but it remains red, if not quite that fire engine shade.

“The Lord’s Prayer at Bromley – This popular novice slope at Bromley, Manchester, Vermont attracts thousands of skiers every winter.”

You could park your car right along rte. 11 and walk to the lift.  Metal J-bars and a surface Poma lift moved skiers uphill in those days. By the time I started skiing at Bromley, “Number 1″ chairlift had been installed at the bottom of The Lord’s Prayer slope to haul skiers to the top . Each chair was painted a different color.  Old Number 1 and all the J-bars, except the Lord’s Prayer J, have been replaced with newer chairlifts. I’ll never forget being hollered at by the lifties for bouncing on the J-bars.

Notice the sunbathers sprawled on the red adirondack chairs along then side of the lodge building. Bromley skiers always have a tan because the slopes face south.

A special exhibit of professionally enlarged black and white vintage photos from the 1950′s and 60′s are on display in the Bromley base lodge this winter. If you can’t stop in to see the show, you can view a slideshow  here . The photographers and skiers are mostly unidentified. If you know either, drop a note to the aforementioned website.

This wonderful video splices together clips of 1960′s vintage Bromley skiing antics and nightlife made by Bromley skier Bob Ellis. Does anyone recognize these swinging skiers?

For more vintage skiing inspiration click here or follow my Vintage Winter boards on Pinterest




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I’m a sucker for anything with an alpine theme. Naturally I fell in love the Tyrolean twist that Guillaume Henry, designer for French label Carven, infused into his Spring 2012 ready-to-wear and resort collections. It’s modern and sweet and sexy.

A vintage postcard-like scene of alpine chalets against a backdrop of snowy peaks and glaciers adorn this simple dress.

The tee shirt graphic appears to be inspired by folkloric paper cut outs of hearts, flowers and deer.

On closer inspection the print on this dress is a beautiful oversized vintage map.

A nod to traditional lederhosen suspenders complete with decorative hardware similar to that found on leather cowbell collars.

Interestingly placed aforementioned hardware. I might not have placed it on the bust myself!

“Like” Poppy Gall Design Studio on facebook  - click here or follow my boards on Pinterest here.

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These photos are  jet-setty in a kind of 60′s way! I’m just as fascinated by the compositions, and the play between light and shadow as I am by the skiwear and equipment. Now, wasn’t that James Bond I saw jump out of a helicopter and schuss away?







Photographs by Eugene Vernier via Trunk Archive

For more vintage skiing inspiration click here.


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A spirited reddish-orange called “Tangerine Tango” has been pronounced “Color of the Year” for 2012 by the Pantone Color Institute. Is it really any surprise considering the appearance of so much orange on the runway for Spring fashion?

Here’s what Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute® has to say about the choice, “sophisticated but at the same time dramatic and seductive, Tangerine Tango is an orange with a lot of depth to it. Reminiscent of the radiant shadings of a sunset, Tangerine Tango marries the vivaciousness and adrenaline rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow, to form a high-visibility, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy.

Over the past several years, orange has grown in popularity and acceptance among designers and consumers alike. A provocative attention-getter, Tangerine Tango is especially appealing in men’s and women’s fashion. Fashion designers featured in the PANTONE Fashion Color Report Spring 2012, including Tommy Hilfiger, Nanette Lepore, Elie Tahari and Adrienne Vittadini, are incorporating this attractive orange into their spring collections. A fun, lively take on a traditional autumnal hue, Tangerine Tango will surely carry through to fall fashion as well.

Energize interior spaces with Tangerine Tango patterned home accessories. Pillows, bedspreads and tabletop accessories in this high-impact hue add spice to any room. Or incorporate Tangerine Tango appliances and personal electronics for an unexpected pop of color. Looking for an inexpensive way to perk up your home? Paint a wall in Tangerine Tango for a dynamic burst of energy in the kitchen, entryway or hallway.”

I for one like this bright shade quite a bit. I painted my kitchen cabinets this color a few years ago and am still living happily with it. What do you think about Tangerine Tango? Would you wear it or splash it on your walls?

For more color inspiration click here.

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Lightbulb lanterns by Japanese designer Kouichi Okamoto  

The government mandated phasing out of 100 watt incandescent light bulbs began yesterday. The familiar “Edison” bulbs are longer being manufactured or imported.

I for one, dread this change. It’s not that I’m opposed to energy efficiency, I just haven’t found an energy saving bulb that doesn’t make my home feel like a doctor’s office.

My quest to find the perfect replacement bulbs has been confusing and frustrating. New bulbs I’ve tried are too cool, or too dim, or are slow to warm up. They’re now screwed into closet, basement and barn light fixtures; places where I don’t spend a lot of time. None of them truly mimics a “soft white” 100 watt incandescent bulb.

Please, can anyone recommend a CFL or halogen bulb that does?


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I’m an unabashed sucker for creative packaging so it’s no wonder that this bottle of schnaps now resides in my freezer. Regardless of the quality of the bottle’s contents or price tag, I couldn’t resist it because of the edelweiss patch shot through with silver threads. Once the last drop of schnaps has warmed my gullet, the patch will certainly find a new home.

Happy New Year!

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