book club update!

as i’m nearing the end of on the road i was inspired to take a look at the fashion of the beat generation.  beatniks were characterized by their rebellious spirit and anti-establishment, anti-materialistic philosophy, and they expressed this through stark and simple fashion.  jack kerouac and his crew wore old, ripped jeans and t-shirts because they didn’t care how they looked, while others wore head-to-toe black with berets or glasses.

what else about the beat generation’s style and culture is still resonant with you today?

share your thoughts in the comments section!  also for those of you reading on the road, try and finish by january 4th if you can, and check the blog for a final post about the book!

dallas shaw

dallas shaw is a delaware-based artist who’s work ranges from acrylic and watercolor paintings to notecards and tee-shirts. she also happens to be a big fan of free people! dallas was kind enough to answer a couple of questions for me and picked out some illustrations that she feels are representative of free people.

when and why did you decide you wanted to be a professional artist?

oddly enough i knew i wanted to be in art in some way when i was very young. i wrote a letter to the head animator of walt disney world when i was in 6th grade and asked him for a job! i think i was a little too young, but i worked at it since grade school, kept drawing, majored in illustration… as i grew older i really began to love the fashion industry and wanted to work in fashion but the right opportunity hasn’t come up just yet so here i am!

i read that you’re inspired by fashion and music…what designers and musicians are your personal favorites?
i do listen to music when i paint but i am really heavily influenced by the fashion industry. my personal favorites change by season but i am currently crushing on collections by phillip lim, lanvin & peter som.

what do you like to do when you’re not drawing and painting?
i don’t have a lot of free time on my hands this year. if i do end up with a few extra hours during the week i try to make time to spend with my really supportive husband. if I’m not with him during those couple of hours you’ll find me shopping!

to see more of dallas’s awesome work, check out her website!

he-art & sole

on wednesday i took a little field trip over to city hall to check out the philadelphia mural arts program’s winter art exhibition, which featured the work of their very talented big picture and mural corps students. big picture students designed and painted sneakers and large-scale mixed media “treasure maps” representing their ideas on how to “be the change you wish to see in the world” (based on the gandhi quote). mural corps students explored notions of identity through self portraits. i spoke with some of the students and they were so proud to show of their work, which was available for sale to raise funds for the program…and they have every right to be proud- they are seriously talented!

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for more information about philadelphia’s mural arts program, visit their website.

evergreen…

what is your favorite holiday tradition?

i used to love going to the christmas tree farm when i was little…it was one of my favorite things about the holiday season.  i have vivid memories of riding around on the tractors and getting yelled at for jumping on and off the wagon while it was moving.

something you can do this weekend wherever you are…tomorrow just happens to be look for an evergreen day! so if you haven’t already done so, head on out to a tree farm where you can pick one out and cut it down yourself…

south street winter solstice

there’s a cool event going on this saturday on south street in philly.  the south street winter solstice celebration, hosted by philadelphia’s magic gardens, will start at 11am and last until 9pm with live entertainment, hands-on activities and discounted holiday shopping at participating shops up and down south street.  plus the theme is warm, tropical climates, with live latin music and dancing to help take your mind of the frigid temps!

click here for more info on the event and activites throughout the day, which include art workshops and free guided tours of the incredible magic gardens at 12 and 4.

what’s everyone up to this weekend (besides last minute christmas shopping!)? any fun events going on in your area?

sneak peak: home sweet home!

i have a very special preview for you today of a new segment on the blog called home sweet home!  we thought it would be fun to give you all a glimpse into the homes of some of our free people team members, and to kick things off we took a trip to the beautiful home of our managing director of design and image.  she’s a big part of the free people look so we’re thrilled that she let us in and we got to see a little bit of her personal style and what inspires her.   we also got to meet her adorable children!

here’s a sneak peak into her home, and stay tuned for the video… it’s coming soon!

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wednes-diy

good morning! i saw these homemade terrarium ornaments on design sponge and thought it was the coolest idea. they add some nature to your christmas tree, even though they’re actually fake (so you don’t have to worry about watering them), and as the blogger who made them suggests, they’d be a great decoration for the home after holiday season as well. read on for some instructions on how to make them!

what you’ll need:
– clear glass ornaments
– dried moss
– twine
– pencil
– q-tips
optional- twigs, fake butterflies, feathers etc…

1. tear off a small piece of moss and moisten slightly (this helps to keep the moss from crumbling a lot of dust inside).

2. with the eraser end of your pencil, gently push moss into the opening. repeat this a few times until you have a forest floor on the bottom of your ornament.

3. add any extras and poke with your pencil to style things as necessary.

4. bend a q-tip and clean any debris stuck to the inside walls of the ornament.

5. attach a piece of twine with a bow and hang!

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tunesday: bob dylan

this album came out a couple of months ago but i felt compelled to write about it now, since the timing is appropriate.   in a career spanning roughly 50 years (!!!) and 47 albums, bob dylan has finally recorded a christmas album, which comes as a surprise to some of his loyal fans.  first of all, he was raised in a jewish family, second of all, people assume something like this, coming from him, is meant to be ironic and not taken seriously.  but he is serious, and his straightforward approach to recording the songs (with background singers and traditional arrangements) is a measure of his appreciation for the music.  the album might not be for everyone but if you’re a fan of either christmas music or bob dylan, or both, definitely give it a shot.  plus, all proceeds from the album sales in the u.s. will be donated, now and in perpetuity, to feeding america, which guarantees that over 1.4 million families will be provided with meals this holiday season. proceeds from sales in the u.k. and worldwide will go to the charities crisis and the world food programme, respectively.

check out this really cute video, by painter/animator jeff scher, for bob dylan’s “little drummer boy”:

for more info, visit bob dylan’s website.

inspiring ways to wrap a gift card

a lot of people think that when it comes to giving gifts, gift cards are the easy way out.  but that’s not necessarily true…a lot of times if you don’t know exactly what to get someone, it really is the ideal gift…especially if you personalize the gift card by giving it a creative touch.  here are some suggestions for fun ways to wrap a gift card that are so cute, no one can accuse you of copping out…

frame it! frames are great gifts anyway, and you can find a pretty inexpensive one and decorate it or paint it yourself for an added touch.   Tape the gift card to a piece of patterned paper like the one above.

these are some fun things you can do with felt that look very simple to make.  i especially like the mushroom, which is actually meant to be a business card holder.  but on second thought, why not make a holder for your gift card that can be re-used as a business card holder as well?

pouches

put the gift card in a cute little coin purse or pouch like one of these…they’ll think that’s the gift, and when they look inside they’ll find an added surprise! see more of our small bags and purses here.

happy holidays!