Arren Williams is the name, and I'm a stylist, editor and trend reporter. You'll catch my work regularly popping up in print in the likes of the National Post, House & Home and elsewhere. I'm also a guest expert on Citytv's CityLine, and you can occasionally find me on HGTV as well as on ABC 7 News in Chicago.

To keep things fun I've tapped a couple of friends - Julia Black and Jenn Hannotte - to contribute their views on design too. Enjoy!


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Entries in Poppytalk (2)


{that one great thing} Jan's handmade frame

I once had a landlord who mentioned that old chestnut, You scratch my back, I scratch yours while I was signing a lease, and delightfully went on to say You kick me, I kick you. Memorable, yes, but not exactly charming, so the first part - definitely not the second - came to mind when Jan Halvarson of Poppytalk kindly asked if she could grab the shot and story from Susie Sheffman's *that one great thing* pick to post on her fantastic blog. I said of course, and then proceeded to bug her into contributing one in return. So here goes!

Jan Halvarson: I have fond memories of my Swedish grandfather whittling away on a chair outside in the back deck on warm summer days. I would be playing in the yard, and he would watch me and whittle away. He made this frame, and I really don't even know the back story, nor does anyone else, but it's just always been around, following me everywhere I go; always there. And as I write this I'm realizing how profound that is. I remember it having three hearts, and I'm sure at one point there were four, but now only two remain. I love how he painted them gold, and left the rest. It's housed a favourite black and white photograph of my mother, at times my drawings and right now I love it best just left as is. Without even knowing it until now, it could very well be the inspiration to why I love handmade so much today.

In the photograph the frame is shown with a collection of found driftwood I wrapped a bit of yarn around and a crochet covered rock from artist Margie Oomen.


In praise of knots

The Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs was jam packed during the recent Coachella fest (click here to see the arty goings on over on Poppytalk), but I'm wondering, did anyone stop to check out the hotel's cool macramé installation? The knot-tastic curtain was created by designer Michael Schmidt - who's perhaps better known for his wardrobe work with the likes of Gaga, Fergie and Madonna - out of about a mile of cotton rope. And why not? It's definitely high time for macramé to come out of the dusty 70's craft closet and be re-imagined for today. To show that there's a bit of a thing happening with cord, rope and knots, take a look at Urban Outfitter's Beaded Treasures pillow as well as the rather stunning Pleats-Pleats sofa by young Swedish design and architecture studio, Imaginary Office. [Images 1,3: courtesy Michael Schmidt]