on getting there…

“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.”


Often I fantasize about where I’d like my life to be and how I’ll get there. I envision my handmade work being successful and doing that thing I love every day. Sometimes, I forget that these things don’t happen overnight and that I’ve made a lot of progress from where I’ve started. A LOT. While this may sound really cheesy, I often think of how lucky I am to even be able to take on what I love in the smallest capacity.


easter egg decorating

I’m scheming some ideas for the annual Daley/Schwab Easter egg decorating contest. Each year the whole family gets together the night before Easter to decorate together. I’ve only been participating for a few years now but this has been a long tradition and it’s a serious competition. There are some rules: no cracks in the egg, of course. Ok, well that’s the main rule. There is always an outside mystery judge that chooses a winner and runner-up in 3 categories: best use of color, best use of easter theme, and best overall egg. Last year I won best over all egg! I was stunned and actually pretty excited being that I’m a newbie.

There is a small chance I may not be able to make it because I’m starting a new job this week and don’t know my full training schedule. Fingers crossed I’ll be able to participate and more importantly get to spend some time with the family.

Here are the winning eggs from last year. Does you family have any holiday traditions for Easter?


Photo taken by Charlotte Daley

current favorite: jay defeo

I shouldn’t say that the work of Jay DeFeo is my “current” favorite; her work is now amongst my forever favorites. Admittedly, I did not know anything about DeFeo or her work before seeing the show.

Last week George and I went to The Whitney to see this show specifically as it was an assignment he was given through class. Due to some rather noisy museum guests and one very terrible tour guide that kept referring to the artist as “he” we decided to go through the show backwards (in reverse chronological order). While you could clearly see some progressions through her work it was fun to go backwards. I’ve rarely walked through a show where I wanted to read every tid bit about each era or work and often times I would quickly skim through but I could’ve honestly walked through this show twice and re-read each one.

Jay DeFeo is most famously known for her painting The Rose, which took her 8 years to complete. EIGHT YEARS. The image below simply does it no justice whatsoever. If I remember correctly it is almost 11 inches thick. In other words, the depth and texture simply can only be understood and appreciated in person. Just looking through these images of the installation will give you an idea of the size.

Image via The Whitney Museum of American Art

I would say this about almost all of her work – that photographs do the work no justice (this goes for many other artists too of course) . Before we left The Whitney I briefly looked through the large book of her work and many of the photos don’t allow you to understand the texture in each piece – some have very thick layers of textured paint, pieces of tape, or collaged pieces of photographs. These are often times the best moments of the paintings and prints.

There are so many great things to say I could go on forever really but if you’re in New York you should see it for yourself. I remember saying to George after the show something like, “I most loved how she used common objects as her point of reference, it’s brilliant, and you could tell she was a total nut.” Both things are true and almost a week later her work is still buzzing in my brain.


“A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.” ~Unknown

Today I am missing my friends.

If you follow me on FB you know that I repost Tiny Buddha comments here and there. I used to think quotes were silly but lately I’ve been seeing a lot of good ones that I love. I’ve been reading Tiny Buddha for years now and recently found their FB page, which often gives my daily dose of positivity.

What are your favorite quotes?

color inspiration: pastel green and blue and artist Liu Wei

On Thursday, George and I took a VERY long walk with some Hunter students to explore Chelsea. To be honest, I didn’t expect that we would be walking the 20+ blocks to get there and did not wear the proper shoes at all. We only saw a few shows before we were starving and I thought my feet were going to fall off. Luckily, this show caught our eye through the large windows of the Lehmann Maupin gallery and we stopped in to see Liu Wei‘s work.

The show has some amazing paintings as well as these gorgeous constructions all made from rehabbed wood. While I really admired the wood work and loved the paintings, I have to admit that the first thing that caught my eye was the pallet. The creamy whites, and pastel greens and blues are some of my favorite colors but given their origin they would be very difficult to re-create exactly.

I certainly recommend checking out this show. You can click the links above to read more about the gallery and artist.

Photos via Lehmann Maupin Gallery

color inspiration: gray

This great painting is by my friend Alex Grant. I absolutely love how it’s a little bit eerie and right now is the exact pallet of winter. This is the time of year where we’re all pretty much tired of winter and bundling up and are SO ready for even the tiniest bit of sunshine and warm weather. However, I think there’s something really beautiful and striking about these cool grays and blues.

*You can click on the image to go to her etsy page and buy the actual painting or a print.*

what’s in a name?

I wanted to do a quick post about my brand name and how it came to be (and to also do a short update because it’s been a while).

Almost 4 years ago now I began to have dreams about making handmade items that I could sell and make a full-time job. At that time I had no idea what I could even make but was eager to give myself a brand name.

One day while serving up coffee and pancakes at a brunch cafe in Philly, it came to me! Each day we had to spoon strawberry jam and orange marmalade in to small ramekins. As a child my grandmother loved having orange marmalade on her toast and that little task at work fondly reminded me of her. However, when I was a kid I thought orange marmalade was ground up goldfish!!!! Obviously, I refused to eat it then and didn’t try it until I was at that job and happened to love it (duh!).

Somehow, the name Orange Mandalade came to me. It in part used my name and this funny tidbit that still makes me smile when I think about it. Eventually, I decided to shorten the name to o.mandalade as I don’t have a fondness of the color orange, just the fruit and marmalade forms. I’ve thought a million times about changing the name for my now original designs and handmade bags but somehow it just sticks to me.

current favorite…dog necessities

As much as we love and adore our Boz we really slack in getting him new things. This is mainly because he has quickly destroyed just about everything we’ve ever gotten him. He’s in need of some serious upgrades soon. Here are some things I’ve used and would like to get him.

When we first had Boz we had to crate him when we left the house and he chewed through so many blankets that I never bought him a real bed. Luckily, after spending a summer running around my mom’s house with her 3 dogs he no longer needed to stay in his crate if we at least closed the bathroom doors. I thought I’d get him this inexpensive option that is also eco friendly to start and as a test to see if he ruined it. The colors are great, I chose orange, which now looks very dirty and dingy after having it for a few years. I like this bed a lot and it’s easy to wash but I’d like for him to have something with more cushion. Plus, as per usual, he has chewed the corners and it looks terrible.

I love this dog bed (and of course the cute puppy doesn’t hurt). However, I think I may end up making this at some point with some dog bed inserts from Target.

Right now we have a collar similar to this one. I bought one of these from CoopersCollars two years ago for Boz and it’s still going strong. Made from completely recycled fabrics. I love the cotton feel and sturdiness but it too is beginning to look really dingy.

I LOVE these collars from LaserPets. After years of rubbing against each other Boz’s tags are almost unreadable. I love that these can be custom printed. The simple colors are fantastic.

Speaking of tags: I love how rustic this one looks and have had my eye on this for years actually. Maybe that will mean once it gets beat up it will look even better?

Who doesn’t want a sweatshirt for their dog?

*click all images to go to product page*

Here is Boz wearing his Coopers Collar when it was shiny and new (2 years ago!).


Happy Monday!

a new start


For us 2013 is more than just a new year. We moved to Brooklyn on December 30th like a bunch of crazy people. If you haven’t done it recently, moving is still a stressful thing. The holidays really just passed us by this year. I love the feeling of Christmas and the consequential baking, giving, and time with family. This year was so rushed that I never baked a thing and barely got my gifts wrapped in time. George and I both received many nice gifts and enjoyed the tiny bit of time with our families but we were completely consumed with wrapping up everything in Baltimore.

So, we are now in Brooklyn in our tiny apartment and things are still kind of a wreck. This move was challenging in so many ways. We arrived at our apartment to find that many repairs needed to be done. The ones that the management company told us would be done before move in, were not. While we were more than frustrated they were very responsive and quick to get things done…and are still working on the small issues that seem to keep arising.

On the bright side: while this apartment is less than half of the size of our big Baltimore apartment and needs a lot of work, it is pretty cozy (or will be) and I know eventually it will feel more like home. We’re getting there. Starting a year completely new has been nothing short of exciting and while I this past week and a half haven’t been the easiest it’s exciting to make such a big change.

Looking back on my 2012 goals I accomplished almost NONE of them. That was a huge disappointment to me but also a very big opportunity at the same time. After working hard toward the Cold Hearted show in December and making this move I know I can do much more than I have been and I’m so excited to start a new list of goals and knock down some old ones.

Just a few on the list:

  • design new fabric prints
  • expand o.mandalade beyond handbags/accessories
  • maintain my etsy shop and keep it stocked
  • go on new adventures

It took me a few tries to write this post because it may be the most personal I’ve written but I wanted to answer a lot of people’s questions about our move and how things are going so far.

Happy 2013. I hope that everyone else feels like this will be a big year for them and is as hopeful and exciting as I am. I’d love to hear what others have planned for this year so please feel free to leave comments or email me here: omandalade [at] gmail dot com.

*the photo above is some of my most recent work, look for new things like this in my etsy shop!