May 19, 2014 Springtime in Mrs. Miller’s Iris Garden

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Peruvian Connection’s headquarters is situated on a family farm, amid the rolling hills and lush woodlands of Eastern Kansas.  Here on Canaan Farm is where CEO, Annie Hurlbut, grew up, and co-founder, Biddy Hurlbut, gallivanted through her mother’s iris garden.  Long before Peruvian Connection came into existence, their backyard was well-known for its exquisite flower garden.

iriscollageBiddy’s mother, Corinne Miller, developed a passion for iris in the 1950′s. Charles Miller, Biddy’s father, was a pilot and flew her mother around the country to visit iris hybridizers.  In Iowa, the Millers admired a burnt red iris named Pepperpot. When Charles asked if he could purchase it, he was told no, because there were just a couple of the experimental plants.  But he persisted.

“She gave him a plant and charged him $125 for it,” Biddy Hurlbut said.  The plants thrived in the Tonganoxie garden.  As did many more.

Mrs. Miller tested new varieties every year in partnership with national iris hybridizers.  At one time, the garden had approximately 2500 different varieties of iris and was a part of the National Iris Society’s tour.

collage2Today, Mrs. Miller’s garden is less diverse than it once was, with several hundred iris varieties, but has been recently renovated and is as enchanting as ever.  In addition to iris, there are loads of colorful poppies, peonies, columbine and other perennials. A popular site for painters, photographers and Peruvian Connection employees over their lunch hour, this time of year is the most special as the iris are in all their glory.

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Mrs. Miller’s Iris Garden was a favorite subject of Kansas landscape painter, Robert Sudlow.

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May 7, 2014 Cutting It Short

by guest blogger, Julie

Sometimes summer weather can be a little less SUNsational in the a.m. and p.m., yet it’s not enough brrr to make you want to bundle up whilst eating alfresco. So, what’s the perfect fit for this goosebump-provoking dilemma?  Thinking inside the box and covering up with a lightweight cropped jacket or cardigan, of course!

For many women C.R.O.P. preceding “jacket” is the worst four-letter word to ever leave one’s lips. But this nose-crinkling aversion is just a knee-jerk reaction to not knowing how to properly wear this figure flattering (YES! I said figure flattering) piece of apparel.

The most important key to keeping yourself from looking like a Jane-in-the-box when striving for shorter cut wraps, cardigans and jackets lies in one magical phrase…”Waist not, want not!”  When your Waist is not clearly defined, you’ll look more like a linebacker than a lady, and thus will not Want to wear said wrap.  Here’s some advice on how to keep everyone’s eyes on your hourglass and help you take command of the crop!

Proportion Control: Most cropped cover-ups tend to be on the less structured or boxy side, which means they add volume. And sometimes volume is not our friend. I said–SOMETIMES VOLUME IS NOT OUR FRIEND! Keep it under control by avoiding equally unstructured bottoms. You don’t have to reach for your pencil pants, but slimmer fits flatter much better in this situation, no matter your body type.PorportionControlBlog

Romana Jacket $299,  Mojave Pants $169 

Long Road to the Top:  Layering a longer-bodied top under your short-waist jacket not only will make you look taller but more lean as well. And no one ever hated that! Like slimmer fit pants, long-line tops will balance out the boxy and soften your silhouette, creating a more streamlined style.LongRoadtoTopBlog

Cropped Flamé Cardigan $118

Accessory to Fashion: Whatever you do when wearing cropped, don’t commit the crime of carrying a petite purse, and at all costs avoid short statement necklaces. Instead, try accessories that add a little longevity to your outfit. For example, a lightweight summer scarf that is long enough to wrap the neck and hang down below the waistline, or build your biceps by lugging an oversized bag. These finishes to your outfit will keep you from being thrown off balance!AccessorieToFashionBlog

Navajo Lace Cardigan $149

With these 3 tidbits of solid silhouette advice, you’ll have no regrets about showing up to summer evening cocktails with bare shoulders: we guarantee you’ll be confident and comfortable in your cropped jacket!

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April 30, 2014 Style Shrink: Peel Back the Layers

by guest blogger, Julie

In the fall and winter, there’s nothing nicer to beat the brrrr than slathering yourself in toasty layers of comfy cover-ups, superbly soft sweaters, mile long scarves, and any other garment your frame can manage, sans toppling over.  You see, in those not-so-sunny seasons, our kryptonite is cold and the only mortal combat we have is to get cozy! But what if you want that same security of style in the Spring and Summer? After all, who said less is more, and pardon us, Ms. Coco Chanel, but sometimes we don’t want to take off one accessory before we leave the house! Layers make us feel as though we’ve completed the masterpiece that is our outfit, as if we’ve put the finishing touches on what would otherwise be a blah expression of who we are to the world! No worries ladies, you don’t have to sacrifice style just because it’s sizzling outside!

Here are four easy tips to help lighten your layers and keep you looking like an effortless ingénue and less like an overly-fashioned melting mama.

Call in the Lightweights! Lush, lightweight fabrics can be layered all day long. Super supple pima cottons can help a girl breathe, not to mention these lightweights lend themselves well to thought-free, gorgeous draping that flatters every figure.white

Get this look

Find Your Prints! Everyone reaches for the neutrals, which trust me, is natural…it’s safe! But if you’re willing to cause a little outfit commotion, an interestingly patterned piece layered with light neutrals will make ‘em gasp in glory!

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Get this look

“Successorize” Yourself! We’re no stranger to the phrase “Go Big or Go Home” and when it comes to your Spring/Summer layering strategy, don’t ignore the almighty accessory. Keep it simple with your apparel, but adding some chunk with a necklace, bag or bracelet can mean the difference between chic success and a fashion fumble.

 

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Get this look

Don’t Blow Things Out of Proportion! No one wants to look like they’re wearing their father’s “Too Big For You” clothes. Try to maintain a clean, streamlined look for warm weather. If you love wide legs it’s probably better to steer clear of that tent-like top and vice versa.

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Get this look

So now that you know the 4 rules of  warm weather layering, go forth, my friends and don’t be afraid to lay it on thick!

 

 

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April 20, 2014 Warrior Stance: tribal fashion influenced by folklore

by guest blogger, Julie

Whether we’re aware or not, we all belong to a warrior tribe. We might not be throwing spears or using cattle as currency, but within every concrete jungle dwells thousands of tribal subcultures that distinguish themselves. Whether it’s the music they tune in to, the ritual-like hobbies they partake in, or possibly the most tell-tale sign of tribunal allegiance–the duds they choose to don, their traditional dress if you will.

Hipsters have tightly cuffed ultra skinny jeans and top their heads with feathered fedoras. Brooding artists are easily spotted by their unwavering lack of color only to be contradicted by the exception of a brightly and precisely painted red lip.  Free-spirited bohemians often douse themselves in cleverly mismatched patterns, prints and textures – it should be noted as well, that they’re notorious for this same haberdashery approach when wearing eclectic jewelry. Oh, and we mustn’t forget the Sharks of Chic! This highly tailored clan is overly brand-oriented, often stepping through the streets in stilettos and perfectly posh purses.

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Cropped Flamé Cardigan $118Mazán Tote $349, Mariachi Bracelets $39

No matter which type of warrior tribesman you are, or even if you march to the beat of your own drummer, this season there will be one tie that binds us as hunters and gatherers of what we consider glam, and that trend is TRIBAL. We’ve gone back to before civilization as we know it! Pieces are heavily inspired by nomadic folklore in both silhouette and pattern.  Indigenous decorations of tassels and trims drip from jackets, dresses, and chandelier earrings alike. The art of nature and the spirit of Eskimos, Pygmies, and Zulu Warriors have savagely taken over fashion. This spring you aren’t being required to look like a page torn from National Geographic, but embracing the embellishments of beads, leather, layered jewelry and geometric patterns will ensure that your battle cry will be heard no matter what your message.

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Dorrego Cuff $159, Leoti Top $325, Dorrego Disk Earrings $99

So, slap on your war paint, warrior princess, and begin your forage for the perfect spring fashion.

 

 

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April 9, 2014 A World Tour of Color and Inspiration with Kaffe Fassett

Kaffe Fassett against a fiery wall in New Zealand (photo by Brandon Mably, Kaffe Fassett Studio)

Kaffe Fassett, renowned designer and textile artist, has been a source of inspiration for handknitters, quilters, and needlework artists around the world for more than two decades.  PC has been honored to collaborate with Kaffe on limited edition knitwear designs, as seen in this Spring’s colorful Ucayali PonchoArroyo Cardigan, and Chaparral Vest.  Kaffe Fassett’s extraordinary vision is in his sense of color, blended into magical combinations and fanciful patterns.  So where does this visionary master of color go when in need of inspiration?  All over the world, in search of beauty, artistry, and riotous color…

Painting colorful tiles in Fez, Morocco (photo by Brandon Mably, Kaffe Fassett Studio)

A wall of ceramic plates in Marrakesh, Morocco (photo by Brandon Mably, Kaffe Fassett Studio)

A wall of ceramic plates in Marrakesh, Morocco (photo by Brandon Mably, Kaffe Fassett Studio)

Pigments in Fez, Morocco (photo by Brandon Mably, Kaffe Fassett Studio)

Dyeing vats in Fez, Morocco (photo by Brandon Mably, Kaffe Fassett Studio)

Antique shoes in Fez, Morocco (photo by Brandon Mably, Kaffe Fassett Studio)

Cobbler’s bench in Fez, Morocco (photo by Brandon Mably, Kaffe Fassett Studio)

Clusters of hens and chicks in New Zealand (photo by Brandon Mably, Kaffe Fassett Studio)

Clusters of hens and chicks in New Zealand (photo by Brandon Mably, Kaffe Fassett Studio)

Explore more of Kaffe Fassett’s fascinating world of color and pattern on Pinterest, or read about his latest travels at kaffefassett.com.

Shop the latest Kaffe Fassett designs for Peruvian Connection

If your travels take you to Bath, England, be sure to visit the American Museum for a special Kaffe exhibit running March 22 – November 2

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