Cool, hip hat display design ideas for home

Milica Schiavio
Wednesday, August 27, 2014

If you're anything like me, then you've got hats bursting out of your closets. Here are some quick design ideas on how to enhance your living space, enliven a wall, or just simply bring your hats to light. Enjoy!





What I would wear if I had the capital

Milica Schiavio
Monday, August 11, 2014

If I had the means, this is how I would dress. No seriously. I absolutely love the Autumn/Winter 2014 collection of Comme des Garcons! Its certainly out there and its what I call the rich homeless look which means that the clothing is expensive (for some) but it almost looks like a homeless person would be wearing it. Its wild and I love it!





For me this piece represents being wrapped up, be it in love, work, or whatever yet it also represents constraint. It about being bound. 



This look, in my mind, is like something from the sea. The many arms are like the tentacles of an octopus. It's simply awesome!



What I also like about this collection is the theme: Monsters. The pieces are costume-like, like living sculptures and the designer seeks  "to question the established standards of beauty." The collection is about "The craziness of humanity, the fear we all have, the feeling of going beyond common sense, the absence of ordinariness, expressed by something extremely big, by something that could be ugly or beautiful." 


Another collection I like for the upcoming season is by The Row, aka the Olson sisters' line of clothing.



What I like about these works is their sense of calm. The materials seem luxurious, soft, warm and the pieces are definitely different.


Hope you enjoyed this blog! Feel free to comment away! Thanks!

New York City

Rachel Razzano
Friday, July 25, 2014

Over the 4th of July weekend had the privilege to spend some time in New York with my family on Long Island. Well being the city girl that I am, I had to have at least one trip into Manhattan while I was there. So my aunt and uncle and I ventured into the big band city to see some sites. We began by crossing over the Brooklyn Bridge and made our way to the Staten Island Ferry. The Staten Island Ferry is free of charge and it takes you directly past the Statue Of Liberty. It was the prefect day to see Lady Liberty, not a cloud in the sky. After the ride on the ferry back and forth we decided to see the 9/11 memorial and infinity pools. This was certainly emotional. After that we grabbed a quick bite to eat and then made our way back towards Battery Park. Battery Park provided us with another great view of Lady Liberty. Also, there is a wonderful path along the waterfront where you can walk, feel the breeze off the water, and take in the sites.

During my city adventure, I couldn’t help but notice the fashion and the hats. Every street vendor had hats. Of course towards Battery Park and the Staten Island Ferry the hat vendors sold the cheesy Statue of Liberty Crown hats. I also took notice that all over the city, the vendors sold FDNY and NYPD hats. Vendors everywhere even sold 9/11 memorial hats. The patriotism throughout the entire city is still very much alive. It really was a perfect day to spend in the city. The sun was shinning, there was a slight breeze, and with everyone out in the Hamptons for the holiday weekend it wasn’t very crowded. New York City defiantly is more than just crowded and noisy streets filled with litter. It is an amazing city full of history, art, and FASHION !

Royal Ascot

Rachel Razzano
Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Royal Ascot has been an English tradition since 1711.  Taking place in London, England each year, the Royal Ascot draws in fans from all over the world in hopes of catching a glimpse of the Queen and her guests. Personally, being a bit of a fashionista and huge fan of the Royals I couldn’t wait to see all the guests dressed to the nines waiting for the Queens arrival. The style and dress code of the Royal Ascot is one of my favorites. All the men are required to dress as gentlemen should, wearing suites and depending on seating, top hats. The women don beautiful and modest dresses or pantsuits topped off with stunning hats. The Queen as usual did not let her fans down and looked stunning. Through the many years that Queen Elizabeth has been attending the Royal Ascot her style has not varied much. She always steps out to the races in a spring color dress, with a matching pea coat, handbag, and lets not for get about the hat. The event itself is a timeless and elegant weeklong extravaganza. All guests look astonishing and almost pass for royalty themselves. Here are a few of my favorite looks from this years Royal Ascot. Enjoy!

Top 5 Kentucky Derby Hats

Rachel Razzano
Wednesday, June 04, 2014

The Kentucky Derby: Famous or the race or the beautiful, creative, and even outrageous hats? Year after year people file into Churchill Downs to place their bets and see the horses race. In more recent years, the Kentucky Derby is not only focusing on the horses, the odds, the jockeys, or the owners, but rather the fashion. The Derby fashion is becoming bigger and bigger and each year and the hats are always the main focus. This year was no different; there were so many unique and vibrant hats that captured my attention. From the plumage to the ribbons and tool, the craftsmanship on these hats are outstanding. It makes it next to impossible to pick just one favorite, so i pick out a few. Without further ado here is my top five. 

5. Ms. Georgia: This hat defiantly turned some heads with its busy style. I love the black and white stripes, almost like a zebra, along with the rhinestone studded pink flower on the side. 

4. The Cheese Girls: These homemade hats are awesome. I adore how they incorporated a football thing and made it their own.  With a little pink paint and some flowers these girls took the Greenbay Packers Cheesehead to another level. 


3. Flapper Girl: Okay so not sure if this is technically a hat but I’m counting it. I am a huge fan of The Great Gatsby and this hat screams roaring 20’s. The all pink lacey-beaded band is gorgeous along side the feathers and flower. 

2. Johnny Weir: This hat was so different. The white plumes acting as clouds behind the Pegasus that is flying out. I really think he wore it well. It was very unique and different. 

1.Erin Andrews: I loved this hat for the classic black and white color scheme. This hat is so simple and elegant with a little touch of feathers and it is not too overbearing. Its scream classic Kentucky Derby. 

Garden fashion and edible hats

Milica Schiavio
Monday, March 24, 2014

Well, if you think my hats are wild, take a look at these folks! Its a feast! 

Japanese artist Takaya, for example, adorns his models with fresh ingredients such as fruits and raw vegetables. Now this I could see at Feastival! Oh but what would snarky say?! Currently a floral artist in Kyoto, Takaya started out in the culinary world as a chef. Today, he creates awesome works of art, headpieces that is, tailored to fit the individual. I hope my mom will get a chance to stop by his studio on her next trip to Kyoto. 

And how about Fulvio Bonavia? He makes cauliflower bobble hats and watermelon helmets, hah! Now this is certainly foodie fashion at its best. Hungry yet? 

As the Radnor Hunt Races are soon to be upon us, I challenge you to think out of the box when it comes to your hat relating  to "Garden - Parties Castles to Cottages." Live a little! 

Interview with Christie Hunt, Philadelphia portrait artist

Milica Schiavio
Monday, March 17, 2014

I met Christie Hunt some years back through Facebook believe it or not and small world as it is, turns out we move in some of the same circles. From the get go our friendship blossomed and I've had the wonderful opportunity to see some of her work and attend her exhibits. She is a masterful painter, capturing the essence of the spirit. The person's soul comes through her artwork. Her painting are regal, rich, oozing with old world elegance and workmanship. Here is a brief interview:

How would you describe your painting style to someone that isn't familiar with your work? 

Christie Hunt: My focus is strictly portraiture at this time. I combine intense observation of my subject with dynamic compositions and lighting. I use some elements of realism but there is a definite emotional connection to my painting that traditional and certainly photo realism do not establish. My first priority is to have an interactive relationship with my subject apart from any setting to establish what it is that I need to ultimately portray them apart from the obvious physical attributes. Many photo realists and traditional realists will refuse the subject with the setting so that the setting dictates the rendering all we will ever know about he person being painted. I do just the opposite. My goal is to construct a setting that supports exactly what insight I am trying to communicate about my subject while still suggesting both a concrete and psychological sense of time and place. 

What got you into portrait painting and when? 

Christie Hunt: I painted a portrait of my son that is now in the collection of the First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry. What is interesting about this piece is that it departs from the past tradition of portraiture in the FTPCC of depicting a distinct individual. It is a portrait of a young Trooper; a role that all who join the organization have experienced. It was very well received and I loved painting it. It takes the genre of portraiture and put it into a more contemporary role in reflecting the culture and history of, in this the Troop, but could be used for any institution. 

I got into portraiture because I was good at it. There is a very narrow field of truly top notch artists and I feel I am competitive. I think I persevered because I love people and want to find new ways of modernizing the role of portraiture in our institutions. 

What mediums do you work with?

Christie Hunt: I work with hand ground oils on archival board with traditional gesso because I use a glazing technique. I feel this gives a glow and sense of light unattainable on canvas. Plus it is more archival.

Portrait of R. Seth Williams

What is your background (education, career, upbringing, etc.) and how does it contribute to your art?

Christie Hunt: I had a terrible home life as a child and loved going to school from day one. I was lucky because my art talent from first grade onward made me stand out so I had consistent encouragement from my teachers. I was also a very good student and was able to get into college early. After being accepted into Tyler School of Art, I left and studied in Rome staying there for almost four years. 

What are your influences as an artist?

Christie Hunt: Absolutely Caravaggio and Sargent; Vermeer too. When I am starting or formulating a portrait their works are running through my mind. Not to name an artist in particular but the very tired, passé style of photo realist that we see all over our institutions is a style that influences me through my reaction against it. It has run its course and there is no real future in painting in that style if you want to be a serious cutting edge artist. 

How has your work changed over time?

Christie Hunt: I constantly challenge my boundaries and have learned to think way past the four corners of my board. I am hugely lucky to have some astoundingly interesting men (rock starts figuratively and literally) sit for me. The artist subject relationship I have with some of them enriches me as a person and an artist. 

Portrait of Jack Tomarchio

What is your favorite restaurant on the Main Line?

Christie Hunt: Well, it's not on the Main Line, but in Newtown Square: Spice. 

You love to cook. What dishes that you prepare, do your friends, family, or guests enjoy most? 

Christie Hunt: It used to be a way of life and it is not often that I get a chance anymore, but my favorite things to cook are anything that I grow, fish, kill or catch and prepare myself. I love to make cheese and miss the free range poultry, eggs, and meats from the Eastern Shore. A few of my dishes which are in my heritage include Eastern Shore White Potato Pie, Crab Cakes, Soft Shells, Oyster Stew, Rock Fish, Eastern Shore Free Range Poultry, Goose, Snapper Soup, all usually done with a French influence. 

What or who inspires you? 

Christie Hunt: Conversation, interacting with highly accomplished and adventurous people who have taken a lot dog legs in their lives inspired me to continue painting and growing in my work. 

Tell us about your technique and creative process. When do you know a painting is finished? 

Christie Hunt: It takes me a while to complete a painting. There are many layers of glaze I typically apply. I am a terrible perfectionist and when I get too wrapped up in an issue I simply step back and ask myself what Sargent would do. He is the master of loading power and meaning into one decisive stroke. As far as finishing it, it is finished when I can't stand looking at it anymore and think I need to do twenty things to make it perfect. At this point, it is "hot" and I usually let it cool off for a week or so, look at it with a fresh eye, and do one or two things. 

You focus heavily on military figures. How did you get involved with that and what draws you to that? 

Christie Hunt: I am very good with male subjects and for some reason I found a few who would sit for me. 

Who are your heroes in real life? 

Christie Hunt: My heroes are all the people who, when faced with a difficult situation, with no thought of themselves make a choice that is horrible, tough, but necessary for the greater good and often goes against the crowd. They are not afraid to be the voice of truth and reason when everyone else is invested in drinking and cool aid.


Ljubica, Live from New York

Milica Schiavio
Monday, March 03, 2014

On January 11th we joined Tesla enthusiasts, scientists, academics, and fans from around the world who were gathered at the New Yorker Hotel for the Annual Tesla Memorial Conference organized by the Tesla Science Foundation. Oh what a wonderful weekend it was! Aside from indulging in all things Tesla, we also managed to shop, brunch, and shop some more. Here are pictures of us, 3 generations, taking on the town. Enjoy!

Ljubica in our wonderful hotel room at the New Yorker Hotel. This is the hotel where Nikola Tesla lived. 

Predivan pogled iz nase sobe. The ex Pan Am building and the Chrysler Building. 

Grabbing a bite to eat with my friend from college Tanya, at the Hudson Hotel, before the night's Tesla festivities and gala began. 

Opening remarks by Nikola Lonchar, my uncle, President and Founder of The Tesla Science Foundation.

Surprise guest and famous Serbian musician Momcilo Bajagic of Bajaga, pausing for a photo with a friend of mine and member of TSF, Marijana Vujkovic. Koncert je bio fenomenalan!!

Hacina and Ljubica listening to Bajaga. 

Despite the live rock concert my daughter managed to fall asleep.

The following day we had brunch at the super packed Fred's at Barney's. 

Ljubica thoroughly enjoyed people watching.  

And then we walked. We walked miles. 

This feather dress caught my eye in Garment District but no I did not buy such a thing. 

Trimming, I love it. 

Then we made our way to one of my favorite stores, M&J Trimming. I could spend a day just here! Love it!

There they had an entire wall of different flower pins. Ahh!!

And feathers. I love the colors!!

And eventually we made our way to Berdorf's.

What can I say? My daughter already loves shopping. She screams for Bergdorf's. 


But when she saw the piano, that was love and excitement! All shopping went on pause. 

These mannequins at Berdorf's, they are exceptional and super cool. Forget the dresses. 

Yes, fashion can be jaw dropping. 

As for me, I was in love with this pencil necklace. Yep, pencils. I would wear this. 

Then we landed at FAO Schwartz but by that point Ljubica was fast asleep. Cabbage patch kids were my favorite as a child. I adored them, so you can imagine my heart fluttered when I saw them again. 

Barbie as the Statue of Liberty, fantastic!

As for these dolls, I guess they are a new product. They're hideous and the display is supposed to mimic a nursery. These 2 saleswomen were standing there in white coats as if it were a hospital. 

Britto's display was much better. No comparison to the hospital dolls. 

These are tiny plastic shoes, each about the size of a nickel. Very cool decorating idea. 

And thats it. We ended up at the Plaza Hotel for a late afternoon tea and before we knew it, it was time to go home. That's a wrap folks! Thanks for tuning in to my blog and I'll keep you posted with my next adventure. 

Interview with Heather Thompson and the joy of knitting at Main Line School Night

Milica Schiavio
Sunday, February 23, 2014

I took up knitting at Main Line School Night with Heather Thompson while I was pregnant because I was concerned with what I would do with so much free time during my 10 week maternity leave, haha. It was one of the best things I ever did. I have since knit numerous scarves out of super soft baby alpaca yarn, a cute colorful cotton blanket for my daughter, and more recently started a little yellow sweater for her. I love knitting, and for those of you locally who do too, I would highly suggest class with Heather Thompson. She is an inspiration, master knitter, and the social aspect of her class rules! Here is our interview. Enjoy!

What inspired you to start knitting and how did you get started?

Heather Thompson: When I was about seven years old on a very hot summer day I wanted to do something inside for our "Afternoon Quiet Time" (my mother had gone back to school at age 50 to pursue her PHD in English Literature and needed time to study and do research for her papers without interruptions from my younger sister and myself.). I had a grandmother that crocheted lace, however, she used such tiny hooks and thin cotton that I was not too keen on a long project. Knitted items had always fascinated me. A close family friend of my parents had knitted us all Christmas stocking and mittens and I always wanted to learn how to make things like that. After asking my mother for help to learn to knit, I soon discovered that sewing and home arts were not her thing! To give her credit I clearly remember her calling several friends and close neighbors that day to see if they could teach me. After exhausting that avenue, she drove me into our local town of Wayne, Pennsylvania to Woolworth's. There she purchased me some pale pink aluminum knitting needles in size 8 and I chose a skein of cool mint green yarn and a little booklet titled "Teach Yourself to Knit." The problem I encountered after tucking myself into her air-conditioned bedroom was that the instructions were written for carrying yarn in your right hand and I am a left handed girl! So I simply reversed the directions and soon had a pale green rectangle of knitted fabric folded in half and sewn up the long side into a Barbie Doll dress. I found some matching ribbon for it in my sister's sewing box, and used it for a sash!

How did your passion transform into business?

Heather Thompson: I always knew someday after raising my three children that I would do something with my passion for knitting. A friend and knitting mentor of mine Sue Hilger offered me a part time job at her yarn shop. There I honed my knitting skills and started teaching for the shop and for Main Line School Night. After the shop was sold, I continued teaching for MLSN and through some fortuitous circumstances, rented a studio where I could host year round lessons for adults and children in a central Wayne location. It was a leap of faith for me but all the pieces just fell into place!

For those just starting to knit, what would you say the benefits of knitting are?

Heather Thompson: The benefits of knitting are too numerous to list here but some of the most common ones are health benefits. Knitting lowers blood pressure and heart rate, and lets the mind rest from things that trouble us. It has also been recommended to those recovering from serious illness like cancer. The creativity factor seems to have very positive health benefits for patients. Knitting can be a social or solitary craft. Most people I teach love it for the social aspect! Many friendships have been kindled in my knitting classes. 

What is your favorite local Philadelphia yarn supply store?

Heather Thompson: I honestly like all the yarn stores for all different reasons. However when I go to center city Philadelphia, Loop is my #1 choice. 

How would you describe the local knitting culture? Is knitting just a fad? Have you noticed ups and downs in knitting popularity through the years and is knitting participation cyclical or stable?

Heather Thompson: Knitting is not a fad, it just is! It's been around forever! I do believe though that it has had a huge resurgence since technology has advanced so rapidly and has us all so "plugged in." I have many students who tell me that it is a relief not to have to text, tweet or IM when in class. I discourage use of cell phones in my classes for this reason and for courtesy to others. Knitting in my opinion is stable for those truly passionate about it. It is only cyclical for those with many other interests. I have students who only knit say in the Fall and Winter and others who like to take classes in the Spring and Summer. 

Do you consider yourself an artist?

Heather Thompson: I believe anyone who creates something wonderful out of basic materials is an artist! Yes, I consider myself a fiber artist!

Do you have a suggestion or piece of advice on the tricks of the trade? Ie. How to keep track counting rows or patterns? Or a useful knitting app?

Make a gauge swatch! No one wants to but if you want your sweater to fit you and not an elf or an elephant make a swatch! You will thank me someday! As for a knitting app, Tag Ir is the best!

What impact do you hope to make in the next 5 years?

Heather Thompson: I want to get more children knitting including boys in the next 5 years. Children need to get unplugged too, and again, creative activities have health benefits for them also. I taught my 6 year old granddaughter last year and she loves it! My grandson is next when he turns 6. 

What is the greatest joy of teaching? What is the greatest challenge?

Heather Thompson: My greatest joy in teaching is seeing the "light bulb" go on. I see a certain light in the eyes of a student when knitting clicks on for them and they push their first stitch formed off the needle and knit the next one without my guidance. One of my greatest challenges is getting someone who is stuck, so to speak, making the same item all the time, to take the next step up and to learn a new knitting technique, read and follow a pattern, make cables, work with more than one color in a row and so on. Its not always easy but I usually can give a student the encouragement they need, however, very often it is another student that inspires a classmate to go for it. 

Which artist, past or present, influenced you most?

Heather Thompson: I have always been inspired by Elizabeth Zimmerman (D). Her books and knitting videos by Schoolhouse Press are priceless both for their simplicity and sometimes humorous quality. Elizabeth is no longer with us, however, her daughter Meg Swanson carries on her legacy. One of the first knitting books I ever purchased was by Elizabeth Zimmerman, "Knitting Without Tears". Her sensible approach to knitting and her ability to make a knitter think outside the written pattern and forge on through a project using logic and a little math is what sets her apart from all the other designers for me. 

What exciting future projects are you working on?

Heather Thompson: I have so many projects in my head all swimming about but one I am looking forward to is starting my Memory Blanket. I read about the idea in a magazine or book and loved it. Everywhere I travel over the next few years I want to purchase a skein of yarn from that area and knit a square as a memory of that trip The stitch I use will also reflect the region in it's texture or look. For example, if I travel somewhere there is an ocean I may chose a blue or blue green wool to represent the water and chose perhaps a ripple stitch or wave pattern to go with that wool. The blanket will become a type of travel diary of the places I have been and the places I love. 

Tell us about The Nest, your studio, and what you enjoy most as a small business owner.

Heather Thompson: I established the Knitting Next almost three years ago as a place for knitters of all ages to gather and learn together. With so many people now buying yarn on the internet, students have told me that yarn shops will only give you minimal "help" (if any) if you have not purchased the yarn from them. I understand this well as I myself worked in a yarn shop and shop owner are in business to sell yarn. I wanted a studio that was friendly to all knitters no matter where they purchased their supplies, inspirational to knitter with lovely wool everywhere, lots of color and texture and plenty of patterns and books for students to browse through. "The Nest" as we fondly call it, is not a yarn shop, just a comfortable place for knitters to relax, knit, socialize and share stories, book, recipes. …well lots of things that knit us together as friends! I have comfortable sofas and chairs in one room, another room for sitting at a table to work on a project that needs more space for measuring and so on. The center room is my office where I store all my patterns and books. In front is a small galley kitchen where I brew coffee and tea, and if you look around you'll always find a box of chocolate or two in "The Nest". I love teaching and meeting new people from all walks of life in all stages of life! I have received such joy from students and made life long friendships. The Knitting Nest is located in the heart of Wayne Pennsylvania in a cozy little Victorian house. I run my business by appointment only or by referral. I do not advertise as I am a small business and I am the only teacher. I like to keep my classes small, for my individualized attention. In addition to group lessons I also offer private and semi-private lessons for adults and children ages 7 and up. 

If there were only live artist, author, chef, musician, designer or celebrity that you could meet now, who would it be and why?

Heather Thompson: I have to say Debbie Bliss. She is a British knitting designer and her knitting patterns are clever, witty, charming, beautiful, useful and very wearable. Debbie Bliss has published hundreds of patterns, and books many of which I own, and adore. Debbie has a yarn line, and her patterns are a dream to knit. She inspires me with her use of color, texture, simplicity, yet at the same time incorporating interesting knitting techniques. She almost feels like a friend to me, that's how many patterns of her design I've used and loved!

The Knitting Nest is located in Wayne, PA. For further information please contact 


Milica in the Hat, Episode 6, Private tour of costumes at National Theater Belgrade

Milica Schiavio
Friday, February 14, 2014