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Root Studio offers a space for collaboration and inspiration

Text BY Martha Thomas      PHOTOGRAPHY BY Mary C. Gardella

November/December 2017

Karen Isailovic paints large, expressive canvasses in an airy studio at Root Studio, the maker space she opened in Columbia.

Recently, she sat down at a computer in the adjacent music lab and started messing around with composition programs. “I never realized I had that kind of interest in music,” Isailovic says.

Isailovic hopes fellow artists at Root Studio will be likewise inspired. “I see our goal as cross pollination, cross encouragement,” she says.

She took over the 5,700-square-foot space in 2016 and has furnished it with a media lab, an area for painting, a photography studio with professional lights and a seam¬less backdrop (“where people can photograph their products for eBay and Etsy,” she says), and a small library stocked with art books. There’s a writer’s room furnished like a 1930s Hollywood bungalow, complete with a vintage typewriter; and a professional sound studio run by Mark Moreau, a sound engineer. Recently, Dianne Connelly, founder of Tai Sophia (now Maryland University of Integrative Health), recorded her book, “Medicine Words” in the room, draped with sound-muffling quilts.

Isailovic, who dropped out of UMBC and started a general contracting company when she was 19 years old, also hopes to draw young people into the creative process. “When I was in high school, I was lost, so I understand.” The mother of two teenagers, she has observed the challenges today’s young people face. “I’d hear through my daughters about their friends’ stress and anxiety,” she says. “I wanted to offer a place where people can express themselves without structure or judgment.”

Over the summer, Root Studio held a two-week residency with textile artist Julia Kwon. “The theme was women and independence,” Isailovic says. “We discussed making money, seeking out artists residencies and professional development.” But the retreat also provided space for participants to work on their art. Root Studio, says Isailovic, “is all about the process. It’s about bringing the creator out in each of us.”


• Glazed, non-porous white ceramic tile
• Plastic drop cloth
• Alcohol inks (range of colors)
• Isopropyl rubbing alcohol
• Felt pads (if tiles will be used as drink coasters/trivets)
• Paint brushes, small various shapes (round, flat, liner) and sizes
• Straws, various sizes (coffee stirrers, drinking straws)
• Spray sealer or resin (your choice)
Step 1 Start with clean, white tiles—preferably up-cycled from a source like Community Forklift in Hyattsville ( Clean tiles with rubbing alcohol and a lint-free cloth to remove dust.
Step 2 Pour a small amount of rubbing alcohol on the tile, and coat the surface by tilting in all directions.
Step 3 Start by dripping small amounts of alcohol ink of various colors onto the surface. The ink will blossom and spread. Play with tilting the tile, or blowing gently with a straw to direct the ink. Use a brush or a cotton swab to manipulate the ink colors into designs. Note: The alcohol dries quickly, so work fast. You can remoisten the tile by spraying it with small amounts of alcohol, but this may interfere with your original design pattern.
Step 4 If you don’t like what you see, wipe the tile clean with alcohol and start over.
Step 5 Like your design? Let it dry (24 hours recommended) and seal with a spray shellac or resin.
Step 6 Back coasters by gluing felt to the bottom.





• 2 Plastic drop cloths (Trust us, you will thank us!)
• Cotton yarn
• Glue (good old fashioned Elmer’s)
• Balloons (blown up to the size of your choice)
• Hanging light fixture socket (Home Depot, Ikea, Upcycle)
• Light bulb
• Bucket or bin
• Sharpie marker
• Clothesline for hanging wet balloons (This can be string.)
• Clothes pins or binder clips to hang lamp for drying
• Needle or push pin to puncture balloon once lampshade is dry
Prep Set up a drying line with string and push pins. Be sure that you set it up in an out-of-the-way place, as the lampshades will need to dry for a couple of days. Place a drop cloth beneath to catch drips. Spread the other drop cloth on your work surface.
Step 1 Inflate balloon to the size lamp you desire.
Step 2 Fill a plastic bin about halfway up with a 50/50 solution of glue and water and mix thoroughly.
Step 3 Place string in the glue concoction, making sure it is fully submerged.
Step 4 Use a sharpie marker to draw a circle around the bottom (knot end) of the inflated balloon. This will be the opening for the hanging lamp hardware. Draw a second circle on the top of the balloon large enough to fit your hand in so that you can screw in the light bulb. Make sure that you do not place string within these areas.
Step 5 Begin wrapping the string around the balloon. Start by making a firm base for the fixture hardware by wrapping several layers along the bottom. Continue to wrap the wet string, working your way to the top, and repeat multiple loops around the bulb opening to make a firm rim. You can make your lamp as light or as dense as you wish, crisscrossing the string in different directions. When you are satisfied, cut the string and hide the end. Brush or sponge an extra layer of glue around the top and bottom rings to strengthen.
Step 6 Hang balloon to dry for about two days.
Step 7 Once the string is thoroughly dry, pop the balloon and gently push and peel it away from the string. The hardened string may crumble around the edges; don’t worry, as long as it doesn’t break. Take your time to ensure the overall shape remains intact.
Step 8 Attach the light fixture socket and insert bulb. Plug in and enjoy! *


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September/October 2017


If there’s a book lover who has everything on your gift list, get your holiday shopping done early on these pages. Or you just might find something to curl up with yourself.




Knock Knock Personal Library Kit, $16, *Everyday Innovations Bookmarker Flag Pen and Bookmark, $10.99, * Prism Eye Glasses for reading on your back in bed, $10.99, *Giraffe Family Bookends, $65, * Silk bookshelf pillow, $54, * Reclaimed Wood Cookbook Stand, $95, * Timbrefone Acoustic Phone Amp, $100,  *“From the Library of” Embosser with Stand, $31.96,







LiliLite, reading light and bookshelf combo, $175; $290 for two, * Sliding Book Stand, $62, *  Invisible Book Shelf, $16 (two for $24), * Reading Woman Address Book, $19.95, *  iPad Air 2 Cover, $52, *  Book Book for Mac, $99.99, * Canvas Pyramid Pillow, $39, *


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June/July 2017

For your next family vacation, why not haul your luxury accommodations along? Glamping, aka glamorous camping, has been on trend for some time, but why not give the entire family an upgrade? Here are some accessories for a do-it-yourself glam weekend in the wilderness.



glamping tent, $569, * Antiqued Zinc Latika Hanging Lantern, $16.99 – $29.99, worldmarket. com * Collapsible mesh food tent, $8.97 for set of three, * La Siesta Colibri Double Travel Hammock, $48.95 at




* DEI Colorful Acrylic Mason Jar Lid and Straw, Set of 4, $17.09 at*Goal Zero Yeti 150 Solar Generator, $229.95, rei. com * Old Fashioned Carry-On Cocktail Kit, $24, uncommongoods. com * One-log portable campfire, $23.95 for two, * Kingdom Sleep System Bedding, single, $119,





Stick biscuit cup roasting sticks, $50 set of five, * Yahtzee National Parks Travel Edition, $16.95,* Coleman 54-Quart Steel-Belted Cooler, $238 at* Yakima SkyRise 3 Rooftop Tent, $1350, rei. com* BeMall Tent Camping Lamp, $4.99 for two, amazon. com* Bodum travel coffee press, $30,* ieGeek Tablet Mount Holder, $17.88,* Deluxe Mini Hamburger Slider Set, $19.99,* Black Steel Celestial Fire Pit, $154.99, *

Turf Valley Offers a Temporary Home

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TEXT BY Martha Thomas      PHOTOGRAPHY BY Mary C. Gardella

December 2016/January 2017

“Her Mind” tradition during the holidays is our Gift to Myself guide. This year, we did our holiday shopping at Turf Valley. Since August, the resort has offered space for displaced Ellicott City merchants to set up shop. At the same time, consultants have been working with many store owners to enhance their online sales – an important part of today’s retail economy. The indoor market had the feel of a street fair; tables were piled with goods that had survived the flood. While it was fun to see so many items – from Simply Divine’s festive clothing to yummy homemade fudge from Southwest Connection – under one roof, we are thrilled that we can stroll down Main Street once again.





* “Historic Ellicott City” OIL ON PANEL by Alison Leigh Menke, $400 at Still Life Gallery * 1950s mirrored dresser TRAY, $45, and midcentury Art Deco style CORDIAL SET, $125, both from Attic Antiques and Things * Damask TABLECLOTH (59 x 118 inches), loomed in Syria, $74.95 from Syriana.











* Peacock, leaf and lizard cuff BRACELETS, $50 each; crab EARRINGS, $32 and BROOCH, $28, all from Still Life Gallery. Right: * pearl and rhinestone JEWELRY, various prices from The Vintage Vault.










*Nylon PHONE POUCH, $8 from Boliwalou * wooden BOX with silk brocaid lid, $74.95 from Syriana * Opal statement NECKLACE, $48, and Labradorite PENDANT, $120, both from Still Life Gallery * Chanel bottle PHONE CASE, $15 from  Simply Divine.









* Local Banner Bee HONEY, $12 for 16 oz. from Park Ridge Trading Company * Global Mamas batik HEADBANDS made in Ghana, $10 each from Boliwalou * Hi-Low floral party SKIRT, $50 from Simply Divine and brocade CLUTCH, $89.95 from Syriana * Fringed NECKLACE SCARF, $45 from Simply Divine Boutique * Homemade FUDGE in pumpkin, rocky road and chocolate walnut, $13 per pound from Southwest Connection. *



Let There Be Light

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November/December 2016let_there_be_light1

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real thing for 6 percent of people in the U.S., according toexperts. Another 14 percent suffer from mood changes commonly known as “winter blues.”

Here are some ways to let the sun shine in through the season’s dark days – liter¬ally and figuratively. Flip the switch on an opulent crystal chandelier, light a candle, or capture precious rays on solar panels to lighten up your utility bill.

And since the subject is winter sun, we threw in a clothing company by that name. And glacier goggles. You never know.




* Antique Baccarat basket style CHANDELIER, $66,500 * Rare Carl Fagerlund Acanthus Leaf TABLE LAMP for Orrefors, $2,800, both available on * Bubble CHANDELIER by Baltimore artist Ashlie Beal $375 and up at The Light Factory, etsy. com/shop/TheLightFactory * Hand-painted cowlneck PULLOVER made in Ecuador by WinterSun, $103 at






let_there_be_light5SOLAR TEA LIGHTS, colorful, swirled glass lamps with solar-powered LED bulbs, $25 each at uncommongoods.let_there_be_light6com * LAMPS made by Karen Gatzke of Catonsville with found items. $150 and up at Salvage Design works, facebook. com/SalvageDesignWorks * Lumen Oil Candle SHADOW PROJECTORS, $48 each at * Juniper Pine two-wick jar CANDLE, $25 * HOLIDAY GIFT SET with Balsam Fir, Cinnamon Spice and Snow by the Shore, $15, both at





let_there_be_light10* Lumie Bodyclock, dawn simulator ALARM CLOCK, $169 at * Ambienta Grow Lamp, integrated LIGHT ANDPLANTER, $270 at * Sun Touch plus LIGHT BOX, $79.99 at let_there_be_light14lighttherapyproducts. com * Lutron MOTORIZED SHADE SYSTEM, available at ramophone, Columbia, gramophone. com





let_there_be_light15* SOLAR PANELS from * Julbo Explorer Mountain POLARIZED SUNGLASSES, $190 at rei. com * let_there_be_light13Phillips Wake Up Light with SUNRISE SIMULATION, $69.99 at *





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By Martha Thomas

Sometimes life calls for a road trip. Pack a heavy suitcase (or two – there’s no charge for extra bags). Put on some comfy shoes. Bring your electronics if you wish to stay in touch, but don’t let the cords clump up, and keep the fast food fingerprints under control with alcohol-free wipes. Take a break along the way for some rest stop yoga poses or rope jumping. And if there isn’t a facility in sight, by all means, make sure you don’t get caught with nowhere to “go.” Our selection of car accessories has got you covered on all counts. Next time you hear the call of the open road, you’ll be well prepared.





on_road4-cameraCord Tacos to keep your CORDS in order, $28.99, * GoGirl  FEMALE URINATION DEVICE  for when you really gotta go, $9.99, * I-1 Analog INSTANT CAMERA, $299, * Keep things classy with the Twill WEEKENDER, $98,




on_road6-purse-hangeron_road5-vacuumCharge it! with myCharge POWER BANK, $49.99,* Tidy up with Metro Vac handheld VACUUM CLEANER,  $89.99, * Infallible purse storage with the Handbag and cuff PURSE HANGER thegrommet. com/travel/handbag-handcuff-pursehanger * Stay FIT ON THE GO  with Fitkit, $34.99,




on_road9-screen-wipesKeep your screen squeaky clean with eco-friendly SCREEN on_road11-shoesWIPES, 7.99, * If you’re a barefoot driver, slip in and out of Bucketfeet  SHOES, $68-$74, * Document your  adventures with GoPro CAMERA, $199.99, * Get your shade on with the Adventure (below) $39, or the Sunset, $30, HATS, *





Once upon a time, the romantic tug of the open road came with a tingling sense of promise. These days, on_road8-lexus-nxt200tit seems, road trips are mandated by major milestones – say, packing up to take a kid on college tours, and eventually, to college. What kind of wheels best suits an almost empty nester?

Space enough for duffels and a dorm fridge? Enough pizazz to take our minds off teary goodbyes? Maybe the power surge and handling that will remind us of a youth of freedom and unlimited potential? And of course, integrated technology so we can accept a daughter’s phone call within minutes of revving up to head back home.

For a series of college visits last spring, we found the Lexus NX200t – a luxury crossover SUV – fit the bill. Our loaner’s vibrant blue exterior added a festive (and partisan) frisson to our trip north (Yes, Wellesley was on the list.). The shape is more sharp and refined than aggressive, just the way we want our college-bound daughters to be.

Inside, the fit and finish was all class, with warm umber leather seats, brushed stainless and black trim. The rear cargo area at 17.7 cubic feet (more with the seats down), has just enough room for a dorm room haul. I loved the contoured driver’s seat with eight-way adjustments, including a lumbar feature that gently pressed into my lower back when I wanted a minimassage. The seats were even ventilated (a feature I never thought I’d love – till I turned 50).

My daughter, of course, geeked out over the infotainment system, which includes navigation, Bluetooth and an eightspeaker audio system so she could scroll through her music collection as we made our way up 95. The mom in me appreciates backup cameras with parking assist and the blind spot warning system. Our trip in the Lexus NX200t was just a trial run.

A year from now, I’ll be dropping her off for real. I don’t know if there’s a car out there that will power me through that transition. Lexus NXT200t 5-door SUV in blue vortex metallic, base price $34,865; model driven $41,135 -M.T.

Beauty in the Details

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At the Queen’s Ink, Patty Euler creates works of art from just about anything.

STORY BY Molly Fellin Spence      PHOTOGRAPHY BY Mary C. Gardella



Surrounded by mounds of paper scraps, sorted by color and covered with myriad textures and patterns, Patti Euler bubbles with enthusiasm. She has just begun teaching one of her shop’s most popular classes, showing students that even small scraps of paper, regarded as trash by some, can be made into beautiful works of art.

The class is called Paper Mosaics, and each of the 30 students at The Queen’s Ink in Savage for the afternoon create a unique framed piece of art to take home. At times, students call out for help and guidance and Patti jumps in to reassure.

Euler seems right at home among tubes of glitter; tubs of gold, rose or silver leaf; and double-sided tape. Her shop and the classes she and other crafting experts teach are the product of lots of love and some risk-taking.

“This is my dream,” Euler says, arms outstretched to include all of the art supplies for sale at beauty-details_3-craftsThe Queen’s Ink, “this is what I love.”

Euler has always had art in her life. Even during her 27-plus year career as a marketer and manager
handling million-dollar accounts for AT&T, she kept her creativity close. She credits her mother with
teaching her and her six siblings to sew and to make new objects from old things.

“My mother always had us making something,” she remembers. “We made doll beds from Quaker Oats boxes.”

Her father owned his own business, and from him Euler inherited a risk-taking spirit and understands what it takes to be an entrepreneur.

After retiring about 15 years ago, Euler decided it was time to make art a full-time venture. She and a beauty-details_4friend opened The Queen’s Ink, and after about three years in business, Euler says “I was ready to fly on my own.”

The shop proved a success and grew even more once it moved to Historic Savage Mill a decade ago.

Euler appreciates the space that affords display space for retail items as well as a large classroom with plenty of natural light pouring in from windows along one side.

Dozens of neatly labeled plastic boxes are stacked along the opposite wall. Empty cigar boxes, procured by a loyal customer from a cigar factory, stand ready for a class that will transform them into keepsakes.Euler, with her rainbow-colored hair and handmade jewelry, beams when speaking of her customers.

beauty-details_7_cigar_box“But I don’t call them that. They’re not just customers, they are the jewels in my crown,” she says.

The queen of The Queen’s Ink, Euler has created a community here. She knows when someone has an illness in the family or has lost a loved one. She checks in with them by phone and helps them through difficulties by encouraging them to express their feelings in a new craft project.

The Queen’s Ink is not about making a profit, it’s about filling a space with beauty and inspiration, says Euler. “We never were traditional here,” she says. “Working here, being here, is all of our dreams realized.”*

FUN & Games

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Did you know that hula hooping can burn seven calories per minute? It’s good for your heart and provides an intense workout for your core. Strap on
a pair of roller skates or blades and burn up to 300-800 calories an hour, depending on your speed and skill. An hour-long barre class can work off 300-600 calories even as it lengthens and strengthens your body. Working out needn’t be a chore. Here are some suggestions for infusing fun into your exercise routine by saying goodbye to the humdrum workout.

* The Urban Rebounder provides a fun low-impact TRAMPOLINE cardio workout. $99, online purchase only.






* AntiGravityTM HAMMOCK techniques are a combination of Pilates, dance, yoga and aerial arts, $295. For information about Lola Manekin’s classes, or Facebook/ Antigravity Fitness in Baltimore * Adult beginner TAP SHOES: Embrace your inner Shirley Temple with this fun style of dance that can increase cardio conditioning, strength and flexibility, $15.75. * Speedminton S65 BADMINTON SET: Get you Serena on, and improve your overall health, $49.99.






fun_and_games8*Cardiff premium three-wheel SKATES designed to provide a more balanced and stable experience. Rid e them to work or running errands, while getting a complete aerobic workout, $159. Brookstone, The Mall in Columbia, *Discraft SPORT DISCS: Discraft Ultra Star discs, $8.99-$15.89. Chasing a disc is great interval training. All can be purchased at *A HULA HOOP is great for core exercise. Medium hoop $20, thick hoop $40.




fun_and_games7fun_and_games14*Inflatable Tower PADDLE BOARD Adventurer. Paddle boarding is an intense workout that utilizes balance and strength, $594. * Wii Fit with BALANCE BOARDcan provide a series of workouts involving diverse activities, $168.45. * Wii Fit 7-in 1 EXERCISE KIT has resistance bands, yoga mat and speedometer to keep your workout interesting, $23.99. * The Ballet Barre: Always wanted a dancer’s body? The FLUIDITY BARRE helps to burn calories while strengthening and helping with correct alignment, $399.50. *


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MARCH/APRIL 2016building-brides-1

Ready-to-wear wedding gowns are like Bigfoot: People claim they exist, but no one can produce any proof. And that’s why places like the Marilyn Johnson Sewing Design Studio are so crucial for brides-to-be. “Most gowns require alterations of some sort to fit properly,” says Marilyn Johnson (left), owner of her eponymous Laurel shop. “That building-brides-2would be something like adding or removing sleeves or changing the neckline shape.”

While Johnson offers an array of services — from vintage garment restoration to customized accessories — she knows many women struggle with far more than a well-fitted bodice. “The challenging part is overcoming body issues,” she says. “Everyone has some part they don’t like, while everyone else thinks they look wonderful.” As much as tending to their dresses, then, Johnson tends to the women’s self-esteem.

“The gratifying part is helping them realize they look perfectly beautiful in and out of their gown. I love the moment when the bride sees herself in the mirror for the first time wearing her finished gown and she lights up from inside. We love those tears, both hers and her entourage’s.”

Simple Pleasures

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Take your everyday to a new level.

TEXT AND STYLING BY April Force   Pardoe PHOTOGRAPHY BY Mary C. Gardella


This year’s Gift-to-Myself Guide is all about life’s simple pleasures. Each treat on these pages is sure to sp_ring_on_vaseenhance your everyday life. A good night’s sleep just got better with luxury sheets; drinks with friends are bound to be a bit more festive with sparkly shot glasses; and why dry the dishes with plain tea towels when you can express yourself with whimsical linens? Take time for yourself with coloring books and pretty pencils, enjoy a new wine every month (wine tasting with friends is good for the soul, especially when accompanied by home-cooked savories) and add class to your travel with fancy shoe bags. A stylish tote and scarf will update your wardrobe and words of wisdom from Audrey Hepburn will put a pep in your step to help you take on the day. This year, pamper yourself – and others – with a simple indulgence or two. Necessary? No. More smiles throughout the year? Yes!



sp_bookendssp_necklaces_on_vase* Darling Daisy Bouquet RING, $80 by Pandora Jewelry, * Tear Drop NECKLACE, $37 and Maryland State NECKLACE, $29.99 both at Serendipity, Highland, * Rock BOOKENDS, $395 at Nouveau, Baltimore,







* Fringe PONCHO, $28 at Sweet Elizabeth Jane, Ellicott City, sweetelizabethjane. com * Surrey TOTE, $88 by Danielle-Nicole, * Plaid SCARF, $28 at Sweet Elizabeth Jane * Embroidered SHOE TRAVEL BAG, $19.50 at Phinas, Baltimore,







sp_journal_coloringbook_pencil* Creating Yourself JOURNAL, $15, Simply Circular Designs COLORING sp_ermegencykit
BOOK, $3.99 and Prismacolor PENCIL SET, $24.95, all at Plaza Arts, Baltimore, * MINIMERGENCY KIT for Her, $19.99 at
Serendipity, Highland,






sp_tea* Sowden Softbrew COFFEE MAKERS from Milan-based designer George Sowden in white and sleek black with festive colors, around $50- $120, available at Williams Sonoma and online, * Gourmet, Loose-Leaf TEA, Tins starting at $12 at Capital Teas, Annapolis, capitalteas. com * This Book Cooks, by Kerry Dunnington, satisfying RECIPES that use locally sourced foods, $19.95 from Artichoke Publishers or * * Pop, Fizz, Clink, Cheers SHOT GLASSES, $12.95 sp_glassesat Punch, Baltimore, * Whimsical TEA TOWELS, $12 each at Phinas









sp_boordy*Boordy’s Landmark WINE CLUB, Starting at $60 per quarter sp_terrariumfrom Boordy Vineyards, Hydes, * Bon Apetit CHEESEBOARD, $55 at Phinas.
* Sea Glass SHEET SET, Bedding from $395 at Phinas * TERRARIUM, planting supplies from $10 at River Hill Garden Center, Clarksville, * Audrey Hepburn WOODEN PRINT, $400 at Sweet Elizabeth Jane *