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Design Her Gals

Tired of your current oh-so-blah stationery? These girls will pick you up in no time! Fresh in from the May 2006 issue of ‘O’ (Oprah magazine), Design Her Gals not only made Oprah’s list of must-haves for May, but soon will be a favorite on your list as well. Why?

Well, if you want something a little more personal than your initials on a card, you’ll love Design Her Gals because their stationery features stylized images of your favorite person – the center in which the earth revolves – you! Yup. Just send them a photo and they’ll transform it into a cool caricature of y-o-u in the form of correspondence cards, return address labels, business cards, invitations, stickers…

You can also purchase a membership to print your designer girl from home for only $24.95 per year. Read the entire scoop about that here.

psst: If stationery isn’t your thing, they also carry super cute t-shirts.

How sweet it is to be loved by you!

(images from design her gals)

Posted in uncategorized on April 13, 2006

Exploring the WORLD of Design

So, I pahked my cah in Havahd yahd the other day (I visited Harvard Square) and there I spotted a travel agency featuring a ’round the world’ airfare special for only $1,300 USD. I nearly dropped my latte as I froze in the street, eyes fixed on the big neon sign showing photos of exotic destinations and smiling faces. I thought about a favorite book by David Elliot Cohen, One Year Off: Leaving It All Behind for a Round-the-World Journey with Our Children, about the adventures of the Cohen family, a courageous bunch that sold everything, resigned from well paid jobs, even gave up their massive home in California, to globe trot for one year with their children. (If anyone knows the Cohens, please tell them I am dying to see what they are up to these days. Fascinating bunch.) I digress…

Anyway, that same sign announcing the exotic adventure also brought back memories of an evening spent with Jean-Francious, a young man from New Caledonian (via Paris) that took a year off to explore every major country in the world along with several islands and a few U.S. cities. I met him in the early ’90s as a teenager. He had visited Boston during the 11th month of his journey to see my friend, Judy. Upon his arrival, Judy invited a gang of us over to meet her exotic explorer. As Jean-Francious laid out piles of freshly-developed photos, fanning them out as he spoke, I sat their feeling somewhat out of touch with the world, especially since I had never crossed a U.S. border at that time.

After Jean-Francious left for his next exciting destination, Judy and I rambled for hours about his amazing adventure and some of hers as well (she had studied abroad for some time). I remember casting forth my dreams of landing on new soil, hoping that someday I could also sit amongst friends reciting stories of far off places I’d ventured.

About a month later, I received a gift subscription in the mail. It was my first issue of European Travel + Life magazine with a note of encouragement from Judy. It said something along the lines of, “educate yourself until you have the chance to immerse yourself.”

Thanks to the support of Judy and others, I now have stories to relate about my own distant travels, one that turned out to be a trip of a lifetime – when I met my now husband at the luggage carousel in a small German airport.

Isn’t the support and encouragement of friends so important? Doesn’t it make sense to look outside of your country to see what else is happening in the world, and in this case, in the design world? Let’s do that for a moment together. I’ll be back to feature some of my favorite design magazines and why I think you should consider reading them, too.

Will I be taking that $1,300 flight? Not anytime soon. Unless the pages of a magazine count…

Posted in Inspiration on April 13, 2006

Andy Warhol at Plum Party

decor8 readers are big fans of Plum Party, and now that they’ve added the Andy Warhol Fantastic in Plastic collection, we’re even *bigger* fans. This collection of melamine and acrylic for the table top are based on Warhol’s original works. Here are some fresh finds that are afforable, functional, and super cheerful and remember…”Art is what you can get away with.” – Andy Warhol. Here are a few picks from this collection that I like. You can view more here.

ice cream cone set of 4 with acrylic stand, $25
a decor8 favorite. I love that it comes with an acrylic stand – classic!

camouflage martini set, shaker and 2 glasses, $28
shake things up with this sassy set.

tacoma flower box with 4 plates, $18
the perfect bloom for your summer table.

banana split dish, set of 2 with spoons, $12
peel and split with someone you love.

If you’d like to see some more of my personal Plum Party favorites, click here.

(photos from plum party)

Posted in uncategorized on April 13, 2006

Amy Butler – New Fabric for Spring 2006!

If you’ve been following my blog for a few months now, you may have discovered that I like to sew (geek), enjoy making patchwork quilts (super geek), design and stitch pillows and window treatments for myself (uber geek) and well… I absolutely love fabric (okay, that part is cool). You also may have heard me rave about Amy Butler Designs. I posted about her in early March, but now that it’s officially Spring and her new collection just released, I had to mention her again.Amy’s stunning collections, Belle and Forest, feature dozens of new prints inspired by nature, oozing with pure happiness in fresh vibrant prints. These super-yum fabrics can be used in many of your creative projects from seat cushions to making fun Barbie clothes for your little girls collection. If you have a daughter, you could ask her to work on a sewing project with you, she could help select some pretty fabric and together, you could stitch up new duvets and panels for her dollhouse.

As I write this, I’m transported back in time to when I had this super deluxe handmade dollhouse that my aunt and uncle crafted for me out of wood. I remember the day the package arrived and how excited I was as I stood in my living room in awe, clutching my cookie monster, gazing at all the rooms in my new dollhouse wide-eyed and amazed. My aunt took the time to also design and build every single piece of furniture inside – none of it was plastic – only teak, pine and birch was used to construct this mid-century modern Barbie townhouse. My aunt even installed funky wallpaper in each of the rooms and hand-painted the artwork that ‘hung’ from the walls. My mother then embellished the place with duvets (well, we called them bedspreads back then) and fancy window treatments. We worked on sewing projects for Barbie fashion and decor for hours and many, many years after that little house arrived. Sewing with my mother made for many bonding moments. I think fabrics draw women together. Little girls with moms, friends with other friends. Maybe that’s why I’m so inspired to create things, often in a workshop environment with other women. Sewing can be so much more than a creative hobby, especially if you pull together your children or a few friends and enjoy it with some good music, homemade iced tea (I’m really going back to my southern upbringing now) and a basket of sweet rolls.

If you don’t know how to sew, no need to feel left out. To get a feel for using fabric in creative ways, start small. I’m barely past the basics myself, so don’t worry, it takes time and patience with yourself. For now, take it in baby steps. You can quickly add some of Amy’s fabric to a vase: read this article about a no-sew DIY project. You can also invest in a great electric staple gun, sold at your local hardware store, and make everything from inspiration boards to display over your desk to padded headboards and new dining room chair pads.

If you truly love home design and yearn to stretch your dollar, I suggest taking a few sewing lessons at your local fabric store and then, invest in a basic sewing machine. I own a Bernina that I’m very happy with, and it cost only $350 USD. When you think of how much you’d have to pay a seamstress for two simple rod pocket panels, the machine pays for itself after you’ve completed only one or two projects for your home. My seamstress charges $150-200 for one window valance. (this fee does not include the cost of fabric, lining, trim, rods or installation fees.) See what I mean?

If you do sew, or plan to get started soon, Amy carries easy to follow patterns for creating everything from pillows to handbags, available at many fabric stores and on various websites. Just google “Amy Butler Patterns” to locate them. She even posts free patterns that you can download from her website. I’m loving her birdie the cat download – it’s just toooo sweet, don’t you think?

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing Belle and Forest, and if you would like to talk about your current sewing project, or if you have questions about getting started, post a comment below and I’m sure you’ll find others that will reply and inspire!

(photos from amy butler)

Posted in Objects on April 13, 2006


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