Monthly Archives

June 2006


My Fabric Fix

June 29, 2006

Ah. The joy of fabric. And of course, the even greater joy of scoring discount vintage fabric from Atomic Boom on eBay. As a child, my mother was at her Singer almost constantly. We’d design and create bedspreads, pillows and clothes for Barbie. She created all of my costumes for school plays (I was in the drama club). For the home, mom also whipped up window treatments and those circular table covers that you use to disquise a wood table that looked like a plate balancing on four slim legs. You must recall those. I think they’re still around. Above all things, she was a clothing queen. I remember struggling to stand still for what felt like hours as she pinned things together. She had a huge cardboard box (that our dishwasher arrived in) kept in the sewing room, filled to the top with neatly folded textiles for upcoming projects. I loved going through that box, sometimes for hours, and when I was really little, I spent hours inside of the box (wierd kid) looking carefully at each one, the colors, the prints, the raw edges with the little type showing where it was made and in what year. It must have been during that time when the monkey jumped on my back and decided to hang on for my entire life. In fact, I’ve always carried a box of fabric with me over the years filled with neatly pressed and folded yardage with major doubts that I’ll ever use it all, but a need to hold on to it ‘just in case’. You must understand this.

My Fabric Fix

Years later when we relocated to Boston, I had an older friend (Abigail) who was an interior designer at the Boston Design Center. When others my age hung around with older friends to have access to booze, I was working my resources to get a hook up, too. Abby would slip me the goods in the form of designer textiles that had been a part of displays that the BDC decided to scrap. Of course, as a designer employed there, she had first dibs on these displays and as her friend, I had 2nd dibs. I remember nights spent on her apartment floor in Kenmore Square rummaging through these scrap piles. A true junkie. Certainly other 18-year-olds had a life.

Okay, back to the boom. Whether you love to sew, or simply like fabric, Atomic Boom in Brisbane Australia specializes in mid century fabric, including Scandinavian and lots of geometric prints (my favorites). They have a store on eBay offering a 10% discount right now, so check them out. Like any vintage textile store, their selection is constantly changing, so if you see something you like, grab it!

Now it’s your turn. Any early signs that you’d grow up with a fabric fixation?

(images from atomic boom)


Claudine Hellmuth + How You Can Appear on TV!

June 28, 2006

Claudine Hellmuth + How You Can Appear on TV!
Orlando based collage artist and instructor Claudine Hellmuth, is catching alot of attention lately, including an upcoming appearance on the new DIY network show, Get Crafty. In addition to her creations, Claudia also takes commissions, which caught my eye because you can send her photos of your family or friends and she’ll transform them into works of art for that personal touch of whimsy for your space.

If you’re a lover of collage art, Claudine also offers classes across the U.S. where you can learn directly from her and next year, she’ll be teaching in Tuscany for a one week intensive in Cortona where you can absorb the basics like color and composition as well as the meaty details like texture and surface enhancement. When you read about this Tuscan adventure, I can almost guarantee you’ll want to go. What an artistic journey!

OH…Just in! I was contacted recently with a little information about how YOU can appear on a new craft show appearing on the DIY Network titled “Craft Lab.” Screen Door Entertainment is looking for young, hip, creative crafters to be a guest on the show. If you’d like to apply, please contact Monica Lee at mlee[at]sdetv[dot]com and let her know that you were referred by Holly Becker from decor8. I’d love to see some of my crafty readers on the show, you’re all oozing with so much talent, so please please please apply. You have nothing to lose so go for it.

[UPDATE 6/29: Claudine also has an informatiove blog with podcasts where you can listen in to her as she creates!]

Host of Craft Lab Jennifer Perkins (left) with artist Claudine Hellmuth (right)
on the set before taping. This could be YOU!

Claudine Hellmuth + How You Can Appear on TV!
(images from claudine hellmuth)


coffee + cre8tive {june 28 ’06}

June 28, 2006

coffee + cre8tive {june 28 '06}
There are so many amazing shutterflys out there, I mean seriously, have you scoured flickr or etsy lately? Just the other day, I tipped you off to the very talented photobird in Brooklyn, whom I found by accident on etsy (my order arrived and the card is more lovely in person so please support this indie artist and buy some of her cards.) She photographs the mundane, the real simple things in life that often go unnoticed, but thanks to those like photobird who know how to capture the beauty in the everyday, you’ll find yourself starting to appreciate the humdrum a little more, too.

Now let’s talk about flickr… Don’t miss *n*o*o*r* (Noortje) in Berlin. You can tell she is really absorbed in capturing beauty in run down environments, finding the single item buried in a heap of imperfection that begs her to capture it. Of course, she photographs beautiful things to, but I especially like her more industrial shots. If you’re a flickr member, you can join her pool and have access to the photos that she posts daily. I’m almost tempted to bet she’s a fashion or design student. What do you think?

Have you heard of the 10 Cent Designer? Well the talented $.10 is from western Canada and snaps gorgeous shots of interiors, exteriors, people, all are such a pleasure to behold. I’m especially liking her mid century modern home. We have a similiar taste in home interiors, although I mix a little more vintage modern in my decor, so of course I flip through her photos gaining much needed fuel to complete pending projects in my own space. She’s someone that I’d love to meet (maybe even interview for decor8!) because I imagine she has this very creative mind that one could dive right into. Plus, look at her magazine collection in the above photo. Can’t you envision sitting there for hours flipping through those design piles, bouncing ideas off of her? From what I can tell, she’s an interior designer + photographer and seems to be involved in lots of thrift store rummaging (my kind of girl!) and interior staging.

Did you know that I also have a flickr pool for decor8? It’s a quick glimpse of all images posted here daily. A quick reference with product links listed, too. You’re welcome to join my flickr pool so you have this as a resource.

Have a few favorite flickr peeps to boast about, including yourself? Go ahead, plug away. Comment below!

coffee + cre8tive {june 28 '06}
images from 10 cent designer [top] and *n*o*o*r* [bottom]


Open Thread: Color Theory

June 27, 2006

Open Thread: Color Theory
decor8 reader Sara Kaminski recently sent in a question that I thought I’d open up to all readers so everyone could join in and offer advice, resources, and what every design student needs: encouraging words. Here’s what she had to say.

I’m an interior design student in St. Louis MO and a daily reader of your blog (it’s awesome!). I just read your post about Tricia Guild and Color Theory. The program I am in is at the community college and we do not have a color theory course. I must say selecting colors is one of the things I am most insecure about. Can you recommend any books that I might be able to read to teach myself what I need to know?”


Yes, of course I can give you some advice. I actually am very surprised that this course isn’t offered in your program, so I’ll do my best to explain a little more here than simply pointing you to good books, especially since I didn’t learn color theory solely through books. I’ll try to recap some highlights from what I remember learning about color theory in school… I hope this helps.

First, and you may already have these things, but purchase a color wheel (like this one) and a full set of Color-aid cards(314 colors). Ask your instructor if they have access to any. If not, contact your local art supply store. Color-aid cards are colored papers, both chromatic (hues) and achromatic (black/gray/white). I’ll try to explain this without boring everyone to sleep. Each chromatic color is designated by a notation on the back of each card with information pertaining to its hue, lightness, and saturation category. For instance, if you pull a card from the deck in the ‘yellow’ family, you should know if it’s a true yellow or a yellow-green or yellow-orange that you’re dealing with. Also, what temperature the color is and what tint and tone it is of that particular hue. When you look at the color wheel, you’ll see that true yellow comes in various tints and tones, and the cards will help you to view them in their purest form. These train your eye for spotting colors when you’re out and about shopping for paint, textiles, etc. When using a color wheel along with the cards, you’ll catch on to how this all works together. Certain hues and tones of hues just look better together, it’s no accident when you see designer rooms or even magazine layouts with colors that harmonize so well. This, of course is a very short explanation as to the benefits of starting out with a color wheel and Color-aid cards, I’m sure once you purchase them and start playing around, you’ll see what I mean. I can post some photos on my blog of a few color related projects that I worked on in relating to color theory from design school. Just let me know if that interests you or not.

Next, bookmark and refer often to Pantone. Pantone Inc. is the big color standards company, they unveil color forecasts for each season (well in advance). It’s quite important for all designers to view the next ‘it’ colors for the season ahead. Pantone scours movies, advertising, magazines, websites, and other facets of pop culture to unearth color cues. They even survey art exhibits and socio-economic trends, considering even the state of the global economy (yes, really!). Since Pantone analyzes and sells colors to clients a few years in advance, they are able to poll them to discern popular choices so they can produce color planning guides that influence the mass-markets. Consumers don’t catch word of what’s hot in color often until a few YEARS later. To think most of us walked around for years thinking these trends just happened for no reason at all. Think again. Everything is calculated. Scary thought, but still critical for you to know and use as a guide in your design if you want to stay current. Click here to view the Fall ’06 color trends in fashion. Most often, these trends are mirrored in home design, too (I always print mine out in color and keep it in a binder on my desk).

Pantone, Color-aid papers, and a color wheel are good places to start. In school, we also spent a good chunk of time painting with acrylic based paints. This is what really helped me to understand color – the hands on experience of actually creating them in various tints and tones. We weren’t allowed to purchase the paint in yellow-orange for instance, we had to create yellow orange, and then as we muted the hue, we needed to create and add the perfect amount of achromatic color. I hope I’m explaining this right – I’m not a painter, but having had the classroom experience, I can positively say that for me, color theory only came together once I experimented with creating color by my own hand. We referred often to Painting with Acrylics by Wendy Jelbert and my favorite, Exploring Color by Nita Leland. Of course, Tricia Guild books were in constant rotation in the classroom, a real source of inspiration.

Once you’ve learned about color – tints, tones, shades, pastels, chromatic, achromatic, you then progress to an in-depth study of color relationships, which I found fascinating. We had to create morgue files filled with colors we clipped out of hundreds of magazines. We created books filled with examples of color relationships, for instance, an achromatic room, a analogous complementary color scheme, a narrow rectangular tetrad. In one project, we had to represent 26 color schemes from 13 basic relationships using magazines and our color-aid cards, complete with an index showing the color indicators on the back of the cards used in each relationship. In other words, design 26 rooms based only on the basic color relationships found on the color wheel, representing the rooms through color-aid cards and rooms from various magazines that fit the scheme perfectly. When studying color relationships, we were given tons of random handouts along with an in-depth consideration of Chapter 10 in our textbook, Interior Design by John F. Pile (his latest is V.3 I think).

Another part of learning Color Theory that I recall is the study of the Munsell system (of course), how we discern color, how color affects emotion and why, how colors are perceived on a global scale, the history of color… In fact, I’m guessing that you could study color everyday for a year and still have only a basic knowledge. To be known as a color expert, you need to have studied and applied your education for many years, which is why students often look to Tricia Guild.

Like all things, the best way to learn color theory after the basics are understood is hands on. Painting, creating color scheme boards, selecting colors from your morgue files and sitting on the floor for several hours shuffling them around, seeing what looks good to you and learning what colors you tend to be drawn to and figuring out why. All of this may seem overwhelming, but if you take it in steps it won’t be. Give yourself time to absorb everything.

Additional tips:

Website: Color Matters, it explores color through a variety of disciplines: physiology, psychology, philosophy, and art.

Books I’ve read in addition to those cited above:
Color and Culture by John Gage
Colors for Your Every Mood by Leatrice Eiseman
Pantone Guide to Communicating with Color.

I hope all I have said helps you in some small way. If anyone else has comments that will assist design student, Sara, please post your comment below!


(images from pantone, dick blick, amazon, and color-aid)


Succulent Wife Gift Company

June 27, 2006

Succulent Wife Gift Company

The Succulent Wife gift company is dedicated to making the everyday more spirited by promoting and celebrating the work of female artists, designers and creators via their online gift shop. “It?s about bringing more succulence and spiritedness in our lives, as creators and as consumers, by offering objects with emotional appeal and authenticity.” They have lots of nice handmade objects for self and home, as well as cute stationery and really sweet baubles. The name made me laugh, as I’ve never thought of myself as a succulent wife (sucky maybe, but not succulent)…

(image from the succulent wife)

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