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Book of the Week: InStitches By Amy Butler

Some of you may wonder why the delay for the review… Well, I didn’t want to post it until Amy officially released her book – which happens to be today! I’ve actually been dying to share it with you since I’ve had it for a few months (I was sent an advanced copy) – I’ve been quite anxious to talk about it! If you’re a decor8 regular, you know I’m a huge Amy Butler fan. I think her prints and patterns are just delicious, and now that she has a second book on the market, I know it’s only going to fuel my desire to sew more, especially over the winter. With beautiful fabric and now, this great book, Amy gives you two major ingrediants for designing some cool stuff for yourself, friends, and for your pad. Now you just need to make time and pull out that sewing machine.

Amy Butler’s InStitches features nearly 30 sewing projects that are stylish and functional, from a cool kitty tunnel to an awesome patchwork duvet and a CD/desktop organizer.

kitty tunnel

When you first crack open this beautiful book, you have a pocket on the left side (opposite of cover) with all of the patterns that you’ll need to get started on your project. Each project in the book has its own pattern, as well as very detailed instructions and illustrations showing the more complicated steps, plus a photo showing the finished product. All of the photography in this book is stunning, and I love how Amy groups each project by category, i.e. Living Room, Kitchen, Bedroom, Bathroom, Office and finally, Personal Style.

The book opens with a discussion on fabric, where Amy dishes about finding fabric, caring for it, using it, trims, notions, etc. The book closes with Simple Techniques And Basic Equipment, which defines the terms used throughout the book, and finally with Resources, which lists all of the retail and online stores that carry not only her fabrics, but many other beautiful lines as well.

Things that I love about the book:

* It’s actually a book that includes patterns so it’s an amazing deal! Patterns can add up ($), so to find a book with nearly 30 of them (for $15!) is a total bargain.

* Detailed instructions. Easy to follow. Illustrations for complicated parts.

* Spiral spine. On the outside, the book has a beautiful hard edge spine. But there’s a surprise! When you open the book, it’s actually spiral bound. Perfect idea for following each step of the project without the book closing up on you.

* Each pattern is brand spankin’ new. If you’re an Amy fan and already have some of her patterns, don’t worry, they aren’t included in this book. All of these patterns and projects are fresh off the press.

* Great variety of projects. Stitch a checkbook cover, bag, scarf, duvet, pillow, laundry bag, etc. All are items that you’ll use frequently. Even something for kitty.

* Suits all levels. I do suggest you learn to sew and have some classes or experience under your belt before taking on this book though, as it can be overwhelming if you don’t have skill (yet). If you do sew, but not often, and find yourself at beginner’s level, start on a project that’s more straight forward without too much detail, like the placemats or dinner napkins. If you are a bit more advanced, you can try the pom pom pillows or bedside organizer. For the pros out there, stitch up the wide leg lounge pants or the patchwork duvet (which is stunning).

This book is one that all who love to sew (or have an interest in learning) should add to their library. You’ll find so much inspiration by the photos alone, and with the array of projects with step by step instruction, you’ll only run into one problem. What to sew first?

Want the book? It’s available right here at Amazon for only $15.74 (list price is $24.95).

patchwork duvet

(images copyright holly becker decor8 2006)

Posted in uncategorized on July 31, 2006

ask decor8: Any Cool Brooklyn Wallpaper Stores?

decor8 reader Maria wrote in this morning, “I just moved to Brooklyn, can you recommend a place where I can find designer wallpaper, kind of Marimekko style? Thanks a lot, Maria.”

Since I don’t live in Brooklyn, I’m not exactly sure who carries what down there, so I can only point you the New York design maven, Apartment Therapy. I recall a few threads about wallpaper over on their site, so these links below should help get you started. Here’s a few that I found especially helpful: Top 10 Wallpaper + Graphics and Where Can I Look for Non-Trad Wallpaper? You can also enter wallpaper under search on their site for more gems from AT.

Of course, I’ve written a lot of wallpaper posts here on decor8, here’s a ton of wallpaper links from past articles.

Here’s a wallpaper post I wrote for 2Modern with some wallpaper links that you may enjoy.

There’s a great Brooklyn store called Matter that also may carry wallpaper.

You are also welcome to look to your right and beneath sponsors, you’ll see shopping links organized by city. Lots of Brooklyn stores that you can check out – perhaps you’ll land on exactly what you’re looking for over there.

Anyone else? Looking for cool wallpaper in Brooklyn – any Brooklyn peeps reading that can chime in here?

Posted in Reader Questions, Rooms, Shopping + Products, Travel on July 31, 2006

Fishs Eddy Summer Sale + New Outlet Store in Brooklyn!

I forgot to tell you guys (sorry!), but when I was in Brooklyn Heights a few weeks ago, I visited the new Fishs Eddy outlet store at 122 Montague! It’s the perfect little outlet storefront, and Montaque Street has so many great little places to eat, that it’s worth a trip over there to shop and eat. In addition to their teriffic outlet, Fishs Eddy is also having a great summer sale in both their flagship store at 889 Broadway at 19th Street in NYC and right here online for the rest of us. I really like the pantone dinnerware and the faux bois owls and squirrels dishes by artist Jessie Hartland. See anything at Fishs Eddy that you can’t resist?

(images from fishs eddy)

Posted in uncategorized on July 31, 2006

MOS MyOwnSpace: Summer Sale

While in La Jolla last summer, I couldn’t peel myself away from MOS MyOwnSpace located at 7840 Girard Ave. It was such a great retail experience, from the customer service to the overall design and flow of space and of course, the vast array of modern furniture and accessories for the home in all price ranges. Really something for everyone. I loved the colors, the store seemed to burst with orange, red, lime, blue…

Unfortunately, some stores leave me feeling very uninspired. I walk away discussing the bittersweet experience and what I would like to change about it with my shopping pals. Do you do this too? I have to admit, I am quite critical of interiors, not in a mean spirited way, but in a constructive sense, and I find myself picking apart commerical spaces more and more these days, especially since I’m writing more about design and find myself constantly in stores to view the products I write about. I’d like to spread my wings a bit in the future and actually work on a few commerical design projects. I think I’d enjoy the mix between residential and commerical, especially since I miss my corporate background where everything is clean cut and always very professional. It’s not easier by any means, but because you’re not in someones home, you tend to not absorb their personal life and issues as much, especially when confined to a commercial environment, like a day spa, design store, gift shop, etc. I’d also like to offer consultations to already operating stores and work with the owners to improve the shopping experience, from the floor plan to addressing flow issues and assisting with displays and overall product placement, lighting, and even the smell and the music. I’d also like to work with them to suggest new products that may improve their sales and draw in more customers. I only have a day spa under my belt so far, and that doesn’t really count since it was family. I certainly need a lot more experience on the commerical front, although I think my years as a professional shopper (wink) have to come into play here, too. (smile).

Do you find that some stores seem to have a void (poor visual displays, music that is too loud or doesn’t fit the experience, or worse, a “total design explosion” – everything just dropped and landed there.)? What do you think works and what doesn’t? I’d love to hear more, if you’d like to comment…

Back to MOS MyOwnSpace. Point is, this is one store that I walked away thinking, “Wow, now there’s a store that really works. There’s nothing about it that I would change.” Even their business cards left an impression. If you are ever in La Jolla, drop by and see for yourself.

You can also shop them online, and there’s no time like the present because Jennifer from MOS told me about their summer sale starting tomorrow, August 1st. The sale will feature select items both in store and online (the in store items include floor models, too.) Visit them first thing in the morning to jump on those sale items before they’re gone – either in person or right here online.

MOS – If you’re reading, we’d love a store tour if you have the time – snap some photos and send them in!

(images from mos myownspace)

Posted in uncategorized on July 31, 2006


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