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Elsewares – Fresh Finds!


Look what I found over at Elsewares today. A sneaky wee ninja plushie (so stealth!), a Pamela Barsky retro-inspired dinner party journal (so Jane!), sweet pastel-y cards (so cute!), and melamine plates with diner images (so nostalgic!).

So! What are you waiting for? Don’t you deserve to treat yourself to a dose of cuteness today and shop with Elsewares?

Speaking of Pamela Barsky, did you catch my chat with her back in July?

(images from elsewares)

Posted in uncategorized on October 31, 2006

coffee + cre8tive {oct 31 ’06}

Today we had a little party for my 86-year-old oma in celebration of her return home. She was in a nursing home for several months following a major heart operation. The party was mostly filled with other sweet oma’s, well dressed Germans who have been around these parts long before the second world war. A few children and of course, some from our family attended as well, so the mix of ages was just perfect and all had a really nice time.

Oma is quite the spirited woman, very fiery and extremely sharp, so seeing her back in a familiar space amongst friends warmed my heart. As I sit here typing, I’m reminded of my other grandmother, far across the Atlantic over in Rhode Island, all alone in the nursing home. Maybe she’s watching the squirrels outside of her window at this very moment, thinking about me, too. It saddens me sometimes to know that one grandmother is so happy while the other is so very alone. I wish I could split in two so as to be in both places at once, but I guess the important thing is that I joy was given to one of these very special ladies today.

As my oma Ilse removed her teeth after everyone left, right in front of the remaining family members, I was first taken aback, but quickly thought of how nice it must be to simply not care anymore about the opinions of others. It made me laugh as she did it, in fact a few of us younger ones got quite a roll from it, but at the end of day, she is eighty-six and at that age, you have earned your right to do whatever you please, with or without your dentures.

I know this post has had nothing to do with creativity or design yet, but if you think about it, maybe you can apply a lesson from oma. Maybe you can care a little less about what others think, applying this carefree spirit in areas of your life where you may be fearful or stuck. This could extend to deep emotions or something far lighter like the design of your home. Perhaps you need to let go a bit and stop worrying about what others will say and just be you.

While hanging out at Apartment Therapy this afternoon, catching up on the past month that I’ve missed on the site, I was inspired to see so many colorful entries for their Fall Colors contest. I have clients who are paralyzed when in a paint shop, unsure as to what color to choose, afraid of screwing up. What’s the big deal if you do screw up? Are you worried about what your family or friends will say? Honestly, who cares. Take your teeth out for a moment. Are you going to wait until you are eighty-six before you start living?

An AT post today made me laugh because the home owner expressed how much she loved orange and a cap from a Gatorade bottle was her inspiration – she brought it to the paint store for an exact match and went home and painted it on the wall over her work station. It was stunning. I liked how she took a more casual approach to her hue selection. I have friends who take months to select the perfect shade of blue, only to paint, step back, and meltdown because it’s the wrong color. It’s times like these when I want to ask them to set priorities. Paint shouldn’t be the straw to break the camels’ back, should it?

(images of Diane Bigda illustrations, new over at Lilla Rogers Studio.)

Posted in uncategorized on October 31, 2006

Isak (England)

A new product just in! It was exciting to hear from Sandra Isaksson, a Swedish graphic designer and illustrator, this morning. Based in England, she wants to introduce you to her world of “exciting happy things”, Isak, which are adorable gifts and home accessories that I think you’ll really love.
Wallpaper, greeting cards, trays, cutting boards, cups, dish towels, prints for your walls, an adorable counting poster for the kids, and more! With a retro vibe and plenty of sweet apple prints, Isak will definitely lead you into temptation…

You can purchase online or, if you’re a shop owner scouting for fresh new products and would like to carry Isak in your store, please contact Sandra directly at info[at]isak[dot]co[dot]uk.


Thanks for the tip, Sandra!

(images from isak)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, ceramics, shopping, travel, walls on October 30, 2006

coffee + cre8tive {oct 30 ’06}

Ready to travel with me to Holland? I attended the 5th annual Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, Netherlands this past weekend and have so many highlights to share here on decor8, although a majority of my DDW posts will be over on another design blog, where I’m a guest for the week (I’ll reveal where with a link as soon as the first batch of posts are up).

Beyond DDW though, a very special highlight was meeting up with Danielle from The Hague. I met her here on decor8 when I posted about her urban oasis. Who would have thought a simple post would lead to meeting up in real time? After featuring her posh pad, we swapped design magazines and started emailing eachother. When she heard I’d be based in Germany for a few months, she offered to meet up with me somewhere in Europe (she is a total globe trotter). Excited about the idea, I quickly agreed and from there, we tried to decide upon a good meeting place. Would it be Berlin? Copenhagen? Then an assignment rolled in that would lead me to attend Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, so we agreed that this would be the ideal location, since she not only lives a few hours away but also had planned to attend DDW too.

It was such a pleasure to not only attend DDW for the first time, but to roam the many exhibition halls with Danielle since she’s so passionate about design and being Dutch, she has a firm grip on the history and influence of design in her country. Her perspectives were all quite interesting to me. If I had attended with a fellow American, the experience wouldn’t have been the same, so I’m privileged she was my companion. Seeing design through my American lens as well as from Danielle, who is largely influenced by her upbringing in the Netherlands and extensive travels throughout Europe and Australia, lead to a most refreshing and enlightening exchange. I’m so pleased that I shared this experience with a special new friend (thanks, danielle!).

My husband, a German, remained rather quiet during the whole event while Danielle and I seemed to have an opinion on everything and felt no need to hold back on exchanging them. Tee was more reserved, he often kept his distance focusing more on photographing the event, so I wasn’t sure what was going on inside his head. Of course, being married now for 5 years, I should have known that that is typical behavior for him when attending large-scale events. He quietly absorbs, shoots photos, and then, post-show, shares the most fascinating viewpoints – all extraordinarily deep – for hours. This conversation usually takes place between 24-48 hours afterwards, and so this morning over breakfast was when Tee was ready to discuss DDW. It was like attending the event all over again, he had so much to say, often on details I had overlooked myself. We went on to discuss the history of Dutch design, his perspectives on its future, along with thoughts on what good design really is. Another topic I found fascinating was when he shared with me his opinion on how so many young people are determined to replace and rebuild what their ancestors spent thousands of years perfecting, and how as time progresses, modern design is sailing quite far away from its traditional roots. The risk is that someday, after we’re long gone from this planet, cultural roots may no longer be represented in design at all, since economy, the hope of becoming the next big thing, and the need to ‘break the mold’ so often influences designers today that we have to wonder where this will all lead in the next 20 years and beyond?

DDW not only brought me closer to the innovative world of Dutch design, but lead me to a new friendship with Danielle and a most fascinating discussion with my husband on some of my favorite topics. The perfect recipe for a time well spent.

After Eindhoven, Danielle and I parted ways and then it was onto Venlo for a relaxing evening in a charming and historical city which dates back to Roman times.

I have so much to share with you from Eindhoven, but with over 500 photos and mountains of notes and business cards to sort through, I need some time to organize everything. I also have a few project deadlines to meet, so we’ll go Dutch starting tomorrow if that’s okay with you.

I’ll be back in a moment with a few fresh finds, so don’t go away!

(image by holly becker for decor8)

Posted in uncategorized on October 30, 2006

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