I’m forever finding new blogs (well new to me) and while I don’t know any of these bloggers beyond their pretty pictures, I can sense that in real life they’d make some of the best friends. Take I Heart Linen for example. She creates lovely things and I bet that if she were your real life friend, she’d gladly sit down and show you the ropes with her trusty sewing machine. This is a swap package she pulled together for a friend in Singapore. See what I mean? Now this is a good pal to have.
Maybe you can relate with me on this, but most of my friends are gypsies. Including me. We’ve moved around quite a bit and yes, friends are still friends no matter where they live, but if they’re not bloggers, you quickly lose touch with their day-to-day life. True, those we meet on the web we may never meet in person, but just having them there to check in on is comforting and enough for me. There’s something relatively stable here on the nutty internet now, and it’s called blogging. You know that if you go to your favorite blog today, chances are good that you’ll find them there waiting for you, welcoming you in. It’s hard to get that when I call or visit some of my best friends because everyone is keeping such a chaotic schedule these days. Blogs sometimes fill a void we have in real life, don’t you think?
Mettes Pottery is a Danish blogger who can teach you a thing or to about decorating and pottery. What a nice blog she has. Look at her living room, wow!
Karkovski is also from Denmark. She sews, has cute kids, a really sweet spirit, and experiments with a wide range of crafts. You can look at her darling house here. Her flickr images are great, she finds some amazing things thrifting, like this dress.
Chez Mai is from France and also has children and is a totally creative mom. I love all of these creative mothers out there blogging and showing us how being a mom isn’t at all an excuse to stop doing what you love. Children should become part of your life, not take up your entire life and drain your blood right out of you. I appreciate such blogs because I think about my mom and how amazing she is and I aspire to be just like her when I have my own children someday. My mother made everything for me, from clothes to Barbie clothes, art for my room, stuffed animals, it was the best to have such a talented mother growing up.
So*Sage is French as well, and can this lady do amazing things to paper, my goodness! I love this mobile that she pulled together. Wouldn’t you love to be able to just throw something together like this? All the talent I see on blogs inspires me to do more and reach higher, experiment with new things, and really push myself to do some of the things I’ve placed on the back burner. Being creative gives you the fuel you need to do everything else in life better.
And finally (for now at least), there’s Smosch. These three images are from her blog and I think they are all so filled with detail I can’t stop looking at them. The more I look, the more I see that I like. This stylish lady lives in Gothenburg, Sweden with her man J and she loves to photograph him (he’s so cute!) in the great cafes they visit and of course, the occasional gorgeous room shot. The presentation here is lovely, the imagery really draws you in, and I like the elegant simplicity of her blog layout. And she makes these funny little dolls for her etsy shop, too. Smosch is one cool blogger!
On days when my favorite bloggers aren’t writing, I often wonder why and sometimes worry when they post about something nutty that’s going on in their life. It’s fascinating how we form these bonds online with people we’ve never met in person. Almost a modern day quilter’s circle, isn’t it? It’s so encouraging to have these virtual friendships, and for some of us, we are able to take it up a notch and meet them face-to-face. But whether we ever meet our bloggy pals in person or not, meeting with them is still only a click away.
(images from blogs listed above)
You can stumble upon some of the best illustrations in newspapers, especially the Boston Globe. A few days ago, while reading this article, I came upon a drawing I liked and started to do a little research. That’s when I found out about Kim Rosen.
Kim is both a FIT and SCAD grad, soon to release limited edition wallets for Poketo (I love all of the current wallets on their site, you have to see them) and funky lamps for Moody Buddha (they make art lamps with work from your favorite artist). The drawing below of the lady peeking from behind her book with that moody dark wallpaper is one of my favorites.
I’m intrigued by her color combinations, expressions of her characters, and the many details she layers into her work. Kim is represented by Anna Goodson, where you can find her complete portfolio and view those of many talented others to browse.
(images from anna goodson and kim rosen)
This hand-silkscreened piece was created by Jill Pilotte of Small Stump fame. It was just posted over on the Rose & Radish website for $40, so hurry since there are only 38 available! If you’re a fan of woodgrain and neutrals, this will definitely work for you.
Each print is part of a limited edition of 38 and was hand drawn, hand silk-screened, signed, and numbered by the artist. Purchasing it also supports more than an indie artist and a San Francisco-based store, but a cause, as donations from the sales will be given to 826 Valencia who are dedicated to supporting students aged 6-18 with their writing skills, and helping teachers get their students excited about the literary arts.
I also think this provides a nice color palette for our reader Rachel to work off of, don’t you?
(image from rose & radish)
decor8 reader Rachel (and husband) are looking for help with their living room. They will only live in this space for another 9 months (they rent), so I’m thinking they need to work more on the things that they can take with them and their current floor plan and worry less about the rest. Who is with me on helping Rachel? Okay, here we go! (click on any of these images for a larger view.)
I can already see that the floor plan needs some work, the TV stand is blocking two beautiful light sources, a door (do not block access routes, ever) and the other is a pretty window. Rachel said that despite the living room chairs looking dated, she’s willing to reupholster them and remove the skirts to reveal their wooden legs. She likes the wall color and prefers not to paint. Colors of choice? She’s considering a neutral color scheme (browns and whites) with accents of green (with yellow undertones) and burnt orange. She wants the room to be “fun, funky, modern… it’s a little too traditional to me as is.”
-We will be getting a new sleeper sofa… color is up for debate
-I am not attached to any of the furniture (other than the dining room table) and willing to reupholster/paint and/or get rid of any of it
-I can get rid of lamps and get new ones and/or just change the shades
-I like the chest the tv is on as it has a lot of storage space… I need to paint it but can’t pick a color
-I would like to change the displays above the dining room table from dishes to maybe some prints or graphic art from etsy leaning on the shelves
-I am open to doing window treatments, as long as they are not too complicated
So readers, I’m opening this up to all of you to see what advice you have for Rachel. I have my own thoughts and I will include them when I return from an appointment after lunch. Together, I know we can all help Rachel! It’s such a large open space, and that fireplace is such a focal point – I see tons of potential here.
I promised you a sneak peek inside of Midwest Modern, and since David and Amy just sent along images, I wanted to get them up with a mini book review right away. If you have any questions, please ask me by commenting below. I asked Amy for the names of some of the paint colors in her home, so if you’d like to know, just ask and I’ll list them in the comments section below (thanks, Amy!).
Midwest Modern is packed with pictures, nearly all 225 pages have something to drool over, so I found it extremely inspiring because it is so visual. But it’s not just a pretty picture book, Amy talks to us about everything from decorating to fashion, gardening, and travel. The first section of the book focuses on the importance of creating a home that inspires its occupants to dream, relax, and play – and to respect nature and bring some of the outside in. Most of the interior shots are from Amy and David’s gorgeous home in Ohio, and other lifestyle images show the fabrics and accessories from the Amy Butler collection. I am one part in awe and a million parts motivated to move on some of my own home decorating projects.
Amy is a huge fan of vintage furniture, flea market finds, and lots of blue and green tones in the home. And she loves nature. If you think about it, shopping flea markets is just another way we can show respect to nature, and to our budget. When it comes to trends, Amy observes them, but says, “Trends cannot keep up with my ever-changing moods”. I second and third that! Throughout the book, Amy shows us where she likes to go to relax and regroup, and of course work. Her design lab, a studio shared with her husband David, is both personal and professional so both are able to focus on work in a comfortable environment that supports them fully.
I especially like her kitchen with the open cabinets and the darling buttery yellow 50′s Westinghouse fridge, I had one in pale pink, my first fridge when I moved out on my own (and I miss it!). After the jaw-dropping interiors, the next section discusses personal style and how she feels the body is a canvas on which to display your unique style. Amy believes that wearing something you love can make your spirit rise and your confidence grow, and enjoys seeing others express their artistic voice through their clothing and accessories. This section is rich with images of her bags, skirts, hats and other clothing created from her patterns and fabrics, and even includes some of her fashion sketches (I really liked this part).
After fashion, the book spotlights the natural world, how it’s many patterns, shapes, colors, and sounds have affected her life as an artist in Ohio. She gets into gardening a bit, showing us garden shots from the homes of some of her friends. I like that along with the nature photography, she mixes in a swatch from her fabric collection that was inspired by some of the plants in her own garden.
Midwest Modern wraps up with a bit on travel and how refreshing it can be to simply go with a “gypsy caravan” mindset, which means to drop everything and just go somewhere. Even if it’s down the street. Amy often travels with a very loose agenda and no set schedule, for instance with David and her vintage camper, they hit flea markets nearby and then go camping with friends. She also talks briefly about flea markets and the lake house retreat they visit, too.
What I took most from Midwest Modern is that Amy seeks what we all seek, good work, rest and relaxation with friends and family. Places to find either great buys or simply a peaceful spot to chill out and get away from it all. And inspiration – finding it all around – but not looking too hard, as the process of discovery should be fun and free. Even finding beauty in the mundane. Amy reminds us that when you run your own company, there’s a lot to do, but despite that you still need to make time to enjoy your life. It’s vital to create a space, both for living and working, that reflects yours style, that you love, and that supports you on all levels. That way, when you are “stuck” at home, you don’t feel stuck because you simply love being there and your surroundings inspire you to be better, live better, and give to others so that they may be inspired to do these things for themselves.
I’d like to thank Amy and David (and her nice support team!) for working with me to send over these images, and for the generosity they’ve shown in the recent past when sponsoring a contest on decor. Thank you.
(images copyright David Butler 2007)