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Reader Q: Little Girl Gifts?

This is such a sweet little email, I asked Lisa if I could share it with all of you in hopes of hearing your feedback on finding the perfect gift for little Sally.

“Hi Holly, My almost nine year old is “passionate” (her word) about design, specifically interior design and architecture. I would love to come up with some gift ideas for her birthday that show her that I totally get her. I have found some architecture design type toys, but they haven’t been very well reviewed, so I am hoping for some more real life ideas. I have a crafting business, so she has access to lots of art supplies and a sewing machine already. Her birthday is in June, so I have a little time. Thanks so much.” -Lisa.

Basket of blueberries from La Pomme, $24.

I’m not a mom, but I was a kid once so here are my thoughts. Maybe you can enroll her in a summer workshop at a local art school where she can be creative and meet other kids. Or take a mother/daughter class. You could also host an at home creative workshop with her and her friends where all work on a project together, like a giant painting on a canvas or cloth.

Does she like dolls? I recently found a project in Cookie magazine showing how to make a flat pack doll house out of foam board and it looked super fun, budget-friendly, and easy. (Directions here.) You can customize the walls with your own little works or art or purchase wrapping paper or dollhouse wallpaper online. Maybe she can make her own Barbie Design Firm or something. You can add a mini inspiration board and little fabric swatches and such, some desks, you know have fun with it.

You could also ask her if she’d like to redecorate her bedroom with some DIY projects — a linen covered inspiration board, chalkboard paint on the door, a new corner for arts/crafts with storage, etc. Another idea is a day trip (or a girls weekend, depending on your budget) to a nearby city and go to museums and then stop for cupcakes somewhere. Find a photobooth and have your pictures made, that’s always fun. I used to do this with my mother all the time, she would stick out her tongue and also strike these funny model poses and I really liked seeing her silly side which photobooths seem to always inspire — giggles and smiles.

For gifts, try Mahar Drygoods. Also there’s a gift guide for children on etsy, maybe you could give her a little loot bag of assorted things that are handmade?

Anyone else have some creative ideas for Lisa?

(images linked above to sources)

Posted in inspiration, kids, reader questions, small business on April 17, 2008
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Little Hello

A quick update for you because I missed writing Etsy Take Five Tuesdays this week and have been receiving lots of emails asking if I’ve stopped writing the column and the answer is not at all! The column will resume again next Tuesday, this week has been tough for me to do much of anything because I have the nasty flu and strep throat (fun!). I haven’t had much energy. I wasn’t about to mention my illness on decor8 because I don’t really like to talk about my health here, besides who really cares if I’m sick or not it’s just a cold! But with all the “What happened to Take Five Tuesdays?” emails this week, I had to address this publicly on the blog. :) Don’t worry! Take Five is still alive and kickin’.

S is for Sick.

Oh and today I’m in the Boston Globe with another piece, this time all about gardening. It’s a full page in the Style section, you can’t miss it. I haven’t seen it yet, so I hope it really ran today or else I’ll feel embarrassed! :) Has anyone seen it yet? {update: My bad, it’s in the 4/24 paper.}

(photograph by holly becker for decor8)

Posted in uncategorized on April 17, 2008

Enna *New* Wall Decals

Remember last Fall when I took you on a tour of Enna’s shop in Hannover, Germany (tour here)? I remember the reaction from readers when they saw the darling wall of trees that she hand painted using stencils cut from cardboard.

This is her hand painted wall of trees in her shop.

In fact, we did a little workshop together when I was over there where we created stencils using pizza and cereal boxes and stamps out of foam and did some printing on fabric — it was so much fun. I can’t wait to go back this year to do more creative projects with her, especially since there’s a yummy Portuguese bakery next door to her shop and we like to get goodies there for snacking as we work. :)

These are the new decals she’s made so customers can duplicate the look.

Due to an overwhelming amount of readers and friends asking how to duplicate the look on their own wall, Enna has created a line of wall decals so you can just peel and stick trees all over your walls, arranging them how she has in her shop or you can stick just one or two around wherever you please. I think it would be cute to stick a row of trees at the very bottom of a window or glass door.


In addition to trees, she created other decals like apples and daschunds that are available in both her Dawanda shop and in her Etsy store.

(top image taken by holly becker, all others from anne wendlandt)

Posted in walls on April 17, 2008

Let’s Shop London!

An occasional guest writer here on decor8, you may best know Anh-Minh Le as the Bay area Co-Editor for Apartment Therapy San Francisco. Over the past few years I’ve grown to really like this lady — she’s smart, a great writer, and the girl has a serious travel bug so I love learning about some of her adventures. She just got back from London and asked if she could pull together a little post for decor8 documenting her journey from shop to shop and I couldn’t refuse! I’ll let Anh-Minh take it from here…

Let’s Shop London
By: Anh-Minh Le

Seriously, I don?t know if a morning in London could get more perfect than this:

Breakfast at Tom?s Kitchen (a late-ish breakfast, that is, since I was on vacation afterall!); A stroll down the block to Cath Kidston?s Chelsea location; Crossing the street to check out the goods at Neisha Crosland?s shop; Making my way over to The Conran Shop in the Michelin Building; Walking the short distance to Few and Far (which is owned by Terence Conran?s sister, Priscilla Carluccio); And, finally, oohing and aahing at all the lovely things at the Designers Guild store on King?s Road.

There was so much good design eye-candy, I just had to share! So here goes ?

Cath Kidston
Don?t let the small storefront of Kidston?s Chelsea outpost fool you: There?s plenty of wares inside, upstairs and in the larger downstairs space. I had to show some restraint here, since my suitcase didn?t have much room to spare. But I couldn?t leave London without a proper tea cosy, right?



Neisha Crosland
I am in awe of her work. Seriously, if the U.S. dollar wasn?t so weak ? and my husband wasn?t keeping a careful eye on me ? I think I would have walked out of the store with rolls and rolls of fabric and wallpaper. Although you can purchase some of her designs online at Fabrics and Papers, I haven?t spotted her pillows and lampshades anywhere else. Tip: There are goods stocked in every nook and cranny of this small shop. I spied some very cool pillows on sale, as well as a stack of remnant fabrics. The cheapest piece was ?5 and was enough to sew together your own pillow. Not such a bad deal.


The Conran Shop

The outdoor living collection recently launched here, so the display in the entry was pretty and colorful. Very spring/summer!


Few and Far
How cool is this: Carluccio opened this store just this February ? and she?s in her 70s. According to a Daily Candy write-up on the place, she ?has been a driving force behind The Conran Shop and Habitat stores for years ? Find trinkets for the home alongside jewelery, handmade clothing, vintage toys, quirky stationery, scented candles, baskets, hand-blown glass and silk flowers, all of which are offered in limited quantities.? And the people working there? They were as nice as can be, even offering us complimentary espressos.


Designers Guild
One of the things I love best about this store is how Tricia Guild has taken iconic pieces of furniture and updated them with her gorgeous textiles. By the way, this is one of those shops where you?ll want to spend quite a bit of time ? going up and down the stairs, in and out of every room, over and over again ? to make sure you didn?t miss anything.


And that concludes my mini-virtual tour of some of the shops I visited during my recent trip to London! – Anh-Minh Le.

(photography: Anh-Minh Le.)

Posted in guest bloggers, shopping, travel on April 17, 2008

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