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September 2008

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Top Design: The Weekly Dish

September 18, 2008

Ready to dish about Top Design again this week? Here?s Becky from Hatch with the latest…

Top Design: The Weekly DishMiss Kelly and her wild and crazy hair.

Wow! Without giving anything away, I was devastated by who was sent home this week on Top Design. I think the judges made a terrible choice, and that they are letting the talent go while letting the slackers slip on by. As always, THERE WILL BE SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS SECTION, so don’t read the comments if you haven’t caught the show yet and want to be surprised!

I LOVED this challenge. One of my favorite books is Confessions of a Window Dresser by Simon Doonan. Where was he??? I’ve seen him on the “coming up this season” teasers. So, my joy at this challenge was two-fold: One, not only did they design boutique windows, but two, they designed them for Project Runway alums. This included my all time favorite, Santino, and Andre, the subject of his Tim Gunn Red Lobster tales! Last year’s winner Jeffrey looked like a cross between an bandito and a 70’s actor from a dirty movie. Sweet Pea was as cool and helpful to her team as ever, as was Daniel, the man with 9 reality TV show lives.

A few comments on what went down:

Eddie seemed like he’d had ten gallons of coffee.

I knew Andre would pick Nathan as team leader, because it’s an unspoken agreement between bald men. I learned this from Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Andre still has whacked-out verbal diarrhea crazy talk problems. A boring gray dress does not say anything about an election, unless you are throwing in 1980s Cold War American stereotypes about Eastern Europeans and what they had to wear under Communist Rule.

Sweet Pea ordered up a fantasy butterfly cocoon thing. I’ve said it once and I’ve said it again: I avoid butterflies at all costs in design because they make me think of Mariah Carey.

OK, what designer hasn’t made several geeky trips to see showings of Blade Runner on the big screen? Wizit, Wizit, Wizit, let the rococo go go! Big Daddy said that Wizit was going for “Bloomingdales Foufou” which made me laugh. I love Big Daddy! I hope I run into him at IKEA really soon. Another great quote came from Preston, who was ordering Andrea to “put the bar in her butt…put her butt in the bar” regarding their mannequin.

Jonathan’s face during the Nathan/Shaz description of political turmoil was PRICELESS! If someone looked at me like that I would cry. Oh wait, that has happened, and I did cry.

I LOVED Preston and Andrea’s window. Black painted branches with crystals. They kept it minimal, they listened carefully to their client’s ideas, and they didn’t junk it up with a lot of craft store tchotchkes. It was also pretty easily executable in the time they were allotted.

So, enough from me. Did you think the right group won? If not, who was your pick? Do you think anyone who is left is coasting? Have you seen Blade Runner, or do you at least get the reference? What do you think of the very strict time constraints on this show? Do you think the results would be world’s better if the contestants had 12 more hours of work time or 1/2 hour more of shopping time? Do you have a favorite window display you’ve seen in your lifetime that has stayed in your brain forever? Do you ever refer to a piece of clothing as a frock? And of course, discuss amongst yourselves… Kelly and her hair!

(image from bravotv.com.)

Books + Magazines, Decorating Tips, Inspiration, Rooms, Stationery, Travel

Living & More = Magazine Heaven

September 17, 2008

I thought I’d introduce you to my favorite magazine in Germany, Living & More. Their website is pretty bad, but the magazine is above and beyond the website (thankfully) so don’t let their online look spoil your fun! German magazines are still working to get their act together when it comes to web presence but they are making progress slowly but surely. Anyway, this magazine is just great. Many of you who read decor8 do not have access to decorating magazines here so this little post is dedicated to you!

Living & More = Magazine Heaven

I must say that I know nothing about the publisher behind the magazine except they are called Living & More Verlag GmbH and are based in Offenburg, Germany, so I can’t give them a very good introduction. I do hope though that the images give you a nice preview of what you can except from this publication. Color, style, and lots of inspiration. I find that in most Dutch and German magazines though that many of the homes featured are from Australia and Scandinavia. I find this strange because there are PLENTY of stylish people living in Holland and Germany and I’m certain they live in magazine-worthy homes. I wonder why this is? I have several friends here in Hannover that live in magazine-ish homes but they’ve never been published. So very odd. Anyone know why this is so often the way it is? American design magazines are much different, the focus is always on American homes.

Living & More = Magazine Heaven A gorgeous desk organizer DIY project from the current issue of Living & More (Oktober 2008, Nr.7, page 34. Photo by Linnea Press.)

Living & More = Magazine Heaven The city apartment of Parisian designer Vanessa Bruno. (Living & More, Aug/Sept 08, Nr. 6, pages 24-33.) Photos by Brigetta Wolfgang Drejer/Sisters Agency.

Living & More not only produces 8 issues per year under the same name, but they also run these ‘specials’ like Wohnen & Wohlf?hlen and Living & More Premium – the edition that just hit newsstands here is called Country Tr?ume Wohnen and it’s amazing.

Living & More = Magazine Heaven The living room of homeowner Pia Aardestrup based in Copenhagen. (Living & More, Oktober 2008, Nr.7, pages 6-15.) Photos by: Anita Behrendt/Linnea Press.

Living & More = Magazine Heaven More images of Pia’s very blue and beautiful home. (Living & More, Oktober 2008, Nr.7, pages 6-15.) Photos by: Anita Behrendt/Linnea Press.

Living & More = Magazine Heaven I can’t take my eyes off of Pia’s gorgeous cabinet, I love this washed look. (Living & More, Oktober 2008, Nr.7, pages 6-15.) Photo by: Anita Behrendt/Linnea Press.

Living & More = Magazine Heaven This is a great spread, it features several fun DIY projects involving painted flowers on walls and furniture, complete with stencils. (Living & More “Wohnen & Wohlf?hlen” issue, LI039, pages 37-39, 60-61) Photos: Linnea Press.

Living & More = Magazine Heaven The home of Australian shop owner of Empire Vintage and stylist Lyn Gardner. (Living & More Premium “Country Tr?ume Wohnen” issue, LP003, pages 52-67.) Photos by: Mikkel Vang/Taverne Agency.

Living & More = Magazine Heaven More of Lyn Gardner. (Living & More Premium “Country Tr?ume Wohnen” issue, LP003, pages 52-67.) Photos by: Mikkel Vang/Taverne Agency.

Living & More = Magazine Heaven Lyn Gardner. (Living & More Premium “Country Tr?ume Wohnen” issue, LP003, pages 52-67.) Photos by: Mikkel Vang/Taverne Agency.

I think that you can purchase all of these issues shown here in this post on this website, though I’m not sure if they ship outside of Germany. Give it a try though. I know you can also email them to order magazines: email: abo [dot] livingandmore [at] guell [dot] de

I hope you had fun peeking inside of the pages of my favorite German decorating magazine today!

(images photographed by holly becker for decor8)

Arts + Crafts, Etsy Faves, Small Business

Natasha Mileshina & Random Small Business Thoughts

September 17, 2008

I have to spotlight Natasha Mileshina today because a parcel arrived from her in my little mailbox this morning and it absolutely made my day. I blogged about her etsy shop, bubbo-tubbo, in Take Five Tuesdays last week and like so many artists I feature here I end up becoming a customer because I want to own a part of their world.

Natasha Mileshina & Random Small Business Thoughts

I absolutely appreciate and love the American arts & crafts scene, and though there is one here in Germany that is growing and blooming right now, there is still something about the American aesthetic that I really like. Of course, I am partial since I am American so of course I’m going to appreciate things about my own culture that others in different lands may not. I think Natasha Mileshina’s style is so positively perfect, I really enjoyed the package of goodies that arrived because everything was so carefully wrapped and arranged. It was special to just open it and after turning back the papers to reveal the contents – ah, bliss!

Natasha Mileshina & Random Small Business Thoughts“Nothing to put on” print, 5 x 7, $12.

Natasha Mileshina & Random Small Business ThoughtsNotebook, $7

Natasha lives and works in Baltimore, Maryland… not exactly the ‘hub’ when it comes to creativity like other places in the U.S. (Brooklyn, San Francisco, Portland OR, etc.) but I imagine that at times it must be nice to not live in uber creative communities because you are able to really be alone with your work and spend time developing it and fine tuning your style. Does this make sense? I guess I think this way because I lived for years in Boston and only when I relocated to southern New Hampshire did I really ‘slow down’ enough in my head to focus on my own artistic and creative spirit. Everyone is different of course. I cannot doubt the explosion of creativity I feel whenever I’m in San Francisco, L.A., even parts of the south where I grew up… But you can really be creative anywhere on this planet and though many artists pack up and relocate to the hip cities to be part of the local culture there, there are plenty of artists who do just as well in their little corners, too. If you’re like me, I go to cities to be inspired but I feel completely fine living outside of creative hubs now because I don’t need to be immersed in it 24/7. It almost stresses me out if I spend too much time in New York City, for instance. I like it there but I find equal inspiration walking on the beach in Maine.

I think in really creative hubs there are so many people making things that yes, it can inspire, but sometimes it may also feel competitive or stressful… like you must continuously churn out new designs or you are no longer ‘the hottest thing’ in your community. I wonder if anyone reading this lives in a creative hub and can comment on this. Here in Hannover, Germany we have many creative types but no one really sticks together, in fact it’s a little competitive and ‘high school’ sometimes just as it was in the beginning days of blogging for me online. I am trying to change this here in Hannover, but it will take awhile. But I have an idea…

Natasha Mileshina & Random Small Business Thoughts
“Cat on my head” print, 5×7, $12.

I want to host a street fest here with the local artisans and craftsters but I’m scared no one will mingle because they seem to not like one another! I think these problems exist in the states too, but when I was at Renegade last summer in Brooklyn I didn’t get the sense that vendors there were competing or even jealous or upset at the success of the more popular vendors. I think this is one of many reasons why Americans have such success with their small businesses — the majority seem to support and rely on fellow small business owners knowing that their success comes, not by shunning or excluding others, but by holding hands with others and showing support. I don’t know if craft fairs like Renegade really exist here in Germany, but I’d like to get involved in hosting one here in Hannover to see how it goes. My friend Enna and I are in discussion over this so I’ll let you know what we churn out. I’m thinking next year, a summer fest. :) I want to have a ‘decor8’ table at the fair to show the work of my American friends, and even those from Australia, England, and beyond that may like to introduce their work to the German market. I want to expose more Germans to crafts outside of Europe, too.

You may be shocked to learn that most of my creative friends here aren’t even online, do not blog, and they’ve never heard of Etsy! Half or more do not even speak English, another problem if they want to reach customers outside of Germany. This is one of the major reasons I’m speaking this Saturday in Berlin, I want to encourage the many creative types who will attend the decor8/Dawanda event to blog and reach out to the world if they aren’t already doing it. I feel so confident in the indie arts scene in Germany but not many people outside know what’s going on in this country outside of Oktoberfest and beer. Not even many Germans know what’s going on because so many seem to create in their ateliers, closed off from the rest of the world so to speak, and not much is seen outside of their own city. This is only my opinion as a non-German but I think small business here (at least arts & crafts) is where American small business was back in 2004/05 – blogging was just picking up speed, indie craft fairs were starting to appear nationwide, more and more people were connecting online and making new friends, etc. It’s fun to be over here in the beginning stages of it all. I can’t wait to see what develops!

Natasha Mileshina & Random Small Business Thoughts“Fake NYC” by Natasha Mileshina, processed using the fake tilt shift technique, most likely in Photoshop.

I think I’m running off on a tangent here (what’s new!?), but this was on my mind when I awoke this morning so I thought I’d talk about it today to see what your opinions are on this topic. Do you need to be in the heart of a creative hub to create and network? If you lived in a city where shop owners do not seem to support other shop owners, how would you promote peace and encourage a more supportive environment? How do you overcome feelings of competition with fellow creative types?

Now back to the lovely Natasha! Don’t forget to check out her Flickr album for further inspiration, and don’t miss her lovely studio over at Poppy Talk.

(images taken by holly becker for decor8)

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