A few of my favorite things: Stephanie Levy
Hi, I’m Stephanie Levy, an American artist and illustrator who has been living abroad in Germany for the last 13 years. In 2005, I moved to Munich with my husband, and we share our city apartment with our two little girls, Sophia and Lucy – also known as the two tornados with legs! I’m very excited that Holly is now living here in Germany, and I’m honored to be a guest blogger on decor8! I’ll be sharing “a few of my favorite things” today with you :)
As you can see, we are a family of artists. My husband is a painter and sculptor, and we have tried to create a very open and creative atmosphere in our home. One of my favorite spots is the children’s art table, which is in our work/living area. I always keep a stack of paper and plenty of drawing materials available, so that my children can make a new picture whenever they feel inspired. The result is that some of our walls are a constantly changing compilation of artwork by various artists. Lately, the children’s artwork has started creeping into the empty spaces between my “Trendfarben” wall elements. I love the cheerful, vibrant mix of line, form, and color.
Baking cakes, making dinner, and throwing wild tea parties are among my daughters most treasured activities. Sometimes they do get a little out of control however, and ahem, they are solely responsible for the lovely wallpaper patterns you now see here in their room.
When I am ready to begin with “serious” work, I escape to my little studio. I am always happy when I can sit at my art table for a few hours, surrounded by heaps of fun materials, and create new drawings, paintings, and collages.
There are also times when I want to relax, and get away from our creative chaos. Our sunny bedroom is very light and minimalist, and it’s the perfect place to steal away and read a book.
Perhaps my very favorite spot in our apartment is our kitchen window. I try to always keep blooming flowers on the windowsill, and this summer I’ve been growing fresh mint and basil to use in special dishes. It’s the perfect spot to drink a cup of tea, and gaze out onto our ivy covered courtyard.
Some of the things that inspire me most are picnics, German bakeries, Italian wine, traveling anywhere – even for a day trip, starry skies, and bubble baths.
One of the nicest pieces of advice I’ve been given is: “When children are young, give them roots. When they have grown, give them wings.”
Thank you for visiting with me today, and I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know some of my favorite places at home. It’s always wonderful to have guests and meet new readers. I love sharing peeks of my life in Europe, travel, and artwork with my blog visitors. Thank you Holly for this opportunity, and I can’t wait to keep up with your new European lifestyle here in Germany. – xoxo Stephanie
Editor’s Note: You’ll find a wide selection of Stephanie’s collages and artwork in her online shop where she is currently have a sale!
A few of my favorite things: Skinny laMinx
Hello and Happy Friday to you! I’m Heather Moore, living in Cape Town South Africa, where I design and produce textiles and illustrations (shop), and also write the Skinny laMinx blog. Holly kindly asked me to come and tell you about the things I like in my home, so I waited for a sunny day and took some snaps. I hope you enjoy taking a tour around this place we share with our beautiful kitties. Let us began, shall we?
As with most of the things I treasure, this little wooden stool cost hardly a thing and it took me while to decide to buy it. Now it lives in our lounge, where we occasionally curse it as we trip over it, but often I look up from my book in the evenings and admire its simple, perfect lines.
Since and exhausting renovation two years ago, we didn’t do much about our bedroom, but recently we’ve started putting in a bit of work, which has been great. The afghani rug on the floor was a recent birthday gift (from me) to my lucky husband, and it goes surprisingly well with the 70’s flowery curtains (another surprise find)
This little bottle opener was a gift I bought online for my husband a few years ago from the Canoe store. It’s Japanese and cast iron, and makes me excited about opening a bottle of beer every time.
I’m not sure there are many people with a brick taking pride of place in the lounge, but we love this one, which we found holding a tarpaulin down in Thailand. Much pleading managed to convince the brick’s owner that a stone would do the job just as well, so now it graces the windowsill above our Ercol daybed (which we love too, even though it’s probably a knockoff)
Just to the right of the table are shelves upon which this stone bird carved by a Zimbabwian artist lives. He’s so glossy and alert, and definitely a prized possession. More black birds, these by Missibaba creator, Chloe Townsend, currently live above our dining table.
So much vintage stuff, so little space! We’re managing to fill up the shelves of our bright green kitchen pretty effectively.
Yup, vintage pots are also on the menu. The ceramic one was a recent buy, and it was only after I had it with me at home that I discovered it was the design of a design hero, Stig Lindberg. It’s the kind of moment that makes a vintage hunter feel that all those rainy mornings spent poking through worthless junk were worthwhile after all.
I can’t find the quote, but I think the best advice I’ve heard was from Paul Smith who said something about how the things he’s said “no” to have allowed him to do some of his best work. Learning when to say ‘no’ so that I can concentrate on doing things properly is something I’m still trying to learn, but I’m getting better at it. Good luck with the move Holly! – Xx Heather
(images: skinny laminx)
A few of my favorite things: Art and Ghosts
Hi there, this is Louise from Art and Ghosts (blog & shop), just popping in to say hello and to share a handful of my favorite things as part of Holly’s series. I currently live in the north of England in a small yet sweet little village located on the outskirts of the town where I grew up. My home is actually 160 years old, although extensively modernized throughout; the only reminder of days gone by being a strangely battered horseshoe tacked above what was once the kitchen door. Having only moved into the house last December, much of the surrounding countryside and even the house itself still feel so very new to me, which is something of a novelty. In this sense, the house itself could be said to be my most favorite thing of all.
My favorite room has to be the living room. Prior to moving here, I had lived in a fairly modern, third floor apartment for almost ten years, which comprised of four small, featureless rooms with tiny, shuttered windows. In contrast, my new home has a certain lopsided individuality, large windows, and best of all, a mantle piece! Being the central focus of the room, the mantle tends to get a makeover every few weeks or so, so that the objects on and surrounding it are continuously changing. I suppose you could say that it functions a little showcase for my favorite pictures, knick-knacks, etc. Most of all, I adore the serenity of this room, it seems to contain its very own ‘silence’, a sensation of stillness, relaxation.
My paternal grandmothers writing desk. We have something of a love-hate relationship, myself and the writing desk: love, due to enormous sentimental value, and hate due to the upper lid never failing to bite or nip my fingers whenever I attempt to open the top compartment. A family heirloom which found itself taking up residence here a short time ago, I am actually more attracted to its functionality as opposed to its age or aesthetic appeal, which in my own opinion, doesn’t leave a great deal to be desired. Almost every piece of furniture that I own tends to be white, contemporary, so the desk makes for quite a pleasant distraction.
My books. I am never quite complete when not engaged in reading. In this sense, I suppose that I consider reading to be a vital aspect of my existence, something which I could not live without. There are far too many of them, and no matter how much I attempt to downsize, the collection will simply keep on growing until it has overtaken my expectations – and space! I am the type of person who can spend hours sitting cross-legged in the corner of a musty old book store, or else browsing them online until dawn breaks.
Tea, cups, and saucers. I have a somewhat unhinged passion for tea. Isn’t there an old English mindset which considers tea as the cure for all ills? Well, I believe in it! As I have mentioned somewhere before, tea has quite a remarkable place in my life, something which I consider to be more of an ‘experience’ than a mere beverage, in much the same way as chocolate.
Treasured possessions, mostly gifts or purchases from online friends and artists. Something that I dearly love about being such a tiny part of a greater online community – our ability to share our passions with others of a similar mind, regardless of distance. For some reason, the novelty of this continues to remain so alive and fresh, for me, that sense of there being a personal, unique story behind each and every one of these possessions, whether vintage or handmade.
The dolls house, which I snapped up for less than £2, then had to carry home on a long distance bus ride in a broken plastic bag. Such is love, and a renewed passion to renovate! Dolls and dolls houses have always fascinated me. They also inspire me creatively, having been such a large and consistent element of my visual art work since as far back as I can remember. I just adore miniature worlds and the stories that we can invest in them, how they have the power to spark imagination, whilst also rekindling feelings and memories of childhood, when play and imagination were so essential to our perception and exploration of the world around us.
My village in winter time. One of my most favorite things of all. Words could never possibly express my love for the colder months, how it seems that I only ever come fully alive at this time. My senses literally rejoice the coming of autumn (as they are doing now!), the darker evenings, the longer nights. Perhaps this suits me so well because I am a confirmed night-owl, preferring to work through the night time, as late as my commitments will permit. Snow, especially, defines the very concept of magic for me.
What inspires me: Oh, too much! So many things that are intangible, like dreams, memories and sensations. The natural world, the seasons, ideas of places which I have never seen. I am besotted with music, both contemporary and classical, and can barely exist without it, especially when working. Each and every day I am hugely inspired by the passion and integrity of creative people, their own work and the thoughts they share amongst us. I am also quite obsessed with fairy tales, mythology, children’s literature and film.
The most unforgettable advice that I have heard so far is quite possibly one of the most simple, yet carrying it out can take a monumental effort: Have faith in your own feelings, to take notice of your intuition. If only I had done this on so many occasions! We have a tendency to push such things aside as mere irritations, but in my own experience I have often found them to be an invaluable source of truth.
Having said that…one more piece of advice, which I stumbled upon whilst browsing the internet this week: never, just absolutely NEVER make a decision when you are angry. This one really ought to speak for itself! Thanks so much for reading my little offering, and a huge thank-you to Holly for making me so welcome! — Take care, Lou x
(images: art and ghosts)
Hello! I’m Liss from Melbourne, Australia and I’m visiting while Holly is only here on a part-time basis until she settles into her new country. I keep a little visual inspiration blog called Daydream Lily, it’s where I post all the things that inspire me, think dreamy photography, illustration, handmade loves and creative homes. Today I’m sharing 6 of my favourite things and the artists who inspire me, and I hope that you’ll love them too!
1. Creative unique Jewellery, like that of Vanilla Bug — Created by Melbourne based Amy Borrell, Vanilla Bug is a collection of her creations from cute water colors to handmade jewellery inspired by tea parties, whimsy and childhood nostalgia. My favourites are her milk and doily brooches.
2. Sarah McNeil — Sarah McNeil is a Melbourne, Australia based artist, illustrator and crafter. She creates wonderful portraits of people and animals from watercolour. She will even paint a custom portrait of your pet. When not painting, you can find her knitting adorable bunny brooches, also available in her etsy shop.
3. Collages like those of Sonia Ahlers – I find Sonja’s, mixed media works so inspiring, it makes me want to do some of my own collages. She has published two art books, Temper, Temper and Fatal Distraction which are full of bunnies, silhouettes, collage and humorous scribbles that give you an insight into the mind of this creative gal. I can spend ages just looking through them, each time discovering something new!
5. Cori Kindred — Cori’s takes dreamy Polaroid photographs, that were featured in the book, For The Love Of Light, a tribute to Polaroid photography. If her pictures weren’t enough to inspire me she also creates gorgeous crafty goods which she sells via her shop. My favourites are these vintage paper flags.
6. Erin Paisley-Stueber – I was so excited to see her illustrations in the booklet of Lisa Mitchell’s new album Wonder. If you haven’t heard of Lisa Mitchell’s, music you must have a listen, she has a sweet folksy style. Watch her latest single, Coin Laundry its all about a girl who lives in your washing machine and collects buttons and things that comes off your clothing, very cute!
Thank you so much for having me on decor8, Holly! ~ Liss
(images linked to their sources above)