More lovely calendars for you to place into your shopping carts today! Weeee! I can’t wait to place my order for a few, I already have some in mind. Are you spotting any favorites yet? If not, here are more to choose from. I’m on a roll so expect lots more to follow…
More to follow, yes really!!!
(images: linked to their sources above.)
It’s that time of year, and to keep tradition around here I’m rounding up the best of the best calendars for the coming year (and some Advent Calendars for this year) just as I have now since 2006. When I started this column, no one was rounding up calendars but I had this wonky idea to do it and hey, it caught on! Why do I do this year after year? I want these amazing artists to have their work promoted and their calendars purchased so I figure a great big ‘ole round-up is the best way to do it. If you have a blog and want to round-up some calendars of your own, by all means go for it! Share — this is a community built on sharing (blogging is all about each of us taking part in a global, online conversation) so link to this post, write your own calendar round-up, spread the love people and let’s help these artists sell their calendars for the coming year!
Maria Helena calendar, love!
Here how it will work… Today and tomorrow I’m going to post several calendar posts because I’m trying to include as many as I can — there is no favorite, no best calendar, and certainly no order to these posts — I’m simply going to show you all of the calendars that I can possibly squeeze in and then it’s up to you to decide on those that you’ll display with pride in your home. I cannot include ALL of the submissions in my inbox (I received hundreds!) but I’ll do the best that I can to include as many as possible to appeal to all tastes and budgets.
Calendars make lovely gifts and there is really no limit — you don’t need only one in the home, you can add one in the rooms that you find yourself needing them the most. I like to put one in the kitchen, my office and in the hallway. Where do you display your calendar/s?
MORE TO COME! This is just the first batch…
(images: linked to their sources above)
Hello dear readers! How are you today? I had quite a productive work day and look forward to bringing you the great 2011 calendar round-up here on decor8 tomorrow and Friday. It’s going to be huge and amazing so stay tuned for that! But first, I want to show you a quick glimpse of the gifts that I made for students who attended the decor8 retreat week in Marrakesh (I blogged about it here). I designed 10 bags from scratch (well 11 since I kept one as a memory of our wonderful week)… and so I was sitting on my floor for HOURS, days even, cutting and pinning and tracing and measuring… it was a labor of love and I truly adored doing it for my students because I know they loved their bags and how much I loved giving them something from my heart.
I hand stamped the inside with white fabric paint using a stamp that I hand cut with my name on it. I also made brooches for the bags that have gold pins on the back so they can move the brooches around on the bag, wear them on a jacket, pin them to something at home or even adorn their wall with a pretty brooch. The fabrics were taken from my stash — I have so many gorgeous prints and patterns, it was fun to sit down and combine fabrics from America, Europe and Japan, some vintage and others brand new, to build a custom bag for each student. I tried to experiment with many colors and patterns and loved doing the patchwork style. I’m so happy that I had my friend to give me a hand with sewing them though I’m proud to say that these bags are of my creation which makes me very, very proud because I wanted to give students something from my own studio — that really mattered to me — and not simply hand them something that I found in a store. Plus I wanted to inspire them to think about how to combine patterns and colors to create something unique and special. You can take do so much with a stack of fabrics from make a bag to design a pillow, some curtains, even a duvet.
My inspiration: I’m big on applique work and hand stitching, and I went with the idea of having the bag look like a mood board with a linen back and handles and then the patchwork style fabrics and appliques on the front. I don’t share a lot of my crafty work on decor8, but so many of you emailed me asking about what it was that I made for my dear students so I am happy to share them since you asked so nicely. ;) I guess this is the side of me that I keep hidden because I always felt like if I posted the things that I make then what is my motive — to seek praise? To stroke my ego? But then today I thought that when I look at the work of others I feel inspired and encouraged so why would you not feel inspired and encouraged by my work as well? These bags took me a lot of time and patience, why not share the fruits of my labor! I am very proud of how they turned out.
Unfortunately, my battery died in Morocco on the second day and I had no spare with me (I left it at home on my bed!) so I don’t have any photos (that I took) of the bags or of the beautiful journals that I prepared for them which contained vellum envelopes filled with inspirational papers, trims, ribbons… and some rubber stamping that I did inside – simple touches but I think they were cute. :) Thankfully, photographer Tiffany Kirschner, who was on the trip with us, shot some nice photos of the bags close up so those are shown in this post above. If I find any more images of them where you can see entire bag views, I’ll let you know but for now I only have these.
I hope my dear students will always think of me and our special week in Marrakesh whenever they use their bags — I miss them all so much, I’m having withdrawal symptoms! I imagine if I had spent another week with them I would be in so much pain of heart right now. I loved getting to know these 10 women and connecting with them but also being a source of friendship, encouragement and inspiration to them but in return they gave wayyyyy more back to me than I even feel that I gave.
I took a long walk today and felt sad that I may never see them again as a group altogether. But then I thought of how we are all together online and then I smiled, like the internet made it all better again. :) I don’t know if you’ve ever gone on a creative retreat but man, you really start to find yourself thinking in new ways when you are unplugged from the world but also immersed in a creative, inspiring environment around people who are so open, who have so much courage, rich life experiences and who just want to soak it all in and learn together without judgment or fear. I wish I could have spent more time with each lady, it is my only regret, but hopefully they can continue to tap into me through my blog and also via email over the years. I will always remember them and I know they will always remember me and together all we have to do is see something Moroccan and we’ll forever be transported back to that very time and space. If you are ever in a position to go on a retreat, save the money and DO IT. Really. It’s the best experience and worth every cent.
Now back to my bags… now I want to make patchwork pillows for my guest bedroom! :) I feel a future project coming on!
(images: Tiffany Kirschner from The Fancy Farm Girl)
I hope it’s okay that I make a confession, me the decorating queen, because I’m a bit embarrassed to say it but I’ve always been a very open person so why not? Plus, I think blogs lose their zest when they become too perfect so I’m about to reveal a great, big issue in my life currently. I Am Stuck.
(Working on the floor with a friend, sorting through piles of fabrics, as I decide which to use for the bags that I designed for my students in Morocco.)
I feel creative, ready to execute on all of my work-related projects, empowered to kick start some fresh ideas, and launch a few new treats for your enjoyment next year. When it comes to my job and what I do, I’m pumped and love my life. I couldn’t be happier or more ready to get moving on decor8-related initiatives.
But when it comes to decorating… lately… I don’t know. I feel stuck. I’m not sure why exactly. I moved into this gorgeous, massive flat with all of the most beautiful details and in the eyes of most, I live the dream life in my swank new digs. But sitting here, on the inside of my world, the perspective is different. I feel like I can’t get started. I don’t know where to begin. I don’t know where to shop even, I got so pampered and babied in the states with all of my resources and friends and connections there… and now I’m starting from absolute zero with hardly any furniture, no place to store everything in my boxes which are laying all over the freaking place… And I feel frustrated and sorta overwhelmed.
I’m going to work on my house slowly but I cannot work as slowly as would feel the most natural to me as I have a huge magazine that wants to shoot here in January and I don’t even know where to begin to prepare for that. I just want to collect over time, be true to myself, put into action all of the things that I have taught so many of you throughout the years… But I need a giant kick in the butt to just DO IT and I have no real time to do it so I have to throw it together within a few months in order to make the magazine’s deadline. Oh my.
What I plan to do is this – start working on mood boards and rent a car and see where I can find things for my home. I have a big entry room, living room, dining room, kitchen, office, massive hallway with a nook, two bathrooms, two wintergartens, a balcony, a bedroom, a guest bedroom and my husband has an office (which he is nearly finished decorating and it looks so lovely!). I have 2,200 square feet of HOME to decorate in two months. I think that is what has me frozen – the sheer thought of it. When I go to Istanbul next week, I’m going to bring back treasures for the floors — large, gorgeous rugs — because a good rug is such a great start to decorating a room from scratch.
I have SO many great ideas, so much to accomplish in just a few months (my book publishes in the UK in March and in the U.S. in May!!!) and so many reasons to get this place whipped into shape and so I will march onward, get this place together, and work a little Holly magic. But wow, I sure could use a few of my “safe zones” to shop at over here. I feel really lost but I also feel like I need to pull from within — tap in to my ideas and get my home together already!
And so… I’ve confessed this publicly before the masses to say that well, I’m REAL and I get stuck sometimes too. I can’t wait to share with you how my project here on the homefront turns out. It was hard to sell everything that I spent YEARS collecting to move to a new country realizing that things are not only much more expensive here but a lot harder to source and without a car, I’ve been a bit up a creek. I know, excuses, excuses. We always have plenty of them when we are not doing what we are meant to be doing, don’t we!?
How do you get out of decorating ruts? If you are an expat, how did you build your new home from scratch without resorting to IKEA for everything or mail order (I’m trying to avoid mail order finds because the few things I have ordered via catalogs have been a disappointment). I’ve been shopping local boutiques, but spending hundreds on things that normally would have cost me $30 in a states. Which is another consideration — I need to find great things on somewhat of a budget. Every single sofa I find is in the thousands and I’d like to ideally not go over 2,000 Euros for one. I want to have FUN with this great process of decorating a home in a new country, but without a car and limited time (my schedule has been nuts), I fear boxes will go unpacked for a very long time and I’ll continue to sit on the floor working on my projects as you can see in the image above!
Any advice to share? Any encouragement to lend? Some virtual hugs would be lovely — anyone who settles into life living abroad faces similar challenges and so I know that I am not alone. Even those who have never left their homeland find decorating projects surely induce much stress and often discomfort whether it is budget-related, limited resources, time constraints, etc. I’d love to know how you grin and bear it.
I’m having company this evening so I need to go sort through some boxes and clean up a bit to make my beautiful home presentable. I’m going to light a new candle from L’Occitane that I picked up at a home fair this past Sunday in Hannover, it’s called Candied Fruits and is a scent that one of my first decorating clients tipped me off to back in 2004… Whenever I feel in a decorating rut, I always try to find this candle because it reminds me of Julia and how I transformed her Boston condo into a lovely home during a time when I was so new to design and so anxious to get started. The scent brings me back to her apartment, I always smelled it the moment I entered her home, and for some reason I feel empowered and ready to do stuff whenever I smell it – the pressure just rolls off my back and I get into my Holly zone. Do you have a scent that does that? If not, get one. It’s crazy helpful.
You know, just putting my feelings out there — unedited — felt really great. I already want to get decorating — and go forth with some of my ideas. And so there is the result of a natural, no-BS post — I feel encouraged, no doubt you feel like someone gets you as I’m guessing you’ve been “there” before, and now we’ll all feel a bit more invigorated to stop whining and start making our magic at home. I so love you guys.:*
(image: holly becker for decor8)
It’s time to get back on track again with Etsy Take Five Tuesday, which was seriously delayed due to my move and then the recent retreat in Marrakesh. I was a tad bit upside down without knowing which end was up but now I can get back to the regularly schedule program again with my Etsy column. Next year I’m definitely going to change it up a bit but for now, Etsy Take Five Tuesday remains until the end of December 2010. I can’t believe I’ve been writing this column for so long — and that you all love it so much — it’s very energizing for me but also quite time consuming to produce as I don’t like to just throw anything up on the blog without careful consideration first. I can’t wait to show you how I plan to update the column in January. With that said, here are my picks for this week. I’m sure you will find a few things to love. :)
First up this week is and O design in Melbourne, Australia which is run by Japanese artist Yumi Ando. All of her lovely ceramic pieces are inspired by both Australian and Japanese culture and produced in limited run batches and made by hand using slab techniques.
Macha Jewelry in London has some amazing pieces — their rings are my favorite. “New techniques are introduced on a seasonal basis, producing an eclectic and constantly re-invented line which fuses British heritage, and rock ‘n roll androgyny.” Love it!
Based in San Francisco, The Utilitarian Franchise makes pillows using vintage illustrations and hand screen printing them in custom colors (your choice!) making them a unique addition to your home.
Eva Ricci is a Fine Art Photographer with ethereal, beautiful work that explores a variety of subjects and techniques as her work is quite organic since she enjoys letting the camera and her heart show her the way. Eva just started advertising on decor8 yesterday, I have to mention this because I have a strong policy against paid editorial coverage (I have not and will never do it) but in this case, I had Eva down to feature her in this column weeks ago and I didn’t want to dodge her now that she has an ad on my site. However, she has not paid for this coverage — it is simply from my heart without strings. :)
Neapolitan paper + home is a collection of stationery and objects with both vintage and modern sensibilities – from book jackets to cards, there is something for everyone (I just so happen to love them all!).
Spot any new must-haves to add to your list?
(images: linked to their sources above)