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Sweet William

Sweet William is one of my favorite shops because I adore their prints and handmade goodies and really like the illustrative characters, patterns and colorways. My current favorite is the print of the chairs on notebook paper shown below, it’s the best! I bought some things from them over a year ago as gifts for some friends in Germany and they loved their Sweet William pouches and prints! I kept a print for myself and cherish it so much. I really get the sense that all of these nice things were created in love and it makes the purchase feel good because the items come from a happy place inside of one’s soul — produced out of passion and a genuine love for handmade craft.

sweet william

Sweet William is a very small company formed by sisters Shelley Gardner in New Zealand and Paula Mills in Australia and though they live thousands of miles apart they share a connection through Sweet William, “We share a passion for all things creative, we make, draw, sew and collect lots of lovely, sweet things and we are so excited to share them with you.”

Above there is another print that I like in addition to the hand drawn chairs, it’s with a girl and an elephant (I happen to love elephants) and it says, “When choosing friends one should be wise.” This is a very good reminder even when you are all grown up! We often tell children to choose their friends carefully but it’s equally important that this pattern continues into adulthood because friends can really make or break our spirit. I was watching a TED lecture recently (do you watch TED? I barely have time but try to when I can) about social networks and how we can impact one another negatively or positively and why it is important to consider who we call our friends for this reason. I don’t believe in dumping friends when they are going through hard times simply because it could be hard to deal with — but I do believe in distancing myself from those with whom I am not close to through years or blood if I sense that the friendship is weakening me in a way that begins to negatively impact my life. Online this can happen in the social networks we form and so it’s a good idea to watch how certain interactions impact your health and well-being. It’s tricky sometimes isn’t it? But this sweet print is a nice way to remind us of how vital good friends really are.

If you like what you see above (I know you do!), you can also follow Shelley and Paula on the Sweet William blog.

(images: sweet william)

Posted in Arts + Crafts on May 13, 2010

Katie Kirk + EightHourDay

As you can imagine, I am exposed to the design work of so many that some conclude it must be easy to forget who’s who and and sometimes it can be! Truth is, no matter how many illustrators and graphic designers that I find and feature here, I tend to remember them all (even if I forget their names!) because what I write about strikes a cord with me and so they stick in my mind like glue. And some, like EightHourDay, really stand out as exceptional and it’s then that I find myself revisiting the work that I love regularly to see what’s new — no doubt just as you do with the faves that you collect. Katie Kirk is an illustrator and graphic designer based  in Minneapolis and with her husband, Nathan Strandberg, they own EightHourDay and if you’ve not seen their work before then perhaps they’ll become one of your favorites, too.



This multi-disciplinary design boutique has been raved about by Print Magazine, PDN Magazine, HOW Design, and Communication Arts. “Most often found either at the studio, the dog park or an antique shop they aspire for the designed life(style), a place where work, life and inspiration are all equal and integrated organically.” Above is just a glimpse inside of their portfolio… you can view more on their website, her illustration blog, or in their etsy shop where you can purchase some of the prints shown. Enjoy!


Posted in Arts + Crafts on May 12, 2010

Scandinavian/Japanese Living in Canada

If you love a good mix of Scandinavian and Japanese style with a Canadian twist, you’re going to love the many spaces of Mjolk. Last week I shared a special blog called Kitka that some of you went bonkers over (if you missed that post you can refer to it here) and so today I thought I’d give you a glimpse into the people who author that blog, John Baker and Juli Daoust. This couple lives and works in Toronto, Canada and in addition to their blog they own Scandinavian/Japanese lifestyle store Mjolk. Baker and Daoust also happen to have an 800 sq ft apartment above their shop and a 1,000 sq ft summer home on Georgian Bay. Today they’ve prepared some photos of these spaces to share with us in addition to a mini interview that I had with them. Ready to be inspired?

John Baker & Juli Daoust

John Baker & Juli Daoust

John Baker & Juli Daoust

Mjolk shown above. Store tour available here, photographed by Emma McIntyre.

When did you launch Mjolk and why? We launched December of 2009 because we were frustrated shopping for items for the home. It seemed that it was all about big box stores and boutiques that were not on the same wavelength as us. The closest we got to what we wanted was in the vintage shops, but at the end of the day, you need useful and beautiful new everyday objects as well. We just wanted to fill that need while giving people like us a whole new and interesting experience.

You have a city apartment and a summer house. Wow. Tell us more. We are living our dream, having our home above the shop. It’s really urban being on a major street so we forget about things such as trees and flowers, which is sad. One day we hope to renovate and incorporate a sort of courtyard so we can have some nature around us at all times. The summer house is located on Georgian Bay, home of the best swimming in cottage country, gorgeous sunsets and the feeling that you might just be on the ocean.

John Baker & Juli Daoust

John Baker & Juli Daoust

John Baker & Juli Daoust

John Baker & Juli Daoust

John Baker & Juli Daoust

Above: Their apartment located over Mjolk.

What attracts you to Scandinavian and Japanese style? It’s just a natural attraction for us. We appreciate simple everyday objects, natural materials, and a focus on craftsmanship.

How would you define your style? We strive for simplicity — think Swedish apartment, light, airy, white and black.

What are 5 of your favorite things in your city apartment? The main living room is spacious and has a big bright bay window; the white floor makeover; it’s not too big to handle; short commute to work; and it’s potential.

John Baker & Juli Daoust

John Baker & Juli Daoust

John Baker & Juli Daoust

Above: Their cottage on Georgian Bay.

What are some features in your summer cottage that you enjoy the most? Since the renovation, it feels so big, bright, fresh and open; the view, thanks to Juli’s parent’s initial vision of switching out the closed in porch with wall to wall windows; that we had free range to do whatever we wanted and we did so almost exclusively ourselves; experimenting with plywood; the future.

What are some key decor tip if someone wants to duplicate your look? You can never have enough white paint! White walls give a beautiful backdrop to our furniture, while white floors/ceiling really brighten a space. Also, don’t be afraid of using unconventional materials (plywood has become our best decorating friend, especially since we don’t know how to drywall). Always bring something home from your travels—big or small, they serve as little reminders once the day to day humdrum sets in. Definitely combine a little old with a little new. Vintage or antique pieces have a history, add warmth, and add uniqueness plus they are oh so fun to hunt for!

Thank you John & Juli for these very special glimpses into your life and home!

(images: john baker & juli daoust)

Posted in Home Tours on May 12, 2010

Parasol Co. – New Fabric!

Parasol Co. just announced that they have created four new fabrics in mushroom, nesting doll and ikat dots (the navy/white is my favorite) in case you are looking for something to freshen your chairs or to transform into a table runner.

Parasol Co.

In addition to fabric, Parasol Co. designs patterned paper goods and limited run digital publications which promote the work of both emerging and established creatives. You may really love their website (nudge, nudge) – it’s so perky and inspirational.

Parasol Co.

Parasol Co. also has digital patterns in their shop that you can also purchase and use for online scrapbooking or even to enhance your blog photos to use as borders and such.

Go color, go!

(images: parasol co.)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, Objects on May 11, 2010


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