Monthly Archives

June 2011

Decorating Tips

Creating My Dream Patio

June 14, 2011

Today decor8 columnist Anna-Malin is back to visit us from Sweden sharing her recently redecorated patio. I love seeing how people treat a patio space – some fancy tables and chairs with a big umbrella, others add a water feature or fire pit and still others incorporate hammocks or even build a koi pond. It’s amazing to see the difference from patio-to-patio as you browse magazines and books for outdoor spaces, isn’t it? I think you’ll love Anna-Malin’s patio because it’s more of a second living room and lounge space for relaxing, reading and entertaining during the warmer months and can take her straight into the Autumn. I’ll let her take it from here…

Creating My Dream Patio

Hello everyone it’s Anna-Malin! For my June column I wanted to share my newly decorated outdoor patio because I am very proud of it and feel that it could be an inspiration to many of you who are unsure as to how to decorate your outdoor space. Last summer my husband and I built a wooden frame in the backyard to create a room in our garden area (below). Since we have full sun in our yard all day long we needed a place with some shade for relief! On top of the wooden frame we put branches and twigs to create a rustic, natural ceiling. On the concrete wall to soften it a bit visually, we added a shelf and some wood for vines.

Creating My Dream Patio

This year I bought new furniture — a sofa, a big round table and a chair — all in bamboo. I wanted the feeling to be calm and relaxed
so I added a lot of pillows in a mix of patterns, shapes and colors and I store them when I’m not using the patio to protect from fading and water damage since they are not waterproof. I also bring in the sheep skin when I’m not using my patio. A sheer panel (below – you can’t see it in the photo above) not only looks pretty swaying in the breeze but filters the light as well.

Creating My Dream Patio

Creating My Dream Patio

Creating My Dream Patio

By mixing the bamboo furniture with my old white rattan armchairs and a really old bench from the flea market, I achieved the feeling that I was looking for – rustic, modern, clean and very “me”. I like to have a space that feels very personal, even outdoors. The string of lights were added to the fence to give a warm glow at night and lanterns create a romantic ethnic bohemian vibe in the evening along with some good tunes from my iPod.

Creating My Dream Patio

Creating My Dream Patio

Creating My Dream Patio

Creating My Dream Patio

Creating My Dream Patio

With beautiful weather finally here, this my favorite place right now, especially in the evenings with lots of candles, a cup of tea and a good book. I hope my outdoor space inspired you – do you have a place in your backyard to create something similar? Do you already have a patio that you’ve recently redecorated? You can link it in your comment if you would like to show and tell!

I’ll be back in July with another Handmade Home story from you, until then, goodbye! Anna-Malin Lindgren.

Books + Magazines

A Collection a Day: Book by Lisa Congdon

June 14, 2011

I’ve known artist Lisa Congdon for a million years, well not really but because internet years are like dog years, my knowing her since 2005 feels like forever. I first met her when she was still working as a Director of Program Development at a San Francisco non-profit education consulting organization and not yet a full-time artist as she is now. Back then, she was blogging under the name A Bird in the Hand to share her creative process and thoughts about everyday life, the work she created after work and on the weekends (pillows, collages, paintings, etc.) and to connect with other creative women (read an interview that I had with Lisa in 2006 here). Like most of us who took a leap of faith to leave our comfortable careers behind, I was cheering on Lisa as I watched her make that big leap and I’ve been cheering ever since.

A Collection a Day: Book by Lisa Congdon

I’ve always liked Lisa and have enjoyed watching her career blossom and grow throughout the years. She became a full-time artist and is involved in so many projects these days that I can’t keep up with her and I love seeing her talent being appreciated and well, seen everywhere. I’m so happy that she now has a book that has been published my Canadian independent publisher Janine Vangool of UPPERCASE called A Collection a Day. I was wondering when someone was going to be smart enough to approach her to do a book!

A Collection a Day: Book by Lisa Congdon

 

Why collections? For those of you unfamiliar with Lisa’s obsession with collections, she has been crazy for collecting random objects for years now – since childhood really, and she even started a blog dedicated to them with photos that span one full year where she shared her collections one by one in many interesting compositions. Her goal was to give herself a creative challenge by photographing all of them for the 2010 calendar year and her passion resulted in many online fans who grew to love her bloggy project. Very cool, right? I think so… Each page in her book shows the collections that she shared on this 12 month long blog project and I love seeing it as a book because her collections really shine so much more in print, plus I can flip through it over and over again for inspiration and well, the sheer pleasure that book flipping brings. :)

A Collection a Day: Book by Lisa Congdon

A Collection a Day: Book by Lisa Congdon

A Collection a Day: Book by Lisa Congdon

A Collection a Day: Book by Lisa Congdon

A Collection a Day: Book by Lisa Congdon

I love seeing talented people like Lisa who are online connecting with their readers, forming a tribe, and then being recognized by others including publishers who then take their work and publish it in print. So much of what we blog gets lost in the archives — I’m so happy that Lisa’s project didn’t.

I’m proud of you Lisa and congratulations on the new lovely book! xo

You can purchase Lisa’s book here.

(images: holly becker for decor8)

Arts + Crafts

Gemma Milly Illustration

June 13, 2011

Oh oh oh oh everybody! Red alert! Gemma Milly, an artist and illustrator in southeast England, has taken my heart captive today. Her work is such a delight and I’m certain it will tickle you too. I’m so happy that I found her today via lovely Mary Beth on Pinterest. I adore her painterly style and colorways and well her drawing of William and Katherine kissing on the balcony and Buckingham Palace is just so charming (you can buy it here). I hope they somehow see it — I’m sure they’d love it to pieces that cute Will and Katherine.

Gemma Milly Illustration

Gemma draws her images first by hand using  pen or pencil, then adds ink and watercolor, and finally she digitally enhances them to give them that final “just so” touch. I love how she uses her color outside of the lines at times. This is gorgeous. Her inspiration comes from, “The ethereal, the sensual, the female form, the exquisite and the beautiful. Her aim is to create strikingly beautiful images that please the eye and delight the senses.” I’d say she accomplishes her goal!

But she hasn’t always been an illustrator… Gemma once worked in advertising and design for six years at a traditional desk job, but like so many creative types who dream of “what if”, the atmosphere wasn’t for her and she started to wonder about her future… So she jumped ship, returned to university where she earned her Master’s in Illustration and Animation and now she is a happy freelancer.

Gemma produces prints, greetings cards, portraits and fashion illustration for her big cartel shop and for her clients and well… we’re all happier for it – but most importantly, Gemma found her calling and we all love those kinds of stories, don’t we?

Isn’t Gemma divine?

(images: gemma milly)

Shopping + Products

Travel Inspired Toast

June 13, 2011

I always enjoy a lazy moment exploring the pages of British lifestyle brand Toast. I’m drawn to their casual images that, this season, feel very travel inspired. Must be the spirits of summer casting their magic spell on me, making me want to throw my journal and a map in a bag, slip on pretty sandals, and head for an exotic destination. The most exotic destination on my calendar is Amsterdam next week, ha ha! The three places that I’d love to visit are Australia, Japan and India. I think about them frequently and the design and culture in these places inspires me so much though they are all three so different from the other. Where do you dream of taking an extended holiday?

Travel Inspired Toast

Travel Inspired Toast

Travel Inspired Toast

I imagine I’ll get to these places someday, in addition to Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Poland, Bali, Korea, Scotland… too many to list for me. but for now I enjoy roaming the web for a dose of travel inspiration or some of my favorite catalogs. Toast seems to be inspired by North Africa and of European cafe life, particularly France and Italy, and perhaps a little bit of Greece too. I love the mix of stripes and solids, weaves and leathers, and swoon – shiny metallic linen which is one of the best kinds of linen for dressing up the home in a very subtle way. It’s sumptuous.

(images: toast)

Shopping + Products

Deep Dark Africa Shop

June 13, 2011

I discovered a lovely shop that just launched called Deep Dark Africa which carries only African made wares that are not of the variety that you commonly see in most African shops. These are very fresh and modern with traditional elements woven in only with a new look and lots of lovely, tactile details… I want nearly everything in this shop, there is so much texture and so many designs that are inspired by nature… Here are some of my favorites…

Deep Dark Africa Shop

Deep Dark Africa Shop

Many items are created for the shop through collaborations with designers  and some are simply curated from local designers (like Heather Moore) and artisans based in Africa by Alexia Kondylis, who is a fashion and interior stylist. Deep Dark Africa loves handmade, fair trade and upcycled goods, as do most of us. This shop is a gorgeous – the rabbit bowls are an insta-fave of mine.

Beautiful! What do you think?

(images: deep dark africa)

Arts + Crafts

Melissa Jaine Fashion Illustrations

June 10, 2011

Melissa Jaine is a creative blogger who lives in Australia that I recently discovered thanks to my husband and I fell in love with her blog and the way she snaps stills from music videos highlighting either what she loved about them or inserting the lyrics, laying text on top of images… Such a smart lady she is. We also love all of the same musicians from Sophie Ellis-Bextor to Natasha Bedingfield.But there’s more to love about Melissa…

Melissa Jaine Fashion Illustrations

She also has a thing for airports, as do I… Do you have a thing for airports? I love to arrive extra early for flights and just people watch while sipping on a soy latte. Plus airport energy is amazing. I think the best airport for “energy” is LAX. I really love the vibe there. But back to lovely Melissa. As I was exploring her blog I found out that she draws and I particularly took to liking these fashion illustrations of hers shown both above and below. They hardly look like the result of someone just playing around but they are, and that speaks volumes about her talent. If I played around there would be a blob of something unrecognizable in the center of a piece of paper. When Melissa experiments you get these lovely ladies…

Melissa Jaine Fashion Illustrations

My favorites from her portfolio are above because love the runway style with the simple backgrounds and typed text tape and those great patterned clothes. Totally something I’d love to see in a book or magazine.

Melissa Jaine Fashion Illustrations

This is a newly discovered passion of hers, drawing these ladies, and I feel that she could go really far with them and I hope that she keeps developing her concepts because they are fresh and wonderful. I love the merging of the full view runway-esque drawings with the street scapes in pencil, I’ve not seen that elsewhere and can totally imagine these designs being applied to surfaces and even as illustrations in magazines.

What do you think?

(images: melissa jaine)

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