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Black & White Holiday Decorating Ideas

Hello friends! How are you and how was your weekend? I did some crafting on Saturday, in fact I shot a DIY for you this morning that I’ll share on decor8 in a moment but first…. When it comes to holiday decorating, do you want to go bold and graphic in black and white this year but wonder how to go about it or whether it will look festive enough? With most people going with red and green or the more traditional palette, why not dare to be different?

Black & White Holiday Decorating Ideas

Lynne Robinson from Papermash, an online site that sells stationery based in London, recently contacted me to share her decorating ideas using mostly products from her shop after being inspired by her monochromatic enthusiasts online and via Instagram, like @apieceofcake82 and @amerrymishap.

She had an idea to update a kit on her site too, “The make your own banner kit was recently changed to include lots of international symbols so I had the idea to make a Bon Noël banner and it all stemmed from there”. She would with photographers Charlotte Love and Lenka Ryan on these shots, which are just lovely! I think the “trick” to making them more festive was to add a little metallic – in this case gold warmed it up though you could also try silver to cool it down.

Black & White Holiday Decorating Ideas

Black & White Holiday Decorating Ideas

Black and white confetti (made with a simple paper punch) gets festive when you introduce a metallic – like gold!

Black & White Holiday Decorating Ideas

Black & White Holiday Decorating Ideas

Use rubber stamps on kraft paper, spray paint plastic animals in glossy black, paint ornaments black and use white paint on them to create words or designs (I just thought that maybe you could try chalkboard paint on ornaments inside and use chalk to draw on them – fun!)… This is also cool because you can reuse some of your supplies from Halloween (black tissue paper for instance) for your holiday decor.

If this look is a bit TOO nontraditional for your holiday, you can decorate in black and white for New Year’s Eve – complete with your little black dress – how perfect and classy!

You can see more beauty on Lynne’s new blog HERE.

(images: Charlotte Love and Lenka Ryan)

Posted in Arts + Crafts on November 19, 2012

Never Give Up On Your Dreams

I was recently interviewed by British interior designer and author Kelly Hoppen since she featured a week of inspirational posts from business owners who, like me, are in the design world and have had lots of struggles but have still managed to keep going forward and fight the tide. I was honored that she approached me and so I wrote a huge and quite candid essay on her blog HERE if you’d like to read it. There is an excerpt below…

Kelly Hoppen

Imagine this. You are in a career you sort of enjoy but definitely do not love, and you’ve been at it for around 8 years and one day you just have a mini breakdown on the job. That’s what happened to me. I was typing yet another action item into a massive Excel spreadsheet when I felt this wave of emotion hit me. I have no idea, looking back, where it came from but this wave was massive and I felt like I was going to break out in tears. I lifted myself quietly from my chair, walked swiftly to the nearest conference room, and with overwhelming relief, I shut the door and turned the lock. With a typical all-beige and chrome corporate décor surrounding me, I sunk down on my heels, then to the floor where I laid and cried for what felt like days. I remember wishing I could click my heels and know what I wanted to do with my life. Laying on a conference room floor…. READ THE REST HERE.

So now it’s YOUR turn… After you read my essay on Kelly’s blog, why don’t you return and tell me YOUR STORY. I could use the encouragement like all of you, to keep going forward, and I find that by pulling together and sharing our stories we become stronger somehow.

Can’t wait to hear from you in the comments below. :)

(image: kelly hoppen)

Posted in Ramblings on November 16, 2012

A Most Charming Book Review

I am sitting here blushing because my friend did a sweet thing and surprise me with a video! I’m so touched by this! Me, speechless – get a camera because this is first! Thank you Steffi, I love this!


I think it’s such a creative way to review a book, don’t you? It makes me think that together, we bloggers have so many options and ways to present information on our blogs – we are so lucky! The book can be found here (UK) and here (US).

Psst: Can everyone who has the book do me a huge favor? Can you leave a review on Amazon? Thank you, that would be just super. I hate to ask but it would be so helpful!

This really made my day. Thank you again Steffi and happy Friday everyone!



Posted in Books + Magazines on November 16, 2012

Michele Varian in NYC

Hi it’s Jillian here with a very special shop girl visits column! I recently traveled to the states and coming from Australia, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I arranged to photograph Michele Varian’s shop for this column — though I knew it was likely to be filled with beautiful things after I read about it in Sibella Court’s book. It also came highly suggested by Holly since Michele has been so supportive of her and she’s met Holly a few times already so it was in the stars: this was the shop I’d shoot!

Shop Girl Visits Michele Varian NYC

On the day of my arrival, I made my way to the shop to find the street closed to traffic and lined with movie trailers. A NYPD car was parked outside and it all felt very “CSI New York” to me and a bit exciting. Michele’s store was open though and so I made my to the lovely entrance. The store is located in a historical building with beautiful light and to say it’s a treasure trove of prettiness is an understatement. It was gorgeous!

Shop Girl Visits Michele Varian NYC

Shop Girl Visits Michele Varian NYC

Shop Girl Visits Michele Varian NYC

Michele greeted me and from there I received the grand tour – though it was a bit overwhelming — I almost didn’t know where to start shooting! In the end I decided to take a systematic approach. I started at one end of the shop where the beautiful pillows are displayed and made my way to the other end. So what did I find?

Shop Girl Visits Michele Varian NYC

Shop Girl Visits Michele Varian NYC

Shop Girl Visits Michele Varian NYC

Shop Girl Visits Michele Varian NYC

Shop Girl Visits Michele Varian NYC

I discovered quite an eclectic mix of beautiful pillows in jewel tones; furniture – some new and some vintage; jewellery; Michele’s new line of wallpaper; lighting; artwork; books; tableware and gifts for the special people in your life.

Shop Girl Visits Michele Varian NYC

Shop Girl Visits Michele Varian NYC

Shop Girl Visits Michele Varian NYC

Shop Girl Visits Michele Varian NYC

As I knew so little about Michele’s work I asked if she could answer a few questions for me and she very kindly agreed.

Q. What is your design philosophy?
MV: My philosophy is nothing remarkable, mostly, it’s just to have things that you love around you and figure out how to put it all together as you go. I like living in a space that reflects who I am and that means it didn’t happen overnight. It also means that it is constantly evolving.

Q. How did you first get into design?
MV: I moved to NYC from Detroit to go to Parsons to study fashion design. I worked in fashion for 10 years, but when I started my own business, I decided to make home accessories. I had always enjoyed entertaining at my NYC apartment, and loved creating a cozy and fun environment to hang out in. My primary collection is decorative pillows, which is textiles based with a lot of my knowledge coming from having worked in fashion design. I just launched my first line of wallpapers, which also takes advantage of my experience working with prints while working in fashion.

Q. Where do you source your products – the US, Europe, Asia?
MV: I try to support local artists, designers and manufacturers as much as possible. I also really like having things in the store that are a range of prices, so we have some things that are made overseas that are more affordable. I try to keep at least half the store filled with products that are made in North America or Europe by their designers, but these pieces are usually more expensive.

Q. The cushions are lovely. Do you still make all the cushions in NYC?
MV: Yes. In the very beginning though, I made them all myself, but now I have some lovely seamstresses here in NYC who do the sewing for me.

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, I’d like to thank Michele for taking the time to answer my questions and for welcoming me to her shop to spend time chatting and taking photos You can find her her store at 27 Howard Street, New York and her blog here.

See you all again next month with another New York gem! – Jillian

(images: jillian lieboff)

Posted in Home Tours on November 16, 2012


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