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La Marelle {Darling Things from France}

You just may fall in love with La Marelle if you haven’t already heard of this darling online shop. Specializing in paper products and gifts designed largely by French artists with a few Australians and others added in, you’re in for a real treat. I’m so pleased that their website is also available in English as most French websites that I find and fall in love with I usually do not post  because a good percentage of us cannot read it. A high five to La Marelle for making their site more accessible. Here’s just a peek at what you can expect to find…

I particularly like the cardboard suitcases for storage and the pencil boxes, so much prettier than the typical Crayola metal tins!

I love many of French illustrative styles… heaven, aren’t they?

(images from la marelle)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, shopping, stationery on December 23, 2008

New: Udessi {Online Gallery for Art, Craft & Design}

Great news! There is yet another gorgeous online gallery to add to our growing list, it’s called Udessi and it offers contemporary Australian art, craft & design from emerging and established artists. Launched by Kim Wallace, a graphic designer and artist born and raised in the Netherlands, Kim is constantly on the lookout for fresh and exciting contemporary art and craft.

Now based in Australia with her husband, Kim says, “I want to showcase what amazing art Australia has to offer, focusing on pieces with a uniquely Australian quality and feel, whether it’s the materials that are used to create it, the look and feel of the artwork, the colours and textures, or the story behind the artwork.”

After browsing the site this morning and looking through the various works, I knew I had to share this gem with you. It’s such a beautiful spot on the web and the products are unique, affordable, and make the nicest gifts. It’s still new so more products will be added but Udessi is off to a good start as it’s clear Kim is in the right business as she is the perfect curator and passionate about what she’s doing. Bravo, Kim!

A special thank you to Stephanie Bond for sending me the nicest email about Udessi, these little tips from readers are so very helpful!

(images from udessi)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, shopping on December 23, 2008

Etsy Take Five Tuesdays

Whoooo! Today has been such a hectic day for me as I’m trying to get packed to leave Germany on Thursday, visit everyone to say goodbye, and I’m prepping the apartment since I’m leaving until May (cleaning out the fridge, doing all of the laundry, you know the FUN glamorous parts of life). In a few days we are flying back to New Hampshire not knowing if our home even has electric since it currently does not and may not for several more days due to the massive ice storm that hit recently. So! My day has been crazy. But enough about ME. Let’s talk about some incredible and hard working Etsy sellers and peek in on what they’re doing, shall we? Ready for Etsy Take Five Tuesdays? Good, me too.

First up we have j.mendicino ceramics and her shop called Pretty Random Objects which is a collection of work by j.mendicino and her family. I LOVE and I do mean LOVE these squirrel vases. Wow. How can anyone NOT go bonkers over them!? Via the lovely Nina in Vorm (who wrote a fantastic post on contemporary ceramics if you want to check that out, click here).

Now let’s talk about Blue Bicicletta, motivational art by Nicole Docimo. Nicole just wrote to me about her work and I liked it the second I clicked over. Motivational art that isn’t ‘office space’ cheesy is the best. No eagles soaring over the sunset with the words “Dare to Fly” or anything corny like that, Nicole’s work is fun, modern, and quite refreshing. I am drawn towards work that feels positive, happy… I guess it’s because I don’t see the need to dwell on dark things as they tend to wear me out. I like a little edgy ‘dark’ art now and then, but mostly I’m all for the feel good stuff. Psst: Nicole is a blogger, too.

Next up is color and whimsy from Modern Pop, a shop I heard about via my bloggy friend Marisa. I really like their calendar for 2009 – it’s round! It’s the first one like it I’ve seen and think it’s a clever idea. Their prints are fresh, bright, with lots of energetic color and spirited creatures. Great for children and adults, especially their beautiful personalized stationery.

I love the work of graphic designer Lisa Evans, also known as Firefluff, based in the UK. I just read a feature on her in one of my husband’s Photoshop magazines and I couldn’t take my eyes off of her work. I want one of everything in her shop. It’s enchanting, surreal, fairytale-like, oh I admire her talent so much. What gorgeous work and attention to detail. You simply must check out her blog too. Amazing stuff.

And last but not least… if you love La Pomme in France you will go nuts over her other shop called La Pomme Stories. This lady is super creative, I can’t get enough of her lovely handmade books filled with fairy tales and creative stitchwork. These are the kind of books that we all wish we had the time to make for the little kiddies in our life. La Pomme reminds me so much of my late, GREAT aunt who passed away when I was 14 years old. As a fine artist and teacher, she made special things for me like this that I still carry close to me in my heart. I truly believe giving your children handmade things when they are young instills in them an appreciation for creative arts and crafts that never dies…

I hope that you’ve enjoyed my picks for this week. Remember, I’m always looking for new shops to feature in this column so if any have crossed your path lately that you’d like to share, kindly leave their link in the comments section below or email me at holly AT Thank you!

BONUS: This week I have a little bonus find for you: Zippity Dooda. Please check out her artful agendas…

(images above linked to their sources)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, Etsy Faves, stationery on December 16, 2008

Hopeful Things

Let’s talk about HOPE for a moment, okay? I know, not a topic frequently discussed on design and decorating blogs but it is on a lot of people’s minds, agree? I noticed a ‘hope’ theme on lots of products lately… what do you think has inspired it?

{a.hope print by Please Be Still, b. “hope bird” from Naokos Stoop, c. give hope tote from Melissa Vest, d. hope and egg necklace by Nina Bagley, e. winter hope necklace also by Nina Bagley and f. hope earrings from Eliwill.}

I think that the #1 reason hope is a recurring ‘theme’ right now is because so many are discouraged due to the economy. None are without impact even in the smallest way. You may have kept your job but perhaps your neighbor is absolutely depressed because he lost his and this impacts you because your interactions in the hallway with him aren’t positive anymore. He was always in such a good mood. Now he is quiet and down. This affects you, every interaction has some mark on our day I believe, whether positive or negative.

{a. quilt ornament from Wordz of Life, b. hope necklace from Lotus Jewelry Studio, c. hope posy pin by Tracy B Designs, d. hope necklace by Bijou Girl Designs. e. hope cards from Leigh Wells and f. vintage toy blocks from Sparkkle Jar.}

I have been reading a lot of blogs and boards on various websites and many are complaining, upset, fearful, even downright angry over their situation, how the economy is or may affect their business, etc. I want to encourage you to be hopeful and focused if you are not feeling so hot right now. Keep working towards your goals and the future that you want for yourself and your family. One thing my parents always taught me through their actions was to keep my eyes on the ball. No matter what distraction may come it’s good to keep looking ahead and to not waver or to use your energy to focus on the negative. Hope is something that can help keep you positive, grounded, and forward moving. So many things in our life that we fear never pan out anyway, so it’s a waste of time to stress over what we have no control over. Right?

{hope wall hoop by Wallwork}

{1. hoping tomorrow print by Pretty Little Thieves, 2. celebration of hope original collage from Brush With Imagination, 3. hopes and dreams print by My Paper Doll, 4. Hopeful Times photo by Unravelling and 5. hopes and dreams print by Ashley G.}

Do you like winter? I’m a girl who once disliked it very much but now snow, a warm fire, and the magical feeling that this season brings is one I look forward to now. I love this period of rest, when nature goes inward, bears huddle in their dens (imagine little Zzzz’s over their furry heads and full tummies), and trees become glistening ice sculptures. December, especially the last two weeks of the year, is one my favorite times of the year because it forces everyone to reflect, slow down a little, and those final weeks gives me this great big feeling of hope for what may come in the year ahead. I think it’s time we all pause and reflect on this, don’t you agree? Remember that it’s our time to strengthen, renew, hope, and look ahead. Remember that things always get worse before they get better but they DO eventually get better. In the process we can become stronger in our core through endurance and also by being positive and allowing it to bring out good qualities in ourselves and others.

We all need hope but only when we have the courage to do positive things can we turn hopes into reality. So what are you hoping to do in 2009? What do you H O P E for? Have you found any products or projects on the web that relate to hope in some way and do you find them inspiring? What have you found (feel free to place your links in the comments section below. If your links are long, please use

(images linked to their sources above)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, Etsy Faves, stationery, trends on December 15, 2008


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