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Artist Leslie Oschmann & Swarm Home

I was invited to attend a gallery breakfast tomorrow at Anthropologies Rockefeller Center location but of course being in Germany it is not possible (obviously!) I hope that another blogger will attend and blog about it because I’d love to see how the event turns out. It features the work of former Anthropologie visual director (for 8 years) Leslie Oschmann (full bio here) and after you view her website I think you’d also want to see her work up close and personal. Wow. Great stuff. I think it will make you look at vintage paintings a little differently, especially the ones that you find at flea markets that could use a little love… Why not add some of your own creativity to them like Leslie does?

Leslie relocated from the states to Holland and now has an Amsterdam-based studio called Swarm Home where she gives new life to old furniture and paintings found in local flea markets. Have you seen her work before? It’s just lovely. I’m quite impressed with her painting, I wonder if she is also doing decoupage in her work? I do see some needlepoint on a dresser door below that I think is exquisite and I really like the application of silk on vintage portraits because it makes the painting feel much more current and fun.

I adore mixed media art and enjoy viewing how Leslie uses many different materials to create art, combining unexpected materials takes so much talent and skill. Leslie is just one of many artists out there doing exciting things with found objects… have a look around her website and see for yourself — it is quite a fantastic visual trip!

Tip: For those who cannot paint like the talented Leslie, no worries! Have you thought of decoupage as an option? It can be done really well and seems to be gaining popularity again here in Germany (and northern .Europe in general) I love seeing decoupage, stenciling, and stamping making a comeback because it was somewhat snubbed in the interior design world and referred to as being, “Soooo bad 1980’s” or “Craft store kitsch” but if done right (take Wary Meyers for example), I think that it can be lovely. I had this feeling that the decoupage ‘trend’ could come back but when my friend gave me the current copy of the German Elle Decoration and I saw a complete spread on decoupage (used on bespoke furniture) my suspicions were confirmed. Decoupage can be done right.

(images from leslie oschmann and swam home)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, trends, vintage on December 01, 2008

Etsy Take Five Tuesday {only it’s 10 this week}

I feel like there are so many great shops on Etsy right now that to simply mention 5 is not enough today. I’m going for 10 if that’s okay with you (just for today!). Plus it’s a short work week, I’m taking Thursday and Friday off so I can give you a little extra since you’ll have to go without for a few days… Ah, it’s okay though! Logging off of the internet for a bit is super beneficial — I think we all should ‘step away from the web’ for at least one day now and then. I’m stepping away Thursday, Friday, and all day Saturday and maybe even Sunday because I haven’t done that in a very long while and I feel like there is this need to do so. I’ve been feeling super inspired lately but like many of you, have lacked follow through so I plan to jump on some of my projects while I’m not blogging… I am very excited to take a brief pause you know? Can you relate to this need to step back for a few days and unleash your creativity? No Facebook, no email, nothing… I can’t wait. But I’ll have to wait… because it’s time for Etsy Take Five Tuesday! I’ve promised you 10 shops today so how ’bout I stop talking and let you start looking and clicking around. Ready? Go!


1. Lost Teeth – The art of Seattle based Natalia Czajkiewicz features slightly edgy illustrations of worldly girls on the go. I love the strong lines and colors. ::website::


2. Sound Revolution - This body of work by an Australian graphic designer and illustrator is inspired by the conflicting and harmonious relationships that the urban environment has with the natural world. I find this an interesting theme and enjoy seeing some of the stags here and there. Stags are everywhere lately, especially in stores in Germany. Is it the same in America at the moment? Stags as a motif?


3. Ice Cream Social – This is the candy shop for those with a paper goods craving. You’ll really swoon for these beautiful lick-your-fingers designs. ::Ice Cream Social Blog::


4. New Fashioned Whispers – I found this shop over at Melissa Loves today, and the moment I saw the snowflake earrings that Melissa featured I purchased them because they are delightful for winter and very Anthropologie without the often high price tag. This shop has gorgeous jewelry with an old fashioned twist, so girly, some art decor pieces, and they are affordable — especially if you compare them with what you find at some of our favorite retail chain stores. Eek! Thanks for the tip, Melissa! (she always finds the sweetest things.)


5. Naoko’s Stoop – “Aw…” That’s the first word that came out of my mouth the second I opened the page of this darling little etsy shop. Naoka was born in Tokyo (hence this gorgeous style she has) and now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Great work, especially her pieces on wood.


6. Track and Field Designs - This is one of my favorite little crafty shops and I’m constantly doing an online drive by to see if Sasha has listed anything new. Well this time I scored because I found a few newish things that I like, sweet to add in gift packs for friends or to give to your nieces (or okay, yourself).


7. Fiery Eyed - Oh Jenifer Altman, what you do to me! She is such a beam of light, wow. Her work always impresses me, with every new photo I’m amazed. More Jenifer here on her ::website:: or her blog ::Nectar and Light::


8. Shup(G) - Lydia Wong loves a good charm necklace, she makes so many creative ones too! Lydia is offering a 10% discount until December 15, 2008 on purchases totaling $50 and above. She will amend the invoice once she receives notification of your purchase. Charmed, I’m sure!


9. Nancy Tobin – Nancy’s paintings are wild, imaginative, magical… and so colorful! I can envision one of? prints in a very modern white space or even an artsy colorful apartment against painted walls in bold jewel tones like midnight blue or purple. Her work can fit into so many different decors. Nancy has been an artist for many years, her illustrations have appeared in magazines and children’s books, she has designed toys for Hasbro and graphic design for Herman Miller. Quite a lady! More of Nancy here::Nancy Tobin Blog:: or ::website::


10. Finest Imaginary – Super fun laser cut acrylic necklaces, can you resist this tea necklace? I thought not. So cute with a dress like this one

How was that round up? What did you like best? Any new to you?

(images from shops linked above)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, etsy, Etsy Take 5 Tuesday on November 25, 2008

Giveaway: Win This Book – The Creative Entrepreneur

Update: CONTEST CLOSED NOVEMBER 2008.

I’m so excited to share The Creative Entrepreneur book today because I spoke with my contact at Quayside Publishing Group and she has agreed to do a giveaway here on decor8 – 5 books for 5 very lucky readers (1 book per winner in other words)! I’ll tell you how to enter below, but for now here’s a little show and tell a little as this book is very, very special. I think it will appeal to MANY of you which is precisely why I wanted to approach the publisher about hosting a giveaway.

The Creative Entrepreneur: A DIY Visual Guidebook for Making Business Ideas Real by Lisa Sonora Beam (founder of The Creative Entrepreneur blog/website) takes creative types on a visual journey into their soul to dig deep, find the right path, and then once on it, how to get from point A to Z. This book just may help you to figure out “What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do”, remember that series of posts here on decor8? If not, read them all here, they are VERY inspiring. If you found those helpful I think that you’ll just love The Creative Entrepreneur because Lisa’s words as an artist, teacher, business woman…and the journal that you’ll need to create in order to successfully ‘complete’ this book will help you get on your feet heading in the right direction.

“The Creative Entrepreneur takes readers on an inner journey of creative exploration to discover how to make their dreams of creative livelihood real… it is a visual, project-oriented, step-by-step approach to business development especially for creatives.”

Psst: If you live in the Bay area, Lisa is giving a workshop for $70 next month that you may like to attend, more information on it here. She’ll also be giving another workshop in LA this March.

Want to win a copy of this book? I thought so. I will select 5 of you who comment on this post between now and Wednesday, the winners will be posted on Wednesday afternoon at 3pm EST and each will receive one brand new copy of this book from the publisher. The book is in English.

To enter: It’s easy! Simply comment below (only one entry per household) with your thoughts on this subject: What are some constructive AND destructive aspects of your personality that are directly influencing your creative process currently? Discuss at as much length as you’d like but remember, enter only one time please.

UPDATE: THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED, WINNERS WERE ALREADY SELECTED AND NOTIFIED. THANK YOU.

(images: quayside publishing, lisa sonora beam, holly becker for decor8)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, Books + Magazines, contests on November 24, 2008

Delicate Doilies from Martha Stewart Living

I’m always fascinated with end of November through New Year’s here in Germany… the winter activities are non-stop and most are outdoors which I think enhances the mood so much more than indoor festivals. Who wants to congregate indoors for a winter fest when you can stroll outside in the crisp winter air, twinkle lights and candles all around, hot mulled wine in hand (drinking alcohol on the streets is a-okay here, totally legal), bundled in your chunky knit scarf, shopping handmade crafts and toys from the locals. No one does it like the Europeans this time of year, especially here in Germany.

The Weihnachtsm?rkte begins on November 27th and lasts until mid December and it’s beauuuutiful. Imagine old villages, cobblestone streets lined with food and artisan carts, the smell of candied nuts, gingerbread, and nutella crepes in the air, indulging on fresh crispy pomme frites with mayonnaise. It’s heaven and definitely something I enjoy when I’m here. I’ve been watching the city set up everything for the past few days, anticipation is growing! I’ll try to take some photos for you and show them on decor8 in a few weeks if you’d like to see the winter fests. Tomorrow we are expecting snow – goody! Snow makes it all so much prettier and romantic. Thinking of snow, I always envision lace snowflakes (I have some that I like to hang in my windows all winter long) and white lacey doilies because they’re so delicate and magical. When I hear the word doily two words come to mind: Winter and Weddings. I see doilies as items you pull out to celebrate something. They line boxes filled with baked goods, they sit beneath some of the most gorgeous cakes, one cannot think of them without imagining a party of some kind. Most people do not like winter so I think that is why it’s so important to go all out and have beautiful wintery things in your home during the colder months so that you don’t start feeling too sorry for yourself. I get a little blue around February and that is when I usually entertain more and break out the tea and cake for girl’s day at home because seriously it gets me through. And of course where there is tea, there are doilies. :) See what I mean. They are so festive!

I was so happy when one of my contacts at MSLO sent me the December ’08 issue of Martha Stewart Living today. I’m not that fond of the cover but I really all of the fun projects inside… especially the gumdrop people (I want to make the mushrooms shown here and place them in cupcakes) and all of the beautiful doily projects on pages 150-157. The magazine is worth the $5 for those 7 pages alone, SWOON. It definitely put me over the edge as far as inspiration is concerned. Here are a few images to whet your appetite but I don’t want to give away all the good eye candy on my blog so you’ll need to buy the magazine for the full effect (and for the project instructions) or visit the MS Living website since some of them are posted there.

Other noteworthy clippings from the December 2008 issue of Martha Stewart Living include a spread on beautiful pink amaryllis (in case you’re not a poinsettia fan, I prefer the look of amaryllis myself), ways to use left over wrapping paper (on clothespins for instance), and adorable gumdrop characters (I’ll take the mushrooms, please).

Look for this issue on newsstands now, it’s a beauty despite the red and green cover which I really dislike because it reminds me of a 1980’s Woman’s Day or something… Sorry Martha (like she cares what I think, he he), I can’t love everything you do. The magazine just doesn’t look pretty on my coffee table and that’s how I measure whether or not I like a cover. Are you as fussy over magazines coordinating with your decor? I would have loved to see this issue with a lavender and white cover with touches of gold and a dash of red for instance… Less traditional and more fresh. Remember that December issue of Blueprint in pink? I really loved that.

MUST. HAVE. MORE. DOILIES. Interested in MORE doily products and projects? Don’t miss Doily Love! It’s a HUGE post featuring doilies galore that I wrote this time last year but it’s still totally current. You may also like this DIY project, a Wintery Snowflake Mobile.

(images taken by holly becker of a personal copy of martha stewart living magazine, december 2008)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, Books + Magazines, inspiration on November 20, 2008

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Some of my books...

Further editions available: Decorate published by Murdoch Books for AU/NZ, Decorar BR, Alt om indretning DK, Inspirace pro váš byt CZ, Dekorácie SK, La décoration FR, Lust auf Wohnen DE, Sisusta tyylillä FI and Sztuka aranżacji wnętrz PL.

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