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Manuela De Simone: Illustrator

This weekend I came across the work of 26-year-old Italian illustrator Manuela De Simone in one of my new favorite magazines, Advanced Photoshop (UK). My husband has been reading this magazine for quite awhile? but this is the first time I actually sat down and looked at it… Talk about a GREAT thorough publication that not only covers how advanced users of Photoshop can improve their designs (obviously) but showcases the work of up-and-coming and established artists from all over the world. I was blown away by some of the work that I found in issue #49, especially that of Manuela shown below.

Using a combination of pencils and Photoshop, she creates colorful characters that transmit good feelings and her love of children’s illustration. After researching her a bit online, I discovered that she not only has a DeviantArt page, but an Etsy shop (yes really!), a new blog, AND a calendar for 2009 (in case this post didn’t give you enough calendar options, he he). You can purchase the calendar here if you’d like.

Also in the issue I found the inspiring work of Brand Nu, Heisuke Kitazawa (who I’ll feature more in depth here in a moment), Lee Woodgate, and JeanSpezial. Mind blowing links, I seriously encourage major exploration! :)

(images from manuela de simone)

Posted in Arts + Crafts on October 20, 2008

Inspire Company

Just a few moments ago I came across web shop Inspire Company quite by accident… one click, two clicks, three clicks, four and there I was at the Inspire Company blog authored by founder and shop owner Amy. I think I’ve seen Inspire Company (the shop) before but I’ve definitely not noticed the Inspired Ideas online magazine and the Inspired Friends page. I love this idea. It’s fresh and it is exciting to see imaginative shop owners sharing information about their sellers in such interesting and creative ways, Inspired Ideas reminds me of a scrapbook/mood board and each collage is pulled together so nicely. You really get a sense of who is selling there in her store and just how special these people really are.

The current issue spotlights the life and work of Canadian blogger and violin teacher Lilli Beck of Make Mine Blissful (she also has an etsy shop) and Lilli demonstrates a free DIY project for Inspired Ideas readers to enjoy.

I adore the mouse egg box tutorial. Squeak!


You can also visit some of the Inspire Company’s past Inspired Friends by clicking here and scrolling down. So many good little bites to chew on including a jewelry designer that I really like, Kristen Townsend of Mood Swing Studio.

I think that this bejeweled shade DIY is just great, directions here.

You can also find a past issue highlighting Hope Wallace, I’ve long been a fan (and customer) of her paper goods. More here on Miss Hope.

I hope that you enjoy visiting the Inspire Company today!

(images from the inspire company)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, inspiration, shopping on October 16, 2008

Etsy Take Five Tuesday

I just love my five Etsy picks this week, not that I don’t love them every week (cheesy grin) but I don’t know, these just feel so warm and cozy to me… Like being out in the park kicking leaves, wearing red boots, feeling the crisp Fall air. Yes friends I finally have been bitten by the Autumn bug. Speaking of bugs, what is UP in northern Germany lately? I had 39 (I counted) ladybugs on my bedroom curtains yesterday just hanging around, swinging in the breeze… My white linen curtains had red polka dots that moved so the design was quite interesting as it changed every hour or so to create a new pattern. How nature inspires, I was looking at them on the curtain thinking about how interesting it would be to design a textile that had that ability, to change pattern throughout the day… Until THAT technology comes, I have nature doing it for me — at no charge — and seeing all the cutie ladybugs and watching the leaves change color this past weekend was all I needed to get me into the Autumn spirit. I think my Etsy finds today reflect this.

First up, Royal Buffet. I really enjoy all of the mobiles, pretty paper ornaments and garlands that Mollie Greene creates from her South Carolina studio. For $8 you can own this lovely blackbird king, made from card stock, wire, and vintage french magazines. So handsome and perfect for Fall. And when everyone else is hanging traditional wreaths on their front door this season, you can hang these dreamy butterflies all a flutter.

Next we have Coccole di Luna in Italy and her amazing hand knit pieces that makes me want to turn down the temps outside even more just so I can wear one. It’s been so warm here lately, we’re in Indian Summer mode but I’m sure that will change soon and then I’m bringing out all of the scarves and mittens and enjoying EVERY SINGLE SECOND of Autumn fashion this year. These are so luxurious, certainly something you’d feel beautiful wearing that would receive many passerby’s looking on with interest.

Now for items for the home with Chakra Pennywhistle, an Etsy eco shop because all her items are made out of organic cotton. Each design you see is hand drawn, screen printed and then sewn by Chakra herself. I think her aesthetic is very sweet and uncomplicated but with impact. Currently inspired by early American folk art decoration which is quite evident in her patterns, each design was drawn to reflect that period only with a fresh, modern twist.

Bonspiel in Canada is a great find, for sure! I think you’re going to like the leather things that she makes, the motifs and colors are quite nice… Pouches, passport sleeves, wallets, sachets, totes, they make super gifts and they don’t look like everything else sold in stores so the product feels fresh and interesting.

And last but far from least — I’m LOVING Toronto design firm Touch the Dutch. THIS PIN knocks it out of the park for me. Whoa. The jewelry and things in this shop are by Anneke van Bommel and soooo hip and fun. I like that you can gift your guy with some of this stuff… Tres sweet! You must check them out, words cannot convey… Oh just go check them out, you’ll see. Words may fail you too.

Hope that you enjoyed my picks this week!

(images linked to sources above)

Highlights from RUM magazine

Sidsel from the Spagat design studio in Denmark sent me a gorgeous interiors magazine called RUM featuring design and homes from all over the world. I am really enjoying this magazine with my tea this morning Sidsel, so thank you!

As I was flipping through it I found lots of good links to share with all of you since few have access to RUM magazine. Time for a little show and tell from me and of course RUM!

Ferm Living has a new collection of wallpaper and I found the beautiful Fairy Flowers on page 122. Oh my goodness! oh my goodness! OH. MY. GOODNESS. Get the point!? I’m dying to own this wallpaper. I cannot take my eyes off of it. I’ve been adding in gold accents into my living room lately so seeing this made me quite excited as it’s so fresh and the patterns make me drool… This is on my wish list for sure. I want to paper my kitchen with this now or my bedroom. P.S. Ferm also has a new kids collection here.

Next up is the new Cycle of Life pouf from Nicolette Brunklaus in Holland. I love this modern take on poufs incorporating photography into the design. Very nice. She has new pendants in her collection too. I’ve been following her work for a few years now and just love how she uses photographs in most of her work, it’s really inspirational to see photos used on household items without it looking tacky. Her modern laser cut pendants are great looking as well and also a new addition to her line.


Ah Andrew Tanner… What you do to me! This contemporary ceramicist blows my mind. Look at these plates, created back in 2005 but still relevant today. I think this is amazing work and a great example of being original.

I also found a kids shop in Copenhagen called Cr?me de la Cr?me ? la Edgar. I want so badly to book a flight and go up there for the weekend in November. It’s only 45 minutes by plane…

I also found out about Steen Drabik and his artwork that he shows on his website called Stonys. I LOVE his mobiles, you should see it in person – wow! Steen is super artistic, I really can get into his work and loved reading his interview over at the Saatchi Gallery. His work is really out there and I appreciate that because it is uniquely Steen.

Another fun link I found was an etsy seller called Odelia Lavie who is currently in the spotlight on their website. I was so surprised to find an etsy seller in the spotlight of such a posh design magazine. I LOVE seeing this, it’s really amazing as years ago the only names you’d see were the big guys. Now smaller independent designers sit near the great ones. Yay Indie! Odelia Lavie is from Jerusalem and designs fun softies that have a bit of an artsy vibe — they could live alongside contemporary art so I’m thinking parents that are drawn towards more modern things would really like to have Odelia’s dolls in their home. These are great for the kids with all the shapes and colors but equally fun for those without children because softie love knows no age – my grandmother still gets excited when I visit her with plush toys.

Someone once wrote to me after reading a post I had written about softies and she thought that most people consider them childish and that this holds her back from owning them. I’d like to quickly address this concern. You cannot live to please the design tastes of others — only the taste that you have and love should be embraced and shown in your home. I am so tired of mainstream design lately that I almost want to encourage a bit of rebellion — be YOURSELF and put things around in your home that reflect your unique self. I guess I’ve always encouraged this on decor8 which is why I show a diversity of styles here, but I thought I’d voice this today because there is no better time to start living in a home that sings your life than NOW. There is no future point when you are allowed to love your home. And there is no looking back to a home you once enjoyed more than your current place. Today is when you should consider where and how you live and what little things you can do to create an environment that gives back to you. A place that encourages, refreshes, stimulates, gives you pleasure and a sense of well being. I had a conversation with a lady over the weekend (who will go unnamed) and she kept telling me how she hates her apartment, this or that isn’t perfect enough, and so she is working extra hard to save for the home of her dreams that she will own in a few years. In the meantime, she admitted, “I’m comfortable being uncomfortable”. In other words, she is content to be miserable as she has a goal ahead. This bothered me very much. I think that part of the idea of having a dream is to enjoy the process of living in the ‘what if’ moment. You know, like it’s more fun sometimes to dream than to actually have. I dream of many things and often the dream is satisfying enough. When the reality of hopes unfold,? often we are no longer excited because we have ‘it’ now. Then we’re onto the next dream! I think dreams are rewarding and should be had, you should aim high and hope and wish and work hard for the ‘next’ step in life that you want to take. But to simply wait for that time to occur without really living today is not the best way to enjoy life in my opinion. Years slip through the fingers so quickly. So if you have an apartment or home you dislike, or you live in a city or country that you do not enjoy, set a plan to make changes in the near future but while the plans are working themselves out, look for ways to improve your life today. Find ways to enjoy what you have now. The grass is always greener they say. I hope what I’ve said here doesn’t come across as preachy or ‘know it all’. I am not a therapist but I have lived in many homes and apartments and states and now I’m in two countries living in each part-time, so I have some life experience to support my words. Enjoy your home today as it is, do little things to make it better, look for ways to enhance what you have, and keep dreaming and working for your future. Please do not settle into this thinking of being comfortable in an uncomfortable life. This is also how I would answer anyone who asks me if being an adult (without children) and owning softies is okay. Own whatever makes you happy. Don’t wait until you have children to own softies. You don’t need an excuse! :) Okay… Enough on that!

A few things I noticed in RUM magazine… Lots of floral motifs, cut out patterns on lights, plates, you name it — silhouettes are still hot… Also many different takes on poufs, seems like they are all the rage and for good reason, they are very practical and can be used in so many different ways, stack them as a side table, use one for a coffee table, sit on them, place them at the foot of your bed or beneath a entry table as ‘spare’ additional seating or in place of a bench. They really are great!

I’ll be back in a few hours with Etsy Take Five Tuesday, so stay tuned for that! :)

(images linked to sources above)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, Books + Magazines, travel on October 14, 2008

Books:

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.

eCourses:

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