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Books + Magazines

Books + Magazines, Rooms, Travel

German Illustrator Silke Leffler

October 16, 2008

When I travel outside of the states I have this must-visit on my list that I often hit the second I’ve unpacked: Locate a book shop! Not only because I need to find magazines, cookbooks, interior design and craft books but I must locate the children’s book section. One can learn a lot about a culture by visiting a local book store, don’t you think? Illustrated books provide me with endless inspiration and are such a huge personal pick-me-up. I often flip through them imagining the day when perhaps I’ll author my very own, and if it’s not meant to be that I write a one that is sold in bookstores then I will write them once I become a mother for my own kids.

German Illustrator Silke Leffler

My aunt was a great lover of illustration and sent me books ever since I was a baby that made a deep impression on me. She paid such close attention to illustration and had great taste, as a fine artist and illustrator herself I now understand why she so carefully selected books for me. My favorite book was The Maggie B, I still have it and when I’m missing my aunt (she passed away at age 41)… I take it from my bookcase and read it because the story so perfectly captures the meaning of comfort and the joy of having a rich imagination, you instantly feel warm the moment you read it and the illustrations convey care and comfort so beautifully.

Here in Germany I escape to the bookstore whenever I need a break and recently discovered publisher Annette Betz and in particular the German illustrator Silke Leffler. I REALLY find her illustrations so full of whimsy and they have a definite fairytale feel to them. I immediately purchased Das Andersen M?rchenbuch because I really like the full page color illustrations. I’m studying German right now and such books help me to learn the language since I’m so visual, and you can’t even believe how I use this point to my advantage when it comes to justifying the purchase of beautiful kiddie books. :)

German Illustrator Silke LefflerGerman Illustrator Silke Leffler

If you also like Silke’s work you can purchase a print from her at a website in the UK called EasyArt. She has designed bedding for IKEA that Inspire Co. blogged about here that is really sweet, too. I think it’s available in the states in addition to IKEA in Germany.

Now I’m wondering… what is your favorite children’s book? I like so many, but the Maggie B is at the top of my list because it’s a very emotional imaginative tale and connects me back to my Aunt.

(images from silke leffler)

Arts + Crafts, Books + Magazines, Travel

Highlights from RUM magazine

October 14, 2008

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!

Highlights from RUM magazineHighlights from RUM magazineHighlights from RUM magazineHighlights from RUM magazine

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!

Highlights from RUM magazine

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.

Highlights from RUM magazineHighlights from RUM magazine

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.

Highlights from RUM magazine
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.

Highlights from RUM magazine

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…

Highlights from RUM magazine

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.

Highlights from RUM magazine

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)

Books + Magazines, Decorating Tips, Reader Questions

Anthropologie Videos – Creepy or Cute?

October 10, 2008

I was just checking out the Anthropologie stuff for Autumn ’08 and came across these videos… I have to say, while they creep me out I do like them. I understand the need that a business has to continuously churn out new and innovative things to maintain a fresh look, but I wonder what your thoughts are in their new approach to product marketing on their site. Take a look here and tell me what you think. I like Spectra (it’s like Etsy!) and Look Closer is nice, but the Master Pieces videos… Hmmm… It is creative though!

I appreciate how Anthropologie works hard to stay fresh for us as we are always demanding something new and this gives companies a lot of work. One thing I would love though, that Anthropologie is not doing, is I’d like to see them roll out videos where customers can actually LEARN something… Like feature a series of DIY videos that show you how to make certain displays that you see in their stores for your home. They have so many cool installations that they churn out, window decals made from fabric, glass bottle light fixtures, etc. that I would find something like that not only inspiring but educational which may make me return to their site as often as they posted new videos. In turn, I may shop their site more.

Another idea I’d love to see: Interview the various designers behind their products and take you into their ateliers and show them at work. This would make the customer feel much more attracted to the products I think. I am under the impression that a lot of us see Anthro as a big box retailer more and more as they are becoming somewhat of a Starbucks (on every corner) in the states and this could be a potential negative for them. I adore Anthropologie, but not many are aware of where the boots and bags and clothing really come from, who designs them, etc. I’d love to learn more about where these products are coming from and the passion behind them…

I would also enjoy a series of videos that show you how to do something creative with products they carry in your own home. That would be helpful, like how some cool shopper in say Chicago used a pair of pillow shams on clearance and turned them into art or made some fun handbag or sewing machine cover out of it. Or how a girl in Kansas has a rad collection of teapots and used only the lids to create some funky art installation on the wall in her home. You know fun stuff like that… Show how customers are using Anthropologie products OR how customers could use them in fun and interesting ways. Teach us creative recycling. That way if you do get an item home and in 6 months you’re sick of it you may look at it in different way and use it as something else instead of boxing it up in the attic or eventually throwing it out. Creativity is inside of us all, some in larger doses or closer to the surface so to speak, but it can be taught, trained, sharpened. Have a series of videos that does that for Anthro customers so that shoppers develop their eye, taste, and start to think like a stylist. Isn’t that what we’d all love? To jump into the mind of a stylist for the day? Which leads me to think: Would you not LOVE to see them host lectures or DIY projects or indie art shows in their actual retail stores? A bit of an Anthro-university.

Of course, and I’ve been saying this for a few years, but I want them to roll out a book SO BADLY that it hurts. I’m dying to see them showcase the ‘best of the best’ displays in their stores with a How To guide teaching how we can do something similar in our home. How inspiring and useful would THAT be?

We are in real need of books that show creative artistic projects like that, and we’re also in need of books that show us how to style a room or create arrangements on tables, style bookcases, etc. I’ve had it with seeing books that show the same thing over and over again, we all know how to stack books, arrange them by color on a bookcase, top a stack of books with a pillar candle or OH MY GOD a shell. But what about giving us tasteful, yet useful and artistic ways to display the things we love in our home that isn’t Pottery Barn perfect but also isn’t tacky? Anthropologie Styling Tricks. Wouldn’t that be a dream book?

Care to comment with your thoughts on the Master Pieces video, what books you’d like to see that are missing, videos you’d be interested in watching or anything related? I enjoy hearing your thoughts, as the post I wrote about Wallpaper Borders yesterday inspired so many fantastic responses that I want to know more and more what you are all thinking out there… I want you to feel free to share your thoughts anytime you’d like because you may think that I am here each day to inspire you but oh no, it’s the other way around – YOU inspire ME tremendously. So thank you for always sharing and linking and being a special part of this blog.

Books + Magazines, Decorating Tips, Inspiration, Rooms, Stationery, Travel

Living & More = Magazine Heaven

September 17, 2008

I thought I’d introduce you to my favorite magazine in Germany, Living & More. Their website is pretty bad, but the magazine is above and beyond the website (thankfully) so don’t let their online look spoil your fun! German magazines are still working to get their act together when it comes to web presence but they are making progress slowly but surely. Anyway, this magazine is just great. Many of you who read decor8 do not have access to decorating magazines here so this little post is dedicated to you!

Living & More = Magazine Heaven

I must say that I know nothing about the publisher behind the magazine except they are called Living & More Verlag GmbH and are based in Offenburg, Germany, so I can’t give them a very good introduction. I do hope though that the images give you a nice preview of what you can except from this publication. Color, style, and lots of inspiration. I find that in most Dutch and German magazines though that many of the homes featured are from Australia and Scandinavia. I find this strange because there are PLENTY of stylish people living in Holland and Germany and I’m certain they live in magazine-worthy homes. I wonder why this is? I have several friends here in Hannover that live in magazine-ish homes but they’ve never been published. So very odd. Anyone know why this is so often the way it is? American design magazines are much different, the focus is always on American homes.

Living & More = Magazine Heaven A gorgeous desk organizer DIY project from the current issue of Living & More (Oktober 2008, Nr.7, page 34. Photo by Linnea Press.)

Living & More = Magazine Heaven The city apartment of Parisian designer Vanessa Bruno. (Living & More, Aug/Sept 08, Nr. 6, pages 24-33.) Photos by Brigetta Wolfgang Drejer/Sisters Agency.

Living & More not only produces 8 issues per year under the same name, but they also run these ‘specials’ like Wohnen & Wohlf?hlen and Living & More Premium – the edition that just hit newsstands here is called Country Tr?ume Wohnen and it’s amazing.

Living & More = Magazine Heaven The living room of homeowner Pia Aardestrup based in Copenhagen. (Living & More, Oktober 2008, Nr.7, pages 6-15.) Photos by: Anita Behrendt/Linnea Press.

Living & More = Magazine Heaven More images of Pia’s very blue and beautiful home. (Living & More, Oktober 2008, Nr.7, pages 6-15.) Photos by: Anita Behrendt/Linnea Press.

Living & More = Magazine Heaven I can’t take my eyes off of Pia’s gorgeous cabinet, I love this washed look. (Living & More, Oktober 2008, Nr.7, pages 6-15.) Photo by: Anita Behrendt/Linnea Press.

Living & More = Magazine Heaven This is a great spread, it features several fun DIY projects involving painted flowers on walls and furniture, complete with stencils. (Living & More “Wohnen & Wohlf?hlen” issue, LI039, pages 37-39, 60-61) Photos: Linnea Press.

Living & More = Magazine Heaven The home of Australian shop owner of Empire Vintage and stylist Lyn Gardner. (Living & More Premium “Country Tr?ume Wohnen” issue, LP003, pages 52-67.) Photos by: Mikkel Vang/Taverne Agency.

Living & More = Magazine Heaven More of Lyn Gardner. (Living & More Premium “Country Tr?ume Wohnen” issue, LP003, pages 52-67.) Photos by: Mikkel Vang/Taverne Agency.

Living & More = Magazine Heaven Lyn Gardner. (Living & More Premium “Country Tr?ume Wohnen” issue, LP003, pages 52-67.) Photos by: Mikkel Vang/Taverne Agency.

I think that you can purchase all of these issues shown here in this post on this website, though I’m not sure if they ship outside of Germany. Give it a try though. I know you can also email them to order magazines: email: abo [dot] livingandmore [at] guell [dot] de

I hope you had fun peeking inside of the pages of my favorite German decorating magazine today!

(images photographed by holly becker for decor8)

Books + Magazines

Artistic + Inspiring: Altered Books

August 18, 2008

I was flattered and honored when Holly asked me to be a guest blogger on decor8 for a few days while she settles into her new apartment and part-time life in Germany. I just want to say what a great resource and friendly voice you are here in the design blogosphere Holly. I don’t know how you do it really, every day there are a whole bunch of great new finds with informative, casual blog posts. You’re an inspiration – you make me a better blogger – and I’m sure many of us have nicer homes and studios because of the encouragement we find on decor8. I don’t know how you do it really, but thank you for doing your decor8 thing! [Holly – don’t remove this! : ) ]

Holly asked me to introduce myself: I’m Jason Thompson, father of two, blogger, bookbinder and the founder of Rag & Bone Bindery, a small bookbinding studio based in Providence, Rhode Island. Rag & Bone has been designing & manufacturing handcrafted Albums, Guestbooks, Journals and other books for 18 years now [where does the time go?] and you can find our Albums through retailers across the U.S. and Canada.

decor8 readers can save 20% on all Albums & Books at the Rag & Bone Bindery boutique, simply enter this discount code during checkout [good through Friday, 08/22/08, enter code: decor8].

As a bookbinder, I love books, paper, bookbinding, book arts, paper craft, origami, altered books and art made with books as objects. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by books all day, but sometimes I forget how beautiful they are, which is one reason I’m drawn to book art and artists’ books. I’m inspired by the different interpretations artists find with their art, whether it still retains its “bookish-ness” or is inspired simply by the book form. Here are a few of my favorite artists and journalers who use books as muse and/or medium.

Artistic + Inspiring: Altered Books

Sabrina Ward Harrison
Artist and journaler Sabrina Ward Harrison published her first book at the age of 23, “Spilling Open; The Art of Becoming Yourself”. This was one of the first published journals I discovered [together with Dan Eldon’s, The Journey Is The Destination] that inspired me to journal myself. What is it about journals and journaling that encourages such self reflection? Sabina’s confessional journal pages are visual treats and a reminder of how fragile, inspired, confused, creative and individual we all are. Sabrina’s art has since moved off her journal pages to encompass photography, collage, installations and performances. She recently spent two years living in a former one-room schoolhouse.

If you’re in the Southern California area on September 20th & 21st, you can join a two day creative workshop with Sabrina at Carol Park’s studio. You can view more photos of her workshop here.

Artistic + Inspiring: Altered Books

Teesha Moore
I first met Issaquah, Washington artist Teesha Moore while writing my first book and was blown away [I still am…] by her textured, layered and colorful journals. I was fortunate to have three of them to myself for a few weeks for photography and have to admit, I was inspired and a little intimidated. They’re so complex and dense. Teesha runs Artfest and Artfiberfest every year, two retreats with one-of-a-kind, unique art classes and events focusing on handmade art, book art and journals. Teesha also publishes “Art & Life” and “Play” ‘zines. She’s an inspiration to book artists and journalers and her love for art shows in everything she does. I’ve only met Teesha once, we’re on opposite sides of the country, and she’s just as lovely and generous in person. Check out her colorful art studio…

Artistic + Inspiring: Altered Books
Artistic + Inspiring: Altered Books
Artistic + Inspiring: Altered Books

Artfest 2008 took place in April, however the 2009 schedule is in progress and dates are yet to be announced. Visit her website to stay up to date and join the artfest mailing list.

Artistic + Inspiring: Altered Books

Lisa Kokin
San Francisco Bay area artist Lisa Kokin has her feet firmly planted in the world of fine art but her book work is approachable and playful. Her altered books maintain the book form, creation through destruction, and have a unified look and feel. She maintains a visual continuity throughout her work but finds new life in old books by reshaping them, shredding pages and even sewing books inside-out. In addition to altered books, Lisa also uses buttons as medium for her unique collages.

Artistic + Inspiring: Altered Books

Georgia Russell [Georgia doesn’t seem to have her own website, but is represented by England Gallery]
Scottish Artist Georgia Russell uses a scalpel [and obsessive patience] to create altered books which have been cut, very meticulously, into strips and shreds and carefully arranged into beautiful compositions. This kind of work gets me excited to create myself. There’s just something about particular types of art that sparks the, “I can do that!” feeling which inspires me to create something too. Though frankly, there’s no way I could make something as beautiful as this no matter how sharp the scalpel and how many band-aids I have on hand. Georgia is continually refining her art, creating new and unusual book forms.

Artistic + Inspiring: Altered Books

Su Blackwell
UK artist Su Blackwell creates enchanting book art by externalizing the pages of books into three dimensional representations of their content. Sue says, “These works can be seen as metaphors for language. I use non traditional art materials such as books and clothes to create work which evokes a sense of dreamy melancholy or magical enchantment”. Dreamy and enchanting indeed! If books have dreams they would look like this!

Artistic + Inspiring: Altered Books
Tracey Bush
[Tracey doesn’t have a website, but is represented by Art*Star]

These collaged, paper-cut dioramas by UK artist Tracey Bush combine entomology and lepidoptera with traditional letter writing and mail art. Each butterfly is sewn together from layers of paper using a bookbinders pamphlet stitch and secured into Museum boxes with entomological pins. Each is an actual species presented life size and created with an allusion to its name or habitat, IE: the Scotch Argus butterfly shows a Scottish Loch on its wing, etc. Beautiful!

Stay tuned for Part Two of this post. I’ll return to share some of my favorite paper artists with you on Wednesday.

(images linked to sources above, text by jason thompson)

Books + Magazines

New Domino Book!

July 28, 2008

Did you notice in the decor8 book shop today that I’ve added the new Domino book? Oh yes, it’s ready to ship in the Fall and can be pre-ordered online at a discount. I’m sad that I’ll miss it since I’ll be overseas and I know the book won’t release there while I’m away… So I have to wait until December when I return back to the states. But all of you are the lucky ones — you can order it now and see it way before me. :)

New Domino Book!

This looks so great, I can’t wait to peek inside! Way to go Domino magazine. I have a feeling it’s going to be my new favorite design book.

(image from amazon.com)

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