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Books + Magazines

Self Publishing + I Spy by Kerry Pitt-Hart

January 23, 2008

Have you ever dreamed of owning a book authored by y-o-u? Sharing your voice is important, I believe that each of us has a special gift, something truly unique and beautiful to share with others. A book (or a blog in my case) can be the channel in which to showcase that gift. Perhaps you are a motivator, an anthropologist, or a secretary with some humorous stories to share. Maybe you have an interesting story to tell about your family, a character trapped in your head that you’d love to give life to, a children’s book that’s ‘this’ close to being the next Harry Potter but you just don’t know it yet. How will you know if you don’t take the first step? Do you take amazing photos, have excellent ideas around floral arranging or wedding planning? Perhaps you’re a great cook, you sew really well, or live an eco-friendly lifestyle and have terrific tips to share. Have you opened your own store, lost a loved one, or pushed through fears to accomplish a dream? The reason why this intro is so long and question-filled is to stimulate you. Maybe one of these questions made you pause. Pay attention to the pause, it could mean something great is brewing inside and that you just may need to listen to it. We all have something important to share.

Self Publishing + I Spy by Kerry Pitt-Hart
Once you have your ideas together on paper, you can go the traditional route and submit your story through various publishing companies. One of my favorites is Chronicle Books because I’ve heard nothing but positive things about them from the many writers I know who they’ve published. Since you spend at least 18 months working on a book with your publisher, you’ll need to like them and most importantly, trust them and their vision for your book. Product packaging and marketing along with earning actual money from your hard work is also of importance and I’ve heard that Chronicle excels in these areas too. (Learn more about submissions here.) Chronicle Books and major publishing houses aside, perhaps you’ve heard of self-publishing. Have you considered the less traditional route as an option?

Self Publishing + I Spy by Kerry Pitt-Hart
When it comes to self-publishing, where do you turn? How does it work? What’s in it for you? I can’t answer these questions, but I can point you to a decor8 reader that I admire because she just went this route and is already finding success with it over at Blurb. Her name is Kerry Pitt-Hart, you may know her from the etsy store Lush Bella or from these posts on decor8.

Kerry is an accomplished Photographer, Jewelry Designer, and Museum Educator and since January 11th, a new author. She has an Etsy store too. So much for wearing one hat in life, Kerry is involved in many things that she loves because each one brings her joy and satisfies her desire to explore and learn. I’ve included some images of her first book called I Spy, a mostly visual gem that also inspires imagination because alongside her photos of arrangements she includes a short somewhat poetic story or questions that ask the reader to get involved.

Self Publishing + I Spy by Kerry Pitt-Hart
I recently asked Kerry a few questions about I Spy so I thought I’d share her comments with you today.

decor8: What made you want to author a book?

KPH: Honestly…I get bored easily, though strangely at the same time, I can spend hours stringing and sewing extremely tiny beads onto pieces of lace. I’m kind of an anomaly, I guess. But I also like to write, and the thought of being able to write and design a book on my own was the perfect cure for the boredom I had at the time.

Self Publishing + I Spy by Kerry Pitt-Hart
decor8: How did you develop the concept?

KPH: It came to me when I received a message from Caitlin, who I met on Flickr. Before this, the book I was working on was a compilation of all the object photographs I’ve made up to the present, but she said something about my work that really struck a chord, and inspired some of the activities in the book. She said that my work reminded her of the grown up version of the i-spy books. So I set to work thinking of activities like the writing activity for “Follow Me II”, which is the arrangement of the scattered paper lithographs of Victorian-era butterflies arranged in a graceful curve fluttering after circles and dots. I also arranged some photographs side-by-side on the same page asking the reader to pick out the differences between them.

decor8: All of your little objects must have a history, do you reference that somewhere in the book?

KPH: Yes, in the back of the book are lists of the objects I used in each arrangement, so the reader can look up an object they may be unfamiliar with. I also tried to include where I found the object, like the spool of red and white thread that I unraveled from a length of polka-dot silk I picked up at a sidewalk sale next door to Momi Toby’s in Hayes Valley (San Francisco) several years ago.

decor8: Overall, how easy was it to use Blurb?

KPH: The software that you download is rather intuitive to use, though on my older Mac it kept crashing. However, realizing that it’s still in beta version I just worked through it and saved often. I was going to self-publish through Apple’s iPhoto, but it proved to be too cost-prohibitive for the number of pages I had. I also went with Blurb because of the fact that they’re out of San Francisco, have an online bookstore where you can sell what you publish, and because you decide what your “royalty” is. Plus, you can announce your book once you’ve published it by sending a message directly from their site where people can download a preview of the first several pages. I feel like a spokesperson for Blurb, but I think everyone should try it if they haven’t already.

Self Publishing + I Spy by Kerry Pitt-Hart
You can purchase her book here online and if you’d like to learn about self publishing straight from Kerry you can ask her by commenting below or you may visit Blurb online and refer to their FAQ page or visit Blurb forums. But if you’re anything like me, I prefer asking those who have experienced something for themselves so feel free to comment below with your questions.

Self Publishing + I Spy by Kerry Pitt-Hart
After viewing her arrangements, I have a question for Kerry. What do you do with your arrangements after you’ve photographed them? Do you place them inside of a shadowbox and sell them as works of art? You certainly could. I envision Kerry’s work in a gallery or a storefront, her originals alongside her prints along with I Spy. If I had a space for this, I would ask Kerry to do a book signing along with a show – this would be such an interesting and unique exhibit don’t you think? Someone invite Kerry! :)

(images from kerry pitt-hart)






Books + Magazines

The Left Bank Look {book}

January 10, 2008

This week I thought I’d give you a peek inside the pages of my latest favorite book, The Left Bank Look by Anne Hubert. I picked up the German copy Anders Als Die Andern while I was in Germany last year, but didn’t want to show it to you since all the text is in German and it’s largely a how-to book so you’d need to be able to read it to fully enjoy all the great ideas Anne presents. I researched the title back in September and discovered that it would be released this year in English so I pre-ordered it on Amazon (only $11!) and it arrived yesterday. I’m so happy that now I can share it with you. If you’re even slightly on the crafty side, you’re going to love it.

The Left Bank Look {book}
Anne Hubert lives in Paris and works as freelance textile designer and owner of Cherry on the Cake. She loves to customize pre-existing materials giving them her unique personal stamp. The Left Bank Look is a refreshing DIY book because most of the projects can be completed rather quickly with little sewing involved and allow you to get as creative as you wish. Love that part. Go wild!

The Left Bank Look {book}I love how she uses images of shoes, cherries, and
her friends to add life to her striped pillows.

In her book, Anne uses the basic elements, t-shirts, shoes, linens, tea towels, etc. that you already own and shows you how to transform them into something personal with a French twist. Projects that range from dyeing, painting, image transfers (my favorite), each technique is easy and the results are fresh and funky.

I want to try the elbow patches project (love them) with floral fabric against a plan white cotton top and the Polaroid image transfer technique taking photos and bringing plain white curtains new life with a subtle pattern.

The Left Bank Look {book}The Left Bank Look {book}Polaroids and doilies transform mundane sheers.
The Left Bank Look {book}The Left Bank Look {book}Elbow patches – not just for kids. I want to do this to a few shirts for Spring.
The Left Bank Look {book}The Left Bank Look {book}The Left Bank Look {book}Anne suggests using what you already have and
then add some of your personal style with items ranging from
doilies to your favorite fabric scraps.
The Left Bank Look {book} Same book only in German with a different cover.

Doesn’t this book look great? I was waiting and waiting to share it with you, I’m thrilled it’s now in English and I hope you’ll find it as interesting and inspirational as I do.

Would you like to know more about designer/author Anne Hubert? Click here to read an interview that Lisaa had with her recently.

(photographs taken by holly becker for decor8)






Books + Magazines, Inspiration, Small Business

Farewell Blueprint {your thoughts?}

December 14, 2007

Confession: I’m addicted to Creature Comforts, I don’t know, it’s like all of a sudden I’m hooked and can’t stop looking at this gorgeous blog. And though I heard the news of Blueprint folding several days ago over on Apartment Therapy NY, I didn’t think to bring it up here on decor8 until I noticed Creature Comforts posted her thoughts on the topic. And after a few readers wrote to me asking me to blog about this, I figured why not. Wanna dish?

Farewell Blueprint {your thoughts?}
Although I’m sad to see Blueprint fold, I’m happy Amy Butler’s home was recently featured, and I loved all the other homes they gave us a chance to peek into – each felt loved and lived in, and a bit crafty (minus the skulls and rhinestones), and I really liked that because this is a void that other glossies just don’t fill. Most cater to less of a DIY (do it yourself) crowd and more of a BIY (buy it yourself) crowd. Blueprint featured homes of those that run their own business, make lots of the things in their spaces, and they were real everyday people that just so happened to have a huge chunk of creative spirit and know-how.

We really need Blueprint and I’m sad to see them go. They should bring back MS Kids and merge it with Blueprint – in other words, take the “best of” from both magazines, dump the shoes and raincoats and makeup, keep the amazing typefaces, and offer this shiny new car to the new-nesters they want to target. The DINKS and the couples with young children. That would be ideal and I would support it for sure.

And let Sarah Humphreys take the lead because she is talented and down-to-earth, and I like that. How many editors-in-chief do you know would allow you to tour their tiny 1-bedroom NYC apartment decorated solely by their staff? That’s humility, that’s real, and I I liked her since the get-go based on her apt tour alone. She felt approachable, like if I met her at a party I wouldn’t get butterflies – I’d walk right over to her and have a human-to-human conversation. Sarah doesn’t strike me as some media celebrity. She feels real in her editor’s letters and though some of her staff come across a bit snobby, I’m thinking that if I worked at a company like MSLO, I may feel a little full of myself after awhile too. It’s a whole different world inside those offices vs. out here in the real world. They have test kitchens and craft labs and companies sending them cool stuff all day long, access to things you and I will never see or know about. It’s like the freaking Pentagon – only instead of being the headquarters of the American Dept of Defense, it’s more like the American craft headquarters or something. It’s too cool in there for me, I know that much.

I have to let you in on a little secret though… Their last issue is due out soon, it’s for Jan/Feb and I’m in it. Well, not my picture or anything, just some blurbs about my opinions on displaying photography in the home. Look for that, along with a little decor8 mention, in their final issue.

So, what are your thoughts on Blueprint folding?

Psst: Still looking for an ’08 calendar? If you love that gorgeous Blueprint font, here is a free little download.

(image from the wonderful creature comforts)






Books + Magazines, Rooms

Simply Breakfast {book}

November 6, 2007

This is such a wonderful project, one that runs deep with passion for Brooklyn photographer Jennifer Causey who decided to self publish (via Blurb) a collection of her favorite breakfast photos in her own book titled Simply Breakfast. It looks good enough to eat. :)

Simply Breakfast {book}
For $33 it would make the best present for a foodie friend, don’t you think? I respect that she took the alternate route in publishing and did it herself, it’s so empowering to do good work without the big guys sometimes. Based on that fact, coupled with the beauty of her work, I encourage you to support Jennifer by either spreading the word about this on your own blog or purchasing a copy (or both!).

I’m so proud of you Jennifer, we all love your Simply Photo etsy store so much and to see that there’s now a book, it’s well, simply exciting.

(images from jennifer causey)






Books + Magazines, Rooms, Travel

Ahnlund-Karl?n {Swedish Designers}

October 26, 2007

While shopping DesignTorget in Stockholm, I noticed wall plates in blue and white but upon closer inspection I realized they were not plates at all but decals.

Ahnlund-Karl?n {Swedish Designers}
I had to bookmark the designer’s names in my head so I could come back here and share these clever decals with you. They’re designed by Ahnlund-Karl?n, a team of two designers Anna-Ella Ahnlund and ?sa-Karin Karl?n. Their beautiful apartment was featured in the book Stockholm?s Apartments published by Jeu de Paume.

Ahnlund-Karl?n {Swedish Designers}Ahnlund-Karl?n {Swedish Designers}Ahnlund-Karl?n {Swedish Designers}Ahnlund-Karl?n {Swedish Designers}
Ahnlund and Karl?n met at Beckmans College of Design and have been creating together since ’06. You can purchase their adhesive wall dishes at DesignTorget or Galerie doux dimanche online.

(images from ahnlund-karl?n and galerie doux dimanche)






Arts + Crafts, Books + Magazines, Rooms, Shopping + Products, Travel

Larissa Bertonasco Illustrator + Cook {Hamburg}

October 25, 2007

I’m obsessed with cooking lately. Perhaps it’s because we’ve been staying in a hotel suite for weeks and the only thing I can make in our room is coffee or tea. I miss having my own kitchen! So lately, anything even remotely related to dirtying up the kitchen interests me like never before. From spices to machines (the silver limited edition Tord Boontje Senseo coffee machine is fun), cookbooks, to Pino funnels. Adding to my list of must-haves is the Larissa Bertonasco cookbook, La Nonna La Cucina La Vita – Die wunderbaren Rezepte meiner Gro?mutter, which I’ve ordered along with her wall calendar. Her illustrative style is fun and colorful, reminding us of the importance to enjoy the whole cooking experience. I applaud her for wearing two hats, she’s both a professional cook and an illustrator. Let’s hear it for doing what you love, right?!

Larissa Bertonasco Illustrator + Cook {Hamburg}
If you don’t already know Larissa, she lives in Hamburg and is quite the popular girl here in Germany lately, I see her products in bookstores all over. She even has a new line of paper napkins, cloth tea towels, and other small misc. products for the kitchen. But her cookbook is gorgeous. I mean, worth buying even if you can’t read German because it’s just page after page of large colorful illustrations.

Larissa Bertonasco Illustrator + Cook {Hamburg}
The recipes are centered around Italian cooking, just like her grandma would make, and the book is 100% illustration so there are no real life settings photographed which in itself is quite unique right? Most modern cookbooks show photographs of actual food.

Larissa Bertonasco Illustrator + Cook {Hamburg}
This hand drawn cookbook is hot here and who would have guessed that it would be so popular being that it’s mostly filled with illustrations and only brief recipe summaries? It’s highly visual in a very unconventional sense without a single food photo. I think people are starving for new formats, clever new ways to deliver information, breaking the mold.

Larissa Bertonasco Illustrator + Cook {Hamburg} I would love to own this cow as a print for my kitchen.

Have a peek at her portfolio here. And if you want to purchase her calendar or book, just go to the German Amazon site. That’s where I ordered mine and it’s all set to be delivered to my U.S. address. Easy.

(images from larissa bertonasco)






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