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Books + Magazines, Inspiration

Amy Butler’s Midwest Modern

August 21, 2007

I promised you a sneak peek inside of Midwest Modern, and since David and Amy just sent along images, I wanted to get them up with a mini book review right away. If you have any questions, please ask me by commenting below. I asked Amy for the names of some of the paint colors in her home, so if you’d like to know, just ask and I’ll list them in the comments section below (thanks, Amy!).

Amy Butler's Midwest Modern
Midwest Modern is packed with pictures, nearly all 225 pages have something to drool over, so I found it extremely inspiring because it is so visual. But it’s not just a pretty picture book, Amy talks to us about everything from decorating to fashion, gardening, and travel. The first section of the book focuses on the importance of creating a home that inspires its occupants to dream, relax, and play – and to respect nature and bring some of the outside in. Most of the interior shots are from Amy and David’s gorgeous home in Ohio, and other lifestyle images show the fabrics and accessories from the Amy Butler collection. I am one part in awe and a million parts motivated to move on some of my own home decorating projects.

Amy Butler's Midwest ModernAmy Butler's Midwest ModernI love the idea of digital wallpaper, you have to
read the book to learn more.

Amy is a huge fan of vintage furniture, flea market finds, and lots of blue and green tones in the home. And she loves nature. If you think about it, shopping flea markets is just another way we can show respect to nature, and to our budget. When it comes to trends, Amy observes them, but says, “Trends cannot keep up with my ever-changing moods”. I second and third that! Throughout the book, Amy shows us where she likes to go to relax and regroup, and of course work. Her design lab, a studio shared with her husband David, is both personal and professional so both are able to focus on work in a comfortable environment that supports them fully.

Amy Butler's Midwest ModernAmy Butler's Midwest Modern
I especially like her kitchen with the open cabinets and the darling buttery yellow 50’s Westinghouse fridge, I had one in pale pink, my first fridge when I moved out on my own (and I miss it!). After the jaw-dropping interiors, the next section discusses personal style and how she feels the body is a canvas on which to display your unique style. Amy believes that wearing something you love can make your spirit rise and your confidence grow, and enjoys seeing others express their artistic voice through their clothing and accessories. This section is rich with images of her bags, skirts, hats and other clothing created from her patterns and fabrics, and even includes some of her fashion sketches (I really liked this part).

Amy Butler's Midwest ModernAmy Butler's Midwest Modern
After fashion, the book spotlights the natural world, how it’s many patterns, shapes, colors, and sounds have affected her life as an artist in Ohio. She gets into gardening a bit, showing us garden shots from the homes of some of her friends. I like that along with the nature photography, she mixes in a swatch from her fabric collection that was inspired by some of the plants in her own garden.

Amy Butler's Midwest ModernAmy Butler's Midwest Modern
Midwest Modern wraps up with a bit on travel and how refreshing it can be to simply go with a “gypsy caravan” mindset, which means to drop everything and just go somewhere. Even if it’s down the street. Amy often travels with a very loose agenda and no set schedule, for instance with David and her vintage camper, they hit flea markets nearby and then go camping with friends. She also talks briefly about flea markets and the lake house retreat they visit, too.

Amy Butler's Midwest Modern
What I took most from Midwest Modern is that Amy seeks what we all seek, good work, rest and relaxation with friends and family. Places to find either great buys or simply a peaceful spot to chill out and get away from it all. And inspiration – finding it all around – but not looking too hard, as the process of discovery should be fun and free. Even finding beauty in the mundane. Amy reminds us that when you run your own company, there’s a lot to do, but despite that you still need to make time to enjoy your life. It’s vital to create a space, both for living and working, that reflects yours style, that you love, and that supports you on all levels. That way, when you are “stuck” at home, you don’t feel stuck because you simply love being there and your surroundings inspire you to be better, live better, and give to others so that they may be inspired to do these things for themselves.

I’d like to thank Amy and David (and her nice support team!) for working with me to send over these images, and for the generosity they’ve shown in the recent past when sponsoring a contest on decor. Thank you.

(images copyright David Butler 2007)

Books + Magazines, Inspiration

Midwest Modern *New* Amy Butler Book

August 18, 2007

I can’t wait to give you a sneak peek and a mini review of this wonderful book next week. Amy sent along her new book, Midwest Modern (release date 10/1), and I’ve already read half of it and it arrived a few hours ago. Whenever I flip a page, I keep thinking about you and how you’re going to love it, it’s so inspirational that your head will explode with ideas. :)

Midwest Modern *New* Amy Butler Book
If you feel like shopping for Amy stuff, her web shop is having a sale, 40% off pillows, journals, and handbags. Just enter SALE upon checkout.

Hope you are all having a a great weekend!

(image from holly becker for decor8)

Books + Magazines, Inspiration

New Decor by Elizabeth Wilhide

August 8, 2007

While the thrill of the hunt is invigorating, the thrill of the blindly stumbled upon can sometimes delight even more. Over the winter while browsing the local Barnes & Noble, I found a $13 book that spoke to me on every level in the most unexpected place – the nobody-loves-me-anymore bargain section. How a new release ended up there, I’ll never know. Call it fate. New Decor, written by London-based designer and writer Elizabeth Wilhide and photographed by Lisbett Wedendahl, is packed with gorgeous imagery and decorating tips.

New Decor by Elizabeth WilhideIt embraces that European urban bohemian style we love, referred to as Modern Euro Country in some magazines, but I’m beginning to think I should call it Bohemian Euro and leave it at that, it’s quicker to say and gets to the core of this most appealing look.

New Decor by Elizabeth Wilhide
As a side point, New Decor appears to have different covers and titles in other parts of the world, so it’s easy to get confused. The ISBN is 978-076078-944-5 in case you want to find it in a store where you live. In Germany, it’s titled Inspiration, and in the UK, it has a totally different cover look altogether.

New Decor by Elizabeth Wilhide
I have to admit that upon first glance, I wasn’t impressed by the colors on the cover (something about violet and beige combined, but that’s just me), so I walked by it a few times. But the more I looked over at it, it kept calling to me — almost batting it’s eyelashes with the giant discount sticker slapped on the front. One cannot at least look into a bargain, right? But the bait that really lured me in was the border shown on the cover, something about it felt familiar and I had to investigate further, so I satisfied my curiosity and read that it’s wallpaper designed by none other than Ms. Orla Kiely herself for Habitat’s VIP collection in London. Ah-ha! The second I saw her name this rush of excitement ripped through me, for anything involving Orla Kiely must be good. And this book is very good. Drool-inducing pages of gorgeousness, one after another. I felt as though I’d discovered gold that day in the middle of big box bargainville.

New Decor by Elizabeth Wilhide
I refer to New Decor regularly for ideas and inspiration. It has opened my eyes to color and pattern, and I was already confident (or so I thought) in using both and thought I was pretty open-minded about design until New Decor entered my life. It’s a great reminder that when it comes to design, I’ve only just begun! I need to continue to develop my eye by experimenting more, leaning less on what I know to guide me (comfort) and more on what I do not know to steer me in exciting new directions (exploration, going beyond what’s comfortable). Yes, a mere design book with pretty picture can do that.

New Decor by Elizabeth Wilhide
Beyond imagery though, it’s packed with topics spanning everything from monochromatic color schemes to brightly-colored wallpaper, there’s truly something for everyone including display techniques, window treatments, how to mix a variety of patterns in a space, and tips on paint selection. There’s even a how-to guide in the back and a stocklist. I’ll try to look through that later today and share some of those with you here, as a few of the resources cited do not sound familiar to me. I need to comb the stocklist to locate these curtains below because I want to buy them for an upcoming project I’m involved in. It’s called decorating my new city apartment. More on that in months to come. :)

New Decor by Elizabeth Wilhide
I seriously suggest that you purchase a copy and find a cozy chair immediately, it may open your eyes to a few non-traditional approaches to design too.

(images from new decor and holly becker)

Books + Magazines

How To Order from Amazon Japan + Jeu de Paume Books

August 7, 2007

I thoroughly enjoy reading Netherlands-based blog Yvestown, written by the creative Yvonne Eijkenduijn. Her wit is refreshing and her blog is informative and altogether beautiful. I appreciate the care that she puts into her posts, especially these that spotlight some of her favorite books. I read through all of them last night and ordered several of her picks from Amazon, including Cheap Chic by Emily Chalmers (my idol from Caravan Style in London, also author of one of my top ten decorating books of all time, Flea Market Style.), and In Bloom by Alice Whately.

How To Order from Amazon Japan + Jeu de Paume Books
But there is beauty in having patience and combing through the archives of your favorite blogs. It was during this treasure hunt that I discovered a small Japanese book publisher that comes highly recommended by Yvonne for having the best design books called Jeu de Paume, also known as Paumes for short. “Jeu de Paume explores the environments of those who stimulate the creative industries, and in doing so has produced a set of creative bibles that overflow with inspiration,” says Paumes. Browsing their books online, I’m sold!

How To Order from Amazon Japan + Jeu de Paume Books
After their first visit to Paris, Paumes was so inspired by what they saw that they went on to visit other European design meccas like Stockholm and London. This began their series of books documenting their favorite stores, creative workspaces, and homes. If you’d like to order any of their books, contact them directly via email: info AT paumes.com. You can also order them directly from Amazon Japan. But seeing a website that looks like this (below) can be a bit intimidating if you don’t understand the language, right? Wrong.

How To Order from Amazon Japan + Jeu de Paume Books
No worries friends. We have Yvestown to thank for this amazingly simple tutorial on how to order from Amazon.jp. I just walked through it to order a few of the Paumes books myself and it was a breeze using her guide (great job, Yvonne!). Just think: You can go broke shopping in websites that are not only in your native language, but also on websites that you don’t even understand! Yay! The beauty of the internet and pretty pictures! :)

How To Order from Amazon Japan + Jeu de Paume BooksHow To Order from Amazon Japan + Jeu de Paume Books
(images from paume and yvestown)

Books + Magazines

Barnes & Noble $2 Book Sale, Working Class Studio at B&N, & Carmen Segovia

July 26, 2007

Not sure if you live near to a Barnes & Noble book store, but if you do, rush over as soon as you can (especially before the weekend when the crowds roll in) and see if they have a $2 book sale going on. The one nearest to me has many beautiful interiors and crafts books, I picked up 8 books for $16, not even the retail price for one of them. My favorite is a children’s book I found called China Doll by Eliza Pilgrim, illustrated by Barcelona-based artist Carmen Segovia. The story is really great, it’s all about a doll that wants to please the girl who owns her and the journey she takes to find a special gift to give her. What captivates me though are the illustrations. I really love them.

Barnes & Noble $2 Book Sale, Working Class Studio at B&N, & Carmen Segovia
I’d not heard of Carmen before seeing this book, but the moment I cracked it open and looked at the illustrations, I had to buy it (only $2!) and learn more about the illustrator. I googled Carmen and found her portfolio online, she just so happens to be represented by the Marlena Agency, the same agency that represents Camilla Engman and this is the first book in North American that she’s illustrated, most of her illustrations are for books in Europe. If you have time, maybe you’d like to look through all of the portfolios on the Marlena Agency site because each one is glorious, and please do visit Barnes & Noble before the beautiful books are gone! :)

Barnes & Noble $2 Book Sale, Working Class Studio at B&N, & Carmen Segovia
Oh and P.S., Working Class Studio at SCAD has their paper products at B&N now, so look for it in their stationery section. I saw them last night on display and they look really great in person and are made very well. Also, you can buy them online.

Barnes & Noble $2 Book Sale, Working Class Studio at B&N, & Carmen Segovia
Do you have any favorite children’s book illustrators to share? I decided that I’m going to start a small collection of new and vintage children’s books. I’ve been working on it already for a few years mixing in some of my own books from childhood that my mother saved for me, and so many books from the late 70’s and 80’s have reprints floating around (or you can find originals on eBay), so I’m collecting the ones that I can remember that I really liked. Recently on Charles Street in Boston (Beacon Hill), I spotted Petunia in a window display and ran in and purchased it on the spot. Petunia! I loved that book growing up. Do you know it?

Are there any children’s book illustration groups on Flickr? If so, please let me know, I’d be interested in joining that.

(images from me and also b&n)

Books + Magazines, Objects

Bluelines: It’s Electric DIY Wallpaper Lanterns

July 25, 2007

Bluelines fashion editor Katie Hatch posted a fun how-to project It’s Electric: DIY Wallpaper Lanterns that you may want to check out. It’s a fun way to recycle those leftover bits of wallpaper that always remain after an installation.

Bluelines: It's Electric DIY Wallpaper Lanterns
Since she mentions her inability to confirm how safe they are (she only uses hers for parties while she’s awake), I suggest following only her template instructions on creating the actual lantern and skip the whole light part and hang them without lights to add some character to your space. You can string several around your kitchen or on the patio, for instance. Maybe you can create tiny ones and string them beneath the umbrella of your patio set? Or use twinkle lights (clear bulbs, white cord) and fashion a mini lantern around each one by hand. Okay that’s time consuming, but imagine the cuteness factor…

Click here to read more.

(images from bluelines)

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