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Inspired by Skona Hem

I’m feeling VERY creative lately, I think it’s due to the friends I’ve made here in Germany (and in other countries nearby) and being around so many ladies who are so into all things handmade, it’s absolutely inspiring. All of my friends are making something by hand and I find it very motivating too. I really love life in northern Germany, it’s not perfect in any country but I’m satisfied with what I have and the things I’ve been exposed to. Wonderful!

Another thing that has been fueling my creativity lately is the access that I have to so many different cultures, I don’t even have to leave Germany for this but when I do it feels almost surreal to hop over the border to another country because I’m American and when we leave our state we are still in America (unless we go up to Canada or down to Mexico of course). It’s so different on this side of the pond and I’m enjoying it immensely. I was at the train station the other day and nearly fainted when I saw a train boarding for Moscow. As in Russia. That is one train I cannot take in New Hampshire! :) I traveled up to Stockholm last year for under $100 round trip and felt so appreciative of that opportunity as I’d wanted to see Sweden for most of my life. I love America but I am really having fun with this experience!

Speaking of travel and Stockholm in particular, I always think of Skona Hem magazine and their glorious monthly spreads, they feature mostly Scandinavian homes that are very impressive and I wonder how they never seem to run out of gorgeous pads to feature given that Scandinavia is not that large. But they continue to publish beautiful places… here are a few to inspire you today.

Psst: Skona Hem has a blog so you can keep up with what’s going on in the world of Swedish design.

(images from skona hem)

Posted in Books + Magazines, Decorating Tips, inspiration on December 11, 2008

Mateo Ilasco: New Products

I’m also so pleased when I hear from Meg (Mateo Ilasco), she is such a talented and clever business lady and I find that she is a really positive example for small business owners out there. As a product designer, blogger, author, online shop owner, as well as many other things (lot of hats!) she has many things to juggle but manages to stay organized and continues to inspire so many through her work and life. Meg’s resolution for the new year is to be more organized so she developed a collection of office products around this theme and added them to her online shop.

These products include: the Numbers Desk Set which includes a Blueprint Notepad, Numbers Notepad, and Number Organizing Clips, and the Office Desk Set which includes a Weekly Notepad, a To Do List Pad, and Action Organizing Clips. During the month of December you can enter the coupon code TEN upon checkout to receive 10% off your order.

Meg is based on the west coast but surprise! she’s currently in New York with a shop at The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park for 6 weeks (look for the brand Mixed Co. which includes Meg (of course), Allymoon, SusyJack*, Nantaka Joy, Linea Carta, Carrie Saxl of Blue Wild Indigo, Laurel Denise, and Good on Paper Design.) until December 28th at booth #C03. There you can view and shop for Mateo Ilasco products and books, including signed copies of her lovely and popular book for small business owners called Craft, Inc. In addition to Meg, there are seven additional shops featuring gifts, stationery, and jewelry, over 100 in fact! Artisans, designers, and food merchants from around the world.

And stay tuned! Meg is finishing up on the Craft, Inc. Business Planner, a companion to Craft Inc. that will help a creative business get organized in order to build a successful business. This book will be released during Fall ’09 by Chronicle Books. Yay, Meg!

(images from meg mateo ilasco)

Posted in Books + Magazines, events + markets, shopping, stationery on December 11, 2008

Happy Weekend!

I’ve had one of those weeks, I explained why recently, and I’m happy to report that decor8 is back in full swing. Yay! Life is good again thanks to my husband. I cannot believe what he had to do to save my blog (and me) from hundreds of hours of repairs, but he did it through some complicated means that I cannot even begin to explain. When he starts speaking in tongues with tech terms I glaze over and just nod politely, “Uh huh, okay honey, good, nice, thank you”. Not because I don’t care to know the details, I do not UNDERSTAND the details because it sounds all Japanesey to me or something. I know this much, I had 978 links to create today but thanks to him, I had zero.

Now I can relax… (photo from Anthropologie)

This weekend I have lots of fun things planned, tomorrow I’m going to a big outdoor market and a flea market and on Sunday I’ll be with friends and then next week I will take off on Monday as I have a project to complete, but I’ll be back on Tuesday with posts and goodies for the week.

Until we meet again my friends – ’til Tuesday!

(2nd image from amazon, I’m dying to order Easy Elegance by Atlanta Barlett set to release in the Spring. Yum. All of her books I own and cherish.)

Posted in Books + Magazines on December 05, 2008

Inspired By Mandalas {and fellow bloggers!}

I mentioned earlier today that I’ve had mandala patterns on the brain again. When I say again it’s because I was very into them back in 1999-2000. I purchased every mandala book I could at that time because I saw them everywhere and had to know more. I even purchased coloring books with mandala patterns for kids (yes, kids!) just so I could use the outlines to fill in with my own paint colors, found paper, etc. I really enjoyed experimenting with them in this way, but never had I thought to sit down and make my own from scratch without a general outline until recently. In fact I hadn’t thought much of mandalas in quite a few years. This is what made me think of them again…

One of my favorite bloggers is Kat from Secrets of a Butterfly and she recently inspired me in one of her October posts because she was touched by the work of California artist Anahata Katkin (the designer for PaPaYa!), a lady I’ve known about via the web, but Kat’s words about her touched me and it was only then did I really feel like exploring Anahata’s work myself. Do you know about her? She is an artist with work that is quite amazing and now I’m wishing I could somehow meet her and take one of her classes because the art fest she taught earlier this year seemed pretty great (images here).

Kat has never met Anahata to learn her technique so I’m quite impressed that by using her paintings as a guide she created this very lovely mandala mixed media painting using vintage wallpaper and old sheet music. You can see Kat’s painting above shown in her craft room in England. So pretty and well, REAL. I’m more and more attracted to such work, art from the heart and that is handmade at home because something the person saw motivated them to use their own hands to create something similar. So many times we consume, consume, consume without thinking, “Hey I could make that myself!” and I don’t mean COPYING work because a one-to-one version isn’t using your own creativity and it’s not fair to the artist. But if something you saw moved you and you just cannot afford it to buy it (or you rather do it yourself), then there is no reason NOT to try to do something for your own personal use.

This makes me think of cooking. In America we have nearly every meal you can imagine in the frozen food aisle. Here in Germany it’s much different, the selection is smaller. You are forced here to cook many things from scratch because you cannot conveniently buy them already made by someone (or something) else. I think it’s easy to get a bit lazy and not make your own recipes because it’s often easier and faster to buy it frozen or to order take-out. I think we sometimes forget the joy of making things for ourselves, you know? Add to this art, things around the house, etc. So much can be made by our own hands without buying it from someone else. Not everything of course, but a good amount.

Maybe we don’t have the time, or confidence in what we can do, but what about making time this month to make a few things handmade? I think it’s good for our self esteem, our wallet, and we can be a good example to others because often our children, friends, and family members (even e-friends) can be so inspired by something we’ve made and it may motivate them to create as well. When it comes to self esteem, the more you practice something you do not consider yourself very good at, you will improve and those improvements build your self confidence.

It’s not about quantity either. You don’t have to be some kind of energizer rabbit super crafter.

It can just be ONE painting, one apron, one really good batch of muffins… Just make something and how you feel afterwards. Imagine the fantastic circle of joy in that — you inspire others, yourself, and you have things around you made by your very own hands and heart. Nice!

Lots of us pledge to buy handmade and I’m all for that, but let’s pledge to also make handmade and do some things for ourselves this winter season. It’s such a good idea in this economy too. Take out those old copies of Martha Stewart Living and those PILES of arts and crafts book, pick a SINGLE project, and just do it. Want to make a pledge to make something handmade? You can leave your pledge in the comments section below and then when your item is finished, photograph it, place it in your Flickr account, and link it here once it’s finished. Or if you’ve already made your own things recently, comment with a link below because it’s fun to share.

You can see a roll of gift wrap and decide to go home and create your own like Ez did (and displayed a tutorial for) over on her blog Creature Comforts recently. I’m absolutely amazed by what some of my fellow bloggers are doing with their own hands lately and so impressed by their creativity.


Have you made anything with your own hands lately?
Just ONE thing. Anything that you are proud to share? If so, please link to it in the comments section below, please show & tell!

(images from kat and the secrets of a butterfly)

Posted in Books + Magazines, contests, etsy, shopping, stationery, uncategorized on December 04, 2008

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