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Reader Q: Patio Help

Blair from Wisecraft wrote in looking for some help from decor8 readers in regards to her patio space. She is looking for, “Inexpensive ways to add some color to the furniture and walls (with fabric, DIY things, and the like).” Blair continues, “The garden itself is established and doing well, but its the patio furniture, walls, and other things that look bare and drab to me.” Looking for some fresh perspectives, Blair sent in photos seeking our help.

“We are lucky to have a large backyard for city living, and this patio is part of the more adult area of the yard (where we can sit, but still see the kids in the other part of the yard). I have worked on establishing the planting beds (completely empty 3 years ago) with maintenance free plantings and they have grown like crazy (probably too much) and established themselves well. The idea for the garden beds was interesting foliage plants, mixing chartreuse greens and purple-ish black plants. I love the contrast. There are red tulips in the beds in Spring, but for the most part this particular part of the yard is flower free.” – Blair

“Recent garden inspiration has come from Jane Cumberbatch’s Pure Style Outdoors” – Blair

“The table and chair set is from Martha Stewart, we like how it blends in with its surroundings and it works well for us. Again, its easy maintenance, we hose it off! When I look at this patio, I would really like to wake it up with some color, pattern, etc and my hopes are that you, Holly, and your readers can provide some ideas.” – Blair

“The exterior walls of the house are cedar shingles, and our house is a traditional craftsman that we are apparently trying to modernize via furniture and accessories. So, even I am confused about what our style is! I would like some kind of color out there as well (although not paint, more like accessories). Color that would compliment the planting scheme, as well as maybe fill up the patio area with some interesting and inviting ideas.” – Blair

“I have put in some pink fuschia plants and realize I really love the bright pink pop against the more somber colors. We do not have a huge budget for this little area. OK, we don’t have a budget at all! But we do have lots of DIY ability, the drive to want to make our surroundings pretty, inviting, with fabric, DIY accessories, etc…Your readers always have such great ideas, I would love to get a fresh perspective on this area of the yard from them.” – Blair

Okay everyone, we’re on a mission to help Blair! Leave your comments below. I’ll lead the discussion by doing the same.

(images from wisecraft)

Posted in DIY, outdoors, reader questions on June 29, 2007

Real Simple Galleries

Jason wrote about something that I look forward to whenever Real Simple hits my mailbox, the amazing paper constructions inside! Check out the new paper construction gallery on the Real Simple website showing a few from past issues. I hope they spoil us and show them all. I loved the ones that they created using road maps once. Do you remember them? They were amazing.


While cruising their site, I found more goodies! There’s a terrific new round up of all their past covers from 2001-2006, and since they have some of the best stylists around (outside of the Martha Stewart gang), I love examining all the details for styling ideas. And sidepoint, but don’t they have the best wall colors ever?


If you have time today, visit their additional galleries because they feature everything from centerpieces and flowers to relaxation and pets. Click here for your very own drool fest.

I’m so glad that Real Simple enlarged the imagery on their website, because like you, when it comes to getting enough of a good thing, that simply does not exist when looking at gorgeous spaces!

(images from real simple)

Posted in DIY on June 27, 2007

Matthew Mead Style: Summer!

Matthew Mead is someone I admire, so of course his name appears on decor8 from time to time, especially since his website updates with the seasons. This is your reminder to check out his new summer site, it’s so drool-inducing, you’ll really enjoy it.

I find Matthew’s work to be a breathe of fresh, New Hampshire country air and love stepping into his magical website to see life through his eyes. Yummy recipes, entertaining tips, and easy craft projects all based around a cottage theme, including a fun way to transform an IKEA lantern for summer.


Psst: Be sure to browse his archives, too.

(images from matthew mead)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, DIY, inspiration, shopping, travel on June 19, 2007

Sock and Glove: Creating Softy Friends!

I came across the cutest book last night, Sock and Glove by Miyako Kanamori, I have to share it with you! Part children’s story, part instructional guide for creating softies with personality, it’s great for all ages because it gives lone socks, gloves, and mittens purpose again and gets you back into sewing without a huge time commitment.

The book has 13 adorable friends to make, from fish to dogs, cats to mice, and the author encourages creativity by explaining that each doll can have a unique personality according to how you arrange the face and how much stuffing you use in the body. She encourages experimenting with different looks and not copying one for one what she shows in the book. In other words, live a little, it’s okay to go outside of the line. It’s simple format and darling photos lured me in at first, especially since I’ve had a thing for Japanese craft books since I first “discovered” them in San Francisco back in ’01, but find them hard to follow in Japanese and looking at pretty images only takes me so far when sewing… Sock and Glove released in Japan a few years ago, but was recently translated into English and released here in America just this month.

Simple Sparrow reviewed this book on her gorgeous blog, make sure you take a moment to read what she has to say about it, she wrote a nice review and has some great photos.

(image by holly becker for decor8)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, Books + Magazines, DIY, shopping, travel on June 19, 2007

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