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Home Companion Crafting Classes

Did you once read Home Companion magazine from Mary Engelbreit? I did, in fact I still have the premiere issue. While some of the interiors were not entirely my aesthetic, I appreciated the focus of the magazine being on the arts and crafts community and the joy of handmade. When it folded, I felt bad as the magazine had been around for what felt like ages… I started reading it when I was pretty young and it was part of my monthly stack of magazines that I’d pick up from the local bookshop throughout my 20s. I loved the little paper dolls that Mary placed into the magazine each month — they were fun to cut up and put away… and when my friends brought over their children my box of Mary’s dolls would occupy them for hours. As sad as it is to see some of our favorite magazines fold, a few of them are still keeping in touch with their reader base, I recall recently that Domino magazine hosted a few tag sales in New York and now, it looks like Mary Engelbreit is doing something that I think will be a huge hit — a Home Companion workshop in St. Louis from April 29 – May 2, 2010.

Mary's New Classes!

She’s having some pretty great guests who will also teach classes, including Matthew Mead (whom I adore), Amy Butler, Claudine Hellmuth, Kaari Meng and more. Hmm… Now I wonder if they need anyone to teach a class about blogging and social networking online or how to tap into your creativity because — I’m in! :)

If you’d like more information about this event, please visit Mary’s blog here for more details.

(image: home companion)

Posted in events + markets on August 21, 2009

At Home Design Parties: Furbish Design

I’ve blogged about this idea before but had no idea someone started doing this — love it! A home decorating workshop! No, not some cheesy kind where everyone sits around in a circle admiring gadgets that they’ll most likely purchase and never use (electric apple peeler anyone?) but a hip kind where a blogger/decorator invites you into her home to dish about decorating and helps you to tap into your aesthetic.

Furbish Design

The blogger is Jamie Meares of the I Suwannee blog and owner of Furbish Design in Raleigh, North Carolina. She designed the room shown above for under $500 so you can learn about decorating on a budget from this creative blogger for only $40 (what a deal!). Her most recent class was last week but I’m sure she’ll host more so email her if you are in N.C. and interested in taking part. I read about this class today over at Mint and had to post it  — lovely idea!

I’m considering doing another one later this year (a blogger meet and greet) so I’ll keep you posted on the details as soon as I know more. But my event won’t be at home, I’m thinking of a something in a central location in a popular European city — a store or function hall similar to the Amsterdam and Berlin decor8 events I helped organize last Autumn. We’ll see…

What do you think of  blogger sponsored events? Are you a blogger, and if so, would you do something like this for a fee? Would you like to teach about styling/decorating/photography in your local community? Are you currently teaching and care to tell me about it (link and comment below please!).

(images: jamie meares)

Posted in events + markets on July 13, 2009

London Designers To Watch

I felt so flattered when Margarita Lorenzo, a graphic & textile designer based in London from Chocolate Creative, wrote in asking if I’d like to share her views from a couple of London handmade design fairs she recently attended. Um… let me think about this. Right. YES! So Margarita has pulled together some of her opinions and rounded up a few of her favorite designers here for all of us to enjoy. I’m calling this the London Designers To Watch since I see some genuine talent here. Ready to view some beautiful handwork?

Take it away, Margarita!

Solenne Morigeaud

I attended the Central St Martins textile degree show recently, and as usual was presented with an amazing variety of work. I am glad that they have this public events, where people can view and appreciate the gorgeous work of these talented future designers. On my visit to the show, I met Solenne Morigeaud, a graduate from the Masters in textile futures. She is a Paris-born surface designer, that having graduated in fashion and textile design at ESAA Duperré school in Paris, went on to do this masters. I love her work, it is very unique and dedicated. This antique door is the piece that she was exhibiting at the show, GORGEOUS! Smoke and Mirrors is a collection of mirrors, glass and wallpaper that blur and interact with our perception. The inspiration comes from ink stains, clouds, shadows and smoke trails – coincidental patterns that create an unforeseen imagery. Mirrors are etched, laser-cut and overlaid, creating unexpected illusion effects. Through her work, Solenne imagines the future of textiles as a way to encourage people to get into their imagination, too often forgotten.


I met Mijae at the Chelsea Textile Degree Show and she was very nice and took her time to explain her project. She makes garments with the fabrics that she designs to mimic brick work. I can see why she gets so inspired by bricks — not only they are everywhere is London, but the colors and textures that they can achieve over the years are extraordinary! I like the simplicity of her work, don’t you?

Xiang Zeng

I saw Xiang Zeng’s movable wallpaper, Freerange Doodle, at the show too and thought it was a clever and very cute idea of telling a story. This time not through a book but via an interactive medium, where you get to make your own version of the tale and became the narrator of your unique wallpaper… very creative!

Lilli Cowley-Wood

Another designer that caught my eye was textile designer Lilli Cowley-Wood. Birds, parrots, dogs, plants, etc…they all seem to live in this beautiful, imaginary world… I love her drawings!

Aurelia Dupas

More and more talent… next meet designer Aurelia Dupas (sorry no link). Her blankets were one of the first things I saw at the show. I fell in love with them from the distance and the closer I got the more I liked them, so much detail, the fabric textures… She uses natural fabrics and dyes, hand stitching and silk screen prints such beautiful patterns. Her collection is called Warmest Feelings comfort blankets for adults.

More work I love…

Betty Pepper

Betty Pepper, Textile design and jewelry artist: I don’t have words to describe Betty’s work, it is extraordinary! So delicate, unique, gorgeous… I remember seeing her work at Origin in London, and falling for her unique way of doing textiles and paper media together. Her work is very distinctive, the fabrics she choose, the old books, the vintage look of her work, everything is so beautifully put together.

Jennifer Collier

Jennifer Collier: Textiles designer from Manchester Metropolitan University. Found papers, buttons and ribbon transformed into hats, pins, and artwork.

For addition London design inspiration and highlights from shows that I attend, please visit me over at the Chocolate Creative blog! – Margarita.

Thank you Margarita for this lovely round up. I see a definite theme in London when it comes to design and enjoy seeing this view through the eyes of a London local. Thanks again!

(images supplied by margarita lorenzo)

Posted in designers, events + markets on July 02, 2009

The Farm Chicks Show – June 6th

Have you heard of The Farm Chicks, Serena Thompson and Teri Edwards? I really admire these two ladies, both are so sweet and down-to-earth but also very dedicated to their work and fans. Their latest book, The Farm Chicks in the Kitchen, really brought me closer to them because their bios were written from such a genuine place.

The Farm Chicks

I was touched by Serena’s childhood spent living out of a hippie gypsy wagon with her family — I guess it’s easy to think that those who are “famous” got that way easily or perhaps had the ideal childhood with stability, a house and the picket fence and it’s refreshing to read the life stories of those who grew up a bit outside of the “lines” so to speak and still made it big. In fact, Serena attributes her success to her childhood.If you don’t much about Serena and Teri you may enjoy visiting their website to learn more. These charming “real” ladies are living their dreams — writing, recycling unloved finds into something functional and fun, traveling, sponsoring events and thinking up new ideas to present in Country Living magazine where they are Contributing Editors.

If you live in the northwest and are able to make it to the show, I suggest stopping by their upcoming annual event in Spokane, Washington where they’ll be hosting a show complete with antiques, vintage objects, handmade goods, and a curated selection of 130 extraordinary vendors where you can shop and find inspiration from the creations of others. They’ll also have a book signing on Saturday from 1-2pm during the event and will have copies of their new book available in their booth. If I weren’t so far away, I’d be there in a heartbeat because I’d love to meet these two and watch them in action doing what they love!

If you’re like me and cannot attend the show, you can visit them online via their blog where you are sure to find decorating tips and inspiration.

Show details: The Farm Chicks Show, June 6-7 at the Spokane Fairgrounds Plaza, Bay 1 and Bay 2 in Spokane, Washington. On Saturday, June 6th the hours are 10am-6pm and on Sunday, June 7th you can attend from 10am-4pm. Admission is $6, and is good for both days. They will be signing their book in the Plaza on Saturday from 1-2pm.

(images: the farm chicks and country living magazine)

Posted in Books + Magazines, events + markets on June 01, 2009


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