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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

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

Bongenre: Fancy Melamine Tableware

I recently heard from Jill at Bongenre and thought her work was something lots of us may really enjoy, especially for guests and for setting the “children’s table” that so many use during dinner parties when the family gets together. Bongenre is melamine tableware (bowls, plates) with a twist – it’s actually quite elegant! Brooklyn-based founder/designer Jill Fenichell spent 15 years as an antique porcelain and pottery dealer specializing in English blue and white porcelain made in the 18th century.

About her designs Jill says, “I get to think about patterns I love, and work out interesting color relationships and rhythms between shape and pattern and color,” she adds, “The real question is: how to connect the old to the new…that’s what I want to do with my tableware.”

Don’t miss the Winchester Mandala pattern, available in several gorgeous colorways. I’m really into mandalas right now so these totally speak to me, especially in purple, lime, and winter (oooh) which is PERFECT for an indoor party this winter for January/February when everyone is tired of red and blue and white seems to coordinate so nicely with the snowfall. Perfect for gift giving too!

What do you think of Melamine tableware? Yes, no, maybe? Under what circumstances do you use it currently? Outdoor only? Indoor? Do you use it mainly for food or for decorating (on the walls or on plate racks)? Do you think it’s a good option for dinner parties when breaking out the china isn’t something you feel up for and paper plates are definitely not on your menu? Is Melamine the happy ‘in-between’ option for you or…?

(images from bongenre)

Posted in Decorating Tips, kitchen, shopping, walls on December 04, 2008

H&M Home Collection {New!}

Frida from Husmusen told me last week that Swedish apparel giant H&M (Hennes & Mauritz) will soon launch a home line (window coverings, comforters, sheets, pillows, towels and accessories) due to an large demand for home textiles from their customers. The collection will include several items grouped by theme, here are a few that the lovely Frida has grouped together for a quick peek:

Nature (love those button cushions!)

Design (bold graphics, black and white)


Bright Colors (featuring work from Liselotte Watkins, blogged here before)

and Classic (Marine blue, “New England style”)

These collections will start to sell online in February 2009, but not in America, only in Germany, Austria, Netherlands and Nordic countries. They want to start selling online and through catalogs first to see how things go and then see what they want to do from there. Perhaps America could be next? Stay tuned!

Out of the collections shown above, do you have a favorite? Why? Anything that you’d like to see that is currently missing when it comes to affordable home items? I think the world could use more of a selection when it comes to shower curtains and affordable patterned curtains personally.

(images from frida and H&M)

Posted in Decorating Tips, shopping on December 04, 2008

Books:

Some of my books...

Further editions available: Decorate published by Murdoch Books for AU/NZ, Decorar BR, Alt om indretning DK, Inspirace pro váš byt CZ, Dekorácie SK, La décoration FR, Lust auf Wohnen DE, Sisusta tyylillä FI and Sztuka aranżacji wnętrz PL.

eCourses:

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