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Shopping + Products

Shopping + Products

Tas-ka

October 9, 2008

I’m always so inspired when I come across a web shop that feels special, you know like you’ve just stepped into someone else’s personal space and you must tip toe and quietly look around so as to not make too much noise. A very special little boutique on the web that I discovered recently is such a place and it’s called Tas-ka, a Dutch company based in Den Haag created by Jantien Baas and Hester Worst (they ship worldwide).

Tas-ka

I really enjoy the large beautiful photos that welcome you as the page opens, it’s quite unique I think as a lot of websites do not use such large photos… I rather like it. I think that is what we are all looking for nowadays don’t you? Originality. We want to find things or places that are new to us or that do not feel like all of the other places we’ve seen or visited before.

Tas-kaTas-ka

What does Tas-ka offer? For one, books! They have several of the Jeu de Paume books and they even stock Lula magazine, a favorite of mine that I buy at Barnes & Noble in the states. It’s expensive, but so many of the pages are frame-worthy and the paper quality is outstanding so you can use a lot of the pages as art or to pin to your inspiration board. I highly suggest checkout out Lula, it’s devoted to fashion but contains gorgeous articles, swirly feminine fonts, and fantastic layouts so it stimulates lots of ideas and never fails to put me into a good mood.

Tas-kaTas-ka

In addition to books and magazines, you can also shop Tas-ka for their signature pendant light constructed entirely of paper cranes. Some are in white, others in color, all are completely affordable at 160-Euro (when you consider the amount of work involved in creating one).

You can also find vintage furniture, pillows, bedding, fabrics (by the meter designed by Tas-ka), stationery, things for kids, ceramics, etc. Completely lovely selection, I can’t stop clicking around their shop. I love these 3 vintage pots for instance.

Tas-kaTas-kaTas-ka

Tas-ka feels very original and I think you’ll enjoy this shop so here, have a peek. Enjoy. :)

(images from tas-ka)

Objects, Shopping + Products, Travel

Brightening Up The Day at Lillehus

October 6, 2008

Working from home here in Germany has been a real nice experience since back in New Hampshire I live in the country and do not have easy access to a city there. Here I live in the city so I can take quick breaks throughout the day (without the hassle of a car) to grab tea with friends, walk through the forest (2 blocks from my house, it’s about 10x the size of Central Park), or go find inspiration by roaming a museum or visiting a small shop. A few minutes ago I needed a break, I was feeling sort of crabby and instead of giving into the bad mood I decided to shut off my laptop and visit a new design/kids store one block away. I thought that maybe this new store was feeling the same way because her shop had its grand opening today but the weather is gray and a bit draining. I imagined that maybe this shop owner, a lady I’d never met before today by the way, was sitting in her shop waiting to meet those in our little neighborhood here. I thought maybe this lady was alone and wondering if anyone would support her shop today. Then I imagined how I would feel if in her shoes. That thought motivated me to get out of my house and go welcome her to our hood. I live here now, I should treat this as my home and be a good neighbor. And not to sound like Little Miss Goody Two Shoes, but I remember my mom always taught me that when I’m in a bad mood the best thing to do is imagine someone else out there who may also be feeling bad or lonely and actively seek them out and do something kind for them.

Brightening Up The Day at Lillehus

When I walked in to Lillehus (located at De Ha?n Platz 10 in Hannover List), the owner Susan was sitting at a little desk writing (seated as I imagined! too funny!) and I was the only customer so immediately I introduced myself (in English) and she started speaking to me in English (always a treat!) and soon we were chatting and laughing and having a really nice time. She thanked me many times for coming in and seeing her, she said it was a wonderful welcome to the neighborhood.

I think I can say that mom is always right because once again, her advice taught to me as a child worked. And it worked in another way too…

See this light…

Brightening Up The Day at Lillehus Brightening Up The Day at Lillehus

It was designed by Hannover-based textile artist Orike Muth. She is someone I really look up to, I think her aesthetic is gorgeous and so original, she screenprints by hand all of the papers that she uses for her lamps and lampions, and all of the textiles she incorporates into her potholders, pillows, etc. I’ve been looking for a table lamp from her for the entire 8 weeks that I’ve been here and could not find the one that I was looking for. I saw the perfect light on her website but she sold out and she is currently working on her new line so there was a good chance that I would not find one before I leave here in December.

Brightening Up The Day at Lillehus The lamp I spotted on Orike’s website… I think I will add some trim to the bottom of mine with beads to dress it up a little.

When I walked into Lillehus today and saw THE light sitting on a table I nearly passed out. It was perfect! It was what I’d been roaming this city for, one design shop after another, hoping to find and never could find. And now it was sitting before me on a pretty white table. Not only did I buy it but Susan (the store owner) took 20% off of the price as a grand opening day present to her customers. Just another way that doing good to others always results in something good – not always a material object, often just a good feeling — but today I received both a happy mood and a pretty light. Not only am I back to myself again, but I met a nice small business owner and found the lamp I’ve been desiring for quite awhile. What you put out into the world comes back to you. Always. Don’t you believe that too?

Brightening Up The Day at Lillehus

As corny as it sounds, whenever I look at this lamp I will remember today and the happy memories along with it. And please, if you live in or around Hannover pay Susan at Lillehus a visit. She is so, so sweet and a bonus for expats is that she speaks great English. The shop is mostly for kids; she stocks lots of Maileg products from Denmark (my mushroom is above on my kitchen cabinet only 5,- Euros each!) and cute stuff from a few indie designers in Berlin. She is soon to expand into clothing for women and cute rain boots too.

(images from holly becker for decor8)

Objects, Shopping + Products, uncategorized

Holiday!

October 2, 2008

Hello friends! I’m taking off on Friday since it’s a holiday here in Germany, everything will be closed, so we are entertaining relatives in our new flat. That means that my little decor8 blog will be closed! But on Monday morning the door will fly open once again to welcome you with a whole new week of posts and a fun contest so I hope that if you have time you will return on Monday to visit me for another fun week!

Holiday!

A little inspiration for you… color & flowers! I picked these (mostly dahlias) up today at the local farmers’ market and prepared a few arrangements because I can’t entertain without fresh blooms around — it’s just not the same as I’m sure you’ll agree. Here are a few corners of my home to share and hopefully inspire you to treat yourself to some flowers over the weekend…

Holiday!

Holiday!

Holiday!

Holiday!

Holiday!

Holiday!

See you on Monday!

xo,
Holly

Shopping + Products

All The Luck In The World

September 29, 2008

I’ve bragged about Jane before but since I had the pleasure of meeting the talented lady behind All The Luck In The World, artist and graphic designer Jane Schouten, in Amsterdam recently I thought I’d sing her praises again. What a pleasant person she was to talk to and so very sweet! We chatted for quite some time and I had so many questions that I only thought to ask her after she had left for the evening — ever have one of those conversations!?

All The Luck In The World

A few things that I found especially attractive about Jane was how down-to-earth she is, absolutely the easiest person to get to know and so genuinely kind and a very good listener. As I look at her photography on Flickr and at the merchandise she sources for her online shop I can clearly see pieces of her personality that I was so lucky to experience in person. It felt so nice to put a face behind the name that I’d only known online up until a few weeks ago.

All The Luck In The World

All The Luck In The World

All The Luck In The World

All The Luck In The World

Shown here in this post are just a few beautiful photos from her home and shop that I found especially inspiring today. I hope that you enjoy basking before all the glorious color and pattern set against crisp white.

I admire those who are not afraid of bold color like Jane, sometimes I wish I could be more daring with it myself but I’m learning… everyday I feel like I’m a step closer to being that kid again with the brightly colored bedroom that I had growing up. Jane really encourages me personally to branch out with color whether she realizes it or not.

In addition to her daring use of color, I also admire how Jane can find a gem in a piece of furniture that someone may no longer love and, almost miraculously, she can transform it into something cool and unique. This lady is some kind of talent — Jane you are a star!

(photography by Jane Schouten)

Events + Markets, Objects, Shopping + Products, Travel

Fabric Market Love

September 22, 2008

If you ever need to pull yourself out of a creative rut, hit an outdoor fabric market (see bold text at the bottom of this post and then the comments section to find local markets in your area) like I did this weekend. I had one of those weekends, you know the kind… every twist and turn is eventful and fun and the housework doesn’t get done, dishes are stacked high, but at least you had a weekend to remember. Friday was busy, Saturday was amazing (more on the decor8/Dawanda event later!), and Sunday was spent here in Hannover with friends at an outdoor fabric market and then at a really gorgeous Autumn festival. Remember when I was in Amsterdam and how I told you about an textile market that I had stumbled upon by accident? I remember on the train ride back home how I was feeling a bit sorry for myself because I thought Hannover didn’t have something like this. I was WRONG. Here’s proof.

Fabric Market Love

Twice in the Spring and in the Fall all those amazing textile dealers come from the Netherlands to visit us here to share their wares and yesterday was their first Autumn show. I took a few photos to give you an idea of what I saw. In addition to dealers from Holland, many Germans were there with fabrics on bolts, ribbons, patterns, books, buttons, even Bernina had a tent with sewing machines! I didn’t see ANY Amy Butler or fabrics from Free Spirit so if anyone in Germany has these textiles I strongly encourage you to find out how you can be a vendor and come to Hannover to introduce these American designers to markets like this one because it was PACKED and everyone was going crazy shopping… No one sells Amy Butler or Free Spirit fabrics in this entire city so having access to them at this fabric market would be a great way for you to expand your business. They’d definitely be a hit.

Fabric Market Love

All of the fabrics are brand new, but unfortunately no one sold West African prints, Batiks, Indian prints, and nothing vintage. I would LOVE to see a vendor with batiks also take part and maybe even a few vintage textiles dealers if the fair owners allow it because I think the one thing the market lacked both in Amsterdam and in Hannover were ethnic prints, British textiles, and American designs (like Amy Butler). I did love that the market had tons of Tilda fabrics designed by Tone Finnanger from Finland (which I happily purchased, you can find them here). I blogged about one of Tone’s books last year in my post about books I found in Germany that I love, but I’d like to let you know that Tildas Hus is now in English in case you are interested). I also spotted loads of brightly colored felt, and some amazing buttons and trim. It was like a fabric and notions candyland! A total crack market for fabric junkies… I noticed many stumbling about with eyes glazed over in a bit of a trance like a true junky… drunk from the tactile and visual inspiration. I was in a bit of a daze myself after the first hour but I found some beautiful things and met a ton of great people so I’m very excited to know about this market and that I can hit it again in November. I have to add that I was so happy when Ingrid from YIPPIEYEAH! showed up to say hello. She was such an inspiration to me when I met her last year so seeing her again was so nice.

Fabric Market Love This is the booth (above) of Tipp Tapp Stoffe in Germany (they have an online shop), it was there that I met the friendly Anne (she has a blog called Gretelies) and purchased ribbons and an iron-on decal. I nearly fell down when she told me that she reads decor8. It was so random, I never expected her to know me. I think the world just keeps getting smaller and smaller through blogging, don’t you agree!?

Fabric Market LoveFabric Market Love Two of my friends trying to make a decision on some silk that they’ve fallen in love with.

I met the super sweet Nic from Luzia Pimpinella at the decor8/Dawanda event on Saturday (she gave a great talk about her personal journey as a blogger) and it was there that she gave me a charm for my purse that I immediately clipped to my bag. I was pysched to find some of her ribbon at this market. Here is the charm she gave me:

Fabric Market Love

Nic had told me that she also designs ribbons for a large company here in Germany, so when I was at the Hannover fabric market (technically called the Hannover Stoffmarkt) and found many them I was over the moon with happiness! If any fabric manufacturers or designers are reading this, you have to consider selling some of Nic’s trims in your shop because the world needs Nic! Her trims are delicious. Here is a sampling of some of them below. Not all that I’ve wrapped around this postcard are from Nic but at least half of them are, the rest are Estio Lindo ribbons by German textile company Stenzo (find Stenzo fabric for sale here). We are talking cuteness overload.

Fabric Market Love

Nic also has a wildly popular Dawanda shop where you can order her trims and handmade products online. I cannot wait to do some fun things with my new fabrics…

Fabric Market Love My cutesy batch of goodies… My favorite is the pure white ’embossed’ circle print beneath this stack (can you see it?). It’s absolutely gorgeous and reminds me of letterpress. :)

Fabric Market Love
The above silks were scooped up for home-related projects, a bit more grown up than the red and blue cuteness above. The top piece is vintage from Petra, a local designer who owns a shop and atelier here called Rani Pink. I visited her studio yesterday after the fabric market and purchased it from her, she has stacks and stacks of gorgeous ethnic textiles so if you see something you like in her shop just ask her, “How much!?” like I did and if she doesn’t already have it reserved for a customer it’s yours. Petra has an inspirational blog which I’ve just made the decor8 blog of the week starting today.

If you’d like to see more photos of this market, click here. My photos taken above were right at opening so few were present. If I had waited to take photos later, I would not have been able to because the aisles are so packed with people you can barely move. Tip: Arrive early like we did!

The next (and final) fabric market here in Hannover this year is the first Sunday in November. If you are local and would like to meet up with me there, just let me know. I’m always looking for shopping pals and to make more friends in Germany.

I’m curious to ask you… do you have fabric markets in your town and if so, can you link to them in the comments section below? I think it would really benefit readers to have this post as a resource for either when they travel to new cities or to simply learn about local markets. Thank you!

(images taken by holly becker for decor8)

Shop Tours, Shopping + Products, Travel

Amsterdam Highlights

September 15, 2008

I promised on Friday that today I’d give you just a slice of what my vacation to Amsterdam was like last week. This post will be mostly visual but I’ll be sure to give you plenty of links so it’s easy to find what I’m talking about on the web. :)

Amsterdam HighlightsThis about sums up how our days began each morning – latte and a map!

Amsterdam Highlights

First I’ll start with a few of the restaurants where we ate and then I’ll wrap this post up with some of the shops we hit. We stayed in the Jordaan district, so we mostly hit shops and restaurants there.

Amsterdam Highlights
Amsterdam Highlights
This is a chain in the Netherlands called Bagels & Beans. We went to one near the fashion district and a nice kitty came and sat with me while I had my breakfast. He was so cute, and he even has a stylish mustache. Eventually he fell asleep on my lap until a little dog came in and then he attacked it. It was quite a riot to be caught in the middle of a cat and dog fight in the middle of a cafe. In the states, animals are not allowed in eating establishments (against codes of hygiene I believe, though I think most people are not as clean as animals so what’s the point!?) but here in western Europe you see pets frequently just about everywhere you go. In Germany you don’t see as many cats, mostly dogs, but in Holland cats are everywhere. It’s so nice though it’s also very practical – cuts down on rodents!

Amsterdam Highlights If you want affordable, delicious Japanese-Thai food, Nooch is your place. The atmosphere is so nice and the staff is exceptionally friendly. The food is also very healthy. You have to try their pad thai and make sure to order fresh mint tea and don’t miss the mango ice cream for dessert.

Other great places to eat:
De Kroon: Order their monk fish. It’s lekker!
Lust: Great place to enjoy coffee or eat lunch or dinner.
Toussaint – We ate here twice we liked it so much. Once for lunch and another night for a romantic candlelight dinner. Such a great atmosphere and the food is heaven.
Foodware – Mostly a take-out shop but you can eat in too. Everything is homemade right there in their open kitchen. Great place.

Now for shopping…

Amsterdam Highlights
Amsterdam Highlights Definitely don’t miss the Noordermarkt Flea Market on Saturdays or Monday mornings. I had a blast and even met an Etsy seller there called Accessorize Paradise where I purchased a hair clip that everyone seems to love (I wish she sold them in her Etsy store). I found a pretty print from a children’s story book from another dealer who told me she has a shop on Herenstraat called Antiquariaat Lont. Note: I’m not exactly sure what it’s called, but a block over from this flea market was a huge fabric flea market with brand new textiles including those from top design houses. I found lots of beautiful fabrics there (shown above).

Aside from the flea market, I really enjoyed these stores too…

Amsterdam HighlightsAmsterdam Highlights
Hema. They are in Germany and Belgium, but mostly in Holland with several locations in Amsterdam. So many cute affordable things from office supplies to candy, clothing, beauty products, everything! I love their attention to product packaging. I found their postcards so sweet, and I made sure to buy plenty of pens since I can never have to many cute pens.

Amsterdam Highlights These are tweezers, also from Hema. Yeah, tweezers. I couldn’t believe it either, such great packaging.

Amsterdam HighlightsAmsterdam Highlights

I loved this store, it’s called Het Grote Avontuur. I purchased some white plastic placemats there and a few gifts, I loved the overall vibe of the shop, all of their hand painted Russian goodies, and their lovely Dutch ‘folk’ items. What a fun shop, you have to put it on your list if you ever find yourself in Amsterdam. You can also shop them online, in English!

Amsterdam Highlights

While you’re on Haarlemmerstraat you can walk to Papabubble, a fun candy store that I first heard about from Irene at Bloesem. It’s worth the visit! Some of the architecture on Haarlemmerstraat shown above, I really liked it!

Amsterdam Highlights Egg Mercantile on Leliegracht 6. I loved this shop, mostly because of the great conversation that I had with Joshua who is one of the owners. His partner, Steven, is also his business partner and they’ve done a fine job selecting the best home accessories and stationery for this lovely shop. Steven and Joshua are American, Joshua had lived in Boston before and also New York, San Francisco… and now Amsterdam where he seems to call home. This shop showcases wares from both North and South America and Europe and I just loved the vibe in there. I took the most photos of his shop because not only was he familiar with decor8 (so I felt comfortable asking permission to take photos), but he was so super friendly and warm. I kept thinking about how badly I wanted to share this shop experience with all of you, especially since I recognized nearly all of the work there… I kept thinking how some of you will read this blog, see these photos, and say, “Hey that’s my stuff!”.

Amsterdam Highlights This is me chatting with fabulous Joshua.

Amsterdam Highlights Do you see the wonderful Elizabeth Soule photography far right?

Amsterdam Highlights Love the fancy trays from iBride on the wall…

Amsterdam Highlights See the handmade dolls on the fireplace mantle? They are from Heather Louise (website and etsy shop) and are absolutely wonderful in person. Her Marie Antoinette dolls are my favorites.

Amsterdam Highlights Do you see the Cardboard Safari head on the left wall? No animals were hurt!

Amsterdam Highlights I love these ceramic pieces by Lola Goldstein, don’t you? You can buy them online here.

Amsterdam HighlightsAmsterdam HighlightsAmsterdam HighlightsAmsterdam HighlightsAmsterdam Highlights

Amsterdam Highlights Here’s some of my loot from Egg Mercantile. I was pleased to see lots of cards and notebooks by Camilla Engman.

Amsterdam Highlights Subrosa (Rozengracht 49-E) is another shop I liked, lots of tin and silver and tons of ethnic influence here. I picked up some jars and a colorful string of lights with tiny Chinese paper lanterns. It’s right down the street from my next favorite store for all things kitchen called…

Amsterdam Highlights Kitsch Kitchen (Rozengracht 8-11). And kitsch it was, two floors of wild and crazy colors and patterns. Wow. Great, affordable and fun. Kitsch Kitchen has tons of locations in Europe and even one in Southern California but none here in Germany. I hope they change this someday and bring Kitsch Kitchen to us here in northern Germany. It’s totally great.

Amsterdam Highlights I really liked Shirdak, it was like roaming the pages of my favorite magazine Selvedge. If you read Selvedge, you know it deals with textiles and the history of fabrics from all over the world. Shirdak had a collection of some of the most gorgeous things ever, it was like a museum of beautifully crafted rugs, throws, bedspreads, even slippers and bags.

Here are some other shops I hit (but did not photograph):
Jan (Utrechtsestraat 74)
Sissy Boy (clothing, some home stuff.)
V&D (for clothes)
Fame (for 5-Euro CDs and DVDs, all brand new. Amazing store, I purchased about 15 CDs and a Japanese DVD I’ve been wanting to see called The Cat Returns, a Hiroyuki Morita animated film.)
H&M: I think there was one on every corner downtown. It was H&M heaven.
Zara and Zara Home
Noa Noa (clothing)
… And a slew of other miscellaneous shops in the Jordaan district that I didn’t write down but lots of fun!

Shopping Note: I had planned to spend the entire morning and half of the afternoon on Monday going to my favorite design shops. I was so amazingly excited, I could hardly wait all weekend. On Monday, we headed over to Pol’s Potten, Droog, Keet in Huis, and Frozen Fountain only to realize that they were closed. :( I couldn’t believe it. Shops are closed in Amsterdam on Mondays for the most part, except for large department stores and a few ‘select’ shops, but even they don’t open until around 1pm. I was absolutely heartbroken. Oh well. Please don’t make the mistake that I did!

And to close, here are a few random inspirations from the city.

Amsterdam Highlights

Amsterdam Highlights The ultimate of posh: A mini cooper to match one big, gorgeous townhouse.

Amsterdam Highlights

Amsterdam Highlights

Amsterdam Highlights A little bird peeped a chipper goodbye as we headed towards the train station, 4 hours on a ‘slow’ train (but first class) to Germany was really nice and relaxing. Rolling hills, farmland, clear sunny skies…

That sums up my mini break to Amsterdam. Hope you enjoyed my highlights from this lovely city today. And a special thanks to all the ladies who met me at the meet and greet, you each made my visit to Amsterdam SO MUCH better than I had imagined.

(images mostly taken by my husband Thorsten Becker, others by yours truly)

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