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Fabric Market Love

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.

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.

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.

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!?

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:

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.

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…

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. :)


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)

Posted in events + markets, shopping, textiles, travel on September 22, 2008

I’m Digging…

Good morning! Many of you asked if I would share some of the home products that I’m finding here in Germany as I furnish my apartment, so this post will introduce you to some that I frequently find in local shops. Of course, this isn’t to say that this is ‘the’ style in Germany, it’s not, but it is pretty common to find the items on the below list in small design shops or even larger department stores in northern Germany.

If you are interested in learning about where you can find these products in your country, please visit the websites linked below and click around… you are sure to find a store locator on each site. Here’s a quick list of what I’m seeing in shops and what is inspiring me right now. I think these things are also hot in Sweden, Denmark, Holland, and Norway too as I read design magazines from all of these countries and have noticed some or all of these things contained within their pages.

1. Aluminum or hand painted boxes (with lids) from India. My aluminum ones are from a little shop near my house for only 20- Euros each but they can go as high up as 100- Euros elsewhere.

2. Poufs. Very popular. In all sizes and shapes, leather, fabric, you name it.

3. Lampions and rice paper pendants (round). P.S. Someone in the U.S. seriously needs to order and sell the Orike Muth collection of lights and pillows, she is a local designer from Hannover and is hugely popular. If you are a shop owner you have to check her out and bring her goods to America.
4. Colors: Berry tones and gray. White and black. Lots of lilac, fuchsia, and gray.

5. Folksy design (see the box I found in Amsterdam above for an example) and Asian motifs (lotus flowers for example). Lots of Russian nesting dolls too.
6. Wallpaper is still pretty hot here.

7. Ethnic inspired lighting, especially pendants with cut out patterns.
8. White porcelain also with cut out motifs. See my Pol’s Potten lamp below from Le Souk as an example of this.
9. Roman blinds and white sheer curtains or brightly colored gauze or cotton curtains with tie or tab tops. Think Morocco or India. Relaxed but vibrant. Little pattern on the windows, solid hues are in.
10. Wood floors kept natural or painted in a bold color or white. I don’t see a lot of high gloss black floors here. Lots of pergo (affordable and durable).
11. Wall decals, mostly florals.

12. Baskets, like these from Rice via Car Mobel, in bold berry tones.
13. Tin mirrors.

14. Party lights around mirrors or windows, no party necessary. :) I put mine around a simple mirror from IKEA in my living room. Note: My living room is only 6 weeks old and still in progress so this is not the final view of the space.
15. Mid century modern furniture paired with modern or ‘country’ style. IKEA is everywhere, but mixed in with vintage flea market finds or Jugenstil-inspired furniture.
16. Topiary trees on windowsills. I see this fairly often when I’m walking around my neighborhood. I have a small Myrtle Tree myself. Rosemary is another good one to use.

17. “Cute” design, like Barbapapa, colorful accents from RICE, crochet coasters, plastic lace placemats, fun magnets, small toys on shelves, plastic deer toys, items with personality. I picked up this Barbapapa in Amsterdam and placed in my cabinet until I find a better home for him.
18. Natural minimalism with lots of wood, white, silver. I usually see lilac as the accent color or medium gray.

19. Wooden cabinets in white or black with glass doors. I have one in white.

20. Plastic floor mats, usually found in the hallway or kids room. Rugs from RICE are very popular. Cotton stripe rugs are also popular. I like the one shown above with the cutie squirrel trim. :)
21. Plastic melamine trays for serving guests.
22. Moroccan tea trays as coffee tables like these from Le Souk or small round wood tables of varying heights arranged in front of the sofa painted in gray, white, black, etc.
23. Natural wood stools placed near the bathtub for stacking towels.
24. Orchids as houseplants. I see them everywhere!
25. Moroccan lanterns in white, black, or silver metal.

26. Turkish towels with tassels. I love them! Le Souk has them (where I purchased mine) but you can also find them at shops like Zara Home or in this Dutch shop called Zester.

Now for some popular brands that I find in small shops locally:

  • Rice. Not the kind you eat, rather the Danish company that you wish you could eat as everything is so sweet looking. I find their products in many shops here in northern Germany and on various German online shops. They’re a real hit here.
  • Sia. When I first saw their label I thought of one of my favorite singers from Australia but this Sia is different, it’s a home fashion brand based out of Trier, Germany. I find many of their products locally, too. Pillows, dishware, etc.
  • Kokon. This is a company based in Munich with a large store there as well, but I am finding their products in shops around here too. I just picked up a gorgeous embroidered floor pillow from them last week at a local shop called Looms. I like the Kokon aesthetic very much.
  • TAJ Wood & Scherer is another shop with goods all over Germany, found mostly in fine home shops. The pillow on my sofa is from TAJ. I find their products very colorful, detailed, and unique — I don’t know of any U.S. based companies with similar wares, which is nice! I especially love their They happen to have an online shop and it’s in English in case you’d like to purchase some things for your home. They ship worldwide, too!
  • UK designer Cath Kidston and her romantic girly prints and patterns.
  • House Doctor – I’m truly in love with this company. Flip through their online catalog to see what I mean.
  • Green Gate – More feminine florals and bright colors. Browse their online catalog for Fall/Winter 2008/09 here.
  • Nordal – Lots of ethnic inspired design, another brand I love.
  • Lisbeth Dahl
  • …and if you’re shopping here for baby you’ll go crazy! Things here for children are SO DARN CUTE. You’ll want babies if you don’t already have them when you come to northern Europe. I love how kids dress here and absolutely adore all of the Anne-Claire Petit stuff I see in stores.

Of course, these brands above are not the only ones around! They are many more but my focus above is on what I’m finding in the smallish boutiques that I shop at.

(images from vtwonen, rice, and of course my own photos taken at home)

Posted in round-up, shopping, textiles, travel, trends, walls on September 15, 2008

Amsterdam Meet and Greet: September 5th!

Hi everyone! It’s me Holly checking in to say hello and to ask for a small favor. On Friday, September 5th I will be in Amsterdam and some of my online friends and fellow design bloggers will meet with me there for the evening to relax, have a few drinks, and to simply meet face-to-face and establish new contacts. I’ve had a terrific response by many who would like to attend, so I’m investigating possible places to host a small group for a few hours (after dinner, between 8-10 PM).

A cafe is fine, or even a small retail shop or gallery space, but since I’m not familiar with Amsterdam at all I’d greatly appreciate suggestions if you have them. My hotel is in the center of Amsterdam near the Singel Gracht and the floating flower market, so nearby to this location is preferred (or at least a short train ride away, also fine).

You can comment below with your tips or contact me directly here.? And if you are in Amsterdam on September 5th, set some time aside to join us. All are welcome to attend – ladies and gents! Once a location is confirmed, I will post details on decor8 so stay tuned if you are planning to join us.

Thank you friends! :)

(photo by jaar haar)

Posted in etsy, textiles, uncategorized, what to do on August 26, 2008

My Love for Pillows

Thank you so much for having me as a guest contributor today on your fabulous newly designed decor8, Holly! Hello everyone, this is Irene — some of you may know me from my blog Bloesem or B:Kids, two blogs that are about expressing my ideas about design and giving exposure to many creative talents in our world while looking at beautiful images that inspire much day dreaming!




Just a few inspirational images from the portfolio of Stylist Irina Graewe above. Don’t these pillows make the space so much nicer? I think they also provide a nice base as this post is about some of my favorite pillows and now you can also see how I enjoy seeing them displayed in the home.

Those who know me well understand that pillows and I go very well together… I guess it has something to do with my love for beautiful fabrics. When I see a nice fabric I think that it would make an awesome pillow, so in our house there are many different styles and types — mostly made by me, but the ones I’m mentioning today could easily fit in our collection as well.

The first ones that I would like to show you express my love for vintage and linen. Mel Bomba from Sydney is a graphic designer by trade but in her etsy shop, MelVilleMade, you can find these awesome pillows that will fit in any interior. Mel and I both prefer books with pictures over those with only words and we share a love for the color green. An instant connection!


These lovely cushions have a very fresh and retro feel and are made by the Toronto based company, Tonic Living. They are a small, family-owned operation selling a large pillow collection online. I?m thinking of ordering these for our balcony, which I?m currently redecorating with only white and wood furniture and bright accessories. These will bring such an extra summer feel. For inside our apartment these ?grass? pillows would be great, like I said before green is my favorite color, together with my grays and linen I think it would look very nice and chic. The people behind Tonic Living strongly believe in Karma, positive energy, quality and their slogan is, ?We hope that the cushions bring new life and energy to your living space which makes us an overall “Tonic” for your life!?

These are not your average pillows, but very funky ones with some great illustrations on them made by the creative duo Leal&Mabe, two people who feel strongly about bringing good design and respectful manufacturing practices to market. I discovered them at the fabulous online shop Supermarket.

At Volga Linen you can find the basics that are so important for decorating a house, beautiful colors combined with linen textiles make the perfect pillows. Volga Linen is a family-run British company with strong ties to Russia, where they obtain these exquisite linens.

And last but certainly not least are these lovely appliqued handmade pillows by Dawanda seller, Brokesy who has a collection featuring all things about air travel. As well as making pillows, this Canadian lady works as a costume designer, stylist and a wardrobe girl (not sure what that is) in L.A, California.

So that?s it for today, I hope you like my selection of pillows and I wish Holly a wonderful stay in Germany in her new place!

(photos linked to sources above, text by Irene Hoofs of Bloesem.)

Posted in guest bloggers, textiles on August 22, 2008

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