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Get Real: Design Motifs

Welcome to a brand new weekly feature called Get Real. This will be a post for readers to jump in and voice opinions on topics relating to decorating, blogging, small business, and the design world in general. I’ll post a new topic and a few questions to get you started weekly on Thursdays. Then everyone is free to jump in and participate. If you have any questions that you would like addressed, please email your suggested topic to me and I’ll consider it for Get Real. This week we’re talking about trends…

Zig zags are hot, silhouettes remain strong, birds are big, what would you like to see become a more common design motif? An octopus? Seahorse? Fox? How about a shape? Maybe some polka dots? Nesting dolls? Deer? Please don’t say Spread legs!

Go ahead, throw some ideas out, maybe it will inspire the many lovely artists and designers who stop by and read this post. You never know who is reading, your idea may kick off the next big thing. This is also your space to vent about the motifs you can’t stand and why. It’s important to be honest about design because let’s face, everyone isn’t loving the exact same things and it’s okay to admit it!

I hope you enjoy Get Real!

Posted in inspiration, real talk, small business, trends on May 29, 2008

The Clever Mustache

I’ve been watching the sly little mustache sweep through the indie design world for at least a year now which leads me to wondering how this whole ‘disguise’ trend got started as a design motif in the first place? Anyone know?

Shown above: cards from elephantine and owl print from hoorah.

I’ve seen it used on pocket mirrors and buttons, wallets and art. Also necklaces, sticker packs and even on posters, throw pillows, rubber stamps and silver stud earrings. This crafty man knitted and framed his own and Mr. Octopus seems to be enjoying his immensely.

Marcel Duchamp drew one on a copy of the Mona Lisa once so is this some kind of modern day take on that? Hmmm. Anyone know?

(images from elephantine and horrah)

Posted in etsy, trends on March 03, 2008

Malinki Design {dress forms}

I spotted Malinki Design in the February issue of LivingEtc and had to learn more. Seems they are in the business of creating elegant mannequins out of funky florals and feminine silks, including custom designs (bespoke). I like the idea of owning a lovely French mannequin and though the intention I assume is to use it for tailoring, they also make a great accent in the home because you can drape them with accessories (handbags, brooches, a scarf, etc.) so that they’re functional. You can even use them as an inspiration spot for pinning fabric swatches, magazine clippings, etc.

If you’d like to learn more, you can contact owners Fiona and
Lucy though LivingEtc tells us that these start at around $1,300 USD.

On a budget? If you’re feeling creative you can buy a dress form with a wooden base for only $60 from vendors like Only Mannequins and customize it yourself. Try a patchwork technique or decoupage if you cannot sew. Paint the base in a fun color or hand paint it with a motif you love. You can also find vintage dress forms on sites like Craigslist and eBay. Search: mannequin, vintage dress form, dress form, it’s super easy to find these things on the web.

Here’s a dress form that I love from the wardrobe
remix
queen herself, Tricia Royal aka BitsandBobbins on Flickr.

An Anthropologie store window photographed by Skitzo Leezra. By the way, when is Anthropologie going to give us a book? I mean seriously. I think about this all the time, why don’t they have a book compiling images of their store displays with how-to’s on exactly the materials used to make each display? They pull together some of the best DIY projects and then, a few weeks later, they disappear forever. They need a book. I digress…

I took this photograph through the window of boutique
in Hannover, Germany back in 2006.

Here’s a pretty form from Impressionen.

Display your vintage brooches like Lannon787 does.

A 1950′s dress form found on Craigslist by Jessica in Portland, Oregon also known on Flickr as ThriftCraft. Wow. This is a great piece, I especially like how the breasts are so worn — those have seen a lot of action in their day I guess! :)

Or if you prefer the look of a wire dress form, try Ballard Designs.

Click here for some more dress form inspiration. Do you decorate using a mannequin? Do you sew or just use it to display things? Care to send in any photos? :)

(images linked to sources above)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, diy, trends on February 14, 2008

Impressionen {Germany}

I’m perfectly aware that posting about Impressionen (and other non-U.S. websites) can frustrate (sorry!) but decor8 is not merely a blog about shopping. While I want to be a resource that you think of when you’re looking for the perfect sofa or some art, decor8 is a catalog of ideas, places, people, and things that I find inspiring enough to share no matter where they may be based in the world. Of course, I try to make sure that things are available online for purchasing in case I found the ideal piece you’ve been seeking, but unfortunately not all websites ship to where some of us live and not all of them are even in English. Like Impressionen.


My goal is to expose you to design that you may not see in your part of the world, and though many read this site from America, there are others tuning in from parts of Europe, South America, Asia, Australia, I’m often amazed when I look at my stats! And while a store like Impressionen isn’t in English and doesn’t ship to America, I have to consider that German readers and others may really enjoy this resource and for the rest of us we can simply enjoy viewing how products are arranged, checking out current trends, and to see how you may be able to use some of the things in your home currently in new ways (like a standing mirror shown above, for instance. Looks great arranged in this way, doesn’t it?).


Sometimes a reader will write in upset with me (with CAPS on!) asking why I bother posting stuff they cannot buy from time to time. Well it’s simple and I’ll quote Morrissey (a personal favorite singer-songwriter), “America is not the world”. There is much more out there to embrace, more to see and be inspired by, than what’s available on our own shores. And while I love American design and support designers here (obviously because I write about them a majority of the time), I’m forever fascinated by what’s going on in the world of design in other places to.


Back on the subject of Impressionen, though they are based in Germany I think their products reflect what is equally trendy in Scandinavia, Switzerland, the Netherlands, even regions of France and beyond. When I’m in Germany each year I hop on trains and planes and buy heaping truckloads of European design magazines that I cannot buy here in the states so I can see what’s going on. And I visit tons of stores and interview designers there. I also recently started attending design trade shows since ’06, so I’m starting to recognize what some of the current trends are over in northern Europe like gray paired with pale lilac, Modern with lots of white and pops of color, silver with gold, black with white, cottage, rustic (atlers, twigs as mirror frames, etc.), and ethnic eclectic in bright colors like chartreuse, fuschia, teal… Plus with blogstars like Emma in Stockholm, Danielle in the Netherlands, and Bowie in London, how can any avid blog reader not start to catch on to these design trends over time?


And of course, though the trends abroad are similar to what we see here in America, the decorating styles and overall taste level differs according to culture so how one country translates Ethnic style (for example) can look a little different from how say, we Americans perceive it. It’s important to look outside of your home country to see what’s hot — it keeps our minds open and helps us to see some of the things we currently own in a different light. Remember how Kylie had a negative view of IKEA until she went to Europe? Kylie returned to America with a whole new perspective on IKEA finds and now she’s a believer. It’s all about exposing yourself to new ideas when it comes to design and decorating!

(images from impressionen)

Posted in shopping, travel, trends on February 12, 2008

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