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coffee + cre8tive {aug 21 ’06} + Blueprint Review (Fall Issue)

August 21, 2006

Happy Monday! For those of you anxiously awaiting the next issue of coffee + cre8tive {aug 21 '06} + Blueprint Review (Fall Issue)I liked most of the features this time, I could see myself using some of the ideas vs. just looking at them and saying, “maybe” or “not” as I did with the last issue. I’ll take a moment to highlight my favorites.

Before I get started, I love that they featured two pages of The 100+ Best Websites – I was soooo happy to see home blogs being mentioned, as well as shopping sites like 2Modern. Of course, publishing giants tend to focus on blogs with the largest audiences, but the ones they gave props to deserved it as well (it wasn’t just about the numbers). Maybe they’ll think of us little guys someday (sigh). I can see blogs like Oh Joy!, Print + Pattern, Happy Mundane (along with many other great blogs), earning a spot in there, too. What blogs DID they mention? Well, I don’t want to spoil the surprise, so you’ll have to pick up the issue and flip to pages 148-149.

Blueprint highlights (at least for me):

P. 34 They featured a GREAT sewing machine, a new model from Husqvarna that is UNDER $150! If you are new to sewing, BUY THIS MACHINE. Husqvarna is a heavyweight in the world of sewing. Pick up the issue for puchasing details.

P.35 Beyond Diapers. I merely loved the various safety pins, such mundane little objects, but I could really see using some of these for sewing projects, or even art in a shadowbox frame.

P. 36-39 Off With Their Shoes! A very sensitive topic, I’m aware, is that of asking your guests to remove their shoes upon entering your home. Fortunately, my pals immediately step out of their shoes when they visit, they require this when visiting their home, too. I imagine if I were to throw a cocktail party or have strangers over to work on something in my home (like the construction crew that was in here most of this past winter/spring), it would take much effort and tact on my part to ask. This article gave some helpful little tips for socks and slippers, and included templates that you can use to make cute pictures for the wall that ask your guests, nicely, to remove their shoes. I love the photo on P.36, the mustard yellow, chocolate and white entryway is quite striking!

P. 40-45 Plants in Glass Houses. This article was quite helpful and the photos provided unique ideas that I’ve not seen before. I love how they teach you to use plants in glass containers, creating lush landscapes using succulents and silver sand.

P. 52-53 DIY: From Buttons to Bling. Fantastic simple layout, easy instructions, how to transform buttons into rings. My only question is, where did they get the actual “ring” piece? When you see the issue, please let me know if I missed something here or where I can find the actual ring, I haven’t a clue where to purchase something like that. Michael’s, perhaps?

Center: Handbook – Buy Better Luggage. Last issue, the insert helped those looking to purchase a sofa. This time around, luggage, packing tips, and additional luggage features that you should look for. I read the entire insert, especially since I’m flying to Germany next month. I plan to apply lots of these suggestions. One suggestion that I wasn’t aware of: TSA recongnized locks. They have them at Target, so if you’re looking, now you have a resource. They go for around $8 each and come in snappy colors like silver, black, lime, pink, blue and red. Chic and secure!

P. 98-105 Ye Bolde Colonial. This was my favorite article because it’s about a 1852 Charleston home (South Carolina, where I grew up), and I just loved the architecture of it, along with the colors used in the decor. It wasn’t exactly a style I would use, but it was so welcoming and cozy, and I just loved the owners and how sweet they came across in the article. It wasn’t some mid century modern home (again) in CA and it wasn’t another Brooklyn/NYC post war apartment or loft. Finally, an actual home in a town that deserves some press. Coastal South Carolina is gorgeous!

P. 116-125: A Tale of Two Pretties. With two home offices on display, the article not only lists resources on where to buy everything you see, but everything is organized in that lovely Martha Stewart way. I love the downtown home office, the second office featured. The yellow, grey and white is very clean and appealing. Cool storage tips and the screen divider project looks fun and functional.

P. 140-147 They’ll Drink to That. This was a true education for me because I’ve not visited a wine store before that offered samples and treats, and I’ve never thrown a wine tasting party, nor have I ever attended one. I wasn’t into wine until 2001 (I’m not a big drinker), so I’m guessing that’s the reason. Had I liked it in my early 20’s, I may have had the exposure to this swank swirling and sipping experience. Taking the reader on a tour of a wine store in Manhattan’s historic South Street Seaport, you can visit with the owners, view the space, pick up how to tips, learn about a proper wine tasting table setting, grab several bruschetta recipes, and they’ve even included checklists and scorecards! Fun!

P. 156 – Book Review page, spotted a few that I need to pick up, was reminded of one that I’ve always loved called, “The World of Ornament” by Taschen (amazon seems to have crashed this afternoon, so the link may not work right now). I decided to make it the decor8 book of the week so that you could consider picking a copy up for your coffee table. It features over 5,000 images and patterns from ancient Egypt all the way through to 19th-century Europe in 528 oversized pages. Because they are all copyright free images, you can use a color printer and go crazy – create frames, gift wrap, wallpaper, candle wrappers, you name it. It also comes with a DVD. GREAT BUY.

Of course, not mentioned above, Blueprint articles on shoes, fashion, skin care, natural makeup tips, etc… But honestly, those don’t interest me (and I am a total fashion addict). I’m just not into $800 shoes and with all the books on the market (and magazines) that specialize in beauty and fashion, I really don’t see the need for these things to be covered in Blueprint, especially since the items they feature aren’t SO fresh and amazing that you break your neck to look at them.

I would love to see Blueprint add more home tours, decor suggestions, home organizing help, shop tours, reviews, and even take a movie and rip it apart – show us how to create the same room at home (for instance, the office in The Devil Wears Prada or the apartment in the Break Up) to replace the beauty and fashion bits. But, that’s just my opinion.

With all this said, I found a lot of good in the Fall issue, which I’ve already highlighted above, so with the fashion/beauty bits aside, this is a strong issue. I like it. I give it 3 stars.

Hope you enjoyed the highlights. As soon as it hits newsstands, please let me know your opinions, as well.


Flaunt tonight at Junc Gallery in LA

August 19, 2006

Flaunt tonight at Junc Gallery in LA
Sometimes I crave a portal. Okay, I actually wish for such oddball things quite often, a space in which I could slip into and zip! I’m on the other side of the world. In a way, the web is a portal, blogs are portals, and I hope that decor8 is your own little place to escape, a spot to silently slip into a new world filled with pretty things, some you’ve seen before, others not.

Tonight, I want to close my eyes and wake up in LA. I want to spend the day smelling the salty air on Santa Monica beach, take that post-beach shower that always feels so good (and reveals how much sun you really got during the day) and then spritz on something pretty, slip into something girly, and head over to Junc Gallery for their show, Flaunt, featuring some of my favorite artists like Camilla Engman, Jen Corace, and Nathan Gray. Then, an hour or so later, drop the top of my leased convertible (total east coast tourist in me!), hit track 1: Run – Snow Patrol and cruise down Montana through Brentwood and into the heart of Hollywood. Grab dinner (Cuban, perhaps?) and of course, mojitos. Maybe even meet up with my pal, John. After spending two weeks in LA last summer, I’m hooked. I must get back there. Soon.

Since I’m unable to fulfill my desires this evening, I’m leaving it up to you. If you’re in LA, please head over to Junc. Mingle. Enjoy Camilla, Jen and Nathan. Who can resist the carefree feeling of a Saturday summer night? After such great art, follow with your favorite restaurant, a nice summer cocktail, and a huge dollup of great friends and good food.

Have fun! Reception begins at 7:00 p.m.

Flaunt tonight at Junc Gallery in LA

(images from junc)


s.wert design (berlin)

August 18, 2006

s.wert design (berlin)
s.wert design is a firm based in Berlin, founded by designers Dirk Berger and Sandra Siewert in 2003. They create ?cultural souvenirs? that highlight architecture and urban planning, including the changes that specific areas are undergoing, with items that tell a story about Berlin. I am intriqued by their designs because I enjoy displays of passion and pride, I love seeing people who are genuinely concerned about their city and have a lot of pride in its history, and have something to say about the future. I like seeing them highlight fears via design. It’s one thing to design something pretty or trendy, anyone can watch the market and design what’s hot (not rocket science), but to go deeper than the surface… that’s a thing of beauty. To design from your soul, focusing your work on all the issues that bother you as well as everything that you embrace, this is moving, touching, alive.

Gift wrap with a story? Yes, the Dialogue, Reciever, and Ruhesitz am Zoo all have something to say, Ruhesitz am Zoo with graphics from four decades (50s-80s) in West Berlin (Ruhesitz am Zoo is the name of a home for the elderly next to the Berlin Zoologischer Garten) to Angry Children pillows (the pillows show building fronts which have, or soon will, disappear from Berlin. These disappearing landmarks frustrate Berger and Siewert, who say that these pillows, “angry children”, refer to disrespect of the current generation for their architectural forefathers.).

You can clearly see that this design duo has something to say about Berlins postwar modern architecture.

They even have gingham table cloths, “kleinkariert? (meaning small minded and also the material gingham). Through this item, they are shedding light on suburban sprawl, “suburban sprawl is padding a layer of fat around our cities”. Table runners and dishtowels are also available in this pattern.

They even have two books, “Von der Partei zur Party?, about how the Berlin TV tower went from being a socialistic symbol to a subcultural icon and “B?rlinale”, a book about the Berliner Bear, Berlin’s most well known symbol, paying a tribute to this graphic symbol with 300+ designs.

Cards, accessories, lighting, and a dog/owner card game are also available.

You can shop online for their wrapping paper at Designista of Sweden, or order from s.wert directly with Paypal. Click here for complete details in English.

s.wert design (berlin)
(images from s.wert and designista)


coffee + cre8tive {aug 18 ’06}

August 18, 2006

coffee + cre8tive {aug 18 '06}
“Here are fruits, flowers, leaves and branches, And here is my heart which only beats for you” – Paul Verlaine (1844-1896)

Did you catch An American in Paris Flower School in the September issue of Domino (page 102 + 105)? If not, it was about reporter, Cynthia King and her adventures in Paris arranging flowers at the prestigious flower school, L’Ecole des Fleurs. Trained by Laure Primard (Cynthia describes her as an Audrey Tatou type with a warm smile that she later learns conceals a French sneer), the day begins with the words, “You make arrangements with your personality”. Cynthia says that she learns later in the class, that this is a big lie, since the class was all about rules and order.

I respect that her instructor followed a certain order in doing things, which seemed to frustrate Cynthia very much, but towards the end of the class she has a bit of a change of heart, “You have to admire the the technique of the French, their mastery and ability to blend nature to meet an aesthetic sensibility. But I’m American. I like things a little shaggy, quirky, and natural.” The class gave her confidence to handle flowers, which in the end, seemed to be worth the uphill battle she seemed to have with Ms. Primard.

I’m American but I look through a different lens I guess, I don’t like things shaggy, I actually prefer having rules and order, especially when I’m taking a class – I wouldn’t register at an expensive school in Paris and expect anything less than what Cynthia experienced. I also think that there are certain rules that you need to follow for everything, whether you are writing a book, decorating your home, or riding a bike. Tossing flowers in a vase may not be wrong, but it’s also not exactly right, either. My mother taught me floral design, and there are specifics to follow or else your arrangement (no matter how lovely the flowers) can look depressed or flat, or even die very quickly. You also can harm the flowers, and if standing for a long time arranging them, your back and feet, so you do need to wear proper shoes and stand correctly, with good posture. Like many of you, I’ve taken classes in various art schools and the ones I walk away learning the most from incorporated a sense of seriousness, lots of direction, constructive critism, explanation of procedures, etc. If I wanted a laid back “do what you want” approach, I’d buy a book, gather some friends, and learn at home.

Here are some tips from the article:

1) Dark flowers should be placed next to lighter ones for maximum contrast.
2) Stems are part of the display (in some cases) so should be neatly cut.
3) The bouquet should be round, but with height in the center.
4) Add fruit to your bouquet, an apple or lime on a stick works nicely.
5) Spriral stems to create a some (how to video on
6) If using a clear vase, remember presentation goes all the way down to the stems. Tie the stems with raffia when you place the bouquet into a glass vase – holds them together and looks chic!

Visiting Paris? One day classes are offered at the L’Ecole des Fleurs for around $150 Euro per day. They also offer classed in the decorative arts, learn porcelin painting, decorative painting, embroidery, and charcoal portraiture. Classes on beauty, entertaining, food, wine, chocolate, and fashion are offered as well.

psst: Buy yourself a bouquet this weekend and add some fresh blooms to your space!

(images from L’Ecole des Fleurs)


Do You Have Any Stencil Resources?

August 17, 2006

After reading my post yesterday about wallpaper and the DIY squiggle idea, decor8 reader Christina Sachtleben wrote in to share a photo of her very own DIY wallpaper project – just add paint and a good stencil and viola! fauxpaper, as I call it (see below photo). I think Christina did a great job, and of course, she gave me permission to post her work for all of you to enjoy and to hopefully become inspired by! Maybe there’s a space in your home where you can create your own fauxpaper?

Do You Have Any Stencil Resources?
Christina is looking to take on another DIY project in her home, so she’s wildly combing the web for more stencil resources, this time, plaster stencils. I tried to do some digging for her, and I found the following stencil and/or plaster stencil resources. Some of these places are great, I am really surprised at how easy it is to dress up your walls on a budget. When I think of stencils, visions of apples and chicken borders race through my head. Time to think OUTSIDE of that very small box. Stenciling goes way beyond farmhouse folk art and shaker styles…

Stencil 1 – Sheesh, this place is total coolness. Scroll down the entire page, so many fun designs, I really love the sparrows (see top photo). Deers, skulls, stars, great stencils for gals and guys.

Modello Desgin – Classy place for gorgeous stencils. These people embrace ceilings as being the fifth wall and glam them up to the max. (They even sell kits to create antique mirror effects.)

Stencil Planet – Lots of everything. I really like this idea, only I’d add glass to the top to dress it up a bit more.

Victoria Larsen
– Plaster stencils + more!

Stencil Library – Great source for stencils from Japan to Art Deco and Modern Design.

Henry Donovan Motif – UK based, super selection, unique designs. Isn’t the water chrysanthemum stencil beautiful?

My Stencils
– These folks tend to carry more of the folksy stencils, but the damask stencils they have are gorgeous – so check them out!

Royal Design Studio – Another great site with lots of stencil designs to choose from. I really like the Swedish Florals. After I emailed Christina last night with these resources, she is going with the Swedish Florals as her next DIY project. Hopefully she’ll send in some more photos…

If you have a quick design question, need help finding that special something, or if you’re looking to share photos from a project you’ve completed, please send me an email.

Christina’s DIY Fauxpaper Project – Good job!

Do You Have Any Stencil Resources?
(images: Top: Stencil Planet, Stencil 1, and My Stencils. bottom: Christina Sachtleben)

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