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“Here is the star it?s Barbapapa…” Okay time break things up a bit and be a kid for a moment. I’m finding so many cute toys and illustrative children’s books over here, I can’t resist posting about at least one of my new favorites — Barbapapa!

I spotted these brightly colored toys in various home magazines in the past, mostly European magazines featuring kids spaces, but I never thought much them until my recent getaway to Sweden. It was there in a design store where blog pal Emma pointed them out to me, explaining a bit about them. Here’s one above on a piano.

Barbapapa is a French cartoon that was popular in the ’70s and has since made a comeback with products and toys, much like Hello Kitty has in the states, I assume. When I returned from Stockholm and asked my husband about Barbapapa, he instantly knew what I was talking about because he said here in Germany, it was all the rage when he was a little boy and that he enjoyed watching the cartoon as a kid. It’s about a family of shape shifters who turn into many different shapes and objects. I have to confess, I was intrigued to learn more, so I watched some of their cartoons on You Tube over the weekend. So cute., I’m an official fan of these adorable little characters.

And I found a local design shop called Wohnwaren where they sell the entire collection of anti-stress toys and key chains, so I may come home with one of the characters in my suitcase. Here’s a link to their online store. So next time you’re flipping through a design magazine, see if you can spot any. If your kids haven’t heard of them, maybe you’d like to introduce these characters to them. Here’s some fun Flickr images of Barbapapa.

These S+P sets were designed by idhaus, a Flickr person I found today – I’ve sent him an email to see if he sells these online. Seems Barbapapa was his muse.

via kbo

via jenn44.
These are planters that contain seeds, she found them
in Japan. Sooo cute.

Any Barbapapa fans out there? If so, here’s a cute online Japanese shop offering Barbapapa in case you are interested or on the Creanova website. I want the dish scrubber and the slippers (shhh don’t tell anyone, super immature of me I know).

(interior image from vtwonen)

Posted in uncategorized on October 22, 2007

Vacation Time!

Time for a girls’ getaway! I’m signing off now because in the morning I’m heading up to Stockholm to meet up with Danielle, who is flying there to meet me for holiday. We’ve both wanted to see Stockholm for many years now, so it’s exciting that the time has finally arrived and that we’ll be taking in the sights together, with Emma and a few other friends as our trusty guides. (Psst: Emma wrote a terrific guide to Stockholm if you’d like to see some of things we plan to do while there.) I can’t wait to finally meet Emma!

I’ll be away from the blog until Wednesday, October 10, so please feel free to browse through the archives and some of my favorite blogs in the left column while I’m away. And when I’m back, I’ll share with you all the highlights from our little adventure in Sweden, from the stores to hotel photos, and a ‘best of’ round up from the Hem design show. I’ll see you back here on Wednesday, October 10th! – xo Holly

(Image: Rob Schoenbaum for the NYTimes)

Posted in uncategorized on October 04, 2007

Happy Weekend!

I’m signing off for a busy weekend with my family, so I’ll meet you back here on Monday. Here are some links to hold you over for a few days – see you soon!

Don’t forget to…
Suggest a calendar and enter a mini contest to win free stuff.
View our new sponsors – Designers Guild, Jenn Ski, Three Potato Four, Akasha and Twig.
Visit an Etsy art round up over at Domino written by yours truly.
Suggest some Stockholm Tips (please!).

And you’ll want to visit…
A NYC girl taking on a new life in the city of lights.
Another former New Yorker in a new apt in San Francisco with a passion for a good redux.
Modern Dose added new products and a special discount to decor8 readers – take 10% off by entering code “decor8″ upon checkout starting October 1st for the entire month. The ceramic antler bowls are my favorites.
Awesome new washed colors grace the classic Eames plywood chair at Hive Modern. I fancy it in the pale blue stain myself.
Stina Persson has a new website.
And finally, gorgeous photos from Susannah Conway over on Etsy.

(image from susannah conway)

Posted in uncategorized on September 28, 2007

Hello Friends!

I hope all is well, I just had to check in today to say hello and to let you know that I’m now blogging from the other side of the pond in Germany. Let’s just say that life here is a lot different for me from where we spend most of the year back in the states in New Hampshire.

Looking straight ahead from our balcony.

We live in the country usually (photos here) but now this country maus is a city maus again and I love it. It’s like living in Boston all over again as I did when I was single, only better (sorry Boston) because well, it’s Germany and everything here fascinates me despite that I’ve visited here 1-2x per year for the past 8 years.

Notice the late 1800’s, early 1900’s architecture, the art deco details, the brick roofs? I’m very fond of this style of architecture. It’s easily one of my favorites. Plus these are standard apartment buildings here now, with soaring ceilings, huge windows, some with balconies, very Elle Decor UK or Elle Decoration for sure. :)

We’ve been so busy with family and friends since our arrival that my head is completely spinning so I’m trying to figure out what to tell you that would interest you about it here. Maybe you can give me some ideas, what questions do you have, what would you like to know, etc.? I will do my best to blog my finds and keep the blog focus on interior design and decorating, but I hope you’ll forgive me if I weave in other finds as well, including fashion and architecture, photos of cool typefaces I find on signs, interesting crafty things I pick up from friends, etc.

Looking to the left… If you walk one block this way, there is the subway station – two stops (5 min) and you are in the city center. If you walk past the subway stop, you are at the entrance to the Eilenriede, Europe’s largest urban forest spanning over 1,500 acres. With it’s many trails, this is where I take my morning walks to clear my mind and relax. I also love to look for the red squirrels with the big ears. :)

Since we’ve landed here, I’ve already been all over the city, to the art museum (walking away completely inspired, again), and of course to the farmers’ markets and little boutique stores and bakeries every chance I get. Whenever I’m here, I can’t get enough – there’s so much to see and do. I spent nearly two hours in the train station at the book store browsing books and magazines. There are magazines here from all over Europe, and to my surprise, a Russian Elle Decoration. Imagine.

Here’s a few views from where I sit and blog each day. I’m usually out on the balcony , this is my view, or I’m seated at my desk overlooking the same street. It’s heaven, isn’t it? This is something I never tire of, a view of beautiful buildings, children laughing in the playground next door, and the church bells ringing quite often. :) It’s all so quaint here. I want to take photos of everything, I held myself back at the farmers’ market this morning – there were so many carts and tables overflowing with flowers and foods, many of which I’d never seen before. All the colors and textures completed inspired me.

Looking to the right. If you walk 1 block north from here, you are at my brother-in-law’s house, another 2 blocks, and you are in a square with places to eat and a weekly farmers’ market on Wednesday. If you walk right, you are 2 blocks from where my mother-in-law lives along with many of our friends. It’s great. Also to the right of this photo there is a kiosk and playground.

Back in a moment with a few posts for today. And please, let me know if you are interested in learning or seeing anything over here – I am happy to share with you what I can. That’s the beauty of the internet.

Psst: If you’d like to read an article about Hannover, the city where we are staying, here is one that I wrote in April of 2006 for a Canadian website.

(images from holly becker for decor8)

Posted in uncategorized on September 26, 2007


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