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10 Great Etsy Shops

10 Etsy Favorites for October here.

Posted in uncategorized on October 17, 2008

Inspire Company

Just a few moments ago I came across web shop Inspire Company quite by accident… one click, two clicks, three clicks, four and there I was at the Inspire Company blog authored by founder and shop owner Amy. I think I’ve seen Inspire Company (the shop) before but I’ve definitely not noticed the Inspired Ideas online magazine and the Inspired Friends page. I love this idea. It’s fresh and it is exciting to see imaginative shop owners sharing information about their sellers in such interesting and creative ways, Inspired Ideas reminds me of a scrapbook/mood board and each collage is pulled together so nicely. You really get a sense of who is selling there in her store and just how special these people really are.

The current issue spotlights the life and work of Canadian blogger and violin teacher Lilli Beck of Make Mine Blissful (she also has an etsy shop) and Lilli demonstrates a free DIY project for Inspired Ideas readers to enjoy.

I adore the mouse egg box tutorial. Squeak!


You can also visit some of the Inspire Company’s past Inspired Friends by clicking here and scrolling down. So many good little bites to chew on including a jewelry designer that I really like, Kristen Townsend of Mood Swing Studio.

I think that this bejeweled shade DIY is just great, directions here.

You can also find a past issue highlighting Hope Wallace, I’ve long been a fan (and customer) of her paper goods. More here on Miss Hope.

I hope that you enjoy visiting the Inspire Company today!

(images from the inspire company)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, inspiration, shopping on October 16, 2008

German Illustrator Silke Leffler

When I travel outside of the states I have this must-visit on my list that I often hit the second I’ve unpacked: Locate a book shop! Not only because I need to find magazines, cookbooks, interior design and craft books but I must locate the children’s book section. One can learn a lot about a culture by visiting a local book store, don’t you think? Illustrated books provide me with endless inspiration and are such a huge personal pick-me-up. I often flip through them imagining the day when perhaps I’ll author my very own, and if it’s not meant to be that I write a one that is sold in bookstores then I will write them once I become a mother for my own kids.

My aunt was a great lover of illustration and sent me books ever since I was a baby that made a deep impression on me. She paid such close attention to illustration and had great taste, as a fine artist and illustrator herself I now understand why she so carefully selected books for me. My favorite book was The Maggie B, I still have it and when I’m missing my aunt (she passed away at age 41)… I take it from my bookcase and read it because the story so perfectly captures the meaning of comfort and the joy of having a rich imagination, you instantly feel warm the moment you read it and the illustrations convey care and comfort so beautifully.

Here in Germany I escape to the bookstore whenever I need a break and recently discovered publisher Annette Betz and in particular the German illustrator Silke Leffler. I REALLY find her illustrations so full of whimsy and they have a definite fairytale feel to them. I immediately purchased Das Andersen M?rchenbuch because I really like the full page color illustrations. I’m studying German right now and such books help me to learn the language since I’m so visual, and you can’t even believe how I use this point to my advantage when it comes to justifying the purchase of beautiful kiddie books. :)

If you also like Silke’s work you can purchase a print from her at a website in the UK called EasyArt. She has designed bedding for IKEA that Inspire Co. blogged about here that is really sweet, too. I think it’s available in the states in addition to IKEA in Germany.

Now I’m wondering… what is your favorite children’s book? I like so many, but the Maggie B is at the top of my list because it’s a very emotional imaginative tale and connects me back to my Aunt.

(images from silke leffler)

Posted in Books + Magazines, kids, travel on October 16, 2008

How Do You Handle Inspiration Overload?

I’m still feeling the warm glow from yesterday’s inspiration that came from Living & More magazine and Birgitta Wolfgang Drejer. I wish so badly that I could share each and every page of this German decorating magazine with you as the photos are just so super stunning and I really enjoy the crafty projects as they are easy and fun to do. I’m off to the craft store today to pick up some doilies to work on a small project that I saw in the magazine, if it comes out well I will post photos tomorrow so you can see it. I think that if you have a magazine in hand that gives you inspiration for days, fuels your imagination, and gets you moving in a forward motion you have found a great resource. Rarely do I feel this way from magazines these days. I was buying each and every issue of home magazines from this country and that country and now I’m not feeling it anymore. I need MORE. Often they still feel so snooty to me, like I’m not part of the club. I need to connect with other readers or the homes that I am seeing and not feel a huge gap between THEM and ME. I don’t feel as inspired by rooms I know I’ll never be able to live in — I never expect to buy a $15,000 coffee table and I’m totally okay with that. I doubt I’ll ever have the Malibu beach house overlooking the Pacific. I think that it’s important to be happy with what you have, no matter how humble, and cherish that space you’re in. Oftentimes a lifestyle is crammed down our throats that in reality, we really do not want but we think we want it because it’s being presented as ‘the’ way to live.

I want to address something I’ve found as a negative when it comes to design magazines, shows, even design blogs. Of course, I’m a silver-lined happy cloud (he he) so I have 1,000 positives for every negative meaning that despite my view being a bit of a downer here, I still continue to author a design blog and be part of a community that I love and cherish. I don’t plan to depress anyone by saying this… I think in every relationship there is always some negative aspects, even in a marriage or friendship. It’s part of life. So I’ll just put it out there. Do you ever feel like there is too much going on out there that you’ll never catch up? There are soooo many things you see, want, love, are dying to make, dying to do, but often feel overwhelmed by it all? Yeah, me too. I totally do. I was thinking today in the craft store as I was trying to find candles for this project I’m working on that it’s important to pause and not run yourself absolutely into a hole trying to get “it all done”. I think that we as women can easily turn inspiration into this twisty vine that chokes us called competition. Either with others or with ourselves, as weird as that sounds. I also think that YEARS ago before blogs and great magazines like Domino and Living Etc. I was almost content in my bubble that the way I decorated and the way my parents decorated was just fine — we had little back then to compare our decorating to I guess. Now it’s different. The second we finish our living room design we see something in the home of another person even on a blog or in a magazine, on television, wherever and instantly feel like we need to change something. We aren’t happy with the hardwood oak floors, now we saw a magazine with high gloss black wood floors and that’s ALL WE THINK ABOUT. Of course until we have the black floors and then we see a photo of someone else who did something ultra clever like stencil their floors with a doily pattern or something. See where I’m heading with this? It’s called a disease people and we all have it. We want our fix and there are hundreds of publications ready to give it to us. Which brings me to ask you…

How do you personally manage all of the information and ideas that you are exposed to on a daily basis so as to be somewhat productive? I stick diligently to lists and I often do not allow myself to move onto another project without first finishing what I’ve started. Mother always said that now didn’t she? “Finish what you start!” I also work very hard to filter everything I see and decide what exactly I should use and what is not perhaps practical and leave the idea alone. I think mood boards are VERY effective. Whenever I have a project, for instance decorating my apartment or someone else’s, I spend months collecting ideas and placing them all into folders and clear plastic sleeves in a binder and over time I start to see a definite pattern and then I know I have tapped into the exact look I need to begin shopping for. That’s exactly how I pulled together my current kitchen. I had a mood board, spiral bound notebooks, a very exact vision in my head and despite all the zillions of kitchens I’ve seen that I’ve loved since I started collecting inspiration for my own, I did not give in to impulse – I stuck to my guns and now I’ve pulled together a kitchen that really works for me and my husband and I like how it looks, how I stayed under budget by $4,000, and that in the end it is ME and my vision.

So again I ask… How do you turn what some consider a negative (inspiration overload) into a positive? Any specific things that you do that may help other readers? How do you feel personally about all the rooms and objects galore that saturate the internet these days, do you enjoy having so much access to design around the world or does it sometime make you want to hide your head under the covers because you do not know where to start?

(image by holly becker for decor8)

Posted in real talk on October 16, 2008

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