November Design Favorites

Happy Thanksgiving



Favorite Kitchen Helpers


We're excited at Design2Share because soon we'll be opening up our new online Home Design and Decor Shop in partnership with OpenSky, a company dedicated to revolutionizing the way we shop on the Internet by making the shopping experience more neighborly and putting product selections into the hands of subject experts. Keep checking back this month for our Grand Opening.

We love the new Cooking with Friends Club shop on OpenSky. Check it out for some great products, wonderful video demonstrations, and a special discount. You can also get to Shannon and Alison's great kitchen blog from their shop, too.

Read our Favorites2Share column each month for more OpenSky shop favorites!


Visit the NEW DESIGN2SHARE SHOP on OpenSky. Great gifts, superb design, all selected by Design2Share experts. We promise these are items you can't find at most stores, and they're home goods we're proud to have in our own homes, too. Did we mention FREE SHIPPING and connecting to all the other 50+ great OpenSky network specialty shops?

New items are being added to our shop all the time, so check back often -- just in time for the holidays!


Best Antique Shop in New Jersey


Congratulations to James Curran on having the readers of New Jersey Life Magazine vote his exciting shop in Lambertville, NJ the best in the state!


New Book & the Comeback of Quilts


Have you noticed that quilts are hot? For home decor, they're loaded with options, but quilting is finally getting its voice back as both an art form and as a means for community-building and healing.

One place you can hear the buzz is in Times Square, where from now through mid-November, NYC’s The City Quilter will have quilts flashing across Panasonic’s 28 ft X 38 ft Astrovision screen to promote their MADE IN NEW YORK: City Quilting Exhibition, taking place just a few blocks away at the Williams Club. The 15-second quilting spot runs every 7 1/2 minutes. It premiered October 3 and runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through the end of the exhibition on November 14.

The other place you can hear about quilting’s comeback is via the Quilting for Peace campaign launching in November, a national effort to support modern charity quilting initiatives and to raise awareness of this tradition so that it may continue to grow and thrive.

This fall, STC Craft published Quilting For Peace: Make the World A Better Place One Stitch at a Time by Katherine Bell. Inspired by our nation’s rich legacy of “quilting for others,” Katherine Bell interviewed an extraordinary assortment of women (and a few men) who have organized groups to provide warm bedding to people made homeless by poverty, violence, or natural disasters; who have made quilts to comfort the sick, hurt, or grieving; and who have used their craft to raise money and draw attention to a cause—from Newborns in Need, a group that stitches clothing for premature babies to Quilts of Valor, which makes quilts to honor wounded soldiers; to the Sleeping Bag Project which distributes hundreds of homemade sleeping bags to the homeless every year. 

“The quilters I encountered during the making of this book had a few things in common,” shares Katherine on her Quilting for Peace website, “. . . practicality and old-fashioned resourcefulness; considerable persuasive and organizational skills; a firm belief in justice and people’s responsibility for each other; and a faith in patchwork’s ability to absorb the maker’s care, respect, and on occasion outrage, and to let whoever touches the quilt feel those as well.”


Our Guilty Pleasure on HGTV


We admit that we're addicted to the HGTV guilty pleasure My Big Amazing Renovation. There's something about homeowner greed and avarice that really delights us. The first mistake most homeowners make when they approach a renovation is to make the scope way too grand. Why settle for a 2,000 square foot home when you can have a 7,000 square footer? (Can you say McMansion?)

Another example of Homeowner Hubris is shown off quite well in the HGTV show: "We can be our own general contractor." Sure, you have no experience whatsoever, you're a control freak, you have zero idea about what you're getting into, and you're trying to save money and time and labor but all of these factors will eventually escalate way out of proportion.

Our favorite episode took a 1,200 square foot colonial home and turned it into a tricked-out 3,800 square footer. Yes, it needed to be modified to accommodate the needs of a growing family, but there were some ridiculous additions that drove the initial budget of $400,000 up beyond $525,000 -- and that was with the wife doing the general contractor's chores. Our favorite quote from the homeowners came near the height of the madness when, in a colossal understatement, they looked at their shell of a house, without a roof and facing threatening skies that could have dumped feet of snow right into their new construction, and said, "It's not fun any more."

The morals of this and other home renovation story are several:

  1. Expect cost overruns.
  2. Expect delays in your schedule.
  3. Try not to live in your home if your renovation is extensive. (It will be pure hell and messy for everyone.)
  4. Find a general contractor and professional vendor subs who are skilled and come highly recommended. Don't be a hero and do it yourself. If the scope is huge, trust professionals but stand your ground.
  5. Watch the HGTV mesmerizing hit My Big Amazing Renovation to learn more about what you might be getting into, and watch the Professional Help video on Design2Share for more tips about how to tackle larger home renovation projects while working in a smart and productive way with pros.



Favorite Flower Photos


Many thanks to two Design2Share users for sharing these great garden photographs with us. They're very inspiring! (Which reminds us, next month we'll be recommending a favorite Open Sky Project gardening shop, so stay tuned . . . . ) Leona shares the gorgeous garden photo above and Elisabeth Ann ("Flower Princess") shares the lovely flowers below. Thanks for sharing. Upload your photos and other information so we can post them on future Favorites columns simply by clicking on our Sharing page and using the Browse and Upload File buttons.

Jay JohnsonComment