Design*Sponge

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book tour diary: west coast


Image of our SF book party with Clay Walsh, Lisa Congdon and Rena Tom. Via Lisa.

The first week of our book tour was so much fun, but also incredibly tiring. We promised ourselves we’d keep a tour diary, and then it ended up being next to impossible to take photos and do any work outside of our already pretty crazy schedule. So we said to ourselves, week two. Week two will definitely be when we start. Amy and I managed to take some extra photos, but this second leg of the tour (the longest and most challenging of the entire tour) was even tougher than we imagined, including some 4 am wake-up calls that pretty much zapped us for the entire week. But that said, we had an AMAZING time and were so happy and appreciative that we got to travel the entire West Coast from Vancouver down to LA. I’ve uploaded some of my favorite snaps and videos above and below, but please feel free to share any photos from the events. Thanks so much to everyone who came to say hi in Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, LA and SF. xo, Grace and Amy

Portland: We started the West Coast leg of the tour in one of my favorite places on earth, Portland, Oregon. We were especially excited because we got to spend 2.5 days there, a rarity on the tour. Typically, we spend less than 24 hours in a city, so getting time to see friends and eat as much as possible was a real treat.

Favorite moments: Coffee at Ristretto, brunch at Tasty & Sons, getting the big room at the Ace with a record player, catching up with great friends, breakfast at Broder, a packed craft class at the Ace, meeting the very model of “I don’t know how she does it” (the amazing Alexandra Hedrin) and the gorgeous backdrop that Cori Kindred designed for our book party at West Elm.



Image above: Me, Matt and Amy. This is what jet lag looks like.



Image above: Toro Bravo dinner, delicious coffee sodas at Tasty & Sons.

San Francisco: San Francisco is always a favorite stop on any trip because it’s the hometown of our resident DIY queen and one of the coolest girls in the world, Kate Pruitt. Though we had an early flight into town, we were excited to be welcomed by beautiful sunny weather and getting to meet with some great book sellers from the Northern California Independent Book Sellers Association in their beautiful Presidio offices. After that, we met up with Kate, tried some crazy rubber face masks at the hotel, and headed down to the Anthropologie to set up for the event.

Favorite moments: The Presidio view of the Book Sellers Association, getting to spend time with Kate, the amazing custom-dyed 600+ edible cookie wall that Leah and Sarah built as our backdrop for the party, the band Anthro hired to play for the party, catching up with friends in town, getting to see my Aunt Marsha from Florida and her son/my cousin, Matt, who’s stationed in Monterey.


Image above: A view of SF from above . . .

Los Angeles: LA is the city I used to think I’d end up in at some point, despite the weird rivalry New Yorkers seem to feel with it. I love the sun, the beach and the food. The weather certainly didn’t disappoint, and we got to soak up a little sun while we were in town (from our hotel balcony) along with some seriously high temperatures.

Favorite moments: Sitting on our (pretty weird) hotel balcony and listening to birds, meeting the incredibly awesome Bobby Solomon of The Fox is Black, signing a few books at Book Soup and seeing that both Henry Rollins and Duff McKagan were coming for signings, too, meeting almost the entire Azzarito family, the giant donut sign, the awesome backdrop that the Bash, Please girls built for the event and getting to meet so many nice people (and eat delicious high-top treats) at the Beverly Hills event.



Image above: Our hotel balcony



Image above: All I can think of is the Walsh family . . .


Image above: I loved the painted gourds outside of the Beverly Hills Anthro store where we had our event.

Seattle: After a few days of heat, it was nice to escape into the welcoming arms of fog, rain and overcast weather. I’ve grown to really love the damp coolness of the Pacific Northwest, and riding back into Seattle felt like coming back to an old friend. Amy and I got an extra day in town that we happily filled with lots of tasty food, pretty walks and a few brief visits with friends.

Favorite moments: Spotting Dwight Yoakam on our plane, our hotel with its fancy bathtub that filled from the ceiling, a breakfast stroll through the Pike Place market, visiting the Amazon headquarters, Japanese hot dogs, coffee with Twitter friends-turned-real-friends, sleeping in and eating an entire bar of Bread & Chocolate chocolate from local heroes Theo Chocolates. Also, it can’t be overstated how amazing both Matthew Parker and his amazing backdrop for the Seattle event were.


Image above: The best (and most expensive — $2.50 each!) apples I’ve ever eaten in my entire life.


Image above: We used some spare time to shellac our nails. I’m crazy about all-natural face products, but for some reason, slathering car paint on my hands seemed okay.


Image above: Japanese hotdogs — delicious!

Vancouver: I’ve always associated Vancouver with my favorite band in the world, The New Pornographers. So part of me expected to land and see AC Newman pop out from behind a pine tree and start playing. Sadly, that didn’t happen, but we did get to soak up a bit of nature during our brief stay (we were there for less than 12 hours). Vancouver is indeed one of the most gorgeous cities around, and I can’t wait to visit again soon.

Favorite moments: Riding a bicycle built for two around Stanley Park, seeing gorgeous totem poles, finding someone’s wallet in the park and getting it back to them (despite a woman who tried who steal the money — boo!), warm ginger molasses cookies on the walk back to the hotel, meeting Jan from Poppytalk after being Internet friends for ages, an adorable dog-cake made for the book party, getting to see D*S editor Stephanie (who’s based in LA!).



Image above: Hockey-decorated candy bars. It must be Canada!



Image above: Beautiful totem poles in Stanley Park


Image above: Baby pine trees growing in a log. I love this city — nature is everywhere.


Image above: We had a few spare hours in Vancouver, so we rented a tandem bike to ride around the park. I take it back now — THIS is what jet lag looks like.

*We’ll have more photos of the backdrops, events and everyone involved in helping with them soon!

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d*s book tour: charleston + savannah event details!


A trip to the South is always a great one for me. It feels like home, and we always enjoy soaking up the food, kind people and beautiful scenery. I’m thrilled to be holding two events next month in South Carolina and Savannah, so I hope you’ll join us for the fun. Details and RSVP info is below . . . xo, grace

Event: Crafting Event + Party at Dwelling
Date: Wednesday, October 26th, 2011
Location: Dwelling (474 King Street, Charleston, SC 29403)
Time: 5-8pm (5-6pm craft workshop, 6:30-8:30pm party)
Description: Come join the D*S team from Brooklyn as we celebrate the launch of the book by recreating one of the stamping projects from the DIY chapter. All you need to bring is your own tote, clothing or fabric to stamp on. We’ll provide the rest. This event will benefit the Yo Art Project. We’ll also have a beautiful backdrop created by Tara Guerard of Soiree Events that you can take pictures against with friends.
RSVP: You can RSVP for the craft event ($20 each, 30 person max) right here and for the main event and signing here (if you get a craft ticket that includes the party, too).

Event: Lecture + Book Signing/Party at SCAD
Date: Thursday, October 27th, 2011
Time: 6-8pm
Location: SCAD, Arnold Hall, 1810 Bull Street, Savannah, GA, 31401
Details: I’ll be giving a lecture (and answering questions) at SCAD about the book, and we’ll be collecting art supplies to benefit local schools (to be distributed by the SCAD Buzz Bus)
RSVP: Please RSVP here for the event, space is limited so RSVP is suggested.

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d*s book tour: durham + asheville event details!


We may be on the West Coast this week, but we’re so excited to head south next month to visit North Carolina! I grew up with family in North Carolina but never got to spend much time in either of the cities we’re visiting, so I’m excited to see all of the exciting things that Durham and Asheville have to offer. We are having two different events in North Carolina in October, and I hope we can see some of you there! The event details are below. See you soon! xo, grace

Event: Craft/Book Signing/Celebration at Anthropologie
Date: Monday, October 24th, 2011
Time: 5–8pm (5–6pm craft workshop/6:30–8:00pm signing + celebration)
Location: Anthropologie (Streets at Southpoint, 8030 Renaissance Parkway, Durham, NC)

Details: We will be teaching all craft-event participants how to make their own custom wooden wax seal! Craft guests will watch a demo, make their own wax seal and leave with the seal they made, along with sealing wax and stationery to test on. Afterward, we’ll get together for the larger celebration of the book launch, where you can buy copies of the book and have yours signed! Drinks and treats will be served. Proceeds from this event will benefit the local arts charity Arts Center Live.

We will also have a custom backdrop designed by Michelle Smith against which you can take photos with your friends and fellow guests!

RSVP: The crafting event is limited to 35 people, so please RSVP HERE soon ($10 per person for the craft event, your ticket is good for the signing/celebration, too). The main event will fill up quickly, so please RSVP HERE for that soon, as well.


We are also excited to have both a party and a crafting event in Asheville at Malaprops! The details are below:

Event: Craft/Book Signing/Celebration at Malaprops
Date: Tuesday, October 25th, 2011
Time: 6–9pm (6–7pm craft workshop/7-9pm signing + celebration)
Location: Malaprops (55 Haywood St, Asheville, NC 28801)
Details: Come join the D*S team from Brooklyn as we celebrate the launch of the book by recreating one of the stamping projects from the DIY chapter. All you need to bring is your own tote, clothing or fabric to stamp on. We’ll provide the rest. This event will benefit the I Have a Dream charity.

RSVP here for the crafting event (limited to 30 people, $45 each includes supplies and a signed copy of Design*Sponge at Home) and here for the main event!

Illustrations by Julia Rothman

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book tour: east coast


If you’re in New York, there’s really no better place to introduce a book than the New York Public Library. There was added significance for Grace and me because I was working at NYPL when we met and collaborated on the series Design by the Book, which lead to me writing this post today!  Just three hectic days after our big Library crafting event, we had the official Design*Sponge at Home launch party at West Elm. Then the next day we took the show on the road, crafting and meeting people in Boston, Philly and D.C. Staying pretty close to home, we felt like we were just getting our feet wet – the real test would be this week’s big West Coast stint! Sometimes I think the book happened just so that we’d have a reason to go on tour. Since we spend most days in front of the computer, there’s really nothing better than connecting in real life, with people we talk with everyday. So far, we’ve found new friends in every city! I hope you come out and join us as move through the U.S.! -Amy A.


Images above: Crafternoon at the New York Public Library, September 10. All images by Brooke Fitts


Image above: Launch party at West Elm, September 13. Julia Rothman illustration in the window of West Elm. Image by Emily Anderson.

See more images from the book tour after jump!

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d*s book tour: paramus new jersey event details!


We’re heading out for the West Coast leg of the book tour this weekend, but before we hop on the plane, I wanted to post the RSVP info for our New Jersey event! We’re so thrilled to have another event in the tri-state area, so if you’re in town, I hope you’ll come join us for a crafting event and party/signing at the West Elm in Paramus (Northern New Jersey). The details are below:

Event: Crafting Event/Signing/Party at West Elm
Date: TUESDAY, October 18th
Time: 6:00-8:30pm (6:00-7:00 craft workshop / 7:00-8:30 party, open to the public)
Location: West Elm (380 N Rt-17, Paramus, NJ 07652)

Craft Workshop: I will be demonstrating a project from the book using freezer paper to customize your own cloth-based products. Then we’ll all make them together!
Craft Fee: $45 per person (this includes all of your craft supplies and a signed copy of Design*Sponge at Home!)
RSVP: This crafting class is limited to 25 people, so please RSVP here soon if you’d like to attend.

Book Signing + Party: 7-8:30 p.m.
Details: After the craft event, we’ll be celebrating the book launch with a party (drinks + treats will be served) and book signing. We’ll also be supporting a great local arts charity, the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey. Two of our favorite artists, Sierra and Juliette of Poppies & Posies, will be creating a custom backdrop against which you can take photos (thanks to Smilebooth) with your friends!
RSVP: RSVP recommended, just click “I’m going” on West Elm’s event page for Boston

*Illustration above by Julia Rothman

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design*sponge at home giveaway: winners


After the first leg of the book tour, it was nice to settle onto the couch yesterday and dive into the entries for the book giveaway. I was so blown away by the fun (and funny) pictures everyone sent in that there was no way I could pick only four winners. So I chose seven. These seven people will be getting a personalized copy of Design*Sponge at Home, a copy of the D*S summer newspaper and some ribbon flowers from the book’s chapter openers. Thank you so much to everyone who entered and to everyone who’s been so kind to pick up a book already. If you’re interested in checking out the book, you can get a copy here: Amazon, Barnes & Noble (comes with exclusive digital content), West Elm, Anthropologie (comes with exclusive printed content), Indiebound, Books-a-Million and iTunes (International sellers and more shops can be seen here).



Congrats to Alfredo, Kristin Sorra, Lindsay Johnston, Shari, Nicole Laporte, Carrie and Jasmine. You can see their fun photos after the jump. xo, grace

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