Two Books By Bloggers and a Revamped Magazine:



Big changes debuted in the October issue of Southern Living magazine.  Southern Living always seemed to be a “sister” publication to the recently shuttered Southern Accents, and with their new direction,  they might be hoping to attract some of those readers.    But, they also  seem to be going after the younger Cottage Living reader too.    Everything about the magazine now seems geared to a younger demographic, which I think is great.   A lot has changed – gone are the tiny pictures which have been replaced with much bigger ones.  There are new layouts, graphics, and fonts, and there is new editorial content – such as a Recipes Index, a new Small Scale Decorating Projects column,  a Great Southern Drive each month (my fav,)  new columns on entertaining and cooking,  and  there is  “Gardening 101”  for the novice/weekend gardener.    And these are just a few examples of the new columns – there are many more. 




The new colorful layouts and graphics.


What always attracted me to Southern Living were the decorating stories – but with the small pictures and their typical one or two page stories, they usually left me wishing for more.  This month – the decorating section showcases much longer stories along with the new larger pictures.  My favorite decorating story this month was five pages long!  


image My favorite decorating story in this month’s Southern Living was about this cottage.  While most decorating stories in the past were usually one or two pages – this story was five!



 I love what the homeowner did – he enlarged and framed a letter to create instant, yet personal art!



The cottage’s kitchen – I love the sink’s backsplash and wall hung faucet.



Another great art idea – maps!

I’m thrilled Southern Living is changing – it’s all for the better.    If you have been a fan of the magazine before, you will love it even more now.   If you’ve never read it before – give it a try!






Fellow blogger, interior designer, author, artist, fabric designer – Jackie Von Tobel is a whirlwind.  How she has time to do it all amazes me.   Two years ago she wrote and illustrated Window Treatments, a  sort of drapery bible (available HERE) – but Jackie is not one to sit around and twiddle her thumbs.   Even before Window Treatments was published, Jackie was already thinking ahead to her next book:



And here it is:   The Design  Directory of Bedding by Jackie Von Tobel, available HERE.   In her new book, Jackie again wrote and illustrated it - over 544 pages – a feat that just astounds me!   The book is organized into sections – making it easy to find exactly what you need for either yourself or a client if you are an interior designer.  Published again by Gibbs Smith – the book features all of Jackie’s detailed art work.   Her next project which was borne from her two books is her own fabric line!     I’m hoping Jackie might now take a long, much–needed vacation.  But I doubt that, I’m sure there is something new brewing in her head.   To win a free book, visit Jackie’s blog,  HERE.


Some of my favorite illustrations from Jackie’s new bedding book:


image Jackie has illustrated examples of headboards – here she tackles iron ones.




And here she designed a headboard made of shutters.





Here Jackie designs slipcovered headboards. 




I love this canopy bed, so pretty!




And  here is an example of a raised canopy.  Each section is accompanied with a detailed explanation of the designs.




Two coronas, ala Jackie Von Tobel!





And finally, an example of the volume of illustrations – four versions of one neck roll.

Jackie, good luck with your new book !   You certainly deserve it, now go get some rest!!!!





And finally – today, there is this new book on Michelle Obama.   Soon to be released,  it was written by Mary Tomer who founded Mrs-O HERE, a hugely popular blog all about our First Lady’s fashion sense.   Often compared to Jackie Kennedy who shared Michelle Obama’s love of fashion, Mrs. O is the first First Lady since Jackie-O who has had so many books written about her fashion style.     But, it is this one fashion book on Mrs. O that really captured my attention because it was written by another blogger!   I love that so many bloggers are now stepping out in publishing.  The book is very comprehensive, starting with the young, single Michelle, through her marriage, motherhood, the campaign, and ending with her stay in the White House.   Most exciting are the interviews with many of Mrs. O’s favorite designers.   Mrs. O – The Face of Fashion Democracy is available for pre-order HERE.

While I was sent the book for review – I don’t want to spoil it for you by showing the pictures from it, so instead, I have chosen to show photographs of Mrs. Obama taken in the White House – this way, we can combine fashion with interior design! And also, while I know many of Cote de Texas readers are Republicans, I hope you will also enjoy these photos – with the historical and quite beautiful White House as the back drop!



The Official Portrait of our First Lady, taken in the famous Blue Room, with Thomas Jefferson looking down over the scene.  Here she is wearing her trademark look – a sleeveless Michael Kors dress that shows off her highly toned arms!  



Here, you can really see a lot of the decorating details in the Yellow Oval Room in the Private Quarters of the White House.  I love the fabric on the chair Mrs. O is sitting on!



On a tour of the White House, the first couple are shown the State Dining Room.   I wonder if she is examining the curtains?   Look at that molding!!!  Abraham Lincoln is gazing down here – can you imagine living with such art work?


Another sleeveless dress in the Blue Room. 




Here, the couple is in the  Diplomatic Reception Room – with its beautiful mural.    Sleeveless again!   George Washington is surveying this scene.




The Green Room – I love these personal, intimate shots of the two of them.   They always seems to be speaking a private language between each other.



Mrs. Ronald Reagan, another fashion icon, comes for a visit.  Notice the huge blue and white pot, the jib door, the beautiful fireplace and mirror.   I wonder what Mrs. Reagan thinks when she comes back – they must be bittersweet memories since her husband is no longer here to enjoy it with her.  I also wonder about the china – do you think this is the china that Mrs. Reagan designed?  That would have been such a sentimental touch.   I wonder if Mrs. O has designed their china yet. 





Another former First Lady visits, Mrs. Jimmy Carter.   The woman in red is the Vice-President’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden.  Mrs. O is so tall – you can really see it in this picture.    What a view!!!!!!!!!!!!!



The Clintons and the Carters pay a visit to the Oval Office.   I love the rug that President George Bush created for this office, I hope the Obamas keep it.    I wonder what Clinton and Emmanuel are saying???



Another secret message to the First Lady dressed in yellow.  Do you think she planned to match the curtains here?



The Blue Room with its exceptional set of furniture.   President John  Tyler looks down on another shared laugh between the two!



The Governor’s Ball in the State Dining Room.   Do you see Governor Arnold?  I love that the President is pulling out his wife’s chair!  This dress by Peter Soronen was a stunner with the huge pearl necklace accessorizing it.




Off the Blue Room, is the Red Room with another set of incredible antique furniture.   This is the cutest picture!   Even the page is laughing at the first couple. 





The Blue Room, the day after the inauguration.   It’s time to update these curtains I think.




The beautiful halls of the White House – he must be rushing her here!  Typical husband!



Ok –Mrs. O isn’t in this picture, but what a beautiful picture of the Green Room!!  What is he looking at? 




My favorite!    The first President ever to hold a Passover Seder!   Despite all the reports of the Obama’s hanging out with left wing radicals, actually many of their friends and members of their staff are Jewish.   During the long campaign, the tradition of holding a family Seder was started.   Did you know that Michelle’s uncle is also one of the most celebrated black Rabbis in this country?    The very young and very beautiful First Lady Francis Cleveland looks over the Seder held in the Old Family Dining Room.    Maybe they’ll invite me next year!



To pre-order blogger Mary Tomer’s book on our First Lady’s fashion style, Mrs. O The Face of Fashion Democracy, go HERE.

To order Jackie Von Tobel’s  The Design Directory of Bedding, go HERE.

And be sure to visit your local book stand and pick up the new Southern Living magazine.

And one last reminder:  if you haven’t already, please visit the Skirted Roundtable HERE to listen  to interior design great Charlotte Moss talk about her life and everything else!  She is so fascinating!

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