There are still some pillows available at Transistor, Wolfbait and Homesoul in Chicago.


I'm above the fold!

I went downstairs to pick up my mail today, noticed the DNAinfo paper among all the other advertisements and holiday cards, and thought to myself how nice it would be if I got a little blurb in here, since they had run a great article about me and the pillows in their online edition. So I get upstairs, and pull out the paper from the stack of mail, and find my own mug smiling back at me from the front page! I'd never in a million years have thought I'd end up above the fold, especially in this lovely Chicago neighborhood paper! So, I have to say... this feels pretty damn exciting.

Ending the year on a great note. Thanks Josh McGhee (@TheVoiceofJosh) and @DNA info Chicago (@DNAinfoChi)!

NeighborHäuser™ will be at the Bucktown Holiday Artshow tomorrow and Sunday!

Come visit this fabulous event in Holstein Park, both Saturday and Sunday from noon - 5pm. Lots of talented artists will be offering great holiday shopping, and of course I'll be there, too, selling my pillows, pillowcases and greeting cards, at a special event price.

And if that's not enough reason to come weather the snow storms, there will also be a silent auction benefiting A Long Walk Home with items from each artist. 

Founded in 2003, A Long Walk Home, Inc. (ALWH) is a Chicago-based national non-profit that uses art to educate, inspire, and mobilize young people to end violence against girls and women.

My contribution to the silent auction: this one-of-its-kind set of 4 NeighborHäuser™ Wicker Park napkins. 

I made it with leftover fabric of the pillow production. 

NeighborHäuser™ napkins will likely never be mass produced this way, because the 5-color screenprinting would make them ridiculously expensive as a set. So it will be a truly unique item, and you can bid on it, for a good cause.

So come one, come all, despite the snow fall.

Here's the info on the Artshow:


DNA Info Chicago Holiday Shopping Guide

NeighborHäuser™ featured in DNAinfo's Holiday Shopping Guide!

Stoked to have made it into the Chicago Holiday Shopping Guide. Thanks, Josh McGhee (@theVoiceofJosh)! 

Read the full article with many wonderful gift recommendations here:

Happy Holiday Pillow Shopping, everyone!

DNA Info Chicago Holiday Shopping Guide

Shipping NeighborHäuser™ Pillows

Only 1 week left for online holiday orders!

The NeighborHäuser™ online shop will take a break from shipping any pillow orders after Friday, December 9th, until January 3rd. 

Orders received after December 9th will not be shipped before January 3, 2017.

So if you're still in need of a snuggly pillow with your favorite Chicago neighborhood on it, get your orders in soon.

Of course, if you live in Chicago, you can always get them in person at these locations and events:

Transistor in Andersonville

Wolfbait in Logan Square

Bucktown Holiday Art Show (December 10+11, noon-5pm)

Late-er Night Andersonville (December 16, 6-10pm)


Happy holidays!


Shipping NeighborHäuser™ Pillows

Great article about NeighborHäuser™ pillows in DNAinfo

Andersonville Homes Featured On Pillow-Cover Designs By Local Businesswoman

By Josh McGhee | November 10, 2016 5:13am

ANDERSONVILLE — When Julia Thiel moved from Germany to Chicago 12 years, she was more fascinated by the "melting pot" of architecture she saw in her new neighborhood than the giant skyscrapers lining Lake Michigan.

She saw little houses right next door to big houses. There were bland houses with Greek columns. She saw Asian and Victorian influences donning the same block, she said.

"The architecture here is just so different from European architecture," Thiel said. "It’s a collage of all these architectural styles."

In Europe, the blocks feel a little more organized as far as architecture, but the history of Chicago create a much different aesthetic, in part because of the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, which brought a bunch of architects "with all these different influences" together to rebuild, she said. 

Now, the graphic designer is turning those homes into a business by sketching designs of the homes that have been printed on eco-friendly throw pillows in herNeighborHauser collection released last week. (Hauser is houses in German.) The works feature her favorite homes from blocks in Andersonville, Lakeview and Wicker Park, she said.

"To me, the residences are more interesting than the typical skyline of American cities because houses are where the people actually live in, not the big corporations. And they are as diverse as the people who live in them," she said. "Somehow they all seem to be just thrown together. Not necessarily matching, but because they’re all like that it looks cool."

The idea began about three years ago when Thiel first moved to Andersonville and starting turning the homes into fabric patterns.

She started by walking her block of Carmen Avenue running west of Ashland Avenue, which had "a mix of single family wealthy homes" [and] "ramshackly little buildings." She took pictures of them with her phone then illustrated her favorites on her computer by hand with an electronic pen.

"In a way, it's an immigrant story about a German designer who was happy to find such a diverse and creative community here in Chicago and was encouraged by that same community," she said.

Each house takes her about 30-60 minutes to sketch depending on how intricate the design is. Each pillow features 30 different homes, she said.

For fun, she started putting the fabric patterns on aprons and towels. Everyone she showed them to said "this is cool, you should do all the neighborhoods."

But making it into a business became difficult because she wanted to find a local shop that did everything she needed, so she could keep designing and not have to worry about sewing, she said.

"I looked for two years and got so many different prototypes. I had bad printing I had people who wouldn’t do a label, or people who wouldn’t do the hang tags," she said.

Until she found The Apparel Agency, 2023 W. Carroll Ave., "a full-service development and production management agency, bringing success to apparel brands" through comprehensive plans and private labeling, according to its website.

"They helped source everything," she said.

The pillows are all made from eco-friendly material: The fabric is organic cotton, the inserts are made from recycled plastic bottles and the hang tags are made from recycled paper, she said.

Each pillow features five colors of homes. The color scheme for the Andersonville version pays homage to the neighborhood's Swedish Heritage. For Lakeview, she gave a nod to the Chicago Cubs with some red, white and blue, she said.

For Wicker Park, she used colors seen in the building materials like an "oxidized copper teal color," dark wood, brick and grey, she said.

Each pillow is $79 and available here. They can also be purchased at Transistor, 5224 N. Clark St. in Andersonville, and Wolfbait, 3131 N. Logan Square Blvd. in Logan Square.

Thiel also hopes to move on to illustrating more neighborhoods such as Ravenswood and Logan Square, then an outlier of the city like Evanston or Oak Park. She's also planning lower priced items such as tote bags, tea towels, greeting cards and prints.

But if you happen to live in one of the currently feature neighborhoods, you may be surprised by some of the homes on the pillow.

"People living in those neighborhoods might find their house on the pillow," she said.

Click here to read the original article.


Photo by Josh McGhee (@thevoiceofJosh)

NeighborHäuser's first craft fair

I'm happy to report that the pillows attracted a lot of attention at the annual SheSays Chicago Shop & Sip Craft Fair.

We met many wonderful crafty women and enjoyed spending the day at the Chicago Design Museum with my little pillow stand.

Thanks, SheSays Ladies, for putting this event together!

Baiting wolves with pillows

So excited to announce another shop that now carries my pillows – Wolfbait in Logan Square! Packed with wonderful handmade gift items, this is a perfect place to get your holiday shopping done. 

What a great week!

NeighborHäuser™ pillows at Wolfbait

Grand slam for my pillows

Not only did the Cubs play some amazing baseball last night, but my pillows also scored big – they're now on display in one of the coolest shops on the Clark strip in Andersonville: Transistor! I am honored and humbled to have the pillows surrounded by other fantastic Chicago artists. Now the challenge will be to not spend all the money I make at Transistor, right there in the shop!

NeighborHäuser™ will be at the Chicago Design Museum November 5th!

Come buy some pillows at the Shop & Sip on November 5, at Block 37 (The Chicago Design Museum). This annual craft event was put together by the nice ladies of SheSays Chicago.


"Browse (and buy) everything from custom jewelry and vintage clothes to letterpress goods and handmade soaps. You’re guaranteed to find something for yourself and your friends while supporting the multi-faceted creatives who inspire us. Sip some wine, beer or cocktails at the cash bar, network with the sellers and the SheSays community."

Register to attend here (it's free!):

Press Release: Yoolia Design launches NeighborHäuser™ Collection

October 31, 2016


Yoolia Design is proud to announce the launch of its new line of gifts and home decor, the NeighborHäuser™ Collection. Inspired by the architectural variety of Chicago’s diverse and historic neighborhoods, the distinct design reflects the true melting pot of venerable Midwestern-style homes, iconic two-and three-flats, and grand old apartment buildings. 

After moving to Chicago 12 years ago, German designer Julia Thiel fell in love with each neighborhoods' unique "Häusers", and wanted to create something to celebrate them. The initial launch features throw pillows with Andersonville, Wicker Park and Lakeview houses. The line will soon expand to include other Chicago neighborhoods, like Ravenswood, Logan Square, Evanston and Oak Park.

The NeighborHäuser™ Collection can be found at and will soon be available at boutiques throughout Chicago. For more information please contact Julia Thiel at