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Amsterdam Meet and Greet: September 5th!

Hi everyone! It’s me Holly checking in to say hello and to ask for a small favor. On Friday, September 5th I will be in Amsterdam and some of my online friends and fellow design bloggers will meet with me there for the evening to relax, have a few drinks, and to simply meet face-to-face and establish new contacts. I’ve had a terrific response by many who would like to attend, so I’m investigating possible places to host a small group for a few hours (after dinner, between 8-10 PM).

A cafe is fine, or even a small retail shop or gallery space, but since I’m not familiar with Amsterdam at all I’d greatly appreciate suggestions if you have them. My hotel is in the center of Amsterdam near the Singel Gracht and the floating flower market, so nearby to this location is preferred (or at least a short train ride away, also fine).

You can comment below with your tips or contact me directly here.? And if you are in Amsterdam on September 5th, set some time aside to join us. All are welcome to attend – ladies and gents! Once a location is confirmed, I will post details on decor8 so stay tuned if you are planning to join us.

Thank you friends! :)

(photo by jaar haar)

Posted in Etsy Faves, Objects, uncategorized, what to do on August 26, 2008

My Office Update for Under $200

Hello there! It’s me Nicole again from Making it Lovely. I’m transforming my so-so house into a lovely home, and I thought I’d share a little of my process with you while Holly’s away!

My office was one of the first rooms I finished when my husband and I moved into our home last year. As you know, I own Pink Loves Brown and I work from home, so I needed my office to be functional as soon as possible. Unfortunately, I didn’t put all that much thought into the design of it. It’s really not that bad, but I’m ready for a change.

(photo by Evan Thomas, from my Apartment Therapy House Tour last year)

Here’s my office as it is now:

The basics of the room will be staying. That means I’ll be keeping my desk, chair, bookshelf, lamp, and several other items. I’m even keeping the paint color! Normally, paint would be the first thing to go because it’s such an easy way to change a room for little money, but I think the color will work really well so it’s staying!

I’m only changing four things. That’s it! I think it will make enough of a difference to keep me happy for a while though.

I can make the curtains out of Robert Kaufman’s Purple Utopia fabric for about $50 and then splurge on a Thomas Paul Flourish violet linen pillow for $100. I’ll attempt to make a slipcover for my desk chair (around $10), and then I’ll pick up a new Helmer drawer unit in white from IKEA for $40. The red one I have now could be spray painted if I wanted to do this all for even less, but I actually need another draw unit in my studio so I’ll just bring the old one up there.

So with two purchases, two sewing projects, and $200, I can have a whole new look! That is unless I change my mind and go with something else first. It’s been known to happen. ;) So what do you think about my office ideas? What are some quick changes you’ve made to spruce up your home office lately?

(images linked to sources above, layout and text by nicole)

Posted in Decorating Tips, guest bloggers, Rooms on August 26, 2008

Meet Tara Hogan of INK+WIT

Hello everyone! It’s Holly stopping in for a moment… Remember me? (smile) I thought I’d say hello and let you know that soon I’ll be back here blogging full-time on Thursday, August 28th. I’ve really missed you but I’m having a wonderful time in Germany and our new vacation apartment is coming together so nicely so this time off has been beyond helpful. I hope that you’ve been enjoying all of my guest bloggers, I check in daily to read their posts and think they’ve done quite a lovely job filling in for me. It’s always hard to trust your blog to others, but it was good for me to let go a little and I’m so glad that I did.

Today I thought I’d pop in for a moment to share a special person with you, along with a mini chat that we recently had about her life as a stationery designer. Are you ready to meet Tara Hogan of INK+WIT and see her pretty home and studio? Of course you are! We all love Tara!

Tara tell us, where do you live?
I’m in upstate New York in a town called Fayetteville, but I was born and raised in southern Connecticut.

And what do you do for a living?
Design, Illustrate, Teach Yoga – And run INK+WIT!

That’s all? (Just kidding). How did you get started?
I envisioned having my on business during college. My dad was an independent contractor for many years and I grew up around him having flexible hours and a steadfast work ethic. I had a solid idea to go freelance with design 4.5 years ago while working at a design agency in Syracuse. It was going nowhere. Not to be negative but my art was really put on hold and I was just standing still at this job everyday. It became a job, a paycheck. Right around the time I started practicing yoga consistently I got the courage to go freelance from my design job. I was in the midst of conceptualizing INK+WIT and how it would function. Fortunately, I had submitted some designs to Great Arrow Graphics in Buffalo, NY for licensing and they accepted four of them! This really gave me the confidence to keep building my idea.

How did it finally come together?
It was all very hard to figure out and at one point I just stopped trying and it came together. I remember networking like crazy and making more and more designs. I was showing them to friends and family and getting many positive responses which told me to move forward. Soon, a few local stores bought wholesale orders and I got more experience at how to order, stock, and promote INK+WIT to larger audience. It was not easy at all but I would not do anything differently. It was through constant research, evaluation, and long nights that this all came together.

What do you love about owning your own business?
The personal dialog and connections established with clients. I get to choose how to utilize my voice and vision. And, waking up on my own time sometimes does not hurt either. It is nice when you are having a day that you need not call in to report. However, I appreciate the time I worked in a design agency and web company. The design team was tight and I truly made some of my best friends at those two professions.

What do you dislike about having your own business?
It is a huge responsibility and you always need to be ‘on’. I have learned that it takes 150% to make a small business work and function with integrity, speed, quality, and delivery. It can be exhausting but I stay focused on the goal and the goal is built with positive intentions. It drives me and gets me through the busy times.

Where do you find inspiration in Fayetteville, New York?
Lately, my backyard and also CNY Yoga Center, where I practice and teach yoga. The Erie Canal also runs near my house and there are great trails with lots of deer, woodpeckers, and fish.

What is your favorite local shop?
We do not have any here, seriously! So, it is the Syracuse Real Food Coop where I buy fresh produce from local farms and my favorite drink, Kombucha.

What’s on your wish list?
More travel, an Eames plywood chair, a guitar, and a horse.

Where do you find inspiration?
During meditation and travel.

Describe your work space…
In progress… I moved 7 months ago around the holidays and I am still trying to mold it – but it is playful, simple, warm, and functional.

Who do you admire most and why?
My husband, for his honesty and sincerity.

What do you like to do on the weekends?
Lately work, haha! yoga, gardening, small road trips.

If you could have any job in the world, what would you do?
Make documentary films.

3 Places You’d Love to Travel to…
Provence, Tuscany, and Tasmania.

Who would you like to have dinner with?
My mom (she has been ill for some time now and it would be nice to enjoy a meal with her).

What is your favorite food?
Vegetarian Thai Thom Kha Coconut Soup.

What is your most treasured belonging?
My spiritual knowledge.

Best advice you’ve ever heard?
Everything is perfect and nothing is permanent (Dharma Mittra, my yoga teacher and dear friend).

What are some of your goals in the next 5 years?
I am researching more animal sanctuary’s to raise money for through creating specific letterpress prints like the one I illustrated for Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary where part of the proceeds will help rescue and nurture animals. I’d also like to create eco wallpaper for children’s rooms. Possibly a few sculptural objects like mobiles as well. I want to create more art and design that will be functional and uplift people. Oh and play guitar, a long overdue goal!

What are some of your favorites websites/blogs to visit?
decor8, designsponge, creature comforts, indie fixx, freshly blended, domino magazine, hive modern, poppytalk, bloesom, crafting a green world, Rachel Jones, dwell magazine, new york times art section online, treehugger, hostess with the mostess, Cool Mom Picks, Cuteable, Coochicoos, {frolic!}, Oh Joy!, Fawn & Forest, Maharam, little paper planes, nahcotta, pure food and wine, dharma mittra yoga, sfgirlbybay, Emigre, herman miller, bholu, lekker, architonic, pushmepullyou, centre pompidou, and Pentagram.

Whoa! That’s some round-up of reads! Thank you so much Tara for stopping in to share your work, inspirations, and your studio space with all of us. We appreciate seeing the more intimate views of designers we follow, so many thanks for giving us a peek into your world.

Readers: If you have a question (or ten!) to ask Tara in regards to small business ownership, design and illustration, or anything else that you can think of please comment and she’ll reply either today or sometime during the week depending on her schedule.

Note: If you are interested in her products you may also visit her Etsy store in addition to her website mentioned above.

(images from tara hogan)

Posted in interviews, stationery on August 25, 2008

Lovely Things…

You’ll adore: Jewelry designed by Wiyomu.

Posted in uncategorized on August 25, 2008


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