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Hello From Holly

Hello everyone, it’s me Holly (remember me?)! Just dropping by to give you all a giant virtual hug and to let you know that all is well concerning our relocation though our 82 boxes haven’t shipped yet from Boston so it will be at least a few months before we see our belongings. Fortunately, I have everything I need while I’m waiting so I can’t complain. So! How are you doing? What’s new in your life?

Soft and natural

I’ve had such a great first “official week” as a German girl so far, minus the pigtails and beer. I still cannot believe I’m here living and working. It’s a “pinch me” feeling, I still wake up thinking I’m in New Hampshire and then open my eyes realizing I’m not the moment I look out of the window at all of the pretty brick roofs. The weather has been the perfect Summer temps with lots of sunshine and at night, cool breezes that I’ve been enjoying as I run around the city doing this and that. The cafes and gelato cafes are PACKED day and night, it’s a great time of year to be here with so much activity and a fun local festival around a giant lake with food booths, live bands and even an “American” hamburger place — all waterfront and fun!

mags donated to me :)

A friend of mine that I met last year for the first time though we had emailed before that, Esra, saved magazines for me since I left in December so I have so many design and decorating mags to enjoy in the late evening when all is still and peaceful. She even collected a bunch from years past from her personal collection and gave them to me as a present, along with catalogs like H&M Home. I don’t think I need to buy magazines for months! Check out my newly acquired stash above. Hollah,woot woot! I feel so loved! Would you like to come hang out with me and go through these piles with me? Thank you, Esra!

Lovely Hat

And while I was out and about yesterday at the farmers’ market, I picked up 20 roses for only 5,- Euros! Aren’t these gorgeous? I can’t wait for them to all open so I can split this bouquet into other vases and place them by my bed, too. I feel so spoiled with the lovely flower markets and stores all over the city — and the prices are so inexpensive for the quality. Plus, it’s fun to see what is new at the markets each week. Things are very seasonal and so the flowers and veggies change all of the time. I really like this, it’s fun to have four seasons just as I did when I lived back in New England. I have to live in a climate where four seasons are to anticipate. It’s exciting!

Friday morning....

I’ve missed you all but I’ll be back to blogging full-time again August 24th, and by the way I’m making “My Favorite Things” into a single weekly column so if you are interested in participating, please let me know. I cannot accept all submissions, just so you’re aware and don’t beat me up if I’m unable to post yours.

I’ve been busy getting together paperwork, changing insurance, applying for a visa, you name it – my days are full right now but I’m enjoying the freedom of working only part-time now as I’m only working on decor8 3-4 hours per day vs. the usual full day so I’m able to get so much done while my lovely guest bloggers cover for me. I hope you’ve been loving all of their articles as much as I’ve enjoyed reading them! –Holly

(images: holly becker for decor8)

Posted in uncategorized on August 14, 2009

Spagat: Favorite Things

A few of my favorite things: Spagat

Hi everyone and happy Friday to you! My name is Sidsel Gaustadnes from the blog Spagat and I live directly north of Holly, only in Denmark. I’m visiting while Holly is settling in to her new life in northern Germany. A little about myself… I’m a graphic designer – running my own design studio Spagat in Århus, Denmark where I live in the old city center with my husband Klaus and our 5-year-old daughter Nanna. Would you like to see a few of my favorite things?


My dinning room, photo by Hanne Stroyer. My favourite room in my home is our dinning room because it’s the heart of our home. This is where we eat all our meals, draw, play games and spend time with our guest. It’s also the room with the most natural light and the room where my favourite painting hangs by local artist Søren Behncke.


Cabinet – My puffin and my collection of shells, seahorses, stones and sea urchin are also some of my favourite things. I love to collect stuff when I walk on the beach and by the sea – and these are all souvenirs from trips near and far. The acrylic cabinet, Display Me is by Hay.


Map – Another favourite thing is the huge world map hanging in our bedroom. It’s like the old school maps with a 3D effect – and I love to look at it to discover new places and learn about the sizes and locations of various countries, rivers and mountains. We like to travel a lot  – especially to Asia – so the map is also a great way to teach our daughter where we’ve been and where we’ll be going next.


Flowers – Fresh flowers and art work are some other favorites you’ll find in my home. I have quite a collection of vases in all shapes and sizes – because I ALWAYS have fresh flowers in my home either from the local market or someone’s garden. My collection of art work mainly consists of collages and paintings by creative friends  – and prints that I’ve found online. I love Etsy!


Girly things –  Other favorites are some of the toys ( not all) that comes when you have a 5-year old girl in the house. I actually collected childrens books and toys long before I became a mother – but now I have the perfect excuse to keep on doing it! The wooden blocks and the Japanese kokeshi doll was also intended for my studio – but they somehow ended up in Nanna’s room.


My studio, photo by Hanne Stroyer – My design studio is another favourite thing – it´s my second home and located only 5 minutes by foot from our apartment. The studio is like having “a room of my own” – even though I share the space with my lovely studio mate Line who works as an artist/architect. The studio is located on a small path, and the doors open out to a small garden with apple and pear trees. I used to live just next to the studio for 5 years and always dreamt of having my studio there some day – even though I didn’t really need a studio back then – well 18 months ago I moved in!

So I guess it’s very appropriate to finish my little visit here at decor8 with my favourite quote; “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams – live the life you’ve imagined.”Thoreau.

I think this is exactly what Holly is doing right now – and I wish her so much luck and happiness with her new life in Germany – and I wish you all a great summer! – Sidsel

(images: Spaget and photographer Hanne Stroyer)

Posted in Guest Bloggers on August 14, 2009

Susannah Conway: Favorite Things

Hello friends, I’m Susannah from Ink on my fingers and the Unravelling e-courses and I’m thrilled that Holly has let me loose on her blog! It’s an absolute pleasure to be here and share some of my favourite things with you all. I live in the historic and ridiculously beautiful city of Bath in south-west England and have filled my home with vintage treasures that I love to look at and have around me. I had to smile when Holly asked me to put this post together as I’ve been documenting my favourite things for nearly a year now in collaboration with my fellow Polaroid enthusiast Alicia Bock. For a moment I feared I might have already photographed everything I loved, but as it turns out there’s always another Polaroid to be shot!

Susannah Conway

My collection of blue & white plates are gradually replacing all the other crockery in my kitchen – the similar colours give them a sense of coherence and they look lovely when laid out together on a table. Markets, charity shops and eBay have proved to be fertile hunting grounds – I never like to pay more than five pounds for a find, the more floral and fancy the better.

Susannah Conway

Despite the extraordinary amount of rain we’ve been having lately it’s summer here in the UK, and that means I can wear my favourite dresses. This silk kaftan from Zara is so comfortable to wear over jeans; I simply slip on some flip-flops, grab my bag and I’m good to go. I also love my silk quilt from The White Company, which is the softest and most luxurious item in my house. It turns my bed into a cloud and is perfect for snuggling under with a book and mug of tea.

Susannah Conway

I can honestly say that my Macbook has revolutionized my working life, allowing me to take my work outside the house. I enjoy my life as a self-employed person but occasionally you can go stir crazy working from home, so my new trick is to work at my local library – they don’t have wireless internet access there so I get tons of work done with no online distractions!

Susannah Conway

I’ve been wearing Angel by Thierry Mugler for about 12 years now, but every so often I fall in love with another scent and become obsessed with it. Tom Ford’s Black Orchid has bewitched me beyond all reason. There’s something narcotic in it, I’m sure, and I just can’t resist dowsing myself in the stuff – do you do that too? I’ve also been wearing a perfume oil I had made by Etsy seller Sweet Anthem – it was such fun trying to decide which fragrance notes to put together.

Susannah Conway

My latest favourite thing is this first-aid box my mother bought for me from Cath Kidston; I keep in the bathroom next to the oil painting I found in a market for a pound. I haven’t needed to use it yet, thank goodness, but there’s something so 50s-housewife about it that it simply makes me happy.

What inspires me… As a photographer I am most inspired by daylight – I love the way it can wrap around objects and people, and how it changes throughout the day. Sometimes the light can haunt me, when I find myself without a camera to hand and the morning light is dancing before my eyes. For visual eye candy I’m drawn to films that make my brain work, either through the use of imagery or the themes of the story – favourites include The Darjeeling Limited, Hideous Kinky, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Amelie, Solaris and Bladerunner.

I’m also an obsessive bookworm and words move me as much as images; Jeanette Winterson’s novel Written on the Body and the poetry of Sharon Olds and Jane Kenyon are particular favourites. Music is a constant presence in my house and right now I have Florence + The Machine, Rosi Golan, Tosca, Donavon Frankenreiter and Jonatha Brooke on repeat. I love to walk around town with music playing on my iPod, watching people go about their day as I hunt for photographs.

Advice to live by… The best advice I was ever given was from my paternal grandmother. After my grandfather died in 2003 I would call her every Sunday afternoon from London to check in and see how she was doing. We’d end our calls with I love yous and promises to take care during the week; she would always tell me to ‘go gently’ meaning to not rush around too much. These are words I live by now and I always try to slow down, take a deep breath and let go off the stresses of the moment. I know she would approve.

Thank you so much for having me here, Holly – I hope the move is going smoothly!

Enjoy your weekend, everyone ~ Susannah ~

Posted in Guest Bloggers on August 14, 2009

Sarah Ahearn: Favorite Things

A few of my favorite things: Sarah Ahearn

Hello! Thanks for having me Holly! I’m Sarah Ahearn and I’m a mixed media painter from New England. I’m thrilled to be here to share some of my favorite things with you about HOME.  I confess, that like Holly, I am smack dab in the middle of a move too! Needless to say, this was a fun (yet tricky, ahem, no internet yet) post to put together. AND,  since our current apartment is beautiful, (tin ceilings & hardwood floors) but completely empty except for our new bed and the coffee pot, I’ve done this post all about our old apartment. All of this being said,  it was enjoyable to think about my favorite things about HOME when I’m just moving into a new one like Holly and Thorsten. Anyway, we’re off this weekend to get the rest of our stuff which has been in storage for 7 months, and I can’t wait to rediscover it all and set up our new place.  that’s the BEST part about moving, isn’t it!? All of this said, I thought I’d share some of my favorite bits from our previous apartment with you while we are in this transition. Here it goes!

Sarah Ahearn

For the past 6 years, we’ve lived on the second floor of an old house in Ithaca, New York where my husband was in graduate school. I especially loved the back porch because it felt like you were high up in a tree house when the leaves were out on the trees. I spent many lazy summer days relaxing out on the screened in porch reading and (confession…) napping! Our guests were the lucky ones who got to spend the night in full view of the stars and wake up with the birds and morning sunshine.

Sarah Ahearn

One of my favorite things to do when I’m out and about is to look for vintage bargains to display. I scored these paperback books at a library book sale on $1. day, which meant as many books as you can fit in your shopping bag for $1! I loaded up a grocery bag with these colorful paged books and planned to display them horizontally, but when I stacked them up like this i just loved how they looked! The little red star was a surprise bonus! I added the little bird and block and it was just one of those things that worked together. That little bit of whimsy and color made me so happy to see when I walked in the door.

Sarah Ahearn

One of my first “vintage finds” was this old typewriter. It works well and I use it all the time in my own mixed media artwork. But, one day I decided to stick these Polaroids on it just to get them out of the way as I was organizing my desk. It was a happy accident and I loved how they looked together! I had just rediscovered my Polaroid camera  and took some of my favorite snapshots while on vacation on the Cape Cod.

Sarah Ahearn

sarah ahearn

I love my little collections of inspirations are all over our house. I have to say that these collected little bits are some of my favorite things! I love to find new ways to display my collection of found photos, ticket stubs, drawings, vintage ephemera, buttons, fabric bits and paint chips. I especially like to have my old family photos (that’s me in the green chair & in the strawberry shortcake dress!) out on display for all to see rather than tucked away in an album. In addition to familiar faces, I love seeing long forgotten photographs (look at the two lovely ladies!) of strangers from a day gone by that I’ve found by digging through boxes at antique shops and flea markets.

Sarah Ahearn

See the above photo of the paper on the chalkboard? It is one of my absolute favorite finds when I found this old French receipt that was tucked inside a book that i had bought at an antique shop. I typed this Hunderwasser quote on it (with that aforementioned typewriter) and have it hanging by my desk to look at each and everyday. It reminds me that artistic inspiration is everywhere….

More inspirations:
My inspirations tend to be bits from my everyday life… in no particular order, here are some examples: smiling dogs, farm fresh tomatoes, vintage children’s books, salty evening air, crinkly old maps, lemon yellow, zinnias & marigolds, tiny coffee cups, dinner parties, heavy round cups of tea, anything having to do with Paris and the idea of living there someday, wanderlust, summer starlight, finally filled up sketchbooks, mexican sunflowers, pink champagne, bring green grass, fading polaroid pictures, warm rain, handwritten alphabets…

And people… my dashing husband who supports and pushes me to be my best everyday. The lovely and amazing blogger friends and artists I’ve met online (such as Holly!), and a handful of artists~  Joseph Cornell, Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, and the poetry of e.e. cummings.

My favorite book: The Day-to-Day Life of Albert Hastings. Susannah Conway had a wonderful interview with this author in her post here: Ink on my fingers.

And music… Feist

As for advice: Just be yourself.  Be kind.  (Pretty simple thoughts, but extremely important in everyday life…)

A funnier bit of advice: When I was little, one of the things my mom always told us was to be sure to say something nice when we were at someone else’s house for dinner.  but, since I was a picky eater, she told me to say “what a pretty tablecloth!” if I could not find anything nice to say about the food. But, if things were really bad all around I could say “so how about those Red Sox?!”  : ) moms are funny.

Holly thanks so much for asking me to be a part of the favorite things, and best of luck with your new & exciting adventure!  So looking forward to seeing what you have in store for us AND possibly visiting you in Europe when we go on a sabbatic year and live there in a few years!!!  (Academia sure has it’s perks!) lots of love, -*sarah

(images: sarah ahearn)

Posted in Guest Bloggers on August 13, 2009


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