Yearly Archives

2009

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Hello Monday!

November 16, 2009

Hello and how was your weekend!? I hope that you enjoyed yourself and were able to fit in a little “you time”. I had a restful weekend, which was needed, and I did a lot of organizing around the house (including my messy cabinet! Yay!) so that was also very good. I went for brunch at heimw which was lovely too — a little date afternoon with my guy… Here is a view from where we sat. I noticed that all over the city the erecting of decorations and booths for weihnachtsmarkt was underway since the massive marketplace begins in just a week or so. I love this time of year because it’s when the city smells like hot spiced wine, crepes, cinnamon and candy and when white twinkle lights shine are all over like tiny stars.

Hello Monday!

I also spent a few hours in the forest collecting mini pine cones and breathing in the fresh autumn air, my “emotional time out” as I call my walks here. The forest is so large, imagine if gorgeous Central Park in New York were a natural 2,500 acre forest … it’s similar as our forest is situated directly in the city. When I tell most of my friends they are surprised to learn this, just as I was before I came here for the first time. Inside you can find a few cafes, many playgrounds, a bird park, Europe’s top zoo (so I’ve been told), trails, dirt paths, paved ways for skaters and bikers, it’s a bit heavenly for a girl like me who wants to live in a city with access to the country. Here I feel I have the best of both worlds. I am very grateful to have a place to recharge without having to drive anywhere… I walk a few blocks from my home and I’m at the entrance to a forest. One of my favorite things about living in Hannover is all of the lush, green spaces.

Hello Monday!

All in all, my weekend was a good mix of relaxation and productivity. But I do wish that today was Friday all over again because I feel like I need a few more days off! And you?

So, in case you’re interested I thought I’d give you an update on the property that I told you about… well we went back for a second viewing and it was just as lovely as the first time, only I brought my husband who tends to be more environmentally sensitive that I am. He loved the flat but felt uncomfortable with the fact that the building, occupied by only 3 other families, had mostly elderly tenants. He loves the seniors, don’t get me wrong (his grandmother was his best friend up until she passed away) but he feels that we may be too loud for them. We love to watch a movie now and then and also enjoy listening to our music and he is a bit concerned about disturbing them. You know, being the “new young kids” in the building… we don’t want to cause a disturbance.

Other than that, his only other reservation was that the master bathroom had a massive transom window into the guest bathroom which had another window into this large light shaft that runs through the building from roof to ground. He was unsure if this was going to create a mold problem in the bathroom, it had no ventilation or fan other than the transom windows. I’m not sure either, but I have mold allergies so he’s unsure if this will be a problem. We’ve both only had homes and apartments where a window to the great outdoors was in the actual bathroom… Does anyone know much about how to deal with ventilation in this type of scenario???

Hello Monday!(organizing my cabinet, this is part of the china passed down from Thorsten’s grandparents.)

Other than that, the property is amazing in every way – it was built in the late 1800’s so it has everything you can expect would be in an old, historical Jugendstil building. The rear of the unit overlooks the forest and the front overlooks historical buildings in the art nouveau style that is so popular in our district. The floors are original herringbone hardwood and the ceilings are so high I’d need a ladder to install pendants. The windows are all huge and brand new and the doors to each room are beautiful. There are french doors, pocket doors and glass doors everywhere. It’s one of those places were you walk in and your mouth falls open. But if you have to tiptoe so as to not disturb the neighbors, well this could present problems. Going from a home in the country to a city apartment, I think we’re both a little rusty when it comes to city living. I hadn’t lived in the city for 10 years and he, for 8 years, so it’s all “new” in many ways to suddenly have neighbors all around.

Hello Monday!

(I put these in my windows this weekend. Country-ish I know, but I’m eclectic – what can I say?)

So the property search continues… though in this neighborhood it is a bit like New York City when it comes to finding a flat — the second a good, large one pops up (since they are so rare) they rent in less than a week, sometimes same day, so it’s a bit stressful looking for property in this particular area. But I will persist and see what we find. Those who wait are usually rewarded, right? Encourage me, here! :)

(images: holly becker for decor8)

Decorating Tips

Bloomingville by TrendKompagniet

November 13, 2009

So. I’ve been trying to locate a silver or black mirror to go above my dresser and I found a lovely one at Esplanade (a store in my neighborhood) and when I flipped it over I noticed the brand: Bloomingville. Hmmmm I thought. I googled it and found their website which has many beautiful products from Danish company TrendKompagniet. Bloomingville is part of their company specializing in home goods.

Bloomingville by TrendKompagniet

If you pay attention to the details, you may notice subtle differences from how you arrange things in your part of the world. In northern Germany where I live, this one of many styles for seasonal decor, one of many because you have (like any country) lots of people with a variety of tastes and backgrounds so the decor varies by home. But, this is one style that is very popular in the part of the city where I live — I find shops with many of these products or ones identical to them. Some of these accessories include mercury glass, candles in many shades, white porcelain, and the colors gray and lilac along with many ethnic influences and details like punched tin and sweet little motifs — deer, mushrooms and snowflakes to name a few.

My friends like to use found items for decorating too – and traditional pine is another element brought into the home and displayed on a coffee table next to a platter or included in a floral arrangement for instance. Candles are used very informally, not just for fancy dinner parties or special occasions. I have candles burning most days — they warm the heart and heat the space. I love candles and burn them twice as much now that I live in this part of the world. I have two silver antique candelabras on the windowsill in my living room with gray candles that I love and light almost daily as it starts to get dark now around 4:15 each day. But I like it, the mood is serene and charming.

Bloomingville by TrendKompagniet

Bloomingville by TrendKompagniet

I really, really like the decal accent on the weathered bench above. Did you see that? It is great idea to give a bench a hand painted feel for those who don’t have a steady hand to diy it. Try a decal inside. Brilliant! This makes me like decals a little bit more because I never in my life thought to stick on on a rustic bench.

So, there you have it — Bloomingville products. Do you like this style?

By the way… If you’re a interiors stylist and are lucky enough to live nearby to them in Herning, Denmark well I have good news for you — they’re hiring a product stylist! More information here.

And you love what you see shown above, you can shop for these items on Madam Tut and Landstil.

Soothing and elegant, right?

(images: bloomingville)

Inspiration

Brandon Kidd Photography

November 13, 2009

Photographer Brandon Kidd is on my mind today, I found his work recently and wow oh wow, brilliant! He specializes in, “creating dynamic and artistic portraits for events, parties, families and weddings,” and dynamic is right! I was reading his blog today and found so many great photos to share with you from some of the events that he has photographed in locations all over America from California to the deep south.

Brandon Kidd Photography

Brandon Kidd Photography

Brandon Kidd Photography

Brandon Kidd Photography

His photographs are poetic, he definitely has a story in his head and a feeling in his heart when he’s out shooting which directly translates into remarkable photographs — whether it’s the objects he shoots, the angle, the lighting, he brings so much more with him than a camera, a very creative mind that is curious and imaginative. If you have a moment, spend some time on his website and blog today. You’ll instantly see what I mean as you browse his portfolio and read his words, I personally love how excited he gets over an event. In one particular post he talked about all of the eye candy in terms of beautiful objects at a wedding he was shooting that he didn’t know where to begin. His infectious enthusiasm was so evident in those words and directly translated into the photographs because you could feel his energy in them. This is one man I’m bookmarking so I can peek in on his latest projects from time to time. Smitten!

Psst: Some of the above photos are from a wedding that Summer from Grey Likes Weddings, Megan Gonzalez with MaeMae Paperie and Lauryl Lane designed and styled. Such beautiful, soft colors and lots of personal handmade touches! This has to be the most beautiful wedding day I’ve ever seen in photos. Ever. Wow. I’m so impressed!

(images: brandon kidd photography)

uncategorized

Talk It Out: Small Is Powerful

November 12, 2009

It’s Talk It Out time! So why don’t we get started and discuss a little something that I think has value this week — the importance in focusing on smaller batches, less is more thinking, the trend of being small and being happy with it. Of course, big isn’t always overbearing but not everyone is cut out for a life of extreme scheduling and pressure. I’m no Martha, I would hate to have every second scheduled and feel that I’d be almost a product and no longer a person. There was a trend not too long ago that made everyone feel like less isn’t enough and more isn’t enough either, you need more than more, bigger than big, in fact you need world domination to be truly happy. Your life needed to be pimped and super-sized in order to have value. Your title defined who you are and who you will become. You don’t need a title to be a leader. What you do need is to have an area of expertise and others who support and respect your work.

Talk It Out: Small Is Powerful

I’m on the new bandwagon of thinking that I’ve noticed out there — that there is value in being smaller yet better. To be focused and highly skilled vs. big and scattered or big and extremely stressed out. The idea of being a small giant.

Do you want to be a big business? Fine. Do you want to be mid-size? Fine. Do you want to be small? Fine. But the question here is “Do YOU WANT…” so it’s good to think about your goals. Some get on these success waves and ride them out allowing the waves to dictate where their business will take them. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in success that you lose focus of your own goals and what you want in life. People around us always pressure us for more. And it’s usually not to be mean, it’s because they want us to be successful in whatever way they define success. More posts. More cupcakes. More DIY projects. More fabric patterns. More, more more. That’s what fans do, they want more because they admire what you do. And while this is absolutely wonderful and extremely flattering, it’s important to not allow your fans or customers to dictate what you ultimately do with your business. If this happens, then you just have a new “man”. Instead of working a 9-5 to please your boss, feeling uninspired at the end of the day, you’re now a freelancer doing the job you love but your fans pressure you and you feel uninspired because you cannot churn out work fast enough to “please” the masses. Your boss was your man. Now your fans are your man. Remember, you are the man. :)

May I please tell you a truth that cannot be ignored? Your fans will love you whether you create one painting this week or thirty of them. Set expectations, honor them, and move on. Edit as you go along. Your fans will respect you and you will ultimately give them something better — a better you, better work, and you’ll stick to your work longer because you didn’t tire out, burn out and then fizzle out completely.

Small is powerful. I think that sometimes we pressure ourselves to do more when maybe we should simply work harder at what we’re currently doing. Have you thought, if you tend to overextend yourself, that maybe it’s best to have less of yourself spread so thinly over many channels and more of yourself fully invested in only a few? Consider that for a moment. I speak from experience! That way, you feel less stress and your work becomes focused and more enjoyable to you.

I had a habit of spreading myself too thin. I was once blogging for several sites in addition to decor8. Along with blogging, I was consulting on design jobs in Boston for several years. Along with THAT I was a columnist for a newspaper and a regular contributor for HGTV.com and Domino magazine. I also wrote for a bunch of other clients from press releases to articles for magazines. Looking back, I don’t know what I was thinking but it was a bit too much. Somehow I managed it all but I think I was able to manage it because I fine tuned my work life and I decided to focus more on what I loved and less on what I didn’t. Truth is, I did not enjoy writing articles for magazines several times a month. It was stressful and the money wasn’t worth the time invested. I did not enjoy having design clients 30 hours a week in addition to all of the writing I was doing. I’m focusing now on things that really mean a lot to me, like this blog for one, along with other projects I’m involved in on the side.

My point is this: we can allow ourselves to be happy with where we are right now. In the moment. I’ll say this again. If it feels good, and it’s working… be happy with where you are right now.

You don’t need to change it if it works, feels right, your health and family are benefiting and you see benefit from your work. Some people are scared of being a small business because they think small means less fame or worse, less money. I guess it depends on how you look at it. I’ve lived on all income levels and the best times of my life were the ones where I was huddled around a table with $10 in my pocket aside best friends in some rubbish pub playing cards and laughing until 3am. Or our silly kareoke nights belting out classic Madonna songs (Like a virgggginnn ooooh!) in some cheesy Chinese restaurant. Even now, some of my best moments are spent with my friends and family. I recall the simple moments, the funny moments and the life changing ones — like when my dear grandmother and I sang Frank Sinatra songs for two hours right before she died this past June. I’m not going to say that money isn’t something we need to live because that would be a lie. I didn’t relocate to Germany because I’m poor — I worked and saved for years to get over here. But money can’t be the single driving force and certainly cannot tell us if we will be happy today or not.

So I vote we all appreciate where we stand in time today, our progress no matter how small (or great) and realize that small is great if you’ve decided that small is the way for you. And as friends of those who are focusing on smaller batches, higher quality, focused work —  let’s be happy with that and careful not to constantly say, “What’s next?”. This can be a lot of pressure. Support is helpful, you want those whom you’re a fan of to keep shining so brightly.

It’s okay to be small because small doesn’t mean broke, unsuccessful or unable. Any size rocks as long as it is what YOU want, but remember small is perfectly fine to choose. What do you think? Do you think we pressure ourselves and others a little too much to overextend ourselves? Do you value companies who elect to stay small? Do you think small can make you happy?

(image: holly becker for decor8)

uncategorized

Pale and Interesting

November 12, 2009

If you’ve been reading this blog for some time, you know what a fan I am of Atlanta Bartlett. That is why I was so thrilled today to hear that this amazing author, stylist and designer has opened a new online shop called Pale and Interesting. I’ve been waiting for this announcement for months now — thank you so much Andrea for letting me know about this glorious news. You will love it because it’s beyond beautiful to surf the site and view all of Altanta’s fabulous finds. She’s the queen bee of decorating in my book so I’m loving every click! Furniture, accessories, jewelry… all of the things you’d expect to see in her beautiful books. Here is just a smidgen of what you’ll find online…

Pale and Interesting

Pale and Interesting

Pale and Interesting

Pale and Interesting

Pale and Interesting

Do these scenes make your heart beat a little faster? I love seeing these pretty cabinets and the fine china along with found items and shiny things. Plaid blankets, baskets for wood near the fireplace, lovely artwork… There is a casual elegance here that resonates with me, what about you?

(images: pale and interesting)


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