It’s time to update the blog of the week so I searched high and low to see who I could introduce that may be fresh and new to your eyes. This week meet Paper Flower Girl who is Isis Sturtewagen — a young jewelry designer + artist living in Belgium with her husband and she authors a beautiful blog, etsy shop, dawanda store and takes the most stunning images of her home! What a gifted person she is. Like me and many of you, she loves natural tones and homes with lovely bones… she also loves to cook. I’ve included a recipe to this lovely compote shown below, so scroll to the end of this post to scribble it down in your notes.
What I love about these corners is that they’re all lovingly curated and much attention went into the details. I also enjoyed reading that most of Isis’s finds are thrifted and/or handmade. It demonstrates a real sense of self and style to be able to decorate in a way that so expertly highlights cherished possessions in a personal way – making the item fit you and not the other way around. And now, for the recipe from Paper Flower Girl that I promised earlier. It’s delicious, I know because it’s the same recipe my cousin shared with me recently. You can also modify it using pears instead of apples…
Apple Compote Recipe:
4 big apples
the juice of 2 oranges
1 teaspoon cinnamon
honey to taste
Peel and slice the apples. Put everything in a pot and bring to boil. Leave to simmer until tender. Bring to a boil again and pour everything in glass containers.
(images: paper flower girl)
I recently shared a home tour with you from Jan in Germany but today I came across some of the things that she is selling in her etsy shop along with more photos of her home and former apartment in Greece. I find her decorative style very soothing, don’t you? The first photo is my favorite because I love the simplicity of it. You can build an entire story in your head as you look at it. And of the course the image that follows is one of her current goodies stocked in her little etsy store, New Ivy Style. The other photos simply show views of how she lives currently and in the past.
Don’t you love glimpsing into the little worlds of others? I’m a huge fan of Corners of My Home, a flickr group I’ve been enjoying for a long time now. If you are new to Flickr please consider joining the group so you can see corners of inspirational spaces worldwide. It’s like taking a walk at night down a beautiful street and everyone just happens to have their shades open, lights on, and they don’t mind if you walk right up and look inside.
On a side note, you know what is a very popular flower in my city? Orchids. I don’t know if this is all over Germany but I can’t get over the obsession with orchids — nearly every home I enter has them of all varieties, on their windowsills. It’s beautiful and a very unexpected surprise as most people don’t associate Germany with orchids but it’s true!
(images: new ivy style)
I meant to include United Thread in my Etsy Take Five column yesterday but ran out of space and so I was saving her to share for next week. But then I clicked over to Etsy today and found her work on their homepage and thought eek! I cannot postpone until week to quickly share this artist from Salem, Massachusetts. Her owls and lines are fun, I like looking at how imaginative she is with her lines…
I can’t believe how sunny yellow is still so big on my radar, when I look through my current inspiration folder on my desktop I see so many images with yellow and blue and turquoise. I’ve been dreaming of changing my entire interior color scheme in my home for Spring, so I think that this is what I will do. I currently have grays, violets, fuchsia and white and silver as accents, some gold. I’m thinking of changing up all of that come Spring and go with something a little different. Fortunately with wood floors and white walls and neutral furniture it’s very, very easy for me to change things. I can add new covers to all of my pillows since I’m careful to buy only those with zipper or button covers, the prints on my walls can easily be replaced with those I have on “reserve” in my art drawer, and I can change up the accessories here and there. It won’t be that hard…
And I’m still dying to hang my Cole & Son cow parsley yellow and white wallpaper… I’ve been holding on to four rolls for the past year waiting until we move into a permanent spot since it was not a dollar investment — C&S is costly.
Oh it’s so exciting to think about next year and the things that it will bring to us all — new ideas, new friends, new inspirations… and for some of us, a new apartment or home to decorate, and for others a new business. 2010 here we come, baby! And yellow will be a big part of my new year. Yellow and gray and turquoise and white… :)
(image: united thread)
I woke up this morning in a creative rut. I don’t know, I felt a bit like I couldn’t think of anything to talk about here, nothing to talk about with my friends, you know… just flat. Feeling flat scares me, as I don’t get this often but notice when it does come it is usually strikes mid November for just a brief period for no explainable reason. I tried to think of what to do to push the rut monster out of my day. So I started to read. Words didn’t help. I flipped through beloved magazines. Nope, visual inspiration didn’t do it either. Maybe I needed to eat? But I just had breakfast, I thought. I did some deep breathing followed by light stretching. I played a little music which was interrupted by ::ring ring:: the delivery man who brought me a small box. Funny, I wasn’t expecting anything. On the outside, a female character hand drawn and on the inside, beautiful tissue paper that smelled of lavender – my favorite scent for over a year now. Lavender is so transporting, isn’t it? It takes me a million miles away to an open space with nothing but sky and field before me combined with a soft breeze and a cotton sundress.
As I unwrapped, I revealed three beautiful things – soap, sugar and a bio bag from terrain at styers. I took one, lavender vanilla sugar, into the kitchen to add to the earl gray tea I had just prepared. One sip, two sips, three sips, yum. As I walked back to my desk I noticed my petite French vintage creamer on the windowsill and the light streaming in looked so welcoming, so come hither for taking a photo. If light had eyelashes, they were beckoning me big time. I lifted the other gift, a bar of skinnyskinny lavender eucalyptus soap to my nose and inhaled – fresh and clear. Suddenly my brain started to tingle and my shoulders relaxed and I felt this rush of thought, color and sound explode within. Out of all the things I thought would inspire and chase away the mood, it was a scent that lifted me up — very unexpected.
Scooping up the soap and the sugar and my camera nearby, I decided to show my dear friend a view of my moment, to capture it for her in a photo as a way of showing thanks. And this is how inspiration is born sometimes, isn’t it?
If you’re in a creative rut, try one or all of the following until you feel better:
1. Healthy food
2. Fresh air
3. Exercise (stretching, running, whatever you fancy)
4. Your favorite drink
6. Something visually inspiring (your mood board, magazine, book)
7. Or words… poetry, a novel…
8. Scent: spritz on your favorite perfume, add some rosemary oil to your tub before you step in to shower in the morning, burn incense or a candle, or be lucky enough to have a dear friend send you lavender goodies. :)
And to my dear friend who inspired me today and helped me out of a morning rut, thank you. You know who you are. xo
(images: holly becker for decor8)
I was trying to figure out a theme for this weeks take five column but honestly nothing came to mind. Brick wall. So I just started clicking on images and saving them. Only after I opened the folder later did I see a definite theme surface – in color choice. Funny how this happens, right? Which further leads me to believe that good things truly do come when not forced. Sometimes you simply can’t allow your mind to take the wheel. Just sit back, explore, expect nothing… and often this leads to the greatest things in life. Of course, planning is good and I’m not encouraging irresponsibility but when it comes to creative things I find that when I don’t try to force ideas, concepts, words, etc. I usually have greater success and see a more authentic vision. Do you find this to? More on that after these Etsy finds so stay with me…. this week I’m featuring 5 sellers + a bonus find!
First up we have the charming illustrations of artist Ana Raimundo of Fric de Mentol in sunny Portugal.
Next, brilliant finger puppets from London-based paper artist Flor Panichelli of Pelpa, which means “paper” in Lunfardo, the slang of Buenos Aires. I adore these and can easily see someone become a collector.
Now let us consider some darling paper garlands, perfect for wrapping around a present or displaying on a wall. These are handmade from found papers by linea in Hartford, CT.
Ready for a 4th? Sure you are. What about these lovely and folksy papier mache decorative objects from North Carolina-based talent Middleburg Folk Art Studio?
And almost last on today’s list is Jenny N. Design from Austin, Texas who creates the most gorgeous handbags and manbags, love these and the man candy model isn’t all that bad either. :) LOL.
And here is the a bonus 6th seller, Amy Blackwell who I’ve featured before but she has some terrific new prints that may make you swoon. Yay to foxes and cats and ships a sailing!
Okay so back to my earlier words about letting go and allowing creativity to flow. I once had a close family member suffer and struggle with alcoholism. I would attend AA meetings to help me to make sense of it all, I didn’t know how to handle someone else’s battle but with alcoholism you have to learn because their disease becomes your battle too. I remember, “Let Go and Let God” very, very clearly because the group leader said this weekly with such conviction and everyone would nod and usually offer up some experience to serve as confirmation of that statement.
Some in the group were agnostic, others atheists, and still others from both eastern and western religions so the idea of what “God” meant was different to each individual. But the point was clear to me… to simply let go of what you cannot control. I don’t think that you can always control artistic expression and creativity, but in many examples I can think of in the workplace where you are constantly asked to do so. And it can be frustrating right? Pretend for a moment that you are a professional photographer hired by a vodka company to shoot a martini ad. You need to shoot the bottle against a graphite background and you must do so perfectly. Of course, your work is flawless since you are a pro, but it may be more vision than your own. Often your personal portfolio is much more dynamic and a true example of who you are as an artist. When clients are involved, you cannot always let go of the wheel, you must drive it until the project is complete and your client is happy. In your spare time you are out shooting weddings because wedding photographer gives you more creative freedom and this fuels your passion further for photography. If you had to shoot martini ads all day, you just may die of boredom. Balance is how a creative mind handles their business. There is an outlet to plug into where creative freedom is allowed, and this keeps the passion for photography fueled.
In some cases when a client is not involved and you are simply producing something for your customers or are given a writing assignment that allows you a lot of freedom, it’s a good idea to do what comes naturally, not forced, as down the road this will lead to work that is your own, enjoyable, and not driven by money or something that won’t motivate you long term.
I hope I’m making sense. I’m making sense in my own head but often trying to convey these thoughts through words is quite a challenge.
So! I was sitting in a cafe recently noticing the massive cafe culture here in Germany – people love to go out and eat + drink. Places are full nearly every night of the week. It’s common in my city. I told the person with whom I was dining that if anyone wanted to make a ton of money in Hannover and become quite successful here, they should open a cafe, a fabulous restaurant, a cupcake bakery, a really hip lounge… this city loves to eat! And so I thought that coming from a family of small business owners (my parents once owned two restaurants), that perhaps I should be the one to open a cupcake bakery or some type of amazingly unusual eatery here. It’s a city with many international guests who come for the large trade shows held monthly, so there is no shortage of businessman with credit cards to pay for good meals. Well this friend knows me so well and said, “Holly… you have to have more passion for the food industry then you currently do to enjoy that type of business — money isn’t going to be motivator enough for you”. And you know what? This couldn’t be more true.
Money itself does not motivate me but often it is what money can give me — travel and the enjoyment of certain things in my life that DO motivate and inspire me. Money in this scenario (restaurant ownership) would take away the travel and the other things that do motivate me so I’d have to LOVE the food industry to make up for the things I would leave behind (free time, opportunity to jump on a train whenever, etc.). I thought long and hard about this and realized that I still need to pursue my dreams to someday open a shop. And so again the point of how essential passion is and how it needs to be the core foundation in whatever we do was driven home. And passion cannot be forced. A natural drive is either there or it is not there. Interesting to ponder, isn’t it?
Sometimes you simply cannot allow yourself to force something, whether it be your next career or your current new product idea, often the most organic “of the heart” things are those that bring you the utmost success. You win, your wallet wins, your heart wins, your customers win. If you force something to work out, often you’re drained, your wallet is fat, your heart feels like it may burst from stress, and your customers may be happy for a short while but if they sense you’re not happy, you may ultimately lose them. People are attracted to those who have a natural passion for their life and the things that they are doing. Right? If Oprah wasn’t passionate, would you tune in? If Jamie wasn’t in love with food would you watch? If Nigella didn’t lick every single finger would you be as interested? Forcing a square peg into a round hole is wasting ones time in an area where there is not natural fit, and it’s deflating and demotivating with often unsuccessful results. That is what I’m learning currently like never before. Living here is teaching me the value in licking every finger with passion, and slurping up every bit of gravy with the thickest cut homemade bread possible. I am learning that the best things in life come organically and not to force fit a single thing in life. If it is meant to work, it will work. If not, it won’t. Move on. Let go.
So! That was my little essay for the day. Ha ha! I’m writing a lot more on my blog lately and I hope you don’t mind… I’ve had a lot of a-ha! moments since relocating and there is freedom and pleasure in sharing them with you as I go along. Maybe you will take away a tiny something in my words from time-to-time. If not my words, then my finds…
(images: linked to their sources above)