Connecting The Dots

February 24, 2011

This is one of my seemingly endless posts. I’m in the writing mood today. There is an ending, I assure you, but from start to finish there are a lot of words in between! I hope that you’ll take a moment to read through it all as this may inspire you quite a lot. That’s my intention anyway. We need to hear positive, uplifting stories and I want to share a piece of my journey with you.

Connecting The Dots

It’s important to pause and step back in order to move forward again. Do you understand what I mean by this? Often the way we once felt about something can reignite a creative spark to help unclog the brain so new ideas can flow in more easily. That is exactly what I did this morning — I took some time out for creative meditation. I didn’t chant or light candles (ha ha), I just sat back and gave myself about 30 minutes to really reflect on a specific time period in my life. As I did this, I poured out some of my thoughts into words and emailed them to a dear friend. I told her this story, more or less, and now I will tell all of you. Try pausing and meditating a bit as well today, even just for 5 minutes, if you can. It’s amazing to look back and find the golden thread that runs through all of your experiences and to connect the dots.

When I was newly married in 2001, we rented a huge barn in the countryside in Massachusetts in a truly quintessential New England town. Imagine a rustic and beautiful 100-year-old barn with two floors, wooden walls, a wood burning stove, wide pine floors and massive windows. So pretty. So much light. The second floor had more windows and skylights and you could lay on the bed and see the sky – we loved to star gaze in bed at night while listening to the crackle of the wood burning stove. We even had a waterfall in the backyard and fruit trees. This place couldn’t be more New England, especially with a covered bridge a block away. We were broke, my husband had just relocated to America from Germany a few months prior and though he was working, he was selling books at Barnes & Noble by night and teaching by day. I was working full-time, but even with a combined income the numbers were not that impressive. Having less money made me much more creative than ever before. In fact, I loved to decorate my barn and have friends over (because we couldn’t afford to go out), mostly to flip through design books and snack and talk about big dreams and crazy ideas. Those were the days when the only way to tap into design was through a book or magazine and maybe, if you were lucky, your favorite designer would be on television now and then or they’d get their own show so you could obsess about it. Books were my connection to the world of design. It was through them that I discovered the magic of decorating and the influence that the printed page has over the ideas of a young woman.

I remember my favorite design books at that time included Inspired Gatherings by Tracy Porter and Tracy Porter’s Dreams From Home. I thought her design philosophy was inspiring – to decorate with joy and to celebrate life. She loved color. She piled it on when she decorated and was fearless. In fact, I still have her books in my library as they inspired my own dreams back in the late 90s well into 2000 and beyond so I hung onto them. I was endlessly inspired by Rachel Ashwell’s books also, along with her television show. We didn’t have cable (couldn’t afford it!) so my friend would tape them and we’d huddle around my tiny television to watch Rachel with her fancy English accent talk about her love for cabbage roses and precious things, and how she delighted in putting little notes in her kid’s lunch bags. I was so young, in my early twenties, and remember soaking in every word from Rachel that I could. Her attention to detail blew my mind. I wanted to put notes in Thorsten’s lunch bag but I didn’t think it would fly but still… Rachel made me feel like it was okay that I was so obsessed with the little things and that my casual approach to decorating was okay. She also confirmed that flea marketing and hitting junk sales was also fine. I started flea marketing as a child with my mother and grandparents but it wasn’t nearly as cool to decorate with “junk” until Rachel and others in that time period put their stamp of approval on it. And good for them. Good for me too because at that time, a $5 table for my eating nook was all I could afford.

Amidst the design book addiction that I had, I also ran an eBay shop for a few years during that time. I would scour flea markets for vintage finds and sell them. I arranged things in my home (not beautifully but I did okay) and shot photos for each product and once sold, I would wrap up orders with great care using tissue paper and rubber stamps with Eiffel Towers on them, little poodles, and “Merci beaucoup” stamped on little white tags because I was addicted to all things French. I hand wrote letters of thanks to each customer. I even sold some handmade items like switch covers — I collaged wooden switch covers from the craft store (so tacky in retrospect LOL) and sold them. I put great care into my customers, it was my “night” job, during the day I worked in the corporate world as a relocation and immigration manager, but my many loyal customers and their emails and eBay feedback fueled me to keep selling in my little eBay shop. Every dollar was a big deal.

Thinking back, I remember my husband laughing at how long I’d spend packaging eBay wins. He thought it was funny how I conducted business — I’d earn maybe $5 on something but spend 30 minutes packaging it and sometimes $2 on materials to package it and then have to spend another few bucks for eBay fees so in the end I earned about one dollar! Ha! But I kept going, not because it was going to make me famous or rich, but because I was happy being a little shop owner in that barn reaching out to my circle of devoted customers on the internet. I wrote up my eBay product descriptions showing what I was selling “in-situ” with decorating ideas for the product I was selling. I guess I was blogging even back in 2001 long before blogs came to be. It’s a riot to think about but even funnier is how life comes full circle.

In 2005, during a trip to Los Angeles, I met Rachel Ashwell, a month after I started my little design practice and registered decor8 on Meeting Rachel was so inspiring. She signed a book and I shopped her outlet sale in this big warehouse she had. I looked at her world as if it were this magical fairy-filled land where only certain few could ever reside, yet I was determined to meet her and so I did. I started reading her books when she first put them on shelves, back in the 90s, so it was a big deal to meet Rachel.

Fast forward to 2010. I became a blogger with fans! Oh my! That is a pretty big accomplishment that opened up a chance for me to become an author. Maybe my book will be part of someone else’s time line someday, where they can say my book was part of their journey to connect the dots. I hope so anyway. Because books can influence us so deeply. But yes, last year I spent 10 months working on my first book (dream come true) and decided to ask Rachel to contribute along with over 50 others who have inspired me throughout the years. I interviewed her and some of her quotes are in my upcoming book. I traveled to Los Angeles and shot the home of one of her dear friends and during the morning of the shoot, Rachel loaned us some props for me to use in the house. Squeal!

Then in 2010 while I was teaching in Morocco, I met publisher and all around amazing lady Jo Packham – the women who wrote another book that I once referred to daily called Where Women Create. I felt so inspired by it because this whole world of seeing inside the studios of others was still so new to me back then. Of course, with blogging and technology in general, seeing a creative space is quite common these days — but I still love peeking in on where women (and men!) do their thing and find people’s arrangements and work nooks so inspiring. Spending time with Jo Packham for 10 days was a lovely moment in time for me. I still don’t think she realizes how much her book inspired me when she first published it.

Connecting The Dots

So what about today? Let’s get back to those Tracy Porter books that I loved a million years ago. Well here we are in 2011, over 12 years since I first found Tracy Porter’s world through her books, and I get this message on my blog today from her – out of the blue – from Tracy Porter. I’ll admit, I haven’t followed her work as much as I once did because I don’t think she has published a book since this one but I did a double take when I saw that she’d posted a comment on my blog today. I could have died. She said some really nice things to me and the timing was perfect — they came at a moment in my life when I needed to hear them as I’ve been going through a hard few weeks of feeling cluttered in my head and a bit demotivated as I sometimes do during February since it’s freezing and gray and I can’t seem to find enough energy inside to motivate myself and my work. As a result, I get the winter blues and they last for 2-3 weeks. It’s a hard time! In February, I rely so much on exterior things to rev me up and it’s almost like Tracy knew because seeing her comment made me very happy today and gave me a ton of energy. I am throwing my arms open to the month of March now with vigor and joy because my blue period feels nearly lifted. Tracy’s brief comment inspired me to meditate on my beginnings and connect the dots and I feel better for it.

To wrap up, I find it so encouraging to see how our past inspirations and influences can form who we are today in ways so unexpected and although I’ve found my own style, these wonderful women all helped me to tap in to who I was at where I needed to go in my life — they helped me to identify what I really liked. Having a little eBay business in 2001 influenced me as a blogger in ways I’d not thought about until today.

There is still so much magic in the world and you don’t always have to actively do things or seek people out — they’ll often find YOU. The only thing that you must do is to go out there with an intention and circulate in the same circle as your leaders and role models, find your own voice, and they just may listen to that voice and call you an inspiration in return. Kismet. And if they never find you, then you’ll find others who will connect with your ideas and values and through all of these connections a great thing will happen. You’ll find yourself.

Sorry to ramble but this chapter of my life just shows you how things happen and not always overnight, but in time, things come full circle. I thought it was pretty amazing when Tracy contacted me today — all of these memories unfurled and I was able to tap in to who I was and where I am today and I’m feeling good about it.

Now it’s your turn to create some sort of time line and think about where you were and try to connect the dots to where you are today. You can even try it in the comments section below as a writing exercise. I will read them and would love to “see” your time line as well.

(images: tracy porter)


  • Reply Sanja February 24, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    It’s true what You said about being creative on a budget, it makes one think harder, dream bigger, and rely on not-so-usual sources of inspiration, on one’s own ideas, rather than getting lost in the overwhelming offer around you. It’s liberating on so many levels.

  • Reply Christa Norvell February 24, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    What a fabulous post. It puts in perspective the amount of time (10 years) that it has taken to build your business. Sometimes I feel the process of “growing” my business is just slowing creeping by and that I’m not successful because I haven’t achieved some of the goals that I have expected to by now. Thank you for your insight :). It is appreciated.


  • Reply Katie February 24, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    I’ll take a little time to think.

    Thank you for this lovely post, it’s definitely much needed in the dreary month of February. I’m believing in the magic of the world again :)

  • Reply Shauntelle @ A Beautiful Abode February 24, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    I just wanted to say thank you so much for sharing this Holly! Believe it or not, YOU are one of my touchstones because finding your blog when I was just beginning to seek out my own design aesthetic in 2008 is what led me to starting my blog. And learning this part of your journey was very encouraging to me today because I’ve also been suffering from the mid-winter blues… it’s been a rough week and I’ve felt a lot of doubt about following my own passions and dreams…

    I guess I’m saying that it’s good to know that this too is just part of the journey. Thank you for that knowledge! :)

  • Reply carole February 24, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    Oh Holly, if only you knew how much you inspire the rest of us humble bloggers. This is a lovely story and just highlights what a nice, sincere person you are, to be so touched by a few words from someone you admire. Well, we all admire you and don’t you forget it!
    I am so looking forward to the London book launch and hope very much to get to meet you in person.
    Keep up the good work!
    Carole x

  • Reply City Chic - Jamie February 24, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    Oh Holly, this is a beautifully written post! I love how you write so openly and honestly and share parts of your life with us. I plan to read your post again over the weekend when I can take some time and reflect on the past as well think about the future. Thank you for the encouragement as always!

  • Reply Jamie February 24, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    What a wonderful reflection. I have been married and making a home for almost 30 tears now. Even now, my favorite thing to do is to rescue a piece of furniture or accent and transform them into something beautiful that looks like a million bucks! Even if I had a unlimited budget, I think I would still do this, because it is so personal and satisfying.
    Thank you for inspiring me today, as I have not done that in a while. I have 5 chairs in the garage screaming, “Make me beautiful!”.

  • Reply Rona February 24, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    This is so funny Holly as I had a ‘look-back’ moment today when I was chatting to a friend over coffee…

    I mentioned to her that who would have thought, when I starting taking photos of amazing florist shops in Osnabrueck in Germany, when I was living there as a student – that now I would be starting to think about doing the same thing, but this time for my blog…all about flowers…this time though in England…how spooky :-)

  • Reply julie from hazel & hunter February 24, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    thank you for sharing this, it was so fun to read. i loved what you said about not having a ton of money making you more creative – i find it makes me more aware of the materials i’m using and really makes me create things with my own hands, which i love. your timeline is very inspiring indeed!

  • Reply tracy porter February 24, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    dear holly…..
    what a surprise to see your note..and true confessions, i am sitting here sipping my morning tea, my eyes filled entirely with tears. thank you…… your words are so kind, and i am humbled…..truly …by what you have said. i get entirely what you are going through….i always say…( when it happens to me…that down on yourself thing..which i really don’t like…not one bit!) ….eyes up…..eyes up…odd as it is, it helps. you have been so honest…..and….. business, ahhhh…. is not easy… especially not now….but look what you have created…so wonderful…inspiring so many…..what a good heart you have, and what a creative mind. thank you for sharing…..really.

  • Reply Compartmentlife February 24, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    That is such a wonderful story. I’m a beginning blogger/home decorator that is just starting to find her way in world. Your story was truly inspiring, it makes me wonder where the next 10 years will take me.

    -Shannon Summers

  • Reply MelanieO February 24, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Holly, what a fabulous post. I, too, loved Rachel Ashwell (really still do) and have been inspired by design since I was a child flipping through my mother’s magazines. I discovered Tracy Porter more recently (I follow her through her Facebook page) and am inspired by the fact that she lives not far from me in Wisconsin. I’m also inspired by Amy Butler, who makes beautiful art from Ohio. And of course, you, featuring beautiful interior design while living in Germany. Isn’t the web fantastic, not having to be in a big, important city in order to receive recognition and find it in others?

    As far as connecting dots, I’m not sure I’m there quite yet. I have formed friendships via Twitter with many fabric designers I admire, such as Patty Young, Michelle Engel Bencsko and Jan DiCintio. I still have quite a way to go, though, in fulfilling my goals with my blog and my creative passions.

  • Reply tracie February 24, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    what a lovely, uplifting, and contemplative post.. i think all of us creative thinking people go through this! especially in the winter, when we feel trapped by mother nature. well said. :)

  • Reply sandrine February 24, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    You’re so right when you say we need to stop to give fresh air to the brain.
    I will take your words as a referent citation:
    “It’s important to pause and step back in order to move forward again”

    I sometime can’t stop creating, feeling just like wasting my time when I don’t.

    But it’s when I pause, that my ideas are getting reorganized by themself, and I take a pencil naturally, and enjoy the surprise I draw on the paper.

  • Reply Francoise Murat February 24, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    What a lovely post – so inspiring and it’s actually lifted my spirits no end! Things take time don’t they? Sometimes a long time….. but as you say it’s so nice to get a great hug from a friend even someone you don’t know or someone you admire but think they don’t know you. It gives your heart that little squeeze of courage and forces you out of the shell and into the world to embrace it with renewed vigour and determination.
    Even strong women sometimes need a hug adn people often forget that – so hugs all round and again super post.

  • Reply shannon berrey designs February 24, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Holly–thanks for sharing this! I, too, am a HUGE Tracy fan. And I know the power of kind words. If only we all shared them more freely. Thank you for reminding me to appreciate where my career is at this very moment. If I could go back 10 years ago and tell the younger me what would be in store for her 10 years down the road–who she would get to work with, work for, and the publications that would follow….I am not sure ‘she’ would believe it…Thanks for reminding me to be grateful.

  • Reply Laura February 24, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    It’s incredibly inspiring to hear your story and the evolution of your career path and that you were able to take yourself through this journey and end up in such a great place.

  • Reply kalanicut February 24, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    Ah, you made me feel reminiscent for the early 2000s Style Network. Loved Rachel Ashwell’s show and paid a fortune for the cable package that carried it. I watched it while I sat at my sewing machine in my living room day after day designing handbags and skirts to sell at fairs.

    Holly, this was a beautiful post. Thank you for helping me slow down and think. It’s been a crazy January/February for me and I’m caught between pressuring myself to “get caught up” and just keep moving forward in peace with the flow and let things come. One of the things that I have most appreciated as a student of yours is your generosity with your personal journey and learning. I love that you have no scarcity about success, joy and living a good life. I am sure these were values you had long before you became “International Sensation Holly Becker”. ;)

    You are so encouraging and even though I’m sure you don’t feel UP every moment. But it definitely comes through in all you do and the energy you send out to others. Warmest wishes for your continued success.

  • Reply Christina Hargrove February 24, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    When I look back on our first, tiny apartment on Beacon Hill in Boston, with its assortment of hand-me-downs and flea market finds, the fabric drapes “puddled” on the floor, and the sponge-painted walls (this was the early 90’s, you know!) I can almost feel the sense of hope, anticipation and happiness that filled that space.

    Thank you for reminding me to remember . . .

  • Reply Christina Hargrove February 24, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    P.S. Love that first photo.

  • Reply Shereen February 24, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Great post today! I posted a message a few weeks ago about getting my home ready to sell and how this blog (and you!) have been such an inspiration in the way I decorated my little home. I can’t wait to get my hands on your book and look forward to it inspiring me in decorating my new home! You are my Tracy Porter and Rachel Ashwell! ;) It’s amazing where life can take you…

  • Reply Neethi February 24, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Thank you so much for the wonderful post! much needed inspiration to those( specially me :) ) who stop to think if they are heading in the right direction. This is a shout out from an fan who never misses to read your blog! Thank you once again!

  • Reply Rose February 24, 2011 at 6:45 pm


    Thank you so much for this post and all of your other posts. I am glad that you took your long and circuitous path to where you are today, because your blog is definitely my favorite and inspires me every day.

    I work in an environmental non-profit, and I love my job, but when I get home from work it is all about decorating and creating. I started painting and making jewelry with my mom when I was young, and being creative has been a natural part of my life ever since. I also love, love, love thrift and antique store shopping and redecorating. I don’t know how many times I have surprised my husband when he comes home because everything is in a different place! I feel really lucky right now, as I am finally in a long term rental and can kind of decorate the way I want. Before this space, we had a housemate who owned the house, and I didn’t really feel comfortable moving furniture or art around. And before that, we were living abroad, and I didn’t buy anything too big or nice or permanent because I knew I wouldn’t be able to bring it home. Being back in the U.S., we finally bought our own bed and some furniture! Now I just want to own my own house so I can paint the walls and tile the bathroom floor and make more permanent changes like that. Right now, I don’t have much money to buy decorations or furniture, but as you said, I kind of like that – it forces me to be more creative. I love merging my thrift store finds, goodies from my travels, and old hand me downs into a space that makes me happy!

    Thanks Holly for all of the inspiration!


  • Reply A faded palette February 24, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    This was EXACTLY what I needed to hear. For those of you with a couple of spare minutes, I would love to tell my story.
    I’ve always had a desire to work with interior design. In Sweden, where I live, it’s really hard to get in to the design schools, so I decided to do a BA in Art History instead, and take courses in Design on the side. When I took my exam the unemployment in Sweden was sky high, and I decided to take another degree, in Visual Merchandising. I graduated last summer, but the unemployment in Sweden is still sky high. People with university degrees are working at McDonalds and supermarkets. Despite of this I haven’t given up. Someday I will have the job of my dreams. Three days ago I took the first step; I started my very own blog. The blog is a place where I write about things that inspire me, and it gives me hope. Even if I don’t have a lot of readers, your story made me even more determined to succeed. Thank you!

    • Reply decor8 February 24, 2011 at 6:56 pm

      @a faded palette – No I see it, it was in the SPAM comments because you had directly inserted a link within the post and those comments always go straight to spam until I go rescue them. :)

  • Reply Stylist's Own by Joanna Thornhill February 24, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Hi Holly,

    I’ve been reading your blog for some time now but have never commented before, but this post has really got me thinking – and in a way, I would say that your blog has definitely played its part in my own little career journey! I remember stumbling upon it years ago way back in the blogspot days (before I even really knew what a blog was!) – at the time I was starting out in my career and working as a TV runner, but pouring over your posts made me realise just how big my interest in interiors really was.

    Fast forward a bit and thanks to yours and other blogs I eventually figured that my dream job would be as an interior stylist, a profession highlighted to me through blogs – then fast forward a few more years and I’m managing to make a (tentatively!) successful freelance career in my chosen field as a stylist, and even write a little design blog of my own! I often see posts on your blog about stylists and photographers you admire who are actually now peers and friends of mine who I have been lucky enough to work with, such as Selina Lake, Ali Bradshaw and Rebecca Newport (and I can see that two of my blogger friends have commented on this post too just in the time it has taken me to write this!). Your post has made me think back to all those years ago sat in my dingy old flat reading your blogspot blog and thinking about how cool it all sounded, and now in my own little way I’m actually part of it all! Keep up the inspiring work! Jo x

  • Reply Lizzie February 24, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    I LOVED this post! That thread is something I have always noticed in my mother’s life, but I have had so much trouble finding it in my own. I have bounced on to and off of some many different paths in life that I wonder how many side steps I will have to make before getting to take a leap forward. Seeing my mom’s thread as she zig-zagged through life keeps me optimistic that no experience is insignificant, and personal journey will play itself out in its own time and way. Thank you for writing this and reminding me of life’s wonderful journey!!!

  • Reply tinajo February 24, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    I really like this post, I bet it inspires many. :-)

    The winter blues lives here as well, I have an awful time getting motivated during winter – and the closer to spring it gets (without actually being spring), the worse it gets.

    My blog has helped me though, just by meeting all different kinds of women from all over the world. It makes me happy in a very concrete way and I love it and the people who visits. Even my hubby said; “Never stop doing that since it´s giving you energy”. :-)

    I haven´t been as creative as I´d like to be lately due to the cold and darkness, but soon there will be sun again and I´ll make up for it! :-D

    Have a great day!

  • Reply A faded palette February 24, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    Why doesn’t my comment show?

    • Reply decor8 February 24, 2011 at 6:54 pm

      a faded palette – I only see this one…

      “Why doesn’t my comment show?”

  • Reply A faded palette February 24, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    Thank you for rescuing me! :)

    • Reply decor8 February 24, 2011 at 7:17 pm

      @a faded palette yay!! :) you are worth it, I loved your comment.

  • Reply Happy Wife February 24, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    So beautiful! Connecting the dots and taking the time out of my day to be quiet and gain new perspective is something I do often.
    Reading about your story was really encouraging.
    Your life is unique, special and perfect. The details fall into place magically, and here you are today.
    I wrote my own little connecting the dots after reading this, and linked yours at the end.
    Love how the entirety of our worlds are changed by the smallest moments, words and pictures.

  • Reply Happy Wife February 24, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    maybe mine got lost too? or it didn’t send…

  • Reply Debra February 24, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    Inspiring! I love peeking in on your blog every day to see what beautiful things your have found to share. I have been doing a lot of connecting the dots lately and it is interesting how many of us come back to something we loved to do as a child. I watch my daughter draw endlessly and hope she doesn’t let that go – to hold on to what she loves.

  • Reply shannon February 24, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    wow holly, so inspiring! it is so wonderful to hear your story! thank you so much for sharing!

    i look forward to looking back and experiencing something similar! congrats on coming around full circle, you are an inspiration to many!


  • Reply Helen February 24, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    I loved this post Holly. I found it really inspiring. I’ve found the last couple of weeks tough going too and sometimes I struggle to see where the thread is that links together all the different things I’ve done in my life. You’ve reminded me that sometimes you need to look beyond the obvious to make that connection. Thank you and I wish you all the very best with your book.

  • Reply Alexandra February 24, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    The way you write does also bring up the magic. Reading it was like watching a very sweet movie! Thank you!

  • Reply Adriana Oliveira February 24, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    Holly, thank you so much for sharing this! You can’t imagine (or maybe you can :) how important it is to me to know how some of my inspiration bloggers, who are like models to me, started doing what they now do so well, and to know that things were not easy for them as well. Every single day I struggle to find my way, and to stick with it despite all the hard work in doing what you love in the few hours left from a day job that only pay the bills and sucks a great part of your energy! And each day I keep repeating myself that all I have to do is to keep going, keep working hard and loving this, and feeling greatful for this world I’m in, full of other creative people that are just like me! Thank you so much :)


    P.s: When my positive energy goes down, I often look back to what I have already accomplished, and how things ended happening in this strange funny way!

  • Reply Gwyneth February 24, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    Holly, this was so lovely to read today, especially as Tamra and I have also been experiencing the horrid Febraury blues :( Its hard to make deck chairs when it is snowing outside!??? We have decided to take a coffee break and meditate on how we got here… Thank you for always thinking of your readers and being such an inspiration =) Gwyneth

  • Reply Eryn February 24, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Wow…what a great story to read! I needed a pick me up today and your heartfelt post certainly inspired me. Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply Esther February 24, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    I just wanted to thank you for this wonderful and inspiring post! Yes, things do take a long time to come full circle, but when they finally do and you look back…it doesn’t feel that long at all and you realize how necessary the time was…and how much you learned to bring you where you are today. Wonderful! Thank you!


  • Reply Caitlin of Wanderlustings February 24, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    Holly, that was a beautiful post. I am so glad that things came full-circle for you today and I am inspired to think that (hopefully) the same will happen to me one day. Boy did you bring back memories talking about Rachel Ashwell; I have all of her books and my mom and I would make tea and sit down to watch her show.

    This was truly an inspirational post. Thank you for that & don’t let the blues get the best of you!

    Warmest Regards,

  • Reply Renee February 24, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    I really enjoyed reading your post today and it came at the perfect time. I literally just clicked “purchase” on a domaine name for my new invitation/stationery website. After reflecting on the direction my business is taking I thought I should create a second website that will be solely paper and one that is my design & illustration. I battled with this for a bit and “blah, blah, blahed” to my friends, but in the end I think it is a smart move.

    Perhaps it could be wishful thinking on my part, but I have big dreams for my design business, and reading your post today gives me the boost that I need to keep forging ahead. So, thank you for sharing a part of your story – it really does inspire!

  • Reply Alisa February 24, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    As you needed Tracy’s comment just when it came, I seem to have needed your post today.
    Thank you for that!

  • Reply Nicola February 24, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    This really made me want to live in a barn in New England. But it’s also wonderful, being able to look back on a time in life that so clearly set the stage for something much bigger.

  • Reply Deborah Wall February 24, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    Hey Holly,

    I loved Rachel too! I loved how she made rooms feel like a hug with all that mismatched and shabby grandness. I have been addicted to decorating my whole life and it has taken me 45 years to pluck up the courage to step into my true self but I am now creating my own path, stepping into it with a bag full of dreams and a pocket full of courage.

    Hearing your story motivates and encourages me to push through the fear of not being good enough and know that whatever it looks like and wherever I go with this as long as I do it in my truth and with passion it will be perfect.

    Thanks for being a great mentor.

  • Reply Kinga February 24, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    This is such a great post! I am definitely going to sit down and do this tonight. This long Canadian winter is beginning to wear me down a bit with it’s dark and cold attitude…
    I just survived a bad, aching-all-over kind of cold that kept me from forming coherent thoughts for a week so needless to say I am feeling less than inspired. Lately I have been thinking about all the things I have set out to accomplish and getting weighed down by how little progress I seem to be making. And then today I read this lovely post and it reminds me that when you’re in the middle of everything, and you’re juggling way too many projects, progress can seem slow. Only through reflecting or meditating can you truly reconnect with how far you may have come…So I need to do just that. Sit down and reflect and connect me some dots!

    Thanks Holly!

  • Reply Pippa February 24, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    Lovely post Holly, I can really relate to your story. It’s all such a challenging journey and we all need inspirations along the way to keep us going. You are an inspiration…

  • Reply Sara February 24, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    Well, lovely. It’s very humbling and special that you share that with us. I haven’t taken the time just now to think about something similar but I don’t think I can say I’ve got dots to connect like that. 12 years ago (I too in my early 20s) my interests were nothing like they are now. I didn’t care for a little home to decorate yet now that’s what I yearn for most. I love the blogs and resources online, I devour them and can’t wait to put some of the ideas I’ve seen into my own home.
    I’m hoping there’s some dots to connect, at the very least my decisions and choices have got me to where I am now. (some not so good, some life changing).

  • Reply Monica February 24, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    What a much needed read:) February can be awful & a nice pick me up like your post does the trick. Its like a snowball effect, great way to spread the cheer. Although I don’t leave comments as much as I use to I couldn’t resist writing thank you:)

  • Reply Jeanette February 24, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    Lovely words from someone lovely. You are such a nice person, Holly.
    It´s strange, but sometimes we tend to forget that people who have success can feel down or are in need of some uplifting words now and then.
    I must admit I don´t now of Tracy, but I had Trica Guild (and still has) as my big design-idol. You are in their league now, you clever woman.
    I wish you all the happiness in the world!
    Jeanette xoxo

    Ps. I pre-ordered your book on Amazone and I can´t wait to hold it in my hands.

  • Reply Vicki February 24, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    Thank you for your candid sharing Holly. Watching your blogging journey has been an inspiration – i had no idea three years ago that my daily obsession with blogs like yours would result in one of my own. Ten years ago i was serving cappuccino’s in a coffee shop, comparing myself to friends who were ‘on their way’ in their careers, wondering if i would ever find something that fitted. I first found that in magazines and then the digital sphere showed its face. Now i smile at the world that has opened up to me. Blogging has opened my eyes to new experiences, friends and a sense of creative purpose i had no idea was possible. I love that blogging can be such a spontaneous process and most of all that it enables one to connect with like minded people who are as interested in the little details as i am. PS. If any of you are even contemplating Holly’s Blogging Your Way course, i can’t recommend it highly enough.

  • Reply Candi February 24, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    Holly, you are such a inspiration. Whenever I visit your blog, I always come away feeling refreshed. Sometimes I just want “eye candy” and you seem to always have the most beautiful pictures with lots of vibrant colors. Today I felt pressed for time ( I’m only supposed to be checking my email) but I stopped in for some visual stimulation…but I got much more instead. Your post is just what I needed to hear…so instead of rushing back to work, I think i’ll get me a cup of tea and meditate for a few moments.


  • Reply Ella February 24, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    This is my first comment on this blog and I’m glad I stopped by. I really enjoyed reading about your journey from shop to blogger to writer. I think it’s so true that it’s at your worst and most desperate times that you come up with the best creative ideas. It really forces you to stretch your imagination.

    While reading it I found myself inspired to come up with a title for a book of my own (funny how things work), who knows if it will ever be published. But you never know, at least it’s there for consideration…

  • Reply soraya nulliah February 24, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    Daer Holly-thank you so much for sharing your story with such honesty. I can totally relate…this came at the perfect time (much like in your own story!) because I have been in a bit of craetive funk lately. I took KRR Flying Lessons last year and really enjoyed your very honest and informative interview. I have also signed up for your BYW e-couse (can’t wait BTW!!) …we are all connected in this circle of life…much more than we sometimes admit. I absolutely love your pics/layouts and often drool over them just wishing I could jump right in!! I admire all you have accomplished while still styaing true to who you are..that’s so important. I hope to meet you one day too…who knows!!! (LOL) Oh!! I knew there was a point to my ramblings:)…you are part of my timeline!!! -Soraya

  • Reply Kirsten February 24, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    Very well written, Holly! I think you could easily turn this into an inspirational book for professional women finding their way in life.

    As for my timeline, it’s not nearly finished. I’m still in college so I’m still creating it. As for circulating in the same circle as your leaders and role models – very true! I’ll be starting at Sanoma as an intern next week :) .

  • Reply Kim February 24, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    Thank you so much for such a lovely and uplifting post.

  • Reply Frida February 25, 2011 at 12:05 am

    Very inspiring post! I’ll be working on my timeline tonight, reconsidering and inspiring myself! Thanks Holly!

  • Reply Jillian February 25, 2011 at 12:37 am

    I love this story, Holly! In early 2002, I moved to Portland on my own and was living alone for the first and only time in my life. I spent most of my free nights at Powells where I discovered the joy of decorating books, Tracy Porter’s Home Style, in particular. It was the first design book that I ever purchased, and I remember thinking I had to have it, even though the price tag seemed enormous. I read it over and over devouring every detail. I found her use of color and texture and vintage details so inspiring, and I still reference it even though it’s no longer exactly my style.

  • Reply jen February 25, 2011 at 12:39 am

    what a wonderful post! thank you!

  • Reply nancy isabelle labrie February 25, 2011 at 1:00 am

    Thank you Holly for sharing all of this.
    I can relate so much. I am in this first part of the story you wrote about. Living with just a little bit of money, constructing my own world, with my colours, my owm way. Sometimes I feel everything shaking so much inside, scared of who I am, of my own light. Your post gives me courage to continue. We are all like flowers, knowing deeply we are in the process of blooming, feeling unconfortable in the process of metamorphosis. But we are getting there, everyday. A flwer blooms and one dies, then nourrishes the soil for the seed where that next flower hides. Thank you. xxxx

  • Reply Shari February 25, 2011 at 1:32 am

    Wow. What an amazing journey I just took with you, Holly! Thank you for sharing your time line with us! I have never thought about it too much, but reading your post did cause me to pause and reminisce.
    I have always enjoyed home decorating magazines as a kid… my mom had them around the house. I also loved Building Manual, ha ha. A magazine back in the 80’s, I think, that showed floor plans for home layouts. It had photos of awesome homes, rooms, and decorating ideas. I went to school for art, but ended up going to an Interior Design school in Santa Cruz after, but didn’t enjoy interior decorating for the public. I was too young, I think… but I still loved those books and magazines that always inspired me. Rachel Ashwell was one of the biggies! I have all her books, I think! I’ve always been a thrift store/flea market hound… and she just made it more awesome, as you say. My experience in interior design had a backlash effect, though… it caused me to want to NOT work with the public anymore. I went into construction afterwards… so I wouldn’t have to work around women anymore! Luckily, after many years in construction, I found myself again, and my love for humanity returned. I actually started being more and more creative, and starting my blog, while working at the construction company. I met a woman there who had an antiques business on the side and who encouraged me to help her with the styling of her various booths. She shared her ideas with me and helped to expand my knowledge of how to spot quality vintage and antique items. She inspired me, too. I’ve blogged more since leaving home (California) mainly because I don’t have to work as hard over here, and I love blogging. I don’t yet know where that will take me, but I’m open to whatever comes my way! By the way, I think I might have bought one of those decoupaged switch plates from you on eBay!! :-)
    Thank you so much for sharing your story… really! It IS inspiring! I can’t wait to get your book, too. It’s supposed to ship in April, I guess… it’ll be a lovely surprise when I get it!


  • Reply Lornna Olson February 25, 2011 at 2:00 am

    Thank you for this post-it was a perfect time for me to read it. I’m at a time in my life when a big change is necessary. It’s scary but also exciting! I love your blog- it’s changed the way I see my home and how I present my home. Your philosophy of visualizing your dreams and having things come to you is important- it really does work. I very much look forward to reading your book!

  • Reply leah February 25, 2011 at 2:04 am

    Thank you for being such an inspiration for me!
    I too was smitten with design books and magazines, especially Rachel Ashwell in the late 90’s!
    My journey… motherhood has been my main priority for that last 12 years. My youngest will be at school next year and i will not be a full time, 24 hour/day mamma.
    I am kind of scared and excited. I have put my dreams and passions on hold, now i have a chance to make them a reality…. Only I am not sure what I want to be doing. i still am addicted to decorating/interiors books and magazines and many of the wonderful design blogs available.
    I always wondered what I would be when I grew up, now at 35, I am ready to take the leap and find out. It may take a while but i will start connecting the dots today.
    A heart felt thank you for all the inspiration that you provide.
    with love, leah
    p.s sorry for the length of this comment

  • Reply Vicki (simply hue) February 25, 2011 at 2:05 am

    Thanks so much for sharing this, Holly. I can relate to the 2 weeks of Winter Blues. Spring is coming soon, though…yay!!! Anyways, I’m going to put your suggestion into action. Thankyou for the inspiration! :)

  • Reply AshleyD February 25, 2011 at 2:10 am

    Thanks Holly! I read through this post word for word because it relates so closely to my life right now. For me, it’s been a long year looking for a gig in interior design. What kept me going was reading your blog (which is one of the first that introduced me to blogging btw) and the strong desire to be my own boss. However, it hasn’t been easy getting the right job but the other day when I was dropping off keys for a friend to this interior design showroom, I had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with the owner and designer and talked to them about my aspirations. I didn’t even know they were looking for another associate! I normally don’t like to sell myself but I felt completely comfortable with them and little did I know I’ve just got myself an awesome interview.

    I concur that we all need to surround ourselves with our mentors and let the world know what we love to do. Connecting with people is a powerful tool and when you least expect it they can help you in many ways.

    I just started a blog and I’ve signed up for your BYW class this season. Sooo excited! Thank you for always being a constant e-mentor!

  • Reply Shell February 25, 2011 at 4:13 am

    What a great story to share with all of us, Holly. My boyfriend gets those Winter blues, so you are not alone with that.
    I think the closest thing I have to your story is that, about ten years ago one of my friends suggested that I teach acting. At the time, I though I was still learning the craft and had no idea how to teach it. Well, fast forward to 2009, I decided to take the plunge and teach acting. Two years later, I’m still teaching acting privately. It has been a great experience for me. Showed me so clearly how when things are your destiny, a way will be made for you to do them.

  • Reply so gigi February 25, 2011 at 4:27 am

    Oh, this is so what I needed today.What a gentle reminder that whatever your ‘Dream’ may be it takes time. I too had that ebay shop years back. Collecting treasures to refurbish. Then like you, spending I’m sure more in the attention to the packaging than was ever made in profit. Time and growing children passed. As they grew I found my paints and canvas that had been tucked away for another day. Now as I have my little undiscovered shop on etsy I wait for the other dot to connect. If not there I know the next dot is out there somewhere!

  • Reply Chloe C. February 25, 2011 at 5:05 am

    Just wrote a whole essay, only to lose it. grrrrr.
    I’ll start over, maybe it will be better.

    The main thing is that I am sorry you were Blue, Holly.

    I read this earlier today, and waited to write more thoughtfully than hastily sneaking at work. Sending this now, and going back to work on the rest.

  • Reply meenal @ maison marigold February 25, 2011 at 7:31 am

    Dear Holly…decor8 is the first blog I ever read and always found your voice so distinctive and inspiring. I never could have guessed the journey behind your success and today I know…perseverence is a great strength to have. it is not immediately rewarding but it sure can lead you places in life that you never ever imagined. I am a new blogger..not even a month old…but there are times when it gets frustrating, particularly when I would have worked very hard on a post only to find a 0 in the comments section the next day. But a couple of days later one comment…a word of appreciation from the most inconcievable quarter would uplift my spirits and remind me why I’m blogging…it does alway lie in ‘here and now’ but maybe ‘later and at the right time’. I carry on believing that good things will happen…it may take time but I must ‘keep at it’..and your story today, only reiterates my belief. Thankyou so much for sharing your story, Holly. xx meenal

  • Reply Laura February 25, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Holly thank you for this wonderful post, it has inspired me and made me feel happy! You must feel so uplifted to think you are now to so many people what Tracy Porter and Rachel Ashwell were to you (you most definitely are to me!) x x x

  • Reply juliette February 25, 2011 at 10:53 am

    My great aunt passed away last week and since then I have been remembering/realizing just how much she shaped my life. We used to spend long stretches of time at her house when I was a child b/c my great uncle was a renowned violinist and he and my mom, dad, and sister would talk/play violin for hours and hours and hours. I was usually totally bored by this, but my great aunt would spend the time with me doing something creative: talking about painting, which we both liked, teaching me ‘arty’ things in the kitchen, etc.

    But the greatest topic for me was creative writing. She had been published in several writers’ magazines and encouraged me to try the same. She had a computer (a novelty when I was young) and she often encouraged me to type out little stories and poems and ‘find my way’. Thanks to her, I took many creative writing courses and even tried submitting to some young adult magazines a couple of times. I shelved the whole ‘writing thing’ for many years, but it’s coming back again. I don’t think she was really able to process the fact that I blog, but I think it would’ve thrilled her.

  • Reply Bianca February 25, 2011 at 11:26 am

    This was just what I needed to hear this morning. I will definitely be taking some time to pause and reflect. I also so agree with your comment about how sometimes having less means more creativity. I remember being a struggling fashion student in the mid nineties. I would make amazing outfits to wear to parties and create all sorts of interesting things for my then rented and shared student accommodation. Sometimes its those hings we make ourselves that we appreciate the most.

  • Reply Holly February 25, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Dear Holly,

    Wow. What a wonderful post. And what a wonderful response to it. As many have already mentioned, it was something I needed to hear today. I have not fully connected the dots in my own life or career path yet. But I feel like it is happening and I trust that it will. That said, I know when I look back one day, you will be among those dots. In order not to make this comment too long, I invite you to take a look at one of my previous posts (, where I talk about the role you’ve played in helping me discover the interiors world online, about how you’ve inspired me through your work and personal experiences. Thank you.

    Still connecting the dots,

  • Reply Martin February 25, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    I also bookmarked and tweeted this. Thank you so much for showing great concern for other people. Much Respect!

  • Reply debra February 25, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Hi Holly, i would love to share my time-line with you. Ill email you of thats alright. Funny you wrote this as I had just finished my 1year anniversary post where YOU are one of my 3 1st bloggers and inspiration. I will be posting it on the 1st march, so hopefully you can pop by and check it out. To me you a Tracey and I know we all have “those” inspiring and motivating people in our lives.Maybe ill meet you one day ;)
    I did email you a while back to ask if i may use one of your pictures in the Anniversary post but never got a reply. I know it can get busy.I am so glad you feel charged up for March and may your year be fruitful, love-filled and may you experience every dream in coming true.Deb x

  • Reply Maria Helena February 25, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Loved this post so much! Sometimes i get a bit lost, specially on February, I’m with you on this ! I too feel so blue this time of the year – funny you mentioned – i guess we are all kinda “connected” in this blues thing too. So, yes perfect timing for a “connecting the dots” game.

  • Reply gerrie February 25, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    your blog has always inspired me. And so does your story. It is truly remarkable and beautiful..!!!! Love decor8 more and more…

  • Reply Katie Truelove February 25, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    How wonderful to hear a bit more about your story! Thank you for the encouragement to think about our own journeys:)

  • Reply Making Happy February 25, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    LOVED this post. How COOL that Tracy Porter, one of the first to inspire you, contacted you. I have long loved her aesthetic. I also love “Where Women Create” – you just want to crawl inside the pages! Thanks for all the inspiration you and your blog provide me and so many others! Congratulations on all your well-deserved success!

  • Reply Elizabeth Horn February 25, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    I can so relate to your design journey. I remember being into the Rachel Ashwell shabby chic thing too. I also grew up going to fleamarkets and antiquing with my parents. I actually just recently got into reading design blogs. I don’t know why it took me so long to jump on the band wagon. I thought that I would much rather hold a magazine in my hand and have the pictures to keep. I couldn’t understand why some magazines went under, like Country Home, due to so many people reading blogs instead. The Pure Style Home blog was the first one to pull me in. I wasn’t going to read any others, but suddenly I became obsessed with all the design blogs I could find. I was so inspired, I started my own. I feel like there is a community that I am a part of. It is instant gratification and there is so much available. My Better Homes and Gardens came last week and I felt kind of sad because I just didn’t have the same excitement that I used to get when it arrived. I am inspired by what you have been able to accomplish. It makes me feel like maybe I could do it too.

  • Reply Erin - The Smallest Sparrow February 25, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Great post! Thanks for sharing your story. Love the idea of connecting the dots. Goodness… mine go back to my earliest memories. There were lots of dots in the early days. Then very few for years and years. Getting back to the dots now and it feels so good!

  • Reply Trina February 25, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    This is a great reflection. Seeing the humanity and evolution of those we admire (namely, you :)) is great for those of us just starting out. There’s no way of knowing how the twists and turns of our own unique journey will shape us. With society in such a rush for the biggest and brightest, newest and boldest, it’s hard for many of us artist (over-achiever) types to feel we’re making any headway toward our dreams. We feel we could always work harder, but often belittle the accomplishments we have made with the old, “but anyone could do what I’m doing if they tried” line. It’s all about the barn (might just be my new mantra) and the unseen progression only time can reveal. Thanks for the great post. I have a feeling I might find myself in similar shoes as your own in a few years. Here’s to the evolution! :)

  • Reply Libby February 25, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    I’ve scrolled down through most of these comments and stopped at Vicki (#53). I couldn’t agree more! Blogging has opened up so many wonderful doors, and paths, and new friends. It is an amazing experience for those willing to take it! And…who knew? All those years, alone in my studio, and now the entire world is right there with me!

  • Reply Libby February 25, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Forgot: and yes, I am about to start the course!

  • Reply Rocio Rincon February 25, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Oh, what a wonderful post! What a great way to reflect on your path to sucess! I imagine that at the beginning you were so excited and full of wonderful ideas at that time, and when they started to become a reality, then everything seemed magical and full of opportunities, and you were in awe. Everything happened for a reason. You always had it with you, you just had to let it simmer and voila! I’m so happy for you, you are a great inspiration for me and for others. I’m sure there are many people that want to become like you because you’re their inspiration. Don’t ever loose the voice from your past because that’s the girl with the dreams! Xoxo

  • Reply PopArtRockGirlYeah! February 25, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Wow Holly this is so inspiring. I know many people that have done your blogger course and highly recommended it! Unfortunately I’m not going to be able to do the March course (trying to build an online shop aaarrrrgh!) but hopefully next year I’ll be able to join up like Ari, Rona, Carole and co (who have left comments above!) Sincerity is something which is very important in the bloggersphere, and when you find it, it really does stare you in the face – and that is why I’ve I have so enjoyed this article! (seems too long to call it a post!) All the best with your book launch x Michaela

  • Reply el {what you fancy} February 25, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    This post really made me smile… I have spent some time myself really thinking about where I’ve come from and where I’m headed. For me, the thing that drives me on, even when working long days in the office and blogging every evening and weekend, is knowing what I want to achieve, but also being happy in the process. Too many people say, “I’ll be happy when…”, but they need to appreciate the NOW. I have goals, of course, but the journey there is equally important. Thanks for this, I really enjoyed reading it (and was v jealous about meeting Rachel!). Have a lovely weekend :)

  • Reply Lisa February 25, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    What a great post! We all need a boost this time of year – I’m in Massachusetts too – and you’re well aware of those long gray winters. I’m a polymer clay jewelry designer and just recently received a comment from my idol Carol Simmons. It’s funny – she just responded to my post about some trouble I was having with a bench grinder (how glamorous, huh?) but I was so impressed with the fact that she had actually read my goofy little blog! It made my day – gave me that shot I needed. I really love reading your blog – I try to pop in every day! Thanks for the great words you share.

  • Reply karen @ our slo house February 25, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    When you described the effort and detail you put into your ebay sales, I felt like you were describing me (although I have neither an ebay shop or an etsy shop.) The effort, the love, is in the details. When I wrap gifts, create invitations and all the other paraphanalia that goes with showers and kids’ parties… it takes me hours and hours. My husband just smiles, because he knows that it’s what I like to do. Even right now, I’ve been making a solar system “mobile” to hang in my son’s room. All the paper mache, the painting, the decoupage, Saturn’s rings… oh how my heart smiles and sings as I work on it!

    In my heart of hearts, I know that there is *something* out there for me to do — something creative, where I can bring in a little extra money for my family. I haven’t figured out what that *something* is and sometimes I fear that I never will. : ( An etsy shop? A blog???

    Anyhow, it’s because of your creative spirit that I signed up for your Blogging e-course rather than a “technical” one. I am excited to be inspired by your love of detail, your creativity, and your sweet, kind heart.

  • Reply g. February 25, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    what an inspiring post! and a full-circle moment for you!! xo.

  • Reply Marina February 25, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    Great post! So inspiring. Thank you :)

  • Reply hena tayeb February 25, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    A great post.. I am more in the earlier stages of connecting the dots.. but neverthless when I think about where I was just three years ago… I see small greatness I am so proud of..

  • Reply Christina February 25, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    I just loved reading this. :) You really put a smile on my face and some energy in my heart. I just started blogging. I mean like last week. Haha. And it’s something I’ve wanted to do for quite a while. I’m really excited about it, but it’s also terrifying. Pretty much just my friends and family read it so far, but I’m concerned that my real audience won’t be found by posting my updates on my Facebook profile. Haha.

    I have been so inspired by the blogging world as I’ve discovered it over the last year or so. Even if my little blog just becomes a personal exercise in documenting the things that inspire and intrigue me, I’m okay with that! I’ll call it a “journal” for now. :)

    Thank you for being such a sweet person. It is apparent how much you care about your readers and I admire that.

  • Reply tami johnson February 25, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    I created a blog eons ago called ‘doT2Dot connections’ – actually took your first blogging course which I loved and inspired me to actually get it going. And I have miserably failed at keeping it current, but dream of doing so daily! I’m all about connections and how I’ve ended up where I am today – with my high schooll sweetheart (after 6 years living 3,000 miles apart), my best friend who attended college in my home town while I was away at school – we met 6 years laterand are inseparable and the list goes one.
    You have inspired me to make my timeline – I”m a graphic designer so it’s a visual graphic of how all the things in my life connect. I can’t wait to see what gets added next!

  • Reply Starlet February 25, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Dear Holly,

    This post means so much to me as well. I remember reading your blog when you still had it on blogger and thought how cool it was to be someone like you!

    I still have a long way to go, since I just finally pushed myself to take a step forward to chase my dream very recently. But this kind of post is exactly what I need to keep me going!

    So thank you!!

    On another note, do you still have your eBay store? Do you still sell or keep up with it?

  • Reply Martina Simonic Adamic February 25, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    Hey! Thank you so much for this inspiring post! Your blog is the “candy treatment” each day ;) Today was one of those days that I feel that everything is running too slow – ideas, work… and then your story. If I look back, since my childhood I was creative, but I never thought that this can be something that I can do “for a living”. Two years ago I started anyway, and I guess now I’m about… where you were with eBay – still at the beginning but with a big dreams and passion for what I do.
    Thanks again and good luck with your book (can’t wait to see it!)

  • Reply Sarah February 25, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    I’m not sure I’ve ever posted a comment here, but I’ve been following your blog for some time. I really loved this post, especially the part about being newly married and broke. That’s me! And your blog has been an inspiration to my fumbling attempts at decorating. I follow several decorating blogs, but I know I can count on yours for stuff that’s “me.” Thanks…

  • Reply decor8 February 25, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    Wow you guys, this is touching. I’m pleased to hear from each of you and I took a few hours reading over these comments a second time tonight – and no doubt I’ll read them again when I need to refer back to hearing from so many positive and caring friends. Thank you. A million times thank you for being such great friends to me. I have to start writing more personal bits because I felt shy to write this post — though seeing all of your heartfelt comments inspires me to write from the heart more regularly because it seems you crave the same soul connection that I do amongst all of the pretty things + visual candy. I wish you all a very nice weekend. xoxo

  • Reply Jodie February 25, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    Hi Holly,

    I follow loads of blogs… and although each one has something unique to offer, for me, your blog is one of the few that gets it consistently right.

    I know I’m not the only one who feels that way. Every time you go through a period when you’re feeling demotivated or what’s the point, think of how many of us would genuinely notice if you stopped doing what it is you’re doing. Have you ever seen the film It’s a wonderful life? ;-)

  • Reply rachael February 26, 2011 at 2:40 am

    thank you for this :) it was perfect for today. <3

  • Reply Andy Mathis February 26, 2011 at 3:20 am

    What a great post, Holly.
    I am glad you took the time to reflect on the past and to write about it, and glad that I decided to stop by Decor8 today.

    I admit I don’t stop by as often as I once did. I blame it on Facebook, :) , but I do keep up with you on Twitter and Flickr.

    I think Decor8 was one of the first blogs I recall reading when people, that I was hanging out with online, were just starting to talk about blogging. I was amazed at how you had that cool 3 column page, packed full of links and city guides. It was like eye candy and information all rolled into one. It was very inspiring and you made it look so effortless.

  • Reply tereza crump aka MyTreasuredCreations February 26, 2011 at 9:00 am

    I just found you and your blog. you can really captive an audience with your writing. :)

    Here is my timeline: 10 years ago today I left my country to marry the man that God told me was to be my husband. I only talked to him in person for 2 hours, then for 6 weeks we talked over the phone and internet. He came back to get me and we left to be married here in the US. March 04th we will celebrate our 10 year anniversary.

    10 years later I am a wife, Mom to 4 wonderful children, live in my dream home and I am an artist at heart. I never thought it would be possible to realize those dreams but God did and He is so awesome!

    The night He came into my room and His voice whispered to me softly “This is your husband.” I broke down and cried. I cried because His presence was awesome and because I thought I was not worthy of so much love and such a gift of having my dream realized.

    I have more dreams… one of them to realize my art… I don’t know yet how, but my Jesus does…so I am waiting on Him at the right time things will happen and when I see stories like yours I know they are possible.

    Right now I am realizing the dream of everyday creativity…training and nurturing my children, fulfilling custom orders and creating little keepsakes… God knows what the future has in store… I will wait patiently and expectantly. :)

    thanks for inspiring me to write this words. :)

  • Reply Rebecca February 26, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    So glad to read this post and many of the comments this morning, its good to know that i’m not the only one thats gotten the February funk!
    I get so hung up on what i’m not achieving rather than what i have achieved!
    I’ve only just decided this year to properly give my design work a real shot and i started a blog in Jan so i’m on my way…it’s nice to be reminded to look back and reassuring to know that it will all pay off in the end if i just keep at it! Thanks xox

  • Reply Sirita February 26, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    thank you for unveiling a special piece of yourself. you’ve inspired me to keep going and even more diligently than before.

  • Reply dawn February 26, 2011 at 6:06 pm


    you are open and honest and it is evident this helps others to be as well…
    we all travel a journey, mine has been going for longer than yours…

    my inspiations have been…
    Laura Ashley in the mis 80’s when i first went to Wales
    Tricia Guild when i moved to england a short time later
    Katrin Cargill and Rachel Ashwell when i moved back to the states
    Vicente Wolf over the past few years

    our style evolves over time and takes on outside influences, it blends what we see with who we meet and what we read. i love interior design, it is what i do.

    but i am a mom and was a single mom for 15 years until getting married just 5 months ago. sometimes i think if i had connected the dots differently things would have been more stable…but, alas, life is at this moment the way it is because my dots connected in the way they did, and i am amazingly blessed. i am in your byw class and this is yet another dot on the journey. more blessings to come and spring will be here soon :)

    dawn xo


  • Reply MN February 26, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    I really enjoyed your post today- I found it really encouraging. It is remarkable to reflect on the things over time that have inspired us to manifest our own creative dreams and also to see how one might end up somewhere you never thought possible if you have the courage to follow your instincts. You inspire many of us, Holly.

  • Reply hearttypat February 26, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    dear holly, you have no idea how much i needed to read what you have just shared. at this point, i’m trying to make a childhood dream happen. i’m my own worst enemy. I am judgmental on myself and what I do and i kick myself for not doing things that i know i should do. right now, i needed confidence to keep myself going and make things happen. I hope that what you said will become part of my timeline to get there. thank you once again for opening your journey up here.

  • Reply Anna February 26, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    what a beautiful and inspiring post. thanks…

  • Reply Anna February 26, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    holly, this post was so inspiring. i feel like i am where you were in 2001 – young, having big thoughts and crazy ideas and hoping that someday they go somewhere fulfilling and exciting. and sometimes it’s hard to keep living towards those dreams when you’re in the midst of the february blues. but your post is a wonderful reminder of how the little things, the smallest steps, can take you in the right direction, and just like tracy porter’s comment was perfect timing for you, this post came at the perfect time for me. so thank you, for being true to yourself and continuing to be the inspiration to others that those women were to you.

  • Reply Jesyka February 27, 2011 at 5:44 am

    I know exactly how you felt about Tracy’s comment; Anna Maria Horner gave me a great comment (on flickr) on a quilt I made with her fabrics for my baby about a month ago, and definitely could have died. :) I heart her work so much, and I hope to one day do what she does! (I’m working on it!)

  • Reply Edez February 27, 2011 at 6:27 am

    very very inspirational. and I would like to also take my turn and connect the dots and pursue more. thanks for sharing. God bless.

  • Reply Nicole February 27, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Inspiring words as usual!
    I love hearing about your journey because {especially after taking the BYW course} I feel that we have a lot in common {I worked for many years in HR. And I cried at work too}.

  • Reply Margie February 27, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Holly I recently discovered your blog and am inspired by what you do. Thank you for sharing your thoughts today, they are so honest and reassuring. My sister-in-law Rachel created a ‘blue box’ for when you’re feeling down and I love the idea of one. You can fill it with movie tickets, a beauty treatment, love notes, encouraging words, special foodie treats etc and dip into the box when your spirit needs a lift. I think it could help with the ‘winter blues’…

  • Reply Teacup Moments February 27, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Dear Holly, I am touched by this truly contemplative post. Thank you for sharing. I too was inspired by Rachel Ashwell in my 20s and try to channel that ethos of decorating with joy, with things one loves.

  • Reply abby jenkins February 27, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    what a fabulous post! I can totally relate. I was obsessed with Martha Stewart in my early twenties, maybe because she was just a few towns away in Westport, CT or that I was broke too and always trying to make things as beautiful as I could with what little I had. I would wake up at 6:45 am, yes, set my alarm to catch her show on sunday mornings… these were the days when I would be out in NYC until 3 or 4am, partying. I had every single Living Magazine, every book she ever wrote…my best friend called me Martha Stewart on crack (I didn’t do drugs but had just moved above a Starbucks at the time!) I was kind of bummed out that she made thrift shops and tag sales acceptable, I’d been doing it all my life, we grew up poor but we did have the best thrifting in the world, Greenwich CT? What people threw out….amazing. But now there was competition for the good stuff. Damn her collecting column!

    Anyhooo… flash forward a decade… I ended up working at Living Magazine, some of the greatest days of my life… and firmly believe I would never have been a caterer, prop stylist or art director if it wasn’t for Martha. Motto here: Careful what you wish for because dreams do come true! Reach for the Stars!

  • Reply Desha February 27, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    YOU are my Tracy Porter and Rachel Ashwell.
    Thank you for this post, truly inspiring~


  • Reply Jack February 27, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Hi Holly,
    It’s clear I won’t be the first to congratulate you on your most recent very personal, very inspirational post. That said, I’m guessing you haven’t heard much from the guy-side here and yet the way in which you launched your career… Your passion… Feels awfully similar to my most recent endeavor. In following your example (and getting over my “fear of sharing”, particularly as a guy), I’ll just shut my eyes and jump.
    Like you, I spent a number of years in the corporate world (let’s just say email was a pipe dream when I started, much less blogging…) But long before corporate finance and marketing, I began building furniture. From the age of 10, I’d spend hours awake at night designing little wooden boxes, hobby horses, and furniture in my head (still do.) As I became more “proficient”, my family would ask why I didn’t pursue it full time. Frankly? It was the only time that was MY time… My escape… And I was doing pretty well on the corporate side with four children to feed at home. Still, I’d spend long weekends in the shop… Working the wood when the rest of me wasn’t “working”. It wasn’t until years later… After running an ad agency for 10+ years and being exposed to terrific “creative”, after seeing technology grow into something that made creativity profitable, and after the corporate demands began to wear thin, that I was able to connect the dots in my life… In me… And I found the most perfect form of self expression I could think of.
    Paddock Way is more than my passion, it is nearly all of me. With the “power of the internet” (just like you talked about), people who love home design as much as I do can design high quality furniture their own way. Online, anyone can build furniture – picking their own design combinations and preferences – without the risk of losing a finger. I then build their piece for them and, just like you with the eBay store, I pack it up lovingly and deliver the piece carefully to its rightful owner.
    This journey brings together all of the things you speak so fervently about – about personality, creativity, self-expression, small business, and the many pains that come with living a “connected” life and being REAL. It’s not an easy thing to do, as Tracy Porter so wisely said in her note to you… But for people who have identified their passion and have devoted so much time to becoming experts at that which they care deeply about, is there really any other choice but to live it and see it through?
    It has become clear to me – not just by reading your post but also by seeing the nearly 100 comments you received from partners in kind, that if there’s one thing that will ensure satisfaction and success for all of us, it is building a creative community that encourages each individual to be just that… To be real, to be themselves, and to be better than they were yesterday.
    Thanks very much for the opportunity to reach out, and thank you for your work in establishing and growing this community. I wish you continued success, and in honor of your work I will personally take responsibility for increasing your male readership. With three sons plus myself, I think perhaps you just gained a percentage point or two…

  • Reply Lauren February 27, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    Dear Holly,

    I could not have read this post at a more perfect time. I truly was grinning ear to ear as I read about your tales about your Ebay shop days. My blog airs tomorrow, my etsy shop of little treasures (that I will probably end up SPENDING $ on) is in the works – and I’m in a brand new city (Denver, CO) because I thought my heart needed the change. There is so much to lose, yet so much to gain by following my instincts and nurturing the design/art enthusiast within me.

    Thank you for your encouraging and personal post.

  • Reply Alexis February 27, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    Holly, thank you so much for sharing this. You have given me encouragement and inspired me to share some encouragement with others as well. To begin turning your artistic abilities into a life long dream of living on those abilities is a long process. Knowing that all the incredible people I admire, whether it be home decorators such as yourself or others have all started small like myself makes me feel as though I can actually make it. Thank you again :)


  • Reply Genelle February 27, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    Great post Holly! Lately I have been trying to get my life in order (Aka: decide if I’m in the right job). It’s always interesting to hear how others have made their way through their careers. I believe that everything I have done, up to this point in my career, has led me to exactly where I need to be. Now I need to settle in and take some quiet time to put all of this into perspective and move forward. Thanks for your inspiring words!

  • Reply Nicole February 28, 2011 at 1:03 am

    I just love when you have these days and decide to write to us! It is always from your heart and it inspires me and so many others. I too “needed” to hear this and to be reminded that we all start somewhere. This reminds me to keep following my dreams, listen to my ideas and follow where the universe might take me! Who knows what gifts might appear!

  • Reply Jane February 28, 2011 at 2:58 am

    Oh, Holly! I hung off every word in this post. I love how *real* you are in sharing your journey. I’m just about to start the BYW course with you and am over-the-moon delighted at what lies ahead. J x

  • Reply Natascha February 28, 2011 at 4:44 am

    Dear Holly,

    I loved this heart-to-heart with all of us fans and followers. This might sound very corny, but your blog is the reason and inspiration for me to start my own little blog two years ago. It too have been going through a little winter dip and feeling very uninspired the past two weeks (hence the lack of posting). Reading this post made me realise that even top bloggers like you can feel off-beat at times and that it is really ok. I’m not sure I can do a timeline and connect the dots like you have described doing. But your post was certainly a little boost to help me see what I love about blogging and to find the desire to get to posting on my blog again.

    Hopefully I will see you in june at the meet the Blogger event in Amsterdam :-D It would be SO cool to meet you. You are my Rachel ;-)

    A fan from the Netherlands,
    Natascha xoxo

  • Reply Alexandra February 28, 2011 at 7:13 am

    Wonderful post!

    Strangely I’ve been thinking of my own design and online time line recently. Back in 2001 I came home from a trip to NYC and discovered that not only could I write online but other people actually wanted to read what I had to say. The number of people grew and grew until not only was I often ‘spotted’ by strangers on the street but many online friends because ‘real life’ friends. Eventually, after years of living in about 5 different ‘online’ time zones (you could tell via internet speed back then when each coast of the US would wake) and spending up to 20/24 hours a day online I realised that I had to stage an intervention on myself. I moved away to the snow for a few months to kick my ‘habit.’

    One thing I realised was that even though I studied visual arts and architecture, worked for designers, had always been crafty and from all those years of writing my blog……

    I’m not so much a maker for anyone else by myself but more a hoarder of images and ideas.

    I’m fascinated by connections and networks and sometimes will spend evenings merely following the links between people who love the same things as I do. I spent/spend so much time doing this but its different from before because I’m not trying to link myself into these networks.

    Which is what I want to change and to come full circle in regards to….

    to make those connections again and with everything that I’ve gathered in the past ten years combine them all to actually make Something.

    I just need the emotional mixing bowl and the wooden spoon of inspiration and I’ll whip up something tasty in a jiffy.

    Thanks for the little reminder!

    Xx A

  • Reply brugge February 28, 2011 at 7:40 am

    this is a wonderful reflection. I have been married and making a home for almost 30 tears now. Even now, my favorite thing to do is to rescue a piece of furniture or accent and transform them into something beautiful that looks like a million bucks! Even if I had a unlimited budget, I think I would still do this, because it is so personal and satisfying. Thank you for inspiring me today, as I have not done that in a while. I have 5 chairs in the garage screaming,

  • Reply Cecilia February 28, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Thank you.
    I love your decor tips
    I love your living tips even more! You encourage me and set me in the right mood
    Thanks. Have a nice everything!

  • Reply Janet February 28, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Hi Holly——-WHAT A WONDERFUL POST! Thank you for your honesty. I’ve been following your blog for about 8 months now, and anytime I need a pick-me-up I log-on to see all the pretty things and to read about what you’re up to. I don’t really follow any other blogs, but I feel somewhat of a kindred spirit with you. You see——I too am from the South, Mississippi to be exact, AND I too have lived the expat life…………. 13 years out of the last 15 years have been spent outside the US. Also——–I too have lived in New Hampshire in a beautiful 200 year old plus house in Portsmouth that I restored with my own hands! Right in the historical district. Beautiful!!! Oh——and I too am an Interior Designer——— working for the last 9 years in London. (We southern girls do know how to decorate don’t we? lol)

    Your post got me thinking, the entire weekend i might add, of what picture my dots “show & tell.” I’ll spare you most of the details, but I will share one thing I discovered………….My major influences haven’t been so much women directly working in Interior Design, but creative, entrepreneurial women who have had an idea and then turned that idea into a successful business. I worship Kate Spade and the magic of ALL THINGS KATE SPADE. I”m in awe of Natalie Massenet of Net-A-Porter for taking such a radical idea, at the time, and turning it into a ground-breaking, mega-successful business. And Jeanne Fiol , owner of the staffing agency KNF&T, whom I worked for in the late 90’s in Boston, MA.

    I guess I should give a quick nod to a few of the interior designers I look up to……………Mary McDonald for everything she creates literally takes my breath away when I look at it; Tara Bernard of TARGET LIVING for not giving a stuff for what the trends are, and boldly going where she wants to go; and Abigail Ahern, even though her trade-mark style doesn’t particularly suit me personally, her style has influenced the London Design Scene and one has to admire her for that.

    Congrats about the book. WHAT AN AMAZING ACCOMPLISHMENT!!!!! I”ll be purchasing a copy!

    Oh—–one more thing——I’m not sure if you’ve heard of the blog Southern Plate, but if you like to cook check it out. Also I highly recommend the cookbook Southern Plate by Christy Jordan. Even if you don’t like to cook, the stories she tells with each recipe are heart-warming. I like to flip threw it when I”m feeling a bit blue and also when I haven’t seen the sun for quite sometime. Her stories seem to put things into perspective for me and to remind me of what’s important in my life.



  • Reply theaxx February 28, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    my little story is here

    But I have to say that this was amaaazing to read! I loved hearing how your heart opened and your world has bloomed since those tissue-wrapping days. Now we find it inspiring to meet & hear about YOU… funny how life works out isn’t it? …*wink*



  • Reply Luciana de Castro February 28, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    I want to thank you for share with us all these feelings. I started reading you here when i was very confused on what I choose for my career, at that time I was looking for things That I really liked, so I found decor8 and everyday I read it and felt very good with all the beautiful things you post all your care and in doing that.
    This helped me to find a new way for my life and inspire me so much. I thank you from heart.

  • Reply liane February 28, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    This is truly a lovely post. As others have said your honesty and lack of pretense are so refreshing. I have been feeling lately that I am finally at a point in my little enterprise where I can see my progress and feel proud of the work I’ve put in. I am aware of my own little timeline and will take your advice and take stock of my influences and feel the gratitude for them. Good luck to you with your book. Such an accomplishment and inspiring to me. Liane

  • Reply Monica Lee February 28, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    I will chime in and tell you that I love your post too. A full circle moment is such a good thing. I have so enjoyed getting to know you thru class and your blog. I, too, have been a big Tracy and Rachel fan. It is inspiring to see women clearly communicate their visions. You fall into that category too. Every once in a while when you realize that you have communicated a piece of yourself successfully, it is so freeing! I am s-l-o-w-l-y getting there with my art. (work in progress) Your daily commentary helps me stay focused!

  • Reply Renee March 1, 2011 at 12:08 am

    You couldn’t of posted this at a better time. I feel like I’m you back in your Ebay shop days. I’m low on cash, trying to find my place, trying to figure out who I am and am trying to figure out what career path I’m going to take next. I’ve also had a major case of the blues these past few weeks.

    I love hearing your journey that got you to where you are today. It’s inspiring and puts a huge smile on my face. You’re real and honest and a true mentor :)

  • Reply Victoria Larson March 1, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Wow. I’d like to add my voice to all of the others to say thank you for your thoughtful post. Last week I would have said I’m a big fan of yours but now you’ve been bumped up to the inspirational category.

    I’ve actually been thinking about my timeline recently too. Perhaps it’s a winter thing. I just launched my debut fabric line in January and for the first time in a while I feel like I am where I am supposed to be.

    I’ve taken a round-about path to get here. I am an Interior Designer by trade and a painter by passion, but I truly always wanted to be a textile designer. There was always something holding me back – time, money, energy, fear – especially fear. My ‘aha’ moment came in the form of a figure skating accident in 2009 which left me with a broken hip, a few surgeries, a haze of pain meds and a whole new list of things that I’d probably never do again. There went my design business and my play time for my then 8-year old girls. The resulting recovery did not go well either and in the fall I had the 3 pins removed from my hip. More pain meds and more recovery.

    I went through the usual depression and self pity. About that time, I heard a lecture about making life (yours and everyone elses) better by using your talents. I thought about that for days. I did still have talents and I certainly wasn’t using them. My husband set up my old easel and paints in our bedroom (and if you’ve ever smelled oil paints you know he must love me). I started experimenting with block prints and watercolors and had them printed on fabric. The response was great so I set my sights on launching that elusive line of textiles.

    I still keep the cane I used as a reminder of challenges and opportunities (plus it’s got a really cool brass bunny head).

    Thank you again for the wonderful post and the opportunity for reflection. I’ll be following…

  • Reply Marina March 1, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    thank you for your post! thank you for this true and sincere story! so inspiring! as many say above here, it came just in the right moment of my life. i feel so excited about your belief, confidence and already knowledge about magic of finding right people and right events without searching. just being in the chosen circle. knowing there is no need to search for right people – „they’ll often find YOU” – and they really do. i feel it. i am at the beginning of my journey, do not really know exact destination yet, but i already like the journey itself. i do love what i do, and believe (after your words here even more) „they” will find me. THANK YOU!

  • Reply Juli March 1, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    Life is magic because of these “little” things that became huge when them finally lies in our hearts.
    To me, reading your words was an English class (it’s not my natural language as you can see) and, above all, a kind of dream class.
    Congrats! Life feed from what we “bake”.
    Thank you very much for share and teach :o)

  • Reply Marilyn March 2, 2011 at 4:35 am

    I used to write to you as “Marilyn from Ohio” telling you to change your heading on your blog as it could be better at the same time you were evolving your blog…I just want to say that I still follow you and you have honestly been my OPRAH, as you have fed me emotionally and aesthetically in ways no other sites have.
    THANK YOU for being my window to the world out there. It’s very everyday here.
    I retired from teaching art two yrs. ago…my aging mother died that year and also my sister and a best friend were taken by cancer.
    Two yrs later, I volunteer for a Montessori school, picked up a paint brush again, and my first painting is called the Morning After showing a scene from a motel room that I remembered from that day after losing my sis. I feel a new chapter is beginning in my life and reading your site tonight helped motivate me to move on.
    Life is about evolving, but I have to tell you that you have been my inspiration through it all. You have helped me stay connected with all the beauty in design, colors, textures, and the world around us.
    Thank you Holly.
    Your forever indebted fan,
    Marilyn in Ohio

  • Reply Marilyn March 2, 2011 at 5:02 am

    I reopened my blog that I shut down last year and gave you credit for inspiring me.

    Marilyn in Ohio

  • Reply Chloe C. March 2, 2011 at 7:13 am

    Connect the dots.
    They would let me out of class all day to paint, trees.
    Some teacher painted on one of my trees, to make it look like her student was more sophisticated. I never forgave her for painting on my painting.
    I never touched a student’s painting without their expressed permission.
    Usually I would demonstrate a change as best I could on a separate piece of paper.
    My Mom would use me for a test subject.
    She would say, “If you can do it, any of them can do it.”
    That wasn’t true. Somehow channeling some seamstress in an atelier I would make neat stitches and finished pieces. She would be frustrated with the other kids and wonder why. She never got it that I was good at sewing.
    When I was little, I made the worst horse drawings in the history of horse drawing. I knew they were crap. I was not putting myself down, or feeling insecure, I just knew they were crap.
    I have gotten better.
    Writing. Always in trouble for talking too much. And reading under the desk.
    Painting. Like Buttercup in Powerpuff girls, always coloring, coloring, coloring.
    So now I live in New England with trees.
    I sew garments and quilts, and stuff. You know, stuff.
    After 2 years of taking pictures of harness racing, the horse paintings are coming.
    I draw and make stuff for a job.
    I still talk too much.
    Hopefully this all means I am myself.
    It has not been a straight path.
    But clear enough to continue.
    This is not what I set out to write.

  • Reply Chloe C March 2, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    Just a bit more- I really enjoy reading all the responses to some of Holly’s queries.
    This was called ‘connect the dots’, years ago there was a book that now I wish I hadn’t purged titled Tapestry, by Edith Schaeffer. She in a much longer story wrote about her family and friends lives woven together by common threads, coming together full circle like Holly’s ‘Connect the Dots’.

  • Reply chantelrenee March 2, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Thanks so much for your inspiration and wisdom! I loved reading this post and it is clear why you are so successful! Thank You…:)

  • Reply Trina : la la Lovely March 3, 2011 at 3:17 am

    Great post! I really enjoyed reading and learning. I love how the dots connect when we look back. I can’t wait to see what the future holds. Rachel Ashwell and Tracy Porter are two of my fav’s. They just have beautiful souls. Hope to meet all 3 of you one day! Keep up the great work and I can’t wait to add you’re book to my collection. I know it will be so inspiring!
    xoxoxo Trina

  • Reply Mary March 3, 2011 at 6:51 am

    Thanks for sharing your story and congrats on your book! I laughed when you talked about selling on ebay as I’m in a similar situation now. I got a Master’s degree in Interior Design with plans to join a commercial architecture firm. Then I put that on hold for a few years to pursue other creative ventures. My family thinks I’m crazy, and even though my boyfriend is very supportive, he too laughs that I spend so many hours making crafts and other art and invest so much time in my etsy shop only to make a few dollars. I’m not sure how much longer I can do this financially, or where I’ll end up, but hopefully I can always be making art and doing creative work that means something to me; I’d rather have that than all the money in the world:)

  • Reply Ana March 4, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    I enjoyed reading about your journey and it’s amazing to see the turns that life takes sometimes. It’s exciting! 10 years ago I was in Massachusetts, too! Living in Boston and working as a translator. Man, I miss New England!! Now we’re in Southern California and it couldn’t be more different. Despite the great weather, I would go back east in a heartbeat. Anyway, translation is something from the past for me. Now I’ve discovered sewing and I have fallen in love with it. I started a little blog with sewing tutorials, which I can’t tend to as often as I’d like just because life with two kids constantly gets in the way… :). I also started a little etsy shop to sell things I have made just to try new patterns but have no use for.

    Anyway, I love your blog and your photo collages. They are pure eye candy.

    Congratulations on your book and best of luck!

  • Reply Rose March 4, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    Hi Holly
    I was so touched by your post – really touched by the honesty and sincerity you expressed yourself with. Seeing/hearing all the wonderfully supportive responses you received and the accompanying ‘connect the dot stories’ was mind boggling, leaving me feeling that there really is nothing else I could add in – your incredible network has spoken. Through this post, you made individual expression for others possible.

    Just a quickie from me – coming out of a partnership split last year and the subsequent ‘ connect the dots’ journey I am on, I have discovered that the world of interiors is even more magical. Made so, only by the people who inhabit its ‘ sphere’ – people such as you. I have been in this trade for many years, and the difficulties experienced, had begun to overshadow the magic, which just faded over the years. Via the blog world, my inspiration is being renewed – my eyes are beholding things I had simply passed by, whilst being consumed in projects. My inspiration is rapidly on the up again, so much so that I intend to take a course in photography. ( thanks to your stunning images). I am loving being back in that place of learning again – it feels so youthful. Writing has always come naturally to me – from way back in school days and now blogging has made that an avenue of further expression. YIPPEE

    so, much for the quickie hey!!

  • Reply Erica: HenBec Decor March 5, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Hi Holly,

    This post is EXACTLY what I needed to read today. Maybe it is because winter lasts for an eternity here in Chicago or perhaps because I have been totally impatient with my own creative endeavors lately.

    It is difficult to remember that great accomplishments take time, effort and love. Sometimes it seems like everyone has a blog and everyone has an Etsy shop and things can get pretty overwhelming trying to figure out where to fit in and how to do well.

    Thanks for putting things in perspective.

    Congrats on your book, I can’t wait to see it!

  • Reply Jennifer March 7, 2011 at 12:31 am

    Well, now I understand why every time I sign onto Twitter, your account pops up among suggestions for people to follow. Beautiful post and so inspiring to those of us just starting out in the blogging world!

  • Reply Jennifer March 7, 2011 at 12:34 am

    Well, now I understand why every time I sign onto Twitter, your account pops up among suggestions for people to follow. Beautiful post and so inspiring for those of us just starting out in the blogging world!

  • Reply Lily from Birch + Bird March 7, 2011 at 8:06 am

    Holly…I so love your writing and cannot wait to finally see and read your book! Decor8 was at the top of our blog inspiration list and I can’t tell you how much we loved and learned from your BYW course. Thank you so much for your candid and honest thoughts…they’re always so encouraging to me and obviously to many many more people out there in the blog world! It’s encouraging to think that all of these hours put into a blog, a shop and now a market that we feel passionate about may actually touch others lives in some small way like your work has touch ours. Thanks again for sharing!

  • Reply Emily March 13, 2011 at 3:53 am

    Holly, you’ve been an inspiration to me since I started reading your blog when I was a junior in high school. Every afternoon when I arrived home, the second thing I checked was your blog; your posts simply opened a new world of decorating and generating creative ideas for everything. And imagine my surprise when I found out you lived in Boston as well; it made me very tingly inside! Now as a college student in Portlandia, I find that a lot of what I do for my humble abode stems from your posts and great attitude towards life. So you are correct in saying that “you don’t always have to actively do things or seek people out — they’ll often find YOU” because somehow your blog found me and I couldn’t be more grateful. Happy weekend and keep on inspiring!

  • Reply Vineeta June 11, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    Holly, What a beautiful honest and inspiring post. And thank you for opening the floodgates to us in the comments section. I was part of your Blogging your way class of March 2010. What I want you to know is that you were and continue to be a very important part of my artistic journey. Your’s is the 1st decor blog I ever set my eyes on and it is through reading your blog and meeting several other entrepreneurs through blogging that I got the courage to quit my job as an art director and start my decor accessories business. I still remember what thrill I had when a mood board I had made for a contest organised by you here on decor8 made it to the final list.
    Cut to today, where I am still finding my feet as a business person, but I have made a lot of headway as a creative person pursuing my dreams. And people look to me and ask me where I got the courage. I got it because you are doing what you do Holly. And I OWE so much to YOU. Each day you inspire me with your committment, with your honesty and with your inspiration & creativity. But most importantly you inspire me with your hardwork & discipline. I wish for both these things and I tell myself, I will be able to do it one day, soon. I am working on it. Thank you for being my inspiration ad for setting new benchmarks everyday. I don’t think I can ever do anything to repay what you have done for me. So I will pray and wish you all the success, love & happiness that this world can possibly give you.
    with much love & gratitude,
    Vineeta (India)

    • Reply decor8 June 13, 2011 at 1:24 pm

      @Vineeta – Wow, those words touched me and were so nice to hear, everyone needs a boost and you gave me mine. Thank you so much, I love knowing that I’ve inspired you because in return, you and so many others reading decor8 inspire me in return and keep me going forward. Much love xoox

  • Reply Ellen August 25, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    I found this post at random today. I couldn’t get over it…I talk about finding my voice and connecting the dots. I visit your blog on and off. I was stunned… And I’m from New England, ;D

    This post reminds me to still continue my journey, even though I’m facing a huge detour, right now. I have been discouraged and wondering how to I make it all work. Reading your words, echoed some of my blog posts and favorite words, reminds me to find a way! It was fate to read this today when I needed it most~ Thank you~

  • Reply Amanda April 13, 2012 at 12:37 am

    Connecting the dots – what an adventure! I started my online interior design firm in 2006. So many dots but only a few were dramatic inflection points. The notable ones that come to mind were all about introspection, perspective and life events. I LOVE the idea that a ones professional endeavors can add value that transcends mere products and services offered by the business.

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