I thought that today, because I’m still unpacking and settling into my usual routine, that I’d share a few postcards from Amsterdam with you. They are not really postcards, but shots that I took on my iPhone using Instagram and I decided to upload them to my MacBook so that I can share a few impressions with you now. I will talk more about Amsterdam and the amazing Meet The Blogger + Decorate book signing event there, and I have photos of me decorating the shop window at the American Book Center there as well as lots of photos from the event itself… but for now I simply want to share a few inspirational impressions from the road along with links that you may enjoy. Make sure you click on the music links below from my playlist, I have some fun videos for you to watch.
Me on the train and some shots of Amsterdam. I listened to Sia, Adele, The Smiths, Jordan Knight, Ellie Goulding, Florence & The Machine, Eliza Dolittle, BT, Amy Seeley and The Ting Tings on the ride there from where I live. It takes about 4 hours on the high speed train, a direct train from door-to-door, which I loved. When I think of that Amsterdam I imagine flowers, canals, train rides, bicycles and beautiful architecture. What do you think of when Amsterdam comes to mind? Now I wonder…
Here’s another view of the same waterway using a different photo filter. And then you can also catch a glimpse of the full house we had at the Meet The Blogger + Decorate Book event, it was packed! You can also see a spot where I enjoyed a smoothie break at Lite/Dark and a fabulous dinner with friends at Roots.
The Hotel V is where I stayed and where we had the event. The light looked like a disco ball above our bed, which made me smile just a bit as I have a thing for them. I really liked this corner ice cream shop but cannot recall the name of it but found it almost as sweet as the frozen pleasures that awaited inside… I ate at the Italian-owned Uliveto cafe shown above with all of the containers of olive oil against the wall on industrial metal shelving. In fact, I ate there several times, with friends and without, since it was 2 blocks from our hotel. And of course, to prove I was there in Amsterdam, you have a kooky self portrait. For fun, I decided to try to take one of myself that wasn’t posed or of me looking directly at the camera. It’s a challenge to look to the side and take a good photo of yourself, you should try it if you’re looking for a fun creative challenge, you’ll see!
Lots of people made my stay in Amsterdam special. I wish I had thought to use my iPhone to collect photos of all of them, and it inspired me to do that next time when I uploaded all of my photos from this trip and noticed that I didn’t photograph those I wished I had. The next time I travel I’ll make it a plan to photograph every person I share a meal with, everyone who makes an impression on me at all… because it’s the people who make a place and not the place itself. Nice cafes, pretty canals, gorgeous buildings may be what Amsterdam has but those things are not the soul of the city, or any city, but it’s those whom you mingle with while there and those who make an impact on you that forever shapes your view of a place.
Above you can see my sweet husband Thorsten with my friend Yvonne, Rick Lightstone from the American Book Center and my c0-author Joanna Copestick. I also spotted a hotel with a brilliant name, Thorbecke. I thought that if Thorsten Becker, my husband, owned a business, this could very likely be a great name for it. The place with the red awning was taken from my hotel window, it’s a pub called Cafe Kale (great food by the way and make sure to buy the local brew produced in a real windmill). I got to share meals there with my husband a few times and then, since Victoria from SFGirlByBay was in Amsterdam, we had drinks and snacks at Cafe Kale together as well.
You can see a glimpse of the shop window that I decorated with pages from Decorate. If you walk by the American Book Center in Amsterdam between now and mid July, you will see the Decorate window that I made. I hope you like it and I do hope that if you see it live, that you’ll tell me and even share a photo of it with me on my wall over on my Decorate Facebook page. It was my first window ever so I felt really shy about it but when I was finished I felt really proud of myself. Funny how that happens! I also enjoyed shopping at a beautiful interiors store called Nunc and of course, hanging out in cafes. Many of them. And aren’t the lights over the canal tunnels so lovely at twilight? I spotted a swan beneath the tunnel just seconds later… gracefully floating by creating ripple effects in the water that gave me a slight chill to see it. There is something so magical about swans, twilight, canals and twinkle lights and before that moment, I’d not known of that magic before…
Many other lovely buildings and shops that I visited, one shown above is Sissy Boy Homeland. I felt so charmed by the many streets of Amsterdam and while my hotel wasn’t in the best location to explore my favorite part of Amsterdam, the Jordaan, I made the best of it and tried to find things local to Hotel V that were nice still.
I didn’t get photos of Fifteen where I had lunch, but it is the restaurant that belongs to Jaime Oliver and the interior was quite nice and very large. Other links of places I’d visited: The Handbag Museum, Leuk (great clothing), DR Wonen and the Athenaeum book store with its tons of many amazing magazines! Of course, I popped into a million random places that I didn’t have time to snap a photo of, but when you’re traveling for mostly business it’s hard to spend that quality time shopping as one would like.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed a few of my postcards from Amsterdam today. When I travel I rely on my iPhone more and more these days to freeze moments in time into simple snapshots made pretty thanks to the Instagram app or Photo+ on the iPhone. It’s fun and effortless and well, it’s a nice way to remember everything you’d seen once you are back home and ready to blog your travels.
(images: holly becker for decor8)
Hello Friends, it is Leslie here with June’s edition of Color Me Pretty on decor8. I have been spending many hours recently tending to my little garden so I have fresh greens on my mind. I know, it seems you either love green for design or you don’t. However, I am here to give spring green, chartreuse, blue green and yellow a chance. I hope you enjoy this simple palette.
But first, here is where my inspiration began… in my very own flower garden at home here in southern California.
First, I thought it would be fun to do an arrangement of edible herbs from my garden. I picked sage, mint, thyme, rosemary, oregano flowers, cilantro flowers, arugula flowers and onion flowers for a little bouquet. I popped it into a glass jar and think it would be a sweet gift for my friend who enjoys cooking. The leftover sprigs went into some little vintage glass bottles. If it is summer where you are please take advantage of all the bounty at your farmer’s markets and stands. Make yourself an insanely large salad because it will taste extra good this time of year and pick up a bunch of herbs to enjoy in a vase. Mixing herbs with flowers can look beautiful too. Peonies and mint smell amazing together!
Then I felt inspired to pull together a mini mood board. On this small peg board I have a fun card by Cornelia O’Donovan for Pearl & Black, and some scrap pieces of fabric and papers. When using a limited palette like this it is nice to experiment with patterns. It is important to have both larger and a smaller scale patterns to create a sense of balance.
I pinned up some butterfly tags I made to spruce up simple wrapping. I used the large “Punch All Over The Page” butterfly punch by Martha Stewart. I have been seeing framed collections of “punched” butterflies that also look pretty and provide an interesting way to showcase paper scraps you may have!
I hope I sparked an idea or two for you to take away for a project you may be working on. Thank you for having me here. See you next month, – Leslie.
(photography + styling: leslie shewring)
I’m leaving in the morning to catch a train to Amsterdam and so I just want to wish you all a lovely week… I’ll be checking in from time to time when I can… I can’t wait for my book signing at the American Book Center on Saturday, June 25 from 5-7 pm and I’m very happy that co-author Joanna Copestick will also be present to sign and to hang out with me and meet everyone. :) And don’t miss the big Meet The Blogger party on Saturday afternoon (details here). It’s going to great to meet all of the wonderful bloggers (over 120 have RSVP’d!) and members of the press who will attend, including VTWonen magazine who will come to shoot the event – yeah!
I have to go get packed… but if you’re coming to join me then I’ll see you in Amsterdam! And for those who cannot make it, I’ll share photos of the event with you next week along with the shop window for Decorate that I made for the American Book Center. I hope that you will like it, it was a lot of fun to create my first window display for a shop so I’m looking forward to see what they think and also to get the reaction of their customers and passerbys but also to see what my co-author Joanna thinks as she has no clue what I’ve been up to in my crafty chemistry lab – ha! Exciting, a first for me and I love firsts.
Can’t wait to see you in one of my favorite cities. It’s been a few years since I’ve had a meet up in Amsterdam so I’m really looking forward to this. A big thank you to Rick, Lise and Janneke for effortlessly pulling everything together – it’s going to be fun to see how all of this remote planning works out – I love the internet!
It’s interesting how a culture is influenced by what is being shown as a “trend” in its leading magazines. In many ways magazines and books (and now blogs) have a very strong influence on a culture more than all of us are even aware of. When I first started reading German decorating magazines in the late 90′s they were very different from what you’ll find on the newsstands today which of course, is a good thing because moving forward and embracing change is good for everyone. As a result, what you found back then in stores and in people’s homes was also reflective of what you’d find in magazines.
I think that people nowadays expect magazines to push the envelope a little and show them something they can’t find on a blog or in a shop display or catalog already. People want to be pushed a bit I believe. I like magazines that push their readers to feel more confident about their own design decisions as well versus giving in to what the “norm” is doing. I like it when they take products in stores and style them up to show them being used a bit differently, repurposed even, and how to look at things differently. When I see some of the photographers and stylists in this country, like photographer Julia Hoersch who lives in Hamburg, Germany and who does lots of work for magazines and books, I think of how inspired those living in other parts of the world would be by her work so I want to briefly share a few glimpses of it in this post because I love her work but also the stylists she works with. You can tell there is a good relationship between her and the stylists because creative work always comes out more beautiful in my opinion when the photographer and stylist see eye-to-eye.
Julia Hoersch is a lady whom I’d like to meet someday. She’s living only an hour away from me so perhaps it will be possible. I find her vision very fresh and her eye is very well trained. I love how well she captures the arrangements of the stylists’ work with her camera and that she brings her own personal aesthetic into each shot because there is a lovely cohesiveness to her portfolio despite the many different types of settings and objects, and well clients, that she has shot and worked for. I also love her angles and compositions, she really moves around a lot and experiments and as a result, comes up with some really nice photographs.
Quite drool inducing, right?
(images: julia hoersch, stylists katja gaumann, maria grossman and dietlind wolf )
If you are dieting or cutting out sugar then my apologies for this post because it will most certainly ruin all of the good work you’ve been doing lately. :) These fine art food paintings from graphic designer and painter Joël Penkman are simply delicious. I think the candy canes are my favorite followed by the donuts… so pretty to see food like this.
Joël studied Fine Arts at Canterbury University in New Zealand and received first class honors in graphic design, no small achievement! After finishing, a move to the UK began with working for companies but now Joël’s life is purely freelance and with clients in Manchester that are highly regarded such as True North, Music, Like a River and Barraclough Associates so life is good and freelance was definitely the best path for Joël to have taken.
I love these fine art portraits of food – especially the sweets – I can see these as repeat illustrations on wrapping paper and fabric, can’t you?
(images: Joël Penkman)