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Interior Inspiration From VTWonen

I love reading the vtwonen blog, a Dutch magazine that I’ve been subscribing to for eons now, because I always find some fresh interpretations of trends and themes that I thought had long faded. I also love how the Dutch use lots of older things in very modern interiors – like these oil paintings and this antique cabinet, for instance…

Interior Inspiration From The Netherlands

They really seem to have a thing for revitalizing what’s old and grandmotherly and transforming it into a very youthful, energetic new look that often becomes part of a trend movement. Take beige for example. So often disregarded or dubbed BORING. Such a shame! It is a warm and versatile neutral that has loads of potential. If you are really creative, you can work with all colors and create something beautiful I believe. I often wonder why some put beige in the corner with a cone hat on, it’s not naughty in the least. If anything, outside of gray, it’s a perfect neutral. At least that’s my belief. These photos below are such a fitting visual example of what I’m trying to say. Beige can be so warm, relaxed and when paired with various tones of brown and white, can create a most soothing space to find comfort and peace.

Interior Inspiration From The Netherlands

Interior Inspiration From The Netherlands

Interior Inspiration From The Netherlands

I always encourage venturing outside of your own comfort zone, even if it means visiting websites that you think you’d have no interest in, because suddenly you can see something and BOOM, a new world appears before you. It’s super important to go beyond what you know, isn’t it? Your creative ideas can begin to stagnant otherwise.

Interior Inspiration From The Netherlands

Interior Inspiration From The Netherlands

Interior Inspiration From The Netherlands

All of these lovely rooms were shot for vtwonen and now appear in back issues and on their website. Looking to different cultures to see what inspires them can help us all to see our interior world a little differently. I love the style in each of these places and hope that you’ll refer to vtwonen for more inspiration because they certainly have tons of it packed onto their gorgeous site. I love these felted ivory beads shown below. Or perhaps they are wooden? I have the felted version hanging in my living room in a similar fashion, you may have spotted them in my most recent book. I’ve been looking for a new way to use them and this image below gave me a few good ideas. That’s what I mean, keep your eyes OPEN and see what you can find in rooms from magazines that look similar to your current stuff at home – perhaps you’ll discover a new direction for the things that you own. I always do.

Interior Inspiration From The Netherlands

Interior Inspiration From The Netherlands

Interior Inspiration From The Netherlands

Any impressions so far that give you a dose of inspiration? I’m in love with this house and with this house, both are located in Amsterdam. They are my two favorites from the batch.

Interior Inspiration From The Netherlands

What draws me to each of these homes is the naturalness. What draws you? I love the harmony in both palette and material – both are soothing and easy to change up and the natural materials make me feel at one with nature. I can imagine feeling peace and joy in these spaces. Are you attracted to this natural style?

(images: vtwonen magazine)

Posted in inspiration on September 27, 2013

What Blogging Means To Me Now + Tomorrow

Hello dear readers. I want to talk to you about something that I wonder if others out there battle with that I’ve been battling with A LOT lately. It has to do with blogging and my career as a “pro” blogger and deciding just where I’m at with it all. And I need to share this because it comes from the heart and I’ve always prided myself on being as completely transparent as possible because I think you deserve it as my friends and readers.

You're gonna here me roar

You may not have seen me a lot on my blog this summer. I was sick for months during my first trimester (thankfully that’s over!) and had a book to produce, then write. During my quiet pause, I’ve been blogging weekly but also mix in posts from some wonderful columnists whom I’ve hired to write on decor8, and they’ve been doing a beautiful job providing quality content covering everything from trend reports to home tours. And I love them so much because they are the best bunch of women ever. I feel so blessed!

But I miss blogging full-time, daily, tremendously. In fact I feel concerned over my lack of full-time presence here, not because I’m trying to be the queen of some popularity contest because frankly, my blog is still receiving amazing press coverage each month from magazines, newspapers and television networks all over the world. I’m not worried about advertisers or numbers or anything at all related to income. It has to do with JOY. You can ask my husband, I am one of those rare people whom success and money does nothing to contribute to my joy. I was as joyful before blogging as I am today, just in different ways, and I’m happy to report that I had little monetarily in my life ten years ago – I went from zero to financial hero thanks to starting my own business and I’m proud of that but it only makes me proud in the sense that I like doing what makes me, and others, happy. If it ever becomes miserable, or dishonest, or “selling out”, I will quit immediately and become a full-time interior designer or shop owner or whatever else – anything to avoid doing something that isn’t genuine and meaningful. JOY MATTERS PEOPLE. Really.

You're gonna here me roar

I’ve seen a lot of blogs go pro and those blog authors change. Their blogs are like infomercials and peppered with links and sponsored everything (without bothering to disclose it) and while that works for them, I don’t read blogs like that because their voices have changed. I prefer to earn money through books, teaching, consulting and the many other ways that help me to personally monetize my brand without feeling like my advertisers own me. Lots of bloggers are doing very honest and lovely things to monetize their blogs and I’m super proud of them, some have great videos and gorgeous photos and work with sponsors to produce wonderful things but others are completely forgetting the values that made blogging successful in the first place – which is not only going to damage them in the long run but could ultimately damage all of us if we don’t fight hard to stay true to our own vision and voice. It’s okay to have ads, and sponsors and whatever else you can do to drive your business forward – I do it – and so do the best of the best on the web who write on their blogs. But we have to remember why blogging became so successful in the first place…

Bloggers became popular for ONE reason. Sincere, honest reviews.

Before bloggers were deemed cool and lonnnng before sponsored posts, ads and affiliate links, we just wrote stuff from the heart and sometimes, we even bitched and moaned about things we didn’t like which then motivated a lot of large companies to stop playing around with the little guy and to listen more to their consumers. Now that companies see the ENORMOUS income potential by working with bloggers, because frankly our audiences come to us FOR our honest reviews, they’ve entered our space and often try to change us to become more like them – a bit sly, thinking about our bottom line despite whether or not we feel good about it. And though I love working with companies that respect where I draw the line, and have partnered with some amazing companies on advertorials for magazines, etc. many of my own blogger friends have stepped wayyyy over their line of comfort to a zone that they cannot return from once going over “there”. But this blog post isn’t really about all of this. It’s about ME and where I’m personally at as a blogger. It’s about whether I’m blogging for money or blogging for me.

I’m blogging for me. Then for my brand, because blogging has given me a way to grow it out and reach more lovely people. Then for money because I need to earn a certain amount of money to survive – my husband and I both freelance, it’s not an easy life. So I wanted to level with everyone and tell you where I’m at.

So here’s where I’m at.

I will take a year off from book writing and from accepting a million projects that don’t fuel me and traveling a ton for the sake of booking speaking engagements – some of which I feel no personal connection to. I want FOCUS. If I get on a plane, it will be to connect with you or to teach, not to stand before an audience at a trade show where I often feel incredibly uncomfortable. In 2014, I’m not going to write a single book. I’ve been writing a book-a-year for the past 3 years and I’ve loved every second of it, and I can’t WAIT for you to see my next title set to release next Spring – we’re throwing a big party in London in May and hopefully a few more in America – and I’d love to see you. But you won’t see anymore books or book launch parties or book tours from me after that for at least another 1-2 years.

I want my focus to go back to where my heart really is which is RIGHT HERE with all of you and in my e-classes and teaching live workshops as time (and my new baby on the way!) permits. I have so much to give to you all, especially as I get older and just see MORE at this age than I did when I started 8 years ago, and I want to do that on decor8 more and through Blogging Your Way… And I have learned through all of the other wonderful jobs that I’ve taken over the years as a blogger, that blogging is my absolute joy. It’s where I can always be spontaneous, where I can be me, and where I have never cared what advertisers or sponsors wanted from me – and this will never change.

So that’s where I’m at. I’ve been quiet around here lately but I’m planning to be here a lot more the moment my book is finished, which will be in October, then I’m back daily to share with you along with my columnists at least until the baby comes, then I may be blogging with baby on my lap as he merrily taps on the keys along with me.

Remember friends and fellow bloggers – finding balance and joy trumps ALL other things.

Much love,
Holly

(image of me by thorsten becker, outtakes from my upcoming book)

Posted in blogs on September 26, 2013

The Results Are In! Boy or Girl?

Hello my dear friends! I have been wanting to tell you the good news about our baby – we will have a baby boy! We just found out last Wednesday and had promised to tell our family first before taking the news online so that we didn’t hurt the feelings of our in-laws (as you can understand). But wow, how much I’ve wanted to tell you since last Wednesday! It’s been hard to control myself.

Zara Mini

My mother guessed it was a boy and so did my mother-in-law, in fact when I was 6 weeks pregnant my MIL gave me a pair of little baby boy shoes and I asked her, “Why!?” and she said she thinks it will be a boy! Yeah, it was a little interesting to say the least… Such an early prediction, but she meant no harm and was just having fun with us – BUT both mothers were right! And a little secret is that I also knew early on. I told my husband the second we found out that we were having a boy and I kept referring to our baby as he, our boy, son, etc. It is just a feeling I had, though really only a good guess. I wanted a boy OR a girl equally, I had NO preference whatsoever – just a healthy child. That’s still all I think about – healthy and happy.

Zara mini

We also have a name but are waiting until the day he arrives so he is the one to hear it first from our mouths. We want to keep some things in our life secret, it feels nice to have your own couples secret, don’t you think? Do you want to hear how we chose the name? It’s fascinating! For a few weeks, I started to research names and so did my husband. I was on a bevy of websites and he was using websites and a baby names app. After much research from us both, and ZERO discussion about it, we both were sitting at the breakfast table recently and he said he thinks he has a nice name in mind if it really is a boy. I asked him what it was and when he said the very name I had chosen (without his knowledge), I nearly fell out of my chair. This is a name neither of us have ever heard of, or read or saw in a film or anything and absolutely nothing associated with our families. I ran to my bedroom to grab my iPhone to show him the name I had put in my Notes and he smiled. It was the same name.

How’s that for a good story?

I have one final bit of news to share. I’ve started writing a journal to my baby boy. I’m telling him about how I feel now, my pregnancy, things his daddy and I talk about, what I’m doing, etc. I hope to share it with him someday when he is old enough to understand it and cherish my words. I’m writing in a beautiful journal that I was given by the shop owner of Astier de Villatte in Paris back in February 2012 when I was styling their shop for my book. I had been saving the journal ever since for a special moment, and you really cannot get more special than this!

As I’ve said all along, the baby’s gender WAS NEVER IMPORTANT to me. I would have been thrilled to have a girl, too! Gender is a non-issue, good health is the most important. So I’ve been taking extra good care of myself and feeling stronger and healthier each day. But when the doctor asked me last week if we wanted to know, well… We said YES! Especially since we are having our baby in the dead of winter and need to make preparations in advance so we can really nest this winter and not have to run around after the baby arrives to shop for necessities, this takes an incredible lift off of us.

So that is my news. I’ll be back tomorrow with a gorgeous home tour and some more goodies. And by the way, if you are looking for darling baby clothes, I just had a great time shopping the new MINI collection over at Zara. Super sweet stuff.

(photos: zara mini)

Posted in uncategorized on September 23, 2013

Make Me: Pretty Scrap Fabric Tassels

Hello, it’s Lisa and I’m ready to get creative with you again this month for my Make Me column on on decor8. For September, we’re going to make pretty decorative fabric tassels and I’ll show you some fun ways to use them.

Make Me: Pretty Scrap Fabric Tassels

Supplies
You’ll need: Fabric scraps, ribbon or twine and scissors… That’s it!

Step 1: Tear fabric strips
To make fabric scrap tassels you can use any fabric including thrifted garments or linens, or leftovers from your sewing stash. As long as they are consistent, the fabric strips can be any length. I used 8 inch strips to make small tassels. Cut the fabric into pieces about 8 inches square. Along one edge of the fabric make small cuts about an inch long and three quarters of an inch apart. Then, with the cuts to start you off, tear the fabric into strips. Keep the different fabric strips grouped.

Make Me: Pretty Scrap Fabric Tassels

Step 2: Select colours
For each tassel you’ll need about fourteen strips. Design your tassels using a mix of all the fabrics or make them with select colours. Lay the strips in a group with the printed side facing up, and shuffle them around so there is a pleasing combination of colours and patterns on the top.

Make Me: Pretty Scrap Fabric Tassels

Step 3: Make the tassel
Take a piece of ribbon and tie it around the centre of the tassel with a double knot. Fold the fabric strips in half, then take another strip and tie it around the tassel, about three quarters of an inch from the top. Tie a double knot and flatten the ends of the tie down so they merge with the tassel.

Make Me: Pretty Scrap Fabric Tassels

That’s all you need to do to make fabulous scrappy tassels! They’re so fast and easy to make and they add a decorative touch to many different things.

Make Me: Pretty Scrap Fabric Tassels

Make Me: Pretty Scrap Fabric Tassels

Make Me: Pretty Scrap Fabric Tassels

Make Me: Pretty Scrap Fabric Tassels

Make Me: Pretty Scrap Fabric Tassels

Decorating Tips:
Try placing them on your mood board for a dose of inspiration, hang them beneath a lampshade, from a door knob, off the back of a chair or around a vase. Tassels also look great on purse zip pulls and totes, not forgetting that they are always a fun way to jazz up gift wrapping.

I’ll look forward to helping you with handmade again next month in my Make Me column. In the meantime I hope you find some me-time to try this or to do something else creative. It really is great for your soul! – Lisa xo

(text/images: lisa tilse)

Posted in Make Me on September 18, 2013

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