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Blog Tip: Book Review Idea

Isn’t this a gorgeous idea for a book review that Canadian photographer/stylist Leslie Shewring came up with? In reviewing my new book, she laid it out to show spreads that she liked but she took it a step further to really create something to interest her readers…  Pulling from her craft supply cabinets, she interpreted the inspirational spread into something she may be able to use later on for a project by laying out things that felt similar. These are only a sampling of examples below of what she’s shown on her gorgeous blog, A Creative Mint. You may want to pay her a visit to check out the rest.

Gorgeous book review idea

Gorgeous book review idea

Gorgeous book review idea

Gorgeous book review idea

While I create mood boards and folders using a room from a magazine or book as my point of inspiration, I never thought to do this as a blogger when reviewing a book – to show readers how the book made an impact on you in such a visual way. There are so many interesting spins you can give your content, particularly when it comes to reviewing books and other products, and I love seeing how our blogging community continuously colors outside of the lines when it comes to being clever and doing cool new things. You are ALL such an inspiration and beacon of light to me!

Leslie, thank you for your gorgeous review and for your amazing idea for book reviews – you are one incredible lady!

(images: leslie shewring)

Posted in blogs on December 01, 2012

Try This: Blog Mood Boards

Hello everyone! I’ve been offline for several days as I was away in London but I’m back home now and ready to blog! I hope that you are doing well. Between the stress of the weather on the east coast (a hurricane first, now snow in the northeast) and the election, I think my American pals are in need of some inspiration because it’s been a bit draining to say the least. It’s time for a little cheer so lets look at pretty things today!

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She Makes a Home

I’m not sure if most of you are aware of this, but in addition to decor8, I run an e-course focused on blogging and creativity called Blogging Your Way and I also teach in-person workshops on everything from paper crafts to blogging, styling and creativity. I’ve made a business out of blogging and like anyone who has a small business, I’m always thinking of ways to improve it and make my clients even happier. It’s not easy, as everyone has a different learning style, but the one thing that I teach time and time again that students really click with is the exercise of translating your ideas into something visual and I do this via inspiration boards, mood boards, story boards or whatever else you feel like calling them. For this post, I’m going with mood board.

http://blog.haikje.nl

Studio Haijke

A mood board is one of the best ways to filter your ideas and give a voice to what feels very muddy or trapped inside of your head. It’s easy, fun, can be done with your hands or on a computer, and oftentimes doesn’t cost a penny. In my most recent Blogging Your Way class, which just wrapped up last Friday, we worked on blog mood boards. A blog mood board is a way for new and even seasoned bloggers to hone in on what they want their blog to be about and what they what it to look like whether it’s for a redesign or for their very first blog. In this post, I’m showing you some from my students that I found inspirational – please visit their blog links below each image to visit them AND you can see all of the student mood boards on the Blogging Your Way Boot Camp Pinterest page.

http://www.onthesurfaceblog.com

On The Surface

Lots of times we think we know what we like or want to talk about on our blog but have a hard time focusing or narrowing down our concepts. This is where blog mood boards help. You can take all of your ideas and start moving them around before you on a board, on a table, on the floor, and see how everything works together and then, see if everything really “fits”. Magazines and book publishers work like this and so do designers and many other creatives when it comes to figuring out next steps in their creative process. When I was working on both of my books, I pinned spreads to my wall and even scatted them about on my massive table to see how they “laid” together and to imagine the flow. It’s not that different when you are trying to pull a concept together for a blog.

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Project Heart

http://www.emeraldgreeninteriors.com

Emerald Green Interiors

http://www.bonnemee.blogspot.nl

Bonnemee Blogt

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Made At Casa

http://foxtrotpress.com/

Foxtrot Press

http://ourhaus.blogspot.de/

Our Haus

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The Curiosity Project

http://www.food-vegetarisch.de/

Food Vegetarisch

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Fluxi On Tour

http://tedandmariahs.blogspot.de/

Ted & Mariah’s Place

http://www.lacquerandlinen.com/

Lacquer & Linen

http://www.f4fabulousblog.com/

F For Fabulous

http://expressivehart.wordpress.com/

Silky Hart

http://wakemetoseethesunrise.wordpress.com/

Wake Me To See The Sunrise

http://creativemischiefandme.blogspot.co.uk/

Mischief, Flapjacks, Pantone & Me

http://www.designlotus.com/

Design Lotus

http://www.annettabosakova.com/apps/blog

Inspired by Annetta Bosakova

http://www.serendipitousthings.com/

Serendipitous Things

http://charlotterivers.blogspot.de/

Lottie Loves

http://www.confiture-de-vivre.de/

Confiture de Vivre

http://www.cozy-and-cuddly.de/

Cozy & Cuddly

Aren’t these inspiring views of how one wants their blog to be? Have you ever tried mood boards for design concepts – either for your brand, blog, website or something else? Did it help you? Did it help your designer?

(images: the talented ladies who made these moodboards are credited below each image with a link.)

Posted in blogs on November 08, 2012

Trend: Bloggers With Shops

Hello everyone! I’m Holly’s friend from Hamburg and my name is Stefanie. Holly reads my blog regularly and recently fell in love with a post I’d written about concerning a trend I’ve noticed with bloggers over in this part of the world lately. I write on my blog in German and so she proposed that I take a post from my blog, translate it, and write it for you over here on decor8 in English. Great idea, right? So here I am talking to you today about a trend that I think is pretty cool – Bloggers who become shop owners and sell products that they love.

My former boss used to say, “If you have three examples of a movement – you have enough evidence for a new trend!”. Since I found FOUR bloggers who became shop owners I’m proud to present this new trend! Isn’t it a lovely concept? I would love to open my own shop immediately, wouldn’t you too? I would have an office within the shop and a cute kitchen – everything would be in the same style. I would offer the best coffee and cookies and chat with those who come to visit me and would give them more good shopping tips, addresses of fantastic restaurants, etc. During the time when the shop is slow, I would work on my blog and other projects. Ohhh, I could start with it this minute. But let’s see how some great lady bloggers did it first…

Trend: Bloggers With Shops

Case Study #1: Mary Scherpe is the very successful blogger behind “Stil in Berlin” and she opened her first pop-up-store for nine days in October in Berlin Mitte on Mulackstraße. She sold a few of her favorite brands like Michael Sonntag, Raphael Hauber and nail polish from Usula Airlines. She also had some great paper bags where she stamped her blog logo. (I would love to have these too!) The shop was such a success that Mary is considering trying another pop-up shop very soon. Keep your fingers crossed!

Trend: Bloggers With Shops

Trend: Bloggers With Shops

Case Study #2: Jewelery designer and fashion blogger, Alexa von Heyden, opened her permanent concept store, von hey, in Berlin a few weeks ago located at Brunnenstraße 158. She sells her own designs, but also the beautiful clutch collection of fashion designer James Castle, the denim pillows of designer Melanie Petersen, and one of my favorite designers for dresses – Liebig, along with other very interesting things. What makes this shop super special is that Alexa is such a lovely lady who is happy to give you tips for other shops, restaurants, etc. so please go and visit her soon! (Images via spruced.us)

Trend: Bloggers With Shops

Trend: Bloggers With Shops

Case Study #3: Hanne and Stephanie Gundlach opened their concept store B56 in Copenhagen this March located at Bregade 56. Stephanie is one of the three ladies who blog on Anywho – one of the most popular fashion blogs in Denmark. At B56 you will find a very good selection of the upcoming Scandinavian designers.

Trend: Bloggers With Shops

And Case Study #4 is: The interior stylist and blogger Lotta Agaton who opens her shop (which includes her office – now you see where I got this idea from) in Stockholm (Radmansgatan 7) only on Thursdays. Again, ONLY ON THURSDAYS. I was there on a Friday and she didn’t let me in. So if you don’t want to be so disappointed like I was, go there on a Thursday. Because as soon as you see all the lovely Scandinavian decor that she has in her shop – you will want it all, I promise!

So, do you wanna open your own shop now too? I would love to hear your ideas how you would do it. First, let me ask Holly because I know she has had a concept now since 2006 when she first started her blog and decided to relocate to Germany. She’s wanted to have a shop since she was a child though – her first retail storefront was actually a day spa that she opened along with her mother in Swampscott, Massachusetts when she was only 16-years-old (working only part-time) but spas weren’t her thing and she’d often peek around the corner hanging out in the flower and gift shop dreaming of owning her own pretty boutique that she’d like to have someday, too…

Steffi: Holly, what’s your blogger-as-shop-owner concept?

Holly: I’d love to move my home studio to a storefront retail space in Hannover where I can keep teaching my workshops, write my books and blog but also open only on two Saturdays per month and when I’m open, I’d offer very special products from America, the UK, Australia, Japan and of course, Europe. I’d also invite some friends to create very special collections just for my shop and what I didn’t sell in-store, I’d sell in a small and special online shop curated by me. I’d have a few buckets of fresh flowers but only very special ones. During my two open days per month, I’d offer brownies and cupcakes and other “American” goodies, put on inspiring music that I love or ask a friend to come by and play acoustic guitar, light candles and make everything feel very cozy and charming. When my shop is open, I’d have a reading corner for children and would read for them some of my favorite illustrated books in English to introduce them to books from America, the UK and Australia but also to expose them to English as most toddlers and very young children don’t learn English until later on in school so it would be fun to show them “my” world because I find lots of people in my local community are really open to other cultures and parents here are really keen on raising bilingual or trilingual children. I would also do a themed shop window each month to inspire my local community. I’d host once monthly designer/blogger meet ups too on the first Friday of the month to gather together creatives living in Hannover. When the store is closed, I’d still be present in the shop shooting photos for my blog, working on book ideas and writing, blogging, teaching my online classes and of course, continuing my in-person workshops that I love to do so much. That’s my concept! I already have a few shops in mind that I’m waiting for (hoping they become vacant) so we’ll see what happens in the future. I’m patient!

Now readers, tell me about YOUR blogger shop ideas??? Have you opened a shop yourself? Been involved in a pop-up concept?
– Steffi

Posted in blogs on October 30, 2012

Inspirational Food Blog: Milas Deli

A funny thing happened to me recently. I don’t recall when exactly, but let us say it was this past Spring because I really believe it was then. Anyway, I was perusing the Wednesday morning farmers’ market in the local square, strolling from the flower stall to the bread cart, when someone most pleasant with clear eyes and an overall lovely appearance, looked straight at me to exclaim, “Holly! You are from the blog decor8….”, and well taken a bit off guard (as you can imagine) I agreed that indeed I was and asked whom she might be and a conversation ensued. I learned that she reads decor8, runs a beautiful blog herself and that she goes by Milas Deli or Susanne Irmer.

Milas Deli

From there, we exchanged emails and she shared a link to Milas Deli with me. Upon clicking, my jaw dropped. It was one of the most beautiful food blogs I’d come across in awhile…

In fact, Milas Deli left me with a very calm feeling, it made me FEEL something for food much like Nigella does – and unlike some cooks and food blogs out there which often make me overwhelmed because they’re so perfectly perfect (who really serves perfect food night after night) and overly propped, Milas Deli felt natural and light and the way I feel when I’m eating with friends… Completely in love with the wine, the food and the friendship – not the perfectly perfected recipes and the over-the-topness of the table decor – but of the beauty found in a more relaxed approach to eating that so many westerners are seeking to get back – pleasure, joy, simplicity. I need to connect emotion to food. It cannot be all about overly propped food shots and recipes that are so complicated that I feel discouraged and slightly unfeminine trying to cook them. When I cook, I want to feel like a woman – feeding my family and providing something with soul. Yes, that’s it – I need a soul connection or in this case, a head-to-heart-to-stomach connection. A blog like Milas Deli gives me good energy when it comes to food – from presentation to cooking to licking your fingers clean. I commend her for authoring such an inspiring space.

Milas Deli

Truth is, Milas Deli has really had an influence on me ever since I first found Susanne in the farmers’ market here in Hannover, Germany where I live. I read her blog whenever I can, though I do cheat a bit and read in Google Chrome often after translating it into English because I don’t want to miss out on anything until my German is fluent. Plus, no matter how well I learn my new second language, English is my mother tongue and so there is comfort when reading it especially if a topic is somewhat emotional in the first place. And food is so super emotional. The way you prepare it, the love you put into it, the passion.

My husband is the male version of Nigella. When he cooks you see his passion in action. He prepares without following a single recipe yet the things he makes evokes feelings that only food from a dear husband or your grandmother can bring to the table – his food is comfort, soulful, made with love, nourishing. He made a simple chicken vegetable soup last week that felt like a bowl full of love. I imagined as I ate it (I can be very animated truth be told) that little hearts were floating around in the broth. I felt love with each bite. I often wish my husband would make a cookbook and write stories around his recipes but because he does his best work when he’s not in the spotlight, he most likely will save the kitchen for his family and I respect him for that. It’s sexy to watch someone cook like that though, isn’t it? (Nigella is so sexy when she cooks.)

Milas Deli

But I digress. Back to Susanne and her blog. Her photography is stunning but she also takes a very journalistic approach to her work and the stories she tells, the shoots she produces, the locations she captures. Her story angles are great and so are her literal angles as she moves around her subjects from cafes to chefs to a plate of ravioli. I admire the work that goes into a blog like hers so very much. In fact, I was stunned and happy when she enrolled in my online course, Blogging Your Way, this past June. What an honor to have her. I felt like she could teach me a thing or two about taking photos!

Milas Deli

Milas Deli

Milas Deli

I recently ran into Susanne with another friend of mine, Berit, in the local forest. I didn’t recognize her at first – she had her hair up (I first met her when it was down) and it was a bit wet out – but the moment she said her blog name I knew immediately who she was and felt so embarrassed that one of her biggest fans had a momentary lapse of memory, forgetting those very eyes and the warmth that greeted me on that day in Spring when I first met a talented new friend. I’m sorry Susanne but hopefully this post makes up for that and perhaps it will win me a spot near to her one day for a cup of coffee and a friendly chat. I’d like that.

(Photography: milas deli/Susanne Irmer)

Posted in blogs, food on October 25, 2012

Books:

Some of my books...

Further editions available: Decorate published by Murdoch Books for AU/NZ, Decorar BR, Alt om indretning DK, Inspirace pro váš byt CZ, Dekorácie SK, La décoration FR, Lust auf Wohnen DE, Sisusta tyylillä FI and Sztuka aranżacji wnętrz PL.

eCourses:

Next dates

Blogging Your Way: Blog Boss
e-course, October 10 - November 10, 2014
Find out more about this exciting class by bloggers, for bloggers, teaching you how to blog like a boss!