I’m forever dreaming of traveling a bit north this time of the year to take in the icy crisp fresh air, mountains, forests and snow. Most people want to escape to tropical climates, I crave a cozy farmhouse with a fireplace or a ski chalet with an outdoor hot tub overlooking a snowy mountain. When I lived in the Boston area, my annual winter escapes included ski resorts and cozy houses in northern Vermont, Maine and northern New Hampshire where I’d go to fully experience the beauty of winter and meet up with dear friends. We also had an annual ritual of driving up to Montreal to stay in an ultra cozy brownstone belonging to our dear friend and hibernate with him for days and days, doing nothing more than hosting house parties, watching films and making big breakfasts together. Now that I’m in northern Germany for two years, I’ve realized only this morning that I have not established a single wintertime ritual yet. I need to change this! What are your rituals? Do you have any to share?
Last year, I went to London in January, but for work-related things. Of course, the big Christmas markets that kick off in November and last until Christmas are fun but I need to establish some wintertime traditions that make January and February easier to bare or else I just may become homesick and I don’t want that to happen. I have considered driving up to Denmark or renting a country home in France or even Germany, Scotland or Norway… just to have something to look forward to in the “dead” season immediately following New Year’s Eve. My family (on my side at least) are all in the states but I’m lucky to have friends living in all parts of this world, with special thanks to the networks I had in place pre-blogging and of course, those I have now thanks to blogging… so I know that no matter where I go I could easily look up some blogger friends and have a really nice time. The beauty of online communication – the internet is a special meeting place. So now I wonder where to go and how to kick start some meaningful winter traditions.
Looking through a favorite blog of mine, Loppelilla in Norway, makes me feel strongly about the importance of creating new adventures for myself and new traditions, especially since I’m still very much a foreigner living here and so much of my previous life doesn’t fit in my current world – my language, my memories, the things I grew up watching this time of the year on television that gave me a sense of connection and comfort, even the foods I ate – here the tradition is to eat goose, not turkey and that’s not the same bird, ya know? It’s different and from childhood on we connect through our senses and what we are exposed to the most becomes our comfort, our safety point… It’s such an interesting time of the year for me as I rarely think about these deep things during other seasons, they don’t really occur to me because I’m too busy to think about what I miss or need – I already feel quite full in many ways and feel as though I have no right to ever experience one ounce of melancholy but the truth is, this year I am feeling it a wee bit of it and my current cold doesn’t help — and now I’m trying to consider exactly how to change the course for winters to come. I’m a happy person and I want winter to be comforting, healing, cozy and full of hope and promise for the months ahead. I don’t want to miss anything, I want to create new memories.
I decided to make Loppelilla’s blog the decor8 blog of the week because it brought me so much peace and comfort today – her blog is like a warm hug from a parent, so please visit it as often as you can now and in the future as this lady is so talented in decorating her home and living life so richly yet so simplistically… It’s inspiring to see and it’s what I aspire to this winter as I’m decorating my own home – to edit more, buy less and be more imaginative in how I use things.
As soon as I shake this cold, I’m going into the forest behind my house to collect more branches only this time those with the white plump berries — and pine cones. They are free, a gift from nature, and would in fact be a nice and simple tradition that I could start immediately on my own – to collect things in the forest to decorate at home with for December, January and February. I already brought in branches last week for my entryway that I’ve placed upright in a huge green vintage glass vase… And I always could bake cookies and make some yummy comfort foods that I cannot buy in stores here. And find a little cozy cottage to rent for a few weeks in the middle of nowhere. Yes. That sounds good.
I feel better already.
Speaking of my dear friend Yvonne earlier (oh she’s such a good, good girl to me), suddenly gave me the urge to pay her lovely blog a visit and wow, oh wow! What did I find? Great news for Yvonne! She is now blogging over at the IKEA Live website and I’m so proud of her because she’s definitely fit for the job – Yvonne loves IKEA yet her house never ever looks like a copy of their catalog.
I love that about her decorating style, she can take something from IKEA and use it in a whole new way – add to it, take something off, paint it a funky color, customize it somehow, someway and BAM! it’s perfectly perfect in Yvonne’s special way. I want to tell Yvonne that I’m proud of her and love that she is being recognized for her hard work as a blogger, stylist and all around great lady who has inspired me so much over the years.
Congrats Yvonne on the IKEA gig! Yvestown Rocks IKEA and they will be better for it, yay! Go, girl!
(images: yvonne eijkenduijn)
London-based stylist and author Sania Pell rocks my world. She has become a good friend of mine and I am lucky enough to get lots of Sania time whenever I’m in London for crafting, shopping, chatting, eating and visits to other lovely friends along the way, like our recent visit with Emma Cassi that she so nicely arranged. I first met Ms. Pell online, thanks to my book review of her debut title, The Homemade Home, and shortly thereafter we met for dinner in London and it’s been a great friendship ever since that lovely evening over a year ago now. TGFB! Thank Goodness For Blogging!
I’m so excited that in the Spring, her next lovely book will release, The Homemade Home For Children, though it is now ready to pre-order (yeah!). It focuses primarily on crafting for and with your children but even non-parents like me will buy the book and apply the 50 projects to things in my own home or use it for ideas to share with friends who have kids. Sania is nothing short of pure inspiration (magic!) to me and to her many fans.
You also have to visit her blog, At Home, because there she shares her own photography and many amazing projects that she posts each week. I love her recent posts on adding hand-painted fluorescent touches to flowers (brilliant!), hand crafting clay ornaments, and this gorgeous artistic panel she made using sheer fabric, some leather, thread and fabric.
What an amazing lady, do visit her and also pre-order her book because trust me… You will love it! I’ve seen a bulk of the projects in it (she showed them to me as she was making them for the book) and you are in for a huge treat. If you think her blog is amazing, the book will blow your mind.
(images: sania pell)
Hello friends! I’ve been thinking a lot lately about apps on the iPhone and how I can use them to fuel my creativity a little more. Today in the Blogging Your Way e-class that Leslie and I are currently teaching, we provide our students with a list of great iPhone apps and ideas on how and why to use them. One tip we gave is just too good to keep in class because I know lots of you great bloggers out there would love it and it’s called Followgram. My most recent obsession is definitely Instagram. Do you use Instagram? If so, Followgram is an excellent companion. This is NOT an iPhone app but a website that gives you the unique opportunity to view your Instagram photos online. This site great because:
1. You don’t always need your iPhone to see your Istagram photos.
2. You can share them with others, including friends who do not have an iPhone or who are not using Instagram.
3. You can also view the photos in three different ways: Diary (photos taken on specific dates), List (photos will appear one after the one, going down the page), or Grid (photos shown in blocks).
4. You can also create super duper photo albums to group your Instagram photos for quick reference or to even group them like you would on Pinterest to inspire you or to turn into a future blog post.
Here is an example of a Followgram page – this is my instagram account as seen on the Followgram website:
Another GREAT TIP is that with Followgram, you can now drag and drop your photos from Followgram directly to your desktop, open up your trusty photo editing program and create an interesting composition to save and share on your blog. Here are two examples of this:
Maybe you recently went on vacation and took lots of your travel photos using Instagram. But you haven’t had time to connect your iPhone to your laptop to upload the images. Maybe you are using another computer. Just go to the Followgram website and drag and drop your images to the desktop on the computer that you are using and create a collage or something quickly and easily.
Here is another example, you may want to do a regular post on your blog showing a “Best Of October” collage of photos that you took using Instagram that you particularly loved during the month of October. Or you can roundup favorite photos from your home, for instance, photos that you organized under the “Home” folder that you created using Followgram. Smart, right?
Also with Followgram, you can access the photos of other Instagram users and share your favorite Instagram photos on your blog in the same way as shown above – just include photo credits!
Hope this was a fun tip for you to learn… I love finding shortcuts and creative ways to share the things that I love, don’t you?
(images: holly becker for decor8)