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Dream Smile Design

I’ve selected a new blog of the week, Dream Smile Design, and hope that you’ll visit it because the content is just so pretty and inspiring. A mix between decorating and films, you’d never guess that it is authored by a 19-year-old college student! I love that she is so young and already has the design eye of someone much older, her future is indeed very bright with such talent. This lovely blogger is Sarathira Sukiman and she lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

I found Sarathira because she visits decor8 and leaves comments here and with a blog name like Dream Smile Design I had to click on her link to see what she writes about. Here is just a sampling of the beauty on her blog, all of these images and their sources can be found here and here at Absolutely Beautiful Things. These two images below are of Rita Konig’s apartment… Swoon!

Lovely blog, Sarathira!

(images from Dream Smile Design)

Posted in blogs, inspiration on October 06, 2008
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We All Love Melissa Loves

It’s time to totally embarrass someone. First let me say that I really appreciate all of my readers because I know there are a billion blogs out there so the fact that you take a moment to visit mine means a great deal to me. Your care and support keeps me going, really it does. I know that many of you who read also leave comments here and I read them all, clicking back to your blogs and exploring the links you may have left in your comment. When you step out from behind the big internet to say hello through a comment it matters. Truly. That is why I am dedicating this post to one very special reader today and her name is Melissa. Her comments mean a lot to me but especially on days when I felt a bit tired or asleep at the wheel, she always seemed to speak up at the precise moment when I needed a good cheering on and I bet she didn’t even realize it… Until now.

A sampling of what she talks about on her blog… Fashion for one.

And of course, interiors! What girl doesn’t love a pretty room to cozy up in?

I hope she doesn’t freak out when she reads this, and turn all bright red, but I really adore Melissa. Do you know who she is? Honestly, I am not too familiar with her on a personal level though I love reading her guests posts on Creature Comforts which have launched into a special new blog called Melissa Loves. It’s such a fantastic little spot to visit with a cup of tea in the morning… I love that she consistently shows up a few times each week to give us a slice of her inspirations. It’s a very special blog but what is even more interesting is that author Melissa is a genuine and kind person who takes a very personal interest in others.

In addition to her blog, she creates jewelry and owns the Etsy shop Acts of Kindness. Here is a glimpse of some of the lovely things she sells there. Absolute beauties!

So Melissa, I want to thank you so much for your support and for always taking time to visit me here. It makes the internet, and the world in general, a much happier place to have a sincere, warm and encouraging person in it such as you are. Congratulations to you on your new blog, Melissa Loves is a new favorite of mine.

P.S. If you author a blog and have a reader in mind who you’d like to give a virtual hug to, please take a moment to blog about them and post a link to it here below so we can see!!! I know this may be a little too warm and fuzzy for some, but if you are comfortable with giving someone a shout out please do it.

(images from melissa loves and acts of kindness)

Posted in blogs on September 23, 2008

decor8/DaWanda Berlin Event Highlights

This past weekend I teamed up with DaWanda to create Make It! Shop It! Blog It!, an event to celebrate blogging and small business! (You can click here to get a taste for what we did and I will show you a bag that I made in the video or watch the video over on YouTube here).

Before the guests arrived. This room was full by the time the event started — so exciting!

We had around 130 attend from Berlin and other parts of Germany and the weather was perfect for what we had planned: Two speakers indoors (Nicole and I) and a screenprinting workshop outside given by Nadja of Smil and Britta from Bloody Bunny (they are hosting another workshop next week for a fee if you’d like to attend, more info here in German.)

Screenprinting workshop outside of the building.

After we spent the afternoon indoors mingling, eating, listening to Nic and I, everyone then had a chance to step outside for a screenprinting workshop. All could select between three motifs: bees, clouds, or a sailor bear and each were given a cotton tote to screenprint on and to keep at no extra charge. I selected the bear, you can see my finished bag in this video. It’s really cute, thank you Britta and Nadja for the great workshop. Everyone loved it.

Nadja (left), me (screenprinting), and Britta (right).

Me with DaWanda co-founder Michael (photo taken by Dawanda).

I was scheduled to speak first and was given a two hour time slot and I was a bit scared because I had no idea how I would speak for 2 hours straight from a podium before a sea of strangers. I was a bit scared but I didn’t want to appear nervous because that would only make the DaWanda team feel stressed and I saw no need to do that. I didn’t even write a speech, I only had a few notes that I had scribbled down on the train ride there. I guess I didn’t expect a stage, a microphone, so many people to REALLY show up. When I arrived and saw the huge room full of chairs I became a bit tense! Lucky for me, I have a technique for calming my nerves which I used many times before going up on stage and they worked because the moment that I started speaking I was completely myself and felt like I was before friends. I couldn’t believe all of the smiling faces as I looked out at so many, men and women together, all there to learn more about blogging and how they can use a blog to expand their business. Yay!

Nicole from Luzia Pimpinella during her lecture on blogging and how she uses her blog to connect with customers and grow a small business as an independent designer.

I observed many taking notes which made me want to keep talking because everyone was really focused on what I had to say. I was so impressed by that, it gave me the courage to continue. Funny thing is, I wasn’t alone because I asked the audience a lot of questions so it became more like the way I operate this blog — a discussion — I throw ideas out here and then all of you jump in and comment. My talk was structured in a similar format. This is how I love to approach public speaking — getting as many in the audience included as possible because it helps steer the topic in the right direction so that I was able to spend time on points that the audience truly wanted to hear. I once gave workshops and lectures when I worked in the corporate setting but that was several years ago so I wasn’t sure if I could still draw from past experience and count on it to see me through… but public speaking must be like bike riding because if you have done it before and stop for awhile it seems like doing it again isn’t such a problem. Funny how my background helps me out now as a small business person. That’s why I never doubt the path I’ve followed in my life because all roads brought me to the point where I am today just like so many of you and so one cannot regret past career decisions. It seems a skill from an old job, no matter how much you thought you’d never use it again, can be a valued and needed skill a long way down the road.

Cupcakes for all, yum!

What did I talk about? Well for one, I gave tips on blogging and promoting products through a blog, from writing on a regular basis, keeping your content fresh and positive, putting your store widget on your blog, the importance of responding to comments left on your blog, sharing your inspirations with readers, how to handle days when you have nothing to blog about, visiting other blogs to leave sincere comments, not letting the copycats (people who copy your products) get you down, being patient and not sticking too closely to your stat counter, approaching larger blogs to see if they’ll talk about your work, sticking to a theme (don’t veer off of your blog topic too much), carry business cards to promote your business and your blog, and the importance of taking crisp clear photos of your products that are true to color to post on your blog. You have to know that these tips are truly new and exciting to many in attendance because blogging in Germany within the craft community is still new and maybe it’s at the stage where American craft blogging was back in 2004ish. It felt exciting to speak to a crowd that was so enthusiastic and excited about breaking into the world of blogging.

We also discussed a bit about photo copyrights, and I was so pleased when my husband Thorsten raised his hand to share the research he has done on the topic being a photographer himself. Thanks, Tee!

Enna (who created our event postcards) with Saskia from Retro Kinder and her adorable son Cyrian.

Note: For all those who are interested in learning more about blog photography and copyright law in both the U.S. and Germany, Thorsten pulled together his research for you in a PDF file that you may download here. It contains plenty of links and should answer your questions on this topic.

I also mentioned to everyone that I would provide a list of some of the larger blogs that you may want to contact to see if they’d be interested in writing about you and your business. I have so many in mind that I do not know where to start, but since I mentioned Apartment Therapy in my lecture I’ll begin with them. A few others that I personally have had write about me in the past that I also read and respect are: Creature Comforts, Oh Joy!, Bloesem, Style Files, Emmas Designblogg, oh and perhaps this may be a great resource: Check out the international design blog slideshow that I pulled together for Domino magazine online. You can contact those lovely bloggers, too!

I want to thank DaWanda for teaming up with me, accepting my offer to do an event like this in Germany in the first place, and for giving me an opportunity to meet many creative and lovely new people. I have had this dream of pulling together a function like this in Berlin for over two years now so to see it come to life for me was a huge dream come true and meant SO MUCH on a deeply personal level. I also must thank and recommend the Gotischer Saal for events if anyone is looking for a place to rent in Berlin for a function. The building is beautiful and the couple who run it couldn’t be sweeter.

For those not in attendence, DaWanda taped both of the talks and will turn them into a podcast so when those are finished I will blog it with a link so you can listen in.

(photography by thorsten becker)

Posted in blogs, events + markets, travel, walls on September 22, 2008

decor8 & Dawanda Event in Berlin: September 20th

I’m so excited to announce this as I approached Dawanda some time ago with hopes they’d help me plan a fun blogger event in Berlin this year. And it’s planned! We’re ready to invite all who’d like to attend so if you plan on being in Berlin this month, please mark your calendars for a free fun event I’m hosting along with Dawanda in a few short weeks.

On September 20th we will hold a special workshop called ?Make it! Shop it! Blog it!? for artists and designers to get together and mingle, learn from guest speakers (including yours truly) all about how to build your business through blogging. When I finish speaking, I’ll stay to answer any questions from the audience that you may have about how to use your blog to maximize your small business as an artist or designer. If you do not have a small business, you just may walk away inspired to build one when I am finished because believe me, I have a lot to say on this subject!

Note: This event is bilingual! I’m speaking in English and Nicole will be speaking in German. No translator will be present!

During the event, we’ll supply complementary “Kaffee & Kuchen” (coffee and cake, well really cupcakes from an American bake shop, Cupcake Berlin, that we’ve asked to cater for us) and then later in the day, our second special guest speaker (after me) is Luziapimpinella (Nicole), a DaWanda shop based in Germany which is not only a very successful DaWanda shop, but a popular German blog too. She’ll share her first hand experience as a blogger and shop owner.

Of course we plan to do more than talk. Play time is part of the fun! We’ll holding a screenprinting demonstration from both Smil and Bloodbunny who willl share screenprinting tips, help you print something of your very own, and you can leave with your very own creation. Materials will be provided, but only a limited number can participate so this is on a “first come first serve” basis (see schedule posted below and show up for this session a little a head of time to be included).

Here are the details and schedule:

Date: Saturday, September 20th 2008
Location:o3 Berlin – Oderbergerstr.3, 10435 Berlin. (M1 stop Eberswalder U Bahn / Schwedter Str)

12 pm – Doors open – Bring your business cards and make new friends!
1 pm – Holly?s talk and Q & A session
3 pm – Nicole?s talk and Q & A session
5 pm Screenprinting workshop
6:30 We all go home inspired!

Spaces are limited so please RSVP if you would like to come! elizabeth {at} dawanda {dot} com

Thank you Enna for creating the beautiful art work for our Make it! Shop it! Blog it! postcards.

Hope to see you there. :)

(image from enna)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, blogs, events + markets, small business, travel on September 04, 2008

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