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My Shop Window

It’s no secret that I recently wrote a book with interiors writer Joanna Copestick that, thanks to you and the work of my publishers, is doing so well – it’s thrilling! I started out like most of you, using a blog to communicate my ideas and connect with like-minded people with the ultimate goal of writing for magazines, but I didn’t think I’d have a book, events, signings OR a window devoted to my book — here is a glimpse of it.

Decorate Window @ The American Book Center in Amsterdam

For those of you who ask me about how it feels going from blog to book, well it’s quite nice though I’m not leaving my blog anytime soon. In fact, I feel more inspired to blog than ever before. Having a book is a privilege and I feel so honored and part of the design community now more than ever before. I’ve been connecting with readers both near and far, in person, and being part of your “in person” life has been wayyyy more meaningful than even I thought. I’ve gone back to my hotel room after some events and felt so happy-emotional, completely humbled by the things you may have said, your warm hugs, all of the happy smiles, the kind cards and sweet gifts some of you bring to my signings.

I’ve really cherished meeting so many and soon as I embark on my US book tour (I’m excited and scared because I’m traveling alone for 13 days), I look forward to meeting more of you in person. This isn’t about book sales or fame to me, to some it totally is about that, but to me it’s a nice excuse to go out there and meet you guys because now I have something to really share, an extension of my blog in many ways. I think this book tour will, in many ways, change my life because after the few events I’ve had so far I feel an inner shift… there is something very heartwarming about meeting you in person, it’s hard to put into words, but it makes blogging even more personal to me whenever I finish an event and start typing on my laptop. I can see so many of your faces as I write — Iro, Arianna, Will, Danielle, Yvonne, Illaria, Karine, Desiree… I think every writer in the world feels deep joy when they are able to meet those people who follow their work because it’s an absolute honor beyond words.

Decorate Window @ The American Book Center in Amsterdam

When I give lectures publicly, I always tell my story but if you’ve not heard it, well…  I’ll tell you now. It’s a bit cheesy but hey. Okay so when I was a little girl I would hand make books and write/illustrate about 10-15 copies of each story and then hold a book signing in my bedroom and sign copies for my dolls and bears. This wasn’t a one time childhood occurrence but a frequent one that went on for years. Writing a book has been a dream but signing books, oh my goodness, I never imagined I’d be doing this for actual people. Often when I’m seated at a signing table I’m transported for a few seconds to that little white desk in my bedroom when I was so little holding a signing for my stuffed animals. It’s this glimpse backward that makes me so grateful for the reality of all of this today. It feels awkward to confess that publicly, but you are worth telling it to regardless of how embarrassed I feel as I type… I think the biggest part of all of this, that needs to be said, is that this would have never happened if I didn’t write this blog and if you, especially you, didn’t read it and support me as friends.

Decorate Window @ The American Book Center in Amsterdam

I’m grateful to all of you for supporting me with Decorate, for listening to me talk about it from time to time because I’m simply happy about it, and for coming out to the events that I do because it makes this whole process of writing and putting myself REALLY out there (in print) very rewarding, emotional, often a total roller coaster! And to all who are leaving feedback on and as well as on other websites, and to those reviewing it on your blog, thank you a million times over. Especially for the Amazon feedback, I feel so weird asking people to leave it but it really makes a difference.

Decorate Window @ The American Book Center in Amsterdam

If you wonder what these photos are in this post, I’ve taken apart a slightly damaged copy of the book and created a store window display in Amsterdam at The American Book Center located in the city center at Spui 12 and it will be there on display until mid July so I hope that you’ll take a moment to walk by and visit it if you’re in Amsterdam. I’m pretty excited about it, it’s my first window display ever and I created it out of my work studio at home using torn fabric, ribbon, book pages, a circle cutter, fabric that I stamped words on like Mood Board and Lamp, bookmarks that I made for each book, paint swatches here and there… I was so excited to install this recently on one of the busiest streets in Amsterdam. They carry the book inside so please pick up a copy if you are there; they have limited availability. (You can see more photos of the window here.)

Decorate Window @ The American Book Center in Amsterdam

Decorate Window @ The American Book Center in Amsterdam

I hope you like it! Now I want to decorate more shop windows, I have the bug now and I’m thinking to ask local businesses if I can do some shop windows from time to time for their products and things. That would be a fun creative past-time for me. So friends, that’s all for book talk this week… I’ll be back in a moment with more inspiration from my little work desk to yours.

P.S. Thank you Signe for helping me install the display in the window!

(images: Thorsten Becker)

Posted in Books + Magazines on July 06, 2011

My Work In Mowie Kay Magazine

When food stylist, photographer and writer, Mowie Kay, showed up at my book launch at Liberty in London just to give me a hug and wish me well with my new book I knew that this was a guy that I wanted to work with someday. He was charming. And social. And I liked him. I just didn’t know how we’d ever cross paths again because we are in two completely different circles with me in interiors and him being an over-the-top foodie. Well, kismet has its way and after the party Mowie told me about his magazine idea and that he’d like to shoot me cooking in London and have me pull together an article featuring some of my favorite recipes. Gulp. Well…

My work in Mowie Kay Magazine

I was flattered, but I don’t cook a single meal that is so amazing that it deserves to be in print (!) and I’m completely fine with admitting it because I’m not a foodie and tend to admire the whole food craze from afar. I’m perfectly content to press forward with my often fusion style cooking as Julia Childs and Nigella feel simply unreachable to me. I love to eat out, once a week (sometimes more), at foodie types of places though along with those ethnic eateries that are complete hole-in-the-walls but have drop dead amazing meals. Tony Bourdain is my food idol and there is nothing styled up about what he eats. And I have a ton of cookbooks, though I am first to admit that I buy them for mostly their design and photographs though I have most recently experimented with the Ottolenghi cookbook gifted to me by Leslie. I read food blogs, but I don’t really read them, I scan to see the pretty photographs because I can’t imagine making the things that I see.

My work in Mowie Kay Magazine

I often feel like it’s a patience thing. But it’s also a free time thing. I don’t have hours to spend on meal planning, preparation, cooking and clean up each day and some of the meals I see would take an unskilled cook such as myself quite awhile to whip up, never mind to be photo worthy. Long story short, I’m not the perfect candidate to contribute to a beautiful foodie magazine! I don’t fit the profile, my piece of cake on a plate looks like a piece of cake on a plate, not artful or overly styled at all.

My work in Mowie Kay Magazine

My goal with food is to make it with love, from my heart, and then put it in surroundings that make it look so much more enticing. So I thought about Mowie’s offer and was tempted to kindly turn him down… But then I thought, “Hey, I love to style tabletops and I adore entertaining, and I do know how to create a good mood around food… So perhaps there’s my angle for a story in a food magazine”. And so, with shaky knees, I pitched to Mowie an alternate idea and since I know Mowie loves pink, I tried to make it as close to his aesthetic as possible without compromising my own. Ah, a story was born and he accepted my idea! You can find my story on pages 61-73!

My work in Mowie Kay Magazine

I spent a day prop shopping (mostly in my own china cabinet), making things by hand, ironing linens, and then I went to work during day two to pull it all together and photograph it and now it’s in Mowie Kay’s beautiful premiere issue on computers everywhere – click here to view the entire magazine and to read my story beginning on page 61. I also give lots of tips in my story on how to make a tabletop come alive on a budget and I’ve included a luncheon playlist on page 73. I hope that you enjoy it. The tabletop was definitely a spin off from the one Leslie, Sania and I did for Liberty in London – for my table at home, I was able to use stuff I had already and channel some of that Liberty inspiration into it as well.

My work in Mowie Kay Magazine

In the article, I mention my friend Anne Wendlandt (above on page 69), you can see more of her work on her blog since she’s not linked in the article (sorry, Anne).

My work in Mowie Kay Magazine

There’s even a nice page in the magazine where Mowie interviewed me (that was fun!) and he is giving away 3 copies of Decorate, thanks to my London-based publisher, Jacqui Small. If you would like to win a copy of Decorate just comment on his blog HERE and you’ll be entered to win one of 3 copies. :)

My work in Mowie Kay Magazine

Thank you Mowie for including me in your premiere issue and I wish you loads of success with your e-magazine!

(images: holly becker for mowie kay)

Posted in Books + Magazines, uncategorized on June 30, 2011

Decorate Blog Tour

I have some sweet news! I just found out that Chronicle Books just kicked off the blog tour of Decorate! I can’t wait to tell my co-author Joanna, she’ll be equally excited to follow along to see what all of these lovely friends and bloggers have to say about our book.

Decorate Blog Tour

I was so excited when last Friday, Maxwell at Apartment Therapy gave it a glowing review (thank you Maxwell!) and so after that huge high I’ve been flying on, to hear about the book tour that just kicked off is quite exciting especially since another blogger I adore, Oh Joy!, was the one who kicked things off – I am very honored that Joy did that (thank you, Joy!).

Below is the official listing of all those bloggers who are part of the Decorate Blog Tour that will run between now and July 15th, the day after my 10 year wedding anniversary so the timing of this is quite perfect – yay!

AND if you want to win a copy of the book, please leave a comment on the Chronicle Books blog HERE and they’ll randomly pick some winners for the contest.

Monday, June 27 – Oh Joy!
Tuesday, June 28 – The TomKat Studio
Wednesday, June 29 – Plush Palate
Thursday, June 30 – Bloesem
Friday, July 1 – Tulips & Flight Suits and Hooray

Monday, July 4 – Design Muse
Tuesday, July 5 – Automatism
Wednesday, July 6 – The Simply Luxurious Life
Thursday, July 7 – Papernstitch
Friday, July 8 – In Honor of Design

Monday, July 11 – Simply Grove & Haute Design
Tuesday, July 12 – Elements of Style
Wednesday, July 13 – Apartment 34
Thursday, July14 – Mrs. Lilien
Friday, July 15 – Mint

I want to give everyone a big hug for being part of this blog tour for me, thank you a million times thank you!

(image: holly becker for decor8)

Posted in Books + Magazines on June 28, 2011

A Collection a Day: Book by Lisa Congdon

I’ve known artist Lisa Congdon for a million years, well not really but because internet years are like dog years, my knowing her since 2005 feels like forever. I first met her when she was still working as a Director of Program Development at a San Francisco non-profit education consulting organization and not yet a full-time artist as she is now. Back then, she was blogging under the name A Bird in the Hand to share her creative process and thoughts about everyday life, the work she created after work and on the weekends (pillows, collages, paintings, etc.) and to connect with other creative women (read an interview that I had with Lisa in 2006 here). Like most of us who took a leap of faith to leave our comfortable careers behind, I was cheering on Lisa as I watched her make that big leap and I’ve been cheering ever since.

Book by Lisa Congdon

I’ve always liked Lisa and have enjoyed watching her career blossom and grow throughout the years. She became a full-time artist and is involved in so many projects these days that I can’t keep up with her and I love seeing her talent being appreciated and well, seen everywhere. I’m so happy that she now has a book that has been published my Canadian independent publisher Janine Vangool of UPPERCASE called A Collection a Day. I was wondering when someone was going to be smart enough to approach her to do a book!

A Collection a Day


Why collections? For those of you unfamiliar with Lisa’s obsession with collections, she has been crazy for collecting random objects for years now – since childhood really, and she even started a blog dedicated to them with photos that span one full year where she shared her collections one by one in many interesting compositions. Her goal was to give herself a creative challenge by photographing all of them for the 2010 calendar year and her passion resulted in many online fans who grew to love her bloggy project. Very cool, right? I think so… Each page in her book shows the collections that she shared on this 12 month long blog project and I love seeing it as a book because her collections really shine so much more in print, plus I can flip through it over and over again for inspiration and well, the sheer pleasure that book flipping brings. :)

A Collection a Day

A Collection a Day

A Collection a Day

A Collection a Day

A Collection a Day

I love seeing talented people like Lisa who are online connecting with their readers, forming a tribe, and then being recognized by others including publishers who then take their work and publish it in print. So much of what we blog gets lost in the archives — I’m so happy that Lisa’s project didn’t.

I’m proud of you Lisa and congratulations on the new lovely book! xo

You can purchase Lisa’s book here.

(images: holly becker for decor8)

Posted in Books + Magazines on June 14, 2011


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