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Books + Magazines

Book Review: Keep It Simple

June 30, 2015

I’m so happy to share Atlanta Bartlett’s top 8 tips for a happy and relaxed home along with a review her new book, co-authored with Dave Coote, called Keep It Simple. Their brand new book is a practical, inspirational guide that can help you to achieve a happy yet simpler way of life at home. I recently interviewed Atlanta asking her to highlight a few of her inspirations for writing Keep It Simple and she first revealed that, “We really wanted to create something beautiful and inspirational but it was also really important to us that it was genuinely useful. For us creating a happy and relaxed home is not just about the look and style of the place but also about the journey of creating a home that is responsive, practical, personal and, ultimately, a place that you and your family can really enjoy living in.” For many of us, a simple life may not be how we live currently but is definitely one that we aspire to, wouldn’t you agree? This book can help.

Book Review: Keep It Simple

One of the “problems” with living simple is that you need to do a lot of work to get there, which isn’t so simple in the beginning and can often scare people buried in clutter away. That is why Atlanta takes a holistic approach to peel back a few emotional layers first before even touching your home, “You firstly need to sort your priorities and rediscover what’s really important in life. This involves some soul searching so in the first section we encourage readers to think long and hard about what homes means to them and how they like to live.” As the book progresses beyond the initial soul searching section, you’ll Continue Reading…






Books + Magazines

Book Review: Playful

June 23, 2015

Are you looking for a beautiful craft book for kids? I’ve got one for you! I was so happy when I first heard that Merrilee’s book, Playful: Fun Projects To Make With + For Kids, published in German under the title, “Spielzeit: 25 fantasievolle Projekte zum Spielen und Gestalten“. It’s such a sweet book and I think it will do just great here in Germany where I’m currently living. Merrilee Liddiard is the blogger behind Mer Mag and I’ve followed her blogging adventures for years so it’s very nice to see her in print.

Book Review: Playful

The crossover from blog to book is never easy, but Merrilee and her team pulled it off just beautifully. Her photographer, Nicole Hill Gerulat, made Merrilee’s projects shine  too – Nicole is quite amazing behind the lens and takes such great photos of the children interacting with the various projects. It’s so hard to photograph children and now that I have a toddler, I have even more respect for photographers who work with children on a regular basis. My god. Capturing portraits of children at play is like shooting wild animals for Nat Geo – you have to observe for what feels like hours and be patient as you await Continue Reading…






Books + Magazines

Book Review: See San Francisco

June 16, 2015

Hey there friends, my e-course just wrapped up which meant I went MIA but I’m back now and ready to share some goodies I’ve found. I’ve been dying to review Victoria Smith’s debut book, See San Francisco, published by Chronicle Books so today is the day people! This is it! This is the review of my dear blogmate’s gorgeous book. But first, let me just say that I had my honeymoon in SF in 2001 and spent two of the best weeks of my life there. I returned a few times since and Victoria and I share the same publisher. Victoria also started blogging the same year that I did – 2006 – so we’ve been following each other’s careers ever since. I’m so happy for her and to see that she published a book about a city she knows and adores so much is just awesome. If anyone can tell you about SF and show you an alternative view, non-touristy, it’s Miss Victoria from the blog SFGirlByBay.

Book Review: See San Francisco

This book is so pretty and I love how Victoria breaks the book down by sections so you can catch glimpses of Noe Valley, Bernal Heights, The Mission, Potrero Hill and Continue Reading…






Books + Magazines

Book Review: Maker Spaces

April 29, 2015

Hello friends, I hope all is well and that you’re having a lovely week thus far! It’s time for my weekly book review, and yes, I’m trying to go for one each week for the rest of the year because I have so many nice books to share and I also want to continue pushing the printed page because despite the undeniable amazingness of the digital world, there is still nothing quite like a book in one hand, lemonade in the other, while laying on the beach or the patio in the warm sun. Oh yes please!

Book Review: Maker Spaces

Today’s book, Maker Spaces, is actually from a student of mine who is now teaching her own classes in London and is teaching through the pages of her own beautiful first book. It all happened so fast that she went from blogger to author, which I think inspires a lot of people to just jump in and start showing your best work online because it just could become a beautiful career path for you, too. And what a joy to see people who go for their dreams!

Maker Spaces, written by Emily Quinton and photographed by Helen Cathcart, opens the doors to the creative homes of 13 families who are makers for a living as jewelry and letterpress designers to illustrators and interior designers (and more). To inspire you today, here are some of my favorite photos from the book that haven’t yet been seen online (so please feel free to pin them) and a little interview that I had with Emily about her book.

What inspired you to write a book?
EQ: My life has been filled with books since I was a little girl and I always dreamed that one day mine would be up on the bookshelf too.

What is your background?
EQ: I have an eclectic background that includes working in academic libraries, time researching and writing a PhD on Plant Hunting (sadly not finished) and working as a wedding and portrait photographer.

What do you do for a career today?
EQ: I have designed my own career after realising that I wanted to stop photographing weddings. I wanted to build a career that I could fit around my large family (I have four children, all close in age) and one that I could grow over time. It is an ever evolving thing, which currently includes blogging, photography, teaching and making.

Book Review: Maker Spaces

Book Review: Maker Spaces

Book Review: Maker Spaces

How did it happen that you got a book deal?
EQ: I went to a fair with my very young baby and on the way, one of my buggy tyres burst. We were lucky to get a lift home with my friend and her husband, who had just started working at Ryland Peters & Small. We were chatting about my blog and he said that it sounded like a title of a book. I laughed and said how I would love to write a book someday. He went off and looked at my work online and came back and asked me to pitch a book idea. After that came what felt like a very long pitching and waiting process!

Why did you decide to write about creative spaces, your background is in wedding and portrait photography…
EQ: I was really curious about the connection between making things and making spaces, and this book enabled me to explore these things with some very talented makers around the world. Making has become a very important part of my life over the past 8 years of being a mother. I have always led a creative life but pregnancy and motherhood really has made me feel so much more connected to my creative side. My husband is an artist and technologist and together we have made a very creative environment for our four children. In addition to this, the wonderful online communities and inspiring magazines and of course Pinterest have all brought so many ideas into my world and put making at the heart of my every day.

Did you style the rooms or photograph as you found them?
EQ: No. The rooms were left as is (except for moving the occasional ugly thing, like a printer).

Book Review: Maker Spaces

Book Review: Maker Spaces

Book Review: Maker Spaces

Book Review: Maker Spaces

Book Review: Maker Spaces

Will you photograph your next book?
EQ: Yes, I really hope so! It was a huge compromise not to photograph this one but now that I have seen the whole process of researching, photographing and writing a book I have the confidence that I can do both the photography and the writing and will push for this to happen.

You recently opened a new studio space – tell us where it is and what you do there.
EQ: My new studio space is in West Dulwich, in South London in an old industrial building with huge windows and so much natural light. I share it with my husband and we both work from there a few days a week. I run my photography workshops there and will soon be offering other creative workshops. I do photoshoots for clients there too. My husband also runs technology workshops there and we have lots of plans for how the Makelight Studio will grow and be used over time.

Thank you Emily!

This 175 page book is organized by style covering rustic, retro chic, homespun and eclectic. I really loved the living room and creative studio of Maartje van den Noort in Amsterdam, the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and dining area of San Francisco-based artist Kimberly Austin. If you have the book, which homes clicked with your own taste?

You can purchase this beautiful book here.

(photos with permission by Ryland Peters & Small, photography by Helen Cathcart)






Books + Magazines

Book Review: The New Bohemians

April 15, 2015

Do you love cheerful rooms packed and layered with color, objects, pattern and texture? Are you a fan of a more bohemian eclectic style at home? LA-based blogger and designer Justina Blakeney debuts her first book, The New Bohemians, this week which spotlights 20 creatives living in the United States (mostly west and east coasters) who range from shop owners and entrepreneurs to urban farmers, parents, city dwellers, artists and bloggers. If you like to break decorating rules and welcome total creative freedom in how you dress up your space, this book will feel like a warm, validating hug. Justina even shares corners of her own home and rooms in her sister’s house which are totally color-drenched and piled high with curious objects to explore – so much eye candy!

Book Review: The New Bohemians
Book Review: The New Bohemians

The New Bohemians reminded me that there really is no single way to decorate that is “right”, which is important especially when you have both print and new media promoting only very specific looks – you can feel a little left out if your home doesn’t fit what is considered on-trend. This book is perfect for all of the bohemian spirits out there – the rebels who want to mix their foo dogs with Etsy finds, mid century credenzas from craigslist topped with pottery from the 70s scoured at the thrift shop and globe collections displayed in the fireplace alongside vintage Suzani’s used as wall or bed coverings. I found this book to be a completely authentic glimpse into the mind of Justina and what she loves the most and shares frequently online which is how I first discovered her a few short years ago. She shows homes in her book that in her signature Jungalow style and the homeowners, well, “They embrace free-spirited, no-rules lifestyles and apply that attitude to all areas of their existence, including their homes,” which is the absolute message you get with the flip of every color-drenched page.

Book Review: The New Bohemians

In addition to showing out-of-the-box spaces, Justina shares 12 DIY projects inspired by the objects found in some of the homes, so there are projects for you to try. I also like the Adopt An Idea pages (see above image) throughout the book that encourage readers to try the look at home and how.

Book Review: The New Bohemians

This bedroom is in the home of Justina’s sister and I just love it – so perfect for a little girl and loads of fun too.

Book Review: The New Bohemians

Book Review: The New Bohemians

This black cabinet above is MAGIC. I would definitely own that and make it work in my house. Definitely a rare and beautiful object of art. The lamp shade and the touch of greenery creates such nice balance too and I like the wall treatment too. This is a trend in Germany at the moment, people living particularly in the more creative cities like Berlin love to leave some walls in their old apartments very bare by tearing off the wallpaper and exposing the plaster and whatever was there before. My friend did this and found newspapers layered into the plaster from 1901. What a wonderful surprise!

Book Review: The New Bohemians

I really like framed butterflies suspended from the wooden branch from the ceiling and that squishy leather sofa. The wooden star is a nice way to conceal the radiator too without blocking the heat.

Book Review: The New Bohemians

When I see anything draped from the ceiling, I think of the 60s and 70s. I was born in the 70s and so I don’t remember a lot about our home but I do remember my mother loving her macrame classes, plants, draping things from the ceiling, bold wallpaper, chinoiserie anything, Chinese black lacquer furniture (with Ming details), shag carpet and color, color, color! In many ways, Justina’s book reminds me of my mom and the style of homes in the 70s and 80s. For instance, my mom would have totally rocked this pendant light shown in the photo below.

Book Review: The New Bohemians

Book Review: The New Bohemians

Oh and another bonus that I like about this book is that some of her tips from her Skillshare class on styling, Style Your Space Like a Pro, ended up in the book like how to style a bookshelf in 10 steps. So if you took the class, you can have all of her ideas in one place, with photos and of course, completely gorgeous and new content to inspire you. For me, this was such a big plus because so many times when I see people teach online I often wished they had books that contained all of their knowledge so I could refer back to it for years to come.

Book Review: The New Bohemians

Book Review: The New Bohemians

Book Review: The New Bohemians

You may purchase your own copy of the book today right here and a big congrats on Justina for her book and thanks for including me in your book tour!

(images with permission from The New Bohemians)






Books + Magazines

Decorate With Flowers For Spring!

March 9, 2015

Hello everyone! I want to begin the week with a post that simply oozes springtime cheer! We had beautiful weather for the past few days, sunny and nearly 60, so I have a mega dose of spring fever all of a sudden!

Decorate With Flowers For Spring!

We’ve had a very gray few months and though we didn’t get snow this winter, the gray days are super draining. These colorful photos are out takes from Decorate With Flowers (a list of the current 8 language editions with 2 more on the way at the end of this post), which is my latest book authored alongside of lovely Leslie Shewring. If you don’t already have a copy, it’s truly the perfect title for easter, Mother’s day and all of the spring, summer and early autumn gatherings you’ll host when flowers are a must. You can read the 5 star reviews here if you’re on the fence. Jump off and order! :)

Decorate With Flowers For Spring!

In our book, we show so many ideas for flowers and their containers inside and really teach you flower basics in such an easy way that you’ll be styling your own gorgeous arrangements in seconds, really! We also break the book up into 8 styles showing 8-12 homes that we worked in to style up our ideas from Canada to Germany and California. We also included a mood board for each style to show you how we translated what was in our heads for each look. There are even break downs for how-tos from arrangement making to container creation. We wrapped up with our little black book showing you were to find the best of the best floral products and vessels and a summary of our favorite flowers.

Decorate With Flowers For Spring!

Decorate With Flowers For Spring!

Decorate With Flowers For Spring!

Decorate With Flowers For Spring!

Decorate With Flowers For Spring!

Decorate With Flowers For Spring!

Decorate With Flowers For Spring!

Decorate With Flowers For Spring!

US English – Decorate With Flowers
UK English – Decorate With Flowers
Asia – English – Page One
French – Fleurs et déco
Dutch – Bloemen In Huis
Italian – Decorare Con I Fiori
German – Wohnen mit Blumen
Japanese – 花と雑貨で楽しむナチュラルインテリア (I will show you in another post because this edition looks so beautiful!)

Denmark + Mexico Coming soon!

Shown: Leslie Shewring and Jessica Senti (my assistant).

(Photos: Janis Nicolay)






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