I was so happy when my copy of Well-Read Women: Portraits of Fiction’s Most Beloved Heroines, arrived today. Written and illustrated by my friend Samantha Hahn for Chronicle Books, it’s exquisite in every way.
Samantha is a fabulous illustrator whom I’ve commissioned for both illos on my blog and in my second book, so I know how skilled she is first hand. Samantha has worked for some of the best clients out there, including a slew of gorgeous magazines and also Daily Candy. Her gorgeous debut book is now available for pre-order, so grab a copy now because it will make for the most lovely gift for yourself or a good friend. It’s crazy beautiful and so unique.
In fact, it happens to be one of those books that really is perfect to give to a friend because it’s not only gorgeous but full of girl power (she illustrated 50 legendary female characters and hand lettered quotes from them) so you can’t help you feel so proud to be a modern female. I love what Samantha said about it recently on her blog, “Meet these heroines, befriend them, and in the process, perhaps learn about yourself. Whether you’ve read some or all of these stories, I hope you enjoy gazing into the eyes of all of the powerful, damaged, beautiful, and incandescent women in my book. I hope you follow them back to their original stories and come to see them in your own way, too.” Such a fine statement!
I can’t take my hands off of this book – I seriously love it and will definitely be buying copies to give to my friends. It’s so unique, and I love that it’s light reading because I can get lost in the quotes and paintings and let my mind wander. I also see so many pages that I’m tempted to remove and frame, but hopefully she’ll be selling them eventually as prints. My favorite portraits are of Anna Karenina, Alice, Jane Eyre, Antigone, Juliet Capulet (swooning over that close-up, would love that on my wall!), Ester Greenwood, Estella Havisham, Sofia Semyonovna Marmeladova, Scarlett O’Hara and my favorite painting is of Emma Woodhouse from Emma by Jane Austen – so gorgeous! What a collection of fantastic ladies.
Congrats, Ms. Hahn!
(images: samantha hahn)
I’m so happy today to tell you about my friend Barb Blair and her gorgeous new book, Furniture Makeovers. I’ve been wanting to write about it for weeks but have been totally consumed with a project and when I write reviews, I don’t want to put together something sloppy just to review something… I really wanted this review to be from the heart since Barb is a super special lady.
Barb and I met at my book signing in NYC back in 2012 for Decorate, she was very friendly and lovely – just as I had expected through our numerous email exchanges prior to our in-person meet up. That is us shown below cuddling in my signing chair at Anthro. :)
We’ve known one another for years and I’ve written about her furniture restoration numerous times because I’m a big fan of her work. What this woman can do to furniture that is dying curbside is unbelievable, a book had to be born from her years of dedication and hard work as a furniture superhero.
Furniture Makeovers, her debut title published by Chronicle Books (I wrote the foreword for this book of which I am eternally honored), is just lovely and super inspiring. In this book you will find 26 restoration techniques and 30 before-and-afters showing exactly how Barb added her magical touches. Since receiving it only two months ago, I had an idea to paint two pieces of furniture in my home and so when my friend Leslie was here recently, we got to work and painted both pieces so they now look stunning and lovely. So thanks for the inspiration Barb. I will show you these pieces in the future but I don’t want to steal Barb’s thunder – this post is for her and about her — but wow, to get a DIY book and actually be motivated enough to DO STUFF after reading it is sorta a miracle for me because I tend to flake out and not do the stuff I set out to do when it comes to furniture improvements. Barb’s book was SO good though, SO helpful, SO inspiring and most of all, SO approachable that I HAD to DO something to my furniture when I finished her book. In fact, I have a few more pieces to paint… I’m on a roll, thanks to Furniture Makeovers!
In this post, I’ve shared some gorgeous photos from her recent book launch at her shop (held in early May) and studio space in South Carolina called Knack Studios. All of the photos from the book party were shot by Carlton Riffel and the beautiful image of the book was shot by her book photographer J. Aaron Greene. I love parties, especially ones that feel and look like this one… Because it feels very welcoming and from the heart, just the way I like things to feel.
I am so happy to see Barb shining in her photos above because a book launch party has to be one of the greatest professional experiences every – it’s like a baby shower or wedding for your book – and it’s such a special day that an author never, ever forgets. I’ll never forget my launch parties nor do I forget those who attended them because they are just so cherished… To write a book and see it published and in books stores is huge enough but to have launch parties and book signings — my goodness, total ICING ON THE CAKE and all made possible by our wonderful online community of friends and shop owners and bloggers.
Barb deserves every shout of praise and wonderful review for her book – it’s by far a favorite on the decor8 bookcase! Congratulations Barb!
(party images: carlton riffel)
I was happy to see this beautiful home we shot for Decorate Workshop, which belongs to a friend of a friend of mine (how I found out about it in the first place), pop up as a location for hire today over at Light Locations. I loved working in this home. In fact, you can take your copy of Decorate Workshop and compare the photos we took with those on this page and then you can clearly see what a little before and after styling fun – you can see what I did to bring in a little Holly style to the mix.
Some homes require little styling, some way more, but this one kept me busy as it was very spare so I needed to really collect from other rooms and rearrange things, including furniture, in order to make it feel more lived in since it was only a summer house. Working in this home for a day was a dream come true, I wanted to move right in, I never connected to a home as much as I did this one. It was in the middle of nowhere – in a forest about an hour or two outside of London and we got SO lost getting there but once we arrived, I didn’t want to leave. In fact, I barely missed my flight home that night. I remember the two buckets of flowers we loaded into the car that I bought earlier that morning in Chiswick before we ventured out and how excited I was when I arrived on location – I hadn’t seen the home previously – only a few rooms and vignettes, so I wasn’t sure what was in store for me but wow, it was a pristine gem of a place. It made me so happy “playing house” for the day – and the best part was that the home owner wasn’t around so the photographer, Debi Treloar, and I could really relax and go at our own pace.
I love when homeowner’s are around to, don’t get me wrong, but I find it less tense when they’re not – I always worry about moving things and rearranging stuff in front of the person who lives there and they can easily get offended or worried you will drop something or they can also spend a lot of time explaining where this or that object came from and while those bits of history are wonderful, it takes so long to shoot a home like this one. This house was massive on two levels so it took some time to work through. Also, when the homeowner is there, you usually are asked to stop and break for lunch and Debi and I like to work straight through so we can get everything done and leave before the light is gone. We were shooting late winter, so we had to wrap up by 3:00 – and it takes about an hour to clean the house after, put everything back into place, back up the photos and pack the car, so you get a lot more shots when no one is home. This was such an enjoyable shoot… I remember the fresh country air, the singing birds and that feeling like this home would look extra gorgeous in my book and well, it did. Here is one shot from my book below – to see more, I guess you have to get the book (wink). :)
To the lovely lady, Emma, who owns this home, thank you. I loved working there for the day and pretending it was my own!
(images: light locations)
Light and bright, gotta love light and bright! I’ve talked about By Nord before but when Cozy Living sent over press access to their images, I couldn’t resist sharing some of my favorite new products with all of you. I love their shower curtains, really pretty, and of course their cushions and the darling bread apron on their cute male model (wink). Everything looks so rustic and natural – and coastal but not your typical coastal style – very graphic, modern, clean and tactile. I don’t decorate with navy blue at home, but against white it all looks fresh and bright enough – not depressing and heavy. I also love seeing navy with blush pink, a terrific combination.
Today is the first of May and is a holiday here in Germany, so I’m taking off to clean up my balcony, repot 24 geraniums, prune and re-pot several indoor Dronning Ingrid geraniums, and decorate my little outdoor city oasis. I love creating a green space for myself, and since the balcony is located off of my work studio, I can use my ipad and laptop out there in the summer and still link in through my wifi which is a bonus – so I can work from home, but outside in the sunshine. Are you thinking about your outdoor spaces now too? A patio? Porch?
I have two wintergartens in the back of my apartment facing the backyard and gorgeous pear tree, and the front balcony faces the street, so I have 3 spaces to spruce up for summer in the next few weeks. I’m looking forward to pulling them together – my friend Leslie Shewring will be here soon and we’ll begin shooting for our upcoming book, so I have only a few weeks before she arrives to get the house together for our shoots. I can’t wait because now we can get moving on our project and start to really SHOW you some peeks as we go and tell you more about our book. What I know right now is that it will release Spring ’14 and we’re doing a North American book tour, along with hitting London and Germany and maybe a few other countries over here! In each of our stops, one of us will be teaching or, if we’re together, we’ll both be teaching, so no matter where you find us prepare to have fun and learn and walk away super inspired and happy. Before all of that can even happen though, we have to shoot and write the book! So that’s our mission between now and mid-summer since that our editor has now finished the flat plan and we fed through all of our ideas to her and the publishers, and the book designer and I had a lovely call so she’s on board and ready to go, too. We have to turn the book in October 1 so it can be printed and ready for all of you in the Spring and we plan to take vacation time this summer to be with our families, so we have to get moving! I can’t wait until I can tell you more about the project, reveal the title, etc. You will (hopefully) swoon and feel happy about it. We want our love for this project to beam through the pages, we are putting so much love and effort into it, so let’s see what it looks like in the end – we hope, a really lovely, creative book!
I was going to go on a big North American tour for Decorate Workshop this month with West Elm, but since Leslie is coming and we have tons of work to do for our book, I sadly had to postpone the book tour and just combine it with the tour for book #3 in the Spring so I can see everyone then – you can bring Decorate Workshop to any signing next year for our book and I’ll happily sign and dedicate your copy. I won’t be coming to America this year for Decorate Workshop (big frown), and I know a lot of you were excited about getting together, I was too, but balance is so important to me! You just can’t tax yourself out when you are writing a book – your energy and love needs to really flow into it and that can’t happen when you are burnt out, stressed or rushing the project. Good ideas take time and great ideas take more time so this summer, it is all about our book. But let me tell ya, when I’m back on American soil next Spring with book #3 touring with Leslie, we will see all of you and hit as many cities as possible thanks to Chronicle Books and West Elm and hopefully, we can grab some of you as helpers, guest speakers, co-teachers, etc. so stay tuned for that! We want to include as many bloggers as we can so the events are really inspiring.