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Flow Spring Book

There is a Dutch magazine called Flow that I really love, though I cannot understand a word of it. They recently introduced an English version (order here) and I ordered it and wow, that lifted a huge veil! Did you know that Flow also has seasonal books, too?

gift2Flow Book

I didn’t either until December when I taught a blogging workshop at my home and Dutch student, Louise, gave one to another student as a present. Yes, we did a gift exchange. I never saw it done before at a blogger event, but the idea was for each blogger to bring a gift – something from their country that they really love – so that when they arrive at the workshop and were introduced to their partner-in-crime for the weekend (we paired up teams), they both could exchange gifts. The bloggers, as a result, loved the idea soooo much! And I loved it because I could watch everyone unwrapping and saying ahhhhhh a lot! One gift struck me as so amazing that blogger, Louise, asked if I wanted a copy too and I said YES YES ohhh YES and a month later, I paid her and it was in my mailbox.

Flow Book

Flow Book

Flow Book

Flow Book

Now, with the spring edition out, Louise asked me if I wanted the latest copy and I was so happy she offered, so I bought another copy from her. I tell ya, it’s magic when there are people so nice as to do things like this. Today, the spring Flow book arrived and though it’s in Dutch (boo hoo), I still love looking at it. The layouts, the colors, the freebies (cards and planners and posters, oh my!), it’s all so inspirational and nice. I wish it were available in English – I’d be totally in love. But for now, I love it as it is – so thank you Louise and thank you Flow for creating something so inspirational in print. When I see stuff like this I know for a fact that print is here to stay as long as publishers GET CREATIVE!

Flow Book

And don’t you love how Louise wrapped it in brown paper, gift wrap paper and washi tape? So pretty – thank you Louise!

mood board

Here are the freebies on my pinboard – I wanted to show you what everything looked like. There is a poster, 5 postcards and a weekly planner. I also added Louise’s pretty wrapping paper. Love!

Are you a Flow fan?

(images: holly becker for decor8)

Posted in Books + Magazines on April 02, 2013

German Wedding Book

It’s wedding season, think spring! Maybe if we all wish for it hard enough it will appear because today we got more snow!? So I decided to pull out this wedding book for a little inspiration and to practice my German as I try to make sense of it all. I am in total wedding mode recently, especially with the release of a new magazine I just discovered (more about that in the next post) and now, this super girly German wedding book, Einfach heiraten! just published here in Germany and it is as pretty as it is practical and full of DIY ideas and advice. Here is a peek below!

German wedding book by my friend

I have several beautiful wedding books by other great bloggers on my desk, but I never cover wedding books on decor8 (especially in a foreign language) but because Steffi is my friend, I made an exception because I found it so thoughtfully done and I remember all of the work Steffi put into it while she was writing, writing, writing! On one occasion, I was with my friend Charlotte in Hamburg having a meeting and decided to introduce her to Steffi so we met up and she came looking like her mind was in the clouds. She had that typical author’s glaze, like you just knew the poor lady was up until the wee hours perfecting her recipe – this book! It’s a hard job to write but even more, to get your publishers to get on board with your vision and to respect your viewpoint.

I haven’t asked Steffi about that process but from the looks of this book, it really looks like the work I remember her doing during her days at Brigitte magazine, one of Germany’s top lifestyle magazines for women. I think the book really reflects her love for magazines because it feels very magazine-like. Whenever I meet with my publishers, they always tell me that I have a very magazine approach to books and I often felt really bad about that because I want to have a “book” approach but I always go back to a magazine approach. Steffi’s book goes beyond wedding tips and ideas (I am already married after all) so I don’t need a wedding how-t0, but as I flipped through it my point became clear to me all over again that bringing a magazine approach to books does really work. My first book, Decorate, was written with the idea of making it feel more like a magazine with lively layouts and bites of info and all of the quotes that we used, and the same with my second book, which was also part workbook. Steffi and I are on the same page with this – books that feel more interactive and fresh work!

More and more, I really believe that when it comes to how readers interact with printed publications is how they interact online –  they want more bite-sized chunks of text around images, everything should be laid out really beautifully with main points highlighted and feature in-depth expert advice combined with a more personal feeling… Not like some big shot author sitting there telling you what to do in 50 million words, but a chatty knowledgable friend, guiding you as to what steps to take next. It’s so important to stick to your vision and plow forward and I’m glad to see that Steffi did this.

WeddinGerman wedding book by my friendg book by my friend

German wedding book by my friend

German wedding book by my friend

I really like the outcome of Steffi’s ideas – but I must say that photo directly above melted my heart. I really loved it so I had to show you. I found it to be so relaxed and inviting.

Seeing the finished product, this book, was a joy for me. I pre-ordered it on Amazon last year the second that it was available! When it arrived, I felt proud because it’s packed with lots of great things that I know brides, especially in Germany, really need to know. While there are tons of wedding books in America loaded with beautiful visuals and amazing ideas, we just don’t have German authors writing incredible wedding books that feel current. For this market, this book REALLY stands out.

SO readers, let me ask you, what do you look for in books these days? What makes you buy them? 

(images: Holly Becker for decor8)

Posted in Books + Magazines on March 29, 2013

Pastel Pretty Style Book

I want to throw the spotlight on Selina Lake and the launch of her colorful new book, Pretty Pastel Style, that just released in the UK – a big congratulations to you, Selina! The book was written by Joanna Simmons (I think, if I’m not mistaken, Joanna writes all of Selina’s books) with photography by Catherine Gratwicke.

Pastel Pretty Style Book

The photography in this book is beautiful. I have a copy that I bought on Amazon and it’s like one big cotton candy pastel playground – really sweet and very inspirational and right on trend with the whole pastel thing we see going on all over the place. It’s also perfect for Easter.

Pastel Pretty Style Book

Pastel Pretty Style Book

Pastel Pretty Style Book

Pastel Pretty Style Book

Above are some of her photos, one is from the book and the others were taken at her launch party in London last Friday and then there is a photo she styled for Prima Magazine. You can see a ton more on her blog, just beautiful and so super girly! Who doesn’t love roses?

Selina’s always has pretty themed books and I like seeing what she comes up with and how she’ll develop her next theme. Good luck with your current book Selina and the many more that I’m sure will follow!

(images: selina lake)

Posted in Books + Magazines on March 27, 2013

Big News & Secrets of Successful Collaborations

Let’s talk about some big news I have and then, some tips on how to collaborate with others successfully. First, I’m working on book #3 with Chronicle Books and Jacqui Small Publishing! This time, I’m teaming up with my friend, stylist and photographer Leslie Shewring (and Color Me Pretty columnist), and together we’re hoping to create a book that will blow your creative mind! ha! That’s the goal anyway. We have a lot ahead of us, but we’re determined to get this book finished in October so it will have a Spring 2014 release.

BIG NEWS on my blog today!

Leslie and I have been discussing a book collaboration for a few years now but only recently found the time and energy to devote to making our dream a reality. After getting the book deal, we had the grueling contract stuff to deal with but now that we’re over the hump, we can work on the fun part – pulling together our ideas, scout and organize shoot locations, call in our props and other necessary bits.

Of course, no project comes without a ton of challenge. For one, we have physical distance to deal with – she lives on Vancouver island and I’m wayyyy over here in northern Germany and then, the time zone difference (9 hours apart!), so we will need to stay pretty organized to get through the loads of work ahead!

Now that I’ve shared my big news, let’s talk about collaborations  When it comes to partnering with others I thought I’d give you some helpful tips because lots of people ask me about how I go about working with others. Ready?

1. Trust your gut. If it feels like a MAYBE it is a no. If it feels like a NO, it is no. If it feels like a positive YES, proceed ahead.

2. If someone shows signs of being a poor communicator, beware! If you’ve hired them to work for you and they don’t reply to phone calls, emails or text messages, something is up – if you have opened up your business to someone else and trust them to take care of it, and they don’t, this can create some huge tension. You have to be selective about who you team up with, don’t take the red flags lightly.

3. If your potential partner wants to know all of your ideas before you have agreed to working together, beware. You should have a non-compete, non-disclosure contract between you before you reveal all of the details on any project or before you begin working together. I’m only working this way going forward and advise you to do the same.

4. Draw up a contract with the help of an attorney so that all parties know what is expected along with due dates. Then no one can say they didn’t know or were misinformed. If you have it in writing, and they’ve signed it, they were informed.

5. One major reason why I wanted to do a book with Leslie is because I love working with her. You really should feel good about the people that you work with. They should lift you higher because then your work will be elevated as well. You’ll work harder and put in all of your heart if you’re working in a supportive environment – at least that is how I’ve come to learn how women work best.

6. Leave your ego at the front door. You cannot work with others who allow ego to get in the way of producing the best work. No ego. The work needs to be separate from your emotion.

7. If you have hired someone or are managing a project and you’ve asked others to contribute, watch how well they follow your instruction. If you tell them what you need and they deliver something else, that’s a bad sign. If you have specific points that you’re hired them to deliver on and they go off and do their own thing and return with that instead, it can cause huge problems and tension. When you freelance for anyone, a magazine, a small business, etc. you have to listen to your “boss”, the person who is paying you for the work. Of course, you can give them creative ideas and solutions but ultimately they call the shots. This also has to do with ego. Sometimes people won’t listen because their ego gets in the way. Other times, they are very insecure about delivering what you’ve asked them to do because it falls outside of their comfort zone so they decide to deliver what is comfortable for them.

8. With Leslie I’ve noticed that we also really value and understand the importance of regular communication on the job. When we run into something challenging, we discuss it right away and respect even our differences in opinion because lots of times those differences push us out of stagnent thinking patterns into fresh new waters. Creating magic with someone can only happen if both are communicating honestly and openly.

9. Have a sense of humor. I also like that when I screw something up, Leslie laughs at me or if she does something that doesn’t quite work, we sorta of know at the same time and look at each other and burst into laughter. That’s the magic I’m talking about. It’s beautiful when you work with people who can step outside of their ego and look at their own work as a separate entity and be objective about it. We also know how to have fun on shoots – also important to me because I need FUN to feel creative. If the mood becomes too serious on a shoot, I can’t be creative, my brain just shuts down.

10. When issues arise, talk about them. These days most of us are talking through email and text messages. It’s best to talk via email or the phone if you can. Better yet, in person face-to-face. Everyone makes mistakes. Be willing to forgive, forget and move past them. Also allow for some problems to arise because it’s only human to have slip ups. On the other hand, if you keep reaching out to someone and they refuse to handle issues responsively, move on. There are far too many talented and creative people in the world to work with you – you don’t need to devote time and energy on those who don’t want to be happy and work with you in a positive and productive way.

I hope my collaboration tips have helped you! Do you have any of your own?

I can’t wait to tell you more in the coming months but I’m very happy and hope you are excited too. Another nice thing that happened to be recently is that my work and tips have been featured on Oprah.com - Here are two that already ran, with more on the way!

6 Decorating Mistakes—and How to Avoid Them
12 Ways to Enliven Your Home with Green

It’s so exciting to be part of Oprah.com sharing my decorating advice, a big honor!

Have a nice day! I’ll be back later on with a yummy cookie recipe that Jillian baked up for you for her March column. See you soon.

(image: leslie shewring)

Posted in Books + Magazines on March 07, 2013

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