A few of my favorite things: Sarah Ahearn
Hello! Thanks for having me Holly! I’m Sarah Ahearn and I’m a mixed media painter from New England. I’m thrilled to be here to share some of my favorite things with you about HOME. I confess, that like Holly, I am smack dab in the middle of a move too! Needless to say, this was a fun (yet tricky, ahem, no internet yet) post to put together. AND, since our current apartment is beautiful, (tin ceilings & hardwood floors) but completely empty except for our new bed and the coffee pot, I’ve done this post all about our old apartment. All of this being said, it was enjoyable to think about my favorite things about HOME when I’m just moving into a new one like Holly and Thorsten. Anyway, we’re off this weekend to get the rest of our stuff which has been in storage for 7 months, and I can’t wait to rediscover it all and set up our new place. that’s the BEST part about moving, isn’t it!? All of this said, I thought I’d share some of my favorite bits from our previous apartment with you while we are in this transition. Here it goes!
For the past 6 years, we’ve lived on the second floor of an old house in Ithaca, New York where my husband was in graduate school. I especially loved the back porch because it felt like you were high up in a tree house when the leaves were out on the trees. I spent many lazy summer days relaxing out on the screened in porch reading and (confession…) napping! Our guests were the lucky ones who got to spend the night in full view of the stars and wake up with the birds and morning sunshine.
One of my favorite things to do when I’m out and about is to look for vintage bargains to display. I scored these paperback books at a library book sale on $1. day, which meant as many books as you can fit in your shopping bag for $1! I loaded up a grocery bag with these colorful paged books and planned to display them horizontally, but when I stacked them up like this i just loved how they looked! The little red star was a surprise bonus! I added the little bird and block and it was just one of those things that worked together. That little bit of whimsy and color made me so happy to see when I walked in the door.
One of my first “vintage finds” was this old typewriter. It works well and I use it all the time in my own mixed media artwork. But, one day I decided to stick these Polaroids on it just to get them out of the way as I was organizing my desk. It was a happy accident and I loved how they looked together! I had just rediscovered my Polaroid camera and took some of my favorite snapshots while on vacation on the Cape Cod.
I love my little collections of inspirations are all over our house. I have to say that these collected little bits are some of my favorite things! I love to find new ways to display my collection of found photos, ticket stubs, drawings, vintage ephemera, buttons, fabric bits and paint chips. I especially like to have my old family photos (that’s me in the green chair & in the strawberry shortcake dress!) out on display for all to see rather than tucked away in an album. In addition to familiar faces, I love seeing long forgotten photographs (look at the two lovely ladies!) of strangers from a day gone by that I’ve found by digging through boxes at antique shops and flea markets.
See the above photo of the paper on the chalkboard? It is one of my absolute favorite finds when I found this old French receipt that was tucked inside a book that i had bought at an antique shop. I typed this Hunderwasser quote on it (with that aforementioned typewriter) and have it hanging by my desk to look at each and everyday. It reminds me that artistic inspiration is everywhere….
My inspirations tend to be bits from my everyday life… in no particular order, here are some examples: smiling dogs, farm fresh tomatoes, vintage children’s books, salty evening air, crinkly old maps, lemon yellow, zinnias & marigolds, tiny coffee cups, dinner parties, heavy round cups of tea, anything having to do with Paris and the idea of living there someday, wanderlust, summer starlight, finally filled up sketchbooks, mexican sunflowers, pink champagne, bring green grass, fading polaroid pictures, warm rain, handwritten alphabets…
And people… my dashing husband who supports and pushes me to be my best everyday. The lovely and amazing blogger friends and artists I’ve met online (such as Holly!), and a handful of artists~ Joseph Cornell, Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, and the poetry of e.e. cummings.
My favorite book: The Day-to-Day Life of Albert Hastings. Susannah Conway had a wonderful interview with this author in her post here: Ink on my fingers.
And music… Feist
As for advice: Just be yourself. Be kind. (Pretty simple thoughts, but extremely important in everyday life…)
A funnier bit of advice: When I was little, one of the things my mom always told us was to be sure to say something nice when we were at someone else’s house for dinner. but, since I was a picky eater, she told me to say “what a pretty tablecloth!” if I could not find anything nice to say about the food. But, if things were really bad all around I could say “so how about those Red Sox?!” : ) moms are funny.
Holly thanks so much for asking me to be a part of the favorite things, and best of luck with your new & exciting adventure! So looking forward to seeing what you have in store for us AND possibly visiting you in Europe when we go on a sabbatic year and live there in a few years!!! (Academia sure has it’s perks!) lots of love, -*sarah
(images: sarah ahearn)
A few of my favorite things: papernstitch
Hello everyone, I’m Brittni from papernstitch. I’m visiting you today to share a few favorite things around my house. I live with my husband and our two animals in a small (less than 1,000 square feet) bungalow in Florida. Because of the size of our home, we try to keep clutter to a minimum by featuring only the things we love most. But there are still plenty of little trinkets and nooks in our house that inspire me everyday.
One thing in particular that I absolutely adore is my vintage typewriter. It’s my favorite color, light blue, and in great working condition. So, whenever I have something really important to say (and my computer simply won’t do), I spend a little time in this writing corner collecting my thoughts.
I feel it’s important to surround yourself with things you love, and being an artist myself, the thing I love most is art. I really enjoy collecting pieces from other artists, whether it be photographs, paintings, drawings, or even prints. This wall is in my home office, where I spend most of my time, so I am able to stare at some of the pieces I love most everyday. I decided to create a cluster that was more color focused here, and mixed an Ashley G postcard with a Selflesh mixed-media drawing and a local artist’s photograph. The photo is by an old friend of mine’s brother, who I have lost touch with. But every time I look at it, I am reminded of that time in my life, and it brings back a warm feeling inside.
Since I spend much of my time sitting at a desk, its only natural that one of my favorite things is an office accessory. It’s my antique, cork pencil holder that I use for storing odds and ins, and one of my most prized possessions: a picture of my grandmother. Whenever I visit her and my grandfather in California, I raid their photo albums for pictures I can bring home and display. This picture was taken when my grandma was my age, so it’s extra special. I love her hair!
After a long day, this hand-cut chihuahua woodblock print always brings a smile to my face. I picked it up at an art opening a couple of years ago, and it greets visitors as they walk in our front door. It has certainly become a conversation piece amongst friends.
And finally, my last favorite thing: the third shelf of our bookcase, which houses no books at all. Just a couple more family photos, a Viceroy automatic super 8, and my old Polaroid land camera.
Obviously, my affinity for vintage pieces has, in part, guided the way I decorate my home; but I am also influenced and inspired by the combination of clean, modern lines and more organic shapes and forms. Individually, I am inspired by many things… patterns and repetition in nature, bold color, and mid-century design to name a few. Which, I think, is reflected in my home.
To wrap up my favorite things, I thought I would share something that I try to live by when searching for art for my home, since it is something that I am so passionate about. Often when people are just starting to buy artwork, it can be intimidating. I remember when I bought my first “real” piece of art, I was unsure…Where do I start? What should I buy? Buy what you love. It doesn’t matter if it’s an original or a print, a well-known artist or someone you have just discovered, paper or canvas, small or large. Just buy what you love and you can never go wrong. I have heard this so many times, and it couldn’t be more true. –Brittni
(images from papernstitch)
A few of my favorite things: Sparkling Ink
I’m Tiina from the Sparkling Ink blog, and I’m so happy to write a guest post for Holly while she’s moving! I’m a food and home editor living in Finland, and I share my favorite finds from magazines in my blog. I write about my projects and ideas in entertaining, cooking and home – many influenced by both of my home cultures, Scandinavian and American.
I wanted to share a piece of my summer paradise with you all. I like to escape the city life to the loveliest little cottage by the lake. A weekend at the cottage is only for simple things we love like cooking, picking berries, swimming, reading in the sun, going to the sauna and spending time with family and friends.
A memory that pops first in my head from the cottage is gathering chairs at the dock and having lemonade. My favorite touch for a tray of classic lemonade is pansy ice cubes. This lemonade blooms!
Living a creative life and being able to do things I love, became important to me a few years ago. I decided to go for my dreams of having a career in media, magazine and online editing. I get courage and inspiration from people who have done what they have dreamed of, and work in a field that they have a passion for. I have met so many strong women who have chosen to do things they love. I look back and admire my writing teacher from Toronto who is passionate about telling stories and hasn’t let anyone stop her. I take example from a food editor friend of mine who can see life outside of the box with no limits. I love to hear life stories told by people who have done things in life “at the wrong age”, “at the wrong time”, “in the wrong place” and found happiness. I want to be a person in 30 years who says that age is only a number!
Holly asked the bloggers of this August guest series to talk about inspiration. I work with inspiration in my editing work and with my blog, so it is difficult sometimes to be able to come up with new ideas and feel creative. I think inspiration happens especially when it’s shared. And that’s what blogs are all about; sharing thoughts, ideas, finds and inspiration. Food is my passion. I get food inspiration from blogs, magazines, cookbooks and cooking shows, but also from everything around me, restaurants, friends and traveling. Everyone has a favorite recipe and story behind it – remember to share them! On vacation, I love to spend time exploring the pantry testing new things. Allowing yourself time to try things outside of “the recipe” is also good in other places too, not just in the kitchen.
“Don’t spend your life watching other people live it” is my favorite quote and guideline in life. We all see people who inspire us, and give us that little spark. The best thing is to act on it, and do the things you admire in other people. Most of all, it’s good to remember to be proud of those leaps of faith we have made!
Thank you Holly for inviting me over. It was fun! You are all warmly welcome to visit my place of inspiration and dreaming, Sparkling Ink. I would love to hear from you! –Tiina
(images: sparkling ink)
A few of my favorite things: Bodie and Fou
Bonjour… I’m Karine Konh, co-founder of chic online boutique BODIE and FOU and writer of the Bodie and Fou Blog. I’m visiting as part of decor8’s August guests series “A few of my favorite things” while Holly is moving to Europe. When I started working on this I never expected the result to be so personal, but I guess if you really spend some time thinking about the things that you love the most at home, then it is bound to become very personal. So this is it — I hope you enjoy it!
Some of my favorite things at home…
1. I like this photo a lot because it’s representative of all the things I love – my family, B&W photography and family portraits, colourful toys, crosses, vintage objects and inspiring books about interiors and design. So here is a little tour clockwise from the top left. The large B&W photo is a portrait of French singer/actress/fashion icon & Johnny Depp’s wife Vanessa Paradis, which I got when I was working at Universal Music International; a B&W photo of my sister Elodie, which I took when she was 15 years old. I bought myself the orange robot in Lille (north of France) because its shape and colour cheered me up and I thought it would be perfect to sit on my desk and send me good vibes each day. Next is a photo of my daughter Mila taken at the beach near our holiday home in France when she was two; beside this, are 3 orange notebooks which I initially bought for her, but which never fulfilled their original purpose because they just look perfect where they are! There are also four books from Paumes, the Japanese Publishing house which are the most inexpensive and inspiring interior books (we will have them on our website soon). Below these is a portrait a friend of mine did for me 20 years ago, a vintage French box of sweets I bought at Petersham Nurseries in London because I loved the colour; photos of Mila, my partner, Steve, and I, and a bunch of crosses I hung together – I have a thing for crosses, especially if they are very simple. Finally, in the apple crate at the bottom (the one you can’t see), I’ve stored interiors books.
2. This is a plaster head that my mum bought for my bedroom when I was 16 or so and which now sits on top of the shelves in Mila’s bedroom (out of reach of little hands). I’ve always thought it was beautiful and when I looked at the things my mum bought me when I was young, I realized that she had fantastic taste. Like most teens, I had a troublesome relationship with my mum but now we are extremely close and I can talk about everything with her. Now that I’m older and wiser & a mother myself, I realize that my mum would have fought like a tiger for us if she had to. It saddens me when I hear that people are not close to their family or siblings because, like anything, it takes work, understanding and forgiveness. My parents do things that still frustrate me and I know I drive them nuts when I go back to France with thousands of DIY projects in my head but I’ve learnt to accept that as parents you only do your best, nothing is written in stone and really you learn as you go along. I wouldn’t change any of the deliciously passionate, often funny and sometimes heated conversations we have when we are all together in France.
3. This is a photo of my dad (the one with the ball), taken by a professional journalist. My dad was a rugby hero in South West France in the 70s. I remember going back to school on Mondays after he had played on Sundays and all my friends would congratulate me on his game. I have another photo of him tackling the ball, which won the photographer the Pernod Ricard Prize for the best sports photo in 1971. My father still lives and breathes rugby. We’ve all learnt to switch off when he tells the same story over and over, but that doesn’t seem to bother him. He is an incredibly passionate person, especially where human rights are concerned. He is very much into the French ‘Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite’ and has no fear about speaking his mind even if he is going to upset people. He doesn’t really do the ‘politically correct’ thing and in fact I think he just enjoys provoking people. He used to enjoy challenging me about some of my own life decisions and I would react to it straight away, but then I eventually found out that he would tell other people how proud he was of what I had achieved, so now I just agree with him….
This is Mila!
4. These are Mila’s first shoes, I’ve also kept her first pink converse and anything small and cute she was wearing when she was a baby. I love her to bits. She is my first child and I hope that as she grows up, our relationship deepens and that she becomes a wonderful, balanced, healthy and happy young woman. She is only 4 and already bilingual which amazes me. She is very social and smart and always amuses me. She will hide things that she has broken at the bottom of her basket of toys where I will find them eventually or tell me to skype my grandmother who is 90 years old! She is in France at the moment on holidays with her 5 year old cousin Lily and neither of them are missing us! Each time I call, she talks for about 10 min, then tell me to count to 3 and ‘un, deux, trois’ she puts the phone down… no tears…job done!
5. These shelves are in Mila’s bedroom. I found them when we were relocating BODIE and FOU from our Bristol warehouse to London. It’s a mail sorting shelf unit and it fits perfectly in her bedroom. It looks a bit messy but it’s in fact super organised. At the bottom, there are Mila’s books and games. Then in the middle anything to do crafts: her pens, playdo, chalks, pearls and her kitchenware. The two top shelves are mine where I store notebooks & sculptures I did a few years ago or things Mila broke that I need to fix/glue. The family’s straw hats when we hang out on our roof terrace, a vintage globe I bought in London’s Bricklane, photo albums, interiors books & my collection of retro cars. Her bedroom is white with gorgeous, distressed white floorboards, white walls and the best natural light so these shelves are where colours, emotions & loving things go. It’s like a mood board in 3D!
This is a close up from things on these shelves I really like… A B&W photo of Mila at the beach in France (where obviously the water was far too cold for her), a wedding thank you card from my friend Mandy (Mila was her flower girl). I bought the plaster letters from a shop called Shelf in Bricklane to make up Steve and my nicknames. He is Vert (for Vertigo, a nickname I gave him after reading Paul Auster’s book) and I’m Fou (well I also need to fix the F there). Fou means mad in French and this was what Steve called me when we first met. Four years ago when Elodie & I were looking for a brand name for our chic online boutique, we decided very quickly that BODIE (which is what we’ve called Elodie since she was little) and FOU was perfect and personal. Last but not least, the 3 little feet are plastercasts that Steve made of Mila’s foot when she was a baby.
The things that inspire me…. are mostly visual things. I have the memory of a goldfish for mundane things, phone numbers or what I did 3 days ago but I’m a sponge when it comes to interiors, photography, design and typography. I need to be visually inspired and stimulated so I like going to places that have something to them like Story Deli in Bricklane, Daylesford Organic farm in the Cotswolds or concept store Merci in Paris and of course NYC, Amsterdam, basically anywhere I can go, discover new things and open my eyes. And it’s really not about expensive designer spaces or pieces. I need places that are going to make me feel something inside, something that I want to take with me and re-create in my personal life and sometimes it’s just a beautiful and inspiring way of displaying some objects, a decorative idea and other times, it is an emotion, it’s something that I want to become as an individual, as a mother to Mila, as a partner and as a woman. I cut out magazines a lot to keep my favourite shots, styling, interiors, page layout or font at hand and I take a lot of photos, mostly of my family because getting inspiration is also surrounding yourself with people you love.
Blogging and setting up my own interior shop have also been a tremendous source of inspiration and widely opened up my tastes. I think blogging nowadays is a huge haven of inspiration and creativity. I have come across so many stunning designs and talented designers from all over the world, which I may have never heard of if I was just reading interior magazines. And the people who inspire me the most in no specific order are: my sister Elodie – I can’t describe well enough how much I love her – her style, her outlook on life, her personality and how happy and proud it makes me that we have made our dream come true with BODIE and FOU. Steve the father of my little girl Mila and my soulmate but also the necessary pain in the bum who will tell me what to do, mainly to achieve balance between the business & our family! My mum for making my childhood full of holidays at the beach, flea markets and sewing, and for being liberal enough to let me do my own things and never pressurizing me into anything.
My design hero is French interior designer Jacqueline Morabito who always blends beautifully, contemporary interiors and furniture with vintage and antique pieces. Finally, although I’m not a star-truck person, my heart will always belong to Vanessa Paradis and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Two beautiful, talented French women that got it right from an early age, and are living their public lives on their terms and continuing to work with amazingly talented photographers, designers and musicians.
The favorite advice I’ve heard….. Well because of my ‘selective/deficient’ memory, I can’t remember anything someone would have told me, but the things that worked for me are ‘never give up on something you believe in because friends/family don’t share your vision’ and also ‘don’t spend your time checking out the competition and freaking out’ – focus on your thing, your vision of what you want your business to be about and if you put your heart into it, people will follow. Finally, ‘be patient’. I’m not but I wish I had been the first two years of setting up our business because I would have probably enjoyed the journey as much as I love it now! –Karine
(images: karine kong)