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My Happy Place (on Tumblr via Instagram)

Hello everyone and happy Monday to you! I’m not so keen on Mondays but I thought to inspire myself this morning that I would drink a few cups of Mate tea for energy and then snap some photos around my home and work studio using the Instagram app on my iPhone to push me in a positive direction. Taking a few photos never ceases to get me going — and Instagram makes it so easy that I’m using it more and more to capture stills of my life to not only share with others looking for inspiration but to, at times, inspire ME and to serve as motivation. Have you ever tried it? For me, it really works! Here are some views from my morning and a few snaps from my weekend.

Blogged today on decor8

If you want to follow me on Instagram (or Followgram on the web), you can simply look for ‘decor8′ and connect with me via the app OR if you don’t use Instagram that’s fine too because I post some of my better photos over on my Tumblr site, Happy Place. I’m not a big fan of Tumblr for posting others’ photos because rarely can you track the original source, but I made a pact with myself that if I only use it to share my Instagram photos, ones I’ve taken myself, that I could use it with a clear conscience.

I hope that you had a really nice weekend. I did some decor8-related work, went to an outdoor fair, walked for miles, caught up on some reading, had a friend over, watched a film and a few episodes of SMASH (oh my gosh the dreamy Brit!) cooked, bought a few bunches of flowers and did some work around the house. It was relaxing  – no stress – this is my motto for the weekend because we need a break don’t we?

What did you do this weekend? How do you inspire yourself on Monday mornings? I often wonder how you motivate yourself because sometimes it’s just so hard, isn’t it? Any creative routines or things in general that you do to motivate yourself to get your rear into gear??? :)

(images: holly becker)

Posted in inspiration on April 30, 2012

Dreamy Dyes & Dietlind Wolf

With Easter on the horizon, these egg dyeing ideas seemed appropriate to post today, especially with Spring in the air and because these are not your typical ways to use dye for Easter. As a side point, I was so thrilled to learn yesterday that I’ll soon be having lunch with the Dietlind Wolf, as arranged behind-the-scenes by a good friend of mine here in Germany so I was taken by surprise and I can’t wait. I’ve been a fan of this German stylist for ages so to meet her soon in person makes my heart leap. We’ve been in contact for awhile now but never met in person so this will be an absolutely lovely moment in time for me. Plus, I hope to convince her to work with me on a project here in Germany so I’ll let you know of my idea very soon!

Egg dye inspiration

In thinking about delightful Dietlind today, I found these gorgeous images from her blog that appear in the April issue of German interiors magazine, Schoener Wohnen. Aren’t these incredibly inspirational? She is responsible for the concept and styling while the photography was done by the great Julia Hoersch.

Egg dye inspiration

Egg dye inspiration

Egg dye inspiration

Egg dye inspiration

I love that Dietlind explored the idea of dyeing Easter eggs and thought to not stop with only the eggs but to dye the dinnerware and tablecloth as well to give the table a more watercolor-y look, almost like a spring dress off of a Parisian runway. This is completely brilliant!

(photographer: Julia Hoersch)

Posted in food, inspiration on March 22, 2012

Freshly Picked Paper Flowers

It is no secret that I love the things that springtime brings… From cheery blooms to blades of fresh grass, plants on the balcony, flowering branches in a vase — all of these things inspire me endlessly. I passed by blossoming magnolia in a flower shop yesterday and my heart did flip flops as I was reminded of my childhood in South Carolina and how much I anticipated the bloom of the magnolias each Spring during my birthday (I was born on March 21 – tomorrow!). I enjoy bringing nature into the home and since today is the first day of Spring for this year at least, it’s a nice time to talk about flowers isn’t it?

Paper Flowers by Helen Frances

In some parts of the world, a freshly picked daffodil from your garden won’t be a reality for some time. You may (like me) be turning to your favorite flower shop for budding branches and blossoming blooms. There are other options though of the paper kind that perhaps you’ve not given much consideration to. In fact, I encourage you to play with flowers that are fresh and those that are faux – even mix them in your vases, and see what you can come up with that is creative and as fresh as springtime.

Paper Flowers by Helen Frances

Granted, you may find the silk variety a bit ‘grandma’ but have you considered faux outside of silk, namely paper flowers? Whether they be crepe, tissue, scrap, wrapping, vintage or even wallpaper leftovers… you can make your own gorgeous flowers using paper quite easily. There are plenty of kits in craft stores for this with pre-cut blooms or you can try your hand at the myriads of tutorials on sites like Martha Stewart, for instance. There’s a great coffee filter flower how-to currently on their crafting blog that could easily be translated into some kind of fun tabletop arrangement if you’d like.

Paper Flowers by Helen Frances

Paper Flowers by Helen Frances

Paper Flowers by Helen Frances

Another option, especially if you are pressed for time or lack patience altogether to fuss with flower making, is to buy paper blooms pre-made. This is where Helen Frances, illustrator and paper artist for Frances & Francis in London, can help you. She just launched several new paper bouquets in her Etsy shop made of paper mixed with real twigs and branches for the stems. I think they are beautiful and adore that they can be reused, repurposed and can last for years if you need them too. Sure, they may not provide a fresh fragrance to the air, but that’s what room spray or those wonderful Diptyque candles from Paris come in, right? :)

Gorgeous and so inspiring, right!?

(images: Helen Frances)

Posted in inspiration on March 20, 2012

Mood Board Books To Inspire

Hello friends! I’m in one of those writing moods today where words just bubble forth like some kind of crazy fountain! It’s a great mood to be in because now I’m home and no longer traveling so I CAN write on decor8 regularly again and it feels wonderful. I always miss blogging and the practice of writing daily when I’m on the road, writing is total freedom for me. Another freedom, or shall I say creative release (sounds weird but it really is), is when I pull together things visually into handmade books. I’ve been doing this for ages, since I was a little curious kid, and it started by pulling pages from teen magazines and Highlights magazine then collecting them into photo albums with those giant clear pages… You know the ones that you peel to stick in your pages on that strange adhesive so when you lay stuff on it the paper sorta sticks, then you press the clear page on top. Yeah, those old school albums, woot!

Mood board books

I filled those things with inspirations from magazine pages to stickers, letters from penpals and labels from things that I liked. I also used blank journals and diaries or handmade books that I made by stapling together copy paper with a stapler to form a gutter down the middle. I started doing those in the late 1970′s when I was maybe 6 years old and I continued making them my entire life – writing in some, sticking things in others – I had sticker books, inspiration books, books I wrote and illustrated with my own stories, and diaries filled with secrets and wishes and how I imagined my “adult” life to be — which usually involved becoming an author, marrying a cute boy, having a baby and living in another country in a really nice house.

Well… Little me ended up wanting the same goals as I grew older and I often wonder at times if that clarity came through the consistent exercise of capturing my imagination and dreams into something more tangible like the books that I made over the years? I believe that the more you either write down or visually share with yourself and/or others, the more you capture your imagination in a sense and freeze it,  perhaps it helps put you on your way to gaining a bit more clarity as you make your way through life. Interesting to ponder, right?

Mood board books This spread was inspired by a home we shot in the English countryside recently. I came home and pulled this together using images that felt like the home I had worked in in the same color palette.

I almost want to challenge you to test this theory on your own life and to see if, after a year of consistently maintaining private journals and books, whether or not you start to gain a better sense of self. We’re constantly evolving so there is never an end point to all of this since we’ll be growing as long as we live (or at least lets make that our goal!) but the act of conscious “slow” living vs. hectic “speed” living IS something we really want to do, at least that’s what I find most attractive these days as I see the hectic path is ultimately reallyyyyyyy boring and makes time go by much to quickly.

I’m wondering now if all of this tapping in and recording our inspirations, goals, heartaches, lessons learned, ideas, etc. is what enhances the experience of living in a way. What do you think?

Mood board books This is a capture of fabrics and ribbons that I collected while in London for a project from various stores like Liberty and VV Rouleaux. I wanted to pull them all together in one place because now I’ll always remember them in case I want to work from this palette in the future on another project.

I thought to go along with my words that I’d share a few images that I took with my iPhone today of these mood board pages that I made in a book over the past six weeks – they show some of the impressions that I’ve had on the road while I’ve been working on my next book. I didn’t feel like writing my impressions from each trip in a diary because I have to write so much as it is INSIDE of the actual book and on this blog that the thought of writing a diary during this time made me a bit tense. I still, however, wanted to keep track of my inspirations along the way so I thought to do it in a visual way instead. Plus, it ended up inspiring me through a bit of a creative challenge. This book gave me a chance to record things with a glue stick and a few minutes of my time. I shared this with our Blogging Your Way Road Trip students recently in New York and they seemed to be very inspired by it. I hope you are too.

Mood board books This was pulled together based on the same home in the English countryside that had inspired me so, so much. I used found items, washi tape, paint swatches, buttons, clips, etc. to pull together a paper that reflected the mood of that home.

Creating visual records can be very inspiring while you’re doing them but also to look back on them, for me at least, I inspires me all over again. For instance from this book I am able to recall the exact things that struck a chord with me on certain trips — seeing them again gave me some new ideas for the future.

Remember… Mood boards don’t have to be on actual boards on your wall. As I taught last year in the series of Mood Board Workshops in the US and London for Anthropologie, mood boards can be on a wall, in a book, in a manilla folder, in a mini mood board book (aka portable photo album with clear sleeves) or an inspiration wire which is horizontal and hung across a wall, window or above a sofa or bed – anywhere that you want really – where you can tack on what catches your eye at the moment. Visual recordings like this can be enlightening, especially as you begin to see patterns in your thinking, spot a theme or discover new ideas.

Mood board books This is a spread that I created using tears and bits that I’ve been collecting in my desk drawer for several months. I noticed everything I had collected there fit together in a strange way so I decided to put them in the book so that I could refer to this later. I love seeing how gray, cream, goldenrod, industrial elements, strong graphics (like numbers, silhouettes and maps), polka dots and a bit of olive green can work with a touch of a floral fabric that is a bit country. Again, it’s all about capturing moments and collecting them someplace outside of our own heads (or a desk drawer).

What I love about the books that I’ve been creating at home since I was a kid is that, unlike a board or string or something that’s a bit decorative and public in your home that others potentially see, you don’t have to edit out anything or hold back in your books. It’s also different from a blog or Pinterest because your book can be private and a total immersion into self. Often when you compose mood boards at home or online you tend to hold back for some reason whereas a book that you can store can be less about sharing with others and more about sharing with yourself, personal growth, learning and saving to look back on for years to come. You can include themes that may be too embarrassing to share publicly or explore topics that you may feel are too private to pass around within your online social network. It’s a very nice way to bookmark your life visually and I love it.

Mood board books This was created when I got back from Paris a few weeks ago. Some visuals that reflected how I saw Paris…

I hope this post today inspired you somehow to be a bit more active when it comes to recording your thoughts in a more visual, organized but still fun and freestyle way. Always take time to absorb your surroundings, then collect them into something tangible so that your inspiration can be tapped in to during those “creative rut” periods…

What do you think of this idea to collect visual notes into small books at home? Do you do make these too? If so, post them on your blog and share the link below if you’d like so we can see them!

(images: holly becker for decor8)

Posted in inspiration, travel on March 19, 2012

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