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Inspiration

Inspiration

Explored & Liked

December 12, 2011

Hello and happy Monday to you, though it’s hard to wish anyone a happy Monday isn’t it?! It’s not the same as saying Happy Friday, but let’s pretend for a moment that it is. :) How are you doing? I’ve been well, feeling a little better though I’m still a bit groggy and achy from last week. I did something surprisingly inspirational yesterday though – I went to our local zoo on the edge of our forest. It’s such a beautiful space, the kind where you don’t leave depressed worrying about the health of the beautiful animals. It’s a surprisingly lovely place to visit, especially during the winter.

Explored & Liked

Our zoo is filled with so much to see and do from ice skating and a Christmas market to handmade donuts to munch on, an ice rink for skating, gorgeous snow owls, sledding and tubing slides for the kids, various themed areas (Australia, Yukon Bay, India, Africa, etc.) that aren’t cheesy but rather very natural and sweet. I really liked the area where you could go in and walk around with the kangaroos – nothing between you and them – it felt so nice to do that. I also enjoyed watching the little kids react to the various animals — and how people’s dogs reacted to the animals — one sheepdog was really taken in by the Timber wolf area – he was wagging his tale excitedly and seemed keen on jumping straight in! I think it’s great that you can bring your dog (leashed of course) to the zoo. They even have to pay for their own ticket, ha ha! I must confess that I am not a zoo person, meaning I once hated to go almost as much as the circus since most depress me but our zoo is the first one that makes me happy to see animals being cared for, protected and shared with others for educational purposes without sacrificing the comfort of the animals. From my visit, I fell in love with the many patterns on animals that I saw, the tones of blue from the sky to the water – especially navy paired with worn, bleached wood and I found the ice skating rink and outdoor food carts a lovely touch for winter along with the twinkle lights and general peaceful spirit in the air. Funny to admit that I found so much inspiration at the zoo, but I did.

Explored & Liked

Another place that I explored locally this weekend was the big weihnachtsmarkt downtown. Germans really do this season right, it’s incredible how many festivals are taking place in this country and the markets are brilliant and packed. There’s nothing like it! It was a color-filled explosion with candied apples, chocolate-covered bananas, nutella crepes and candy canes bursting from carts everywhere along with everything from bratwurst to smoked salmon. We also have a Finnish market and a Medieval market downtown too, so there are lots of yummy things to eat and drink and to see and buy. Between the weihnachtsmarkt, the Asian grocery store that I love to shop in and the flea market along the river… I had plenty to occupy my Saturday.

Explored & Liked

I also explored my cookbook collection a little and played around a bit with the shelves in the kitchen. I tinkered around a bit — placing all of my washi tape into a single box in my studio drawer instead of having them here and there throughout the house. It’s the little things that make us happy, and for me organization is such a little thing but yet also a very big thing if you know what I mean. Without organization so much suffers, at least in my world. I also popped some berries into a ceramic vase that I found on sale and liked at Impressionen (here) and made some cream and silver puffs to display in my home. It’s a nice time of the year to nest and craft, cook and bake, organize and chill out. I did a lot of chilling out too – I watched several films and ordered some new music (Snow Patrol, Coldplay and Glasperlenspiel). Yes, I still buy CDs. I know, I know…

Explored & Liked

Finally, I simply watered my plants, changed the water of my many flower arrangements and dusted a bit – sounds boring but I like tending to things in my home with my favorite tunes on. I like my warm and cozy home in the winter, it makes me happy.

What did you explore and like this weekend?

(photos: holly becker, taken with the instagram app for the iPhone.)

 

 

Inspiration

Gift Wrapping Ideas

November 22, 2011

Hello everyone! I’ve been out and about today and enjoyed it so much! It felt good to get my errands done but above all, to connect with a very good friend of mine and to go shopping together in her store! Fun! I found some great Danish clothes and a pretty dress that I will wear to Berlin on Friday. It’s always so nice to be with a sweet girlfriend – so energizing!

Gift Wrapping Ideas

I came home home with sweaters, shirts, knee socks, leggings and a dress – and that post-shopping guilt, “Oh dear, I exceeded my shopping budget for like five years!”. But they I realized that I did need the clothing but that I also supported two shop owners today who have sweet stores that they love and manage with such care – that really means something to me more and more. It’s also a great way to ease the guilt (wink). As I was wrapping (and unwrapping!) myself in clothes all afternoon, I started to think about gift wrapping in general because that’s all I see in stores everywhere right now – Christmas things. I thought it may be helpful to you to round up a bit of a best of series for you now featuring some of the most beautifully wrapped presents that decor8 contributor, photographer and stylist Leslie Shewring, has shown over the past few years.

Gift Wrapping Ideas

Try neon colors, paper doilies and baker’s twine…

Gift Wrapping Ideas

Use watercolors to paint your own gift wrap. Add sequins to a simple white gift tag.

Gift Wrapping Ideas

Try different textures, velvet ribbon is nice.

Gift Wrapping Ideas

A natural touch is always nice.

Gift Wrapping Ideas

More watercolors in geometric shapes to dress up plain white paper.

Gift Wrapping Ideas

Kraft paper in brown with simple touches goes a long way.

Gift Wrapping Ideas
Experiment with Japanese washi tape (masking tape).

Gift Wrapping Ideas

Combine a punch of your favorite shape (butterfly, tree, snowflake) and paper that you love to create a gift tag using a little glue.

Gift Wrapping Ideas

Coffee filters, why not, right!?

Gift Wrapping Ideas

More watercolors on white tags that you can buy in packs from a store like Staples.

Gift Wrapping Ideas

Less traditional ways to wrap gifts – from tea tins to a stack of books tied together with ribbon and topped with a handmade greeting.

And speaking of gifts, this little post is my gift to you today and perhaps it has inspired and delighted you. I hope so! A special thanks to Leslie for all of her inspiration over the years!

(images: leslie shewring)

Inspiration

Michael Graydon Pictures

November 8, 2011

I just discovered the work of Michael Graydon, a photographer based in Toronto, and I had to share what he does because he is very talented and I thoroughly enjoyed looking through his online portfolio today. Here is a tiny glimpse of a few of my favorite shots that he has taken for his rather impressive list of clients… To see many more, visit his website and enjoy!

Michael Graydon Pictures

Michael Graydon Pictures

Michael specializes in homes, gardens, still life and food images for advertorial, editorial and packaging. I find his still life and food photographs my personal favorites, though I also noticed some portrait shots that I also found equally stunning. His work has graced the pages of such noteworthy publications as Canadian House & Home and Style At Home and his advertorial work includes some pretty big names like Johnson & Johnson, Knorr, Rowenta, HP and more.

Michael Graydon Pictures

Michael Graydon Pictures

I’m so happy to shine the spotlight on this talented man today because highlighting photographers that I come across who really make an impression on me is important. A photographer as strong as Michael certainly deserves recognition for his beautiful work.

(photography: michael graydon)

Inspiration

What Autumn Is…

October 10, 2011

Hello and happy Monday to you! As you are aware, I have two regular contributors on decor8 who post once monthly in addition to my own daily musings, Leslie Shewring with her Color Me Pretty column and Anna-Malin Lindgren who pulls together the always inspiring Handmade Home. Today I’d like to spotlight decor8 contributor Anna-Malin who lives in Sweden and how beautifully she has captured Autumn because it inspired me so much as I read her blog this morning. I don’t think she even set out to carry an Autumn theme on her blog for the past several weeks but she did it by simply photographing corners of her home and life and together, they composed a gorgeous visual Autumn story.

What Autumn Is...Autumn is my favorite season and I have lots of very close friends born in October – a random discovery that I only recently made when a friend brought it to my attention. There is something about the season that brings remarkable comfort from the color palette to lighting, food and drink.

What Autumn Is...

Autumn means family, love, candlelight, messy “hat hair”, comfort food, cuddling, baking, cozy clothes, warm blankets, the smell of a fireplace, hiking in the mountains, walking over crispy leaves, raking the yard then jumping into the gigantic pile of leaves that smells so very Autumn-y, reflecting on what matters most, hot apple cider, pretty scarves, reading with a warm kitty on your lap, a favorite coat, spiked hot cocoa, inviting friends over for a feast. Autumn is a very sincere, honest, no-frills season, isn’t it? It’s all about reflection, too. As the year starts to come to a close, it’s hard not to pause and honestly take a look at our life and the direction in which it is going.

What Autumn Is...There is no bling or bam with Fall — it’s just this turning over period from Summer to Winter that is graceful, touching, beautiful and authentic. It’s flickering candles on the windowsill and fresh baked cookies from the oven – there’s a realness to the season that draws me in. Autumn, in my opinion, is like no other – it’s both high and low – melancholy yet full of hope – with gray weather and shortened days combined with the feeling of unconditional love and acceptance around the family dinner table.

What Autumn Is...

What Autumn Is...

What Autumn Is...

What Autumn Is...

What Autumn Is...

Why do you love Autumn? What does it represent to you? I think for my Swedish friend Anna-Malin, it represents family and comfort just like it does for me. She did such a lovely job capturing the spirit of the season in these photos, wouldn’t you agree?

To see more of Anna-Malin’s photography, including gorgeous images of the season, please visit her beautiful and inspiring blog Helt Enkelt.

(photos: anna-malin lindgren)

Inspiration

Alexandra Grablewski Photography

August 12, 2011

I’d not heard of New York photographer Alexandra Grablewski until today which makes me wonder how I could have missed her!? I recognize her photos, some of them at least, but not her name. This makes me almost sad and further inspires me to write this post to shout her name and website out to the world in case you identify her work but never knew of the genius behind the lens either. That would be such a pity…

Alexandra Grablewski Photography

Alexandra Grablewski Photography

Alexandra Grablewski Photography

Alexandra Grablewski Photography

Alexandra Grablewski Photography

Alexandra Grablewski Photography

Alexandra Grablewski Photography

Ah yes, she is a really good still life and food photographer. Her lighting is positively sublime. I could live in any of these views above. Would you like to take a peek into her portfolio online? You’ll really like it and may do so here. It’s a nice, relaxing way to wrap up a long week. I wonder who styles her photographs? Perhaps she’ll pop in and tell us so I can shout them out, too.

(photos: Alexandra Grablewski)

Inspiration

Sarah Ryhanen of Saipua

August 9, 2011

Talented floral designer Sarah Ryhanen is no new name in the blogging community simply because her company, Saipua, has long been an inspiration to so many in Brooklyn and beyond. Sarah and partner, Nicolette Camille Owen really inspires me — in fact her work just plain makes me happy, what can I say? I love her fresh eye, creative color combinations, perfect bits of texture, and her casual approach to arranging. Her work reminds me of my mother’s own arrangements and floral still life oil paintings growing up. Mom instilled a love of flowers as art – either on the wall or in a vase – at a very early age resulting in a life long appreciation on my part. I can’t pass by a gallery or florist without pausing, or going inside, and I certainly can’t leave a farmers’ market without a bunch of fresh blooms.

Sarah Ryhanen of Saipua

Sarah doesn’t simply buy flowers in bunches at street stalls and haphazardly toss them in a vessel — she loosely, yet artfully, arranges them to create a fresh, living masterpiece. When I see a photograph of her work I often stop dead in my tracks and think that I’m looking at a painting brought to life. See for yourself… and while you’re at it, look to some of these arrangements for a little Autumn color palette (and texture) inspiration.

Sarah Ryhanen of Saipua

Sarah Ryhanen of Saipua

Sarah Ryhanen of Saipua

Sarah Ryhanen of Saipua

In case you were wondering, Saipua is a Finnish word for soap and that is also what Sarah and Nicolette do very well – they make wonderful soap that I’ve purchased in the past at Anthropologie and enjoyed immensely. You can also purchase their soaps and things online here. But that’s not all – these ladies are also teachers! You can take floral arranging classes in a barn-like loft space behind their shop in Brooklyn and they call that their Little Flower School. How sweet! You may really enjoy taking a class with them — I would in a New York minute! How wonderful!

(Photographs: Sarah Ryhanen)

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