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How Do You Handle Inspiration Overload?

I’m still feeling the warm glow from yesterday’s inspiration that came from Living & More magazine and Birgitta Wolfgang Drejer. I wish so badly that I could share each and every page of this German decorating magazine with you as the photos are just so super stunning and I really enjoy the crafty projects as they are easy and fun to do. I’m off to the craft store today to pick up some doilies to work on a small project that I saw in the magazine, if it comes out well I will post photos tomorrow so you can see it. I think that if you have a magazine in hand that gives you inspiration for days, fuels your imagination, and gets you moving in a forward motion you have found a great resource. Rarely do I feel this way from magazines these days. I was buying each and every issue of home magazines from this country and that country and now I’m not feeling it anymore. I need MORE. Often they still feel so snooty to me, like I’m not part of the club. I need to connect with other readers or the homes that I am seeing and not feel a huge gap between THEM and ME. I don’t feel as inspired by rooms I know I’ll never be able to live in — I never expect to buy a $15,000 coffee table and I’m totally okay with that. I doubt I’ll ever have the Malibu beach house overlooking the Pacific. I think that it’s important to be happy with what you have, no matter how humble, and cherish that space you’re in. Oftentimes a lifestyle is crammed down our throats that in reality, we really do not want but we think we want it because it’s being presented as ‘the’ way to live.

I want to address something I’ve found as a negative when it comes to design magazines, shows, even design blogs. Of course, I’m a silver-lined happy cloud (he he) so I have 1,000 positives for every negative meaning that despite my view being a bit of a downer here, I still continue to author a design blog and be part of a community that I love and cherish. I don’t plan to depress anyone by saying this… I think in every relationship there is always some negative aspects, even in a marriage or friendship. It’s part of life. So I’ll just put it out there. Do you ever feel like there is too much going on out there that you’ll never catch up? There are soooo many things you see, want, love, are dying to make, dying to do, but often feel overwhelmed by it all? Yeah, me too. I totally do. I was thinking today in the craft store as I was trying to find candles for this project I’m working on that it’s important to pause and not run yourself absolutely into a hole trying to get “it all done”. I think that we as women can easily turn inspiration into this twisty vine that chokes us called competition. Either with others or with ourselves, as weird as that sounds. I also think that YEARS ago before blogs and great magazines like Domino and Living Etc. I was almost content in my bubble that the way I decorated and the way my parents decorated was just fine — we had little back then to compare our decorating to I guess. Now it’s different. The second we finish our living room design we see something in the home of another person even on a blog or in a magazine, on television, wherever and instantly feel like we need to change something. We aren’t happy with the hardwood oak floors, now we saw a magazine with high gloss black wood floors and that’s ALL WE THINK ABOUT. Of course until we have the black floors and then we see a photo of someone else who did something ultra clever like stencil their floors with a doily pattern or something. See where I’m heading with this? It’s called a disease people and we all have it. We want our fix and there are hundreds of publications ready to give it to us. Which brings me to ask you…

How do you personally manage all of the information and ideas that you are exposed to on a daily basis so as to be somewhat productive? I stick diligently to lists and I often do not allow myself to move onto another project without first finishing what I’ve started. Mother always said that now didn’t she? “Finish what you start!” I also work very hard to filter everything I see and decide what exactly I should use and what is not perhaps practical and leave the idea alone. I think mood boards are VERY effective. Whenever I have a project, for instance decorating my apartment or someone else’s, I spend months collecting ideas and placing them all into folders and clear plastic sleeves in a binder and over time I start to see a definite pattern and then I know I have tapped into the exact look I need to begin shopping for. That’s exactly how I pulled together my current kitchen. I had a mood board, spiral bound notebooks, a very exact vision in my head and despite all the zillions of kitchens I’ve seen that I’ve loved since I started collecting inspiration for my own, I did not give in to impulse – I stuck to my guns and now I’ve pulled together a kitchen that really works for me and my husband and I like how it looks, how I stayed under budget by $4,000, and that in the end it is ME and my vision.

So again I ask… How do you turn what some consider a negative (inspiration overload) into a positive? Any specific things that you do that may help other readers? How do you feel personally about all the rooms and objects galore that saturate the internet these days, do you enjoy having so much access to design around the world or does it sometime make you want to hide your head under the covers because you do not know where to start?

(image by holly becker for decor8)

Posted in real talk on October 16, 2008

What’s Your Obsession?

I’m absolutely obsessed with Moroccan teapots right now. I only need one, but it has to be just perfect and Danielle has a lovely one in her shop that I’m awaiting answer on to see if it is still available. I have to have a teapot like this, I just love it. I’ve been looking for one locally since the day my plane landed, I even scoured Amsterdam and Hamburg for one and nothing! I cannot stop fantasizing about serving tea on Sunday with a pot such as this one… Of course this is one of maybe 10 things I’m going mad about right now (another is finding the perfect pair of deep plum leather boots).

I know, I’m crazy… But I have these obsessions that hit suddenly where I feel this pulse shoot through me and I know I just HAVE TO HAVE the object of my desire and I will peel back every layer, search high and low, shop! shop! shop! until I locate said item. The only difference between these obsessions in my thirties vs. the ones I had in my twenties is that back then I just purchased it and gave in to right away. Now I shop around and try to find the best price and give myself several weeks to mull something over before I realize that I should in fact buy it because it’s not another nutty impulse purchase.

It’s a sickness, I know. I’m willing to bet you have it to. So tell me, what’s your latest obsession/s? It can be anything really, but let’s try to definitely keep it in the home, garden, and fashion category so if you are obsessing over something then perhaps another reader knows where you can find it and can help out. It’s okay if you want to veer off a little though and post other things that you are obsessing over now.

My current obsessions:
1. Moroccan tea pots and throw rugs (see #4).
2. Colors: Plum, Lilac, Fuchsia, Silver, Black, White, Golden Yellow, Gray (esp. on walls or velvet throws), Soft Green.
3. Textures/fabric: Raw silk, Crochet, Linen, Felt, Wool, Knit, Basket weave, Sisal, Rope, Quilted anything.
4. Motifs/Prints/Etc: Elephants, Circles, Doilies, Batik prints, stripes, lace (used in a very modern way), black ornate birdcages, vintage Persian rugs (flat weave) in all of my favorite colors (something very colorful and loud!). Vintage cabinets painted in high gloss black with white interior shelving, or painted high gloss white with fun ceramic knobs, hand painted accents, and decorative paper inside.
5. Metal: Hammered or embossed tin or silver. Especially pendant lights, tea trays, storage boxes, bowls, and tea pots. Also decorative tea tins…
6. Plum leather boots (no heel).
7. My new lilac/white bowls from TineK (see below photo). At $30 each I only could afford two right now! Ha! I also love my new lilac bowls from Rice (also in photo). I’m mixing these together to work with the white and pale turquoise plates I picked up at IKEA.
8. Jewelry by Arena Copenhagen and the Ellie necklace by Acts of Kindness.
9. Random: Pink chalk love notes on my chalkboard, white matte porcelain from the 1950s, my mom (I miss her), a black puppy named Sulu that I met in the city yesterday, she wouldn’t stop nuzzling my trousers like a cat! I wanted to take her home so bad…
10. Style: Ethnic Bohemian Modern. That’s what I call it anyway. Others may call it Crazy Lady All Over The Place Style.

There is more… But I’ll stop with what first came to mind…

I can’t wait to see what you have to say! Comment below with your list if you feel like it, I am interested to see if we share any common loves!

(images from le souk)

Posted in inspiration, real talk on September 25, 2008

Letting Go in the Space Between

This is Marisa from Creative Thursday and I’m an artist, blogger, and author from LA visiting you today while Holly is away. If you already know me in this internet blogging, podcasting land, then it will come as no surprise that my article today is for the creative dreamers, a subject I am endlessly passionate about.

“We All Flock To Ruby”

So you have dreams that you want to see come true? Go for them.

Honestly I don?t think that any one of us can be reminded of that sentiment enough.

If you are a regular reader of Holly?s beautiful blog, then I?m sure you are one of the dreamers, and maybe one of your dreams includes working creatively for yourself? There are always insightful and inspiring discussions going on here in support of the creative dreamers. I was one. In fact I still am. And it?s important to note that I write this as a believer in the idea that you can have what you want in your life. My dream of being creatively self-employed came true. And my intention with this post is to share some thoughts on what has worked for me in allowing that dream to become a reality. It?s about letting go, something I am still learning to practice daily both personally and in my business.

Reaching for something greater than where you presently stand is life giving. Exciting and a little bit scary, it makes you feel ALIVE. Well let me re-phrase that; if you feel hopeful that your dream will happen it is life giving, but if you are afraid it might not, it can be a very unpleasant experience. Believe me, I know all to well that there are days when because it hasn?t happened yet, it can feel more than frustrating, often even devastating. Part of the delicate dance we learn in our life is how to find happiness in the times between the dream and the realization of that dream, a place I will call the space between. Because what you come to realize is that this is where you actually live, every day, in the space between.

Once you come to accept and even embrace the space between one dream and the next, the process of letting go becomes easier. So you might be wondering, why exactly do I want to ?let go? of something? Because when you let go, your dream has a chance to become real. I?m not sure how this happens exactly, but as much as I don?t want to believe it, every time I let go, something that I?ve been wanting comes in, even if it?s simply an answer about what to do next.

Chances are if you?re not letting go, then you are probably afraid, holding on desperately to the idea of what you want. And by doing this your life begins to stagnate, you become tired, you may blame those around you for things not happening faster, you begin to lose hope, you become frustrated. You make important decisions out of a fearful place instead of a hopeful place. Simply put if you?re not letting go on some level, then you are not trusting. And if you?re like me, you may even be trying to control EVERY aspect of your life. Not only that, but your present days become clouded with disappointment of what has not happened for you yet, instead of filled with appreciation for all you do have. And in a separate topic altogether, being in a state of appreciation is a blissful place to be and a sure sign that you?ve let go for a moment.

Not only does ?letting go? allow room for the new dreams to manifest, but it creates this space for you to notice and be grateful for your life just as it is.

And when you appreciate your life just as it is, more space is created for happiness to come in. I think it?s fair to say that most of us are in pursuit of our dreams because we think that by having them, we will be happier. True?! So why not be excited about your next dream and feel happy now. It is also important to note that I?m not referring to ?letting go? of the excitement that your dreams bring you, or letting go of the hope that they will come to fruition. I?m referring to knowing when to release the grip a little, knowing when to step back but doing so in a state of peaceful trust.

Usually there are two ways people let go. One is to give up. Right, you?ve heard that before? The familiar story is ?someone gave up on their dream and then boom! their dream came true”. The second is to trust that it will all work out.

I find it very sad to ?give up?. While I have unknowingly taken this approach, I find it incredibly disheartening to just throw in the towel. So recently I?ve tried a new approach, and that is to turn feelings of desperation and fear as to whether ?it? will happen, into feelings of hopeful expectation that ?it? will happen. This slight shift brings about a sense of knowing and calm that I can only hope to experience more often.

When I do glimpse it, this sense of calm allows me to move more graciously in life, to operate from a clear state of mind. Let?s face it. As much as we try to plan out our lives, LIFE still has a life of its own. And even though uncertainty, also known as the space between, can feel a little intimidating, there is still an excitement to not knowing how it will all turn out. What I am coming to know is that when you give into the unknown of it all, when you trust and ?let go?, whatever that means to you, life will flow in the direction it is meant to, and I believe, with your best interest at heart.

Dancing this delicate dance is constant, knowing when to take action and when to step back. When I achieved what felt like my very ?BIG? dream of being creatively self-employed, ~ somewhere just before it took hold, there was a moment where I let go, not so much in the trusting way, but in the giving up way. I literally felt like I had tried everything and I was all tapped out of ideas of what to do next. In my mind I had given it my best shot, and that?s all I knew how to do. Within weeks of this awareness, my business changed forever and has been going strong ever since. I experienced firsthand what happens when I let loose of my grip on my dreams. New doors opened and new inspiration appeared, a momentum took hold and it hasn?t slowed down. Now I have so many ideas at any given moment, that it?s all I can do to stay focused on one at a time.

Now that I?m fully living this dream that felt like years in the making, I am still reminded every day I run my business, of moments where I need to let go. There are always those times where you gear up and put action and effort into the direction you are wanting to go, and the trick is recognizing the subtle difference between those times and the times when you need to let go and trust that you?ll know the next step. These are also the moments when you become a hopeful, appreciative observer of the magic of your life, especially in the space between.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on what I have to say here and hopefully start a discussion so please join in with your thoughts.

Thank you for having me today decor8 readers!

(image and text by marisa haedike of creative thursday.)

A Fine Line: Inspiration or Imitation?

Today Erin from Design For Mankind is here to talk to us on a topic that I asked her to write about because I thought she’d have a lot to say on the matter and she does! I think her words just may encourage a good discussion here today so I invite you to grab a cup of tea, sit back, and tune in to Erin’s message below — and be sure to add your comment to the mix, too! Take it away, Miss E!

We’ve heard from the fashion folk. It’s been noted by renowned photographers. Interior designers are speaking up. Web programmers are furrowing their brows.

Call it what you will: visual plagiarism, hacks, or sheer knock-offs. However you slice it, an increasingly saturated art/design community is becoming a feeding ground for inspiration? or is it imitation?

I recently read an article in Harper’s Bazaar about the inspiration behind today?s fashion designers. Many designers mentioned historical figures such as Napoleon, Carmen Miranda and [no joke] Minnie Mouse.

And I can?t help but wonder what exactly dear Minnie Mouse would think if she knew her look was being imitated. I can only imagine she?d hijack Goofy?s wagon and skitter on over to Zac Posen?s studio to give him a prompt speaking to.

Yet can we really control when inspiration sets in? Not at all. What we can control is what we do with that inspiration. Do we carbon copy the design? Or do we tastefully implement elements from the designs that we, ourselves, cherish? [And for the record, Zac Posen?s inspiration was quite tasteful in fact!]

Of course, this is how a trend is born. We certainly didn?t don gladiator sandals this summer for comfort; the Greek and Roman influences were found to be inspirational by a few key designers. And that?s perfectly fine. What?s not perfectly fine is an intentional lifting of originality. I mean truly, how odd would we look like running around in togas AND gladiator sandals?

I’m saddened at how often this happens in our creative community. Rather than lifting each other up and encouraging originality, I fear that we’ve become envious of the instant gratification that the Internet often provides. It seems that one good design and a few press mentions can skyrocket an artist into serious success. Just how far will we go to present that “one good design?”

It breaks my heart to see an unoriginal piece. To me, a unique design has life. It has passion. And it becomes beautiful only when you can truly see the artist’s spirit behind his/her work. Thus, when we attempt to borrow elements of someone else’s work, the result is often never quite right. Much like a person without a genuine spirit can be spotted like a sore thumb, so, too, can an artist without an individualistic nature.

And you know what? Bloggers, we’re to blame as well. How often have we posted material that originated from somewhere else, only to (a) forget, (b) refuse or (c) fail to credit our source?

Indeed, there is a fine line between inspiration and imitation, and although I hate to create additional boundaries in art, I’d like to see us all work harder to find our true passions. I quite understand that many of our inspirations derive from the same source, and I think that’s a wonderful thing. The problem lies in our intentions. Are we creating something that we truly believe in? Or are we creating a spin-off of something that already exists simply because it sells?

From now on, let’s embrace the community that we’ve helped to build. Let’s encourage, congratulate and experience alongside of each other, not across from. I hope that someday we can each feel proud of the talents we’ve been given and showcase these unique gifts in beautiful, original ways.

Until then, know that imitation? It’s not such a form of flattery after all.

What are your thoughts on this topic? When does inspiration become imitation? What is the difference between inspired by and ripped off? Your thoughts?

- All text by Erin from Design For Mankind.

(images from evaxebra)

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Further editions available: Decorate published by Murdoch Books for AU/NZ, Decorar BR, Alt om indretning DK, Inspirace pro váš byt CZ, Dekorácie SK, La décoration FR, Lust auf Wohnen DE, Sisusta tyylillä FI and Sztuka aranżacji wnętrz PL.

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