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Are Assumptions Cluttering Your Life?

One of my blogger-colleagues over at Real Simple, Erin Doland, wrote a FINE post today called, Keep Assumptions from Cluttering Up Your Life.

We all want to feel included…

Erin’s post has to do with “reading between the lines” and I personally enjoyed it very much because I’m guilty of doing this, maybe you are too? I’d like to quote her for a moment, “As a writer, I come into contact with eisegesis (the process of reading something into a text that isn’t in the text) all the time. People will read my articles and then write me e-mails referencing things that don’t appear in the text. I’ll mention a product that can help handicapped people, and then I’ll receive an e-mail asking me why I hate handicapped people. Or, I’ll write about a baby crib, and then I’ll receive an e-mail asking me why I hate people who co-sleep with their infants. The interpretations people make aren’t always negative, but they are always baffling because they are so far off base. So much time and energy is wasted over misconceptions and misinterpretations.” Erin said this so well I think.

Would you not agree that we all spend wayyyy to much time, especially as women, getting offended easily by things we either read online or see in person… I don’t see nearly as many men running around feeling excluded so I think it tends to be more of a girl thing. I talked to my husband about this and he assured me that most men don’t sit around for days thinking about how another man treated them at work, for instance.

It comes down to feeling excluded. I often think that being online amongst so many others freely sharing thoughts on blogs, forums, etc. that it can sometimes feel a bit like high school. Like some kind of popularity contest. I have seen this and I’m willing to bet that you’re nodding your head as you read this – you’ve felt it too.

I feel it all of the time, excluded, left out, dissed, however you term it. In the end, there is no real way to change this – no way to change feeling left out because we all feel left out at one time or another, we cannot avoid being the last girl picked to dance at times… Okay there is a way but it has to do with how we think: changing how we look and react to things. For instance, I recently helped someone who assists a producer of a popular television show to find people who would be appearing in a specific show they planned to tape and I did a lot of work to help them locate those people and in the end, they gave me absolutely no credit at all. In fact, they credited everyone except me. At first, I was upset. I wrote to them immediately and explained how I felt and an apology was sent back in return so I’m okay with it now. But still. Talk about being shut out.

Some of us are more sensitive than others, but even in the tough girls I see this genuine interest in fitting in and being accepted. I hope that you’ll read Erin’s blog post for some great tips on just how to avoid allowing assumptions to clutter your life because sometimes we aren’t being dissed at all, it’s just how we are perceiving things to be.

Since we are amongst friends here on this blog, I’d love to open this up for discussion. I’m interested in getting your thoughts on how you filter out negative thinking, how you avoid allowing assumptions to rule your thinking, and if you are currently feeling excluded or upset about something, air that laundry here because I’d love to hear what’s going on in your life and how you as a small business woman, blogger, man, woman, student, whatever – how do you handle feelings of being excluded: whether real or imagined. All I ask is that if you have issues against someone in particular, please do not state their real name because that is not needed.

I’ll share below my personal thoughts in the comments section as well, so it’s not just me asking you but I am willing to share on this topic too.

So who wants to go first? How do you avoid allowing assumptions to take over your life?

(photograph taken by holly becker)

Posted in real talk on November 12, 2008

Folksy – NEW!

I have a question for everyone and I’d love your input but first I have to tell you about Folksy before I ask… I haven’t seen this site blogged about yet but I think that Etsy and DaWanda have a new kid on the block to play nice with called Folksy!

Currently in beta, Folksy is a brand new online marketplace for independent arts and crafts based in the UK. Like Etsy and DaWanda, you can set up a shop on Folksy and sell your wares… If you are not based in the UK you cannot sell right now, but they will soon roll out international sales in February 2009 which will include eighteen of the major world currencies currently supported by Paypal. If you haven’t heard of Folksy, I invite you to go check it out and see what you think.

About Folksy, “Folksy champions cool crafts and design talent. We marry up designers and crafters with buyers who want individual, quality stuff that’s made with love. Plus, we run design competitions and other fun stuff.”

About Etsy, “Your place to buy and sell all things handmade.”

About DaWanda, “Dawanda – Products With Love” and, “DaWanda is the place for unique and individual products and people. Buy handmade and hard to find goods, share your discoveries with your friends and create your own collections.”

Now for the question… What do you think of all of these similar online marketplaces? I’d love to hear your opinion so please… fire away! Do you think it can be compared to blogging — the more the merrier, or is it different? Do you think that having an Etsy, a DaWanda, now a Folksy… that it’s just too much? Do you think it benefits the sellers on these sites? If you sell on such sites, why do you choose to sell on them and not just one?

I personally wish someone would start a site like this in Japan but with an English version as well! Wouldn’t that be the BEST. THING. EVER?

(images from folksy)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, real talk, shopping on October 30, 2008

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

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Some of my books...

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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