Hello everyone and happy Friday! This post is about author confessions, oreos and e-courses but first, I am nearly finished writing my next book so very soon I’ll be back full-time again to bring you your daily dose of inspiration. I really miss blogging! It’s so hard being away but sacrifice is sometimes needed when dreams are involved so I’m trying to look at my absence in a positive way. I must admit though, some days I’d much rather be right here with all of you dishing about the latest pretty finds than writing copy, but then I just keep saying to myself, ‘I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…” and it helps me head up the mountain. That and a little red wine.
Now it’s time for some confessions and a few oreos. I read on someone’s blog recently that she gets frustrated by bloggers who seem to be handed book deals. It made me sad to read that. I felt attacked in many ways. I almost wanted to comment on her blog that she had nothing to be envious of or worried about because behind the glam facade, it’s really hard work – especially to go from blogger to author, because writing a blog and writing a book are so completely different that the sheer shift alone in going from writing so spontaneously to realizing that what you are writing for a book will forever be carved into stone, well, that’s a lot of pressure. I think any author can tell you that. It’s so much more than just typing text… and no one is handed a book deal unless they are totally famous or have insane connections or sleep with someone at the top. Being an author requires a great deal of inner strength and courage. I don’t always have that though on the outside, you may think I do. Another thing about writing a book… Some think fitting your thoughts into 180 characters (wait, 140!? 140!? No wonder I have such a hard time!) to form a coherent tweet is a nightmare. Sometimes it is! Emptying your entire brain onto paper, having to edit all of that – your entire passion on a single topic – into chapters and sections and WORDS, words that are supposed to make as much sense on paper as they did in your wee head, THAT is completely, amazingly, never-imagined-it-be the hardest part of writing a book. It’s like writing one massive tweet that will appear on a billboard along the freeway with your name in the biggest boldest text ever.
Aside from dealing with the stress of what others assume and feeling a bit drained from that – I started crying last night because I was so completely consumed by the whole process of writing so much lately and feeling really, really stressed. Then I sort of cried myself to sleep (thankfully my husband can sleep through the end of the world so it’s all good for him) only to wake several hours later, in the middle of the night, eating Oreos in my underwear in kitchen thinking about…. What do you know? My book introduction.
Then I got up at 4:00 a.m. in a cold sweat feeling pain in my chest because my deadlines are looming and decided that I should really go make a tea. By the time I went into the kitchen I forgot what I was in there for and just went back to bed. This morning I woke up wondering how it was that I went to bed in my nightgown but instead had only underwear on, and why I had mascara stains on my face – then I remembered my very long slightly stupid night. I decided to kick my own butt by giving myself a pep talk, took a shower and went for a walk in the rain on this very overcast day. Into the forest I went. Muddy boots, hair pinned up, mind filled with words — Words, words, words. An occasional sentence. Mostly words. I found myself speaking blocks of text out loud – like a mad person – reciting color theory and the difference of tints, tones, shades and what a hue was or shall I say, is. I wondered if people would really CARE to read that in my book. I wondered some more. Then I went home and started writing again. I felt better but I still feel a little stressed out and overwhelmed. I’m human.
Everything worth having requires a fight, some blood, a little sweat and a bunch of tears. But you keep going forward, don’t you? You roll forward, sometimes you drag yourself forward, but the important point is that whether you are crawling, being dragged by someone stronger than you, limping… that the word FORWARD is always part of the scenario. As long as you are moving forward you are making progress. My grandmother once said that she doesn’t care if she gets to heaven in a wheelbarrow, she’s getting there. Good for you, grandma.
Enough about that though. I thought today that I’d share what I’m working on OTHER than my book because I’m working on a bunch of equally rewarding projects – albeit stuff that won’t keep me up at night or talking to myself in the forest (let’s hope!).
First, I’ll be teaching Blogging Your Way again in June only this time, the anticipated 2.0 version! I’m excited because even though my dear friend Leslie needs to take some time out for her kids on their school vacation (sad frown), lovely Jeanette Lunde from Fryd + Design will be co-teaching with me for 2 weeks during the 4 week class (big smile). If you don’t know who she is, we have a very similar aesthetic so I thought for this class working with her – a skilled graphic designer, photographer and stylist from Norway, would be really nice for us all. I’m SO HAPPY to have Jeanette because she will teach you all about styling, talk about photography and get into the lovely world of e-magazines and how it works to publish them. Of course, that is in addition to all of the content I am bringing to the table that you can find outlined here. This self-paced online class will start June 1 and end June 29 but you will have the entire month of July to catch up on materials so there is lots of time to enjoy what Jeanette, Thorsten and I have in the works. I’ll miss Leslie but we are about to embark on another project soon so we’ll still have nice things to share with those who enjoy our work in the very near future!
As for BYW 2.0, I’m teaching all new lessons and so for those who already took BYW (the one I’ve been teaching for over three years as an e-course) should consider BYW 2.0 because it’s going to be a really fun class! I’ve also hired an amazing designer, Mark Wilson from MWA in London, to design and build an all new class site, so students will learn in a new environment. I can’t wait! Learn more about BYW 2.0 here and sign up here. He is also designing the all new decor8 blog scheduled to roll out within the next month, too. We’ve been doing a lot of work behind-the-scenes to make your visits to decor8 more enjoyable and I look forward to rolling that out. The anticipation is sorta killing me at the moment!
In addition to the e-course in June, I’ll be giving a two hour class/lecture in a castle located in Germany for this amazing food styling & photography workshop. That’s another project on my plate for summer that I’m really, really looking forward to taking part in. For those who are not attending, I’ll blog about it upon my return so you can see what we did — I’ll be there for the entire weekend workshop so I’ll come home with lots to tell you about!
In July, I will open my home studio space to those who want to come to my house in Hannover, Germany to learn more about blogging and social networking with me in an intimate, supportive and creative environment. The class will be a day class on Saturday, July 28th and last from 9-6 with snacks, lunch and afternoon treats. I’ll only be able to welcome 15 of you, but I’d love to have you! For those who may want to fly in from another part of the world, I will add a second class for July 29th if you’d like – just ask me. It will be loads of fun and more information will follow within the next few weeks. Please drop me an email: holly @ decor8blog.com if you would like to attend on July 28 or if you want to attend July 28 & 29.
SO! That’s what I have on my work calendar at the moment. What are you up to these days? Busy? Bored to death? On the verge of something new? Let me know, I always like hearing the latest!!!
Now where are those oreos?
(images: Jeanette Lunde)
I just heard about London-based photographer Catherine Gratwicke from Iris because Catherine is photographing her home today for an upcoming book (congrats, Iris!) and so I had to check out her portfolio and I’m so glad I did. Catherine has a great eye and enormous talent for interiors photography and stills. I thought I’d share a few glimpses of her work today so you can be inspired too.
If you’d like to see more, please check out her incredible website. Delish!
(images: catherine gratwicke)
I’ve been thinking about rugs a lot lately because I want a few for my home so I’ve been on the prowl… What’s currently on your wish list of things you’d love to add to your nest? For me, it’s a dresser for my bedroom, end tables, wallpaper for my bedroom and two rugs. Rugs add an important layer to a room. They can define a space, add comfort, bring in color or pattern (or both!), provide warmth, add texture, they can even be a focal point. Throw rugs are also very easy to relocate to other rooms. I recently got tired of seeing one of my rugs in my bedroom so I moved it to the entryway. In a few minutes, my entryway was transformed simply by “shopping” from another room.
I want to return soon to Istanbul because I love the rugs that I find there. I also adore the more modern and graphic patterns that you see by American designers like Madeline Weinrib (huge fan) and Jonathan Adler. Here are some rooms with very smart and grown up rugs…
The room shots shown above are from the lovely Lonny magazine, a mag that always seem to have rooms with the best rugs – have you noticed that? It seems all of the Lonny homes ooze with layered rooms with throw rugs being a must-have element for every room in the home.
I am loving these rugs as seen on the blog, Identical Eye. Wow, right?
If you tend to like rugs that are a bit more bold, floral and colorful, seek out Amy Butler rugs. Aren’t these pretty?
Do you fancy vintage rugs? Try Loom for these over-dyed vintage rugs. I have two that I bought in Turkey and LOVE them.
If all of this rug talk has you inspired, I’ve rounded up 8 lovely rugs from One Kings Lane that I like though this comes with a warning, I can’t actually afford any of them though perhaps you can so have a peek.
Another rug suggestion is to shop Anthropologie because they always have a beautifully curated selection.
If those beauties are a bit out of your budget, opt for West Elm rugs – they’re gorgeous and a bit lower in price. Check these out…
Another more budget option is to check out Urban Outfitters. See any below that you fancy? You can find them all online here.
Or if you are REALLY on a tight budget (or not because it’s great for ANY home) here is one rug that I keep going back to time and time again. It’s this one from IKEA. I owned it once and want to buy another eventually… I see it in so many great rooms – it’s a real favorite of mine.
With so many choices out there – where do you usually shop for rugs? Any secret sources?
(images: one kings road and lonny mag)
I take a million photos like the rest of us and often I wonder what really is the point after the momentary pleasure of sharing them? What do we do with our digital photos ultimately? We may blog or pin them or perhaps print one or two out occasionally, but after that they often fade into the Instagram sunset or fall into the archives on our blog. Thankfully there are ways to keep your memories front and center. Have you thought to make a few photo books? It may sound a bit grandma to even say that in this digital age but I often wonder what we’re leaving behind. When my grandmother passed away before I relocated from the US to Germany in 2009, the first thing my mother said was that I should take something to remember her by. Do you know what I took? Her photo album.
Why a photo album? Not only for the photos but for the memories I have looking at them as we’d talk and eat in the living room or crammed into my grandparents kitchen around the table. I remember excitedly looking at their albums as grandma whipped up something homemade in the kitchen, breads and sauces that filled the air and made our mouths water. She’d pop in between stirs to tell us a little tale pointing to a photo or to simply sit beside me as the oven made magic asking if I knew who this or that person was and to always add how young she once was or that she wished she still had her red hair minus the grays. I looked at the same albums over and over again, seeing the same photos, hearing the same stories, yet the comfort and coziness of those moments were some of the best times that I spent with my grandparents growing up. My grandfather would sit in his designated chair with his own stories and often, he’d drag out another album and still another until dinner was ready. This started when I was very young and way into my late twenties. Now they are gone but the moment I take out their photo album with the retro floral cover, I am transported back to times when my little heart yearned to be all grown up and to have memories of my own to share with my family.
I guess photo album browsing in my generation was the equivalent of families sitting around today with their iPads and phones texting and browsing photos in their digital albums. Or is it? I feel so disconnected lately when friends I’m dining with pull out their phones to text or take a non-urgent call when we’re together. I feel worse when I was in the states recently and spotted entire families out to dinner using their phones while ignoring one another. And it’s not just an American thing, manners are dying everywhere and I am saddened when sending a tweet or text is more important than connecting with those seated before us. Where are the conversations going, the ones I had as a child with my family, and what are they being replaced with?
It seems more and more are living inside of their own heads and locked away in their own digital playgrounds versus dealing with the reality of what’s around them. Don’t you agree? On our phones for instance, we can ignore a text or reply when we’re ready to have that conversation or worse, pretend to be fine when we’re angry, disconnect when things feel uncomfortable, walk away when fed up, ignore people, it’s entirely possible to pull the plug on anyone at anytime online and then say later that we got busy or pulled away from our phone or computer. In real life, our conversations flow and the back-and-forth exchange is a bit like a game of tennis, questions are asked, answers are given, eye contact is made, a touch on the arm, a warm endearing gaze… You lose all of that completely when your interactions are mostly online. When seated in my grandparents living room, I had to answer their questions immediately – even the uncomfortable ones. I had to sit through their long explanations that would sometimes leave me rolling my eyes. I couldn’t put my iPhone down and text them back later (so to speak), when I may have ‘felt’ like it. I digress…
This brings me back to photo albums and the digital age in general – what will we leave behind? How can we have the best of both worlds? When I die someday and my grandchildren ask what they want that belonged to me, will they ask for my external hard drive so they can see my photos? Or my iPhone or iPad? Will they ask for anything at all that will connect them to me and me to them in that very special way? Will they remember the conversations we had, the food I cooked, the time we spent on nature walks or will in the way that I can connect with my grandparents in a deeply emotional manner the moment I pick up their photo album? Will they ask to see granny’s blog called decor8? In fact, this was ultimately what gave me the final push to write a book so I could have something tangible to leave behind. For me, having a blog and having a book IS the best of both worlds. How do you balance both – how are you making the best of both worlds in your life?
With that, I want to tell you about something in print (I know, oh my gosh, PRINT) that I think is just awesome because it encourages children and parents to create, interact and share their digital photos in a meaningful way that involves something called real human contact around a kitchen table or on the sofa. The creation of a physical photo album. These albums are by Paislee Press and I just love them. The formats are fresh and inspiring and I like that you can introduce children to layout and design through them at a young age because you can involve them in the making process digitally (which kids love) BUT they can see it and hold it in PRINT (which I love) afterwards. Then you have the best of both worlds and you are usually digital technology in the way I feel it should be used – to further connect and inspire us not to isolate and separate us which is sadly happening all too often.
What are your thoughts on all of this, anyway? It’s a bit deep for a Monday morning but important to think about because I am consistently seeking ways to find balance online and wonder how you are doing with this so feel free to share… Maybe something you say may spark an idea in those reading your comment.
(images: paislee press)