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Highlights: My Class in Berlin

Hello everyone! I was in Berlin again and now that I’m back home I want to share some highlights! This time, I taught a gift wrapping class for Anthropologie at the amazing Barcomi’s cafe where they had a “pop up cafe” this week to celebrate the launch of their new German online shop. I was able to chat briefly with owner, author and baking queen Cynthia Barcomi (a highlight!) before I got started and then, my students arrived and we made pretty and inspiring gift packaging and tags using torn fabric, masking tape, decorative papers, maps, paper punches, rubber stamps, cocktail napkins, lace, yarn, etc.

Crafty Class Projects

Below is a photo of me with my dear students (I’m in the center in green). There were 8 of us, but a few others joined in like my friend Sandra Juto and fashion blogger Camilla along with Jana and Massimiliano, so there were 13 of us total and it was such a fun bunch!

Berlin Gift Wrapping Class

On the table you can see all of the things that we made. Each student made 4 projects, some did 5 — a box, a gift tag, a lunch bag and a sheet of patchwork paper. The patchwork “quilted” paper ideas was one that I learned from my dear friend Leslie Shewring that she taught in her washi tape class in St. Paul this past Fall at The Creative Connection event. I can’t take any credit for that idea but Leslie told me I could teach them how to do it so I did and they had a good time making their patchwork sheet of wrapping paper. Above you can see me with Anna Sterntaler, Simone Haffner, Annie Raymond, Toni, Ursula Markgraf, Julianne, Anja, Urszula Lotysz-Bossart.

Berlin Gift Wrapping Class

Berlin Gift Wrapping Class

My idea was to show them how to make gifts look pretty without always running out to the store for the typical roll of wrapping paper and pre-made bows and tags and so I taught them how to create beautiful gifts using what they may already have at home. I thought this was very much a part of the Anthropologie way of thinking as well — to be creative with what you already have because Anthro is known to be such an inspiring place to shop since they’re very creative with their own store displays using random objects to create gorgeous installations.

Here are some pictures of the things that I made. I used basic white boxes from a discount store and applied tapes, papers, torn fabrics and even cocktail napkins to decorate them. In Germany, white paper bags are everywhere right now for Advent so I used them to decorate as well. I told students that these bags are great for giving baked goods – just wrap cookies or chocolates and place inside with a sheet of pretty tissue paper or shredded paper.

Crafty Class Projects

Crafty Class Projects

Crafty Class Projects

I naturally went with my soft color palette with a punch of hot pink or turquoise. I think it’s important to go with what your instinct tells you and wrap gifts in a way that not only reflects your personal style but that shows the recipient that you thought of them in a special way and made the outside look just as nice as the gift waiting within.

Crafty Class Projects

Crafty Class Projects

Crafty Class Projects

The gift above was topped with torn fabrics as ribbon and a silver star.

Crafty Class Projects

The box above in purple and orange was wrapped using two cocktail napkins. One for the bottom, the other for the top, in two different patterns to add interest. If the cocktail napkin doesn’t cover the box entirely, that’s okay — you can trim it out with tapes, found papers and ribbons and it will look great!

I had such a great time, thank you to Massimiliano (Grazie mille!) for helping organize everything and for my students (Danke schön!) for joining me and Anthropologie at Barcomi’s for a crafty class!

(photos with white borders: anna sterntaler/all others: holly becker)

Posted in uncategorized on November 27, 2011

Sunday Morning Stroll – Berlin

Inspiration surrounds us and to tap in, I love a good Sunday morning stroll. I’ve been taking them each week since I relocated to Germany over two years ago. They’ve become a very big part of my life, a ritual of the senses. I’m not a very structured person, I tend to like to work and do most other things when I feel creative because then I know I’ll do them well… but a little routine on a quiet Sunday morning feels nice.


Usually I’ll visit a park, garden or walk through the big city forest behind my house. I love the forest… the scent of forest air, fresh pine, firewood burning in a nearby chimney, that crisp cool wind against my face – it’s both calming and refreshing. A sunny sky is not a requirement for me, in fact it’s often a melancholy gray that feels far more comforting – like a large wool blanket lovingly wrapped around my shoulders.


Sunday Stroll

My idle walks usually end up in the city, wandering through alleys, exploring both familiar and unfamiliar streets and always snapping photos with my iPhone. I love going from the forest to the city, only a few steps apart, because contrasts excite me. The organic versus the planned, hard lines then soft curves, dirt then stone. Often Sunday mornings allow me to compose song lyrics and construct poems in my mind, to explore my imagination and to go so deep in my inner world that my walks become almost dream-like where I’m altering how the story will continue and where it will end.


Berlin Impressions

After 90 minutes or so, I usually require a cappuccino (smile) and brunch so I begin searching for a cozy spot to people watch and linger a bit. If the cafe is playing show tunes, jazz, or a little Frank and Dean… all the better. For me, this is the perfect Sunday. If I end up in a quaint theater for a matinee, perhaps something along the lines of Bright Star, Das Parfum (a bit dark can be good) or Lost in Translation, then I’m double lucky. I love a good melancholy film on a Sunday afternoon. In the evening, a glass of red wine in a cozy bar huddled around a table with good friends or breaking bread with cheese and olives at home – perfect. I’ve just had the perfect happy ending to my day.


When most people meet me, at least from what I’m told, they perceive me as being witty, charming, fun-loving and outgoing. Well, thank you because those are very nice things and I’m happy that most people are so sweet in describing me. I certainly do love a good time and people are my fuel. Though I must admit that too much time in the spotlight drains me so I need weekly “time outs” to escape crowds and light-hearted  surface conversation to go deep and to simply live inside of my own head. Can you relate at all? These Sunday pauses do this. I can be a tad moody, even melancholy, very dramatic, and I’m quite a romantic and extremely passionate about so many things – especially behind closed doors or around my dearest friends. If I don’t have a weekly space for myself to refuel, I approach a new week with little zeal to do the things that I love.


That is why I found myself incredibly inspired this past weekend spending Sunday morning roaming Berlin. I didn’t have long, but in just a short time I snapped the photos in this post on my iPhone and found inspirational glimpses all around me in this most fascinating city. I hope my Sunday morning stroll inspired you a little too and I hope to get back to Berlin next week for more of the same. It’s nice to take a pause each week to reflect on what makes us, well US — isn’t it?


Sunday Stroll

Sundays make me happy.

What about you, do you have a weekly tradition that you employ to center yourself and explore your imagination and creativity?

(images: holly becker)

Posted in uncategorized on November 16, 2011

I’m Off To Berlin + Some Updates

Hello everyone! I’m off to Berlin for the weekend to throw a bloggers and book party along with Brigitte magazine, Callwey Publishing and Etsy and I can’t wait to meet everyone. The guest list is now closed and sadly, the location couldn’t fit all of you so we could only accept 50% of the RSVP requests. :( I had no idea so many would reply or I would have chosen a larger location, but now that I know then the next event will be in a large space where we can accommodate everyone. This event will lovely tomorrow, we did so much work behind-the-scenes to ensure that we have our guests taken care of from goodie bags to product and book giveaways, cupcakes to enjoy, there will even be a fun photo booth where we’re going to be able to upload photos to the web instantly. We’re thinking to do another bloggers event next year and if we do – we’ll make sure we can include everyone next time. The German blogging community is huge!


SO! I’ll be using Instagram while I’m away, if you use Istagram I’m “decor8″ and you can see my photos there as I upload them or you can follow me on Twitter because I’ll try to tweet fun glimpses as I go.

This is the final leg of my book tour for 2011 and though it’s been an amazingly fun 11 months of traveling to promote my book, being home for a few months will feel real nice too. I have so much decorating to do and lots of projects to share in the months ahead – AND a lot of blogging to do. I’ll also be teaching classes at my work studio in Hannover over the winter – I can’t wait to announce the class schedule and dates so if anyone wants to hang out with me in my home office for a day or two, I’d certainly love to have you. We can craft, decorate, I can show you some fun blogging tricks and we can drink hot mulled spiced wine. I can even take you shopping to my favorite stores. How’s THAT for getting creative?!

I’ll see everyone on Monday with a tour of a local shop, some great products I’ve been meaning to share, and tons of fabulous calendars for 2012 as it’s time for my annual calendar round-up to look for that everyday next week. By the way, that photo above is a collection of things I picked up recently – I know the palette if very fresh and spring-like, but I love the color combination still, don’t you?


(image: holly becker for decor8)

Posted in uncategorized on November 11, 2011

Herriott Grace Shop

Oh dear! Down the rabbit hole I fell! Next up today is the beautiful Herriott Grace shop that I also found via Shanna Murray whom I blogged about earlier and Michael Graydon, the photographer that I highlighted moments ago. It’s amazing how the internet works – one link, then another and whoosh! we’re off to the inspirational drop also known as the great rabbit hole of amazingness. :)

Have you heard of Herriott Grace? Oh my gawd, this woman is super duper talented – squared. She not only has a gorgeous web shop under the same name, but her styling and photography is crazy pretty and her blog, Forty-Sixth At Grace, is incredible. {drool, gush, gush.} She also works with Michael Graydon from time to time who photographs her products for her shop. Here is a mini glimpse of what you can find in Herriott’s world… Some of it is for sale too!

I appreciate the balance and simplicity in her homewares collection. It’s quite serene and natural as I’m sure you’d agree. I like the focus being on pairing food with a gorgeous plate or dashing pedestal and then, something simple like a spoon or natural linen napkin as the finishing touch. Nothing crazy expensive or that would take hours to set up for guests – the focus is on preparing something yummy because even the best dressed table doesn’t matter if the food is rubbish! This reminds me of the more European way of entertaining as they are not nearly as invested in overly fancy presentations as we Americans can be with our done up bashes. A few candles, a serving platter, breaking open a large crusty bread, a modest assortment of cheese and a simple bowl of marinated olives along with some red wine… It doesn’t always need to be complicated, does it? But you do need something pretty to place these things on which is why Herriott Grace is the woman to go to.

(images: herriott grace and michael graydon)


Posted in uncategorized on November 08, 2011


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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