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5 Things I Look For When Shopping For Throw Pillows

We could all use a little interiors inspiration for Autumn/Winter 2014, don’t you think? What are you planning to do to add warmth and a fresh touch to your rooms once Fall kicks in? I’m still on the fence, but I’ll definite add new drapes for my living room (I’ll share the before and after next month) and I plan to hang some art over the sofa and buy a new coffee table as I attempt to baby proof things around here since our crawler is super active and pulling himself up on everything at only 7 months old. And of course, a good throw pillow or ten! Here are some from Lauraloves, designed exclusively by Laura Nicolson in England who so nicely reached out to me today. I love the peacock silk cushion and the olivia silhouette with that chic herringbone pattern. That looks so Fallish.

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Since so many of you enjoy it when I share decorating tips, here are five things I look for when I’m shopping for cushions:

1. Zippers! They need to have them so I can easily swap out the cushion covers with each season and rotate through my favorites year round without having to store bulky cushions.
2. The fillers definitely need to be down or down-like because I love a relaxed look – they can’t be overly plump – they need to be squishy
3. Natural materials… Silk is great for a glam look, cotton for a bit more of a natural, relaxed home and you can even go with texture like leather, wool, knit, etc. For spring I like cotton and linen and for cooler months I’m a lover of leather, wool, knit and nubby linen. Silk is nice for all seasons but not so much to lounge on, they’re meant to be more decorative I think and to simply sit on a sofa and look good.
4. Something fresh and trendy. I know, lots of you don’t like the word trend but honestly, I really love trends as long as I have some balance and don’t go overboard. I really enjoy wearing trends from time to time (Birks were trending this summer, did you notice? We can thank Jenna Lyons and J.Crew for that I think) and I love adding stuff to my home that is trendy because I feel it freshens the space and adds a different vibe. Sometimes I can get really same-y same-y with my interiors – I think lots of us can when we decorate for years and years – and trends pull me out of that and force me to try something I may not have attempted before. Like adding a certain color, motif or texture to my space. And cushions are perfect for adding a bit of trend into a room because they’re not that expensive and they can easily be swapped out when you tire of them, stored easily and reused later or you can donate them or sell them on eBay or your next garage sale or something. In fact, I think the easiest way to experiment with a trend is through soft furnishings, particularly cushions, as they are small enough and can be budget-friendly.
5. I need to love it. This point should have been first maybe? But yeah, I have to love it. Even something as seemingly mundane as a cushion. I need to feel a bit of excitement when I see it and when I bring it home, it needs to give the space that needed touch.

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What do you think of these throw pillows by Lauraloves? Do you look for anything in particular when you shop for pillows?

Please Note: I do not own nor have I experienced this product in person so my opinion is based upon what I saw on her website and lookbook only.  Products that I own and use will be noted going forward with “decor8 tested and approved” at the end of the post to help you to better find products that I personally love and recommend for purchase.

(images: lauraloves)

Posted in uncategorized on September 18, 2014

Today We Shall Eat Cake + Enjoy The Flowers

Today is a very special one because it’s July 14, 2014 and 13 years ago today I got married! We were so young, so daring, so full of hopes and dreams… Today we’re not the doe-eyed dreamers we once were as much as the let’s-do-it doers and that’s something age and marriage gave us both – gumption, courage, fire. We’ve had many good times but also hard ones like when we had to count all of the change in the house in order to procure enough to buy groceries. I remember when my husband sold all of his belongings to be able to afford my wedding ring and a flight to America to marry me. I remember our honeymoon in San Francisco and how exciting it was to be in a city I had only dreamt to see back then and how we looked at rental apartments while there because we were convinced we’d found our dream city. Only we were too broke to make that happen.

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Marriage isn’t easy but what relationship is? There are none without compromise, tears, joy, heartbreak and smiles that extend ear-to-ear. It’s impossible to have a perfect life with someone, but it’s entirely possible to have a happy life . Happy doesn’t mean trouble-free. Life is hard and sometimes we grow together and other months, we drift apart. But we come together again. And we just keep going. One thing I’ve learned with my marriage is that the growing apart at times doesn’t mean it’s over. It only means that you have to keep walking ahead until your paths converge again. Humans evolve. We aren’t going to be the same people we were when we got married. When I read articles about how couples “grew apart” I often wonder what they went into marriage expecting. That they’d always be the same and want the same things and just follow protocol forever?

To think of where we are today, and that we have a child now on our journey with us, is mind-blowing and beautiful. It’s also hard to grasp that 13 years have passed because it seems like we’ve been together my entire life while it also feels like yesterday that we met online in a public forum where I was writing back and forth to a woman on the topic of masculinity vs. femininity and female objectification. And to think that a topic like that piqued the interest of a German journalist and computer science genius living thousands of miles away is just a riot. I remember back then (1998) I confessed to my mother that I was dating a man on the internet that I hadn’t met in person yet and the first thing she said was, “How do you know he isn’t a serial killer or rapist?”, because back then that was what most people thought when they heard about online dating. We wrote back and forth for nearly a year before we met for the first time and we were engaged within two weeks. That was 15 years ago in the Autumn of 1999. Then we were married in 2001.

Writing online has brought me uncounted blessings like a beautiful marriage and a glowing career. No serial killers mom!

Today my husband sent me gorgeous flowers that I’m holding above. And champagne that I’ll be holding in my tummy later on after the baby is snoozing. He also gave me the most beautiful ring to symbolize the birth of our son. I burst into tears the moment I opened the little black box with the exact same gold lettering on it that he gave me holding my engagement ring many years ago.

Thank you Thorsten for living with me, putting up with me, loving me and always being so loyal and caring. And for being the most wonderful daddy to little Aidan. I loved you from the first time we talked on the phone for 5 hours back in 1998 and I’ll love you forever + ever. Happy Anniversary my love.

(photo: thorsten becker)

Posted in uncategorized on July 14, 2014

Liberty Heritage Fabrics

You know how something comes out and you’re like, “Oh yeah, I want that NOW”, but then you think that maybe you should wait a bit because it’s expensive and you fear that in 6-12 months time you just won’t be into it the same. And then you wait and you’re all like, “Yeah I still love it” (6 months later), or “What, huh? Oh yeah, that… Sooo NOT interesting anymore”. Well when it comes to Liberty Fabrics for sewing, I’ve always had a mega love affair. Their interiors fabrics though, particularly those out since last Fall, I wasn’t so sure I’d be into them down the road. But yeah, I’m still positively smitten by Liberty Heritage Fabrics for interiors, particularly the Jubilee and Nesfield collection, so I have to share a few fave looks below with you today. Just look at these rich, moody and well, decadent fabrics (there is wallpaper too! Swoon!). I’d love to work on an interiors project incorporating these beauties. Perhaps my own home? I have some ideas…

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These prints (especially the photo of the cushion on the white chair above) makes me want to make seat cushions for my white Eames Eiffel chairs for my dining room, and to trim out some linen drapes for my living room, and yes, to maybe make roman blinds (or have them made) for our bedroom. That would be super lux. Now to just find a huge wad of cash laying around so I can throw my money into these projects because the fabric alone would be an investment. And I have an object of desire long on my list: a cozy chair covered in Liberty fabric. Would that not be truly grand? Perhaps once Aidan is older and can understand that no, he cannot jump on mommy’s sacred most holy chair.

Aren’t these prints just the cat’s meoooooow though? Oh my god yes. YES! YES! I’m feeling a Meg Ryan/When Harry Met Sally moment coming on here…

(images: liberty london)

Posted in uncategorized on June 26, 2014

Catching Up: Being a New Mom

Hello everyone! How are you? I’m rarely at my computer these days, thankfully my iPhone keeps me very well connected to all of you and your going-ons so that’s a good thing. I’m not only busy as a new mom but I’m working on pitches for new books since I have a meeting with my publisher soon and I want to wow her with great ideas! More than that, I want to wow myself because I can’t do anything in which I have no genuine passion for. Are ya feelin’ me here?

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I can’t perform for others without it being a genuine expression; I never could. I have to please myself first and then the projects I take on have more meaning and weight to me and then they seem to do really well and others respond to them too. When I lack all of that, stuff just feels odd and disconnected – which is never good for me personally.  Being a new mom has given me a clearer understanding of self and others, my purpose, and where I want to go career-wise and with my family. I wouldn’t say I’ve become totally clear as I believe clarity is fleeting – what seems clear today can be hazy tomorrow depending on a million different things but I do think that new responsibilities in life can, at first be complex and present challenges but then after you’ve gotten into your new groove those responsibilities can mean even better things for your life overall. Before having a baby, I was beating to my own drum and had all of the time in the world and could do as I please, when I wanted to. With that also came a sense of, “What does all this mean ultimately?”. Sure I have achieved a lot professionally but how about having the best of both worlds, a happy career and a happy family life with a baby who wraps his hands around my neck and coos as he smiles, drools on me and looks into my eyes with utter joy.

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To add to this, and wow this is really personal but I need to tell you about it… A week before giving birth I was out with my husband walking to a fave restaurant and he could sense I was stressed about  labor and birth but also about other things that I won’t detail but we’ll call it “stuff” – that which we all have that seems to creep out of the closet right before your life is about to change (wedding, childbirth, relocation, new job, etc.). My husband was listening as I rambled about this “stuff” and suddenly he stopped on the sidewalk, grabbed my shoulders, looked deep into my eyes and said, “Holly you deserve to have what everyone else has. You DESERVE it, you deserve to be a mother and have a chance to have a baby”. Tears immediately flowed down my cheeks as I held him and after that, my anxiety over the “stuff” ended. In fact, being a mother came so naturally because that wall was removed and my good energy could flow into my new life with a baby which resulted in feeling happier than I’ve ever been before.

Everything has come full circle but thing is, I’m ready to make more circles! I once thought in life that we had one puzzle to put together, one circle to complete, but now I’ve realized we can reinvent ourselves, change things we don’t like, add to what we love, and make many puzzles and many circles so once one feels complete we can move to the next. This gives me a sense of freedom. Things feel lighter in my heart now that I’ve realized that options are limitless when you stop thinking you have to be complete as a person or complete some big, profound circle. Complete to me equals THE END. So I’ve accepted the evolution of my life as being composed of many circles and I will continue to make them and complete them and move on. And on. And on. Life is much calmer again that Aidan is four months old – he has his routine (to a degree), we are learning ours (!) and it’s slowly all coming together. And I’m making a new circle with him and my new role.

Living as a childless couple for so long made me a bit self-centered, which I didn’t see until I had a little one. I’m learning the gift of giving again in a very selfless way along with patience and how valuable what I do with my son really is to him – the most tiny things – and how he looks to me for love and care and how much joy I reap from providing these things. I often wonder how long it takes the average first-time mother to get into the groove with a baby but I guess it depends on the baby, doesn’t it? I quickly adjusted to having him around and had everything pretty pulled together right away, which I thought was a miracle – but then it all sort of fell apart after I got on a new birth control pill around the 9th week of his life. My hormones went wacko bonkers and I wanted to sleep constantly – I even felt asleep though I was awake. I thought I may be depressed but the doctor said I wasn’t – no way – that this was a side effect of the pill that she put me on and that it would lift over time.

I finally pushed through it and now things have stabilized naturally – but man, I was starting to wonder if I’d be tired FOREVER and WHERE WAS MY PERSONALITY HIDING?! From week 9 to week 15 I was a hot hormonal mess – damn birth control! I’m glad THAT is over. It feels good to be ME again which means now I’m starting to revisit home decorating projects, my blog, future books, joining some fitness classes, hiring a good nutritionist, planning a Fall book tour here in Europe with Leslie, maybe a Spring one next year in America (YES!), teaching a local workshop, etc. It’s a NICE feeling to have HOLLY back again. And to be able to hold my head up for more than an hour without it crashing to the table. ;) So for those who have been asking… This is what being a new mom has been like so far. I’m doing really good! But it’s definitely been a MAJOR life change. I must add though that it has been only for the better.

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Also, on the work front I’m happy to report that our book, Decorate With Flowers (UK) (US) (DE), is doing great and that on September 17th we’ll be in London (Leslie and I) to have a party at Anthropologie to launch the book (our Canadian launch party photos at The Cross are shown here). We’re so happy! We’ll also be doing a little European tour – but only a few cities, nothing crazy because my boy is still just a little one and I want to spend as much time with him as I can during his first year and even into his second year… I didn’t have a baby to put him on the back burner though I definitely still must work not only for the financial reasons but for the emotional ones – I get so much joy out of my work that I can’t imagine NOT doing what I do.

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 (photos: outtakes from Decorate With Flowers photographed by Leslie Shewring and Janis Nicolay. Shown in photos, Leslie Shewring and Jessy Senti on location in Vancouver at the home of Kate Horsman)

Posted in uncategorized on June 11, 2014

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