Hello friends, was your weekend and father’s day a good one? I never enjoyed father’s day (my dad left when I was 17, got remarried and wanted nothing to do with me since his energy was with his “new” family – go figure)… But better late than never because I FINALLY enjoyed it for the first time in my life yesterday when we had a sweet family party at our home. It wasn’t father’s day here in Germany, but I still wanted to do a little something to somehow break the negativity I’d always felt to honor my husband, a brand new father – and it worked! We had guests! We ate cake! We enjoyed it! That was a pretty fantastic little dream come true. The negative father’s day ghost vanished for good and now there will be only joy on f’s day going forward. You have to break bad patterns, don’t you?
Not sure if you follow me on Instagram but if you do, please check out my photos from our party and our happy little baby Aidan. I also posted photos from the fun outdoor markets that I attended this weekend along with a very special ring that I bought from jewelry designer Ilka Bruse.
SO! Let’s talk about gallery walls of wonderful art. First, it’s what I’m currently working on in my home. I have a few spots planned to create little galleries. Well, one will be quite extensive and most likely be in my office. That is the one that I’m working with Minted on. I can’t wait to show you what we’re doing! The other gallery wall will be centered around this print by Max Wanger from Framed and Matted.
For the Minted wall, I’m looking at this art as options if I go for a more natural look. Which I’m leaning towards. But I need shots of color… Because this feels a little weak.
Maybe adding some of these to it could perk up the arrangement…
And I know these don’t really relate, but I like them…
Yet I feel something is missing… like I need some crazy cool contrast-y stuff t to mix things up and add a little heat. And for framing, I’m thinking to do most of them in white but add a few in color just for fun… I plan to mix in some of my original paintings from Jennifer Davis that I’ve been collecting for the past 8 years along with a few three dimensional objects too – like an old key that I love, a porcelain painting, a wee little painting by Lisa Occhipinti, etc. I think adding some typography would be good too – to add some variety – plus who doesn’t love a good quote? STRANGELY… I also want a few photographs – like fashion stuff. Maybe one of Kate Moss? That definitely can spice up the arrangement.
So that’s what I’m up to on the decorating scene around here at the moment. Are you decorating in your home? If so, what are you up to? And do you have any art wall suggestions for me based on what I’ve shown above?
If you follow me on Pinterest, you may be curious as to why I’ve been madly pinning to my “Inspirations For Joss & Main” pinboard. Well… I’ve been selected to host a curated Joss & Main event on their site from July 8-15 and I’m feeding them imagery that inspires me at the moment, including colorways I’m really into, so that they can work their magic and pull together a sale full of items that decor8 readers will love. They’re using these images as their jumping off point…
I’ve not dome anything like this before so I’m curious to see how it goes. Also, the sale on their site in July will be a paid gig for me which helps with a new baby in the house plus I totally wanted to experiment a little with other revenue opps since I’m accepting less advertisers on decor8 because I want the best ads on my site going forward. I’ve grown tired of seeing billons of ads on blogs and I just want decor8 to have less than 10 at a time and eventually, my goal is to have less than 5 – then I can really hand pick them and work with my advertisers in creative ways. I’m branching out and moving things forward. Plus, I like to try new stuff and am open to partnering with companies that I believe in so I thought I’d give this Joss & Main thing a go-go. I honestly didn’t follow Joss & Main until they reached out to me, but after checking out their site and what they do, I think it could be a good partnership and since it’s only for a week I really have nothing to lose so why not?
Three above: the design files
Above are just some of my inspirations for Joss & Main. I thought they may inspire you too. To see more, visit my pinterest board HERE. (Images: linked above. Note: This post is NOT sponsored or paid for or anything sneaky.)
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?
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.
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.
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.
Would you like to try some Ricotta Pancakes with Passionfruit Syrup? Hello, everyone, its Jillian with another Delicious Bites column for decor8. Normally I write from Sydney but this month I’m writing from Europe, currently Paris, where I’m on vacation. I’ve been eating a pastry a day, purely as research for Delicious Bites of course (wink).
Do you like pancakes? Yes, of course you do! I’ve always loved pancakes yet I don’t make them that often. Blueberry pancakes are my favourite closely followed by ricotta pancakes. Ricotta cheese is one of my all time favourite ingredients. I use it all the time as a spread and in some of my favourite pasta dishes. I’ve even tried making ricotta at home just to see if I could. I mainly use ricotta in savoury dishes but this time I’m using it as the main ingredient in these light and fluffy pancakes.
This pancake recipe was inspired by Aussie cook and restaurateur, Bill Granger. I have one of Bill’s cookbooks at home and the recipes are easy to follow and taste great. Bill is famous for his ricotta hotcakes with honey comb butter and this is my take on his classic dish. Instead of honeycomb butter, I topped the hotcakes with labne and sliced banana then drizzled over some passionfruit syrup. If passionfruit are hard to source, honey or maple syrup would work well or any other of your favourite pancake toppings. These pancakes are at their best when freshly made. They still taste great when reheated but they do lose their fluffiness. Here’s the recipe for you.
Ricotta hotcakes with passionfruit syrup
(Makes 15 hotcakes)
1 cup self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
Two 20 ml tbs caster sugar
1 tsp grated lemon rind
4 eggs, separated
250 g (8 oz) ricotta cheese
1 cup milk or buttermilk
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. Stir in the sugar and lemon rind. Gently mix in the egg yolks, the ricotta cheese and the milk. In a large clean dry bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites through the batter. Grease a small non stick pan and place over a medium heat. When the pan is hot, spoon in a few tablespoons of the mixture just enough to cover the pan. When bubbles form on the surface and the undersurface is golden brown, it’s time to flip the hotcake over and cook the other side. I like to lightly grease the pan in between each hotcake, to prevent them sticking. Once cooked, keep the pancakes warm.
½ cup sugar
¼ cup water
¼ cup lemon juice
2 passionfruit, pulped
In a small saucepan combine the sugar, water and the juice. Bring to the boil and lower the heat. Simmer the mixture for a few minutes. Gently stir in the passionfruit pulp and simmer for a further minute. Remove from the heat. Serve hot or cold. If the syrup gets too thick as it cools, just dilute it with a little hot water.
I really hope you get the chance to make these as they are just delicious. See you all again next month with another Delicious Bites post, – Jillian.
(text/images by jillian leiboff)