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Jessica Pezalla of Bramble Workshop

There are some stores that you walk by or go into with the most captivating visual displays… You know the ones — they make your jaw drop every time! One store that always has the most amazing displays is Anthropologie. I will be visiting the London Anthro next week again and can’t wait to see how everything is displayed. For me, part of the fun of shopping at retail spaces these days is what kind of inspiration they can provide that takes me away from ordering online and gets me into their store. I would much rather shop Anthro in person than online, for instance. There is magic in a store like that.

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Of course, not only Anthro does a great job with their visual displays, many smaller privately owned stores like The Cross Design in Vancouver make visual magic too. Thing is, big retailers get all of the credit for their beauty when really, there are people behind all of that who are working very hard and rarely known. Take LA-based artist and designer Jessica Pezalla. She has a background in fine art and a MFA in sculpture.

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After college, she started working at Anthro in California as a display artist and today, she she runs her own studio called Bramble Workshop where she creates custom installations for events and interiors for such clients as Ella Moss, ban.do and Hermès and she works with some of my favorite bloggers on projects like Joy from Oh Joy! and Bri of Design Love Fest. You can see a clever installation that she put together for Joy’s creative studio above and learn about the entire process from their first meeting onward here on the Bramble Workshop blog.

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I love how creative Jessica is – she uses every material imaginable and seems quite fearless as she explores new things. From paper flowers to feathers, hand-dyed placemats to chandeliers and woven leather stools – her talent knows no boundaries and I love it! I imagine working with someone like Jessica would be a dream. I often dream of working around creative people regularly instead of only when I work on my books… I love collaborating with others and dreaming up and executing creative projects. I often feel like I’m the only one with all of the ideas and sometimes I want others to come up with stuff too so I’m challenged. I need more creative people in my daily life – not just online! Do you often feel this way too?

Jessica – I love your work, your projects, it’s all just amazing. Keep inspiring us!

(images: bramble workshop)

Posted in Arts + Crafts on May 14, 2014

What Do Babies Play With?

Okay you guys I have a baby question. Our little guy is 3 months old and he is now more independent and enjoys playing on his own. This is great because we can grab a sandwich, answer the doorbell or take a phone call without him freaking out, squirming and totally melting down. PROGRESS. But. I did something I thought I’d never do and bought a play mat that is obnoxiously colorful, loud, silky, shiny, plastic and well, just NOT pretty. The designer in me is going a little nuts having it sitting in the middle of the living room.

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And the stupid thing is not even “correct” because what rainforest has elephants and zebras? Thing is, Aidan got on that damn play mat and BOOM! I turned on the music and lights and he was silent. He stared upwards as the plastic animals dangled all around putting him into a baby trance. The hypnotic music played (the same music I now hear every second of the day even when it’s off) and sent him into baby lalaland. Oh yes, it was SHOWTIME and now he loves the mat. His eyes glowed like two bright stars – it was love at first sight. How can I deny him of THAT?

So I’m embracing the whole ugly plastic mainstream toy thing. Well okay, that’s a lie because I’m not embracing it. I’m tolerating it. The above monstrosity is the Fisher-Price Rainforest Gym and he is happy as a clam underneath it and well, that’s enough for me. When people come over to hang out, I sort of push it behind something because I never wanted to be that couple with a house that is littered with primary color toys that clang, bang and light up but I fear it WILL HAPPEN though I’m going to limit the number with hopes that I can maintain a stylish home while also maintaining a very happy baby boy.

Yeah. In my dreams you say.

Some of you may think it’s selfish to think about things like how my house looks, but I care not to please others but to please myself. I don’t want my home to look like Toys R Us. Can anyone relate?

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So what do babies play with other than these play mat things? We have other little “toys” in the form of rattles and crunchy things and soft blocks. I sing to him a lot. We do tummy time. I know what to do to snap him out of his grumpy time and make him giggle. But he cannot sit upright and I can only make so many crazy faces and sing out of key for so long in a single day. What keeps your baby happy, interested and but is also educational or at least fun and not going to send him to a therapist someday?

I know lots of you will want to jump through the screen and beat me up for this but we’ve watched two episodes of Wallykazam online and HE LOVED IT. I think maybe one episode a week is cool. Is that okay though? I mean, watching an educational cartoon at 13 weeks old won’t fry his brain will it?

Chime in you guys!

(image: holly becker)

Posted in baby, kids on May 13, 2014

Our Book Party Photos From Vancouver

Hello everyone! I’m just thrilled to share our book party photos from our first book party for Decorate With Flowers held in Vancouver this past Friday. It was hosted by the super gorgeous interior design store, The Cross who helped us so much on our shoots loaning us props for our book. Lovely Leslie Shewring, the author, was on the scene signing books and making flower arrangements for guests to purchase and take away. It was such a gorgeous event that I had to share it with you because we are both so proud! thecross11

All of these photos were shot by Vancouver-based photographer Janis Nicolay? She photographed most of the Canadian interiors in our book. Naturally, she had to be at the book party to share in the fun of the evening. We were so thrilled when she offered to take some photos to capture the spirit of the event. I wish we could have her travel with us and shoot all of our events – she is one of the best photographers out there - I love her eye and style.

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The lady in the middle has her home in our book, her name is Kate Horsman. The stunning woman to her right is her mom and to her left, her equally beautiful sister. What a gorgeous group. Thank you Kate for lending us your home to shoot in – we loved styling one of our entertainment shots in your dining room with your incredible white piano!

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This is Leslie with Megan Close (The Media Relations Manager for The Cross) and Stephanie Vogler (owner of The Cross). These ladies went above and beyond for our book and for this event – we are honored! Thank you so much.

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Leslie with one of the professional photographers who helped shoot Decorate With Flowers, the talented Janis Nicolay, who also writes Pinecone Camp. We love you Janis!

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Leslie shown above with some of our guests, fans who love Decorate With Flowers and Leslie’s blog. I wish I could have been there but soon when my baby Aidan is older, I can start traveling to some of the upcoming events we have in the pipeline. Thank you again to The Cross for this beyond beautiful event that you hosted for us and for selling out of all of our books! Yay!

Our next flower party is in the plans in North America and also in the UK and Europe, but we still need to finalize everything. When we do, I’ll post our events on decor8 so you possibly may join us. To learn more about our new book, please visit our Decorate With Flowers website which is loaded with gorgeous photos for you to use on your blog and to pin to your Pinterest page.

(photography: janis nicolay)

Posted in Books + Magazines, events + markets on May 12, 2014

Food In Motion: Strawberry-Layered Chocolate Cookies Recipe

Would you like to make some Strawberry-Layered Chocolate Cookies with me today? Hello, it’s Liz from Liz & Jewels with another episode of Food in Motion for decor8. I’ve been longing for strawberry season, and am SO happy it’s now on! My picky 4-year-old daughter happens to love them too, so we share a passion for the little sweet & red fruit. We started planting our own strawberry plants a few weeks ago in our greenhouse and it’s so much fun seeing how their pretty blossoms come out, then produce the fruit and turn into these delicous red berries. It’s even more fun to see my daughter’s eyes light up when she discovered the first berries. It was obvious we should bake something this time using our strawberries. I opted for an easy and child-friendly chocolate cookie recipe, filled with cream and strawberries and topped with a second cookie. These little delicious stacks were devoured in no time!

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While I was working on the little film, I was also negotiating with a girl in California named Taylor, wrapping up the deal that she would come visit us this summer to be our AuPair for two months. We were emailing and talking through our summer plans when she told me that she was also a musician and songwriter. I asked her if she would send me some of her music, and she sent me her song „home“! I listened to it and really liked Taylor’s music! The song fit in with the theme of my film perfectly because that is exactly what I felt filming my daughter in the greenhouse and baking with me. These small things make me feel ‘home’!

Strawberry-Layered Chocolate Cookies (makes 10)

1 cup of butter
1 cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
2 oz semi-sweet chocolate
whipping cream
strawberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, beat the butter and sift in the sugar and salt. Add flour, baking powder, vanilla extract and cocoa and mix with the electric mixer. Chop the chocolate into little pieces and add to the dough. Knead with hands, form a ball and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Roll it out to 1/6 inches thickness. Use a round cookie cutter (approx. 3 inches diameter) and cut dough into rounds. Transfer cookies to baking sheets, bake for 10-12 minutes and let cool.

Beat the cream into whip cream and put a dollop onto half of the cookies. Cut the strawberries in small pieces and place them on top of the cream. Assemble a second cookie on top, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

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What makes you feel ‘home’? Please feel free to comment below. – See you next month! – Liz

(images/text/video: Liz & Jewels)

Posted in food, Food In Motion on May 12, 2014

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