Okay so here we are, a new week, how are you feeling about that? Energized? Not motivated? I’m a little of both because the lingering gray weather has made January and February super duper depressing. Blizzards, ice, tons of snow – totally fine by me – but wow, gray dark days with no sunlight for weeks and weeks?! How can the sun be so naughty? Why is he playing mean games? Not nice, sun! I will stop complaining now. It serves no good purpose but it is sometimes a little fun, right?
Let’s talk about me first, then you. I know, I know, me first. :) Yes so what I am doing? I ask myself this a lot lately because I am always doing so many little things and sometimes I wonder if all of the little projects add up and then I pause and say, Yes they do because well, they really do. Each little number is contributing to a combined total – the goal. For instance, today I am writing two articles, one for the beautiful Sweet Paul magazine (on decorating) and another for the inspirational new business magazine, Where Women Creates Business (on blogging). I’m also writing out my course materials for the upcoming Blog Boss e-class that kicks off March 1st! We have an amazing group of students and teachers for this class so I’m even more eager to get started with teaching. I always get nervous before school starts because I want to be the super cool teacher that all of the students love but I get a bit of stage fright! You’d think that after teaching for so many years both on and offline that I’d be super chill about it but nope, I’m shaky at my knees before the first day. As soon as day one begins though, I shoot off like a rocket and am absolutely comfortable.
I often wish this stage fright would disappear as I get older but it likes to stick around. I think it comes from always wanted to do my best and make people feel happy. I like to create Tiggers. Do you know who Tigger is? The fictional tiger in Winnie The Pooh? I want my students to have invisible springs on their feet for the four weeks that they spend in our virtual classroom – bouncy, smiling, happy, energized and full of absolute glee because they are doing something great for themselves.
On top of work stuff there is also play stuff. I’m enjoying a new crochet class that I’ve just started (next I will learn knitting) at Stricklounge, so now everything in magazines like Mollie Makes is finally starting to make sense to me. I sew already, but when it comes to needlepoint, crochet, knitting, etc. I’m helpless yet determined to change that, so it is time to learn new stuff. I want to learn how to make the pretty project from Emma Lamb (she is so talented) in the most recent issue, have you seen it yet? I am calling 2013 my Learning Year because I will take a ton of classes and throw myself into really deep water because I have this craving to learn. I am also learning more about making videos and considering how I will apply this newfound hobby to my business. Hmmmm.I do not want to allow myself to have this comfort career. I need challenge.
Now it’s your turn. What are YOU doing?
(images: holly becker for decor8)
I thought I’d do a FLASH giveaway because I mentioned somewhere earlier this month that when I announced my upcoming e-course, Blog Boss, that I’d include a giveaway and I want to honor that! Irene already gave away one seat on her blog (the winner was Sonia Barrigas) and I found a winner for the mini contest I ran using Pinterest for my #bloghug hashtag party (Winner is: Jeanetta Gonzales), BUT I still want to giveaway THREE more seats! SO! Here goes!
Enter to win one of three seats in the March 1-29, 2013 BLOG BOSS e-course. Enter to win by tweeting (or posting on Facebook) the following to help me spread the word, “Have You Heard About the new Blog Boss e-course!? http://decor8eclasses #blogboss”.
AND COMMENT below with a reason why you think BLOG BOSS would help you and your blog.
That’s it! If you do both of those things then you are officially entered and I’ll randomly choose a winner on February 25 (at noon GMT+1 time) and the THREE winners will be announced on decor8 on the same day. The winners will be notified by email. If you cannot take the class, you are not allowed to sell your spot or give it to another else outside of your family, so please do not register to win if you can’t take the class. These winning seats are ONLY for Blog Boss and cannot be transferred to future e-courses.
NOTE: If you’ve already registered and paid for Blog Boss, you will be reimbursed your tuition if you win this contest.
(photo: holly becker for decor8)
Bloggers fasten your seat belts! I’m SO EXCITED to offer you a chance to get involved in an all-new e-course called BLOG BOSS that I’ll teach in March along with my blogging friends Irene from Bloesem and Stefanie from OhhhMhhhh. We can’t wait to work with students on becoming their very own blog boss because we each have made a business out of our passions and want to share everything – tips and insider’s ideas – openly and freely for four weeks of podcasts, videos, webcasts and written materials along with a private student-only forum where you can connect with us and other bloggers around the world. This class will be your big turning point, I’m sure!
I know that you are very familiar with my work if you are regulars here, but I must highlight the qualifications of my two co-teachers because they are super amazing and inspirational to me personally and I’m so happy they’ll be a BIG part of this class. But first, here are the topics we’re covering in the March class below which runs from March 1-29.
BLOG BOSS Topics:
* BLOGGING FOR BUSINESS: From taxes to business etiquette and business planning for your blog
* HOW TO be the EDITOR IN CHIEF of your blog – Taking a magazine approach to content
* TEAMING UP with others and how this can work for YOU
* WORKING FROM HOME – pros and cons and how we do it
* HOW TO Analyze and Critique YOUR BLOG like a magazine staff does
* HOW NOT to be a copycat – WAYS to DEVELOP FRESH ideas that NO ONE ELSE has
* HOW TO deal with copycats, content theft, and other naughty people
* HOW TO FIND AN ANGLE (even if you are on the road with 100 bloggers): 5 story ideas that WORK
* PINTEREST tips and tricks
* BLOGGING TRENDS that we predict
* HOSTING 101: Meet ups, events, workshops and more!
* Overcoming BLOG ENVY
* Work Life Balance as a mom, wife, etc.
* The importance of PLANNING
* SMALL INVESTMENTS that can make a BIG difference
* STAYING TRUE to your style
* Learn how to FOCUS on what you CAN achieve
* BLOG Etiquette online and how to deal with people who have none!
* Going from Blogger to Book Author
* The Importance of your BIO
* WHAT EVERY Blog needs on their main page
* Blog Case Studies: Blogs That Rock and WHY
More details can be found here, but wow, doesn’t this look great? Even for me because I know I’ll learn new things from all of you and our co-teachers.
We nearly sold out after I announced this class on Facebook recently but I had to make sure I told you asap because I know so many of you who are blogging and in need of ideas and encouragement and whoa, the classes I teach online are always jam-packed with everything you need to fuel your blog and even your life in general. I’ve been teaching online since March 2009 long before e-learning became the trend, and to date I’ve taught over 5,000 students and have invited several lovely bloggers to teach alongside of me. This is the FIRST time though that I thought to create a course all about managing your blog and your life in general. Bloggers ALWAYS ask me how I do it all and if I ever sleep but I actually have a life outside of work and I sleep plenty! I realized that what you really want to know is how I organize my time so I can accomplish so many things at once. I will answer that and much, MUCH more in this class.
Thank you so much for listening to this infomercial (!) but seriously you guys, I’m very happy to be teaching this class and can’t wait to meet you in class so if you want to be part of the fun and learn a ton you can register HERE – but please do so soon because I’ll be closing registration next week!
(images: holly becker)
Hello everyone! How are you doing? I’ve been busy this week – I’m learning how to crochet and knit and so far, I’m quite bad at crochet so I’ve been practicing a lot! I’ve also been busy with my film theory and video making class (2 classes this week) and working on some side projects for my upcoming trip to London. I’ve missed you so much that today I thought I’d make up for my brief absence and continue with my series of personal snapshots highlighting the homes of the lovely people found in my latest book, Decorate Workshop.
Today I’m chatting with Sania Pell (her cute feet are shown above!), an interior stylist (and blogger) who works mainly on photo shoots for magazines such as Elle Decoration UK and for commercial companies like Cox & Cox and Waitrose. Sania is also the author of two beautiful craft books (I own both and love them!) and yet with all of her professional accomplishments she still finds time to blog her beautiful craft projects and other inspirations. Sania is a mother of two and lives in West London with her husband, graphic designer and creative director Mark Wilson from MWA Design, in a very sweet terraced house built around 1900. Today, Miss Sania will share some snapshots of her home along with other favorite things. Would you like to listen in on our chat?
Hi! Let’s jump right in shall we and talk first about London! What is your favorite thing about living there?
Sania: There is so much to do and see, inspiration is all around you and you feel you are in the middle of it all. There is always an exhibition to visit, a new shop to see or restaurant to try. There are also many fantastic open green spaces in London – parks, the river, Kew gardens – that means you can step out of the urban landscape whenever you need to.
What are 5 of your favorite shops in London?
Sania: Liberty (a favourite since I was a school girl!), Mint (interiors), Tracey Neuls (shoes), Ally Capellino (handbags), VV Rouleaux (Ribbons and haberdashery).
Speaking of Liberty, I spot a candle that I have in my home from Liberty that you also have…
Sania: I love the industrial quality of the Le Labo candle against the softness of the ceramics. In my home I have areas of interest and then areas of calm. The mantlepiece above the fire in my living room is an area where I gather and collect groupings of things I love. This photo shows a collection of handmade ceramics and a vintage glass bottle I have collected over the years at craft fairs, shows and antique shops. I made the little wired button garland that hangs around one and in the reflection is a lampshade I embellished with hanging, spray-painted keys. The orchids add a welcome splash of colour and the dried hydrangea lends a beautiful soft colour.
What is your passion and what inspires you?
Sania: I suppose my passion is just being visually creative, in all its forms whether styling, making, painting… I love taking photographs to document the things I see all around me. As a creative, visiting new places – whether it is a foreign city or an undiscovered little shop close to home –is always inspiring.
You are also passionate about detail. Can you tell us about the objects above?
Sania: Yes, this is on top of a large, old haberdashery unit we use in the kitchen corner to store the children’s toys and art materials. I love the pages of old books, how they vary in colour and texture. They also add height to a display. The jar to the left was given to me by a friend, the idea behind it is to place good things scribbled on scraps of paper, folded and placed into the jar to open and read out at the end of the year. It was a slow start to the year, but we now have quite a few folded good things in the jar. The little fluorescent flower display was painted and shot for my blog as an idea. The doll was a project I made for my latest book and she was the angel on top of our christmas tree and has remained out on display. I have recently started painting again and this is one of my paintings. Succulents are one of my favourite plants and the helebores are picked from the garden and are one of my favourite flowers, especially at this time of year when there is very little else flowering in my garden. I also use them in my window boxes with succulents.
Can you show us where a majority of your books are stored in your home? I ask because this is one of my favorite spots in your house!
Sania: This is the main bookshelf in my living room (shown below) and I recently shuffled furniture around to create a reading nook. The bookshelves originally held more ornaments than they do now, ornaments being replaced by books as we acquire more and more books, They’ve now become an ever-changing part of the room’s decoration – loosely organised by the colour of their spines. The 1960′s Eames chair was bought at a flea market in New York about 15 years ago, we saw it loved it and bought it. For the journey home to London, we removed the legs and swathed it all in bubble wrap like a giant padded ball. It rolled out of the luggage carousel and bounced straight across the floor, luckily undamaged! I found the lamp at my local car boot sale (flea market) for just a few pounds. I wasn’t entirely sure if I liked it or not, but as it was not expensive so worth the risk. As soon as I put it in a corner of my home with a new lime green silk shade on top, I loved it.
What do you love about interiors books in general?
Sania: I love the fact that by collecting them they become part of your own interior. Looking through them you see new ideas every time and they have a longevity that magazines and blogs don’t have.
Let’s talk a bit more about books. Can you give us a mini review of Decorate Workshop?
Sania: It is a treasury packed full of exciting visual reference to inspire anyone who needs a point in the right direction. It is also practical with guidance and advice to help the reader through every step of a decorating project. I also liked getting an insight into your home too! I love that the little gifts I’ve made for you over the years pop up in a few of the photos in your home, it is lovely to see them in situ!
What is one of your favorite photos of your home that Debi took and what stood out about Debi Treloar and I working in your home?
Sania: My favourites photos are of my children’s bedrooms on the left hand side of page 133. As I’ve known you for a few years now, and I also knew Debi through work in London, it is more like friends taking photos of your house than ‘work’. It was a very relaxed shoot, friendly and chatty, whist still concentrating on the job. It was fun!
Tell us about your favorite blogs and magazines…
Sania: I’ve always loved magazines. I get Elle Decoration, World of Interiors and Vogue on subscription and usually buy lots of others each month, especially more niche, trend titles like Bloom which is another favourite. Blogs offer spontaneity, where ideas can be posted almost immediately (unlike magazines where you can be working several months ahead and books a year or more). Some of my favourites are food and fashion blogs, such as Roost, What Katie Ate and The Sartorialist.
Are their specific qualities about blogs, magazines and books that seem to stand out for you the most?
Sania: I like the fact that glossy magazines are aspirational, they push boundaries and show items that would not be seen often in everyday life. I like personal blogs where you feel like you’re really hearing from that person, whether it’s through their words or images. I also look at more editorial blogs as they are useful for industry news on a daily basis. Books can be reference tools as well as treasured possessions, there on your bookshelf forever.
Before we wrap up, can you show us some more corners of your home that you love and tell us a little about each?
Sania: Of course! This is the view I wake up to in my bedroom (below). The drawer unit was bought at an antique shop and was once used for storing greetings cards in a shop. The lamp was a project I made for a story I shot 10 years ago and behind it is another of my recent paintings. The collection of ceramics has built up over the years, birthday gifts and purchases at art and craft fairs.
And what about this pretty shelf below?
Sania: This is another section of my bedroom shelf… The print is by one of my favourite artists Craigie Aitchison, and one of my most treasured possessions.
Can you share some detailed shots from your work room that make your heart happy?
Sania: Of course. The next four images are of shelves in my studio. I enjoy being surrounded by little pieces of inspiration I find it helps having a few props on display, reminders to use them rather than tidied up in cupboards. There are also books and folders on my shelves too. The bottles with paper tied around them are ones that I made as a project in my first book. The vintage box (with bird illustration) belonged to my grandmother, as did the little floral pot. My grandmother was a hoarder and thanks to her I have the most wonderful collection of interesting bits and bobs. The hair clip was my mother’s. The patterned boxes serve as storage for small beads and made items.
I love those shelves in your craft corner, I couldn’t stop touching everything when I was there last. Can you show us more?
Sania: Yes! I just adore the faded colours of these vintage threads and the button board in the background is a personal favourite that I could not resist and bought at a vintage fashion fair in London.
I’m curious – who is in the photo tacked to the wall below?
Sania: It is of my mum when she was little and the thimbles are from my grandmother, the rest I have collected over the years.
Okay… One final snapshot from your home. Tell us about these boxes in your craft room, please! So pretty!
Sania: These old tin boxes are fantastic storage vessels. I can’t always remember what I have squirelled away in them though, so it’s always a pleasant surprise opening them and rediscovering the contents.
It was such a pleasure chatting with you today Sania! Readers – if you have any questions for Sania, please ask her in the comments section below. Thank you!
(images: sania pell)
Today is Valentine’s Day but for many, it’s not a day of love and happiness but a total drag. I was never a fan of V day for this reason – it simply isn’t fair to those who haven’t found their valentine (yet). And big deal if you have a true love in your life or not, right? Having someone on your arm doesn’t define who YOU are. For this reason, I want to dedicate this post to all of my readers – those who have a valentine today and those who are simply thinking, “I really need a lot of cocktails to get through this”. I want to let you know that you are loved SO MUCH. Someone out there, if not many someones, love you loads and loads appreciate having you in their life. Like me.
I have some friends going through some pretty rough divorces currently and today isn’t their favorite holiday and some of them are going out and partying with their girlfriends (YES! Do it!) and others are simply at home feeling like something is wrong with them because they lost their marriage. Don’t assume that everyone partnered is getting roses and chocolates and having hot sex tonight. Honestly, I’m married and I’m cooking lasagna and having over my mother-in-law and her 60+ year old friends over for dinner and a piano concert afterwards. Nothing hot or Fifty Shades about that.
So anyway, a big hug to ALL OF YOU. You rock. You are loved. And I’ll see you tomorrow for some lovely posts and some really good news too!