Round-ups

12 Dorm Room + Small Space Decorating Finds

August 8, 2016

If this post had a hashtag, it would be #dormgoals or #smallspacegoals because this is exactly how I see it – imagine going back to school and decorating your dorm or apartment with these 12 beautiful things!? And a big BY THE WAY…. I clearly remember the good old days of blogging when you’d post something like, “10 things I love from Urban Outfitters” and it wasn’t sponsored nor did UO give you a single product in exchange for the post. I miss those days because everything on blogs, and now even Instagram, is sponsored and it sort of makes me think that people don’t really blog anymore unless there is some kind of cash incentive in it or something where they can get a kick back.

Well, in honor of the good old days, this post (like most all of my posts) is not sponsored and I get nothing from it except that I hope you will pin stuff and share it and maybe you will like my finds. I want most of these things and I’m wayyyy past college years – especially the string clip lights – how cute and original. So… check out my 12 picks and see what you like…

12 Dorm Room + Small Space Decorating Finds
1. Firefly Clips String Lights, $20

12 Dorm Room + Small Space Decorating Finds
2. Rohini Daybed Cushion, $159 available in 5 colorways

12 Dorm Room + Small Space Decorating Finds

12 Dorm Room + Small Space Decorating Finds

12 Dorm Room + Small Space Decorating Finds

3. Mini refrigerator in three colorways, $149

12 Dorm Room + Small Space Decorating Finds

4. Polaroid Zip Mobile Phone Photo Printer, available in two colors, $130

12 Dorm Room + Small Space Decorating Finds

5. Large Wall Wire Grid, available in 2 colors, $129

12 Dorm Room + Small Space Decorating Finds
6. White Cord Globe String Lights, $28 + 20% off for a limited time

12 Dorm Room + Small Space Decorating Finds
7. Magical Thinking Pom-Fringe Duvet Cover, available in 2 colors and 3 sizes, $89-110

12 Dorm Room + Small Space Decorating Finds
8. White Marble Keyboard Cover, $12 (laptop cover is $30)

12 Dorm Room + Small Space Decorating Finds
9. Mini Instax Glitter Picture Frame, $6

12 Dorm Room + Small Space Decorating Finds
10. Magical Thinking Dye Streak (cotton) Shower Curtain, $39

12 Dorm Room + Small Space Decorating Finds
11. Paddywax Concrete Candle, $14 each

12 Dorm Room + Small Space Decorating Finds
12. Assembly Home Theia Hanging Planter, $32 each

Don’t you love these things? I do!!! Makes me want to go shopping. :)
#UOoncampus

(photography: Urban Outfitters)






Shooting Book Trailer Video + Hello

August 8, 2016

Hello dear readers, how are you today? I’ve been so eager to get back on the blog to really write again. My life has been so hectic between projects, book promotion and lining up events for book signings and parties (exciting!) and on top of it, the most important job of all – caring for my little son who turns 2.5 years old tomorrow! And he’s a handful but most of all, the most adorable and sweetest little person I’ve ever known.

Shooting Book Trailer Video + Hello

I have felt so happy to watch him grow and get to spend so much time with him as he hits milestones and flourishes. He understands and speaks English and German fluently, though something tells me his mother tongue is English as it seems to come most natural to him. He knows the alphabet, he sings lots of songs with me, he can count in both languages, he has excellent manners and is very friendly and loving to all whom he meets. Everyone tells me what a beautiful son I have and I must admit – they are right! Looking back on the time I’ve stayed at home with him since his birth is such a delight for me. We tried to get him into daycare but no schools have spots so I’ve just been splitting care with his papa and we are making it just fine. It’s not easy, but it’s also not easy to put him in school if we absolutely don’t have too. I freelance, I can work on weekends, at nights, and I do – to make it work.

We don’t have childcare yet, he is still home with us full-time, I’m a bit frayed at both ends some days… His schedule eats into my work day for sure, but I honestly can say that I don’t regret a moment that I’ve spent caring for him full-time.

This week, we begin interviewing for a nanny to care for him about 12-15 hours a week, it’s honestly all we can afford, right now – but it’s a start. Then, next year, he will go to kindergarten full-time at some point depending on when they let him enroll – and I’ll be back to working my full-time days just as before his arrival. It will be lovely on one side to have days to devote to my work and creative projects but I will miss him for sure. Yet, I know he’ll have fun with other children and his teachers and I also know he is ready for school because I can tell he doesn’t have anxiety anymore when we are not around – it naturally faded without any work on our side, so I think the moment I bring him (and leave him) at school, he will be exactly as I was when I was little – I waved bye to my mama and confidently strolled right in and loved school – I was ready and I feel he is too.

Apart from my child, last week was SO MUCH FUN but so busy on the work side. I had Koen here from Narratief, a film maker based near Rotterdam who specializes in videos for mainly weddings and events, and we worked together for two days to make a video for my upcoming book with Leslie, it’s called Decorate For a Party. It was my first video to organize, I had no clue or real understanding of the process, but Koen seemed to have no problem working on it and I’m willing to bet he will spin some goodness out of the time we spent working…

We did lots of filming on the street, in the forest, in some shops… And then spent a day in the home of my dear friend Tinna. It was fun and all came together so nicely. We laughed a lot on the first day but on the second day, we really got down to business and worked so hard. It was exhilarating though I was dead in the evening but very happy to have met all our goals.

I’m eager to see the video – he’s busily editing in in his studio all week and it will release next Monday so I’ll be sure to post it here along with my partial travel schedule so some of you can visit me on my European book tour and we can spend some nice time together. I hope to head over to America in late November, maybe New York and a few other cities, but we shall see – hope so!

I have some things to write about today but I first had to pop in to say hello and see how you are doing. Above are two photos that I took from the party Koen shot for our video to whet your appetite. It was such a fun day! I’ll be back in a flash to talk about a BIG TOPIC – it has to do with men and money! So stay tuned for that because I really need your advice.

xo
Holly

(Photography: Holly Becker)






Shop Tours

Shop Tour: Two Penny Blue

August 3, 2016

I love a good shop tour. This one comes out of Chicago and it’s called Two Penny Blue which began in 2010 in the attic of an old home outside of Boston. Founder, Marie Whitney, was on a mission to create an, “Incredible line of jackets and blazers with a social mission of educating girls around the world.” She worked on her project while her baby napped.

Shop Tour: Two Penny Blue

“The order was a tall one and the standards of excellence for the collection were exceedingly high and uncompromising – the fit needed to be perfect, the fabrics the finest in the world, the craftsmanship the best I’d ever seen, and the jackets modern classics. But hour by hour, day by day, sleepless night by sleepless night, the passion for the company only grew stronger and the dream of Two Penny Blue became a reality. In July, 2012 I launched our first collection of blazers on our website.” What an inspiring woman!

Shop Tour: Two Penny Blue

Today, her son is 7 years old and she has relocated and opened Two Penny Blue in Chicago and we get to see it today right here. I just love the interior design of this shop. So classy!

Shop Tour: Two Penny Blue

Shop Tour: Two Penny Blue

Shop Tour: Two Penny Blue

Shop Tour: Two Penny Blue

Shop Tour: Two Penny Blue

Shop Tour: Two Penny Blue

What do you think, do you love this shop too or what?

(Images with permission: Two Penny Blue)






Tabletop

Tabletop Ideas: Summer Florals + Bread Sticks Recipe

August 2, 2016

I don’t know about you dear readers, but at the end of July/beginning of August I love to be surrounded by luscious, rich colors and lush flowers! Plenty of those, please! You will find all kinds of roses in full bloom where I live and it is just wonderful to stroll along the flowering gardens and through the local market to check them out. For this month, let’s lay a summer table in shades of pink, red and apricot, sip on a berry-infused drink, munch on some bread sticks before lunch is served and enjoy a relaxing gathering with friends, what do you think?

Tabletop Ideas: Summer Florals + Bread Sticks Recipe

You might have noticed my preference for small bouquets on the dining table in columns past as they allow guests to see each other, which makes conversation much easier. This time I combined various types of roses with Milfoil, Hydrangea Annabelle and some sprigs of Mint.

When the weather is beautiful I do not want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen and so I prefer quick and easy recipes such as a Raspberry & Plum Secco! All you need is Prosecco, berries or suitable fruits of your choice, a little bit of syrup like raspberry, elderflower or blackcurrant and ice cubes. I also added some thyme and wooden sticks adorned with ribbon flags that I simply tied on.

Tabletop Ideas: Summer Florals + Bread Sticks Recipe

Below I’ve included an easy recipe for homemade bread sticks that I found on ein fach malein fach Blog, and they are delicious and perfect for a starter to munch on right before you serve your salad and pasta dish.

Tabletop Ideas: Summer Florals + Bread Sticks Recipe
The crispy sticks taste particularly good when dipped into flavored olive oil. I brought the small pink tins of marjoram olive oil that you see here back home from Cote d’Azur last week and they worked perfectly as small gifts for my guests.

As I am a big fan of paper I often use beautiful wrapping paper as a wall hanging to decorate for a special occasion. My flowery gift paper teamed up with a matching magazine tear showing roses, a welcome message I made using rubber stamps and a simple tassel made of tissue paper and ribbon – my DIY decor idea was ready for the wall. Easy and with little effort!

Tabletop Ideas: Summer Florals + Bread Sticks Recipe

Tabletop Ideas: Summer Florals + Bread Sticks Recipe

Tabletop Ideas: Summer Florals + Bread Sticks Recipe

Tabletop Ideas: Summer Florals + Bread Sticks Recipe

Maybe you feel like adopting one or another idea from this posting for your summer party. I would be very happy if you did. Have a beautiful summer vacation if you plan to go away soon and if not, simply enjoy a staycation with plenty of (hopefully) sunshiny weeks at home until we meet again here on decor8 in late summer. All the best, –Anke

(Photos, styling and text: Anke Illner. Editor: Holly Becker)






Recipes

Recipe: Triple Vanilla Ice Cream + Apricot Pie

July 29, 2016

Hi everyone! Happy July! For my column this month I am sharing with you an apricot pie with homemade vanilla bean ice cream. Triple vanilla bean ice cream in fact! (It does require an ice cream bowl attachment to your electric mixer, so I hope you have one and if not you’ll be inspired to get one).

Recipe: Triple Vanilla Ice Cream + Apricot Pie

Rachel Korinek for decor8

Apricot pie was my absolute favorite when I was a kid. Nothing else compared. The funny thing was that for me it was a winter dish, we always made it during the cooler months even though apricots aren’t readily available until the summer.

Apricot Pie: Pastry
500g plain, all purpose, flour
250g cold butter, cubed
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold water
Whisked egg to coat the pastry

Filling
1.5kg tinned apricots, chopped
2 teaspoons vanilla extract, or 1 vanilla bean seeds removed.
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch

Fresh raspberries and ice cream to serve

Method
Place the flour onto a clean surface and make a well in the centre. Place in the middle the butter, eggs and salt. Using your fingertips mix the butter, eggs and salt together, then slowly draw in small amounts of flour until the mixture resembles a grainy texture. Once mixed, add cold water, two tablespoons at a time, followed by the last tablespoon. Keep mixing the dough until it begins to hold together.

Knead the dough a couple of times until smooth. Roll the pastry into a disk and refrigerate covered for at least 20 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the fruit into bit sized pieces and place into a large bowl. Add vanilla and cinnamon and mix well.

In a small bowl combine the brown sugar and corn starch until completely mixed. Set aside. By the way, the props were given to me on loan from Robert Gordon Australia.

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Remove the pastry from the fridge and halve. Keep one half in the fridge. Roll out the first half to 2-3cm thickness. Using a greased pie tin, press the pastry into the pie tin, leaving a sufficient amount of overhang. Prick the entire base with a fork and allow to rest in the fridge for 20 mins. Roll out the rest of the pastry to a 2-3cm thickness. Using a pastry cutter, cut lattice pieces to an even size. (If you are not feeling adventurous you can have a solid top case without the lattice work. Just roll out into a disk and set over the top of the pie once filled).

Remove the pie tin from the fridge and sprinkle one third of the brown sugar/corn starch mixture over the base. Add half of the pie filling, followed by another third of the sugar/corn starch mixture. Add the remaining filling then sprinkle the remaining sugar/corn starch mixture over the top. Place the lattice pieces over the filling from top to bottom. Peeling back every second lattice piece, place your lattice pieces from side to side, alternating to get a cross work pattern. Trim the sides of the top and bottom of the pastry with a pastry knife or sharp scissors so the sides are flush with the pie tin. Place the pie in the fridge to settle.

For those of you feeling daunted by pastry, I can totally understand those feelings I had it for many years too. The turning point for me was this pastry recipe, just fool proof every time. The more you work with it, the most you understand it and there becomes a sense of knowing when it feels right.

Cooking should be fun, so if you aren’t game to try the lattice work, that is totally ok. A simple disk on top of the pie with a small hole cut in the middle is absolutely divine too. Simplicity is perfection right?

If you do feel game for trying the lattice work, because it is actually easier than you think, then my advice for first timers is to make 1.5 times the pastry recipe calls for. (I’ve added some notes at the end of the post). This will give you more pastry to play with whilst you roll, cut and figure out what you’re doing. There might be some pastry wastage, but it ensures your pieces for the lattice are even in thickness and size, not only for cooking the crust evenly but also for your own confidence in cutting the lattice work.

TIP: Need some help with how to create the lattice? Check out this video.

Using the left over pieces, roll into a disk the size of the pie tin. Cut thin strips to make the braided boarder, cut about 9-12 strips. Using three strips per braid, pinch the tip of the strips together, then braid. Once you have braided the length, pinch the end together. You’ll need around 3-4 braids.

Baste the pie with egg wash and place on the braided boarder. Coat it as well with egg wash.

Place in the oven at 180 C for 45-60 mins, or until golden brown.

Recipe: Triple Vanilla Ice Cream + Apricot Pie

Rachel Korinek for decor8

Triple Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

 1 1/2 cups milk (full fat)
3 vanilla beans, seeds removed
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup caster sugar
300mls pure cream

Method
In a small saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla seeds and bean pods gently over a medium heat. Once bubbles start to appear around the sides, remove and allow to infuse for a further 5 minutes.

In an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture is pale and creamy.

Remove the bean pods and add the cream. Gently stir.

Slowly add the milk/cream mixture to the egg mixture and continue to beat until fully combined.

Store the mixture in the fridge for at least 4 hours or until completely chilled.

Using an ice cream mixing attachment and direction/settings for your machine, add the mixture slowly and churn for the requirements of your machine. Remove once mixture has increased in size and is light and fluffy, and allow to freeze in an airtight container overnight.

Once frozen, scoop and serve with the apricot pie.

Recipe: Triple Vanilla Ice Cream + Apricot Pie

Rachel Korinek for decor8

Notes:
Make the ice-cream the day before you are to serve it to ensure it has frozen completely unless you have an industrial ice cream machine.

Ice cream recipe makes approximately 1L. Check your machine for instructions and adjust accordingly.

For newbie pie bakers, make it easier on yourself by making 1.5 times the pastry recipe if your attempting the lattice work:

750g plain, all purpose, flour
375g cold butter, cubed
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold water

Recipe: Triple Vanilla Ice Cream + Apricot Pie

Rachel Korinek for decor8

This month I’ve shared two recipes with you, firstly because pie and ice cream were made for each other, but also as I will be away in August so I won’t have a column up for you again until September. See you again end of summer! – Rachel

(Photos, text, recipes: Rachel Korinek)






Flowers

Pick Your Own Flower Fields

July 27, 2016

If you live in the city like me, chances are you get fresh flowers at a farmers’ market, florist, grocery store kiosk, maybe your backyard or balcony (if you have one) or a delivery service. In Germany, and I believe also in some other EU countries, you can take a short drive out to the countryside and you’ll spot “Selbstschneiden” Flower Fields or Pick Your Own. I love these fields!

Pick Your Own Flower Fields

Pick Your Own is based on a sorta honor system – the field has no one visible to buy the flowers from, rather there is a little stand with a list of how much a flower costs (like a Sunflower may be between .25 -.80 per stem) or you can buy in bunches by cutting your flowers, tying them and inserting into 3 various holes on a board at the stand – each hole is labeled with the price for that bundle.

Pick Your Own Flower Fields

The stand has small vegetable knives with the ends cut off, small scissors and a donation box with a lock. Also string for binding and a big basket or bin on the ground so you can clean the stems of excess leaves before you go.

It’s such a pleasure that I’ve indulged in since moving to Germany. There are so many of these fields in my region, some are as close as 15 minutes by car, that I’ve lost cost. The typical flowers are gladioli, sunflowers (large and small) and dahlias in all colors. You can also find daisies, poppies and much more depending on how creative the person planting the field is. Some have only 3 varieties of flowers or only sunflowers, others have dozens and go all out – you can tell flowers are their passion! The fields typically look like this. Here is the one that we enjoyed just a few days ago.

Pick Your Own Flower Fields

It’s such a beautiful and relaxing afternoon to take an hour or two and just spend them roaming the fields to pick flowers. My little boy and I had a snack of blueberries and read storybooks while my husband was off cutting sunflowers. Then, as I cut, he took our son to see the cows across the street so I was able to relax and enjoy myself. I’ve been bringing my son to these fields since he was 6 months old and today, he loves to walk through them and sniff as many flowers as he can.

From those fields above, here are my flowers at home below.

Pick Your Own Flower Fields

I didn’t bother to invest much thought into how I would arrange them, my goal was simple – to make the arrangement look straight from the field and un-styled. I really like taking a casual approach to flower arranging. When I wrote a book about flowers and flower styling when I was pregnant, I intentionally left the more complicated arrangements to my co-author who is great at mastering both looks, though casual is also her preferred approach.

I choose to place these flowers in a Nordic-inspired vase – the Omaggio vase with the mother of pearl stripes is by Danish brand @Kahler. I love the subtle stripes and the slightly off white color because it doesn’t fight with the flower textures or colors, but also wanted something non-transparent to hide the stems – I wanted the focus to be on the bright colors.

Pick Your Own Flower Fields

Pick Your Own Flower Fields

Do you have flower fields where you can go to cut your own? Do we have this concept in America yet? There are even companies that specialize in setting you up in Germany so you can own your own. I find this a terrific business concept. When I left the states in 2009, I don’t recall it. Corn, blueberries, strawberries, etc. are common but I don’t ever remember driving by a field without anyone watching you where you can just pick flowers and donate the amount you estimate they should cost. I think it’s a really beautiful system!

Hope you have a happy day!

Holly x






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