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Recipe: Mini Almond Yogurt Cakes

Hi, it’s Liz and I’m presenting a recipe for delicious Almond Yogurt Cakes today. I made these mini cakes for a Sunday afternoon coffee and cake gathering. Here in Germany we call these kind of get-togethers “Kaffeeklatsch”. The sun was out, it was warm and I opened the doors to my terrace. The kids ran in and out and the border between inside and out slowly faded. Aaah. What a lovely afternoon!

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I had childhood memories of sitting on my grandparents’ terrace with my cousins around the table with an old-fashioned tablecloth having cake together. Their garden was filled with flowers, fruit trees and bushes and we kids had tons of fun spending the weekends and holidays exploring it. When I made these almond yogurt cakes and set the table, I imagined my grandparents’ terrace and tried to capture the image I had in my head. That is why I selected a variety of vintage plates and delicate little hand-crocheted doilies, picked some pretty flowers, sprinkled the toasted almonds on top of the mini cakes and was ready for a traditional German “Kaffeeklatsch” with my grandparents!

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R E C I P E
Mini Almond Yogurt Cakes (10 servings)
3/4 cups finely ground almonds (with skins)
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
3/4 cups butter at room temperature
3/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup plain yogurt
powdered sugar for the icing
almond slices, toasted
edible flowers (your choice)

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H O W  T O
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the mini cake pans (e.g. a silicone form). In a large bowl, whisk together almonds, flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until creamy. Add the eggs and the almond extract, beating well. Beat in the flour mixture, alternating with the yogurt. Transfer the batter to the pans and bake the cakes until they are golden, 15-18 minutes.

R E M E M B E R
Before serving, make the icing and pour over the cooled-off cakes. Sprinkle with toasted almond slices and a few edible flowers for color and texture. Enjoy!

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S T Y L E  T I P
Do you have childhood memories that come to mind while preparing food? Try to capture them and bring them into the presentation, even in a small way. They are precious and are worth celebrating!

(text/images: lisa nieschlag editing: holly becker)

Posted in food on May 13, 2015

Blog Trends: Organize Your Online Identities

I love writing this blog trends column (#20blogtrends) because it forces me to actively seek out what’s hot in our community to examine what’s working for bloggers (and what’s not). I’ve also honed in on how some creatives are crazy good at marketing themselves and others, not so much, which is why I’m spotlighting today’s topic: how bloggers and creatives in general organize their online identities under one umbrella to make it easy for others to find them.

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Bree Lena

Problem: You are a blogger but not just any blogger — you have a photography portfolio, you offer workshops, you have a shop, you do consults and you write books – how do you let everyone know all of that the moment they visit your site?

Solution: Create a website with links to all of your sites or revamp your blog to include everything that you do linked in the main navigation of your main page. Having a cover page for instance, can be a terrific idea too.

It’s vital to link everything up and get organized in your navigation so you don’t lose potential readers or customers (or current ones).In my experience, if it takes a reader more than 5 seconds to find your main navigation and your social icons, they can get frustrated and end up moving on. It can often be hard to organize all of these identities under one umbrella online, for instance on your blog, because you don’t know how, you fear having to do it, it seems really hard, or you simply don’t want your readers to think you are pimping yourself out. Fair enough. But this doesn’t mean you still don’t need to do it because you do. And trust me, your fans WANT to know what else you are doing. When I think of some of my favorite bloggers, I definitely want to know if they have other businesses because I will mostly likely want to see and get involved since I already like the blogger.

If you have a blog…

  • Are all of your social media icons linked in one place and in a very visible place (like top right)? Or are they scattered all over? Or worse, not even there or only a few are visible?
  • If you also have other things that you do… Maybe a shop, an e-mag, you write books, you teach, are those things all over your blog in the form of ads, text links, here there and everywhere? Or are they all organized and linked in the main navigation so that they’re easy to find. Note: Even if the content your linking to doesn’t exist on your blog site, but on another site altogether (like your shop on Etsy or Great.ly), you should still be linking it so people know that is your shop.
  • Are you doing work elsewhere worth highlighting (like contributing to magazines or teaching) that isn’t linked on the main page of your blog, but instead, you just talk about it from time to time in a blog post? Or are you only linking to it via a text link or box ad in your sidebar?

If any of the above sounds like you, then spend time over the next month to pull your identities together in one place. I’m currently redesigning decor8 so I’m speaking from experience since I’m in the middle of a relaunch myself.

If you already have a blog, you may need to tweak your template. If your template isn’t that easy to tweak, you may need to hire someone to help you with better organizing things. If you don’t have time for template rebuilds or tweaks because your template is too much of a mess, or you simply don’t like your current blog platform, then one quick, easy and affordable solution is to sign up with a site like Squarespace.

With Squarespace, you can build a website (or blog or shop or whatever) in a day and then link to your other sites from there. You can use their Cover Pages to make a website in minutes. (Psst: If you need help with a logo, they even have a super cool logo maker.) Think of a cover page as a business card. You are at an event, you tell someone that you can be found at mywebsite.com and they check it out and instantly find your books, classes, social media links, etc. How great is that!? Or you may be like me, handing out your Instagram account name at parties. I tell everyone I’m @decor8 on IG.

But how can they find out what else I do from there after the party ends?

On Instagram, in my profile, I link to my blog. In your case, you may want to link to your website, a cover page, or a blog. It’s up to you. But where you link should be like a tree with branches to everywhere else you reside online. Then people can find ALL of your identities quick and easy.

I want to show you a few of my favorite websites that are using Squarespace (one is already shown above) so you can see just how beautiful you can make your site if you choose to go this route.

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My name is Weh

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Vicki Turner

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Sunday Suppers

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Hea Eun Grace Han

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Allison Arno

SS02_TRaw

T-Raw

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Rosemary & Finch 

I hope this post has encouraged you to really think about your online identities and how easy it is (or not) for people to find you. As a special incentive to try out Squarespace, they’re offering decor8 readers a special 10% off – just enter code DECOR8 when you shop on their site.

[This edition of #20blogtrends is in partnership with Squarespace. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the companies that allow me to do work that I love that is informative, inspirational and authentic.]

Posted in Blogging, Sponsored Content on May 04, 2015

You’ll Love This: Anna Westerlund Pop Up Shop

Remember how I shared a bunch of inspiring ceramics last week? I have good news! I found yet another to share only this time you can buy everything you see (and more) with absolutely free shipping to anywhere in the world in my pop-up shop until May 31st.  The ceramics of Anna Westerlund are simply amazing. I love how she mixes them with Liberty prints and patterns, too. I want everything in her collection which sounds so selfish but it’s true. These pieces fit the decor8 aesthetic perfectly!

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In fact, I’ve ordered some pieces that should arrive next week. I can justify my order because I will use these pieces as props for my next book, which I just started working on to release next year, and since they are functional they’re not only objects of art for my glass cabinet but can be used and enjoyed. Feast your eyes on the hand work of ceramicist Anna Westerlund.

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For more beautiful pieces and free shipping worldwide, visit the Anna Westerlund Pop Up shop here until May 31st.

(images: anna westerlund and sanda pagaimo)

Posted in ceramics on April 30, 2015

Maker Spaces: Book Review + Interview

Hello friends, I hope all is well and that you’re having a lovely week thus far! It’s time for my weekly book review, and yes, I’m trying to go for one each week for the rest of the year because I have so many nice books to share and I also want to continue pushing the printed page because despite the undeniable amazingness of the digital world, there is still nothing quite like a book in one hand, lemonade in the other, while laying on the beach or the patio in the warm sun. Oh yes please!

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Today’s book, Maker Spaces, is actually from a student of mine who is now teaching her own classes in London and is teaching through the pages of her own beautiful first book. It all happened so fast that she went from blogger to author, which I think inspires a lot of people to just jump in and start showing your best work online because it just could become a beautiful career path for you, too. And what a joy to see people who go for their dreams!

Maker Spaces, written by Emily Quinton and photographed by Helen Cathcart, opens the doors to the creative homes of 13 families who are makers for a living as jewelry and letterpress designers to illustrators and interior designers (and more). To inspire you today, here are some of my favorite photos from the book that haven’t yet been seen online (so please feel free to pin them) and a little interview that I had with Emily about her book.

What inspired you to write a book?
EQ: My life has been filled with books since I was a little girl and I always dreamed that one day mine would be up on the bookshelf too.

What is your background?
EQ: I have an eclectic background that includes working in academic libraries, time researching and writing a PhD on Plant Hunting (sadly not finished) and working as a wedding and portrait photographer.

What do you do for a career today?
EQ: I have designed my own career after realising that I wanted to stop photographing weddings. I wanted to build a career that I could fit around my large family (I have four children, all close in age) and one that I could grow over time. It is an ever evolving thing, which currently includes blogging, photography, teaching and making.

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How did it happen that you got a book deal?
EQ: I went to a fair with my very young baby and on the way, one of my buggy tyres burst. We were lucky to get a lift home with my friend and her husband, who had just started working at Ryland Peters & Small. We were chatting about my blog and he said that it sounded like a title of a book. I laughed and said how I would love to write a book someday. He went off and looked at my work online and came back and asked me to pitch a book idea. After that came what felt like a very long pitching and waiting process!

Why did you decide to write about creative spaces, your background is in wedding and portrait photography…
EQ: I was really curious about the connection between making things and making spaces, and this book enabled me to explore these things with some very talented makers around the world. Making has become a very important part of my life over the past 8 years of being a mother. I have always led a creative life but pregnancy and motherhood really has made me feel so much more connected to my creative side. My husband is an artist and technologist and together we have made a very creative environment for our four children. In addition to this, the wonderful online communities and inspiring magazines and of course Pinterest have all brought so many ideas into my world and put making at the heart of my every day.

Did you style the rooms or photograph as you found them?
EQ: No. The rooms were left as is (except for moving the occasional ugly thing, like a printer).

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Will you photograph your next book?
EQ: Yes, I really hope so! It was a huge compromise not to photograph this one but now that I have seen the whole process of researching, photographing and writing a book I have the confidence that I can do both the photography and the writing and will push for this to happen.

You recently opened a new studio space – tell us where it is and what you do there.
EQ: My new studio space is in West Dulwich, in South London in an old industrial building with huge windows and so much natural light. I share it with my husband and we both work from there a few days a week. I run my photography workshops there and will soon be offering other creative workshops. I do photoshoots for clients there too. My husband also runs technology workshops there and we have lots of plans for how the Makelight Studio will grow and be used over time.

Thank you Emily!

This 175 page book is organized by style covering rustic, retro chic, homespun and eclectic. I really loved the living room and creative studio of Maartje van den Noort in Amsterdam, the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and dining area of San Francisco-based artist Kimberly Austin. If you have the book, which homes clicked with your own taste?

You can purchase this beautiful book here.

(photos with permission by Ryland Peters & Small, photography by Helen Cathcart)

Posted in Books + Magazines on April 29, 2015

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Some of my books

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Blogging Your Way
e-courses, 2015
Visit our e-course website to learn more about our inspirational e-courses by bloggers, for bloggers.