Shopping + Products

A Very Special Mother’s Day Gift From Artifact Uprising

April 22, 2015

Are you looking for the perfect Mother’s Day gift with style and heart? You’ll love what I’m about to share from Artifact Uprising, a company specializing in turning your photos into tangible products that truly delivers on all points from quality and price to service, delivery, beauty and truly thoughtful things like photo books, prints, and gifts for your digital photos.

A Very Special Mother's Day Gift From Artifact Uprising

Founded in 2012, Artifact Uprising was launched by sisters and professional photographers, Katie Thurmes and Jenna Walker, who spent nearly a decade shooting before deciding it was time to explore the power of print and see how the beauty they photographed could be translated into products for themselves and other talented creatives.

A Very Special Mother's Day Gift From Artifact Uprising

I love that their mission is to easily move photos, “Off your device, into you life”, something I actually think about a lot. I’m so often discouraged by the sheer volume of photos I’ve taken that never see the light of day after I’ve uploaded and looked at them maybe once or twice. They just sit in Lightroom or in some folder. It’s a bit sad.

Do you ever feel discouraged by that too?

Sure, I’ve emailed a few to friends or posted some on Facebook, but it’s not the same as putting together a pack of cards or a beautiful book filled with memories of moments that matter.

I decided recently to change all of the negative feelings I’ve been having about my overwhelming amounts of photos on my computer. I reached out to Artifact Uprising and they really encouraged me to create a special Mother’s Day gift so I listened. I had a newborn photoshoot when my son was just 10 days old (precious!) by Christin Lange, which was last year in February, and so I took the photos from that shoot and created a gorgeous book for my mom and another for myself.

I then used the text tool that Artifact Uprising provides on their website, and placed the poetry of my husband written for our son around some of the photos. The result made me cry! There is something magical about seeing cherished photos in print, in a book with gorgeous matte paper. In fact, the presentation added a whole new appreciation for the photography and even elevated the photos in my eyes. No matter how many gorgeous visuals I see online, they do take on an entirely new life when viewed on a beautifully printed page. This gift to myself and to my mother is personal, touching, beautiful.

A Very Special Mother's Day Gift From Artifact Uprising

Along with the book, I thought homemade heart-shaped cookies dusted with powdered sugar and gently tied with floral sprigs, packed into a small brown box, was a nice touch to present to mom. The recipes and cookies were made by the photographer, Susanne, who worked with me to shoot this post. How many photographer’s cook for a shoot? I feel so lucky to have worked with her to share this beautiful photo book story.

A Very Special Mother's Day Gift From Artifact Uprising

I made a little gift tag for the book using some washi tape and a simple gift tag, and lined the box with white baking paper. I wrapped the book with white paper first to protect it, then newspaper which I “quilted” using scrap pieces of newspaper, a technique I learned from a class my friend Leslie taught, the newspaper is from the local Asia grocery store. I pieced the newspaper scraps together using washi tape.

A Very Special Mother's Day Gift From Artifact Uprising

I then topped the wrapped softcover photo book with a photo that felt feminine with a nice mother’s day vibe to it. I had the photo printed at Artifact Uprising too, it’s from their square photo prints collection.

A Very Special Mother's Day Gift From Artifact Uprising

A Very Special Mother's Day Gift From Artifact Uprising

A Very Special Mother's Day Gift From Artifact Uprising

A Very Special Mother's Day Gift From Artifact Uprising

A Very Special Mother's Day Gift From Artifact Uprising

I hope that you like this little Mother’s Day presentation of a very special gift for my mom and also for me since I feel I deserve gifting myself on May 10th too, why not?

A Very Special Mother's Day Gift From Artifact Uprising

[This post is in partnership with Artifact Uprising. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the companies that allow me to do work that I love and to collaborate with other professionals to create work that is inspirational and authentic.]

(Photography: Susanne Irmer / Styling + Text: Holly Becker)






Shopping + Products

10 Inspiring and Beautiful Ceramics

April 20, 2015

I’ve always loved ceramics and have fond memories of working at a potter’s wheel quite regularly in my various art classes growing up. I can still feel the clay in my hands and remember pressing my thumbs and palms into it – that wet sloppy slurping, the smell, the anticipation of seeing the piece after it was sculpted, then placed to bake in the kiln, praying in silence that it wouldn’t crack or break altogether. Then the painting and glazing, waiting again, and finally your finished piece.

10 Inspiring and Beautiful Ceramics

It’s a process that requires so much patience that you can say the art of making ceramics sculpts and fires your personality in addition to the forms made. Today I thought I’d round up some of my favorite pieces at the moment with hopes that you will discover something beautiful and inspirational. Here are 10 ceramics that I love right now.

10 Inspiring and Beautiful Ceramics

1. Max and Moritz selection of ceramics like those gorgeous Ben Medansky mugs with those gold handles! Yes!

10 Inspiring and Beautiful Ceramics

2. Exclusive mugs made in California by Jujumade for Fine Life Co. I’d love these to drink my morning coffee from. A good mug makes a cup of coffee a special and relaxing time. I don’t enjoy the coffee the same from a cheap mug or some to-go cup.

10 Inspiring and Beautiful Ceramics

3. Julia Paul Pottery – this is all just so beautifully formed, I really love it.

10 Inspiring and Beautiful Ceramics

4. Rosenthal. A very classic German company that still produces such sweet pieces. I love visiting their outlet in Wolfsburg, I buy all of my vases there.

10 Inspiring and Beautiful Ceramics

5. Stella Baggott (also known as Atelier Stella) for West Elm which will be available very soon. I have to have them but sadly, there is no West Elm here in Germany. :(

10 Inspiring and Beautiful Ceramics

6. I love Berlin-based Rimma Tchilingarian and her vase sold at Leif Shop. What gorgeous vases she has in her shop, too!

10 Inspiring and Beautiful Ceramics

7. Butterly drawers – oh my! By Katherine Morling. You HAVE to visit her site. Unreal. I mean, seriously. You will die.

10 Inspiring and Beautiful Ceramics

8. Astier de Villatte – still my favorite in the world, you can find them in the US all over but ABC Home has the most extensive selection I’ve seen stateside outside of Liberty London and of course, the Astier de Villatte shop in Paris (which I could move into). I dream of owning pieces by them. I only have a large wall fork and some glass candles and incense sticks. When I’m in Paris again, I have to visit the shop and splurge a little.

10 Inspiring and Beautiful Ceramics

9. The Object Enthusiast ring dishes on Esty. Quirky and fun.

10 Inspiring and Beautiful Ceramics
10 Inspiring and Beautiful Ceramics

10 Inspiring and Beautiful Ceramics

10 Inspiring and Beautiful Ceramics

10 Inspiring and Beautiful Ceramics

10. Flow1 collection by German stylist and ceramicist Dietlind Wolf, available exclusively at ABC Home in NYC. My second favorite ceramics after Astier de Villatte.

What are some of your favorite ceramics at the moment? Any favorites above that we share?

(images: Top: Styling: Marianne Luning Photo: Tjitske van Leeuwen for VTWonen all others linked to sources)






Blogging

Should You Redesign + Rebrand Your Blog?

April 20, 2015

Have you ever wanted to totally change your blog, right down to the name? A trend I’ve noticed is that bloggers are really taking themselves more seriously, seeing themselves more as a brand than ever before, which has sparked lots of blog redesigns and rebrands. Some bloggers that I’ve personally mentored through my Skype small biz sessions have changed their entire outlook on blogging and have grown their blog from being a bit no-name to one that everyone is buzzing about. It’s thrilling to see! With the amazing blog templates available in addition to platforms like Squarespace, AND the bevy of great graphic designers at all price points, there is no excuse to not make your blog a true reflection of YOU. A blog is a lot like your home, only online for all to see. Maybe it’s time to redecorate?

Should You Redesign + Rebrand Your Blog? Some of Mel’s rebrand inspirations

Recently a student of mine who has taken several of my online classes, Mel Cheneau, who is also a columnist for House & Garden magazine in New Zealand, wrote in to tell me about how my recent e-course really changed her entire blog and direction with it – she even changed her blog name as a result! That’s pretty risky but if you can do it, it just may be a winning idea. Mel explained how she used to write a blog called Armoire Pegs & Casserole and realized nothing about it was a match to her personality.

Have you ever run into that wall? When your blog no longer feels like you?

Mel further explained that she came up with the blog name on a whim, thought it was cute, and didn’t even consider whether it represented her style or even if it would be easy for others to remember (it wasn’t), “I felt like I had a chain around my ankle. It was a little bit like being in a relationship with someone that I cared about very much, yet I had fallen out of love with – the relationship didn’t serve me anymore. So being under the name of Armoire Pegs and Casserole, while I was very fond of it, I wasn’t able to grow and develop in the ways that I would hope. I was getting recognition for my writing and gaining work from it, which was my initial reason for blogging, yet I wasn’t able to develop my blog into a business or build it into an exciting place for collaborations.” I’m sure lots of you can relate! In fact, so many of my students say that if they could do it all over again, they would have never chosen their current blog name.

What about you?

Should You Redesign + Rebrand Your Blog?

Should You Redesign + Rebrand Your Blog?
Should You Redesign + Rebrand Your Blog?
More of Mel’s rebrand inspirations

Once Mel made the decision to rebrand and change her blog name, she said she felt like a huge weight had been lifted from her shoulders. To her surprise, her blog readers were very supportive – even cheering her on. She knew she was going in the right direction.

Mel confessed that finding a new blog name was the most difficult part. She looked through magazines and websites and was told to write down any word that resonated without giving it much thought, “I had this long list, I’d go back and look at them again and again, circling the ones that I really liked, played around, putting words together. It was really important for me to have all of my social media handles the same, which I didn’t have before so that narrowed it down even further. I knew that I wanted “style” in the name. It was one of those words that would keep popping up when I asked my readers which words best describe my blog. One day I was at a café and reading an art magazine and saw “canvas” and I knew I had it. I liked the play of the words together, our interior, our lives being our very own canvas that we style. Styled Canvas was born.” Putting thought into your blog name matters.

From there, Mel worked with a graphic designer and a web designer to pull together her new logo and blog template. She worked with them by using private Pinterest boards where she pinned images that captured the look and feel of what she was going for. She named her boards, “Style of Images”, “Colors and Impressions”, and “Typography and Logo”. From there, her designers pulled together mood boards and begun the process of creating Mel’s new blog.

When it came to marketing, Mel made sure to give readers plenty of time to get on board with her new direction, “There was a big lead up to the launch (four months) so I kept talking about it on the blog and on social media. I figured that most people would know about it if they read my blog. Then when the blog launched, I made sure my links automatically redirected to my new blog. I also created a hashtag #restyledblog for Instagram during the lead up knowing that it would work nicely with #styledcanvas at launch. I did a soft launch a few days before on social media, changing the handles there and announcing the name so that all of the links would work nicely on the new site at the time of launch. I had a great response and everyone said that it’s a perfect fit and a perfect representation of my style, which is exactly what I wanted to achieve.” When you rebrand your blog, it’s vital to make sure you give readers plenty of lead time before the new site appears. Aside from being courteous, it gives them a vital heads-up so you maintain your readership – at least the active readers will stay around and most likely follow your new blog, too.

Should You Redesign + Rebrand Your Blog?

When I asked Mel if she was happy with her big blog change she excitedly proclaimed, “Yes! It was a good idea, (a great idea!) because going back to your Blogging Your Way lesson, I feel that the blog is now a true representation of me; I’m not faking it. When you’re true to yourself, I feel that it opens the doors to many opportunities.” What Mel said is so true – being true to yourself really does open doors, especially the doors that you want opened!

So! Do you want to change your blog in a drastic way? What holds you back? What are some of your challenges? Do you love your blog name or have you thought to change it? Discuss below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

#20blogtrends

(images: 1. Due Fashion 2. Unknown 3. Erich McVey for Twigss Floral Studio 4. Collage Vintage 5. Holly Marder 6. Cécile Daladier  7. Lisa Cohen for Homelife 8. Pablo Zamora for Vogue Living 9. Rice 10. Cécile Daladier via 99 Roots 11. Screenshot of Mel’s blog.)






Home Tours

Home Tour: Eclectic + Colorful Paris Apartment

April 17, 2015

Can we just talk about this very fabulous living room and kitchen for a moment because it made me very happy when I spotted it right before nearly logging off for the night. Damn the internet, always distracting me! But this is just SO GOOD. You can see more over here. Wow. Lots of white punctuated with great color and hello, that glittery eyelash photo, amazing octopus-like ceiling light and jaw-droppingly awesome sofa – c’mon! This is the stuff of dreams!

Home Tour: Eclectic + Colorful Paris Apartment

Continue Reading…






Recipes

Recipe: Citrus Apple Spritzers

April 17, 2015

I’m into making healthy drinks lately because the weather has been gorgeous and the weekly outdoor markets are finally packed with yummy fruits and vegetables. Yesterday I was so inspired when I found lots of citrus fruits including beautiful pink grapefruits and blood oranges. I immediately bought some, headed home, and started cutting and juicing and came up with a very easy little “cocktail” below, only this one doesn’t have alcohol (though you could add a shot of saffron-infused gin or top with champagne and you’d have a wonderful cocktail for sure!). I also found some chamomile flowers and lots of citrus-hued tulips so after I made the spritzers I added a few chamomile blossoms to the drinks and then I cut the tulips down very short, removed all of the leaves, and put them in a small ceramic container on my table.

Recipe: Citrus Apple Spritzers

Recipe: Citrus Apple Spritzers

Recipe: Citrus Apple Spritzers

To make the drink you need:

  • Lots of yummy citrus fruits like blood oranges, pink grapefruit and oranges. Then just one lemon and one lime.
  • Squeeze them all by hand (or use a juicer) and pour through a small strainer into a glass pitcher (to remove pulp and any seeds).
  • Fill the pitcher 1/4 of way with squeezed juice.
  • Next, fill the pitcher with no-sugar added apple juice. The pitcher should be about halfway full now.
  • Add slices of citrus fruits to decorate and flavor the drink.
  • Pour into glasses and top with sparkling water or, if you prefer, top with sparkling water, tonic water, and a splash of champagne or saffron-infused gin. It depends on whether you are looking for good health or a good time I guess!
  • Cut a few slices of citrus 4 ways and turn over a few times in a shallow bowl filled with white grain sugar. Garnish the drink with the sugared citrus, add as many as you’d like. You can even top with a few chamomile flowers to make it spring-y and pretty.

Recipe: Citrus Apple Spritzers

Recipe: Citrus Apple Spritzers

Recipe: Citrus Apple Spritzers

A very simple farmers’ market visit gave me such a boost of health, energy and creativity for under $10! You truly can find inspiration anywhere. I hope that you enjoy this little spritzer and pretty tulips and I wish you a lovely weekend. See you next week!

(photographs/styling: holly becker for decor8)






Recipes

Recipe: Poppy, Berry + Cream Cake

April 16, 2015

Hi, it’s Liz and I’m so glad to be here today because I’d like to take you on a little trip to delicious food for celebrations starting this month on decor8! It feels like spring just took off this weekend where I live after an endless winter (at least it felt endless!), and all of a sudden green is everywhere! People are simply longing for the sun — they’re sitting on benches and on the grass eating their lunch, turning their faces towards the sun. At our market, the stands are filled with the first local plump red strawberries of the season. Isn’t this when you enjoy inviting people over again? Last weekend I kicked off the BBQ season and had friends stop by for a spontaneous evening of food and drink. Why not start planning some nice get togethers of your own to celebrate spring or even a birthday, or anything else that feels good and gets you together with those you love? I’ve started the celebration theme by making a multi-tiered cake with poppy seeds for you today and I’ve filled it with layers of yogurt, cream and berries. Yum! This should get your inspired to invite over some friends!

Recipe: Poppy, Berry + Cream Cake

Recipe: Poppy, Berry + Cream Cake

Recipe: Poppy, Berry + Cream Cake

Berry & poppy seed cake (8 inch diameter)

Cake
3 tablespoons poppy seed
1 cup unsalted melted butter
1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar

Filling
2 cups crème fraîche
1 cups yoghurt
3 tablespoons vanilla sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 lb raspberries
1/2 lb strawberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. For the dough, roast the poppy seeds in a pan (without oil) and let them cool. Melt the butter and allow to cool. Mix the flour with the baking powder. In a bowl, mix the eggs, sugar and vanilla sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the melted butter, poppy seeds and flour and mix. Lightly grease a silicone baking pan and pour a third of the dough into the pan. Bake in the oven until golden, approx. 25 minutes. Repeat twice more with the rest of the dough.

For the filling, mix the crème fraîche with the yoghurt and vanilla sugar. Whip the cream until stiff and fold under the yoghurt mixture. Hull the strawberries and slice into halves. Place one of the cakes onto a plate and place some berries on top. Spread some of the filling over the berries. Repeat with the other cakes. Decorate with some berries. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

(Photo: Lisa Nieschlag (“Liz”). Recipe from “DAYlicious” authored by Lisa Nieschlag, Julia Cawley, Ulrike Dittloff, Jessica Hesseler, Daniela Klein and Susanne Schanz.)






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