Recipes

Recipe: Mini Almond Yogurt Cakes

May 13, 2015

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!

Recipe: Mini Almond Yogurt Cakes

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!

Recipe: Mini Almond Yogurt Cakes

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)

Recipe: Mini Almond Yogurt Cakes

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!

Recipe: Mini Almond Yogurt Cakes

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)






Blogging, Trends

Trends: Organize Your Online Identities

May 4, 2015

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.

Trends: Organize Your Online Identities
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.

Trends: Organize Your Online Identities

My name is Weh

Trends: Organize Your Online Identities

Vicki Turner

Trends: Organize Your Online Identities

Sunday Suppers

Trends: Organize Your Online Identities

Hea Eun Grace Han

Trends: Organize Your Online Identities

Allison Arno

Trends: Organize Your Online Identities

T-Raw

Trends: Organize Your Online Identities

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.]






Shopping + Products

Anna Westerlund Pop Up Shop

April 30, 2015

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!

Anna Westerlund Pop Up Shop

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.

Anna Westerlund Pop Up Shop

Anna Westerlund Pop Up Shop

Anna Westerlund Pop Up Shop

Anna Westerlund Pop Up Shop

Anna Westerlund Pop Up Shop

Anna Westerlund Pop Up Shop

Anna Westerlund Pop Up Shop

Anna Westerlund Pop Up Shop

Anna Westerlund Pop Up Shop

Anna Westerlund Pop Up Shop

Anna Westerlund Pop Up Shop

Anna Westerlund Pop Up Shop

Anna Westerlund Pop Up Shop

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)






Books + Magazines

Book Review: Maker Spaces

April 29, 2015

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!

Book Review: Maker Spaces

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.

Book Review: Maker Spaces

Book Review: Maker Spaces

Book Review: Maker Spaces

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).

Book Review: Maker Spaces

Book Review: Maker Spaces

Book Review: Maker Spaces

Book Review: Maker Spaces

Book Review: Maker Spaces

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)






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)






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