Arts + Crafts

Plingsulli Illustrations

January 12, 2015

It’s always nice to stumble upon a lovely new-to-me illustrator. This is Plingsulli, or twentysomething Ulrika Gustafsson, from Sweden and I believe that she has the most delicate florals and creatures in her work – how I’d love to see these as textiles sold by the meter! Some of her patterns have been used as characters for stuffed toys or on trays in her shop and her imaginative florals and storybook-like illos are showing up on bedding and cushions for Ferm Living and wallpaper for Photowall, which I would positively love to have in my own home on a feature wall. They are understated in a way, but also bold in another because they’re busy and engaging. Such pretty colorways too. Take a look.

Plingsulli Illustrations

Plingsulli Illustrations

Plingsulli Illustrations

This wallpaper above and directly below was originally available as wallpaper, sold through Ferm Living. I really love it.

Plingsulli Illustrations

These pillows below were created for Ferm Living and they ARE available and quite darling, don’t you think? I want this owl music mobile for my son.

Plingsulli Illustrations

And her bedding is available at Ferm Living too. So pretty. These sheets below, Mountain Friends, are ones I also have my eye on for Aidan’s bed. I love finding so many great things for his room that aren’t the typical “boy” or super hero/action figure theme. The In the Rain bedding below with the pink accents is another beautiful application of Ulrike’s brilliant work.

Plingsulli Illustrations

 

Plingsulli Illustrations

Plingsulli Illustrations

Plingsulli Illustrations

Aren’t these just delightful?

Psst: You can follow Ulrika on Instagram here.

(images: Plingsulli and Ferm Living)

 






From The Heart, Ramblings

From The Heart: Leave Safe Behind + Make Bolder Decorating Choices

January 12, 2015

I’m in the mood for essay writing so sit back and pour yourself a cup of tea or glass of wine because we’re going to talk about safety in decorating and even safety in numbers. We’re going to discuss taking risks. This year I simply must make bolder choices in all areas of my life, decisions that feel big and scary at times, and to cast fears aside trading negative voices with enthusiastic chants in favor of the unknown. I believe that a trend in thinking will emerge this year very strongly, driven largely by our political and religious views, and that is to live boldly and stop mimicking everyone else simply to avoid ruffling feathers. Speak up more and have courage in all areas of life, and when you have freedoms, exercise them. Even something as seemingly small as a decorating choice at home. It’s your space, the one spot on this planet where you exercise absolute control and creative direction. Your personal style speaks volumes about you, don’t you think? Why not resolve to make your home a true reflection of you, or the you whom you aspire to become, for 2015?

From The Heart: Leave Safe Behind + Make Bolder Decorating Choices

Recently after installing Aimee Wilder’s spinx pina sola wallpaper in my entryway, I personally felt inspired to take more risks. The bold unexpected pattern pulled me right out of my “safe” decorating rut. Wallpaper or anything bold in the home can definitely rev up your confidence – the more you do crazy stuff and like it, the more risks you’re willing to take as a result since confidence builds and your take no prisoners girl power emerges. I have been combing wallpaper websites and Pinterest lately to support my opinion on the difference some wallpaper can make and found many great examples, I even took the time to pin them for you to see here and I also encourage you to visit my go-to online shop for wallpaper and wall murals called Photowall because that site just may light a spark under you, too.

When I look at any home, I don’t see what’s there. I see what could be there. I always tell my friends who are moving into dreadful homes they’ve purchased due to low costs and the idea of what “could be” to look at a room as 4 walls, a ceiling and a floor and strip it down to the bones and begin from there. Most can’t see beyond the ugly flooring or the bad 70s paneling but a room is a room. And nothing can change the interior like altering the walls and floors in some ways – this is when simple materials like paint and wallpaper can work magic.

From The Heart: Leave Safe Behind + Make Bolder Decorating Choices

I read once that if you desire a great life you must first allow yourself to feel uncomfortable on a regular basis because that is where the great stuff springs forth – when you step outside of your “normal” and jump without a net, without a “big picture”, and just go for it. When you try something completely random or even a little edgy or very over-the-top (at least your version of OTT). When you stop being so damn safe. For me, moving to Europe to settle in northern Germany from my cozy 1870’s carriage house in southern New Hampshire or leaving my cushy corporate job for interior design and blogging were both massive choices with huge risks involved.

Another was to write a book, then see it become an international bestseller only to then get the courage to write a second and so forth. Or having my baby, that was a massive decision and quite uncomfortable to go from living in absolute freedom to absolute responsibility.

But all of these things have enriched my life and made me a better version of myself. All of these things have contributed to my happiness. Not one was, or still is, easy. Running your own company is not easy. Working from home with a baby is not easy. Living in a foreign country speaking in a new language and navigating an entirely different culture is not easy. Making a decision to sink money into wallpapering a room is not easy. But in the end, these things add character and spark to your life. I also read somewhere recently that nobody writes songs about skinny butts. This was in reference to all of the big booty anthems out there today and so many women starving themselves to have runway-slim bodies. That may be considered the ideal, because so many women long to be super slim, but it’s not really that exciting if you live in a world where everyone had the same pants and cup size, right? Hence the big booty support and why there is support being voiced about veering from what’s considered optimal or the way one should look.

From The Heart: Leave Safe Behind + Make Bolder Decorating Choices

Giant golden pineapple wallpaper are my version of a big butt, of making a bolder choice and I love seeing my wallpaper each day as much now as I did when it went up. The pattern is fun but also glammy, makes a statement and is always a conversation starter. We had several guests over the holidays and everyone had an opinion which sometimes segued into lengthy conversations about art and design which are chats that I can get into for hours. And did. All because of some wallpaper.

From The Heart: Leave Safe Behind + Make Bolder Decorating Choices

It made me realize that even if others don’t love or they outright hate what you’ve done (or somewhere in between), doing something dramatic adds zest to your life because crazy decisions and nutty ideas often spark something bigger that a boring, safe choice simply won’t. When something in your home elicits strong emotion/reaction from visitors then following your gut and living authentically has paid off. You’re being you and that is exactly what you were born to do.

From The Heart: Leave Safe Behind + Make Bolder Decorating Choices

From The Heart: Leave Safe Behind + Make Bolder Decorating Choices

From The Heart: Leave Safe Behind + Make Bolder Decorating Choices

From The Heart: Leave Safe Behind + Make Bolder Decorating Choices

From The Heart: Leave Safe Behind + Make Bolder Decorating Choices

From The Heart: Leave Safe Behind + Make Bolder Decorating Choices

From The Heart: Leave Safe Behind + Make Bolder Decorating Choices

From The Heart: Leave Safe Behind + Make Bolder Decorating Choices

From The Heart: Leave Safe Behind + Make Bolder Decorating Choices

From The Heart: Leave Safe Behind + Make Bolder Decorating Choices

From The Heart: Leave Safe Behind + Make Bolder Decorating Choices

For 2015, I have a decorating wish, a decorating resolution for us all… Let’s make bolder choices and step away from safe ones. I see so many homes and styles all looking the same lately and it’s SO BORING to even peruse decor and style blogs right now because so many have collectively lost that zing which is a mix of personal style, opinion and zeal for individuality. Even food bloggers all look a like to me lately. We all need to reevaluate and step back a bit, don’t you think? I often wonder if everyone really does love the same things OR is it that because these things are accepted as the cool choice, and because it’s “safe” as a result to like them (since certain styles get lots of likes) that many just adopt these styles or even movements into our lives for the sake of fitting in and not so much because these are our personal, deep down choices. We have so many choices now in the design world at all price points, so why does it feel sometimes like we’re all shopping from the same catalog?

Something to think about, right?

(images: all wallpaper shown from photowall)






Ramblings

Hello 2015

January 11, 2015

Hello and happy new year! I’ve not been in this space to blog since December 26th, the longest blog break I’ve taken in years! Crazy! It’s nice to be back since blog breaks aren’t as fun for me as I guess they should be… I’m always so super eager to get back to blogging! For instance, on Friday I had two lovely things happen in my life. This blog celebrated its 9th anniversary since I’ve been blogging since January 9, 2006 (read my first post). I seriously can’t believe that I’m now into my 10th year and that this time next year, I’ll be a blogger for an entire decade. I never imagined this would become a company and a life altering path for me. This fantastic journey has been so rewarding in countless ways but most of all, I’m grateful to you for joining me.

Hello 2015

Also on Friday my dear little son turned 11-months-old. It’s a very lovely feeling to have a baby, so new and helpless in many ways, and then to watch him grow so beautifully, become strong, handsome, clever, spirited, even develop his own likes and dislikes in mere months. He began crawling at 6 months at top speed, walking at 10 months and he has 6 teeth and is already eating solids (in addition to milk) — and is in perfect health. He has a beautiful personality too – a real mix of colors – he will definitely grow up to have strong opinions and a love for people – I can clearly see this already.

Our pediatrician told us she is so impressed by him, that even she isn’t used to babies his age being so bright and ahead of most other babies. Though, honestly, she could have said nothing and I wouldn’t have cared because I’m not invested in making him better than others, I simply want him to follow his own path naturally and on his own terms. Though, of course, being new parents we couldn’t help but to feel very pleased to be praised by our doctor for our dedication. This gave us both a very proud parents moment, and when you are so new to parenting, you need those confidence boosters because it’s a very unknown and long road to embark on – having a child – and an occasional cheering squad is nice from time-to-time. I’m so happy that all of the love and care we put into our son is paying off like this – with both of us home with him full-time, we may be struggling for work balance and trying to squeeze in everything while he’s napping or asleep at night, but it is soooo worth it to see him this healthy and happy. He looks a bit serious in the photo above, he was tired when I shot this on Saturday, but I prefer these quieter moments when he’s not clowning around because I love capturing his silence, his beauty, how lost in thought he appears because I feel like I’m catching a glimpse of “future” him and it really warms my heart.

Hello 2015

But enough about parenting. How are you? I hope you all had a very restful and joyful holiday season. Ours was such a delight, we spent it with good friends and family and ate far too many of my homemade cookies and cake, but now I’m off of sugar doing a bit of a detox and my energy is coming back again and I feel like I’m getting my mojo back, slowly, after the lag of the holidays, celebrating a little too much, and chasing an 11-month-old who already looks and acts like he’s 2 or 3!

It’s all so good though – life – and to think that this time last year I was unpacking boxes in this new home with my huge belly and my due date drawing closer and closer. And today I’m talking about my energetic baby who is already walking. Yowser! So much can happen in a single year. In fact, I think that is what my dear little boy has taught me among a slew of other important things – how every moment should be felt and experienced, good and bad, and that so much can change about a person in such a short period of time that nothing is impossible if we will it to be.

Happy 2015 to everyone – I’m so happy to be back to give you another year of (hopefully) happiness, inspiration, creative ideas, support and community.

Love,
Holly x

(Photos: Holly Becker for decor8. Please do not use these images without my written consent since they are of my little boy, thank you. Just pop me an email. Thanks!)






uncategorized

December Greetings + A Big Kiss!

December 26, 2014

Hello dear friends! It’s the holiday season which means that most likely you are home, or at someone else’s home, or maybe if you’re not in Germany (today is 2nd Christmas), you are shopping the big sales or enjoying some relaxing down time. Whether you celebrate the holidays or not, whether you have family or are alone and whether this time is special to you or simply “meh”… I simply want to send you many warm greetings and lots of love as I sign off until the new year. You have all been such an inspiration to me and next month will begin my 10th year of blogging… I still feel, in many ways, the same as I did when I first started, “Why do people even read my posts!?”. I’m so glad that you do and for those of you who take the time to comment and share what you find here, thank you.

December Greetings + A Big Kiss!

It means so much that I can support my family doing what makes me happiest – reaching out, sharing, writing and growing alongside all of you because no matter how “seasoned” or “pro” I may be, we’re all in this together and I often feel as overwhelmed and unsteady, inspired and eager, drained and filled with anticipation by this whole blogging thing as you do. I may inspire you by my work but you’ve inspired much more in return because I simply couldn’t keep all of this up without the incentive = YOU. I’m signing off for the next 10 days for some family time, but I’ll be back again during the first week of January after New Year’s, most likely the 5th. But since I didn’t take maternity leave this year or vacation, I may linger a little and return a few days later. I’ll have to see. If you’d like to keep busy, here are a bunch of great things for you to enjoy in my absence like…

My personal top 12 posts this year:

  1. Resolve To Be Happy
  2. Our Baby Aidan Benjamin Is Here!
  3. Our Birth Story + Newborn Photography by Christin Lange
  4. Can Full-Time Bloggers Live Off Of Rainbows & Hugs?
  5. Our Baby Boy’s Nursery Before + After
  6. What Do Babies Play With?
  7. Baby Essentials For The First Year
  8. 22 Hard To Kill Houseplants
  9. The Future Of Blogging – What Do You Think?
  10. Blog Trends: Slow Blogging
  11. 10 Ways To Create Hygge At Home
  12. Our New Book Has a Website

Now for 9 blogs that are really lovely…

  1. Tell Love and Chocolate
  2. Hanke Arkenbout
  3. Freutcake
  4. Jeanie Micheel
  5. Two Loves Studio
  6. Sugar & Cloth
  7. Carnets Parisiens
  8. Mokkasin
  9. Anna Malmberg

15 favorite design finds (or purchases) this year:

  1. Floyd leg
  2. Muuto Stacked Shelves
  3. Superfront
  4. Jonathan Adler Owl Bookends (still on my wishlist!)
  5. Anything from Menu A/S
  6. & Other Stories
  7. Kauniste in Finland
  8. This amazing cabinet
  9. Fujifilm INSTAX Instant Smartphone Printer
  10. Copper foil tape
  11. Matte white washi tape
  12. Band.do iPhone cases
  13. Hubble & Duke baby mocs
  14. Ali Edwards December Daily kit (I’m nearly finished with mine!)
  15. My amazing pineapple Aimee Wilder wallpaper

And…

New Year’s Eve inspiration for you – a whole lot of it… —Click here

Thank you, dear readers, for another rewarding year on decor8! And a big thanks to those who help me on this blog like Jessy, Flora, Liz & Jewels and Holly and the teachers who worked with me on Blogging Your Way this year – Tina, Fiona, Nichole along with my husband Thorsten. Also, a hug and thanks to Leslie because our book launched this past Spring and it’s so lovely and super successful thanks to her – it looks like Decorate With Flowers will soon be in 12 languages/editions with Japanese releasing in January. Woo hoo!

Love, Holly xo

(credit: trimming)






Arts + Crafts

Crushing On Inaluxe

December 24, 2014

Have you heard of Inaluxe? Fine artists Kristina Sostarko and Jason Odd formed this design studio in Australia and have collaborated with some very impressive brands including Kate Spade, Bloom Cosmetics, Land of Nod, IKEA and Urban Outfitters. Kristina launched the brand in 2006 online to share her projects but later, Jason joined in to help take the brand further which eventually landed them a studio space and many new projects. These make me happy!

Crushing On Inaluxe

Crushing On Inaluxe

Crushing On Inaluxe

Crushing On Inaluxe

Crushing On Inaluxe

Crushing On Inaluxe

Crushing On Inaluxe

Crushing On Inaluxe

Crushing On Inaluxe

Their work is just lovely. My wish list includes the Birds of Australia, Blue Winged Kookaburra, Odyssey, Laser Beams, Garden Party and Float prints.  Garden Party and Float would be PERFECT in my new work studio. I also love the paper products they are creating for Earth Greetings, like this gift wrap above.

What do you fancy? You can shop online for these vibrant, beautiful prints here and they offer shipping worldwide.

(images: inaluxe)






Blogging

Earn Money Without Guilt

December 23, 2014

Let’s talk about another trend in blogging – or at least a trend I want to see very soon – Earn Money Without Guilt! Oh and remember, if you’ve missed the first two posts in this series, you can catch up by reading them here: Slow Blogging and Become Your Own Blog Star. And if you’d like to continue this discussion elsewhere online, including Instagram, you can link to this post (shortlink: http://wp.me/po210-3iu) and use hashtag #20blogtrends. Ok, good. Let’s get started!

Earn Money Without Guilt

See this lovely lady above? She is a mother, a wife and a blogger. She works from home. She also just won her first blog award from a prestigious Dutch design magazine. Her name is Holly Marder and she writes once monthly on decor8 (her column is called Homes With Heart) and on her own beautiful blog called Avenue Lifestyle. She has high hopes to do more and with her talent she is likely to reach her dreams and even soar beyond if she keeps at it. Her goal is to earn a living as a blogger, stylist and photographer. That is the goal for many bloggers currently.

The question is, as readers will we allow that? Or will we stand in her path?

A blog doesn’t just have to be about sharing pretty things for free, day in and day out, with no financial reward for the effort poured into it. We all need to eat and pay rent. And most of us really do love blogging and feel a genuine passion for it first and foremost. Yet, when you add up the hours and resources involved to produce beautiful blog content, no one can keep at it post after post, year after year, without eventually needing to earn some money to sustain it all.

It isn’t nice or even fair to demand from talented people who write beautiful blogs to just pump this stuff out for free and to get upset when they start online shops, publish books, produce downloadable content (for a price), etc. Sure, it wasn’t this way in the beginning for all bloggers but also remember, in the beginning, blog content wasn’t where it’s at today. We didn’t see magazine-worthy recipes, professional-looking styling from weddings to interiors and beyond, gorgeously shot food, amazing travel stories, expertly crafted DIY stories. It was mostly text and tiny images and since blog platforms, templates, even digital cameras weren’t where they’re at today, the average blogger couldn’t produce magazine-worthy content at home.

Time changed that. We all learned and grew together. We bought books, we took classes, taught each other tricks and tips, bought the latest cameras and software programs for photo editing. We leveled up.

When I started blogging nearly a decade ago, we didn’t have a crystal ball to predict all of this.  But with a lot of drive and enthusiasm, we moved blogging to where it is today – into a new form of media, the people’s journalism, a community of inspirers who, together, have a strong global conversation on topics every single day in which our passion and often our talent, flows. When I hear readers complain that they see so much of the same stuff on blogs lately I think that we really are influencers because if we can get so many bloggers to pick up a topic and write about it, my god, how amazing to join voices in this way! How amazing to have this kind of social influence! Woot!

But one problem still exists – the stupid elephant in the room…

MONEY.

We don’t need to stay stuck in the mindset of the past when everything online was free so it should always should be free, do we? Are we really selling out if we earn a living by doing what we love and through sharing our talents online? A sell out is a person who compromises their values for money. That’s clearly wrong. A sell out isn’t a person who earns money without compromising their values and does it with class and integrity.

See the difference?

Everything shouldn’t be cheap or free, because often you get what you pay for (or aren’t paying for). I’ve taken a lot of $10 e-courses that gave me nothing more than some pre-recorded content and not much interaction from the students or teachers otherwise. They were the online equivalent of reading a how-to book in most cases. I’ve also taken some online courses that were a lot more money (like $100+) and the videos were top notch, I learned a ton, and I felt a part of a larger community. I definitely got what I paid for with no regrets.

I’m frankly so bored with this old-fashioned mindset of everything being cheap or free. While, as a reader, I may not want to pay to read individual blog posts, I may be happy to support the blogger in other ways. Maybe they have a shop, products, books, podcasts, videos, exclusive content, online magazines or other things that enables them to earn a living. If the content is exceptional and there is great takeaway, paying for that is a non-issue. Or perhaps your favorite bloggers have some sponsored posts from time to time (of course with full disclosure in the opening paragraph and at the bottom of the post), or some ads. Is that really so terrible? Or are we being a bit judgmental?

Let’s stop guilting our blogger friends. Most of the blogs we read are not run by wealthy people looking to take advantage of us. They are run by people just like us, who want a better life for themselves and their families and are willing to work very hard for it, by working for a living in an ethical way that brings value to OUR life. Because the truth is, for blogs that spend hours on creating meaningful content, our appreciation has to run deeper than merely pinning their images to our pinboards.

Currently, I see a big burn out “mass exodus” on the horizon, bloggers posting less or giving up altogether, if we don’t get clever and new find ways to support what we do (monetarily) without audience push back. The “everything is free on the internet” mentality has to go because only then can the quality of content drastically improve, which drives competition, change, innovation and new ideas.

For 2015, let’s all join forces and support this trend of earning money as a blogger but beyond that, let’s spread a new way of looking at blogs – as the new media they really are – and as a righteous path for career seekers to explore and to not be shamed if they earn revenue in ethical ways while blogging.

So there, I’ve put it out there. Discuss if you’d like. I’d love to here your thoughts, of course. #20blogtrends

(image: hanke arkenbout)






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