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Our Baby Boy’s Nursery Before + After

This is a very exciting post to write, especially since today begins week 40 of my pregnancy (I’m due any day now!). In fact, this post is right up there one that I wrote last summer: My Biggest News Yet. I honestly cannot wait to show you our baby boy’s finished nursery and a few shots of pregnant me.

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Other than a custom made roman shade, this room is all set. My husband and I finished it a few weeks ago but needed to get everything up on the walls – so we did that part last week. I wanted so badly to finish the room before our baby boy arrives so to have met that goal, amidst moving into a new home, made me unbelievably happy. Like it’s the first thing I accomplished as his mom. He won’t be sleeping in the room for the first 4 months but in a bassinet near our bed, but at least when I feed and change him, and when we play and have other babies over to play with him (like his niece who was born last January), we’ll all have a cheerful space to enjoy as a family and it’s not a full-on construction site so I really hustled to put our little guy first and to get this room finished along with our bedroom so the back of the house where we all will sleep and enjoy those first moments after birth will be chaos-free and baby/midwife-friendly.

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I need to first shout out someone extremely special to me for making all of this come true because I never would have been able to pull this room together on my own. My husband! He has been amazing – helping to get everything prepped and he even styled some of the baby’s room and picked out lots of the art (he made the star wars art using a shadow box frame and vintage characters, bought the art showing the moon against the black sky at an indie fair last month and he framed a favorite vintage German plane illustration to the left of the window). He also gave me the idea to washi tape some of the prints on our little gallery wall to make it more casual and creative and so it can be versatile for when our son gets older, we can swap out images and there aren’t a thousand holes in the wall. He also bought and added little things dotted about here and there, including a few bits from his own boyhood, which made decorating the room so much more personal and loving for us both. I feel so glad that he willingly jumped in and wanted to be part of it all. I didn’t even have to ask or beg or bribe him! He put all of the furniture together and in place too – which was an enormous help. I owe so much to my husband for making this baby room a cozy haven. Now I can go into labor and delivery with a big smile on my face because everything is finished  and I no longer feel like my house looks like a hurricane hit it. Everything is peaceful and boxes are nearly unpacked in every room – I feel very zen. To top it off, he photographed the room and took a bunch of pregnancy photos of me, most of those we’ll keep private and for family, but some are included below. I can’t stop bragging, seriously, thank you Thorsten!

BEFORE: Okay so here is where we started (below). This was taken in November when we got the keys to our new place (we rent but received full written permission to remodel as long as the owner approved). At this time, the walls were a mess – covered with old, stained raufasertapete (wood chip wallpaper with millions of lumpy bumps), dirty trim in off-white and a very old vinyl linoleum fake wood floor that was not only peeling up in places and scratched to death, but was almost a glossy orange and was super shiny so you could see every flaw. It was also installed on floors that were never evened out so it felt a little like you’d had too much wine when you walked in.

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Once I saw what I was up against, I started to cry. Then I started to doubt myself. Then I started to doubt that things would get done in time. Then I cried again. Then I started to brainstorm. I’m very visual so I got started with a mood board first, you can see it below. This part of the process chilled me the hell out because honestly, I wasn’t feeling very zen when I looked at our new place and realized that every single room needed work.

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This mood board (above) inspired the room, as detailed in this post: Decorating Our Baby’s Room: Part One. In that post, I’ve included the 12 steps that I took to pull to the room together in case you need some help. You can click on the mood board to enlarge it if you want to examine the details.

DURING: Here is a photo showing our progress. The raufasertapete/wood chip paper was stripped, the walls were smoothed and primed, glattvlies was expertly applied (we hired out for this work!) and all seams removed, then two coats of Farrow & Ball’s “Cabbage White” were applied. Walls here are very expensive to renovate, each room (for us at least) cost around 800 Euros for this process. If we wanted to have the walls completely smoothed out (drywall process like in the states), it would have been several hundred more and could potentially start to crack since the walls are over 110 years old in this house. Glattvlies was the perfect solution. The trim, door and ceilings were painted crisp white. I had Ferm Living’s “Kite” wallpaper installed only around the window for a bit of pattern and contrast. You’ll see that in a minute…

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After all of the paint and wallpaper was complete by a local painter, our carpenter came to install our new oak plank (eco!) floors from Weitzer Parkett. I choose them but thankfully the lady who owns this house paid for the flooring and installation for the back of the house where eco-oak flooring was both needed and installed (our bedroom, baby’s room, hallway, eating nook, guest bedroom), this was for around 780 square feet of flooring, including sound proofing and leveling them out. I selected the flooring out of around 30 different samples and I love it – it’s gorgeous. The best thing about wood, outside of how natural it looks, is that it’s so much warmer and lasts ages longer than laminate. Laminate is a huge trend in Germany – it seems all apartments have it and though it’s certainly not horrible, real wood is the better and more affordable flooring long term. We’ve had extremely cold weather over the past week and the floors are always warm and our heat is barely on because of the flooring.

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After the flooring was installed in the back of the house, it was time to clean the room, unpack the new furniture and put it all together (a huge thanks to my husband Thorsten and his friend Alexander for their hard work putting everything together on Christmas Day for me! :) Here’s the first piece of furniture, the eco-friendly Oeuf Sparrow Crib in White, that they placed in the room. This was the starting point for me to begin decorating. This was my dream piece for the room, so it had to go in place first. In fact, I always place the most important/focal piece in a room FIRST and build around it. Do you do that too?

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AFTER: Next came everything else! Here is how the rooms looks AFTER. I will link the major brands below but if I miss anything, just ask me in the comments section and I’ll provide brands and links if I can recall them all! Some things I repurposed from other rooms in our home (like the black Eames rocker), the pendant (which was formerly in the guest bedroom) and the wooden task lamp (this was in my office).

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More links to explore that relate to this room:

* Nursery images that inspired me that I wrote about are here.

* My Pinterest mood board, which was kept “private” until today. Pinterest is a great place to create a private board and to pin your inspirations while you’re working on a project that you don’t want to share with the whole world. You could once add only 3 private boards, but now you can add 6 – yeah!

* A  progress update on the room renovation was blogged about: Baby Boy’s Room – Progress

* Essential baby things that you see in this room above: Baby Essentials For The First Year

* Having a baby? My top tips on how to decorate a nursery: How To Decorate a Baby’s Room

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SOURCE LIST:

Paint: Farrow & Ball “Cabbage White” which changes with the light – it’s usually pale mint green but can change to a gray or even blue depending on the time of the day. It’s wonderful!

Crib: Oeuf “Sparrow” Crib in White

Bookcase: Ouef Mini Library in White/Baltic Birch

Dresser with changing table top: Oliver Furniture “Nursery Dresser” in White

Wooden Closet: Car Moebel

Felt Gum Ball Rug: Olli Ella (custom ordered in colors that I wanted)

Flokati Rug: Easy Carpet (on ebay.de)

Nursing Chair: Olli Ella (custom ordered with a natural base which is not typically available and in dove gray/cream)

Eames Rocker: I brought this in from our living room; you can get them at DWR or just google them.

Face Storage Boxes, wall boxes above dresser, bear quilt & wallpaper: Ferm Living

School chart above crib: Vintage, I bought this at a local flea market

House-shaped handmade raffia storage box: RICE “airport”

Pendant: White paper, unknown. When I remember, I’ll let you know!

So, what do you think? I am soooo happy with this room. I can’t wait to get the roman shade in and hang it – then the room will be complete. My heart is so happy about the room and most of all, our baby boy whom we are waiting for now… We cannot wait to meet him! While Thorsten was taking some pregnancy photos of me today (a few are included above), I started crying tears of just the most overwhelming happiness. This is truly one of the BEST times of my life you guys. I mean it. We have been married for nearly 13 years (in July) and so we’re both so excited about this life change and to walk into that hospital a couple, and as one of my reader’s told me, walk out of that hospital a family. Thank you so much for sharing this special part of my life with me, it means so much to be able to put all of this out there so publicly to some of the most dear people – all of you have been so kind to me during the past 9 months with your comments and emails (and gifts in the mail)… Really, I couldn’t feel more love. Thank you (hug).

xo,

Holly

(Photos: Thorsten Becker)

sponsors

This post was sponsored by Oeuf, Car Moebel, Farrow & Ball and Oliver Furniture. Products shown from these companies were donated to this project as gifts. I’m so grateful and honored to have been able to work with these four generous and wonderful companies. Thank you!

Posted in Home Tours on January 27, 2014

New: Print Club Boston

I’m always psyched when I hear from fellow Bostonians about a creative project that’s going on there. Boston has such a special place in my heart – I lived there for so long and founded my blog there – it’s a really great and supportive city for creatives! Just this morning I received an email about Print Club Boston, founded by an Australian expat who recently relocated to Boston, Elizabeth Corkery, and wanted to learn more. Elizabeth lives and works and Somerville and as an artist, she decided to try a new adventure and so Print Club Boston was born. What is it exactly? It’s an online source for affordable and limited edition silkscreen prints, and as you can see below, they’re gorgeous and unique. Each piece is released as part of a series which has a thematic cohesion and production and all are printed in limited edition, small runs. I adore the two prints shown directly below, especially the one on the left called Pink Flowers – it really resonates with me for some reason. I imagine it framed in a big copper frame with a white border – so pretty and perfect for springtime!

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Elizabeth has this to say about the first series, “The first collectionThe Grid, The Trellis is an eight-print series, which is based around the structural geometry of the garden trellis. A commonly used armature for the upward growth of plants, the trellis simultaneously addresses the potential for fertile, organic expansion and the unnatural geometric structure of the grid.” It’s so interesting to hear where artists begin on their creative journey, don’t you think? Below is a glimpse of Elizabeth working in her studio…

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And by the way… Do you have any current sources for shopping for art prints online? Or certain artists that you love and follow? Please share your links below, I’m always looking for new sources for art prints!

(images: print club boston)

Posted in Arts + Crafts on January 22, 2014

How To Decorate With Radiant Orchid, Pantone’s Color of 2014

I’ve been researching color lately and because so many of you are having a hard time with the Pantone Color for 2014, namely, Radiant Orchid, I thought I’d show you some brilliant examples of how to use it at home. It’s one of those shades that can be tricky to use, can’t it? It can go wrong so easily! Here are some tips and visual inspirations in orchid to give you some encouragement to go for it along with ideas as to how to add the perfect dose to any room in your home.

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For casual living, a simple stool in orchid as the accent color can work wonders. This is the home of jewelry designer Kathleen Whitaker as seen on Remodelista. This is a great example of how a little can go a long way when it comes to a unique color.

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Home Sweet Home – This is a great example of how to use flowers in a home (orchids!) to add in a color you don’t normally decorate with. In this case, the flowers bring out the lush, sophisticated chairs in deep plum so there is harmony.

Regarding decorating with this color, the experts over at Pantone comment in their press release about this color, “Spruce up interior spaces by incorporating this eye-catching hue in paint, accent pieces and accessories. As adaptable as it is beautiful, Radiant Orchid complements olive and deeper hunter greens, and offers a gorgeous combination when paired with turquoise, teal and even light yellows. Likewise, the vibrant color is sure to liven up neutrals including gray, beige and taupe. Uplifting and bold without being overpowering, Radiant Orchid reenergizes almost any color palette and provides a unifying element for diverse spaces.” Do you agree? I think it also looks amazing with a deep gray.

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Here is how it looks with yellow. Not bad!

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Nice examples of orchid found in rugs, throws and as a strikingly handsome chair from Blog Contrast that borders fuchsia. Remember, orchid comes in several tints and tones, after all it is the violet (purple) color family – it’s a bright, rich purple that looks like the orchidaceae flower. You can find orchid in tones that range from grayish purple to purplish-pink to strong reddish purple.

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A simple print above a sofa brings a dose of orchid in without overkill. It pairs lovely with pale blues and neutrals, as seen in this room from Domino, don’t you think? This is the home of Lucky mag Editor in Chief, Eva Chen. You can see more of her apartment here.

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You know, this orchid tile looks quite gorgeous in this bathroom seen on Kathy Kuo Home. Very striking!

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Paint by Benjamin Moore in orchid tones… Would you add this color to your wall? I wouldn’t, but that’s just me. I’m sure lots of you would and you’d love it!

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Architectural Digest is always showing rooms that I know cost around 100K to pull together, yet I still find them inspiring. This one is no exception with a luxurious deep orchid velvet sofa paired with pale orchid on the side chair. Would you mix tones in the same room on such large pieces? It’s a daring move, I’ll admit. It only works if you play with the tints and tones of the color and also the shape of the furniture, otherwise it could be a bit too much if the chairs and sofa were all in the same fabric or in the same shape.

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I can see a teenage girl totally going for this room as seen on Project Nursery. It’s stunning, right? Using orchid as a border against crisp white bedding adds a touch of glamour and that ceiling! Oh that ceiling! Chic, chic!

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A nice touch of orchid in a few throw pillows show restraint, and yet add a certain something. You can find this color used frequently in textiles from countries like Morocco and Turkey. When I studied color theory in college, I found purple to be a most interesting color to research. Did you know that the most famous dye in the ancient world was Tyrian purple, which looks quite a lot like the modern day “orchid” color we’re seeing here. It was created using a snail from the Mediterranean sea called a murex. And did you know that purple was one of the first colors used in prehistoric art? It has been associated with royalty for centuries, too. It’s no wonder then why you find purple (and also red) in so many woven textiles that come from countries that still employ traditional techniques, patterns and colors into their works today.

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Here’s an orchid-y leather pouf and other soft furnishings mixed nicely into this city apartment.

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One simple throw cushion on the floor, as seen in Sköna Hem magazine, makes a statement.

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Who would have ever imagined that these patterns would work together in a bedroom? Yet they somehow do. And did you notice the orchid throw at the foot of the bed?

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Little details in orchid in this kid’s room are so pretty!

When decorating with orchid, here are 7 of my top tips:

1. Not in love with it? If it’s not your favorite color, mix it in with colors you love that are close on the color wheel and see if that changes how you feel. Often, we think we dislike a certain color when really, we need to bring in variety of other colors that mix nicely with it to quiet it down and make it work. So often, a color you didn’t like becomes one that you adore simply by creating the right mix of patterns and colors.

2. Go bold. If you adore this color, then add a very bold piece to a room in the form of artwork, a sofa, a chair, a rug. Make orchid a real focal point. If you love it, why not? It’s your home!

3. Kid’s room. Most young girls love purple (I hit a purple phase when I felt I was “too grown up” for pink), yet purple isn’t always a favorite of parents. Orchid can be a great and stylish compromise.

4. Less is more. Add simple touches with a leather pouf, a throw cushion, trim on linen drapes, a throw at the edge of a bed, a vase… You don’t have to overdo it to make it work.

5. Flower power! Instead of interiors objects, add this color through fresh flowers. Many Fall blooms are in this fabulous color. And of course, there are always orchids themselves!

6. Experiment with tone! Deeper or lighter can change the mood completely from dramatic and elegant to pastel-y and sweet. See what you like and don’t be afraid to play. Pair with gray for drama, pair with yellow for bold, pair with white and pastels for a light and sweet room scheme.

7. Bring some “wrongness” to a room. My friend Sania Pell, a stylist based in London, once told me that you need a little wrongness to make something right, especially when styling a room or vignette. She’s right and I now apply this to my own styling work as I see fit – though it’s not easy and does take a trained eye to do it right! Oftentimes, we try too hard and things look very perfect and boring as a result – you know those rooms that are so perfect that nothing stands out? Orchid can be that touch of wrongness to a space – a quirky painting, a piece of porcelain in a cabinet that you’ve spray-painted orchid (like a quirky cockatiel!), a lamp base spray-painted in this color against a charcoal wall with a bright canary yellow shade… Often a single element of “wrong” can make it right because it catches the eye and adds interest. It makes you think. It makes others talk. Often you have to learn all of the rules before you can begin breaking them and with decorating, it’s no different.

And a huge by the way… In my upcoming book with Leslie Shewring, Decorate With Flowers, we actually explore this color and show a winning combination of how it works at home through flowers and decor. The funniest thing about it is when we were writing the book, we didn’t even know Pantone would select this color for 2014, so I’m quite excited that we have a chapter dedicated to contemporary living with orchid tones showing how we used it and what colors we combined it with. Good timing for us all!

What do you think about orchid? Would you add it to your room? In large, small or medium doses? How? 

(images linked to their sources above)

Posted in Decorating Tips on January 21, 2014

28 Creative Ideas For Valentine’s Day

Oh la la! The day of love is approaching and for some, it spells dread because we’ve been sold to for years that V day is all about romance with your one true love. Don’t buy into it! Gather your girlfriends, your kids, your family or spend it alone in the bathtub with something boozy to drink and bubble bath to celebrate the love you feel for yourself. Dump the dumb traditions and look at February 14th as a fun, positive day and whether you celebrate or not, next month is a great month in general to stock up on lots of fabulous things in pink and red in fun heart shapes (including those yummy candy hearts that I miss so badly here in Germany!) that you can also enjoy year round. I thought you may enjoy some inspiration to see what I mean. Here are 28 ideas that I’ve collected online (please link to those that you fancy) that you’re certain to enjoy. Kisses!

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1. Throw a cute kids crafting party like Style Me Pretty did. Photo by White Loft Studio.

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2. Cocktails! Just add heart sugar from Dellcove Spices to the rims to make it extra festive and full of love.

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3. Creative photography! Arrange something pretty on a tabletop in the shape of a heart, photograph it, print, and pin to your mood board or frame like Leslie Shewring did. You can also turn this into a greeting card to give to someone dear.

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4. Gift giving! Watercolor on paper and cut into hearts and attach them to presents with twine like Leslie Shewring did  – she’s such a talented person!

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Gift give! 5a. If you like to keep things simple, KROnPINSESSENE has a simple gift wrap idea with string and stickers. 6b. Pretzels dipped in chocolate with heart confetti 7c. Cupcakes with handmade arrows. 8d. love letter cookies from Kanela y Limon.

8a98eb49b0d44b471bdfd1dd4c4c1639 9. Bake cookies for your sweetheart! Love cookies made by Sweet Style Blog – could these get any sweeter?

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10. Whip up a little pie! Bake up a little raspberry pie, this one was made by zucker zimt und liebe.

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11. Host Brunch with friends. Make some heart waffle sandwiches with prosciutto to enjoy brunch with your lady friends on V Day! We have plenty of love in our life to go around without worrying about whether or not we have a date on February 14th! Gather the girls like Design Love Fest did and spread your own love and magic.

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12. Wing it! If you don’t have time to whip up something heart-themed, why not buy some cupcakes at the bakery and add your own touch on top with a little heart you’ve made. In America around Valentine’s Day, lots of cupcakes come with a plastic heart stuck inside but you can easily remove it, cut and attach your own handmade heart using a favorite paper to a straw you’ve cut short (like a cute red and white striped one) and pop it into the cupcake.

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13. Photo magic at home! Take some fun photos against a white background (hang a sheet you’ve pressed wrinkle-free) and use heart-shaped anything as props like photographer Max Wanger does (his website, his interview on decor8). Take photos of your kids, pets, whomever is around that you love. Or use a camera with a timer and photograph yourself.
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Balloons! Oh yeah, definitely do the whole balloon thing. One, two, forty… Balloons say FUN and turn a simple dinner at home into a romantic joy fest. 14a. massive amounts of pink balloons at home from 100 layer cake 15b. order and deliver big hearts to someone you love like these by geronimo balloons via oh joy 16c. A small colorful collection presented to your date on his doorstep (or office) wearing your prettiest outfit like these from lark store 17d. One giant balloon with streamers tied to it like this one shot by Liz Banfield for Style Me Pretty.

 

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18. Throw a Craft Party for Your Friends! Host your own V Day crafting party with the girls like they did over at Better Homes & Gardens… And while you’re at it, serve champagne! I also love the at home crafting party that they did over at Style Me Pretty! Nothing makes crafting together more hilarious than when you drop going for perfection – usually a glass of bubbly makes even the most perfectly perfect crafter chill out a bit.

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Play dress up! Wear some hearts without being tacky! 19a. Adorable blogger Jordan Ferney in a heart sweater 20b. shoe clips by Ban.do 21c. heart skirt (love this) which looks super stylish 22d. heart blouse (I also adore this look) from little miss fearless. Fashion tip: A way to avoid this look turning too twee is to either dress or accessorize with only ONE item that has a heart pattern. Not all at once!

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23. Decorate with decals! I love these black hearts against a peachy-pink wall by Ferm Living.

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24. Decorate the ceiling! And why not? By Designer Emily Mugannam

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25. Decorate with pillows! I like this understated heart cushion by Foto Le Maire for a living room, especially nice for those who don’t want to go bold.

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26. Decorate the walls with flowers! These wall vases from Love Star are the best.

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27. Decorate with hoops! This fun V day party by The Nester resulted in these crafty hoops – love!

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28. Decorate with chocolate! Do you think I’m kidding? The Sweetest Occasion made a DIY heart wall. Yes, really!

See any ideas you love? I love the craft party idea, or the pretty brunch that Bri did. I also love the heart sugar for cocktail glass rims! Yum!

(images linked to their sources above)

Posted in round-up on January 20, 2014

Books:

Some of my books...

Further editions available: Decorate published by Murdoch Books for AU/NZ, Decorar BR, Alt om indretning DK, Inspirace pro váš byt CZ, Dekorácie SK, La décoration FR, Lust auf Wohnen DE, Sisusta tyylillä FI and Sztuka aranżacji wnętrz PL.

eCourses:

Next dates

Blogging Your Way: Blog Boss
e-course, October 10 - November 10, 2014
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