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Thanks, Sweet Paul!

This is just a little shout of love and thanks to Paul Lowe, founder and editor of Sweet Paul, for featuring Decorate With Flowers in his summer issue #17 on page 46 (available at Anthropologie and other fine stores or online here). I’m beaming with pride. Paul says, “Once in a while a book comes in the office that brings me pure joy and happiness. Decorate With Flowers by decor8blog’s Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring is that kind of book. This beautiful book is full of charming and fun ways to bring flowers and joy into your life”, is something Paul said in his review that made me feel so good!

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I also want to congratulations Paul in return for bringing back his blog. I love that he’s blogging again, makes me so happy as that is how I originally learned about him and his recipes and styling, through his first blog.

We’ve had an amazing amount of lovely press mentions about our book, you can see more here, including most recently domino magazine!

(images: sweet paul)

Posted in press on September 08, 2014

3 Inspiring German Books On My Table Right Now

Hey guys! How are ya? I had a really relaxing weekend and plan to bring a little of that serenity with me into the new week because why should a Monday be stressful, right? Oh and guess what? Our baby started crawling officially. Until now, he’s been snaking around the house on his belly for the past three weeks. He’ll be 7 months old tomorrow so I’m really proud of him. Did you also have a nice weekend?

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bookreview

Let me begin this post by first stating that I’m about to review some books but they’re in the German language, which may feel a little alienating to some of you. But this is an international blog and I love showing what’s new in various markets from Denmark to Australia and beyond. Try to keep an open mind is what I’m trying to say. So today I want to share three books that I’m proud of because I really like the authors and  think they each lend something special, a little something for everyone. I have personally met two of the authors (Steffi + Delia), worked with one (Steffi) and was interviewed by the other (Delia). As for the third, Yvonne Bauer of Fräulein Klein fame, well I’ve never met her but hugely look up to her work not only on her blog but in her beautiful books which have a strong focus on baking and party hosting. I find Yvonne such an inspiration in the German market, a real breath of fresh air, so let’s start by sharing a review of her book while I’m boasting about it…

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BOOK 1: Fräulein Klein lädt ein
Yvonne’s new book, Fräulein Klein lädt ein: Backzauber und Dekolust für jeden Anlass, took seven months to write and is just beautiful and packed with inspirational imagery and recipes. Also the book cover and overall design and layout is just lovely as is the paper quality. Yum! Shot with her family and friends present (you see them in the book filling it with so much love), I can’t wait to bake some of her cakes. She also writes a great blog (also in German) and what I find totally cool about this lady is that she’s in Finance by day and manages to tap into her creative side when she’s not at work producing recipes and photos, blog posts and books – this is her 3rd title. I LOVE that she is going for her passions no matter what plus she’s so creative and her fans in Germany are super loyal and totally in love with her recipes. Buy it on Amazon here.

5 QUESTIONS WITH YVONNE
What is this book about? For the most part, this is a baking book with recipes that I have developed around a season or a special occasion.
Who is this book for? It is for anyone looking for ideas for decorating on certain occasions. And also for recipe ideas for all who love to bake.
Who produced this book? I made everything alone – the recipes, styling, photographs – all of it. The only exception is that if you see me pictured in photos, those were shot by my husband.
How did you decide on the recipes? I thought about the typical fruits for each season and then thought about recipes for them. The events were considered too – seasonal. When the celebration was a bit more festive, I made some special – like cakes for a party. For a more informal celebration like brunch, I made pancakes and cereals.
How do you plan a party from start to finish? I write down all of my ideas first and from there, begin with the overall decoration and then, the recipes.

PHOTOS FROM THE BOOK

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Next, it’s time to review a decorating book called Wie eine Wohnung ein Zuhause wird, from a German blogger and journalist, Stefanie Luxat from the OhhhMhhh blog, who lives and works in Hamburg. This book features home tours of creative people who live mostly in Germany with two homes in Cape Town and one in Denmark. My favorite property is the one belonging to Simone Sauvigny and her family, who is the owner of Hamburg-based interiors store, LYS. I love Simone’s shop (I’m a customer) and her home so I was happy to see it in this book. I also like that Steffi has her newly renovated apartment inside too, complete with a photo of her nursery + work space combo that she shares with her new baby girl. You can buy this book on Amazon here.

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BOOK 2: Wie eine Wohnung ein Zuhause wird

5 QUESTIONS WITH STEFFI
1. What is this book about? Real people show their real homes and tell how they designed them. All of the ideas you see are explained so that readers can recreate it on their own and everything is linked to the shops where they bought the stuff.
2. Who is this book for? For everyone who wants to feel happy at home. For people who are looking for simple, not very expensive, creative ideas to turn their apartment or house into a home, a fun and relaxing place to be.
3. How did you decide on the homes that you would profile in the book? It was very important for me to show real homes with affordable ideas. And I wanted to show a good mixture of different styles in the book. That’s why I invited sixteen friends with very different styles to open their doors and tell me all their interior secrets.
4. What do you find about German homes that speaks to you? Germans like to mix different styles. It seems as if they pick inspirations from all over the world and mix them together at home. In my generation there isn’t just one German style. We (Germans) are much more creative than other countries.
5. You recently renovated your apartment. What got you so interested in decorating? We moved into our apartment five years ago and I wasn’t happy with different things in the beginning. I never really settled, arrived, in this apartment until last year when I was really pissed about being unhappy about the look of my home. I remembered what I learned and loved about living a creative life and chose to never accept big compromises again and so I renovated the apartment. Others asked, “Why would you spend so much money in an apartment that you don’t own?”, but I decided: Every happy day counts! So… We spent a few thousand euros on the renovation. We renovated the floors in every room, painted every wall, laid bare the wooden floor in the kitchen (it was hidden under cement),sanded the wooden floors in every room, sanded every single door and painted them AND we bought new furniture  – a new sofa, chairs, table and some other stuff for the living room, new desk in my office et cetera. That’s when I had the idea for this book and when I realised how happy a great home can make someone.

PHOTOS FROM THE BOOK

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The last, but certainly not least (these reviews are in no certain order), is Westwing: Das grosse Buch der Wohnstile the debut interiors book by Delia Fischer who is a real power Frau as the founder of Westwing Home & Living, a “flash sale” shopping site that is online in 12 countries and has over 15 million members worldwide. In fact, I’m a customer and find many great things on her site. Before launching Westwing, Delia was the editor of both ELLE and ELLE Decor magazine. In this book, she profiles homeowners sharing their different styles – and all of them are her friends and family from Anika Decker’s home in Berlin (she is the most popular German screenwriter for romantic comedies like Keinohrhasen) to her parents country home and her own apartment in the city. What I found really fresh and interesting is after all of the home tours and profiles of the owners conclude, she shows you one room several different ways – like a bedroom or entry, shown with many different themes, giving the reader tons of creative inspiration. Buy it on Amazon here.

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BOOK 3: Westwing: Das grosse Buch der Wohnstile

5 QUESTIONS WITH DELIA
1. What is this book about? It is about interior styles and how to decorate according to your personality. There are 8 styles in this book – Boho, Minimalist, Country, Glamour, Girly, Classic, Scandinavian and Eccentric.
2. Who is this book for? Everyone who likes having a beautiful home that reflects your personality! My book can help you to find your look or inspire you to develop a new one. I wanted to show that redecorating doesn’t mean you have to buy everything new. It’s the same with a sofa as it is with a little black dress: you can change the whole look with the right accessories. In fashion it is shoes, earrings, a scarf. In interiors it is cushions, table lamps, a beautiful throw. This makes redecorating affordable and of course fun, too! We can play with different looks a lot more!
3. Did you bring props to the homes? We mostly brought flowers and sometimes some accessories to style a table setting. The fun part was that the home owners always got real inspired and excited by us being there shooting and styling. Sometimes it helps to have another persons’ viewpoint and I also think that discussing your interiors and decoration with your girlfriends can be really inspiring, don’t you?
4. What do you find about German interior style that speaks to you? Germans care about quality, e.g. for materials, for the craftsmanship behind a piece. And as our autumn and winters can be rainy and gray we like to have our homes cozy! I believe that coziness is essential to a home.
5. What did you find challenging about writing a decorating book? We all have a limited amount of free time, so decorating should not be too complicated and it should be somewhat effortless in my opinion! And yet the ideas have to be new, unique, surprising and just stunning! I took a lot of time to find the right balance of all of these things as I worked on this book – that was my challenge.

PHOTOS FROM THE BOOK

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So, those are some of the books on my table at the moment – and yes, they are all in the German language so for those of you unable to read them, my apologies! But I’m inspired seeing Germans writing more lifestyle oriented books here as when I first visited Germany many years ago most of the books were written by authors from other countries and translated into German. I always wondered why there were not that many native Germans writing interiors and cookbooks. But things have changed (thankfully!) and with the rise of blogs, I see more and more great bloggers (like Steffi and Yvonne) authoring books as well as small business owners (like Delia) and I’m happy to see it. It was sorely needed and good for the confidence of all those living here because I think a country needs to have plenty of creative inspiration coming from its own residents to lend a sense of community, pride and a place in the world of decor and cooking as a whole.

Have a lovely day and a big thanks to my publisher, Callwey, for sending me these gorgeous books for review by my label mates. Callwey is also my publisher for Wohnen mit Blumen, Holly Beckers Wunderbare Wohnideen and Lust auf Wohnen.

(Images: With permission from Callwey Verlag, Munich, Germany)

Posted in Books + Magazines on September 08, 2014

Food In Motion: Red Currant Cake

Have you ever tasted a slice of fresh red currant cake? Hi! It’s Liz from “Food in Motion” and I’m happy to share my grandmother’s Red Currant Cake recipe with you today. It’s been in the family for years now and most family members know this cake and are reminded of our grandmother when eating it. In July we were back in the Alps enjoying a week of vacation. My daughter was delighted to see that my cousin now has seven chickens that her 12-year-old daughter takes care of. I think this is such a great way to prepare a kid for real life! Not only does she have to feed the chickens, she also has to clean their shed and collect the eggs, which she sells to neighbors and friends. She gets to keep the money she earns, but has to buy new food from the proceeds, and learns about bookkeeping in her own little chicken business!’

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While filming, the kids had fun looking for the eggs and feeding the chickens. They also used the freshly discovered eggs for the dough and beat the eggwhites and make the cake.

In my last little video I told you about our au pair Taylor, who was coming to spend the summer with us. Well, she’s here now and is wonderful! What a great experience: to let someone into your life, show them your culture, learn more about theirs and share so much with them. She also starred in this video, guiding the kids through the different steps of the recipe. Actually, it’s super easy to make this cake – just try it out with your kids, too!

Red Currant Cake
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon bakingpowder
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup butter

Mix the dry ingredients together, then add the eggs and the butter. Knead with your hands until it holds together. Grease a cake pan with butter and press the dough onto bottom and up the sides of the pan. Set aside.

2 1/2 cups of red currants
4 egg whites
1 1/2 cups ground almonds
1/2 cups sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Wash the red currants and pick them from their stems, it’s easiest using a fork. In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold in the ground almonds and sugar, then add the red currants. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for approx. 50 minutes. If the top turns too dark, cover it with aluminium foil and continue baking. Cool and remove the cake from the cake pan. Enjoy! – Lisa.

(photos/text/video: Lisa Nieschlag)

Posted in Food In Motion on September 05, 2014

Tiny Stylish Apartment In Sweden

I came across this lovely tiny apartment that I wanted to share with those of you who live small but have great aspirations for your home anyway. Because really, the size of a home doesn’t matter at all as much as how well you are using those square feet and how much love is there. I’ve lived in homes of all shapes and sizes (I’ve never owned a house either! Even now, I rent.) and some of my favorite homes were not always the largest ones but those where I felt in tune with the space around me, loved and most of all, cozy and cared for. Doesn’t this apartment look so cozy and cared for? Click on any of this images for an extra large view.

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I love the stacks of magazines along the left wall. Looks so cool and cozy like that. All of those loose throw pillows make this space look super inviting.

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The bedroom may be tiny but it still looks so sweet. And I like that HAY dots rug on the floor. And let’s talk about those herringbone wooden floors. Don’t you love them?

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This pendant light is a favorite. I wish I knew who made it, I want it for my own living room!

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A fireplace with white candles inside? YES! This is such a sweet corner.

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What a great use of this nook – for a dining room. The mirrors on the wall really open up the space. I have the same table too – what a coincidence.

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Those round mirrors on straps are SO popular right now. Again, there are those stacked magazines. So pretty topped with boxes and a plant.

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This light is the best, I really like it.

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The grid tile on the walls is interesting, I’m not sure it’s “me” but it’s still interesting. The floor is nice! I love the mini radiator beneath the window, it’s charming.

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What a romantic bed and I love the linen draped overhead. You don’t see that much anymore. I did this in my bedroom in the 90s.

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These images are from the lovely Stadshem Fastighetsmäkleri, a realtor in Sweden who sells gorgeous apartments and homes. In fact, this is one of them that you can buy. I found it via the Nordic Design blog.

(photos: Jonas Berg)

Posted in Home Tours on September 04, 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
Find out more about this exciting class by bloggers, for bloggers, teaching you how to blog like a boss!