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A Very Special Mother’s Day Gift From Artifact Uprising

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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[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)

Posted in Sponsored Content on April 22, 2015

10 Inspiring and Beautiful Ceramics

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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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. :(

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

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

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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.

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

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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)

Posted in ceramics on April 20, 2015

Blog Trends: Should You Redesign + Rebrand Your Blog?

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

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

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

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

What about you?

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More of Mel’s rebrand inspirations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Blogging on April 20, 2015

Eclectic Paris Apartment Color Inspiration

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

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Now let’s talk about this subway tile, seating, mirrored-table and the floors! Oh the floors! Any of this doing it for you too? I love the use of purple and yellow in this home with lots of gray. Very cool.

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Such a great bedroom, looks like it’s in Australia not Paris, right? I adore the pops of pink on the bed. Some people make using color so effortless don’t they? Gorgeous editing in this place.

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What do you like about this swank pad? For me, it’s the use of color. And yes, I am unapologetically STILL a lover of a fresh, white base. I was reading a new design book last week where the designer really came out against white homes like this one above and said white is totally boring and I couldn’t help but think it’s such a personality thing. I could never go dark and bold, deep and moody or hunter’s lodge-y or even anything remotely like that. My personality just would clash and dark walls wouldn’t inspire me AT ALL. I love them in a hotel room or where I’m temporarily cocooning, but not in my living space.

Color is so psychological and while some people like their colors light, others love over the top and bold and still others, moody and dark. I will never apologize for liking what I like and I don’t care what any designer or anyone else says is cool or “the way” to decorate. What’s cool in my opinion is to follow your own instinct and rock your home with what speaks to you – color, some color, no color, dark color – it’s your home, so it’s your choice right?

Oh this apartment is so sweet and the fact that is sits directly in Paris definitely makes it even more appealing… Imagine rolling out of bed in the morning and onto the streets of Paris?

To quote Megan Draper, “Zou Bisou Bisou!”.

See you Monday everyone.

(Designer: Sandra Behaumou, Photographer: Montse Garriga Source: Elle Decor España)

Posted in Color Inspiration on April 17, 2015

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