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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?

cement-green-and-pink-pinterest.pdf Some of Mel’s rebrand inspirations

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

Fresh Squeezed Citrus Apple Spritzers

I’m into making healthy drinks lately because the weather has been gorgeous and the weekly outdoor markets are finally packed with yummy fruits and vegetables. Yesterday I was so inspired when I found lots of citrus fruits including beautiful pink grapefruits and blood oranges. I immediately bought some, headed home, and started cutting and juicing and came up with a very easy little “cocktail” below, only this one doesn’t have alcohol (though you could add a shot of saffron-infused gin or top with champagne and you’d have a wonderful cocktail for sure!). I also found some chamomile flowers and lots of citrus-hued tulips so after I made the spritzers I added a few chamomile blossoms to the drinks and then I cut the tulips down very short, removed all of the leaves, and put them in a small ceramic container on my table.

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drinks

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To make the drink you need:

  • Lots of yummy citrus fruits like blood oranges, pink grapefruit and oranges. Then just one lemon and one lime.
  • Squeeze them all by hand (or use a juicer) and pour through a small strainer into a glass pitcher (to remove pulp and any seeds).
  • Fill the pitcher 1/4 of way with squeezed juice.
  • Next, fill the pitcher with no-sugar added apple juice. The pitcher should be about halfway full now.
  • Add slices of citrus fruits to decorate and flavor the drink.
  • Pour into glasses and top with sparkling water or, if you prefer, top with sparkling water, tonic water, and a splash of champagne or saffron-infused gin. It depends on whether you are looking for good health or a good time I guess!
  • Cut a few slices of citrus 4 ways and turn over a few times in a shallow bowl filled with white grain sugar. Garnish the drink with the sugared citrus, add as many as you’d like. You can even top with a few chamomile flowers to make it spring-y and pretty.

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A very simple farmers’ market visit gave me such a boost of health, energy and creativity for under $10! You truly can find inspiration anywhere. I hope that you enjoy this little spritzer and pretty tulips and I wish you a lovely weekend. See you next week!

(photographs/styling: holly becker for decor8)

Posted in Sweet on April 17, 2015

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