Posts tagged book
5 Eye-Catching Black + White Party Ideas

Hello friends, I had a most lovely book party in Hannover before Christmas when I launched Decorate For a Party (or in German, the book is called Feierlaune) in the city where I live with my friends and family whom I love so much. A bonus was that my little boy Aidan Benjamin, who turns 3 tomorrow, was there with me watching mama talk about my book and showing how to create a beautiful party scene using only black and white. There I am below with my little one looking on...


I love my son so much and to be "working" with him like this and to have him share in the festivities of my book party gave me no greater joy - in fact, this was such a special time for me to have him there. When I was styling the black and white gift giving party in my book, he was running around the room with me and Holly Marder (the photographer) along with Pamuk and Tinna, and he was so much younger! That was back in September 2014 when he was 19 months old. In this photo above he is already out of the toddler years and is a genuine little boy. The thing is, as he grows and works alongside of me as I produce my books and then, do book parties, I observe his growth and his maturity, how he went from not talking on the photoshoot to now, never being quiet and speaking in two languages fluently!

I've launched 4 books and have been to over 40 locations in North America and Europe since my first book came out years back... But never with him until now. He loved the cake pops and enjoyed meeting everyone and in the end, he did great being in a shop with nearly 100% ceramics and glass -he didn't break a single thing. Good boy! I was so proud and I'm happy I got to finally have a book party in Hannover with him with me -  this is something I'll never, ever forget.


I was so honored to take Decorate For a Party to London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Hamburg, Hannover, Zurich, and even the imm in Cologne where it was proudly on display in my stand. And Leslie launched the book in Victoria, British Columbia. This weekend, I'll bring the book to Frankfurt to share at the Ambiente Fair in a video that they'll put on their Facebook page. Book #4 gave me some great adventures and now I'm finalizing the concept for book 5, which I will write as the sole author, and it will release end of 2018 or Spring 2019. It's going to be something very different from what you'd imagine and I'm breaking the "Decorate" series now so no more "Decorate..." books for the time being. I have decided to take a risk and try something very new. Let's see what you will think!


Anke taking a photo for Instagram


I'm very happy here to receive flowers styled by local florist Sonja Klein.


Now I'll give you 5 black and white party styling ideas, particularly for the winter months (like RIGHT NOW!). Ready for some tips?

  1. PATTERN MIX. Black and white can go super clinical or super minimalist and modern - not so much playful or fun, right? But if you mix and match patterns you can definitely insert the fun factor. I've chosen linens and ceramics from Marimekko and made hostess gift boxes for each plate which double as a place card since everyone has their name on a box. The boxes were simple white boxes but I used black washi tape to create a "ribbon" and black dot stickers from the stationery aisle in the local drug store to add a pattern.
  2. NO TABLECLOTH. I like the way a table can look without a table cloth, especially if you have a beautiful wood or simple white table. For a black and white party, especially if you have a white table, use a patterned runner to warm up the table with fabric and leave the rest bare for a more modern Scandinavian look.
  3. CHINESE TAKE AWAY BOXES. I love these boxes, you can get them everywhere it seems lately and the solid white without any writing are the ones I go for. I like to fill them with nuts, candy and crackers. You can embellish with black washi tape or just leave them plain.
  4. SPRIGS OF GREEN. Every black and white party needs a natural element to warm it up. Because it's from nature, the color of it doesn't disrupt the flow of your monochromatic scheme. Add sprigs of pine to clear glasses vases (or in this case Finnish champagne glasses) or add other greens like Eucalyptus or potted plants. The key is to use only one type of green down the table center so that it creates interest without becoming a focal point or cheap looking.
  5. NO PLACEMATS. I like placemats but honestly, it's refreshing to drop them every once in awhile. Use large patterned napkins or solid black to give your plate something to rest against until guests take their seats.

Here I am receiving so much warmth and love from my dear friend Dietlind Wolf.


I had to create a place setting for my little boy!


I made Finnish himmeli and hung them in the shop window using birch-patterned straws. The DIY project is in the book!


Thank you to beautiful Eghlima Kiaei from Mundus for your bright and energetic spirit and your delicious cakes and cake pops - we love what you do and appreciate so much all you did to make this party so nice for us! Also many, many thanks to Hannover-based Photographer Martin Wehrmann for these lovely photographs and your happy nature and big smile. With special thanks to Imke Isermann at Kukkamari for allowing us to use this beautiful space for the afternoon. Finally, thank you to our German publishers, Random House/DVA, for giving Feierlaune to German-speaking Europe!

Oh and of course, thanks to everyone who came to celebrate with us (Anke, Gabi, Kerstin, Esra, Annette, Claudia, Kristina, Sean, Guru, Dietlind, Gundi, Anna, Sonja, Mary, Tinna, Sara, Emma, Jan + Wiebke, Berit + Heiko) and so many others for making this event so meaningful to me.



Meet Me In Hamburg This Saturday, 10 September - FeierLaune Buch Party

Hello dear friends. This is a quick post to let you know that on Saturday morning I'm going to be in Hamburg at the Deichtorhallen for Blickfang International Design Fair from 10-11 am to present the German edition of my new book, [easyazon_link identifier="3421040362" locale="DE" tag="decor809-21"]FeierLaune[/easyazon_link], for the first time - it's not even out yet so no one has a copy and won't for a few more weeks! If you'd like to come, we'll be having breakfast and talking about the book and I'll be signing copies and meeting everyone - it will be very nice and my little boy will be with me so he can meet everyone and be at mama's book launch party. I'll also have some time between 11:15-12:30 for interviews if you'd like to meet one on one. Decorate-for-A-Party,-p39,-photography-by-Janis-Nicolay

To register, just use this link and I'll see you there!

Thank you DVA/Random House and Blickfang for hosting this special event in celebration of my 4th book.

(Photograph: Janis Nicolay for Decorate For a Party)

Decorate For a Party Book Trailer + Giveaway

In just a little over two weeks, the new decor8 book launches called [easyazon_link identifier="1910254290" locale="US" tag="decor809-20"]Decorate for a Party: Stylish and Simple Ideas for Meaningful Gatherings[/easyazon_link] published by Jacqui Small / Quarto and we're so excited! To celebrate, we are giving away 5 copies of the new book to 5 lucky readers. I'm really psyched to present the official book trailer video below.

Holly Becker for decor8

Holly Becker for decor8

To enter the contest: Watch the book trailer and leave a comment telling us about how you imagine the perfect party at home and let us know what you liked about the video too, it would be so nice to hear your response. Make sure you turn on the sound, the music is so beautiful!

As a bonus, you can also enter on our Facebook page or on my Instagram. See those posts there to learn how. You can enter up to three times (once on this blog, once on FB and once on IG).


Video Credits: Videographer + Director: Koen Folkerts, Narratief // Creative Direction + Styling: Holly Becker // Location: Morten + Tinna Pedersen, Hannover, Germany Models: Emma Pedersen, Nora Hartmann, Nanna Eriksen // Music: By Film Composer Steven Gutheinz - Isle (Licensed through Music Bed)

Contest closes on Friday, September 2 at 11:59pm European time.

Available for pre-order now! US: // Barnes & Noble // //

*Open to readers anywhere in the world, English version only. Please do not leave your email, home address or web address in the body of the comment, only in the allotted boxes. Winners will be announced here on Saturday, September 3rd AND contacted by email once comments close. Good luck everyone!

DIY Wallpaper Your Stairs

Botanical Style is a big trend in home decorating, from Boho to Country, to Minimalist and Clean, everyone wants to bring in more plants and flowers at the moment - real, faux and through prints and patterns. Some want a ton, some like only a few. Have you thought to bring in floral and plant patterns though? For instance, through wallpaper? And in this case, add it to your staircase? Yes, wallpaper the stairs. RPS1833_STROMMA_HALLWAY_01_lowres

Why not? It really works in an old farmhouse or country home, but if you go with a more modern pattern, you can apply this look in a more modern city townhouse too. Author Selina Lake visited me this morning in celebration of her latest book, with a great tip shown in new book, Botanical Style, published by Ryland Peters & Small. I'll share more photos from the book and Selina will be back with more tips later this week but for now, here's a great project outlined by Selina that you can try at home.

Selina says, "Wallpapering the stairs is a wonderful way to bring vintage botanical pattern to a plain staircase. Rip out any old carpet and remove any tacks or nails, then sand the stairs and paint them with floor paint (I used Farrow and Ball wood primer & undercoat followed by ‘All White’ Floor paint) Gather up a collection of wallpaper offcuts or rolls of the same print for a more uniform look. Measure the top stair and cut out to size using desired paper. Attach using PVA glue or wallpaper paste, starting at the top means you can work your way down while leaving it alone so the glue will set."

That's it! Flowers on the stairs! Done! And if you want to see more, you can buy her book here.

(Photography by Rachel Whiting © Ryland Peters & Small)

10 Ways To Balance Work With Motherhood

Hi everyone! I'm so excited and honored to welcome my dear friend Samantha Hahn, a talented Brooklyn-based illustrator and author who has so touched so many beautiful things with her work from illustrations and hand lettering for major magazines to her own beautiful books.

She is celebrating the launch of her two recent titles, A Mother Is a Story and a Journal to match called Stories For My Child, both published by Abrams, so in honor of mother's everywhere I've asked her to visit us today and give us 10 tips for balancing work and motherhood. 

family photo5
family photo5

As a working mother of two young children (shown above with her husband and two little ones), Samantha definitely has a lot to share in this area. It's not easy to ru a successful business AND be a responsible mother. It constantly requires you to stay on the ball. There is rarely any "down" time. From early morning until late night, working parents are swimming upstream. Yet, parenting has so many rewards which is why the extra work doesn't stop women from wanting to raise families. It just requires that we each find our recipe for success.

Below are her tips, please comment with some of your own so we can build out this conversation. I'm a freelancer too with an active toddler so I'd really love to see how other moms are finding their way balancing family life and their business.


10 Ways To Balance Work With Motherhood

1. Don't overdo it. Set expectations high. Really high. Then exceed them. KIDDING. You’re a working mom. Life laughs at your expectations! Celebrate if you tick off 40% of everything you’re supposed to accomplish:

- Wake up cheerfully at 6 a.m. - Knock out a quick 5K or Crossfit session - Meditate really, really mindfully - Cook up an organic, local, non-GMO breakfast for the family - Shower and slip into your favorite pair of skinny jeans - Make bento box lunches for everyone—don’t forget Instagram! #lazylunch - Execute a dazzling array of child-delivery maneuvers - Get to work on time and clear your inbox before you finish your half-skim latte - Efficiently accomplish the day’s tasks in priority order - Break’s over; go pick up the kids - Throw together a quick and easy weekday soufflé #voila - Help with homework, praising only in developmentally appropriate ways - Get everyone to bed in time—to answer more emails - Experience gratitude - Grab 7 hours of quality sleep

2. Be flexible. Look, forget the list. Did you get them to school and back? Go, Mom.

3. Go with the flow. Children change constantly, so there’s no point settling into a routine. Write while the baby naps. You’ll get the time back when your teenager sleeps all day.

4. Kill two birds. Put your kids to work. If that toddler has so much energy, he can push a broom.

5. Embrace conflict. Resolving disagreements and learning to compromise is an important skill for life and work. Use arguments as an opportunity to show the kids how to get through them. More effective than any lecture.

6. Don’t be a phoneworm. My dear friend Linsey’s 8-year-old daughter coined this term for an essay about the bookworm’s screen-addicted mom. Sure, you may occasionally need to answer an important email during family time, but otherwise keep it in your pocket. Put the mom back in “working mom.” Show your kids how to balance a dynamic career with a family life you actually live.

7. Respect the clock. I want to be with my family 24 hours a day and work the other 24 hours. Since I can’t make the Earth rotate any more slowly, I have to give myself a break and do the best I can with the time I’ve got. Let go of the guilt.

8. Show and Tell. I’m a freelance illustrator and that means I have to hustle to survive. I don’t know about the media-ready mom entrepreneurs who gracefully float through business and life, but my work demands as much energy and passion as being a mom. Doing both pushes me to the limit, but as a result my kids get to see me get knocked down and get back up again to face another day.

9. A little self-care goes a long way. I used to jog 5 miles day. Today I’m thrilled to crack 5 a week. It’s nothing to be ashamed of—being a working mom is its own marathon. I just take a few, small, imperfect actions when I can to thank my body for the hard work. A short walk. A five-minute meditation. Even a deep breath can make a big difference when life gets ahead of me.

10. Don’t do it alone. When my son was young, I felt guilty about sending him to daycare. His pediatrician set me straight: “The more people who know and love your son, the better.” Build a community for your children. Expand their horizons by introducing them to new people and different places. You’ll always be their home.

So everyone, can you add to my list? Holly and I would love to see what tips other mom's out there have to add to the list! It's always so fascinating to hear stories of how others are making things work. Seems everyone out there has a different recipe to parenting!

A Mother is a Story and Stories for my Child_Samantha Hahn
A Mother is a Story and Stories for my Child_Samantha Hahn

If I could distill the feelings in my heart when I first looked at my children, each time I smelled them or felt the softness of their skin and the warmth of their bodies, I would bottle it against the days I both dread and feverishly work toward, when they need me in their hearts but are strong enough to stand apart.

So on to my book... Creating this book and the journal to go with it (all shown in the photos above), I wanted to see if it were possible to portray this shared experience of motherhood in all its glorious, messy beauty. Instead, I’ve found that each idea resonates at different moments, as different aspects of this incredible journey come to pass.

Nothing prepared me for motherhood’s constant whirlwind of emotions, simultaneous and conflicting. Deeply in love and deeply exhausted. Exasperated and proud, worried and blissful. These feelings make their own special harmony and become the song of motherhood.

I hope these words and illustrations strike a chord with you. I hope you recognize yourself, your children, your own mother, and the love that permeates your life in these pages.

Thank you for having me on your blog today, Holly!

You're welcome Samantha, it's a pleasure to welcome you here and to share your gorgeous book with everyone reading. Loads of luck and success with it! I own copies and love them so much, I can't wait to fill the pages of the journal with notes about the special little boy in my life. xo

(Photography with permission from Samantha Hahn and Abrams Books. Top image styled by Randi Brookman Harris. Family photo by Nick Steever)

The Shopkeeper's Home Book Review

It was such a pleasure to learn that my publisher in the UK, Jacqui Small, signed new author Caroline Rowland because it's always nice to have talented new authors in your circle. Caroline's first book just launched called The Shopkeeper's Home and so I had to offer to help spread the word to support her new book writing career. I had a virtual coffee and chat with her this morning and she gave me a few insights into her book and tips for those of you who may be interested in getting a book deal of your own. I thought I'd share our chat with you now along with some beautiful photos from her book that will definitely have you running out to buy The Shopkeeper's Home. Ready? 140704-Loop-Home-0023-print1040

decor8: Caroline, can you please tell us about your background?

CR: I studied photography at university, then worked on picture desks mainly at the Financial Times. I set up my blog, Patchwork Harmony, in 2008 and 91 Magazine in 2011 while still working full time but finally went freelance in 2013. 

decor8: How did you get a book deal, what are some tips for those who want to get into books?

CR: Jacqui Small was aware of my work with 91 Magazine, and we had a meeting way back when I still worked for the Financial Times, but it was only after I went freelance that I approached them with my book idea and things went from there. I think it's good to build a brand/aesthetic first so publishers can see what you are about. Think about unique ideas that might work as a book. It needs to be something you're really passionate about too as you'll be working on it for quite a while!

decor8: What is this book about?

CR: It features beautiful shop interiors from30 independent stores from around the world and the shopowner's homes. I wanted to explore whether there was any relationship between their professional & personal spaces, and also gather inspiration from these highly creative people. I wanted to compare their work & home spaces to see if they influenced each other, as well as the fact I imagined these people who have created stunning retail spaces would probably have done the same at home. And they did!!


decor8: Tell us about the book sections and why did you choose them?

CR: The first half is decorating ideas, from walls & floors to display and storage. These all were obvious areas that both shop & home interiors had lots of ideas to steal. The second half profiles the shops, split into lifestyle, vintage, homewares, crafts, cafe/shops. These are the types of shops I personally love discovering when I travel so these seemed the obvious ones for me to feature.

decor8: Did you get to style the spaces photographed for this book and how did you find them?

CR: Unfortunately I missed the majority of the shoots as my daughter was due the week we started shooting! I managed to make it to a few which I loved working on so it was a shame I missed the rest. I found the shops as a result of a LOT of online research! Although some I knew of before. As above, I didn't get to travel to many sadly.


decor8: Congrats on your new baby and on your new book! What inspired you to do a book like this and which shop featured is the closest to your personal style?

CR: My combined love of interiors & shopping was my greatest inspiration. As far as the shop that is closest to my style, that's a tricky one! Perhaps The Hambledon which features on the book cover as I love their mix of vintage and contemporary.




decor8: Would you ever want your own shop and if so, how to you envision it?

CR: I used to have an online shop but after a few years I realised retail isn't really my thing, my passion is publishing. 

decor8: What is the practical takeaway people will get from reading this book?

CR: There are loads of decorating ideas for the own home and it is also partly a shopping directory, so the next time that you are visiting London or New York (for example), you can check out the featured shops in person. 




Thank you Caroline for sharing your beautiful book with us today, we are so happy to have you join us on decor8 and to kick off your online book tour. All the best to you!

(images: Jacqui Small LLP)