Monday Morning Love - David Collins Livingroom

October 21, 2013

Good Morning! Are any of you wondering where the weekend went - I know I am. I think it's because last weekend was a long one due to Thanksgiving, and I'm rather partial to long weekends so wish every weekend was at least three days long.

I came across this image a while back and I fell instantly in love. This was the living room of David Collins, who was an Irish Architect and Interior Designer based in London.
Living room by David Collins. Image from AD Spain, Dec. 2009 found here
I love how the room is comprised of mostly blue hues, but with a small pops of gold, and the stunning purple artwork. It's a very masculine space, and even though it was designed 4+ years ago I think it's timeless. I'm quite smitten with the royal blue sofa upholstered in velvet and want to curl up on it with a good book.

What do you think? Do you like this space as much as I do? If you could use one thing in this room in your home what would it be?

PS - I couldn't find the original image on the AD Spain website. It and more shots of David Collins' apartment can be found here.


If at First You Don't Succeed . . . .

October 17, 2013

Last year Para Paints introduced the Para Paints Blog Crew, and with the enticement of 15 gallons worth of free paint I blogged about what I would do if I was chosen as a member. Unfortunately I wasn’t one of the lucky few.

This year at Blog Podium they announced that the Blog crew would be back for a second year. Yippee – a second chance! A member of the crew still gets you a years worth of free paint, $250 towards painting supplies, and social media exposure, but this year they’re offering up the chance to name a colour – how neat is that? Haven’t you ever wondered how they come up with some of the names for paint colours? Seriously – there are hundreds if not thousands of different colours available – how do they name them all? (Personally, I believe there’s heavy usage of dictionaries and thesauruses).

Of course, it couldn’t be as easy as writing a blog post this year, this year they upped the ante – to be considered as a potential member of the 2014 Para Paints Blog Crew bloggers had to submit a video detailing what they would do in their space over the year. WHAT?

My immediate reaction was ‘Nope – not going to do it. That’s scary, and I don’t want to put myself out there like that’. Some people would say that blogging is already putting myself out there, but even though I’m sharing my thoughts on things that interest me, I’m still feel like I have a bit of anonymity – I can hide behind the keyboard a little bit. Video on the other hand is different – you can see me, and not some carefully chosen photo at the top of my sidebar, but me in ‘real life’ without the downcast gaze and the zit carefully removed from my chin. What’s more, with a video you can hear me, which is a rather foreign concept in my blogging world where I communicate solely via my written words. What if I sound funny? What if I suddenly start using ‘um’ and ‘like’ every second word? What if, what if, what if? Before Para had even finished their video presentation about the 2014 Blog Crew I had decided that it just wasn’t for me.

A couple of weeks went by and then I finally started writing my post about BlogPodium, and as I was typing out my notes from Sarah Richardson’s keynote speech a couple of points jumped out at me:
There it was – why was I not even going to give making a video a try? What did I have to loose? If I tried it, and I was completely out of my element then I could stop recording, and even though it didn’t work I would have at least tried to do something new – I would have pushed those boundaries just a wee bit.

It turns out recording a video is a lot of hard work – setting up shots takes a while, and then there’s the actual taking of the video. I had genius plan to write out my script, but it turned out I couldn’t see that far without squinting – not really the look on video I was going for. Then I thought I could set up my laptop on the coffee table below the camera, and have it scroll slowly through the script (rather like the opening scene of Star Wars), but I couldn’t get the speed right so I either sounded like I was racing to finish, or I had to pause periodically to wait for more words to appear – either way it wasn’t working. In the end I ended up just winging it – I looked at the camera, opened my mouth, spoke for what seemed like ages, and then hit the stop record button. Then of course there was editing the video – there’s nothing like learning new software on a deadline.

Anyways, after all that I decided that since I’d gone to all that trouble to step outside my comfort zone, I might as well go one step farther and share it with the world, so here you go – me, way outside my comfort zone:

Ta-Da! What do you think?  I have to say I’m rather pleased - I only said ‘um’ twice, and not a single ‘like’

There were nine bloggers who submitted videos, so I’m going to ask you a favour – Para has posted all the videos on their Facebook page, please head over there and watch them, and ‘like’ and comment on the ones you like. I know how hard each of them worked on their videos, and if they’re like me they found it scary to put themselves out there so show them how much their efforts are appreciated.

If all goes well, I’ll hopefully be chosen as a member of the 2014 Para Blog Crew and, as luck would have it, I’ve already come up with the name for my paint colour – ‘Homeboner white’. It has a nice right to it, doesn’t it?


Monday Morning Love - Wild for Etosha

October 14, 2013

Good morning everybody! I hope all my fellow Canadians are enjoying the Thanksgiving long weekend. Happy Turkey day!

Do you guys know Meredith Heron? She’s an amazing designer here in Toronto (she also recently spoke at BlogPodium) and she’s one designer whom I’d love to shadow for a few days – the pictures she posts on Instagram of the fabrics and finishes she’s mulling over? Amazing.

Anyways, about a month ago Meredith tweeted about a giveaway she was going to have later that week on her blog and naturally I responded:
(BTW - this video explains things in case you're confused by the leopard bra and trapeze swinging reference)
It turns out the giveaway was for 2 double rolls of Thibaut’s Etosha wallpaper, and as amazing as that is, what’s crazier is I won!! Woot! The lovely people at Thibaut have sent me a sample of each of the five colours the paper is available in so now I need to pick one. I’ve decided that I’m going to use it in my bedroom, and I think I’m just going to do the one wall behind my bed, but that’s as far as I’ve gotten in the decision making process.

Etosha is quite a bold pattern which is a bit of a departure for me, but after poking around the internet and finding some lovely spaces in which the paper has been used I’m excited to see it in my place.
Source: Lucy and Company Blog
Source: Knight Moves Blog
Nursery by Sarah Richardson Design for Sarah 101 - Season 2. It's also the nursery of Janice's son at Life Begins at Thirty, Right?
Kitchen by New England Design works via Subzero-Wolfe
(Meredith Heron has also used it a couple of times - this post from her blog shows a recent project).

Here’s what I’m working with (apologies for the unmade bed - it was laundry day yesterday) :
The available colours are black, green, beige, grey and pearl. You can’t tell from the picture but the pearl has a bit of silver metallic shine to it. I don’t think the black or the green are a good fit, but I’m still undecided on which of the other three is my favourite. My eventual plan is to get a new headboard in a rich green, but for now the one I’ve got will stay. What do you think – which colour is your favourite? Which should I choose? Would you ever use the black one?


Monday Morning Love - Paper Dresses

October 07, 2013

A month or so ago I was scrolling though my blog reader when I happened upon a post from Apartment Therapy. At first I couldn’t figure out why the post caught my eye as it was about a nursery which isn’t something I normally read, but then I realized it was the art on the wall. This is it:
Restoration Baby and Child - Hand Folded Vintage Map Dress
Can you believe this dress is made of folded paper? It’s stunning, and I don’t really care that it’s from Restoration Hardware Baby and Kids – I want it for my place. Unfortunately at $600US it’s not a purchase that I could justify.

I bit of Googling located a shop in New Zealand called Annex that sells a travel wardrobe of paper dresses and purses. The dresses here are $195. - Travel Wardrobe - Hand Folded Vintage Map Paper Dress
I wonder how much it would cost to ship from New Zealand, and how much to have it framed?

What do you think? Would you buy a paper dress to hang on your wall?


BlogPodium 2013 - A Long Delayed recap

October 03, 2013

On Saturday September 21st I had the amazing opportunity to attend BlogPodium for the 3rd time (you can read about the previous years here and here).  This time the conference was an expanded all-day affair with 250 marvelous bloggers from across Canada and even a few from the US.

It’s been a few weeks since I attended the conference, and even though there are quite a number of really good recaps already done by attendees (you can read them here) I still wanted to do a post to share some of what I learned for those of you who didn’t go, and so I always know where my notes are ;)
blogpodium - sarah Richardson keynote speaker
  • A business grows out of passion
  • When I was a kid, and I got sent to my room, I would just rearrange the furniture
  • The best thing you can do is get out there and do it – that’s how you learn and grow.
  • If you believe it, if you can dream it, I’m here to tell you it can happen – you can do it
  • When online (as with in life) think about what you’re saying, and how it will make the world a better place. Never forget the written word is a powerful thing.
  • Whether it’s your blog or your designs, you should have a signature style – it should reflect you
  • You need to have a point of view and a unique perspective in order to move ahead.
  • Never create something you wouldn’t be happy to have in your own home.
  • Design is about experimenting – about trying new things . . .I encourage you to push the boundaries
  • If you’re not comfortable in your home, nobody else will be comfortable in your home
  • Don’t over think it – Make a decision and move on
  • Trust your gut – if it doesn’t feel right, it’s not right
  • It’s never worth rushing
  • Always ask – will I be proud of this in 5 years?
  • On work/life balance – There needs to be a balance – you need to have a life
blogpodium - Jordana Garbati and Giulia Doyle
  • Set Goals
    • Make short-term goals throughout the year
    • Review them periodically
    • Little goals should lead to big goals
    • Remember – don’t compare yourself to others – they have different goals
  • Prioritize
    • Accept that not everything will get done right away
    • Spend your time in useful ways, and spend it working towards your goals
    • Ask yourself what you need to get done that day and do it
    • Do what makes you feel productive that day
  • Using Organizational tools
    • Use what works for you – personalize your workflow
    • Make a to-do list
    • Use feedly, Bloglovin, Instapaper, Pinterest
    • Use a paper agenda
    • Use Evernote
    • Use an editorial calendar
    • Make notes of your ideas
  • Make the Tough decisions
    • Learn to say no – it might be hard, but in the long run it will make your life easier
    • Time is your greatest asset – invest it wisely
    • Do what works for you
  • Time Management
    • Use and editorial calendar
    • Work backwards from holidays if you’re planning a specific post
    • Brainstorm, prep, and plan ahead
    • Set up a blogging time slot everyday – write posts, plan, set goals
    • Figure out what time you work best – mornings, evenings, are you a night owl?
    • Do the task that have to be done today – stop procrastinating
    • Make your blog a priority
  • Manage emails
    • Reduce incoming emails – unsubscribe to anything to don’t read – you can always re-subscribe later
    • Aim for a zero inbox – use folders, file, delete, archive
    • Use templates for responses to frequently received emails
  • Social Media engagement
    • Rule of thirds – stick to three social media networks –chose the ones you like
    • Be active, be engaged, have a conversation
    • Use Hootsuite or similar for organization and automation of planned posts
    • Use a mix of social media for communication – don’t use all for the same post
  • Networking
    • Embrace positive networking opportunities
    • Attend blogger conferences, media previews
    • Meet new people and collaborate
    • Engage with your community
    • Learn and teach – share what you learn with others
  • Personal time
    • It’s important – take the time for yourself as needed to relax and recharge
    • Step away from the computer!
    • Learn something new
    • Celebrate your achievements
    • Find inspiration offline
    • SLEEP!!!!
blogpodium - Meredith Heron, Neil Gazmen, Brittany Stager
  • There is no better place to spend your marketing $
  • Social media engages your customers
  • Allows you to get to know your audience, and for them to know you
  • Social media is a relationship first, selling second
  • From Neil Gazmen at Westelm – Instagram is our largest source of engagement – new products posted often sell out
  • From Meredith Heron – streamline your social media posting – use Instagram to process photos, auto post those to Facebook and Twitter. Then use those photos in your blog posts. Pin pictured from your blog to Pinterest
  • Use Hashtags for Projects
  • Meredith Heron Social Media stats:
    • Joined twitter March 2010
    • As of Sept 14,2013 – had 122,900 tweets and 9930 followers
    • Residential projects to date secured via social media (Pinterest, Instagram, etc) $1.4 million
    • Commercial projects: $500K.
  • Try the Echofon app.
Blogpodium - Karen Bertelsen
  • Promote your own website
    • Submit it to other websites – curbly, Lifehacker, dwellinggawker, craftgawker
    • Comment on blogs, and try to be the first, second or third comment
    • Reply to comments on your own blog
    • Devote a certain amount of time each week to promoting your blog
    • Advertise on bigger websites
  • Check your Google page rank – the higher your rank the more you’re paid per click with Google Adsense
    • Links from large established blogs help build your page rank
  • CTR – Click Through Rate
  • CPC – Cost per click
  • CPM – Cost per thousand impressions
  • Vertical ad networks – they put ads on the sidebar of your blog. Some networks are:
    • Glam Media
    • Blogher
    • SheBlogs Canada
    • Haven Home
    • Federated Media
  • If signing up with a vertical ad network ask what their CPM, and fill rates are
  • Sell ads on your own site – Etsy sellers will be looking to advertise for Christmas
    • Generally 125px x 125px ads
  • Write an ebook
  • Sell stuff via your blog – use shopify
  • When working with magazines
    • If one of your images is good enough to for a magazine it’s good enough for you to be paid for it
    • Writing for an online magazine = $0.50/word, print magazines = $1/word
    • Photo in an online magazine – credit and link, and possibly a small fee ($25-50)
    • Photo in a print magazine: Canadian mag: $75-200, American mag: $100-400, Cover $1,500+
  • Look at your blog as a business and treat it as such
  • Call and email people and ask to work with them
I have to say it was a wonderful day, and I learned SO much. There were several other seminars which I didn't get to attend, but thankfully we can read the presentation notes for those here (I wish I attended the Photography and Instagram workshop)

I hope to be able to implement some of the points I outlined above (especially the ones on balancing blogging and working) in the next little while. This blog, like everything, is a work in progress. I learn new things, and try new things, and hopefully it becomes better for it.

Did you go to BlogPodium? Are you already looking forward to the next one like I am? What did you learn? Have you already implemented some of those things?

*The Photo of Sarah Richardson is from her
website. The last three photos used in the title images are by Anna with Love

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