Friday, 31 May 2013

Top Reading Picks For This Weekend

I've been so depressed this week by the weather, wet, windy, grey, gloomy. Waah waah waah. I can't take any more. Oh, the sun has come out, all is forgiven! If you're reading this and you're in England, I guess you feel the same? Because I've been indoors so much these last few days, I've spent way more time on the internet than I usually do. The positive effect of this is that I've found some great blog posts that are really fun, inspiring and motivating.

About two years ago, when the sun last came out for more than 10 minutes. 

Here are my top picks for this weekend:


That's it, lucky 8. Happy weekend all! 

Louisa x

This Blogging Business

Writing this blog has had lots of benefits for my business, West Egg. That is, after all, the reason I started writing in the first place. If you run an online furniture and homewares store, or any kind of online store, you'll know all about SEO. I didn't really think this blog would last long, because let's be honest, I didn't know what SEO was back in October 2010, or why it was important. I actually remember asking my web designer how easy it would be to remove the blog link on the website in case I couldn't/wouldn't blog properly.

And now look. Blogging has become a really big part of my life, in lots of different ways. I've met so many amazing, inspiring friends through blogging, it's like a whole new group of university friends. I love it. I've heard lots of bloggers say that the friendships they have made through blogging keeps them motivated and inspired and happy. Blogging makes me feel happy! How strange. I'm sure my parents find it strange. I know my dad reads this blog (hi dad), in fact I'm pretty sure he was my only reader (together with my husband) in the early days. Anyway, why am I talking about this? I'm not sure, but it doesn't really matter because this is my blog, my space, my little corner of the internet where I can chat away about things I like, things that inspire me, projects I'm working on etc. It's spontaneous, I'm not writing a book, just a little blog post - it's quick (sometimes), thoughtful (sometimes) and in the moment (always). It's also spontaneous in that I am not a post planner as I know I should be, I tend to write and then post it. I've taken e-courses, attended workshops, meet ups, conferences, all about blogging. I know that I should post more regularly, and more consistently (I'm quite chaotic), I know I need to migrate from blogger to wordpress (scared of the unknown), I know that readers hate captcha verification for the comments (actually, I fixed that one, I turned it off. Tick).

But the thing about blogging, is that it's a bit like renovating a house with no experience (something, coincidentally, I do in my spare time); there is always so much to improve, tweak, fix, change etc. Where do you begin? I know, for me, that chatting to other bloggers and picking up tips and tricks was one of the ways I've made little improvements to the west egg blog over the last 2.5 years.

Image Credit: Present&Correct - Olivetti Valentine available here for £295.

So, if you're still with me, you get that I'm into blogging, right? Ok, so you can imagine I was pretty happy to be invited to the launch of the new independent blog network We Blog Design last week. It took place at the Vitra showroom during Clerkenwell Design Week and the We Blog Design team organised a brilliant panel event all about blogging. And there was fizz too, which is always nice.

Image Credit: Present&Correct -- Cup of Tea Card available here for £2.85.

The event was chaired by co-founder Katie Treggiden (confessions of a design geek) and featured a fantastic line up of speakers who shared their own varied experiences of blogging: Jon Vick, The Art of Bespoke - Making a blog your business // Kate Watson-Smyth, Mad About the House - From print journalist to blogger // Toni Anne Sanderson, Nest.co.uk - Using blogging to promote your business // Katherine Sandford-Anderson, Sandford PR - Getting coverage on blogs.

You can click here to read the live tweeting report from the event which is a great recap of all the tips that were shared. We Blog Design is the brainchild of Katie, Stacey Sheppard (The Design Sheppard) and Yeshen Venema (yeshenvenema.com) and the purpose is to inform, inspire and connect bloggers...
"The intention is for it to be very much of the bloggers, for the bloggers and by the bloggers(!) So we’re hoping you’ll get involved so we can all learn from each other. Blogging is such a new media that nobody has all the answers, but if we all share what we learn as we go, we can all benefit. So join us – and get involved!"
My favourite part is the forum. You have to sign up (it's free) and log in etc, but once you're in, you're in a private space where bloggers can communicate easily to share information, tips, tricks and little bits of know how. 

It's so simple and brilliant, I can't believe it's not been done before. So, for all the design bloggers out there, take a look here & sign up: www.weblog-design.com

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Abnormals Anonymous

Morning! I had a minor breakthrough last night, so I'm feeling pretty upbeat and motivated today. I was lying in bed last night with a million thoughts racing around my head that had nowhere to go except into the dark and murky depths of my memory. It happens every night, and I eventually doze off. I know people say keep a notepad and pen by your bed so you can write ideas down but I don't do that. I always think Oh, I'll definitely remember that! How could I forget that?! 9 times out of 10, I *never* remember.... until it's too late. On my bedside table is a pile of books, some water, and my iphone. So last night I hurriedly typed a lot of waffle type thoughts into the notes section. I went straight to sleep. And this morning, it's all there. Which is great, because I reminded myself to write this blog post about Abnormals Anonymous - have you heard of them? I only just found them thanks to my husband who brought my some interiors magazines back from the US last week and their Spot wallpaper was featured in House Beautiful magazine.

Image Credit: Abnormals Anonymous

Abnormals Anonymous are design duo Henrietta and Paco - I can't tell you much more about them because they prefer to remain incognito. What I do know is they met in an elevator in Nashville, and somehow, in that short ride down through 3 floors of the hotel, all the stars aligned and they discovered a shared love and passion for design and wallpapers. Amazing!

Image Credit: Abnormals Anonymous

Henrietta and Paco design and make wallpaper from their Los Angeles base which feature all sorts of animals, sea creatures and insects. The wallpaper designs are fun, refreshing and make me smile. Which on a another rainy day in England is extremely welcome.

Image Credit: Abnormals Anonymous

Image Credit: Abnormals Anonymous

Image Credit: Abnormals Anonymous

Image Credit: Abnormals Anonymous

What do you guys think of these wallpaper designs? I definitely would like to use the giraffe spot design somewhere, maybe in a spare room or downstairs bathroom - I want my guests to see my fun wallpaper! Shameless I know.

Take a peek at their website for more of their designs, they are also on facebook and twitter so you can connect with them online.

UPDATE: For UK customers enquiring about stockists, you can order the wallpapers from Studio Four NYC and they will ship to you in the UK. Please contact them directly at www.studiofournyc.com. Thank you!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Top 5 Stencil Finds

Morning all. I just wanted to drop in and share with you some really cool stencils I found via Etsy. At the furniture painting workshop I taught last week in London, the lovely Ilaria brought a stencil with her to use on a little stool she painted. It really inspired me so much. I searched a while ago for stencils but totally forgot about Etsy. I just wanted to show you my favourite finds that I discovered this morning.

Antique Metal Letter Stencil

Image Credit: Cultural Pollination

I love the shape of these letters, perfect for personalising crates or signs for weddings and summer parties. These stencils are available from Cultural Pollination - what a cool name for a store!

Linden Tree Stencil

Image Credit: Olive Leaf Stencils

Bringing the outdoors inside, these tree stencils are pretty awesome. I also really like that staircase, it looks like a slide. The Linden Tree stencil is by Olive Leaf Stencils.

HoneyComb Stencil

Image Credit: Cute Stencils

Kind of the bee's knees really, groan. I really like the geometric pattern, it's very pleasing to the eye and calming. This stencil is by Cute Stencils.


Image Credit: OMG Stencils

This is probably a little bit too hectic for me, but I just love the colour and pattern. This one is by OMG Stencils


Image Credit: Royal Design Stencils

This is the stencil that Ilaria used for her little wooden stool. It looked amazing, if you check out the West Egg instagram feed (handle: @westeggUK) you will be able to see some pictures of it in action. 

This stencil is by Royal Design Stencils

Have any of you used stencils before on walls in your home? I think it's quite a cool idea, especially for a child's room. Although, I do wonder how easy it is to cover up with paint in the future? Since I'm currently up to my eyeballs in decorating, it's these types of practical questions that concern me. Have a great day everyone - I have a ton of work to get through this morning and then afternoon I'm going to decorating....again!