Brook Farm General Store in Brooklyn

Hello everyone this is Jillian posting from Australia today! How are you? If you love a natural approach to living then you'll love this month's edition of shopgirl where in Brooklyn is given a friendly visit and photo shoot.

This inspiring shop (also with an ) is a modern interpretation of the traditional general stores of New York City. Over the years I’ve seen the store featured on cattledogs and in a few other blogs and magazines, so when it was my turn to visit New York, Brook Farm General Store was on my list. The store stocks well designed practical goods, the kind of items I like to use in my own home.

is located in Williamsburg nestled in a small street just under the Williamsburg Bridge. Philippa, one of the owners, welcomed me to the store and let me wander around the shop snapping away to my heart’s content. The shop is neat, bright clean and light, the perfect palette to highlight the wares on display.

So what did I find in the store? A little bit of everything! There were goods for the kitchen and items for pets. There were things for the office and for the home like lights, brushes, enamelware, rugs and throws. This store stocks iconic brands such as and Opinel in addition to items from their own in house brand, . Of course I had to go home with something, but with so many lovely things all around me, it was hard to make a decision. As I love to cook, a box of came home with me tucked carefully into my luggage.

What would you have packed away in your suitcase?

Next time you’re in Brooklyn, you can find e at 75 South 6th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211, (718) 388-8642. If you’re not in town, they have a great online shopping site that you can .

Wishing you all the best for the holidays! - .

(images & text: jillian lieboff)

Book Love & DIY Project: Mes petites Kokeshi

Have you laid eyes upon the book, by talented Parisian shop owner ? I first saw it at the Frankfurter Buch Messe in 2011 and fell in total love, I had to buy a copy despite how little French I know (though now it's been translated into German, ). In this book, photos truly do speak a thousand words whether you speak French or German (or not). Adeline's projects are so cute and are all themed around the Japanese wooden dolls. Here is a glimpse from taken by my friend Emilie Guelpa from who worked on the project with her as the photographer.

Recently, felt very inspired from working on this book for Adeline and decided to make her own version of kokeshi dolls at home. She wrote about how she did it on her blog () but here are the items she transformed into little people laid out below. This is such a beautiful and inspiring craft project to work on, especially this time of year with your children. All you need are some wooden shapes, paint, fine tip brushes and maybe some glue if you want to accessorize your little people. You can add angel wings, glitter, feet, hats - whatever you'd like!

I feel so inspired by this project that I'm going to look around in the local craft store for wood pieces while I'm on vacation (I'm taking off December 15 - Jan 7) to see if I can make a few kokeshi of my own. You can even glue ribbon to them and create ornaments!

(images: )

Weekday Carnival Blog

Are you familiar with , a Finnish blog authored by , a talented photographer, designer and mother? She has an amazing knack for decorating her home in fact, I blogged about her over a year ago here but since she's done so much decorating over the past 14 months I have to share some updates from her gorgeous abode today.

I just love seeing how she lives, I find her color palette (pastels with a shot of black) so mesmerizing and I love how tidy she appears. It's something to aspire to, for sure!

has a real eye for color and form but also a great ability to edit. Editing is the hardest job of any decorator - knowing when ENOUGH is truly ENOUGH. I think it's the toughest for any creative actually - knowing when to quit.

I see examples of poor editing all around me when I travel often in shops because they tend to overload the counters and shelves with product - items exploding all around - and shop owners wonder why no one buys anything and customers treats the store as a museum. That's most likely why. in London does a terrific job stocking their shelves. They have a few of each item and that's it. Same with - there is A LOT of product but often they don't have 500 of the same thing. I walk into stores that often DO have 100 of the same cup on a shelf and I think WHY? This makes me feel like I have all the time in the world to buy that cup, I can come back for it in a month because they have plenty of them in stock! If they do (and some stores are more loaded than others) I often feel overwhelmed and leave empty-handed. Too many choices (think: !) often leaves us stressed and worried that we won't make the right choice. With limitations, we have room to think and consider and decide. Space also allows for us to be creative.

Having the eye of an editor can help a shopowner as much as it can a homeowner. Knowing when to pause and say, "You know, this wall has ENOUGH art on it" or "This sofa has ENOUGH throw pillows" is a great skill. It also allows objects in your home to breath and stand out more - you can highlight your precious possessions this way as Riikka has in her Finnish home. stunning home doesn't feel overwhelming, overloaded or crammed with stuff. It feels like there is movement and flow - so it's impossible for your decorating waters to stagnant with such movement. When a room is packed wall-to-wall it can quickly feel dated because there is no movement. You literally cannot move anything else into the space and you can barely fit in it yourself! This makes me think of shops that are so packed that you can barely move around. Stores like that make me want to leave as quickly as I've entered!

Please visit for inspiration, decorating ideas and loads of beautiful photos taken by mostly Riikka herself. Let the pages of her blog whisk you away but also inspire you to try a fresh approach to your own home. Maybe for 2013 we can "slim down" our spaces a wee bit so there is more movement in them, more flow, more space to breath so the creativity can flow? Hmmm. Something to consider for our resolution list, isn't it?

(images: )

Christmas in Belgium Home Tour

I was reading a favorite blog of mine that belongs to my friend Yvonne called . Do you know this blog? If you've been hiding under a rock and haven't, it's time to know about Yvestown. This blog is such a pretty one and the blogger, Yvonne, is a very talented lady who loves to decorate and photograph her home for all to see on the "pages" of her fabulous site. Look at her gorgeous home... Photobucket

I really love looking at what she's photographed from day-to-day, her photos are captivating and since I've been in her home I can tell you first hand that it's as beautiful as her photos show it to be.


I thought that since Yvonne is really into the holidays that you may like to see corners of her home as she did a lovely job decorating it for Christmas this year. I also spent some time having a chat with her this morning and asked some questions about her approach to the holidays AND what goals she has for the new year so below find an excerpt from our tea and chat. She has even included a free download so you can make the white houses shown below for your tea lights. I do hope that you enjoy it!


download download

"Download the templates and print them on 220-250 grams A4 sized paper. Cut out the templates and fold and glue where needs folding and gluing (instructions can be found on the template). Place a tea light in them and ta-da. Please be careful with paper and fire, I can not be held responsible for when your paper house burns down or your own house." - Yvonne.




cattledogs: What does Christmas mean to you, Yvonne? Yvestown: That I can do all that I love all year round, like cooking, decorating and entertaining, completely over the top with glitter, twinkle lights and red nose reindeers included. cattledogs: What doesn't Christmas mean to you? Yvestown: I'm an atheist so Christmas doesn't mean the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ to me. It's an arbitrary day when all the people I love are off work and we get together to be together.

cattledogs: What three dream items would you love to be gifted with this year? Yvonne: A Ferm Living medium in yellow, a because they smell amazing, and the cookery book .

cattledogs: What are some special things that you do with your family and friends this time of year? Yvonne: Where I come from we celebrate Christmas on the 25th and 26th. Traditionally we go to my parents in law on the first day of Christmas and on the second we spend time with my part of the family. That varies as my sister runs a restaurant and my mother lives miles away. This year we might end up having dinner with friends instead.

cattledogs: What will you do on Christmas? Yvonne: We eat, exchange presents and we play a massive amount of board games.

cattledogs: What is your favorite food to eat this time of year and why? Yvonne: It's turkey with cranberry sauce and yorkshire puddings with Christmas gravy as it's so traditional.

cattledogs: What memory do you associate with Christmas the most? Yvonne: I've inherited the Christmas gene from my mother. One year she insisted on having real candles in a real tree. My father was in agony and had a bucket of sand and water installed next to the tree. It was just so hilarious as they were arguing about something so silly as candles in a tree. They brought such a warmth to me and my siblings during Christmas and I'm so thankful for that.

cattledogs: New Year's Resolutions! What are your goals for 2013 as a blogger and with your business? Yvonne: I want to be more serious as a blogger, not something I do as an eight hours a day side job. I want to start acknowledging that I'm now a full-time blogger and that I should take myself serious.

So bloggers, what does Christmas mean to you? Would you like to answer any of the questions above and tell us?

(images: yvonne from yvestown)

Blogging Your Way Studio: Goody Bag Loot Roundup

Lots of you have been asking what exactly was inside of the goody bags that we stuffed for our students at and so I thought to do a round-up showing all of the loot from our wonderful sponsors. Please click on the links below to see the websites behind each company as they are all such interesting and fantastic spots to find beautiful things for the holidays and any time of the year, really. Ready to see what our students received?

in San Francisco gave us journals to write in - so pretty, thank you Chronicle!

As mentioned previously in this post, gave us all amazing totes and pouches.

gave everyone handmade animal brooches that we used to decorate the bags from Alphabet Bags. The ribbon on the bags was from our other sponsor, via their German agent, .

Then, Charlotte from sent us a box filled with animal pencils, but that's not all...

also donated journals with glittery covers - bling bling

And gave our students handmade bracelets and necklaces (necklaces not shown).

I reached into my own pocket and ordered 17 copies of from Amazon and signed each copy for my students, placing it in their bags. It made me happy to see how much they loved it!

sponsored notepads because every blogger needs a to do list!

(I love this online shop!) donated packs of straws since so many bloggers love using them in food photography and blue with pink neon bags ().

gave everyone tins of Love tea... And we were definitely feeling the love this weekend!

These adorable German tickets (for fun!) came from our sponsor, . These are cute for laying on a table during a party or pinning to mood boards.

sponsored us too - they gave everyone .

also provided napkins so we used their Mr. and Mrs. napkins () when we ate. So cute!

gave everyone a porcelain star, "You Are My Star", which is exactly how we felt about each student in our class. They were all total ROCK STARS. xo

Publisher gave everyone a copy of Nine Stories About Love written by with illustrations by blogger . I wanted to have a book that had its roots in blogging and I've known Ana for many years as a fellow blogger. I think it's encouraging for bloggers to see what potential there is to extend beyond our blogs to take part in exciting projects.

gave everyone Christmas-themed masking tape. Who doesn't love decorative tape? My favorite was the white tape with the black and neon pink stars. I saved a roll for my ever-growing collection of tapes!

Lisa Nieschlag from gave us pretty postcards for the goody bags, thank you Lisa! You are the best!

To decorate the studio rooms and the student bags, was so generous in giving us paper snowflakes, napkins and ribbons. We loved them! It was so fun to use them to decorate the windows in the studio and the tables and bags. I think the paper snowflakes brought the real deal though because it snowed this weekend and so the windows looked particularly divine with paper snowflakes inside and icy snow falling outdoors. Magical, especially with the candles flickering in the windows. It was such a cozy blogger retreat!

I am so pleased that our sponsors came through for us to make this weekend memorable and gorgeous for both Steffi and I and most importantly, our students. We really wanted to make our goody bags special - mission accomplished! If you missed the video from our class, click here to view it, it's so sweet because you can see in the beginning how everyone is so thrilled opening their bags to see all of the things that I've shown you in this post. You can clearly feel the love and positivity - the magic just radiated from our studio in Hannover all weekend -- I think hearts and rainbows were above and all around my home! It was incredible.

I love teaching and want to keep hosting workshops and encouraging and connecting people for years to come, and I have to thank my sponsors for making it easier for me to be generous through their gorgeous donations in the form of pretty products that bloggers love to use. So thank you all, dear sponsors, for your BIG giving hearts.

(images: holly becker for cattledogs)

Video: Blogging Your Way Studio

Hello friends! Want to watch a cute video from our this past weekend? Originally I thought to only share this with our students but then realized that so many of you may be super curious to see what we bloggers did in my studio here in Hannover so why not show the whole internet! :) Photobucket


I want to thank our 17 beautiful, amazing and courageous students for being part of (#bywstudio) with us. We're already thinking about another class in my studio this Spring so stay tuned!

Psst: I've been pinning posts that they've written since our weekend together on over at Pinterest in case you'd like to follow along.

(Music: In Peace, The Love & Happiness Mix (ft. Snowflake) by and Video: .)