10 Days Old

My Son Edward Willaim My Son Edward William  My Son Edward William

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Edward is wrapped in an Indigo Kantha blanket gifted to us by a dear friend.

 
My son Edward William was born January 20th at 4:04 AM. He weighed 9 pounds 6 ounces and was 22 1/4 in length. The story of his birth is dramatic and I’m still processing the event. Simply put, it was dreadful. Perhaps at some point I will share the whole story. Luckily time heals and as it turns out, so does holding a newborn baby. His sweet temperament and calm demeanor has made these first days incredibly special. I took these photos when Edward was 10 days old. In the time that has passed he already seems to have changed so much.

I have miraculously already lost nearly the entire 35 pounds I gained while pregnant since his birth. I didn’t believe the stories I read about breastfeeding and weight loss but for me they came true. I am also surprised that he is sleeping up to four hours at a time which has allowed me to rest and recuperate rather easily. I am so thankful for this since I desperately needed to feel like myself again.

Obsessed With a Man I Haven’t Met

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Dachshund  Antique Swedish Doll Cradle

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A handmade bear by Russian toy designer Sasha Pokrass and antique indigo dyed blanket in his crib, an attentive and curious Beatrix, and an antique Swedish wooden doll cradle.

 
Lately my life has revolved around a man I have yet to meet, my son. I am currently 34 weeks pregnant, my official due date is January 11, 2016. I’ve spent the last 8 months preparing for his arrival in one way or another. I’ve contemplated his name; attended childbirth classes so I am educated enough to make informed decisions; enlisted the help and expertise of an excellent doula; unearthed boxes of my old Brio trains and baby books buried in storage for the last 20+ years; prepared his nursery and drafted an absurdly long 50 item long list of things I intend to pack in my delivery bag. I’ve also inadvertently purchased my son and my husband matching navy, black and gray wardrobes.

All the while this little man has been growing and growing which has been a strange and interesting experience. I think all women have a general idea of what to expect when pregnant, but even with that knowledge every single thing about this pregnancy has surprised me. From feeling him move, to how heavy he is, to the fatigue I feel, to the extent of my new physical limitations. I’ve been taken aback by each and every new pregnancy experience, maybe because it feels very surreal. I also didn’t expect to turn into a cliché pregnant woman, but I have. With one exception; I have not been visually documenting this pregnancy.

A while back I was persuaded to take a bump photo for out of town friends. Thanks to a tripod and wireless remote a single photo exists so far to document this belly (if you subscribe to my newsletter you saw it a few weeks ago). I find posed maternity photos awkward, but I know I would regret not taking a few really lovely ones at some point. In the meantime the photos I have to share are glimpses of his nursery.

Click Image Details above for info about each image.

What I Love About Sweden

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I love being able to walk into a second hand shop and leave with armfuls of vintage monogrammed hand towels, an antique trophy once awarded to the winner of a grenade throwing competition, and regretting not being able to fit a tabletop mangle in my suitcase. Dining on fresh smoked salmon in my favorite red cottage by the sea. Laughing, dancing and drinking with friends during Valborg in Uppsala. Learning to Tunisian crochet from the wife of a local fisherman, while sitting on her front porch overlooking the Baltic. Walking down the streets of Gamla Stan recognizing the same shops I visited as a child. Learning so much from the Swedish women I greatly admire simply by being in their company.

Sweden_Monogram_Kukulka  Sweden_36Sweden_Black_House_KukulkaSweden_35Sweden_30  Sweden_16Sweden_33Sweden_18  Sweden_13
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Uppsala, a monogramed pillowcase on a bed in my favorite seaside cottage, traditional Swedish folk costume jacket and ribbon repurposed for modern wear, the oldest cottage in the village, Birgitta’s enviable Upsala Ekeby collection, that armful of hand towels I was talking about, a kungsängslilja (fritillaria) flower, our breakfast table, silver & pewter for sale at an antique shop (I regret not buying both sets of those candlesticks), vintage 1940s snakeskin platform pumps in my size, the hand lettered sign of a charming antique shop in the countryside.  

Thoughts on Blogging & My Plans

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WorldsEnd_4  Dish

ON THE EVOLUTION OF BLOGGING

I’ve watched the evolution of blogging closely for a decade and have observed how blogs have gone from personal journals and casual style diaries to thriving businesses. A good blog can generate publicity for a small business more effectively than a professional publicist. Many bloggers are also still making a living strictly from their blog alone, thanks to partnerships with brands and advertising.

However, there have been downsides to the monetization of blogs themselves: disingenuous endorsements of products, aggressive product peddling, lackluster enthusiasm from bloggers who are just going through the motions and a complete breakdown of etiquette and morality in some cases.

While blogging is no longer fresh and new, it is evolving. Longtime bloggers want to break free from convention. Tech companies are creating software to innovate content delivery. Clever entrepreneurs are discovering remarkable new ways to genuinely leverage blogs to generate passive income. Web designers are reimagining their look. The point – blogging isn’t dying, it’s thriving.

As bloggers we should remember that we can make our own choices and that we are all individuals. No model or mold needs to be adhered to; we don’t need to let blogging trends sway us. We don’t need to fold under the pressure of sharing only perfection. Nor do we sign an invisible contract that says we are required to share every aspect of our lives.

MY BLOGGING JOURNEY

Over the last ten years I’ve started six different blogs. I’ve since deleted all but two. This one, and one that I no longer post to but still like looking at, are all that remain. The rest had to go. Even my undeniably successful lifestyle blog that supported multiple revenue streams, and received over 1.2 Million page views in its short lifespan was put to rest.

I learned a lot from that blog. Most of all I learned not to create and post content you aren’t inspired by. It didn’t take long before I was incredibly bored and eventually even embarrassed by my “successful” blog. I fell into the trap of monetization and content creation for an audience. I felt stuck and pigeon holed into a niche I didn’t feel connected to which ultimately led to my decision to delete it. I wanted a clean slate, I didn’t want someone Goggling me and finding a snapshot of my lunch or a craft project instead of my fine art photography work, which was the reality at the time. It was also exhausting, as keeping up a charade can be.

I delayed deleting it for a long time because I didn’t want to give up the income or publicity it generated for my small business. In the end I let it go. I knew if I built a successful blog once, I could do it again. So I deleted it without regret (If you’ve ever tried permanently erasing online content you will know it is actually impossible. Traces of my former blog will live forever.)

As a result I became so jaded by blogging I thought I could give it up altogether, that I didn’t need the creative outlet or the promotional platform blogging provided. But I couldn’t deny the power of a good blog either. I was torn. So I’ve continued to share intermittently, whenever I’ve felt inspired. I did this so I technically wouldn’t be giving up on blogging, but as you can see from the 5 posts I’ve published here in the last 21 months I have seriously lacked inspiration. However, it is reassuring that after 21 months I still find the content I’ve shared to be genuine and I don’t have the overwhelming urge to delete it.

Of course, I know this is not the way to leverage a blog as a promotional tool, which I believe is the ultimate goal for most bloggers. The only way a blog can thrive is to put the time and effort into creating quality content on a regular basis, in a specific niche, on topics that are helpful and/or inspiring to your audience. I believe this can be done in a sincere way, that is neither soul sucking for a blogger nor will it lead them to becoming a fictional character.

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Victoria the mouse, a bouquet I made at Worlds End farm last fall, what was once an plate from an antique children’s tea set is now my catch-all jewelry dish, a black cottage by the Baltic sea, one of my favorite pewter candle sticks. 
MY PLANS

I have reached a point in my life where I feel ready to devote my time and energy to both blogging and entrepreneurship once again. I want to leverage this space so I can experience more financial freedom and ultimately more personal freedom in a way that leaves me feeling satisfied and proud.

My life and my mindset have changed considerably over the last few years and I’ve spent part of that time strategizing how to use and market my skills in a way that will bring me fulfillment and an income. Basically trying to figure out what I REALLY want to do with my life. My ideas aren’t fully fleshed out yet, but I decided that I don’t want to wait any longer to start, even though I am slightly terrified.

I want to share the things I learn, my triumphs and tribulations, because I personally find it incredibly discouraging when people appear to be too perfect on the Internet, or an overnight success (even though I think we all secretly want to be perfect overnight successes). I also realize the evolution of my business will take many small steps and at some point I have to actually start taking them.

My first step, blog regularly. My intention is to create an online hub for myself, where I can share both my expertise as well as my experiments. A place that feels true to who I am and I hope will ultimately attract others who can relate. I miss making friends and connections online, which is hard when you are so rarely present.

I’ve decided to only post on topics that interest me but I also want what I share to be useful to others. Topics I believe will fit those criteria are photography, ecommerce, antique collecting and curation, styling, lost and dying arts, art education and my own milestones. I expect the content I share to evolve, to change a bit based on what is both well received and what I am enthusiastic about. This time around I want to blog with a purpose and a direction that is guided by authenticity.

I also intend to create a newsletter that subscribers look forward to receiving. It will include a link to my latest blog post along with a few extras, like behind the scenes photos and resources. Subscribers will also be the first to hear about my latest projects and life events. I like the idea of thanking people for allowing me to email them directly with exclusive content and sneak peeks. Join me by signing up below.

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Husband and Wife

Katie and Nicholas by Whitney Nichols

Last October, after nine and a half years together we said our vows. I wore flowing silk chiffon and he stole my heart all over again. We knew we wanted our wedding to be deeply romantic and elegant, and our wedding photos to be as well. They both turned out exactly how we had hoped thanks to our wonderful family and friends who helped us plan and execute our vision, and our photographer Whitney Nichols who captured it all so beautifully.

Katie as a bride by Whitney Nichols  Katie's dress by Whitney NicholsWedding_2Katie and Nicholas by Whitney Nichols  Nicholas by Whitney NicholsKatie's rings by Whitney NicholsKatie and Nicholas by Whitney NicholsKatie Kukulka by Whitney Nichols  Katie Kukulka by Whitney NicholsKatie and Nicholas by Whitney Nichols

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Dress: Jenny Packham. Venue: Park Winters. Earrings: Antique Swedish pearl and diamond. Wedding Rings: Georgian teardrop diamond and antique gold band. Floral Design, Calligraphy, Props: Myself. Photography: Whitney Nichols. Event Logistics: Katie Bogner. Bridal Salon: Marina Morrison.
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