What I Love About Sweden


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.

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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

WorldsEnd_4  Dish


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.


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. 

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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Paris: Spring in the City of Light

Hotel Sully Paris by Katie Kukulka

It really is true what they say about Paris in the spring, it’s unbelievably picturesque. Flowers are in bloom, fluffy clouds are overhead, and a sprinkling of rain feels refreshing between warm days. During my week long stay I lived like a local, took over 4,000 photos and made some incredible discoveries.

I truly enjoyed every moment I spent in the City of Light. I climbed to the top of Notre Dame to visit the gargoyles. Scoured the puces for antique treasure. Experienced the city from the top of the Eiffel tower at midnight and viewed iconic works of my favorite impressionists.

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The courtyard of the Sully Hôtel. Looking out the window of the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature. Me in my JCrew Metro coat, FRYE Veronica slouch boots and ONA Chelsea camera bag. The view from “my apartment” for the week. The floor of the Musée Carnavalet. A streetlight outside of the Place des Vosges. My feline neighbor. Detail of a historic door in the 7th. The Eiffel Tower from the corner of Avenue de Suffren and Rue de Buenos Ayres. The interior of Saint-Paul Saint-Louis Church. The courtyard of the private club next to the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature.

I have many more photos and details to share in upcoming posts, for now here are a few of my Paris travel tips

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A Floral Season

For me arranging flowers is a therapeutic exercise, a sensory and tactile treat. I discovered this last summer after taking my first floral design class. I spent the rest of the season learning the art from the industry’s best.

My very first floral design class was A Study of Heirloom Roses, with the talented Sarah Ryhanen of Saipua and Nicolette Owen of Nicolette Camille Floral, collectively Little Flower School. Students gathered for the lesson at Garden Valley Ranch in Petaluma, California, where we spent the day cutting heirloom roses from the garden and learning to create arrangements with a wild and elegant aesthetic – their specialty.

A Study of Heirloom Roses with Little Flower School by Katie Kukulka
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My finished floral arrangement, working away, Nicolette transforming a tulip by gently bending it’s petals back – creating an entirely new shape to work with, Sarah showing off a selection of poppies, Sarah and Nicolette simultaneously building the foundation of an arrangement, our work space at Garden Valley Ranch and a  stunning demonstration arrangement.

Shortly after my introduction to floral design, I enrolled in Floral Arranging 101 with Chelsea Fuss of Frolic! via Nicole’s Classes. The four week course consisted of step-by-step instructional videos and one-on-one feedback. Students were tasked with creating an arrangement once a week and sharing the photos with Chelsea for critique. We made range of compositions from bouquets to boutineers.

Floral Arranging 101 Hand Tied Bouquet by Katie Kukulka
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My hand tied bouquet, wedding bouquet, flower crown, wild English arrangement. (See my arrangements featured on Frolic!, and Nicole’s Classes blog here and here.)

In early July I spent three inspiring days in Atlanta with Joy Thigpen, and talented aspiring wedding stylists, at her Creative Direction + Styling Workshop. As a small part of our education in aesthetics and styling we designed small lush floral arrangements using sustainably foraged foliage from the grounds of the Inn at Serenbe, along with a shipment of buds from Mayesh.

Flower Arrangement by Katie Kukulka (iPhone)
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The Inn at Serenbe (iPhone)
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My arrangement, a special floral delivery, Joy styling a paper suite and the grounds of the Inn at Serenbe. (iPhone Images)

Before the summer was through I enrolled in a one day floral design intensive with Jill Rizzo and Alethia Harampolis of Studio Choo and authors of The Flower Recipe Book. The theme was Arranged Collections and students learned to make multiple arrangements that together created a cohesive multi-container composition. These woman have such creative ideas, like adding mushrooms, potted plants and wood slices to arrangements.

Arranged Collections Jill Packing my Arrangements (iPhone)  Arranged CollectionsFlower Table
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My final arranged collection – slightly worse for wear after the ride home, Jill packing up my arrangements, a table of flowers to choose from. (iPhone Images)

All of these woman are masters of their craft and I highly recommend each of the classes I attended. I certainly wouldn’t mind taking them all over again just for fun.

Have you ever taken a floral design class? Ever wanted to?

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