Sunday, 28 October 2012

Beautiful Ceramics from Tichelaar Makkum

Royal Tichelaar Makkum is a very old Dutch company that makes stunning ceramics. In fact, it is apparently THE eldest Dutch company (it has been baking clay for nearly 450 years since 1572!), yet one of the most innovative as it works with some leading Dutch designers like Hella Jongerius and Roderick Vos

Porcelain Pots by Hella Jongerius

I have a bit of a soft spot for this amazing family-run company as they are based in the small town of Makkum in Friesland, the northern province of Holland where I grew up. I remember as a child I'd be in REAL trouble if I touched one of the beautiful "Makkumer" decorative plates or bowls at home (my mother is a porcelain collector) because they do not come cheap! They are still known for their traditional hand-painted earthenware but equally for their cutting-edge designs, and that is something I personally really like. Combining Old with New, creating exciting juxtapositions, producing Creativity with a capital C full stop. 

To give you some examples of Tichelaar's work, the "Minutes Tea Set" from the collage above was designed by Studio Makking & Bey and shows a gorgeous 'unfinished' hand painted design. It was this tea set that was shown at the Salone del Mobile in Milan, where the company exhibited in 2003 for the first time. The bowl is an example of the Tichelaar's traditional hand-painted earthenware. The gorgeous necklace consists of porcelain beads, called "Pearls of Makkum" designed by fashion designer Alexander Slobbe from Orson & Bodil and the colourful vases are by Hella Jongerius. 

And it's not just plates, bowls or vases that Tichelaar makes. How about some nice goodies to use and look at when we're at work? This range of desk lamps, clocks and pen trays made of wood with ceramics, are also by Tichelaar. Not quite your traditional cup of tea, is it?!? 

Lastly, I also get inspired by the interior of Tichelaar's buildings that make the perfect display background for their designs. A lovely contemporary approach that make their innovative designs stand out, and give their traditional ranges a new life!

All images by Tichelaar Makkum

What do you think? Do you like what you see? Is it a typical Dutch approach to design?? (I guess you will probably see it through different eyes than I do because I am Dutch and grew up with so many of the designs).

If you do like what you see, Tichelaar have a webshop where you can buy online, and I can assure you you will NOT be disappointed, but be prepared to use a well-funded credit card... Or if you did ever manage to visit Friesland, Makkum is the most gorgeous town and you could visit their factory outlet for some more affordable pieces! 

Lots of love,

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Who doesn't like a clutter free home? The beauty of baskets

As you may have read in my bio, I am the UK agent for Dutch interior brand HKliving. And one of their latest designs are the below dye-dipped baskets. Aren't they gorgeous?!? Without just advertising HKliving, these really caught my eye as I really love the look of them and they will be soooo handy. (We'll have to be a little patient as they are expected to come in in February). 

Source HKliving

It made me think of doing a post about making tidying up a beautiful act, because I love a clutter free home, but in reality this is a mission impossible when you have small children who have no concept of tidiness or even consider throwing things on the floor a fun game.... At least in my house! Plus my husband can be a bit of a hoarder too. So I sometimes get this wweeeee bit frustrated.... and I think the best way to turn this negative feeling into a positive one is using beautiful storage. And the beauty of baskets is that you can simply throw things in it without thinking about it too much!! (Believe me, after you've tidied up those toys, clothes, shoes, etc for the one hundred and fifty sixth time, you really can't be bothered if it's all in the right order, correctly fitted, etc, you just want it out of the way! 

So I wanted to share with you some more examples of gorgeous baskets that I spotted, some of those so nice that they make a nice wall decoration (Hey, and if you have read my previous post, have you noticed I've managed to put the below pictures in a collage?!? I feel rather chuffed!):

The mix of colours and sizes of baskets in the first picture go so well together that you can actually create a nice wall decoration with a little thinking outside the box! Isn't that a fun idea? I saw this picture on EST Magazine, an Australian e-magazine that offers some great inspiration, so really worth having a look at every now and then. 
Baskets tend to be of some kind of wicker or other woven material (the right top picture comes from Room of Creativity Blog, the left bottom one from Tine K Home via Pinterest) but how about gorgeous felt? Felt is such a tactile and versatile material as these baskets prove to be.

How do you keep your house tidy, or do you not mind a little mess? Are you similar to your partner or other members of your family? And if not, what is your way to find a good balance?

Lots of love,

Sunday, 14 October 2012

The magic of pictures and Blogging Your Way Bootcamp

My third homework post this week is all about learning, learning, and more learning. 

I gave up my job and became self-employed, because I needed more flexibility in my work to fit around our family life, but another major reason was that I really felt an urge to learn more. I had been in my job for too long and I was bored. And being a mum of two young children with little flexibility to travel or work longer hours, there just wasn't much opportunity to grow any further beyond the position I had in the company I worked for. So I decided it was time to take the jump and set up my own webshop.

Image by my favourite blogger Anna-Malin

Setting up my own business was and is a great challenge where I can soak up new experiences and build knowledge. I've slowly started to get myself familiar with (some of) the opportunities of the online world and then there is Blogging Your Way Bootcamp!

I'd been reading blogs and wanting to start one myself for a long time, and having enrolled the course, I actually have managed to start a blog, which feels fabulous! Already in the first week, there's so much to learn and take in that my mind is nearly spinning, but hey, I'll be the last one to complain! There is actually one area I'd particularly like to learn more about and that is photography. I think many of us love to scroll down blog posts and primarily look at the pictures. Pictures are like magic, they speak a thousand words, don't they?!?

Image sourced from Yvestown

I love how some blogs use collages of photo's as well as gorgeous "stamps" or add a note in pretty writing, but how do these experienced bloggers do it? 
I had the idea of quickly becoming an expert myself and purchased Photoshop Elements as well as the book "Photoshop Elements for Dummies". Surely, it can't be THAT difficult??But the book is not particularly the most exciting bedtime reading and I kind of got stuck (now how does that make me feel...?!?). So I've tried to find tutorials, but actually I find them rather hard to find and it's quite a minefield. Gosh, learning about photography is not so easy at all! 

Have any of you found the same? How did you learn the art of (editing) photography? Are there any great teachers amongst you who could give any suggestions particularly about how to put together a collage and include writing with pretty fonts on pictures?

I'd love to hear from you!

Lots of love,

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Simply..... inspirational, oh and gorgeous too!

So, having thought about what inspires me and why, my next homework assignment for my BYW Bootcamp course is to blog about my favourite blog. And this has to be the Helt Enkelt hos mig blog by the lovely Swedish Anna-Malin ("Helt Enkelt hos mig" means "Simply with me"), which is "Simply" a most inspirational and gorgeous blog! 

Don't you love meeting people who you find inspirational because of what they do, who you can continuously learn from, but above all are genuine, lovely and humain? People who give you energy to do what you want to do, rather than finding yourself comparing to them and feel like you're failing? I find Anna-Malin one of those people, who writes on her blog about her love for interiors and styling with stunning pictures of her own home (which continuously changes by the way) or of what she does in her daily life.

Image by Anna-Malin

Anna-Malin is an auto-didact in photography and boy, has she got an eye for it! She has become quite rightly a professional photographer and stylist. I'm sharing some of her pictures here with you. I can identify myself with her style, as Anna-Malin too combines modern classic designs with more rustic designs, all mostly in a gorgeous palette of chic greys, whites and blacks.

Image by Anna-Malin

Image by Anna-Malin

Images by Anna-Malin

What I love about Anna-Malin's blog besides her styling is, that she is very open-hearted about what she loves and does in her daily life. For me, even though I've never met her, it feels like I know her as a friend, she just seems to be so sweet! She shares good moments as well as tough moments, like we all have. 

Image by Anna-Malin

What makes me smile and feel a lot better is that she's also shared with her readers how she beautifully styles her home for photographs, but that in real life it can be quite messy, or rather I should say 'lived-in' too! Do you like the above picture of the yummy danish pastries and vase with flowers? Gorgeous, isn't it? Well, here's how the real table setting looks like:

Image by Anna-Malin

Now, that is a slightly different view, don't you agree?!?

So, Anna-Malin has been very inspirational as a blogger for me and I'd love to learn more about photography, but more about that in my next post....-;)

What is your favourite blog?

Lots of love,

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Something old, something new, something pretty, what inspires you?

Having come back from a nice long weekend away with friends and four young children, I feel refreshed and only a tiny little tired...! So following my first post last week, I am ready for the next one and start working on my homework assignment for Decor8's Blog Your Way Bootcamp course that I've signed up for.

In last week's post I talked a little about what I'd like to achieve with my blog and that for me, it is a means to share what inspires me. Part of the homework assignment is to blog about what inspires you and why. But thinking about what really inspires me and why is actually quite a difficult question! Do you have a clear idea already??

Image by Furococo

Your eye catches something that you visually adore and makes you think, inspires you. But what is that? For me this can be can be something old, a piece of art, some sort of ingenious product design, a person or simply a space, it can be many things, but what they all seem to have in common is a story behind them. An old piece of furniture that is made of a beautiful, tactile material that shows the signs of the times it has survived, the emotions captured in a painting, a personality rather than just a pretty face, a space that is lived in including its imperfections, the thinking outside the box, and perhaps a little pleasant surprise, that is what inspires me.

Image by Pale & Interesting from Atlanta Bartlett

I love homes that represent the personality of the people who live in it and I'm certainly someone who can appreciate many different styles from classic to contemporary, but above all a home needs to feel homely for me, so bring on those candles for the darker days! Some people strive for maximum minimalism, or for the perfect colour styling, but I could never be that disciplined, because I get attached to certain items that carry memories or stories that are important to me. And so one and another just has to fit in, but in a pretty way and I can be really inspired by people who do this very cleverly!

What inspires you? Do you also find it a little tricky to put that down into words and images when it comes down to it?

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it!

For a long time I've wanted to start a blog, but the lack of time with the set up of my webshop, a busy family life with two young children and also a little bit the feeling of the unknown have withheld me so far. But now I've signed up for Holly Becker's BYW course, who's an amazing example with her Decor8 blog and I'm so excited! I've heard such great things about the course and my good friend Anna from Mischief Flapjacks Pantone & Me convinced me it is time to take the jump and I've decided to JUST DO IT! 

One of the requirements is a basic knowledge of blogging and so I'm trying to get myself up to speed in time before the course starts on 5th October (eeekkhh!). I've been thinking about my goals, what I want to achieve with my blog and although my blog will be linked to my webshop, I see it as a way to express and share my inspiration, my creativity, a reflection of the person I am behind the webshop, rather than just a tool to increase traffic to the website. I've always loved design and interiors, making a space look homely, as well as crafts such as sewing, embroidery and crochet and the blog will be a great tool to collect, share and learn about what I love.

Everybody who loves design & interiors tends to be visually orientated and pictures speak more than words. So I wanted to introduce myself by means of a picture: 

Image by VTwonen via Pinterest

Isn't that a cosy and inviting place?!? The open fire just fits so nicely with the Autumn feeling, really makes a home feel homely and I love the mix of old and modern design. A bit of everything and anything, which is what I have too in my house. Although slightly different, my personal style is very much mixing antiques with modern classic design pieces. I am a farmer's daughter and so the pig above the mantel piece made me smile! 

I will be giving you a peek into my own home as I get more confident with taking pictures, so please bear with me. I guess the thing you'll see especially more in my own home is the importance of light. Being Dutch and coming from a country with a climate of many grey and rainy days, letting light in and the use of white is key for me.