Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Brown Paper Love as a basis for Christmas Wrapping

As December is approaching us, I am starting to get there with my Christmas shopping. I like to really enjoy the festive month of December and Christmas in particular, so I try to have all my present shopping done by the end of November. Then I can concentrate on decorating, wrapping and food in the final run up to Christmas. That doesn't only save a lot of stress, but it is partly also because we tend to celebrate Saint Nicholas on the 5th December with my family in Holland. (Our daughters get to unwrap presents twice in December!)

I have started to think about Christmas wrapping. I am always attracted to white with a splash of red in our Christmas decorations, just because red feels so Christmassy and I also feel it's a good colour for children. An all white and silver scheme can be gorgeous for example, but children tend to have a preference for colour and that would not be so much fun for them. At least that's my opinion.

And so far as our Christmas wrapping is concerned, I like to keep in mind that the unwrapping of presents is primarily for our girls. That means it needs to be fun and attractive for them too! I have a bit of crush on brown paper as it is such a perfect background for a healthy dose of creativity. It is just so versatile (and affordable, so I can spend more on ribbons, embellishments, etc.!). Hence I've decided that this will be the basis for my Christmas wrapping this year. Now, what to do next?!? Here's some great examples that I find inspiring:

I love the idea with the letters. Kirsten, our eldest is 4 and has started school this year. She can recognise the letters of her name and so that would be fun for her. I also think the idea of the button stamped paper is a great, simple idea. And I'm sure they'll play with the pompoms afterwards (I probably wouldn't even need to bother with real presents...)!

So, what about you? Do you enjoy being creative with wrapping? What are your ideas? I'd love to hear from you!

Lots of love,

Image Sources clockwise:

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Are you getting in the mood for Christmas yet? Some great DIY ideas

Christmas is a lovely time in a lot of countries, but particular in England Christmas is incredibly atmospheric and stylish, even though there is hardly ever a white Christmas (at least in the South where I live) and where it instead is often wet. London is one of the greatest cities in the world to go Christmas shopping though and there are so many historic towns and villages that make the perfect background for the lovely Christmas decorations and carol singers. Every year we have for example a huge tree with lights on the small market place in our village, the high street looks magical with all the candles and lights behind the windows of its historic buildings (if you think the cars away, you could imagine yourself living in the 1800's, seriously!) and not to forget the carol singers, who will sing in the local pub.

In the city of Bath, the Christmas lights were switched on last week and so everyone is really starting to get in the mood. As I went shopping last week, I picked up a gorgeous Christmas magazine with tons of lovely crafty ideas and I was tempted to buy it, but then became realistic... Do I really have time to sit down and make lots of lovely decorations and displays? I shouldn't wish the time away, but at the moment with two very small children, I just won't have the time apart for some very simple ones. So I wanted to share with you some great and simple ideas to get you in the mood!

Image sources: Envelope Advent calendar by Martha Stewart, Peg Advent calendar via Pinterest

Image sources: Ribbon Star by Beyond The Picket Fence, Wrapping by Swedish Annixen blog, Cone garland by Swedish Mias Interior blog, Vintage cupcake tea lights via Pinterest

Which one is your favourite? I actually like all of them. I love the simple idea of making an advent calendar of envelopes in the shape of a Christmas tree. As for the Christmas decorations, the red satin ribbon is so effective, especially on a background of driftwood. The wrapping is gorgeous and cutting a doily to size and shape makes a good similar design or have you considered using a nice stamp instead? These days you can buy the most beautiful stamps for not that much money. Have a look at The Stamp Attic for an example of a circle lace stamp. Be careful though, before you know it you may have added a few to your basket! 
I also adore the simple idea of the cones on a jute string and no-one can beat lots of nice tea-lights, especially not in vintage cupcake tins, right?!? 

What will you be making? Have you got a great advent calendar yet? That is on my making wish list for when the children are just that bit bigger...

Lots of love,

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Meeting Holly Becker at the Decorate Workshop launch

This week was quite a high-light in my short blogging career, as not only did I get nominated 3 times for the Liebster Blog Award (!), but I also met Holly Becker from Decor8 Blog at the launch party of her new Decorate Workshop book hosted by Anthropologie in Regent Street, London. An amazing venue for an amazing lady....

Firstly, I have to admit I had heard and seen lots about Anthropologie, but hadn't actually visited one of their stores in the UK yet (I used to work in Bond Street for Mulberry, but I don't get to Central London that often anymore these days!). And boy, what an unbelievably beautiful and creative store! I felt instantly inspired. I won't keep going on as there is so much more to tell about Holly, the event and her book, but I did want to share some of the displays that I couldn't pass without looking twice:

The set of Dutch plates with the impression of a Dutch master painting made me smile and actually tempted to touch it(!). I also was drawn to the light shades within the light shade and isn't this Stag Head something quite different?!?

The private tea party and subsequently Holly Becker's book launch took place on the first floor. As members from the London Blogger Group, I came to the event with my friend Anna van der Feltz from Mischief, Flapjacks, Pantone & Me and I didn't really know anyone else. But it was so easy to mingle and meet so many lovely bloggers finally in person. There really was such a friendly atmosphere. And of course the lady who's turned blogging into a successful career and has encouraged so many of us to blog was there joined by the famous Will Taylor from Bright Bazaar and some of the creative people she worked with like stylists Sania Pell and James Leland Day.

Holly Becker is as lovely in reality as she comes across in her blog. In fact, when she talks, she really speaks like she writes! And she really made an effort to meet everyone personally. I admire her for how she had the courage to do something about the job she wasn't happy with and even more so for carving her own career by doing what she loves doing and actually make a living of it too. She definitely has a business head screwed on. And she seems to have endless energy and creativity too... But above all, she makes you feel inspired rather than jealous!

So, Holly now has two book titles behind her name! Decorate has been a great success, and her second book Decorate Workshop won't stay behind without a doubt. In the book Holly describes her 8-step process to decorating your home written in her usual natural manner and using lovely examples including her own home. 
If you like to have a preview, here is an abstract to give you a peak into Holly's book. As I was reading through my copy (obviously I couldn't leave the party without a signed copy) guess what cought my eye?!? Holly has a lovely HKliving chest AND HKliving lamp showing in her living room! Being the UK agent for HKliving, that made me feel so good. But really, it is such a nice read and will make you feel itchy to start a project yourself. Have fun!

Lots of love,


Friday, 9 November 2012

The Liebster Blog Award

I've only been blogging for a month or so, and I really enjoy doing it. I just wish I had more time to spend on it, but I enjoy thinking about what subjects and images to share, I like writing more than I thought I would and above all, there's a real warm and supportive community out there! It simply is so nice to share. 

I'd never heard about the Liebster Blog Award, but I was surprised and honoured that I got nominated, not just once but twice for it! That really is so encouraging. Thank you Lena from Mina Moka blog and Heidi from Velvet Lamb blog!  

So what is Liebster Blog Award? I've tried to find out a bit more about the award, but having spent some time on Google, it seems to be a bit of a mystery as I can really only find links to people who have won the award themselves. What I do know is that it is an award for blogs with under 200 followers and that it aims to give small blogs more exposure. "Liebster" means "beloved" in German and a blog nominated for this award is "worth watching". So the bottom-line is that it is a really nice way to promote small blogs!  

There are a few rules (there is quite a lot to this post, so I'll forgive you if you speed-read throughout some of it!):

  • Post 11 random things about myself.
  • Answer the 11 questions Lena & Heidi asked me.
  • Nominate 11 more up & coming bloggers with less than 200 followers (I'm not sure how you know, but hey...), notify them and link them to my post.
  • Create 11 new questions for these bloggers to answer.
  • Tag backs not allowed. 

So firstly, 11 random things about myself:

I have a sweet tooth / I grew up on a dairy farm in Holland / I studied Economics in Amsterdam / I'm a mother of 2 gorgeous little girls / I love making things with my hands / I always have fresh flowers in the house / I know very little of films / I don't mind spiders / I love hunting for bargains at car boot sales or vintage fairs / I married an Englishman / my 2 brothers and I all live in different countries 

Then my answer's to Lena:
  • If you could pick any city in the world to live in for one year - which one   would that be?
  • Sydney. I love the city and could visit my brother in Melbourne more.
  • Coffee or tea? Both. Love coffee, but have anglicised and like my tea too.
  • Which sense is more important to you: sight or hearing? 100% Sight.
  • I have a photographic memory, but really have to concentrate when I need to listen to something. I was dreadful at my language hearing exams at school.
  • What is your most annoying habit? Biting my nails... I have anything but elegant and manicured hands...
  • Pick a movie: Fiction or documentary? Fiction.
  • I don't watch many films, but love a good story line in a movie. 
  • What was your favorite book as a child?
  • The Witches by Roald Dahl. Was particularly fascinated by the square feet without toes.
  • What is your favorite book today?
  • I don't get round to reading many books, but I loved The Kite Runner by Kahled Hosseini
  • How many close friends do you have?
  • About 5 I would say. 
  • Do you like questionnaires?
  • Depends if they're too long!
  • You have won one million (Dollars, Euros, whatever...) in the lottery- and       now?
  • Money doesn't always give happiness, but I'd buy a lovely old quintessentially English house that is currently up for sale in our village with loads of character and in need of a lot of work (beautiful large panelled hallway, in fact, I fell in love with the house because of the hallway) but my husband doesn't like it and we can't afford it, so I would buy him the latest Porsche 911 and build an oak frame garage in the large back garden to convince him... And I'd also buy a lovely little house in Holland close to where my parents and brother live, so we'd have a pied-à-terre there too. Gosh, that's quite a lot, isn't it?!?
  • How are you today?
  • Busy, sometimes too busy, but very happy. I've made "Work smarter, not harder" my motto.

Then my answer's to Heidi (Hope you're not bored yet!!):

  • Best vacation ever?
  • Honeymoon to Thailand and Cambodia
  • When do you feel inspired?
  • When something catches my eye. Difficult to say really.
  • Who do you admire most?
  • I do admire Holly Becker for how she's carved her own career and managed to make a living out of what she loves doing. Now I've met her she really is a lovely lady with a warm personality, just like she writes, yet she has a good business head screwed on. (I've met good business women who are not always so lovely!) And she seems to have endless energy.
  • What would be your perfect day?
  • A lazy one without a list of things to do in my head or without having to watch the clock and simply enjoy spending time with my children and my  husband. 
  • Are you quiet or outgoing?
  • In between. I like socialising and voicing my opinion, but also like my own space.
  • Where do you like to blog from?
  • At home in a quiet space.
  • Favorite ethnic food?
  • Thai, although not too spicy!
  • What do you love knowing lots about?
  • I would love to know lots more about photography and graphic design.
  • Favorite color?
  • I don't have any in particular, but I am not a fan of yellow and orange. I tend to go for whites, greys and do like dusky pink.
  • Are you on the dance floor or do you prefer to observe the dancing?
  • On the dance floor for sure!!
  • Morning or night person?
  • Definitely morning. After 10pm my brain doesn't work properly anymore. What a lucky husband I have - I'm always the one up with the girls early in the morning!

And here are my lovely nominees:

  1. Bettie & Frank
  2. Little Miss Tweedie Bird
  3. My Little Ginger Wedding 
  4. With love from Sam
  5. Mischief Flapjacks Pantone & Me
  6. Because It's Beautiful
  7. Ard's catch 22
  8. Room to Bloom
  9. Her Indoors
  10. Veawen
  11. Insideology

And these are my 11 questions for them:
  1. What would you like to learn more about? 
  2. Best experience in the past year?
  3. Favourite Shop?
  4. Who would you like to be in a different life? 
  5. What is your biggest wish?
  6. What does comfort mean to you?
  7. Favourite car?
  8. Most loved item? 
  9. What does your ideal house look like?
  10. Favourite holiday destination?
  11. Chocolate or Crisps?

Well, congratulations, you've made it!! Thank you for your perseverance and please do 
try and have a look at the other nominee's blogs. 

Lots of love,

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Warm and Cosy Knits, 100% Handmade by Ineke Visser from Heins Home

Some people don't like Autumn, but I love it. Of course the wet and windy weather is not always pleasant, but nature can be so pretty with its changing colours. How wonderfully refreshing to go for a nice walk (if the weather allows it), only to subsequently come home, light the fire, make a nice drink and snuggle up on the sofa with a warm, cosy wool blanket. I don't mind at all.

In fact, I'd love to snuggle up under one of Ineke Visser's chunky knitted plaids from Heins Home. I came across her via Suhka Amsterdam, a bit of a quirky 'department store' in the middle of Amsterdam with tons of inspiring design. They sell amongst others Ineke's gorgeous home accessories, an amazing range of crochet stools, knitted plaids, cushions, and really cool 'bottle warmers', all entirely handmade (in her own living room!) from mostly leftover yarns. 

Images by Heins Home Design

I'm someone who loves materials and textures, so the above examples are right up my street! Doesn't that proof that crochet and knitting don't have to be old-fashioned and for grannies, but actually can be really cool??

Ineke's husband is a carpenter and together they make a rather creative team, so it doesn't come as a surprise that they live in a beautifully decorated home, that I find really inspiring. I love the combination of rustic and design, so I simply had to share these pictures with you too!

So are you convinced yet by Ineke's crochet and knits yet? What do you think of her style? Her website translates into English, but I think you can only buy in Euro's from her. Perhaps if you drop her or Suhka Amsterdam an email, they may be able to send any items abroad.

Lots of love,