Monday, July 7, 2014

Lately and possibly the following weeks

Last week pretty much looked like this (see 4 books below). I'm catching up since I wasn't able to read for some months. Apart from reading and watching the World Cup I haven't done anything else this last week. And now that Colombia is out of the World Cup, I've lost my interest entirely, so more time to read.

Well, O.K… I did the laundry, picked up the mess and gave the occasional kiss to my kids, but I haven't touched a needle or thread or fabric or button or yarn or….

The roses are not from this week, but they were everywhere I walked (i did walk), and it was so beautiful, and I wanted to show them to you.

See the book garland?? Well, it is one of the projects from the wonderful e-course I won, and it has been so inspiring, and I couldn't be more grateful and happy that I won a spot in it.

And a page from my notebook where I try to write or paste anything… So as you can see it has been pretty slow, and I'm hoping it will continue this way.

We have no plans for the summer, but maybe just maybe, we we'll jump in the car and drive down to Italy (I'm crossing my fingers)!!

**Would you mind recommending me some wonderful books??? I would be more than grateful.

This is it for me now, my kids start their summer vacation on wednesday and I really don't want to think about the blog during their vacation. You can find me here (maybe).

I wish you calm and beautiful days ahead. Happy summer and I see you back in a couple of weeks.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

DIY- Tissue circles and Confetti garlands

The other day I was thinking I don't like how messy confetti is, but I find it quite beautiful when it is contained. I already pick my share of things from the floor every day, and the thought of itsy bitsy pieces of paper everywhere makes me sweat.

I've been thinking about this garland for quite a while, but didn't get around to making them until now. My idea was to hang them by a window so that when the light hits them you can see all the pretty colors. Perfect for blue summer days (if you're lucky enough to get them)!

As you can see it wasn't a very blue day, but still I like the effect. What do you think?

 You will need:

  • glue (preferably not a very strong one otherwise it will tear the tissue paper or wrinkle it)
  • scissors
  • thin thread
  • clear tape 
  • paper confetti
  • white tissue paper (one big piece makes 4 garlands, each garland has 7 circles)
  • you can use a punch hole for the circles if you're aiming at a more consistent look

Cut the circles or any other shape you prefer, and put glue on one side. I found the rougher side of the tissue paper much better than the smooth part for the glue.

Place a thin layer of the paper confetti on the side you just glued and then put glue on the other side, and simply sandwich them together trying to smooth the paper out. Make sure you let it dry on an appropriate place so it won't stick - tissue paper is very delicate.

Then simply cut a piece of thread and place the confetti circles how you want them to look. I used a very thin piece of clear tape.

Some suggestions:

  • the more the merrier, meaning garlands look great when there are a whole bunch of them
  • perfect to send to your pen pals and a perfect addition to the flat project
  • you can always get just one or two colors of paper confetti, for example blue or red for tomorrow's 4th of July celebration, or red or green for Christmas
  • place a plastic under before putting the glue, as it bleeds through the tissue paper
  • use them to decorate your gifts or parties
  • for many more garland ideas go here

**I just wanted to say sorry for not showing up on Monday, but a bunch of books and the World Cup are keeping me quite busy.

Until next week. Wishing you a happy weekend and lots of fireworks on the 4th!!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Great places for coffee in Amsterdam

My intention was to start the week with coffee, not to end it, but give me coffee anytime (not really late though). I love coffee, but I only drink one cup and usually in the morning. Most of all, I think I drink it because the smell reminds me of my dear grandfather, and it is the one thing that takes me back to him.

I have been meaning for quite a while, to discover all the coffee places here in Amsterdam. Take note that I'm not saying coffee shop, as here it means, place where you can buy pot. 

This is the list I have gathered so far and it is just about delicious, aromatic and sometimes, very cute coffee (see bear below).

I'm including in this list, only places that I have visited and liked. No chains (sorry). I will be adding to the list as soon as I get the chance to visit more.

I only drink cappuccinos, I like them with a good amount of foam, not too hot (I don't get why some places sell incredibly hot coffee), and a bit strong, so I have not tasted their espressos, or any other kind for that matter. All of these places sell tea as well, just in case coffee is not your thing (why not?).

1. Screaming Beans - there are 2 locations, but I have only been to the one in Hartenstraat, great coffee and breakfast, quite full most of the times

2. Caffè Il Momento - it is actually a major bonus when the person making your coffee actually knows the best type of beans for the coffee you are ordering, sells some pastries, really great coffee

3. Lot 61- coffee roasters and provider to many stores here, all of the coffees are double shot, deliciously done and some pastries available

4. Bakers and Roasters - great for lunch, but brunch is the highlight, coffee is nice. Beware of long waiting times, it gets really busy

5. Coffee Concepts- located in a very nice area near the Vondelpark, great atmosphere, homemade pastries, fresh juices and good coffee

6. Trakteren - first time I've had a bear on my coffee, and it tasted great, they also sell lots of good quality chocolate, and pastries

7. City House Coffee and Books- this one is for all the mommies or daddies out there who want a good cup of coffee or maybe lunch with a wonderful playing area for the kids. My little one loved all the books and the big blackboard.

What makes a coffee place great? What makes you want to come back again and again?
I really like all these new, independent places opening up with excellent coffee quality, but I also like to sit comfortably and sadly most places don't offer that.

Wishing you a lovely weekend in advance.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Harvest and Company in Amsterdam

I thought I start this morning with a wonderful cup of coffee, but instead I have a lovely store that used to sell coffee. Oh, well!! Go with the flow right?
In a way it is like searching for your favorite perfume only to find out that it has been discontinued. You feel a "pang" of disappointment, but then you just carry on, or are you going to turn into a perfume maker or in this case a barrister? Maybe, who knows? 

I have shown many pictures of this store here, don't know how that happened since it is usually the other way around. In any case, even if there is no longer wonderful coffee it is a lovely place to look around and be inspired. Everywhere you look there is a wonderful desk, cabinet or table with amazing lamps and other vintage decorating accessories. Go if you need a lamp, or a beautiful writing desk (ahem, I saw one that is just perfection), but remember no coffee!

Harvest & Co.
Tweede Helmerstraat 96
1054 CN Amsterdam
Open Thursday through Saturday

Wishing you a lovely day,

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Art of Handwriting or how a teacher can change your mind

I think we can all agree that a handwritten note beats an e-mail by far… really far, right?

My love of handwriting goes as back as when I first learned to write. I was always aware of my parents beautiful handwriting or how my grandmother's became shakier and shakier as she aged, but beautiful nonetheless. Mine on the other hand became "me" and quite pretty as many remarked.

But then I became a teenager and a teacher told me how he was able to determine everyone's personality by how they wrote. Graphology of course is an art in itself, but not to take things further, I didn't like this one bit. I didn't like the fact that he was going to be able to see through me because of how I wrote.

I really don't know what I was thinking back then or what I needed to hide from him, but I changed my writing every time I handed a paper to him. I made a conscious effort to write in an "ugly" way, and became very interested in cursive (so I could make it even uglier). I guess it was a phase I had to go through, but today while I was doing an alphabet exercise I realized that I still haven't gotten over it... yet.

I became extremely conscious of how a simple thing could be dissected into so many other things. This was of course, many moons ago, but it did change the way I write. I now write according to my mood and I'm no longer interested in pretty writing, just writing that is more "me" whatever that means each day.

I'm still amazed about how quirky, clean or illegible some writings can be. I like that sometimes you can even catch a small glimpse of the writer's personality. I'm still obsessed with handwriting. I love the handwritings of my pen pals, and I miss (terribly) seeing an envelope addressed to me with the distinguishable writing of my grandmother (she was an avid letter writer).

I'm wondering if writing ever became an issue with you? Do you ever question why you write the way you do?

Lately I'm quite surrounded by it (hence this post). I have burrowed this wonderful book from my sister, and the paper love course I'm taking has made me think about many things in a good but soul searching way. Funny how that happens!

Photos above:
1. A handwritten note at this shop. 2. Matisse's handwriting,  I love how he simply drew a line over his mistake. 3. A letter from Mary Webb to the prime minister reprinted in this book. 4. Writing on a wall at Villa Augustus. 5. My alphabet practice and the map fold I learned from the e-course.

Wishing you a wonderful friday and weekend! See you back here on monday, if you want of course!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Vlieger - A paper store in Amsterdam

If you happen to live here and love  paper (that is) chances are you have been to Vlieger (many times).    
It is one of my favorite stores here in Amsterdam, and I just needed to show it to you in case you haven't visited or heard of it.

There is paper, paper and more paper (too many kinds to list here). Lots of washi-tapes, glues and bookbinding materials, and the added bonus that the second floor is an art supply store -run by the same people.

I hope that by the pictures you get a clear idea of how paper intense the store is, and if you are visiting then this should really be on your must see list.

Vlieger is open from Monday through Saturday
Amstel 34
1017 AB Amsterdam

If you need more craft stores in Amsterdam they are here.

Have a great day and see you back here on thursday (I'll be posting 2 times per week).
P.S: Suzi, your kind of store right???

Friday, June 13, 2014

Taking the window seat and writing the blog I want

I wish I had an editorial calendar for this blog o'mine, but having no idea what day it is of the week most of the times, why would I be so organized as to have one of those?

It would surely help me a lot, because instead of showing you a bunch of pictures of things I like or crafts I made, I would for example show you something different every day. Then again that wouldn't be me, that would be me trying to be someone else or trying to become like another blog.

I have been thinking lately of closing this blog, as it is taking an energy I don't really have and should be putting somewhere else. Then I reconsider because I really like sharing the things I see, even if sometimes my mother is the only one that sees them.

Changing my mind as often as the view from the passenger seat, is one of the things I like about me. It is what keeps me inspired and interested in so many things. I used to fight this when I was younger; "why couldn't I just like a few things and focus on them, and actually be good at one thing?" I might have a good idea why I am this way, but that would certainly be a really long story and for some other day.

Instead I keep all sorts of projects going, because when my hands get tired of embroidering, I go to my journal and do some paper collages, and then I bake. The next day is a completely different story. It is like putting your hand in a surprise bag, not knowing what you'll take out.

So as much as I would like to show you crafts every week, I simply can't or won't because just as I don't have an editorial calendar, I can't ask myself to produce only crafts that would drive readers here.

Instead I go with my mood, which changes as often as the weather. Sometimes it is rainy, and every once in a while a beautiful sunset comes along.

No editorial calendar for now, but who knows?  Maybe I change my mind yet again, and suddenly become super organized. (picture me laughing really hard here)*

I wish you a wonderful weekend, and may the view from the window be a lovely one.
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