Nieuwe Meer

It's sixteen miles
To the promised land
And I promise you, I'm doing the best I can

Now don't fool yourself
Into thinking you're more than a man
Because you'll probably end up dead

I visit these
Mountains with frequency
And I stand here with my arms up

Now some days they last longer than others
But this day by the lake went too fast
And if you want me
You better speak up, I won't wait
So you better move fast

Don't fool yourself
Into thinking you're more than you are
With your arms outstretched to me

With arms outstretched - Rilo Kiley

Sunset over Noorderlicht

Noorderlicht on Friday evening for Josh's birthday drinks, with Merrin, Rachel, Lucy and Wendy. (And a whole bunch of others as well.) Gorgeous warm weather, lots of laughs and an excellent chocolate cake. Good times.

Hup Holland Hup!

I watched the deciding game between NZ and Italy yesterday. NZ are out now but they did so well to get as far as they did. Some kiwis were so emotionally invested  in the game, it was hard for them to watch.

It's been fun seeing all of our friends and workmates, all different nationalities, support their teams. And no-one more so than the Dutch. There are orange flags all over town, on cars and bicycles. Every other person in the street is wearing orange, regardless of how ugly the item of clothing might be!

As NZ is out, I would love it if Holland won, that's my backup team of course. But for this week I think that I've reached my quota of football.

Links in time

Drawings with wire. I twisted binding wire around different objects, to create links of different sizes and shapes. This exercise helped me think about chains in three dimensions. It's one of the biggest challenges for me, turning drawings into physical objects.

I made 9 simple silver links. I wanted to combine the idea of links and chains with textiles. Right now I'm overflowing with ideas... if only I had more time.


When the moon hits your eye 
Like a big-a pizza pie
That's amore
When the world seems to shine
Like you've had too much wine
That's amore

Bells'll ring
And you'll sing "Vita bella"
Hearts'll play
Like a gay tarantella

Wild horses

This morning
two mockingbirds
in the green field
were spinning and tossing

the white ribbons
of their songs
into the air.
I had nothing

better to do
than listen.
I mean this

a long time ago,
an old couple
opened their door

to two strangers
who were,
it soon appeared,
not men at all,

but gods.
It is my favorite story--
how the old couple
had almost nothing to give

but their willingness
to be attentive--
but for this alone
the gods loved them

and blessed them--
when they rose
out of their mortal bodies,
like a million particles of water

from a fountain,
the light
swept into all the corners
of the cottage,

and the old couple,
shaken with understanding,
bowed down--
but still they asked for nothing

but the difficult life
which they had already.
And the gods smiled, as they vanished,
clapping their great wings.

Wherever it was
I was supposed to be
this morning--
whatever it was I said

I would be doing--
I was standing
at the edge of the field--
I was hurrying

through my own soul,
opening its dark doors--
I was leaning out;
I was listening.

Mockingbirds - Mary Oliver


My father, my uncles Jos and Peter and my aunt Christine were all born in the Netherlands before their parents emigrated to New Zealand. Most of them (and the other 6 children) have made a pilgrimage back to Holland at some point. And slowly, the next generation are as well. 

 Jos's daughter Heidi has been travelling through Europe over the past month or so and has finally made her way to Amsterdam. It's been a really fun week showing her little parts of our life here and sharing some Dutch delicacies like nieuwe haring, stroopwafels and Febo. 

We made our own little pilgrimage down to Venray to visit our grandmother's sister Mien on Saturday. Mien will be 89 this year. It was lovely to share a meal with her and listen to her stories. With some help however,  her daughter José translated patiently for us. Some things didn't need translating though. Mien's laugh is just like Oma's. 

The polaroid dudes

It's Friday. That normally means that we go into town after work and have a drink or two. Inevitably sooner or later one of the polaroid dudes come by and offers to take our photo. And then on Saturday morning, as you are fishing through your wallet wondering where all your money went... you find a polaroid. Super fun.

Forgotten films

Queen's Day 2010. Hanging with the Eastside crew. Getting messy and eating home-made sandwiches and Brian's special pepper salami from Ireland which he lugged around all day. These shots were on a film that I only just got developed... it always takes me a few weeks to get around to developing films. It's nice though, forgotten moments are revived. And film always looks so much nicer, even if you are as wasted as Joe is here.

Wabi sabi

I finished the silver ring which I imprinted with a lace texture. I used a thicker piece of silver and it has a lovely weight to it. When you anneal silver and then drop it into the acid while it is still hot, a very fine layer of pure silver comes to the surface, giving a white matte layer. You can see that this remains in the grooves of the lace pattern.

Because I didn't want to take off any of the pattern, I was reluctant to file down the join. Normally you would file and sand to remove the line where the two ends of the silver meet. Susie pointed out that what I made is handmade and that I should accept it as such. And therefore not try to make it perfect. She used the term Wabi-sabi, a Japanese word that I had never heard of before.

Wabi-sabi is the term for a Japanese aesthetic which is sometimes described as one of beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete". I think it is a beautiful concept and an idea that I have struggled to explain in relation to my photography. That the imperfection is what makes the photograph beautiful. 

If an object or expression can bring about, within us, a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing, then that object could be said to be wabi-sabi.

Wabi-sabi nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.

Early retirement?

A post on cats and biscuits? What am I? A sixty year old single cat lady? Well, I'm not single (or sixty) but I've hardly seen Toby as he has been working some crazy hours over the past week. So the message on this tin seems appropriate. 

I made Anzac biscuits to bring into work for the NZ vs Slovenia World Cup match today. I'm hardly a  football fan but everyone's so excited. I was biking through Amsterdam on the way to an appointment yesterday during the Holland vs Denmark game. The streets were empty. But then I heard a massive roar. Holland won.

These are some of the cats who hang out in our backyard. Or maybe it's really their backyard and we just are intruding. It certainly feels like that sometimes.

A dirty Mexican

Sun. Sangria. Flaggetjes. Tortilla. BBQ. Mexican chocolate cake. Strawberries. A lone dirty Mexican.

On a Monday morning, when I bike through Vondelpark, there's always remnants of a birthday party somewhere. A few straggly balloons or  some streamers dangling. On Saturday we celebrated Gareth and Sarah's birthday's and even managed to sing Lang zal ze leven in Dutch. We were tidy Kiwis though...nothing was left behind, except one or two little red flags. 

A birthday crown

It's a little girls' birthday next week and she has requested a crown. So with her Mum's help, I sewed Kiearah a birthday crown. Three gold buttons for her third birthday, one of which came off Katie's winter coat. I know she will be stoked to see that it went to a good home.
The heart ribbon came from my friend Melissa, whose blog is a huge inspiration to me. When we visited her and Tom in Norway she gave me a little package of sewing supplies, wrapped up in this ribbon. I thought it was so sweet and there was just enough for the finishing touch. 

Heat, rain, coriander, chilli

Yesterday was a grey rainy day and here is a perfect grey rainy day necklace. I made a tiny silver drop to sit on the larger pearlescent perspex drop.
Despite the rain it's warm, which reminds me of being in South East Asia. It reminded Lucy too and she invited me over for Vietnamese-style rice paper rolls. We always reminisce together over Jungle Beach, an idyllic beach paradise near Nha Trang. Heat, rain, coriander, hot chilli and slightly tipsy... Vietnam.

Treasure boxes

Last night I pulled out some boxes as I was looking for inspiration and felt like sifting through the odds and ends I can't bring myself to get rid of. I am a hoarder. Always have been, always will be. I am my father's daughter after all (he is the king of hoarders). I simply cannot bring myself to throw anything away, the excuse being that one day it will come in handy. And I love small sparkly things. Like broken jewellery and beads. Magpie instincts.

So a couple of years ago I picked up a box of brass pieces and beads. It was left outside my favourite second hand shop in Amsterdam, near our old house on Tweede Rozendwarstraat. And I've carted this dirty box of junk around with me ever since, with no idea for what I would do with it. And last night I was so glad that I did keep it, because it all just came together in one of the moments when things just click