Cheers to Bunchi


Katie is so nice to her dry cleaner Bunchi, that when she told him she was leaving Amsterdam for good, he invited her for a glass of wine. He also presented her with a sequinned outfit. It's kinda not really her style, but she can't just throw it away, can she?
Buckley's socks all match. The man likes good quality socks. More power to him.

Vanity swap

Following from yesterday's post- these drawings are what Ellie and I exchanged last year. The top drawing is a portrait of Ellie I drew and the bottom one is her (rather flattering) drawing of me. 
Ellie drew this, then decided she liked it too much to give too me (!) so she re-drew it and sent me the copy. This is a photocopy of the original. 

Belated wishes

I have been knitting a present for my friend Eleanor's birthday which was yesterday. Despite the fact that we haven't lived in the same country for six years- we still send each other gifts, but somewhat belatedly. Typically I receive my Christmas present around my birthday (end of April) and my birthday present around September. I'm not any better though!

Ellie is the creator and editor of Extra Curricular, a New Zealand based magazine about people doing exciting creative projects on the side. I was lucky enough to feature in the first issue, and am currently writing up an interview for issue two on Claire Terry, musician, jeweller and shop owner. Issue two of Extra Curricular is due out in March in Australia and New Zealand.

Katie and Buckley

Katie & Buckley are majorly into re-purposing and recycling materials. As they rented an unfurnished apartment, and knew they would only be here for a year or so, they didn't want to just go and buy up IKEA. Amsterdam is a pretty rich city and a lot of what goes out of the curb is pretty high quality- so they scavenged up furniture and bits and pieces untill they had a quirkily styled but surprisingly beautiful apartment. Both are talented designers so they have a pretty good eye for what looks good. Also, Buckley is one handy man.

They are leaving Amsterdam on Sunday. This is super exciting for them as they are about to depart on an indefinite period of travel though South East Asia. It's kinda sad for me though as they have both been a big part of my Amsterdam life. Katie and Buckley arrived only a few months after Toby and I. They transferred from W+K Portland to W+K Amsterdam with their friends Kurt and Rebecca, and worked alongside Toby. All four of the Portlanders became our new best friends. We bought a boat with them, had numerous picnics in Vondelpark, BBQ'd, knitted, scavenged and got drunk together.

It's good to know that despite the fact we might not see these guys for awhile- we will definitely see them again in the future. I'm quite looking forward to seeing where they end up in 20 years. Still, I am going to miss these two.

I shot this photo of Katie and Buckley on my Pentacon TL 6- an old East German medium format camera. Such a super cool camera- I'm just in love with the viewfinder- it makes everything you look at look amazingly beautiful, even men with crazy, out-of-control beards.

Tree fingers

Sunday morning, hungover in the park. The fog was so thick I could not see across the frozen lake, but by the time I had gone home to get my camera, it had lifted a lot. These last pictures remind me of the song "Young Bride" by Midlake.

My young bride
Why are your fingers like that?
Of the hedge in winter
Of the hedge in winter



My young bride
Why aren't you moving at all?
Helps to make the day seem shorter
Helps to make the day seem shorter

I turn my camera on






Last night Spoon played at Paradiso. They were great. I think one of the best things about seeing live music is how it creates a different space for your thoughts to move around in. Does that sound a bit trippy? Maybe. But with a band like Spoon, it's so easy to just kinda zone out and find yourself down some funny little trail of thought. It feels like there is a big gap in Amsterdam between the 'big' gigs and the local stuff. When I lived in Melbourne I spent probably too much time in crappy bars watching crappy bands. Sometimes I miss the crappy I guess.

Bold as brass



Last night I started jewellery classes with Susanne Boger. Because I've never done any silver smithing before- so a lot of what we did was just teaching me what the different tools were and how to use them. I cut, filed, shaped and soldered a piece of brass into a ring. Having a finished product to take home was intensely rewarding. Well- I still have to file and polish it and the next step is creating something to attach to it. But I got to wear it home, which felt pretty cool.

Susanne has been living in Amsterdam for nearly 20 years. Originally from the Black Forest in Germany, she studied in London and then moved to Amsterdam with her daughter. Susanne is direct, playful and energetic- a lot like her jewelry.  Her atelier is at OT301- an alternative cultural centre on the Overtoom. It used to be a film academy and then it became an artist's squat in the late 90's. OT301 houses various artists, a vegan restaurant and hosts lots of different events and parties. Toby and I have started going to Ping Pong night on a Tuesday- it’s pretty fun! 

Toby gave me a ring for my birthday last year made by this jeweler whose work I love. I want to be able to work with metal and textiles together. I have so many ideas already!

Lady Gaga is an Illuminati puppet







The little house above is a custom made ring my brother Daniel gave me for Christmas. He told me it was my house ring- which meant I had to buy a house soon. I'm not entirely sure what he meant by that.

Our favourite TV show when we were kids was The X Files. We used to stay up late with Dad on a Friday night and watch it. (Agent Mulder was so dangerous!) It's had a lasting effect on Dan though.He is seriously into conspiracy theories and is particularly obsessed with how Lady Gaga is an Illuminati puppet set to subliminally imprint our minds with symbolsism created by a covert CIA mind-control and chemical interrogation research program. (!!!)
His fantastic jewellery also plays with such symbols and madness. He's inspired me to take up some jewellery lessons myself, which I start tonight. I'm really excited about it.
Dan is currently on tour through Western Europe with his band So So Modern- whose new album "Crude Futures" has just come out. The album shares it's name with a major exhibition  by New Zealand documentary photographer John Lake. John shot the album art work and is now exhibiting at the Dowse in Lower Hutt, New Zealand. His work has a dark sense of humour which I really like. 

Toby and I are going to see So So Modern play in Cologne. I've never been to Cologne, so we are staying the weekend to explore a bit. When the tour finishes in March, Daniel's coming to stay in Amsterdam for a week or so. I'm planning ping pong and pannenkoeken. I can't wait.






Feijoa flavoured homesickness





For Buckley’s birthday I made scones with feijoa jam which my mother had sent home with me from my trip to New Zealand over Christmas. Buckley isn’t so much into material possessions- he’s more into finding and re-purposing- so baking is a nice way to say happy birthday to him.


But the real reason I baked is because I was horribly homesick. Scones are what my mother used to make- the ultimate comfort food. She loves date scones, which I never liked as a kid. Feijoa jam however, is pretty good!

Morning




This morning in Vondelpark 3 rabbits ran across my path. It made my morning to see those little guys bouncing around in the snow. It was so early that it was still dark, so I could hardly see them. Jumping shadows amongst the trees. It feels pretty cool when you see wildlife about- it's pretty rare in the city. Mostly we just see the mangy cats hanging out in our backyard, scaring our goldfish.