Rebecca Parker


As promised yesterday, here is the piece that Rebecca gave me. It's heavy and solid to hold. I love how this earthy weight contrasts with the feathery marks and the sheen of white glaze. Having recently done a basic ceramics workshop, I have a new found respect and appreciation for this craft. It takes so much skill to produce a piece like this.

Rebecca and Kurt came to Amsterdam from Portland just a couple of months after Toby and I arrived. We've shared Thanksgivings and a boat and dangerous truffles and ghostly bike rides and so many laughs. It is sad to see them go but I'm pretty excited about the fact we will get to see them in Wellington (New Zealand) next year.

Rebecca, everytime I look at your beautiful work I will remember your fantastic laugh!

A promise


Kurt and Rebecca bought a flagpole for Bruce, our boat. And I promised to sew a flag for it, with three X's (from Amsterdam's coat of arms) on it. Summer came and went. No flag was sewn and now it's too late because they are leaving Amsterdam for good on Monday. And boy, are we going to miss them.


Rebecca is a gifted ceramics artist and she kindly agreed to do a swap with me before she left- a piece of her work for one of mine. She liked this brooch, and I had wanted to make something that referenced Bruce, so that's where the inspiration came from.


I can't wait to show you what I received in return, it's gorgeous! But autumn is here and we have lost the light in our mornings, so it was too dark to photograph it.  Next post, I promise!

Melodies Graphiques



Walking down towards Notre Dame from Le Marias we passed by a little shop that I simply could not resist. Melodies Graphiques is a gorgeous stationary boutique on rue du Pont Louis-Philippe. As you can see the walls are covered in letters addressed to Eric de Tugny, the shop's proprietor, who is himself a master calligraphist. He was so friendly and was happy for me take a few photos, which was lovely of him.

Melodies Graphiques also features in the book Paris: Made by Hand, which takes you on a romantic wander through the backstreets of Paris, leading you through artist's ateliers and specialist boutiques. I ordered a copy for myself and got quite upset when it just did not arrive after three weeks. And then, on the Friday afternoon, only a few hours before we were to board our train, it was delivered!

The book's author, Pia Jane Bijkerk also lives in Amsterdam (on a house boat!) and has recently just published her second book, Amsterdam: Made by Hand. I would whole heartedly recommend these two books, to both tourists and natives alike. Pia really does a wonderful job of discovering places you might never notice. Her blog Enhance the Everyday is a source of constant inspiration to me.

City of Light



Right next to our hotel in Le Marais was a little boutique that specialised in many different kinds of.... you guessed it... absinthe. So of course we had to buy a bottle. The owner recommended a bottle of Perroquet, that was made by a distillery that manufactured absinthe before the ban in 1915. It started producing it again in 2001. 
So after dinner we walked to the Ile St. Louis and sat on the bank of the Seine under a full moon and drank absinthe. And it all became clear why Paris is known as the City of Light.



A dusty bookstore


Regardless of how unkempt the garden is, this bookshop is no secret. In the very centre of Paris, amongst the hordes of tourists pouring out of Notre Dame, Shakespeare and Company holds it's ground. 
The building served as a monastery in the 16th century and has 13 beds for young writers, known as "tumbleweeds," who earn their keep by working in the shop for a couple of hours each day. 
I am a sucker for good books, it took all my willpower not to walk out with an armful. In the end I settled on a copy of Rilke's Duino Elegies. When in Paris, read poetry - right?


Paris was lovely, thank you for asking



We made it to Paris. (The strikes didn't affect us- hooray!). And yes, I did wander around, take too many photos, eat crêpes and rummage in dusty bookshops. The best part? That I got to do it all with my best friend.


I have so many photos and stories I want to share with you. And I will, but lord, I am so tired today.

Paris, j'espère?


At the moment there are massive strikes across France due to government plans to raise the retirement age to 62. The French are outraged! Protesters have blockaded oil refineries and rioting in the streets. Trains and public transport are in chaos. So fingers crossed - hopefully our train to France isn't cancelled, because I really need to go to Paris with my boy this weekend!


These photos were taken last January, when Toby and I visited Paris for our 7 year anniversary. We did it all - Eiffel Tower, Sacré-Coeur, museums, etc. This time I just want to be wander round, take too many photos, eat crêpes and rummage in dusty bookshops. 

Kiki


Two days with a three year old. Running, balloon dancing, hide and seek, painting, reading, magic tricks, giggles and the odd minor disaster thrown in. Exhausting and so much fun. 

Veere


I spent the weekend in Veere. I feel like I was filled up with the light of that place. 

Japanese Flight Attendant


Marty and Mariko are coming to Amsterdam for Christmas. Yeah! Doesn't Mariko look like the perfect Japanese Flight Attendant in this dress?

Queen Bea is looking at me


David Lynch film stills? No. Funeral parlour? No. Posh, old-fashioned Dutch hotel? Yes.

Feathers in the garden



I heard an incredible racket outside this morning. A bird was making the a horrible, loud, harsh squawk, over and over again. I looked out the kitchen window to see one of the neighborhood cats had climbed right to the top of a tree in our backyard. The birds were going crazy, flying around him, teasing him. By the amount of feathers in the backyard this afternoon, I think the birds might've gotten a bit too close.
I couldn't resist these quails eggs at the organic supermarket. They are just too sweet to eat. 

The Swan


The labouring through what is still undone,
as though, legs bound, we hobbled along the way,
is like the awkward walking of the swan.


And dying - to let go, no longer feel
the solid ground we stand on every day
is like his anxious letting himself fall
into the water, which receives him gently
and which, as though with reverence and joy,
draws back past him in streams on either side;
while, infinitely silent and aware,
in his full majesty and ever more
indifferent, he condescends to glide. 


The Swan -  Rainer Maria Rilke

Grandma's necklace


Three oxidised silver chains, pearls, rose quartz beads and a satin ribbon make up this necklace. It's kind of like I raided Grandma's jewellery box, grabbed the best bits and put them all together. In fact, I found the chains  at a fleamarket I went to in Berlin, so they probably are someone's grandma's, just not mine.

Yoyos


I kinda love-hate Anthropologie. Sometimes it feels like every cool thing I see on the internet is from there. They just kind of nail that whole handmade, what's hot thing. Anyway. I was really inspired by this quilt (from Anthropologie), I love the old fashioned yo-yo's and the palette. 
After getting over the urge to make it myself (which is just crafty suicide- it would take forever), I designed this necklace a while ago. And I finally made it. I think I might do a few different versions- it's super fun to wear.