Too much inspiration


On my bookcase: the newest copy of Extra Curricular- this issue focusses on jewellers and there's a piece I wrote about my experience of working with Susi. Also My heart wanders by Pia Jane Bijkerk, The Liberty book of Home Sewing, Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien and the Colette sewing handbook.
The problem with these books are that they are all too inspiring. I just want to start a million projects.

Magic potion


Toby's beard is getting more and more druid-like. If only he could brew magic potion.

Spare moments



Olliebollen, canals and tv slippers for Max. Three very dutch things. Max's slippers were knitted by his Granny. My Oma used to knit them for me and my 18 cousins.
These days between Christmas and New Years are my favourite time. The pressure of Christmas is off and now with a baby, I have no New Years plans either. Which is actually a relief. Also, there are two very keen grandparents here to play with Max, so I actually the luxury of reading some books that have been waiting very patiently for me.



Granny and G-pop


Carolyn and Andrew travelled all the way from Baguio to meet their third grandson. G-pop seems to have the magic touch at getting Max to sleep. I think he just plays possum until Max conks.

My heart


I've just finished reading My heart wanders by former Amsterdamer Pia Jane Bijkerk, which is about following your heart and full of beautiful photographs. In it she talks about coming across random heart-shaped conicidences in her travels and funnily enough, on a walk through Vondlepark on christmas morning I found this little balloon. Just waiting for me.



White lightning


Slipped into the studio today while Max was sleeping to finish this necklace off for the Shazam launch party tomorrow. It turned out well, I'm really happy with it.
Toby brought home a copy of Shazam and it looks awesome. The illustration in the photo above is the centre spread by Barney Hobson. He's a bit talented.
I can't make the party, which I'm gutted about, but get along and have a drink for me. It should be a very fun night.

Shazam


Back in the studio for the first time since Max was born. It felt great. I'm working on a piece for Shazam's launch party this Friday night at Cafe Schuim. Shazam is an art zine put together by a bunch of crazies in honour of our crazy friend Guy Champney. The party should be crazy too. There'll be free issues of the zine and art for sale. I'm donating a silver Shazam lightning bolt necklace. Get along to the party. Get stuff. Get crazy.

Amsterdams Grafisch Atelier



Toby and Ignasi are working on an exhibition coming up in February. I took Max in to watch them start screenprinting for it at the Amsterdams Grafisch Atelier. It's an amazing space with fantastic facilities. The kind of place I just wish I'd found out about years ago, especially when it's right around the corner from our old house. Just visiting the place was so inspiring. That's the hardest thing for me sometimes, restricting the amount of projects I want to take on. I'd love to get messy with some ink and screens.
Max wasn't so interested in the printing but he had a good boogie with Ignasi and Ferran.


Sun, bird, tree




And of the bird, so rare,
Whose fleeting shadow
Soothes the wounds made by the sun

Excerpt from Landscapes by John Burnside


Fat Animal



Marty dropped in to visit Max and brought some new friends for him. Little wooden finger puppets! He's marrying Mariko next year and I am so bummed I can't make it to their wedding.

Mariko opened her webshop Fat Animal recently. Check it out- she's found some really cute stuff from Japan. She also made these fridge magnets of Toby and I which are too funny.

Sinterklaas and Swarte Piet

 

These two chaps are Sinterklaas and Swarte Piet. In Holland Sinterklass comes on the 5th of December. And if he doesn't, because you've been a bad boy or girl, Swarte Piet will put you in his sack and take you away to Spain. Cause Spain sucks so much?
Anyway the whole thing is the source of much confusion, amusement and sometimes even a bit of anger for non-dutchies. But basically it's just like Christmas, except early and with bad rhyming poems. Then at Christmas, the "Christmas Man" comes i.e. Santa Claus. So really it's just an excuse for two rounds of pressies and treats.
Today is Max's first Sinterklaas and he got a Nientje toy for his pram. Dad and Mum ate all his peppernoten though.

Max is my new style advisor



What it looks like when I'm working on the kitchen table. You've got computer corner, snacks to the bottom right and jewellery stuff all over the place. Max and I sing some songs and he tells me stories in his own funny language. I'm working on some baby-proof jewellery. Stuff that can't injure the little guy when he's crawling all over me. Think elastic and fabric.

Kiss off medal
Brass, cold enamel, silk, glass beads

For homesick Kiwis in Amsterdam who like feijoas



Marqt (the organic supermarket on Overtoom) are selling feijoas. Although I'm sure most New Zealanders will be shocked that I paid about $1 per feijoa. Fejoas should be given to you by the shopping bag full by your eldery next-door neighbour whose tree is overflowing.

To make mine go a bit further, I stewed them with some apples to make a simple crumble. Perfect for this wintery wet weather we are enduring at the moment. Served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, this was such a taste of home it brought on a big wave of homesickness.

Fejoa and apple crumble

8 feijoas
4 granny smith apples

225g plain flour
90g caster sugar
a pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
115g butter

Peel, core and cut up the apples. Stew them with a tablespoon or 2 of water until soft. Add feijoas and pour into an ovenproof dish.
Rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the fruit and bake until golden.
Don't forget the vanilla ice cream!

These are the people in your neighborhood 3



A walk in the late afternoon, trying to get Max to sleep. We met a curious swan. The christmas lights are up. It's cold now and so dark. I'm waiting for snow to transform the grey into crisp whiteness.



Greetings


Greetings! We salute you.
Are you on a mission? Can we assist you in anyway?
No? Oh well.
Arrivederci!


Sleep


Apparently babies sleep for something like 18 hours a day. Which begs the question: why does the average new mum get 4 hours of sleep daily?

I can stare at Max sleeping for hours. He looks so sweet. But maybe that's where I'm going wrong.

Katwijk aan de maas



This is house my Oma was born in. It is now home to her nephew René and his family. René took us on a walk to visit the church where my Oma and Opa were married, and where her sister is buried. It's a special place to visit, especially for my father. He was born in this village and it is also one year ago my Oma passed away. I wish she could've got to meet Max. Oma loved babies so much that she had 11 of them.

Thanks



Last week was a bit crazy. It started with a birthday and ended with a Thanksgiving feast. In between was sickness and too much work and visiting family and appointments and yoga and rain and more sickness.
We've celebrated Thanksgiving every year we've been in Amsterdam, as we have american friends for whom it is such an important day. It was really lovely to be surrounded by friends and remind myself I've got so much to be thankful for. Especially after such a hard week.

Opa


My Dad was born here in the Netherlands but emigrated with his parents to NZ when he was just four years old. I think it took 8 weeks on a boat to get there. Imagine spending 8 weeks at sea with four kids, and Aunty Christine was just a tiny baby. Poor Oma.

A much shorter trip, but still over 30 hours of flights and John got to hold his dutch grandson. One very proud Opa.

I love you



Miss your Oma? Try a visit to De taart van mijn tante. Plastic tulips, crocheted afghans, carpet tablecloths hiding crumbs, kitchy cushions, tacky knick knacks, too much furniture, funny pigeon english. This place ticks all the boxes. It's like stepping into my Oma's living room. And the apple pie is pretty good too.

Uncle Dan


When Max was born, at first all I could see was my little brother, Daniel. Dan arrived in Amsterdam last week to meet Max. He leaves today and it's been such a great 10 days. It goes too fast though.

Toby and I often joke about the day Uncle Daniel and Uncle Guy take Max out fishing. With two such uncles, Max is sure to grow up with a strong sense of adventure. And a good understanding of most conspiracy theories.