One man's trash is another woman's treasure


Karina collects weird old toys. Weird as in, the person who made them must've been a little ill in the head. She keeps them in the spare room to scare her guests. There's nothing worse than waking up to clown dolls watching you sleep.
But seriously, it's an amazing collection. Second hand markets, op shops and antique stores, each toy has a story about where it was found. That monkey's expression is not to be trusted.

A baby filled birthday

I celebrated my 32nd birthday in Oslo, amongst lots of babies. I got to hold little Olivier who's barely a week old and only just home from hospital. He gave his parents, Dominque and Petter, a bit of a scary time at first. Now he's doing really well and looking quite perfect. I don't think I've held such a young baby, he was just so fragile and new.

Ava and Jonathan showed up for dinner with their parents in tow. Super cute kids, they had us all wrapped around their fingers. We ate beschuit with muisjes for dessert in Olivier's honour.

As for my baby, it's now 19 weeks old. It's kicking too, which makes this whole baby thing a lot more real for me. Spending my birthday with all these babies was a very special gift.

Museum Astrup


Nils has a background in Archeology and is teaching Karina Norwegian. Their house has turned into a museum of artifacts with Norwegian labels. It's rather curious and amusing.

Mountain springtime


Oslo is a little behind Amsterdam, spring is only just appearing. I've only ever visited Norway before in the depths of winter, when it's a dark, frozen world. This fresh light city is a completely unrecognisable. Karina took me up to Frognerseteren, a famous old cafe up a mountain. Last time we visited it was covered in snow and ice and it was pitch black at 3.30pm. These photos were taken at about that time. There are a few patches of old snow still waiting to melt but the wildflowers are beginning to bloom around it.

Vestkanttorget

I want a tiny sewing machine called Princess. I love old sewing machines. I found this one at Vestkanttorget, a flea market that Nils and Karina took me to. It's so cool looking through flea markets in Europe, the things that you find are just so different to what you'd expect to find in flea markets in New Zealand. Everything is just so old and interesting. (I bought a couple of little treasures but they are meant for gifts and I don't want to ruin the surprise.)


Vestkanttorget

Easter in Oslo


I'm currently in Oslo, spending Easter with Karina and Nils, whose apartment is filled with curiosities like this little antique egg basket which was Nils' grandmothers. Such a sweet way to keep your boiled eggs warm.
This morning we ate a special pancake breakfast with Duth appelstroop, French plum preserves and Norwegian brunost (brown goats cheese). Oh, and chocolate eggs. I hope you all had a lovely Easter too.

Warmth

Amsterdam is amazing right now, so warm it's like summer has already arrived. So warm that an impromptu, after-work, evening BBQ had to be held. This sudden warmth takes me by surprise each year. It's nearly Queen's day and therefore Toby and I's wedding anniversary!

Family artifacts


My aunt Jose pulled out some of the baby things her mother, my Groot Tante Mien, sewed for her and her siblings. The christening dress has each of the children's names hand-embroidered on the sash.
Jose handed down to me some of the bassinet sheets her mother sewed. It's so very special to receive something like this. I know my own Oma would have knitted me loads of baby blankets and booties, but she passed last year.
I love vintage fabrics and textiles- the hand embroidered swans are so sweet. However- the plastic molded baby shoes would've been very uncomfortable! 

Bloemen brooches


Right now as part of my intership with Susi, I am working on a mermaid necklace, a gold and pearl ring, a tiny bear sculpture, an artwork etched into a silver plate and a ring/bracelet piece made of silver and material. Some pieces are easy and some are hard, using techiniques I'm unfamiliar with.

One little side-project which is additively fun, is making these little flower pins. They're designed to be worn in sets or 3 or more and can go just about anywhere on your clothes. I totally love them and am going to buy myself a set as soon as I finish my own current order I am making for some very over-sized cuff links, which I'll post about soon.

Coffeeshop Sanementereng


When we first moved to Amsterdam, we lived in the Jordaan on Tweede Rozendwarstraat. (Try pronouncing that for your first Dutch word.) It's such a beautiful part of town. We were so lucky to live there for our first year. Anyway, just next door was Coffeshop Sanementereng, half second-hand shop, half coffeeshop. The lady who runs it is a little odd but not unfriendly. The place is a left over of the seventies, when Amsterdam was a hippy paradise.

Toby and I biked past it the other night and seeing this place all lit up made me realise I didn't have a good shot of it. It always reminded me of the movie The Gremlins and the scene in Chinatown when Gizmo is bought. Maybe there's mysteries hiding amongst all the chaos and junk.

Fry chicken with offensive odour


Fry chicken with offensive odour is the name of the book I just had self-published. The name came from a menu in northern Thailand- that was the actual English translation of the dish. I will always regret not ordering it. I wonder how offensive that chicken really smelt?

The book is a personal project, a record of Toby's and my 4 1/2 month trip through South East Asia in 2008. All the dust and dirt and crowdedness and beaches and food and cheap hotels and scooters and swims and religion and heat and beauty and bus rides and frustration and love and people of Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam squeezed into one book.

It took me a long time to get around to finally finishing this project, I've been working on it off and on over the past two years. If you want, you can have a look through the book here. There's also a bunch of photo albums of our trip up on Flickr. I also included in the book the entries from the blog we kept during the trip, it's fun to re-read those old posts.

I am so happy to have finally finished this, cause I was sick of it. And I am so glad that I made the effort to. After years of working in photo labs, I rarely have my photos printed. They all end up online or backed up on harddrives. But photos were meant to be printed- I'm so proud to see these ones as a book.

Extra Curricular #5


I just got my copy of Extra Curricular #5 in the mail. I shot this spread on the shop The Bread and Butter Letter while I was in NZ in January. Rose and Sarah's shop is super sweet- and stocks all sorts of goodies. I have to admit though, while I was there shooting I was completely distracted by Sarah's  incredibly cute kitten, who kept trying to escape out the door. Arti actually interviewed the girls, who were so friendly. It was a fun assignment! The mag looks fantastic too - great work Ellie!

New traditions


I have a bit of a fabric stash building. I also have picked up lots of old pieces of embroidered napkins and throws from op shops. And making some slingers (dutch for bunting) seemed like an easy, fun way to use them up. This one is intended for a little boy who is due to arrive this Sunday. I'll be meeting him soon and I can't wait!

Bunting is huge here in Holland and I will always associate with summer in Vondelpark. Making a set kind of feels like a weird integration task. I did notice when I was back in NZ that bunting was popping up at some of the craft markets, but to me it will always be a Dutch tradition.

Happy kid


A sunny afternoon in the studio. Listening to Iron and Wine's new album, Kiss each other clean.

Your fake name is not for everyone
It's good enough for me
Forgotten by the garden and your phone is ringing
Bet you're watching all the happy kids
Kiss each other clean
They were singing something
Maybe they were singing:
"Become the weeds, we will become
Become the sea, we will become"

Pancakes

 

There's something special about pancakes, I guess because they were such a treat when I was little. I like thin ones sprinkled with sugar and lemon juice. We always use the classic Edmonds recipe, just like Mum used to make.

Pancakes
1 cup standard plain flour           
3/4 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon salt                      
1 egg
Sift flour and salt into a bowl. Gradually beat in the egg and milk, mixing to a smooth batter,  Chill for 1 hour (or not). Stir. The batter will thicken on standing.  Add a little water if necessary to bring it back to the original consistency. This makes enough for about 5-6 pancakes.


Blue skies


Blue skies. Bare feet. The first picnic in our usual spot in Vondelpark. Hooray for April!