The Christmas Dining Room

There's something about a dining room that I can't explain in words without using my hands to make grand gestures. I've always dreamed as a little girl to own a dining room. Growing up in The Netherlands I sort off lacked the sense of a proper dining room as most Dutch homes always have L or I shaped floor plans with windows in the front and back of the house. My childhood home had a T shaped open-living floor plan with the living room at the front of the house and the kitchen and dining area at the back of the house, it's complicated. But the areas lacked doors, and I love doors. I love "rooms".

My home has lots of rooms. And one of them is a proper dining room. It's 25 square meters with a non-working fireplace (I do love fires but I do love my white walls even more), a large window that overlooks the street and soon to be flower garden, an original ornamented ceiling dating back to 1896 and two china cabinets stuffed with vintage Johnson Brothers and Wedgwood flatware. I love it!

In the non-working fireplace I've stacked acacia logs that we each year have to trim down as they grow on the empty lot next to us. If we don't maintain them they will overgrown our home. But the logs of acacia trees are just so perfectly beautiful.

TIP! If you're planning on doing this make sure to check them regularly for woodlice.

I've made a simple wreath out of eucalyptus for over the mirror and punched circles out of gold cardboard and stitched them together under my sewing machine. I love gold for Christmas.

Ever since Bo's father past away I've been hosting the family Christmas dinners. Mostly we are with too many people to actually fit them all in the dining room but this year there will be 8 of us. I have all the meals in my head and I can't wait to start shopping and cooking.

I use a white linen tablecloth and vintage Wedgwood Queen's Plain plates as I like how they match my walls and woodwork - seriously people the thought I put in this progress is really insane, I am aware of that. I make mini wreaths with wild thyme that's growing in my garden to lay on the linen napkin. This way the napkin will smell lovely when you use it.

Ah Christmas, can one ever have enough of it?

Vase Villages

Christmas decorating is in full swing. The decorating progress always starts at the end of November and ends at the 24th of December. It's not that I'm slow, I just can't stop.

These vase villages are really simple to make. Use any clear glass vase that's wide and high enough to hold at least a couple of trees, a paper house and a Schleich animal. I've used decorative white sand which I bought at a garden centre. It looks so much more like real snow instead of the fake snow you can buy in bags. You can read about the bottle brush trees I've used right here.

I bought the vintage Putz paper houses years ago on eBay. You can still find quite a lot of Putz auctions online. I have my eye on this lot!!

Have fun! More Christmas stuff until it's Christmas ... just 1 week left!!!!

A Leen Bakker Giveaway

For those of you who've never heard of Leen Bakker, let me introduce them to you. In 1928 Cornelis Bakker opened a soft furnishing shop in Rotterdam. Years later Cornelis son, Leen, turned his father's shop into a chain of stores selling affordable home wares and furniture. Nowadays  Leen Bakker counts 180 stores throughout The Netherlands, Belgium and the Dutch Antilles.

I have to admit that in the past I never really shopped at Leen Bakker as their products never really tickled me pink. But when I was told that Leen Bakker was about to change and get a fresh new look and with that fresh new products, I got really excited.

The new 101 woonideeën collection for Leen Bakker really caught my eye. I'm in love with all the red copper products. Especially the copper wire baskets are to die for and the cute copper candle holders.

I picked this tray and spray painted it in my favourite pink as I really love the red copper and pink combo. It looks warm, stylish but yet very playful. I mixed it with all sorts of Leen Bakker candle holders and one brown glass vase that sort of turns copper coloured through the reflection of the pink tray. Who knew that I was going to love this?

We always have a lot of blankets in the house as the house is old and the ceilings high, it gets pretty chilly here in winter days. The red copper wire baskets are not just for storing logs they work great for storing blankets too. This one is a proper big basket that now set home in the dining room so that our dinner guests can grab one for extra comfort and warmth - ah!

On top of the table are two really cute bubble glass vases I love. I don't really like plain glass vases as they can be so dull. The bubbles give that extra bit of depth.

I got a bit carried away with ordering those copper wire baskets. I use them now for lots of things. They look so good on white. The Jurre bench stands perfect in front of the radiator to warm my bum when the heating goes back on. I already know that once BooBoo gets the sight of the Jurre bench she's going to claim it hers. And why not decorate our radiators as we really need them in this climate? I don't mind a good radiator photo.

Look how happy my dining room looks with all these wonderful products. Thank you Leen Bakker for changing your look and for the beautiful new products.

The Giveaway

Please share your favourite new Leen Bakker product by leaving a comment before Monday October 13. I'll pick a random comment and the winner will win a €50 Leen Bakker gift voucher.

This giveaway is for Dutch and Belgian readers only! 

This post is sponsored by Leen Bakker in association with Blogtoday.

The Marigold Rug

There's a new rug in my home office. A really happy, large and soft rug ... made from hemp and all the way from Australia. Last week I posted a little teaser on Instagram just after that Holly from Decor8 picked it up and now  the Marigold flower weave rug from Armadillo is all I can think of. Good that my sister (the one with the restaurant, well my only one) is selling these babies, so she dropped one off yesterday.

You can buy them in her VB Shop. She currently ships to most EU destinations and to America but if your country is not in the list you can send her an e-mail at shop{@}villabloemenhof{.}com and she'll figure something out for you. The online shop is something she does next to her restaurant. As her restaurant is a living room restaurant, everything you sit on and eat off is for sale. If you are in The Netherlands (or travelling to The Netherlands)  I can highly recommend a visit to Villa Bloemenhof as the ambiance is lovely and the food just beautiful.

Go to the VB Shop and get 10% off the Marigold rug in both sizes using code YVESTOWN. Offer expires 26-06-2014

For people in The Netherlands and Belgium, you can also pay with ideal or bankoverschrijving just mail to shop{@}villabloemenhof{.}com

DIY: A Wood Poster Hanger

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Last week I bought this vintage camomile chart. As I don't want to put it behind glass I had to come up with an easy wood hanger system so that the poster didn't loose it's age, glass makes it's so modern.

How I did it:

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I've used 2 cm x 0,6 cm rods that were lying around in the basement.

Measures the poster width and make 4 lengths of wood, two for the top and two for the bottom. Clip the nails so that they are approximately 1,2 cm long.

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Turn the poster and use a small piece of scotch tape to attach the poster to the wood.

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Measures how long you wish the cord to be. Tie a knot on the bottom bits on both sides.

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Make sure you use the exact same distance left and right for the placement of your cord. If you don't do this your poster will never be centred. I've used a distance of 8 cm on both sides.

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Place the other bit of wood on top and hammer the first nail exactly in the middle of the cord. Repeat this on the other side and hammer another nail in the centre of the wood.

That's it, repeat these steps for the bottom bit of the poster without the cord.

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Makes a perfect Sunday afternoon project. Happy Sunday x

Slipcover Love

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If I have to name one piece of furniture that I really dislike, I would have say the sofa. They are big and pompous and only great for lying on whilst watching the TV.

I really dislike those massive lounge sofas that are so popular now. Those massive "hey look at me I'm the sofa in this house" sofas. They are incredibly embarrassing to sit on as well as I never really know where and how to sit when there are more people on the sofa. Honestly they should be forbidden. Also big pompous leather sofas should be banned from this world.

Alas, I do need a sofa to nap on or to relax on.

Obviously I do not wish to spend lots of money on a sofa. So when many moons  ago Bemz offered me a free slipcover I thought; wait a minute. I went online in search for the best "vintage" IKEA sofa and found a Nikkala for just €25 with a really ghastly purple slipcover. The sofa itself was in tip top shape. I came home, assembled the Bemz slipcover over the sofa and ta da; a brand new sofa for just €25. It also saves on waste as the sofa would've ended up in a rubbish pit somewhere. The slipcover is also easy to wash and will last for a very long time.

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This is the first Nikkala with a Bemz slipcover. I really like the design of the Nikkala, it's modern yet it fits perfectly in a classic interior too. Bo and I use this sofa daily. We are not people that entertain their guests on sofas so we just have that one in the living room.

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When my  study became a piano/games room it needed a sofa. Again I went on the hunt for another Nikkala and found one for just €15. And I ordered another Bemz slipcover, the Basiq Fit in unbleached basic cotton. I love the transformation!! It's such a clever way to up upcycle. I love slipcovers in general as it's a really simple way of keeping your sofas clean.

To celebrate use code YVESTOWN15 upon checkout for a 15% discount on your Bemz orders between today and February 3rd 2014. www.bemz.com

Map Love

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I have a thing for maps, well a thing is an understatement, I have a passion for maps. It's something that runs in my family. One of my brothers has a passion (or rather obsession) for maps. I remember him sitting in his attic room with all sorts of different maps scattered over the floor, painting little soldiers and placing them carefully on one of the maps. I never really understood the purpose of this action but it sure made him happy.

I own way too many atlases and I own a drawer full of road maps. I try to remember everywhere I go so that I hardly ever need my TomTom. I'm secretly hoping there's a real Tom in my navigator who knows all the maps of all the roads in all of the world. I would totally dump Bo for that Tom.

For that reason I love to have maps on my wall. I love Alice Tait's maps of Paris and London, as seen above my pink chest of drawers.

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During Christmas I spent and evening with my friend Will at the new West Elm Store in London and I bought one of the artwork Will curated for West Elm. It's a drawing of the tower bridge in London by Amyisla Mccombie. And although it's not a map, it's a freaking cool looking landmark, something to be found on a map.

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Charts are another passion. I bought the vintage Danish seed charts off line ages ago. They are so pretty.

But my love for maps can also be found in my bookcase. I, of course, own a full guide to The Shire, no explanation needed ... we map lovers all own a guide to The Shire. But I also love pretty map books.

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Many Christmases ago Bo gave me the Bommel Travel Guide (ISBN 9071959120) Sir Olivier B. Bommel is a Dutch fictional character who lives in Rommeldam and the guide is a totally fictional guide to the surroundings of Sir Olivier B. Bommel and the other inhabits of Rommeldam. The book is amazing, complete with charts, maps, vegetation .. the whole lot. I hope one day to make a book like this, nobody will buy it, so I'll make sure to make it in pastel.

I've made a Pinterest board to inspire you and myself of course.