Hibiscus Giveaway

There have been many attempts on growing Hibiscus in pots for my garden. I do not have the space to plant a massive Hibiscus bush in my garden so I thought pots would do but they don't. I failed miserably 3 years in a row and I have officially given up. So when I learned that there's also an indoor Hibiscus, I had to get one. Once at home I thought the plant was looking rather fake with it's super green, shiny leaves. But I'm embracing it and starting to grow really fond of it.

Did you know that the flowers of the Hibiscus are edible and are used in salads in the Pacific Islands? The flower is additionally used in hair care as a preparation. It is also used to shine shoes in certain parts of India. It can also be used as a pH indicator. When used, the flower turns acidic solutions to a dark pink or magenta colour and basic solutions to green. In Indonesia, these flowers are called "kembang sepatu", which literally means "shoe flower". Who knew ...

To raise more awareness for plants mooiwatplantendoen.nl is so nice to offer five of my Dutch readers a Hibiscus each! I know that commenting is so 2012 that's why I've decided that in order to participate you can leave a comment on any platform you like. Facebook, instagram or over here. You just have to find the Hibiscus photos and leave a comment, I'll draw a winner next week.

Redecorating Again

We've been living in this house for almost 7 years and we are still not done renovating and decorating. It's a large, old and worn down house. See it like this; you have a real deep cut and it needs stitches, like a lot of stitches but instead you put a plaster on the cut and you keep putting plasters on it. But under all those plasters the cut is getting worse and worse. Eventually you'll have to remove all the plasters, get the help of an expert and get it cleaned, sterilized and stitched up. Because you have waited so long the healing takes a lot longer and the cut will leave a really nasty scar. So you'll need plastic surgery. That's what our home looks like because the previous owners have been using plasters for the past 119 years.

Most of the plasters are gone, stitches have been made and plastic surgery has been undertaken but there's still a whole lot of healing to do. We took a break last year to work on some personal stuff but now we are back in swing.

There's this new cupboard in the dining room. I've been searching for it the last few months and finally found a perfect match. It's from an old school and now stores china, tablecloths and glassware. Nicely tucked away as I like it.

I love how this red bench raised so much conversation over on Instagram and on Facebook. It's really good to engage again, we need to do that more often.

Happy Tuesday, it's almost May!

Maker Spaces

My good friend Emily wrote a book, that alone is already an achievement but she wrote a beautiful book and that's an over-achievement! Maker Spaces is a book about the spaces where like minded make and create. What I love about the book is that all the makers get their own pages whereas we used to write books about inspiring places but the images would be scattered all over the book, not in Maker Spaces. The places are not overly styled, they are as they are and that's what's so good about the book.

As an extra bonus two of my friends (well actually three, Emily included) are featured in this book. Erika form Mikodesign and Inge from Ingevilt. Remember this Instagram shot? It was that day that Emily was in Rotterdam with the talented and lovely Helen Cathcart who did the photography for the book.

I've been working really hard to get my own "maker space" in order. I was so fed up with the Cath Kidston shop style of my basement studio that for a long time I didn't even bother to tidy it up and left it covered in a mountain of fabric, wading myself through it each time I had or wanted to make something.

It was not a creative space any more. It also stored all the empty yarn closets that I didn't bother to remove after I sold the shop to my friend Ilaria. I now have a make room and another create room where I'm planning on hosting summer workshops. I'll give you a proper tour another time.

You might like to have a look at all the other blogs who make part of the Maker Spaces blog tour.

About Getting Older

It's not a lie when they say that one will notice when one gets older. The other day I was chatting with my friends about an ex boyfriend when it dawned to me that the topic took me back 18 years. I totally freaked out at the thought as in 18 years from now I'll be 58 - almost 60!! Honestly I never thought that age would scare me, but it's really hitting hard.

I also notice it in my taste for music (it's mainly classical and the Frozen soundtrack now), I only like to listen to the news channel on the radio and start shouting at it when I disagree - hello dad! Also my decorating style matures. As I really liked bright colours and plastic junk before, I start to tune down to pastels and natural colours and products. I also kind of disagree with trends and plastic mass products. And I've stopped buying things just for the sake of buying things. This is such a revolution. I can now selectively buy things I really like.

Even my love for Cath Kidston is fading away as I really do not like their new design aesthetic. I didn't even renew my 35% off press card, and that's quite a big deal for people who know me personally. Bring back the CK from 2005 when all was beautiful and clean - my dear lord has this brand turned loud!

The Cath Kidston wallpaper I used to have in my kitchen was getting too childish for me (and for Bo) we were in for something new.

I fell in love with Studio Ditte tiles wallpaper. It so suits the age of the house better as it looks like it has been there ever since 1896, when the house was build. It also suits my personal age better.

We painted over the previous wallpaper with white latex and pasted the new wallpaper over the old one. No one can tell, it turned out great and it saved us a lot of time on awful wallpaper steaming.

This is the start of redecorating the kitchen. As with new wallpaper I need new curtains and I want marble on my island instead of the zinc. And the kitchen is in desperate need of a new floor as this one is cracking open.

I love getting older!

How to Paint a Chair

There's no denying that I have a slight chair obsession going on. My home counts many - o- chairs, it's crazy and I seriously have to do something about it. It's when there's a party that I can actually save my marriage as I can put all the chairs I horde in the basement to good use.

The chairs we actually use on a daily basis are those by Dille & Kamille as they come in plain wood or ready painted in white. It's brilliant as we can paint them in any colour we like.

And trust me, my dear Bo doesn't mind to paint a Dille & Kamille chair at all. As long as I don't haul anything plastic inside I'm good to go.

We use acrylic paint, round brushes and rollers to paint. Read more about the tools en techniques right here and here.

The chairs I'm most fond of are these two. On the left chair 763 and to the right chair 189. Again, you can find the paint numbers I've used in the above mentioned links.

From Tray to Bird Feeding Table

Because it's currently very cold outside and the birds in my garden are busy searching for food, I came up with the idea to turn a tray into a feeding table.

This is what you need:

1. Beech tray, square, 40 x 40 x 4 cm
2. Oven dish white, porcelain, Ø 20 cm
3. Peanuts
4. Peanut butter for garden birds
Tit energy food in a coconut

You also need:

wooden pole
1 plank of approximately 30 x 30 cm
4 screw hooks
4 short screws
1 long screw
1 small pot (or leftover) of varnish

Tip: You can also use peanut butter from the supermarket to feed to the birds. I always buy the peanut butter with the extra crunchy nuts to spoil them.

Drill four holes in the corners of the tray. Rotate the tray and place the plank on the wrong side of the tray. Rotate the tray again and screw the screws into the holes. Varnish the whole lot, about 3 coats of varnish will do.

When the varnish is dry, you can screw the screw hooks into the far corners of the plank.

Take the tray outside. Bang the wooden pole into the ground and screw the long screw through the centre hole of the tray into the pole.

Tip: Leave your garden as messy as possible. When you clean and prune everything before winter there's hardly no natural food left for the birds and other animals. Begin to clean up and do the pruning in March instead.

You can hang peanuts and tit fat balls on the hooks. Beware of peanuts in your garden because jays love peanuts but the little birds are not so fond of jays. If you don't want jays in your garden don't use peanuts.

Tip: if you have a lot of squirrels in your garden and they eat up all the bird food? Throw some chilli flakes between the seeds. Squirrels do not like chilli and birds don't mind.

And remember to keep feeding the birds. I feed the birds in my garden all year round. They know that there's always food at Eijkenduijn and that's why we have a lot of birds to enjoy.

This blog post is sponsored by Dille & Kamille.

To read this post in Dutch, head over to their website.

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?