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?

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.