Tuesday, 29 June 2010

My Creative Space

Today I'll be choosing colors for our bedroom. We're not choosing as bold as we originally planned, keeping in mind that we want to sell the house in the near future and so the colors should appeal to many. We choose a laminate floor in grey oak. Something we might have done anyway, but instead of going for ox blood or a real dark blue fro walls and ceilings, we'll go for lighter colors which lean towards the grey in the floor. The burgundy is a sample for curtains, but I have not decided on that yet.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Monday Mood

Trying to keep it cool :-)

Elianne by Carambatack
Beautiful View by CassiaBeck
Across the canal by Lauraamiss

Friday, 25 June 2010

Story bowls

Long I have been thinking how to name my bowls with a little scene in  it and looking back it was just logical to name them story bowls, so now they have a dedicated section in my shop on Etsy. For a while I had a different name in mind and that blocked me from seeing the right name for them, so hence the delay.

There are stories everywhere; sometimes it's the clay telling me a story as I start with this in mind, but end up with that. Therefor I very often I let the clay speak to me and start only with a vague idea in mind even as little as just the size of the bowl and the choice between clay and porcelain. Other bowls are inspired by what I see around me, the snow of last winter with all the trails of animals was a great source to name one inspiration.

Sometimes I'm inspired by stories written by my friend Shauna. And sometimes she is inspired by my work to write stories. We could not let this go unnoticed and are working on a collaborative project. More on that in future blogs.

Shauna made me also think on how I create, especially on my cuttlefish castings. She wrote a paper with a colleague writer: "Imagining The Image And Wording The Work" . They discuss the similarities between the different creative processes of jewellery making, painting and writing; I will share more of this with you later, cause it is just really interesting. And so thought others, their reading last Saturday was well received and they are now tailoring it to submit to a journal. Until it is published I cannot share it with you, so hang in there.

If you wan to read a little more on how I create in the meantime, here's a blog on how I create when I was working on a piece inspired by traditional objects from Zeeland where I was born.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010


More red today, maybe our slowly reddening strawberry's put me in a soft red mood Monday
I think our first strawberry of this year will be ready for picking at the end of this day :-)

I have started making in a list in my head with the fruit and vegetables I want in the garden of our next house. Strawberries of course, but also rhubarb and raspberries, which I love even more. We already got some apples and plum trees now and I'd like those again and a pear tree. A few years ago my brother experimented with new pear varieties and one turned out real nice. Never was commercialized, but we do keep a stock for ourselves. What else, herbs, onions, tomatos and a small vegatables patch. 

Monday, 21 June 2010

Monday Mood

Today I still got last week on my mind, meeting lots of lovley fellow Etsians at the craft party at Mitsy's place.
I was very happy to meet  Nicole from Babongohome, Veerle from Nevousinstallezpas, Ina from DeerLola, Mariana from Florcita, Kim from Viltalakim and Greet from FleurFatale and of course the wonderful host herself, Mitsy from Artmind. Than at yesterdays fair Inge from Kookaboora spotted me (which was not so difficult since I was her neighbor across the aisle) and came over to say hi. 
So here a moodboard filled with products of these lovely ladies. Most in red, felt like red today :-)

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Happy Stats

Another week is over, time just flies.
I had a relaxing and sort of busy week at the same time.

  • 2 new kittens were added 2 our household 
  • tried new variations of muffins and they were well received 
  • meeting lovely fellow Estians at the carft party at Mitsy's (read all about here)
  • met even more Etsians at the fair today in Antwerp
  • My cuttlefish castings are part of a research project by Shauna Busto and Karen lee Street , yesterday they gave reading about it, which was well received 

Friday, 18 June 2010

Craft party

As I'm writing this I'm waiting for a phone call from an Antwerp radio station. They want to interview someone who participates in this Sundays fair 'bepArkte oplage'. And since I'm participating I qualify. If you can come; do! It's a nice fair and located in a park with a bar, so you can enjoy the sun and a drink before, during or after shopping. Once the interview is over I'm off to the craft party in honor of the 5th anniversary of etsy, at Artmind's place.
Yesterday evening I made muffins for todays party, 4 variations, one I tried before, 3 are new, inspired by tweets on muffins or just inspiration of the moment in the supermarket. So the guest at the party will be guinea pigs :-) If they react positive I'll finish this blog later by sharing the recipes. I also bought some sweets called Truly Party Animals, thought they suited the theme just fine :-) Some mead, juice and nuts will top it off, if everyone has this much with them, Mitsy can send us rolling when we have to go home.
Well still no phone, so I'm off....

...and back. Had a wonderful day, meeting fellow etsians in real life, eating, crafting and chatting. Mitsy had prepared for us to work with porcelain and color it with stains, pigments and oxides and lots of textures. Great to see what everyone made and even more curious to see what will be done with the pieces after firing.

This afternoon inspired me (for a start, more will follow subconsciously I'm sure) to make brooches with mouse(s) after a piece of cheese. Thanks to Mitsy for supplying the texture-stamp for the cheese and having yellow stain around. I would never buy yellow myself, since its not really my color.


The muffins were a great success, so here the promised recipes.

I started by making it myself a little easy and buying the muffin mix (400gr) from AVEVE (If you're not in Belgium I'm sure there will be other muffin mixes available). I add 100 gr of vegatable oil and 200 ml water and mix all until smooth. Than the extra ingedients for each variation, see below. This will make 12-14 muffins. You need to bake them at 180°C-200°C for 18-20min.

For raspberry and lemon muffins add approx 150 gr frozen raspberries and the zest of 1 lemon.

For speculaas muffins add 8-10 speculaas cookies in chunks.
Speculaas is a typical Dutch/Belgian, but ginger type cookies will make an excellent replacement.

For rhubarb muffins, add 20gr of vanilla sugar and approx 150gr of rhubarb in thin slices (1/2 cm max). Sprinkle with a little cinnamon.

For cherries and chocolate muffins, add  approx 100 gr of cherries (bought a bottle and drained of the syrup) and chocolate buttons to taste.

Enjoy! Bon Apetit! Eet Smakelijk!

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Monday Mood

This Monday, what else than kittens and cats on my mind. Yesterday 2 new kittens were added to our household. Our tomcat Sam, whom is part of the household for years seems alright with it, Mol, the mother of Sam is a little up set. Hope it will be alright. If you don't see me a lot, i'll be potty training the litle ones :-) We still have to give them names, but usually ones we'll see what characters they are the names will follow to suit. They were born about 7 1/2 weeks ago on the farm besides my parents house.

bag "Cat" by BajuBaju

See more Monday Moodboards on Fleurfatale's blog.

Happy Stats

Remember that I talked about our house, cause we're thinking of moving we have to fresh the house up to make it more attractive. Upstairs was completely done up when the house was bought over 10 years ago, but now in need of a revamp. The color (which already was not which it was supposed to be from the start) and the carpet need to go. So yesterday we made the first step and bought new flooring. Most other days of the week I have been pestered by a headache so not so happy, so only a short list this week:

  • first step in upgrading our house, bought new flooring
  • sorted through my endless pile of fabric samples
  • helped a friend
  • send a certificate for 2 trees for the orangutans to a tenth buyer

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Two Trees for the Orangutans

You might have wondered why the name 'Two Trees'? Well, originally this came from the 2 trees that Mark Wilkinson Furniture Ltd (the brand that I/Two Trees used to represent in Antwerp) planted for every project sold. This has changed, the showroom has closed, but the name has stayed and I like trees (the symbol of (creative) life) and so I'm still very happy with the name I choose years ago when I started my company. I also like the idea of giving something back to the world, so I decided to start planting trees myself. Once that decision was made I had to see how, our garden is way too small to plant trees, so that was no option. My brother has an orchard, but these trees don't last for years and years and that is what I wanted: trees that would last and really add something to the world. 

When I was in the 'Apenheul', a Zoo for apes and monkeys in the Netherlands, and they told how few orangutans were left in the world, I felt humbled and ashamed. Than I came across a organisation Orangutans of Sumatra who plant trees to restore the rainforests for the orangutans. Put 2 and 2 together and for me these are the best 2 trees I can plant. 
I plant 2 trees for every tenth project or item sold and I started doing this somewhere in 2009:

2009: Trees sponsored: 6

2010: Trees sponsored: 10  (interim score 5th of May)    

If you are a tenth buyer you will receive a certificate in your name to say that 2 trees have been planted and with it also a small gift from the orangutans of Sumatra. 

Friday, 11 June 2010

Somethink completely different - TEDx Rotterdam

Do you know TED? I think TED is just great. It stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design and is all about IDEAS WORTH SPREADING. When it says TEDx it's an independently organised TED event.

The events are free, which is amazing, but also the strength of TED. It is not unusual for an event like this to cost 1500 euro to attend and so limiting the (type of) people you reach. TED wants to spread ideas to everyone :-) So I felt lucky to get one of the 800 tickets for last weeks event in Rotterdam.

It took place in the new Luxor theatre in the heart of Rotterdam near the water and the famous 'swan' bridge. I was a bit early, so found my self a place in the sun and enjoyed seeing so many others arrive by bike.  Once inside we were welcomed by live music, coffee and croissants. I must say the catering was wonderful all day, nothing short. And as my dad says, "if you got a meal you got a lot". And here it came with lots of great ideas besides :-)

There where in total about 30 speakers and performers, divided over 4 themes: our world, how we see the world, how we experience the world and how we explore the world.  I will not go into details about each talk, I welcome you to have a look at the site of TEDx Rotterdam where a video's will be posted of each talk.

The ideas that stuck we me is the about decentralizing, globalization and simplifying, these reoccurred in the talks of several speakers (igor nikolic, jan bor, richard straver). Also several talks on energy makes one hopeful that a future after oil is possible, if we just cooperate (reinier de graaf).  Generate local the best energy, here on the coast wind energy, down in the south of Europe solar energy. So local (decentralized), but set in a global bigger scheme. It was nice to hear that green houses (meiny prins) now generate more energy than they use and so can provide several hundreds of houses with energy, so move a greenhouse to each community so they can have their own energy source. Brings food closer to the consumer too, so there energy is won too.

Thanks to the global www I'm selling my ceramics and jewellry, and might not even have considered it without a global platform such as Etsy. At the same time Etsy can't exist without all those local crafters somewhere on this planet. So this globalization is good and brings us closer. The more we listen to social media (arjen el fassed) the better we get to know each other and will know first hand was is going on in the world. On the other hand is it important that we retreat to 'an island' once in a while to give our own ideas and a chance and not be influenced by all our connections; islands create diversity (bas haring).

It was a great day and I met several lovely people (even me who's not great at meeting new people and making new connections). What I liked most was the positive buzz and interest, the atmosphere of being connected and it's all going to be alright. There were many other speakers which I cannot mention all, but were equally or even more interesting. And from all the performers I'd like to include a glimpse of Ntjam Rosie:

For more info and video's of talks go to TED or TEDx Rotterdam.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Bumble bees

I've got a thing for bumble bees. I think they are cute, with there cosy coat of fur, happily buzzing; like flying teddy bears. I recently made some in porcelain, but I need to work more on that idea before I can show it. But that's not why I'm writing this blog now.
Today it's been sun and sudden rain in between and one was surprised I think, just found it paddling in the little pond in our garden. So I rescued it, took it inside and dried it carefully with some toilet paper. The fur is great for keeping you warm being a bumble bee, but not handy when wet, I was surprised by how much it had soaked up.

I left it now to dry further in our bathroom and hopefully I can set it free late and don't have to add it to my collection of dead bumble bees. Yes, you read it right I collect dead ones, don't ask me why I just do.
Well the sun just came out again, so I took it outside hope it can recover enough to fly away and hide somewhere in time before the next shower.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Happy Stats

The week is nearly over, so time for my happy stats. It's been a very full week with lots of preparation for Crafty gardens in Eindhoven and a trip to Rotterdam. The fair was nice, great selection of different crafters and lots of booths. There was a good crowd of people and lots of interest. But than the wind wanted to be part of it all too. A little sand storm was the result, a few drops of rain joined in and this was unfortunately too much for most visitors. Could have been worse, we later heard that in an other part of Eindhoven it had been lashing down. So here for the happy stats:

  • Enjoyed the good weather while creating lots for the fair.
  • Had a positively inspiring day at TEDx in Rotterdam (will blog about this later)
  • Had a loverly day at Crafty Gardens, even if the weather was not cooperating
  • Eat lots of chocolate
  • Had a great evening with fellow crafters preparing our yearly trip to France

Wednesday, 2 June 2010


Lost in bits of fabric today. I used to work for a wholesaler in household linen and always took the old sample books home. Lots of the fabrics from these books I gave to a foundation "Geef een mens(je) Warmte" who would use them to make patchwork blankets for childrens hospitals in countries in need. My mum is one of the volunteers who make these blankets. I also got sample books with wool to of scarfs, plaids and blankets and these are not suitable for them. I am now sorting through them and making some into little pouches for my jewelery, you can see some in to top lefthand corner. Other pieces I cut into squares and use as filling for little jewelry boxes. I will be making Fleurfatale happy with a bag full of samples too, hope she will turn them into lovely brooches, rings, pins, ....