Thursday, May 21, 2015

On Commissions and compromises

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had been asked by someone to make 8 "badges/patches' for 8 different jackets.

I have made several "commissions" before, but mostly to people that I know. I met the commissioner here, after he saw one of my brooches on someone who had purchased one that same day. He briefly explained what he wanted for the 8 jackets, and a few days later we met to discuss all the details.

Basically, all the patches needed to be different, and the cost not so high. He also gave me these fabrics, and I was to incorporate pieces of them on the patches, other than that... free reign. So how do you give someone 8 ideas and not charge too much?? How do you make something for someone you don't really know, especially their taste?? Hmmm, questions, questions…..

I simply started by not thinking too much. I made the one above, and then 2 more. All different ideas. After I finished those, I thought it was too much… eight different ideas, all full of details and stitches, and a lot of my time. Scratch that and start over...

I needed a simplified version of this one, something that I could actually make 8 times without raking my brain. I needed to make a compromise with myself. I needed to know where to draw the line. Not an easy thing when you want to give the very best of yourself. It is after all, your work!

This was my compromise which ended up being the commission. They are supposed to be the label of the jackets- men's jackets, and they have one thing in common, the shape of a fingerprint.

I'm very happy with the result, and so was the "commissioner." I'm glad they are all different but that they have a common ground, so it was much easier for me to work around a central theme, and not wear myself down.

I also forgot to mention it was fun and exciting. The what to do, and how to do it, to repeat without actually being repetitive, and the stitches, the million stitches that make me so very happy to be able to do what I LOVE to do, is the best thing EVER.

Even if these are so different to what I usually work on, departures from what I'm used to doing, are wonderful distractions, and very, very inspiring.

I have a trip coming, an unplanned trip - business, not pleasure. I'm not sure I'll be able to write, but maybe I will, I never really know.

I wish you wonderful days, filled with blue skies and warm winds,
and thank you so much for tuning in, and leaving comments here and elsewhere,
Giova

Monday, May 18, 2015

Some days are better than others

I briefly mentioned in the last post how hectic and weird the past weeks have been.  A sort of roller coaster of emotions and thoughts have been passing through me almost daily, that I've found it very difficult to concentrate on many of my usual tasks. My sister gave me those words on the title a few years ago, and they seem to always reassure me. Simple and to the point.

You probably know already that I love words, quotes, poems, etc… And these seem to always resonate with my days, especially when the day is not going so great, and they immediately put me at ease. It is really OK to have bad days, they are actually not that bad if you really think about it. You just have to change the perspective a bit. As someone said (I don't know who); "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."

I have been trying to remember to breathe and enjoying the little things, which at the end of the day is what saves me from me -I hope I'm not being too confusing-.

For instance, my beautiful and very neglected succulent has given me 2 flowers, and I'm so grateful for her effort. The top picture is from a few weeks ago, the one below is from a few days ago. She seems really insistent on making those flowers really long, and I can't stop being mesmerized by her beauty.

This other one below,  decided she no longer liked where she was and for a moment I thought I'd lost her, but I placed her outside and voilà, as a thank you she is now giving me her first bloom for the first time in 3 years.

Nature has always been the best medicine for me. Even spending some minutes in my balcony watching my plants... really watching and being with them, helps me so much.

Having certain objects close by when I'm at my desk, like the one above, always give me a much needed distraction. I could stare at things like these for the longest while.

Making things for friends just because, is also the greatest tonic for me. I made this tiny piece for a friend who likes little houses.  As I said before, there is nothing like receiving a surprise parcel full of love, but there is also nothing like making something for a friend that you'll know she'll like. In my case, making things for friends is a wonderful opportunity to ground myself.

I'm not claiming I'm an expert in dealing with bad days, but I think the less we think of them as bad the better the day becomes. Change the label a bit, spend a few hours, even minutes around nature, stare at nature's gifts, really look at their patterns and textures, and finally make special gifts for friends with great love.

I hope you have a very magical day, but just in case it isn't that magical just remember: "Things are as they are, we suffer because we imagined different."

Giova.
P.S: Sorry for the quote overload, I was having one of those days (wink, wink).





Thursday, May 14, 2015

Small parcels with lots of love

I have always believed in the perfect timing of things and how they find their way to you. These parcels below are amazing examples of excellent timing. They arrived in time to cheer, comfort, reassure and most of all to deliver the love the person invisibly wrapped just for me.

My life has felt a bit like a roller coaster lately, and these beautiful and amazing people from far away have made me feel loved, and for that I am deeply grateful.





It is magical how "pen-palships" are born, why some are a perfect match, and some others aren't, why some last many years and others don't. I've always thought it is actually quite similar to meeting someone in person- you either have the chemistry or you don't, and you either insist or you don't.

What I  know for certain is, that when beautiful parcels like these or simple, long letters arrive on my mailbox, my life is so much fuller and brighter because of them... And I feel very darn lucky!!

Thank you so very much, Juliane, Jenni, Puk, Julia, and Jen!!

I wish you a beautiful weekend ahead and may the stars align so that beautiful parcels arrive at your doorstep,
Giova


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Visiting Solingen and the Klingen Museum

A few weeks ago we decided  to visit the Klingen Museum in Solingen after a tip from a blogging friend. It is only 2 hours and a bit from Amsterdam, and well… I do love scissors, cutlery, knives, pointy things, etc… and this was just that sort of wonderful place.


 A thousand times swoon!

 And swoon a bit more…


 This one would look perfect in my collection…


How beautiful are these cases with the green and silver?  The perfect pocket knife. So sad they don't make things as beautiful as they did before.

 After all those gigantic swords, it was time for an ice-cream break.

Lo' and behold, we got lost but we found my kid's mothership, a Haribo supermarket. Guess who was the happiest in all the Solingen land?? I was!!

We drove 30 more minutes to see the Cathedral of Cologne, ate some amazing pretzels and then time to go back.

A very fun day for all of us, and perfect as a day trip. As a family with two kids that have almost a 10 year gap between them, it is sometimes quite difficult to find things they both can enjoy. This was really the best trip for both of them.

If you have any amazing ideas of things we could do, please, pretty  please let me know?? I will be eternally grateful ;)

Wishing you blue skies and tons of gummy bear eating,
Giova


Monday, May 4, 2015

Tulip season in Holland

This might not be any news for you, especially if you follow me on Instagram, but I love tulip season. I'm always quietly waiting for it to happen, and when it does, I feel I'm ready and fulfilled to wait another year for them to bloom again.

Every year it is different, even if they might look bit similar on the pictures, the colors and placement of this colors is not. I call it color therapy, and the most effective one. After 1 minute standing in one of those colorful fields, your soul immediately feels better. I tried filming it, and you can watch it here.

I hope this color therapy injects you with a little joy!









These last pictures, and the ones below are tulips we got to pick ourselves. I love them because they are all different, not like the kind they sell at the flower shops everywhere here, and the black background is my latest  obsession.

 A stylized version.

And a not so stylized version. Our messy dining table, but what the heck, if you're looking at the mess, then you are not really seeing those beauties.

This is our third year visiting the tulip fields, and you can see them here, here and here if you like.

Wishing you a wonderful and very colorful day,
Giova

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Plants as gifts with Urban Jungle Bloggers

I completely agree that gifting plants is one of the best gifts you can give. Many years ago, I gave my mother a gardenia which is one of my favorite plants of all, and every year she calls to let me know the plant is in bloom and how wonderful and fragrant they are.

As the idea to give plants as gifts is one that I love, I thought to join Urban Jungle Bloggers once again. Since growing succulents is quite easy, and I have both the mother and babies here, I want to share a very simple idea that includes both, and requires very little time and money.

All you really need to do is take a nice picture of the "mother" plant, and simply print it on a nice paper. I've used some left over watercolor paper, and tied the card with natural twine.

That way, when you gift the "baby" plant, the new owner will have a concrete idea of what the plant will look like and have something to look forward to and be inspired to actually care about the gift.

You can write more instructions on the back or add some useful websites where the new owner can read about his new plant, or leave a simple message like I did.

Another very simple idea is to grow some herbs. I find it much better when someone gives me actual plants rather than the seeds, that way I'm forced to take care of them.

I've placed the seedlings we have been growing for more than a month  in a strawberry crate, along with some terra-cotta pots and some vegetable markers that I got from this wonderful store.  I think these make a wonderful house warming gift and don't take up too much space, so they are perfect for a kitchen window or a small balcony.


I think it is wonderful to give plants that will last a long time, but I also love plants that can be enjoyed when they are ready. Whether you're giving a long lasting plant or one that will be consumed, you just need to let the plants do the actual "talking."

Urban Jungle Bloggers is a monthly series with the idea to get some green into our homes. Every month Judith and Igor invite bloggers to share ideas for creating an urban jungle through styling challenges, DIY's, green tips and tricks. Every month there is a different them on the topic. You can follow and get more inspiration on Pinterest and Facebook.

Wishing you a very lovely and green weekend ahead,
Giova

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Spring in Amsterdam

Spring has arrived, like it does every year. Even if you have seen it all before the previous year, it feels like somehow you missed it all, and say to yourself; "was this here before? was it this beautiful?"

It probably was that beautiful the year before, nature always is magnificent, it is our memories that are a bit strange. It holds on to certain things and releases some others, and sometimes we don't even have a choice in the ones we keep or release. We remember the beauty in general, but not all the details. I think that is how we manage to see it all as if it were brand new each time (at least that is how it happens to me).

Spring in Holland is truly a spectacle not to be missed. Every time someone asks me about the best time to visit Holland, I say, "SPRING!!!". It really shows off, and makes up for all those many dreary grey days.

All the parks in the city are in full bloom. Or a 20 minute drive away if you want to enjoy the tulips in the fields.

A daffodil field with a hyacinth one in the back (the purples ones). The scent is quite incredible, and a bit too much, but I love standing there, breathing it all in, hoping it lasts me a while.

A mini-tulip field just outside my home. This is the best part of living here, you wake up one day, and tadaaa these beauties are out, which btw, weren't here last year.

Our first picnic of the year. Lifting our shirts to expose our bellies is a must.




These are the last few days left for the cherry blossoms at the Amsterdamse Bos. The wind is taking them away, little by little, and even that is a beauty to witness. It is like the softest and most beautiful rain. They will go away, and they will come back again, pretending it is their first time blooming. Next year I will pretend all over again.

Todays is the last day to enter the GIVEAWAY.

Have a beautiful weekend ahead,
Giova


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