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


Monday, April 20, 2015

A very Blue weekend - the Indigo kind

I have been to mini-indigo heaven and back this past weekend. As you have probably seen by my Instagram feed or even here on the blog, I tend to gravitate towards the blues (also the music), but in this case the indigo kind of blue. I have loved indigo since a very young age, mostly in the form of jeans, because I refused to wear nothing else and I also happen to come from a jean lovers family.

Amsterdam Demin Days is an event for "denim lovers." With a few workshops on its schedule given by Blue Print,  I thought I'd join in the fun. You can see my result of the katazome ("or stencil dyeing technique that uses a Japanese paste-resist surface design") workshop here.

Mostly I was inspired by the visible mending, and the few boro pieces that were on display, but most all, I just loved all that blue together everywhere.







I did join the Sashiko workshop (this is my second attempt), but I can honestly say that it is not the craft for me. It is too precise and you have to follow a certain pattern. If you have seen my work, there is nothing precise about, and I also avoid patterns and repetition at all costs.

Please don't forget there is a GIVEAWAY going on.

I wish you a very beautiful day,
Giova.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Celebrating 3 years plus a giveaway

I think a celebration of sorts is in order. It is not every day that you find yourself celebrating 3 years in the "blogging" world. First I must admit the past year has been an on and off, love/hate relationship with this blog. But aren't all relationships like that?? Don't they all have their ups and downs, happy and sad days? Rewarding and not so rewarding?

It is no different with this blog. Sometimes I like it, even love it. I feel ideas, and words pouring out of me like an open faucet, at other times, I'm as dry and bitter as the driest desert -which btw is the Atacama desert in Chile (according to wikipedia).

But all in all, I like it more than I do not. So I keep at it, not as much as I did before, but I still do it because I like sharing my thoughts and my images, and also because every once in a blue moon I get an email or a letter from an unknown person telling me how much they like what I do, and that has meant the world to me.

Since I couldn't participate in my swap (even numbers), and I was really wanting to swap, I thought I would go ahead and make one for an unknown person. The packages shown here are the guidelines from the swap, and probably a bit more :) and the colors chosen for the packaging are my favorite at the moment.

If you want a chance to win this, without having to send one in return, all you have to do is;

1. Leave a comment telling me which is your favorite post from this blog, and why you liked it.

2. And also what you would like to see more of, in this blog.

3. Follow if you like, not obligatory (as I usually don't like it when they make me follow a bunch of things). Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram.

*Open to everyone, everywhere
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED!!!

Good luck, and have a beautiful day,
Giova

Monday, April 13, 2015

Miscellaneous - A stationery store in Amsterdam

Being that April is the National letter writing month, I thought I show you a very lovely store I found yesterday.

But first let me tell you how I ended up here. On saturday, I received a letter from a pen pal asking me where I had found the paper from my last letter. I had bought it in London, but went looking on the internet on where to find it. I tried buying it online (as a present for her) but because it is a Japanese company the shipping was extremely expensive.  Hooray for the internet, and expensive shipping rates (if it would've been cheap, I would've never venture out in search of this store).

It is filled with treasures every where you look. Writing paper, cards, scissors, washi-tape, pens, even beautiful gardening tools.

I really loved how all the plants and cacti added to the ambience giving it a cozy feel. usually paper stores are only about paper.





They have all the popular brands like; Rifle Paper and Midori, but also the not so popular ones like; Postalco (which is what I was looking for), but also many others I've never heard about.

If you live here:
Miscellaneous is located at De Clercqstraat 130
and they are open Wed to Sun
If you don't live here you can always order online. Open 24 hours, wink, wink!

Hopefully you enjoyed this mini tour and it inspired you to get some nice paper out to write some lovely letters.
All the best,
Giova

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Mend, darn, repair

I've been itching to learn how to darn since last year. My alter ego, who is hanging from a very appropriate spot in my living room is a constant reminder of that, so when this past saturday I entered a yarn store, and lo' and behold Tom of Holland was there, and my knees were all shaky, I thought; "now or never." I mean, if an encounter with the king of darning won't persuade you, who will??

I love, LOVE imperfection, rough around the edges,  a wabi-sabi sort of view, and most of all fabrics with holes, tears and mending.

It is a fascination that I have, that hopefully doesn't have any roots in my childhood, or maybe it does (like most things), but I really don't want to know.

 I don't know how to darn, and I don't want to watch any how to's videos, I just want to learn as I go.

Some months ago my father called me to say that his "precious" sweaters had been under attack, and I was very insistent that he brought them over to me, and not to the trash.  Moths love cashmere, and so they were enamored with this sweater in particular. Which I am too. I'm hoping my father doesn't want it back.

The good thing is that not much is needed to repair a sweater, only a bit of knowledge (which right now, I don't even have a bit). The mushroom and wool on the left are for some socks that also need mending.

These are my first attempts. The sweater has soooo many holes, that I think I will be able to graduate with honors when I'm done repairing it.

I have started a new board on Pinterest with the exact same title as this post. Before I used to put all of those darns, under the embroidery board, but it really isn't embroidery, it is more like weaving.  Maybe you remember how my attempts at weaving went?  It is here, in case you don't.

For more darning inspiration head over to this amazing blog.

Next week is this blog's 3rd birthday and what better way to celebrate than a giveaway. So I hope you tune in.
Have a wonderful weekend,
Giova
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