a blog about art, craft, design and beautiful everyday life
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Back in 2009 (I have proof, this must be what blogging is for ;)) I ordered three beautiful screen printed concert posters from Poster Cabaret. The Feist poster with it's vibrant colors was my favorite, but somehow I never got to the point of framing and hanging it in our previous apartment. Something with non-standard sizing and no empty walls left I guess.

So the screenprinted posters moved with us to this house, still in their original roll, and they were somewhere in the back of my mind, 'maybe if I'll ever find a nice place for them and the right frame, I'll hang them somewhere'. In fact I wasn't that sure that I'd still like something that I bought about five years ago.

But when I had a fresh look at my concert posters I realized that I still liked them a lot. Which was kind of a nice thing to find out, because lately I've been obsessing a bit about the fact that I get bored with so many things so (and too) quickly these days.

I still didn't have the perfectly fitting frame, but since I know that I sometimes just have to act now in order to avoid another five years of gathering dust, I framed the poster in a slightly unconventional way, taping it onto the matte with masking tape. Now I only have to find the perfect place for the other two concert posters that are still waiting in the roll!



Something kind of peculiar happened here the other day. You know, one of those 'happens-only-like-once-a-year' things: both girls took a considerable nap at the same time.

(I remember talking to an aunt at a party a little while ago, who has two now grown-up kids who differ exactly one year in age.

'Oh my, how did you do that, a young baby and a one-year-old at the same time?' I asked her, 'that must have been such hard work.'

'Oh no, not at all,' she cheerfully replied. 'I just put them both to bed for naps at the same time, and then I had all those hours to myself. It was so very practical!'

Well, maybe that's just the memory being a bit delusional -this by the way is the same generation of moms and aunts that casually keep telling me that they always went grocery shopping in the nearby village while their kids napped in bed on their own ('they slept for hours and never woke up anyway, so very practical!')- but nevertheless it made me wonder why it seems such a law of nature here that when one daughter is tired and ready for a nap, the other one is always bursting with energy...)

Anyway, both girls were fast asleep, and all of a sudden I had some time on my hands. Of course I should have used this unexpected moment to do some housekeeping, I can't say the house wasn't whispering and begging 'Do it! I could use some of that!' to me. But instead I chose to spend my time on something I like, you know something like this, putting all the sofa pillows in the right order and such. And since I had actual time, I could even throw some blankets on the sofa as well. Oh joy!

After I'd had my moments of pillow reorganizing fun (really, it's stronger than me ;)), it was time for a different kind of fun again: a happy Julie had woken up and was ready for play.

Of course her joys were of a whole different kind: how fun, those cups and teapot on the table, that kind of thing usually isn't within reach! (They're photo props Julie, photo props!)

Slamming porcelain cups against one another and on the floor is fun, such interesting sounds...

... but throwing things on a completely empty living room floor -about as rare as two kids napping at the same time- is even a bigger joy!

So my girl started throwing toys around her like a happy little maniac, with an enthusiasm that did seem a little over the top if you ask me... (but what can I say, she may think the same thing when she sees me reorganizing pillows ;))

... and then within just a few moments, everything was back to normal again (but at least I still have the pictures ;)).


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What do kids actually really play with a lot? After over three years of having children I still can't really tell. Maybe I've always had overly high expectations of toys and the way young children play with them. I still remember how surprised I was that it took my baby months to become even the slightest bit interested in the simplest of toys. Somehow I had always had this irrational idea that babies start playing with rattles and such almost straight from the womb... I guess I'd sort of expected them to come into existence cheerfully rattling with a toy in their hands ;).

But none of my babies ever played longer with any of all the baby toys that we surrounded them with for longer than a few minutes. Actually they never enjoyed playing in the playpen by themselves at all, and always preferred personal interaction and being held far above playing with toys, no matter how well-designed or visually stimulating those were. God knows I tried: especially with Rosa I kept bringing in new things, because I kept thinking that now I finally must had found that one great toy that would keep her satisfied on her own for longer than thirty seconds. And then she looked at it once, pushed the buttons twice, threw it away and started calling for me again ;).

Now that they're a bit older the girls do play with their toys, in particular with dolls and with their shop, but still they hardly play with one specific toy for longer than a few minutes, and still they prefer me to be involved in their play most of the time. And though of course I'm pleased they find me such an interesting playmate (I seem to be extremely good at imaginary picnics and such ;)), sometimes I do like a few minutes to myself. And besides that, I think they have to learn that I can't be around constantly to play with them.

So though by now I learnt that this one miracle toy that will keep them busy for hours (or at least for ten minutes ;)) doesn't seem to exist, and that my girls are much more into fantasy play and social interaction than into very specific toys, I'm still keen to find nice and stimulating things for them to play with. And lately we discovered something absolutely great: kinetic sand.

Kinetic sand is a super nice material that you can play with indoors, I guess it can best be described as something inbetween sand, dough and clay. This little video gives an impression of what it's like. The sand feels super soft in your hands and is both loose and sticky at the same time. It's not tough or heavy as clay sometimes can be, so for young kids like Julie it's super easy to play with. And Rosa and all other kids that come to play here enjoy building and 'baking' with it, for hours literally!

We have the kinetic sand from Waba fun that's being shown in the video (we bought ours here), but I believe there are also other brands and types available with names such as moon sand, delta sand and kinetic sand. And apparently you can also make a similar type of sand yourself using simple ingredients such as flour, sand, water and baby oil. I haven't tried that yet, but some DIY recipes can be found here.

The mess it creates is not as bad as you might think: because the sand sticks together you can easily wipe all the sand together within less than a minute. Only the sand that ends up on the floor is slightly more tricky to recollect, because it easily mixes with crumbles and dust that's on the floor, and in our case a bit of it always ends up in the openings between the boards of our wooden floor. But after many hours of play we still have most of the kilogram of sand that we bought left, and when it's time to restock we'll definitely go for a five kilogram pack!

Just to make it clear, because it doesn't always seem that obvious anymore on blogs, I have no commercial interest whatsoever here, I'm just very enthusiastic about the way the girls and their friends play with this kinetic sand. And let's not forget about myself, this is by far the best 'kid toy' that I've been forced to play with for hours lately ;).

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It's not that I don't collect hundreds of images of perfectly calm children's rooms on my pinterest boards, you know those gorgeous, serene rooms with the soft grey and mint Ferm living colors. Rooms like this one, and this one, or this one. It's not that I don't love and admire those rooms. And it's not that I don't regularly plan to decorate some parts of our house a bit more like that. I mean: it shouldn't be too difficult, should it? Some harlequin wallpaper in grey or mint, some simple furniture in light wood, white or grey, and a few minimal pops of color in the details. I could do that, right?

But each time again I discover I can't do it. I just love all the colors there are, and I'd hate to have to stick to only two or three of them because that's my chosen color palette. And it's not just 'all the colors' that I love: I also love all the furniture, and all the prints, and all the artwork... Well of course not all of it, but there's a lot to love and I just can't choose one style or atmosphere.

I remember my sister and I used to go shopping together when we were younger, and then after having seen a few shops, she could say: 'No, I don't think there's anything I like in the shops right now, this season's styles and colors are just not for me.' At the same time I had already seen at least five things in each shop that I wanted to buy, in like five different styles... I have just always liked so many different things and can see something I love everywhere.

But the funny thing is that when you love everything and don't stick with a specific style, you end up with one anyway: the 'a-bit-of-this-and-a-bit-of-that, only-not-in-bits-but-in-large-amounts' style. A few years ago they used to have this comforting term 'eclectic' for it, but I don't seem to hear that very often anymore. Maybe the trend analysts have by now discovered that all these eclectic folks are just people that are really bad at choosing ;). Anyway, I'm pretty sure that eclectic will always be my middle name.

Of course I'm curious whether my girls will become eclectic color lovers just like me. I do hope so, otherwise they must have had a pretty bad time in their rooms so far ;). Rosa was never really developing quicker than average in anything, but there's one specific thing that the people at daycare kept mentioning: she was extremely fast in discerning and naming all the different colors. Well, that's one thing one can't practice in a room with only two or three colors ;).

But who knows, I guess within a few years Rosa wants to become more involved in decorating her own room. So maybe then we'll finally have a room in grey, mint green and a hint of ochre!

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Lately Rosa has been challenging me with all these difficult how and why questions. Like why her knee bleeds when she falls, how it's possible that a refrigerator makes everything cold or why there's smoke coming from a kettle of boiling water. Turns out I hardly know the answers myself, let alone that I can come up with an explanation that makes sense to a three-year-old ;).

A challenge of a whole different kind is the 'draw me...' challenge: mama, could you draw me a dinosaur, a helicopter, a crane, a tractor, a cow, a dog...? And then it's funny to notice that though I see things like dogs and cranes almost every day, I often have no idea how to draw them in a proper way. So lately I've been practicing this 'drawing stuff I don't usually draw' thing, like cats... And now I can't stop making cat plates ;).

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I had so many ideas for our black wall: first I wanted to turn it into a gallery wall with lots of framed art, then I wanted a huge IXXI collage for it. I searched and searched and compared lots of different options, but I just couldn't decide. All I knew is that I wanted the corner to look super fresh, clean and modern. Not my usual mix of a bit of this and a bit of that, but some very clean lines, a bold statement.

And then all of a sudden, I forgot about all of that and envisioned a huge antique mirror on the black wall. I have no idea how I came up with it, but somehow I had this very specific image of a certain kind of mirror in mind: not the classic 'baroque' one, but a very large arch-shaped one in a wooden frame. I started searching everywhere, but I quickly learnt that I had something so specific in mind that I was bound to get disappointed.

I literally searched through all the ads for mirrors (like: thousands of them) on the Dutch second hand websites, and then I got lucky: I found my mirror! A three-hour-drive away, but who cares when it's exactly what you are looking for? But when I got in touch with the seller, I learnt that it just got sold...

When I found myself feeling extremely disappointed, it made me even more eager to find that very mirror that I had mind. And guess what: after days of even more detailed searching I found it! And even for less money and within a one-hour-drive ;).

It's so funny that apparently you can't 'plan' the decoration of a home: in the end my taste seems to have it's own quirks, like a kid that doesn't listen to it's parent (it does resemble my kids quite a bit ;)). I really felt I was a bit done with mixing old and new furniture, I actually wanted less vintage and a more modern look, but look what I came up with in the end... Something more antique than ever! The mirror originates from a French abbey and might actually be one of the oldest pieces of furniture we own now.

Well I guess I like the idea that apparently creating an interior is something that involves not just pure 'rational' choices of will and aesthetics, or following some sort of comprehensive design plan, but also some funny quirks that you can't fully control. Or maybe that's just me ;).

By the way this mirror reminded me a bit of the old circus caravan we stayed in last summer, which had similar-style woodwork inside. So each time I look at my mirror I can't help but wonder: does this mirror add just that little bit of French chic to our living room, or is it more like a circus caravan here now? ;)

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The one moment such a big girl already, the next moment a baby girl again, just for a little while. I'm not too nostalgic about wanting a wee baby again, I'm welcoming all the fun and interesting steps she takes and for myself I'm welcoming these steps towards some more freedom and time for myself again. But the feeling of this big baby asleep on your lap is still such a good one!

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Rosa is starting to develop more and more interest in playing in her own room, and Julie loves to play there as well. So I'm planning to make some small adjustments to make the room less 'just a bedroom' and more of a room for play. I'm still looking for a nice soft carpet so that the floor will be comfortable to play on.

I was thinking about adding a small desk or table and chair to create an extra corner for play. Besides that I guess I shouldn't bring too many more toys in, if we still want her to go to sleep when it's bedtime ;).

We already hung some of the little collages and drawings that Rosa and I made together on one of the walls. I thought this would be a fun thing to do together, but what I had underestimated was that Rosa resembles me more than I realized: she had such exact ideas about where she wanted to put every specific piece of paper that we almost ended up in a fight when I didn't hang things exactly the way she had in mind... Can't say I don't feel her! ;) 

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The tableware that we use on a daily basis here isn't all that special: in fact it's a rather eclectic mix of mismatched vintage plates, cups and bowls. When I buy piles of vintage plates for the shop, there are often some with small flaws among them that end up in our own home collection. So that 'daily stash' isn't exactly the kind of tableware that I'd use for a festive diner.

Somehow we never use the ceramics that I make at home. Must have something to do with the fact that most things end up in the shop, but I guess it's also true that you develop a certain familiarity with the things you make yourself that can quickly turn into boredom if you surround yourself with it too much. Let's say it's about keeping work and private life separate ;).

So when I wanted some nice new plates that would fit special occasions a bit better than our current mishmash, I turned towards my all times favorite Marimekko. But the thing with Marimekko is that I always like so many of their things, and my budget only allows me to buy a few, so I can never really decide. And then I thought: isn't it silly that I can make something for myself but never do it? So just like that I made a set of four diner plates for myself, or well, for us... Let's hope it'll survive my household (in particular my 'throwing-things-in-the-dishwasher-goes-faster' man ;))!


I don't get the chance to visit flea markets as often as I used to anymore, but in the rare cases that I can go for a quick hour or two, it's still a very favorite sport!

On this weekend's market, I noticed two little wooden animal figures in a stall that was completely filled with the most hideous plastic toys. Always funny how something special can catch your eye even (or maybe in particular) when it's in the middle of the ugliest stuff. The wooden toys reminded me of these vintage Czechoslovakian finger puppets that I once bought in Antwerp, and when I looked at the bottom of the figures I found that these were from that same country (and probably era).

What has changed as well is that I can't buy beautiful vintage toys just for my own visual pleasure anymore: from the moment they saw them Rosa and Julie wanted to play with these, and the fact that I've put them on display on a shelf probably only makes them more attractive! In fact I had to make the girls a tent to lure them away from my new toys ;).

Well, it already started years ago... and this animal collection of ours keeps growing!


Psst... only this weekend: 20% discount on everything in the shop, except custom orders/made to order items (the items listed here in the made to order section).

Use the coupon code LOVESALE at checkout!

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With a knit suit that perfectly matches her cheerful character, Julie's ready to face the cold. Though maybe we'd better not send her to Sochi, they might think she's on some sort of mission there ;).


January and February, they're my least favorite months of the year. These days I'm finding myself feeling so slow and indecisive (I haven't checked my blog archives, but if I would I'd probably find I'm always feeling this way this time of the year!). It's so annoying: it sometimes takes me days to come to the simplest decisions, and there's this sauce of doubt around literally everything. Like: choosing a large IXXI collage for our black wall. So much to choose from, I just never seem to reach a decision. Same thing goes for finding a holiday destination for just a short, simple trip. And then I'm not even talking about the more important decisions, like choosing a school for Rosa... (Montessori versus Waldorf... anyone? ;))

Hope this will pass soon... I guess it's mainly just waiting for Spring to arrive. Meanwhile I'm trying to surround myself with lots of color and happy things! 

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A while ago I started writing some guest posts for the blog of the nice Dutch children's webshop Kleine Sam, where some other creative moms are writing about their daily lives as well. So far I've been addressing some of my favorite subjects: messy homes and messy kids. No, just kidding, my main topic will be children's clothing, a subject that I love but that has become a bit neglected since I stopped updating my coolkidsclothes blog (which by the way wasn't a conscious decision, I loved making that blog but I just didn't have the time and energy to keep doing it well). 

Anyway, the blogs are in Dutch, so please click below if you're interested in...

little cat ladies

why it may be wise to buy children's clothing big

my messy home (well, yeah...)


There are certain activities that I try to avoid when it's just me and the kids. Grocery shopping is one of them. Bringing a few quick things from the supermarket on a walk with the double stroller (so with both girls safely inside) isn't a problem, though lately Rosa isn't that keen on remaining seated anymore, and chasing her through a supermarket with a huge stroller and a basket filled with groceries isn't that much fun. No, I mean the big groceries, that involve extensive shopping lists, a heavily stocked cart, lots of big shopping bags, dragging everything to the car and all that. Then carrying/directing two young girls along the way is just a bit too much for my 'yes-I-am-a-woman-but-somehow-I-don't-have-that-super-multitask-gene'-nerves.

Helmut never really understands my objections: he thinks grocery shopping with two kids is a bit of a challenge, but definitely not impossible or anything. And in his Can-do view, taking just one of them is even easy peasy. So I had myself convinced to try it again, with only Julie with me this time. But tell me: what to do when your kid falls asleep in the little seat of the shopping cart, with her head and neck in some sort of weird rotated position, while your cart is filled to the brim with all kinds of groceries?

Well, then you take your heavy, sleeping kid out and hold her in your arms, meanwhile you try to put all the groceries on the conveyor belt with just one hand, then you take your coat off (also with one hand, not as easy as you would think!) and put it in the now empty shopping cart, then you lay your sleeping kid with her head on top of this improvised pillow, then you put all the groceries into some enormous bags, then you try to ride the shopping cart to the parking lot with one hand (while you have two terribly heavy bags in the other), then you put everything in the car, bring back the cart, take out the sleeping kid, take her sleeping twelve kilograms in your now aching arms again, walk back to the car and try to put her in her seat without waking her up...

Oh, that's it: maybe I should have tried to wake her up in the first place ;).

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Lately I've been finding myself in the middle of some sort of weird contradiction. It's not a big, life changing thing (and often I wonder why I bother at all), but still it occupies my mind. It has to do with houses, with interiors, with blogs, with images, with the love for beautiful things and creativity on the one hand and with a dislike for too much materialism and maybe even keeping up appearances on the other hand. Let me try to make myself a little clearer.

Houses, interior decoration and design have always been something I love, and magazines, books, blogs and all kinds of beautiful interior images are a great source of inspiration. In fact I'm sort of 'eating' images: I never seem to get enough of looking at inspiring interiors, and in particular since I started following interior design blogs years ago (and Pinterest more recently) I have access to an ongoing flow of this particular kind of 'eye candy'. I guess this large and constant flow of images must be partly causing my issue (I'm probably overdosing!), though maybe some of it is also inherent to this term eye candy: it's sweet and attractive, it offers easy satisfaction and is maybe even a bit addictive, but it isn't very healthy and it might leave you feeling a little sick and not fulfilled on a deeper level.

So there's something about interior styling and photography, and all the blogs and magazines dedicated to it, that both attracts and annoys me. It must have something to do with the gap between image and reality, and with the feeling that a real life interior can never compete with the perfect image that is shown on the blog or magazine picture. All of us who love interior photography know that these images are being created, finetuned, manipulated. There's a woman sitting at the table, supposedly flipping through a magazine, supposedly nipping from a beautiful cup of tea, supposedly she's just eaten a perfect little bite from a yummy looking sandwich that has been carefully put on a lovely plate. There are like six small vases with lots of different flowers on the table, some well-curated small piles of books and magazines (with one or two casually laying open on top of the pile), some chairs 'randomly' placed around the table. It all looks random, if it's been done well, but everything is in the perfect place. It's like playing real life, but in a better, more beautiful way.

And of course that isn't wrong. This isn't an accusation, taking good pictures and trying to make things look beautiful isn't a crime or anything. We like looking at beautiful interior photos, at least I do. In fact my own home has been in some books and magazines, and I've been that woman at the table supposedly bringing that cup of tea towards her mouth, moving slowly to avoid blurry pictures, repeating the movement at least five times till the picture was right. It's awkward, it's fake, it's fun.

Then what is it that I grow more and more uneasy with? Maybe it's the fact that in my own house, with two young kids, the gap between picture perfect and 'real life' is becoming larger and larger. Maybe it's just some kind of jealousy because I can never have it the way I'd really want it here anymore, interiorwise. But maybe it's also that all these images of 'styled real life' at a certain point start interfering with your view of 'actual real life'. I regularly find myself looking at my house almost as though I'm viewing it through a lens, checking it for things that 'disturb the image'. Sometimes I see the kids playing on the sofa with a mess of blankets and pillows, and then I almost want to step in to move some of the pillows because in a different arrangement they'll look nicer together. That's weird! I know that I'm not the only one who gets crazy sometimes because of the mess the kids make, but while most people don't seem to like mess because it's disorderly and all that, I find myself worrying more about the mess ruining some sort of imaginary picture...

I know we're all supposed to say that we're not being influenced by perfect pictures. Seeing beautiful people in magazines and on tv shouldn't influence our self-esteem (because we know that we can't all be like them), seeing people on social media live great lives shouldn't make us worry about our own (because we know that they mainly show us the good parts), seeing people live in perfect houses shouldn't make us question the place we live in. We know, I know. But it's also known that, just as people in advertisement very well realize, images are often stronger and more powerful than knowledge. And beautiful images are all about seduction, about creating a desire. My home would look so much better with that quirky vintage chair, such great new tableware, those posters on the wall...

So sometimes I wonder how I can say yes and no at the same time. Say yes to beauty, to creativity, to inspiration and to being inspired. To a bit of dreaming and a bit of longing. But to say no to unrealistic views of daily life in an ever-lovely looking house. To say no to wanting new things all the time. And in particular to say no to that in interior photography omnipresent silly 'casually-thrown-on-the-sofa' blanket that never stays in the right place for longer than three minutes here ;).

This kind of thing is what usually happens to nice accessories such as throw blankets round here ;).

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 Really, it's the best clock ever...

... but I can't pretend I took this picture today, or yesterday, or even last week ;).

One of the good things about keeping some sort of blog or journal is that it's such a nice record of what's happening right here, right now. It's a fast and easy way to save some images of/thoughts about what's going on in our daily life that's flying by so crazily fast. I like the idea that I can go back to a certain date, even years ago, and see some glimpses of what life was like back then. And who knows, if blogs like these can be preserved in some way or another, maybe even Rosa and Julie can look back at those small records of their daily life as young kids when they're older.

But the disadvantage of this 'here and now' concept of blogs is that if you don't keep the record straight away, you'll probably never do it anymore. I take lots of pictures, but often I don't have the time or energy to properly edit them and turn them into something that feels worth posting. And then once I finally have some time on my hands, the pictures are already weeks old and their 'blog momentum' seems gone: cute pictures of a toothless Julie (who now already has nine teeth), some nice images of the house two or three incarnations before it's current one (I do still have some nice images of all our freshly wallpapered walls in a further still empty house, anyone interested?), funny images of a city trip during our Christmas holiday... They often already seem way too much 'in the past' once I get the chance to have a proper look at the pictures.

So I think it's about time to show you some of our 2013 summer holiday pictures... ;)

Back then Julie was only a 7-month-old baby and we were in the middle of our big moving house project. Before we bought the house, we had already booked a summer holiday to this nice place called Boheems Paradijs, a small holiday site where you can stay in original 1950s and 1960s circus and gypsy caravans. And though the timing turned out to be a bit inconvenient (the holiday was planned exactly halfway the month that we had for renovating and moving into our new house), we decided to go anyway, because everyone needs a holiday every so often, right?

It was very hot, Julie was sick for the first few days and we did have some moving house stress at the beginning of the holiday... But it was a great place for a short holiday with young kids, and the vintage caravans with their colorful retro interiors were fairly cool!

Well, that's about all I remember... Which once again proves that it's wise to keep track of things immediately if you want to keep some memories!


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Another poster came from the printing office this week, that means another introduction offer! This A3 sized Mushrooms poster sells for only EUR 10 (instead of the normal price of EUR 16) all through the month of February (and of course through this last bit of January... ;)).

And psst... Shipping costs are only EUR 2.50 for the Netherlands and EUR 4 worldwide! You can buy the poster here, but if you live in the Netherlands or Belgium, you can also send me an email if you want to order from me directly.

By the way this poster came into existence in a funny way... When I'm crafting with Rosa, somehow I always get lots of ideas and feel tempted to do some drawing and doodling for myself. Of course she never lets me: so far she doesn't seem to get carried away by her own creativity yet, but always wants me to sit with her and make things for her. So when we're drawing or cutting and pasting together, I always secretly try to sneak in some quick cut/draw moments for myself when Rosa isn't paying attention for a split second. This often results in really quick 10-second-sketches and very rudimentary shapes cut from scraps of paper. And some of those rudimentary shapes became the starting point of this poster...


About Ninainvorm

My name is Nina, I'm a ceramics and paperwares designer and mom of Rosa and Julie. This blog is about making, living, liking, loving and so much more!

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