Ninainvorm
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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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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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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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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!

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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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It took me a little while, but now I can finally properly introduce this new poster here! This is an offset printed poster (size A3: 29,7 x 42 cm or 11.8" x 16.6") of my 'You are so so easy to love' print, printed on beautiful 170 grams paper. The paper is heavy, but not as heavy as the fine art paper that I normally use for my fine art prints, which means that it can be sent in a cardboard mail tube through normal mail, so the (international) shipping costs will be much lower than when it has to be shipped as a small parcel.

As an introduction offer, this poster will sell for only EUR 10 (instead of the normal price of EUR 16) all through the month of December. You can order it here (If you live in the Netherlands or Belgium, you can also send me an email if you want to order from me directly).

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Seriously, I think a home should have buntings all the time, and not just on birthdays! We've been spending quite some money on making the house look nice and cozy, and guess what: we put up two 50 cent (!) buntings, and all of a sudden it looks so fun and happy in here! I immediately feel in a festive mood each time I enter the room... So that's a Euro well-spent I guess.

However I live here with a 'buntings-are-for-birthdays' man, so I guess if I'd want some more permanent buntings in our living room, negotiations will be necessary... Maybe just a small one somewhere must be possible?

Oh, and inbetween all the birthday preparations (like: baking five apple pies in one night, making forty birthday treats and more of that craziness) I also managed to do some work these days...

So there are quite a few new plates in the shop now.

I've been working on so many new things lately, but in this busy December month somehow it's been so hard to finish anything...

Hopefully the weeks around Christmas will offer some quiet time to finish some long-going projects. And for some sleep!

Unlike most home/design bloggers (and my neighbors... our home currently is the one dark hole within a sea of Christmas lights! ;)) I've never been very much into Christmas decorations, but look: that's a small paper Christmas tree up there on the table! With the girls growing up I think it'll soon be time for a real tree, but for now this will do.

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For the very essential #1 of this story, read here... ;)

Lucky for us we don't always disagree on interior decorating decisions... True, a lot of my ideas have to marinate a little while, but in the end Helmut quite often agrees (and the ones he strongly disagrees with weren't always my best ideas I must admit). So when we first spotted an Acapulco chair in a shop Helmut wasn't enthusiastic at all ('Not comfortable!'), but when I put the subject to rest for a little while and then brought it up again, mentioning some of it's advantages (I think 'I can sit in it reading while you can watch tv on the sofa' was decisive here), we quickly agreed on the purchase of a red one.

After some trouble ordering (apparently I had ordered the very last red Acapulco chair on earth, and then they told me even that one was gone already, and then they had somehow found one again...) the Acapulco chair finally was delivered, in a huge cardboard box.

After putting the chair in the living room I was left with that giant cardboard box, and I was already getting a bit annoyed by it because it was blocking our whole hallway and I had no idea where to put it. But then it dawned on me... In Dutch we say 'the bold ones have half the world', well I guess the creative ones have the other half of it!

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There's certain parts of decorating a house that I love and find easy, and there's several parts that I think are utterly difficult. I have no problem at all finding chairs, tables, cupboards and things such as prints, wallpapers and ceramics. I love to add those elements to my interior and I like to experiment with them. On the other hands things such as carpets and curtains... oh drama!

You see I do have a bit of a curtain trauma from our previous home. I chose dark brown ones (which was a compromise, I actually wanted white ones and Helmut wanted dark ones, long story ;)) and the moment we hung them I already knew I had made a mistake. I never liked them and they kept annoying me for years, but hey, they were quite expensive and if I replaced them, who knew my next choice would turn out better? And just like that a terrible lack of curtain-confidence showed up in my life.

Same thing goes for carpets. They're also big and expensive and they can really define a place. You usually can't test them and it's difficult to imagine how they'll look in your home, so it's not hard to make a mistake that can't be undone easily. It's tempting to just choose a simple neutral one, but I usually find neutral things boring, and when I'm about to spend lots of money on something big I just prefer to spend it on something that I've really fallen in love with, and not on something that's neutral and that 'at least won't be a terrible mistake'.

So when I fell in love with vintage Turkish kilims a while ago, I was challenged to come out of my 'curtains-are-scary-and-carpets-even-more' comfort zone. I found gorgeous ones online from a Turkish etsy seller, but this meant not being able to see them in real life and having to base this big and scary decorating decision on a few pictures. I really loved these carpets, but well, they weren't exactly neutral. And what would the colors be like in real life, would they match with the other colors in our living room?

After nights of pondering I had made a shortlist of two favorites: one that I thought would go best with the colors of the living room, and one that I was simply in love with, even though it's colors didn't quite match the rest of the house. And then I just couldn't choose... The safe and relatively neutral option or the foolish love?

At a certain point even Helmut -who thought those kilims were a crazy waste of money in the first place- started to push me to buy one, because he got tired of my long nights of staring with a puzzled look at those two possible kilims at the computer screen, then looking at their possible future spot in the living room, then looking at the two options again, then looking at the living room again... And that for hours at a stretch ;).

But well, lack of curtain-and-carpet-confidence is a condition not to be underestimated... So I hesitated, considered, pondered and doubted till my 'neutral option' sold out.

And then I realized that there was no time to lose: fate forced me to choose foolish love!

So now we own a crazily colorful vintage woolen kilim instead of a neutral cream colored one, and after some first moments of shock and 'what have I done', I'm falling in love with it more and more every day. And my neutral curtains are not too bad either ;).

Oh and if you wonder if the mess on the floor is part of my new Selby-like photo styling... No, this is just what it looks like here on a good day.

Pictures brought to you by me and my little helper... always happy to fiercely pull my hair the moment I'm just about to take a photo!

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We've already faced it a long time ago: we're just not handy people. Here we don't love renovating ramshackle houses, we find no challenge or satisfaction in learning all kinds of building skills and we're terrible at finding working solutions for any kind of technical problem. It probably doesn't sound too grown-up, but in fact we need the help of a handyman for about any smaller or larger task in the house...

Lucky for us we've found a good handyman, who probably likes us too because we hire him a lot. And he probably also thinks we're idiots, that too. Each time we present him our list of things we want him to do, I see that look on his face, a mix of wonder and amusement: 'Do they really hire me for this? That's the easiest thing in the world... Well, whatever!'

I must say it's sometimes a bit annoying to be dependant of the visits of the handyman for each lamp that has to be hung on the ceiling and for each nail that has to be put in the wall, but on the other hand it's worth avoiding the stress that comes with every odd job that we try to do and the mess that most of our attempts bring.

With each visit of the handyman, the house turns more into a home, and the good thing of having to wait for him is that it tempers my impulsive decorating quirks a bit. Or well, other people tell me that's a good thing ;).

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About Ninainvorm

I'm Nina, ceramics designer, art/ craft/ design lover and mom of Rosa and Julie. This blog is about the things I make (you can find my online shop here) and the things I love (design, art, craft, interior, fashion, photography). You may have noticed a special emphasis on my two beautiful girls and everything children's design related!

There used to be a second blog on children's clothing, Coolkidsclothes, but it's currently sort of asleep and all the images have vanished temporarily, but I hope to revitalize it real soon.

Meanwhile, lovely children's clothing will be an important part of this blog here as well.

Want to get in touch? You can always send me an email through ik_ben_nina@hotmail.com.

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