Ninainvorm
a blog about art, craft, design and beautiful everyday life
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Interested in selling Ninainvorm postcards, posters, art prints or ceramics in your own shop? You can send me an email at ik_ben_nina@hotmail.com to hear about the possibilities!

A little while ago I was at my sister Olga's perfectly tidy and carefully decorated home. Oh, the joys of not having kids (yet)... Well no, of course I could only wish that all the mess at our place could be blamed on those poor girls ;-).

Anyway, it was time to take some pictures of my new Night swans posters, and all of a sudden I thought: I could spend hours tidying up my own living room so that I can show you the poster  on my by now slightly too familiar little library cupboard once again, or I could profit a bit from having a tidy younger sister who recently moved into her first apartment (and who enthusiastically spends her income at Ferm living and Hay each month ;-)).

I brought my sweet assistant...

... and then we took lots of photos!

The night swans poster is a pretty large poster (50 x 70 cm or 20" by 28"), that's available for purchase here.

Meanwhile I hope you've also enjoyed this little peek into my sister's apartment!

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One of the things that I find most difficult about running a small online art/craft/design business, is to what extent I can and want to keep up with the constant hunger for new things, new styles and changing trends that I see around me, and that I also notice in myself. Like a lot of people I'm always curious to see new designs and products and each season's new collections. Not necessarily because I feel that we should change our complete clothing style or interior with each fresh collection (not at all, in fact), but I guess it's sort of a natural thing that we're always more interested in new things to come than in what we already know. 

I also notice this when it comes to the things I sell: though I wish I could say that every little piece I make is a timeless classic, truth is that most of the things that I made a few years ago (and that some people also bought back then) don't get that much attention anymore these days. Usually I get a bit bored with them myself as well after some time, and there aren't that many things I made a few years ago that I still really like today. So from the things that I started selling about six years ago, only a few are still for sale right now, usually in a version much altered throughout time. And of course it's usually more fun to start working on new ideas than to keep repeating old ones, so then it's out with the old and in with the new. 

But sometimes it bothers me, maybe almost in a theoretical way: why is it so hard to keep liking something 'old', something you've maybe already seen many times, why do we constantly seem to be trapped in this desire for new things, for change? And then why does the new already seem old again after a few weeks? Is it simply because getting used to something means it can't surprise us anymore? Or is it all about quality and about the fact that most things turn out to be mediocre in the end, instead of timeless classics?

Maybe there's also the possibility that I just get bored too quickly... (I know quite a few people who still live in a perfect 1980s decor fairly happily, without ever complaining about feeling bored ;)) So maybe this is just me trying to turn my own quirk into some kind of universal issue.

Anyway, sometimes it can be interesting to look back at the (near) past. A while ago I quit selling some of the prints that I had made a few years earlier, but a bit to my surprise I regularly kept receiving requests for the alphabet print (the one that was featured in this great book about a year ago). So I came up with some sort of 'in with the old and in with the new' solution: the original A4-sized print is now available again as a larger poster and also as a postcard.

You can purchase the poster (and also a lot of newer, less retro ones ;)) here

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A few weeks ago we finally moved Julie's little blue cot into Rosa's room, and now they actually share a room for the very first time (they did have a 'shared room' in our previous apartment, but they never really slept there together). To say it has proven a success so far would be a bit premature: in fact these last few weeks have been a mix of a few very good nights and a lot of terrible ones. However the terrible part didn't necessarily have that much to do with the girls sharing a room: most of the time they each had their own many seperate reasons for waking up and leaving us totally sleep-deprived (and eventually the one would also wake the other up of course, so we had quite a few nights with the two of them keeping each other awake). They do love sharing a room by the way, so the aspect of the two of them enjoying each other's company and developing their own little routines is really sweet to witness.

The room the girls share isn't a very big one, but the funny thing is that now that Julie and her bed have moved in, it seems easier to organize the space in a more efficient and playful way, without the feeling of losing that much room. A little while ago I found some vintage nursery school tables with matching chairs, and I put one of the tables in the girls' room. Now they have a little reading/drawing nook, which hardly occupies more space than the previous arrangement with only the vintage bench and doll bed.

A little while ago I stumbled upon a pinterest link that led to a post on a website about the previous shared nursery that we created in our old home. It was funny to look at those old pictures (of a planned shared nursery that never ended up being shared), but even more funny & interesting was reading the comments on the particular blog post.

When you put things on the internet you inevitably open yourself up to the possibility of getting comments and criticism, which can be positive but of course also pretty negative. In general I think the mama/craft/design blog community is rather friendly: we usually don't say it in one's 'face' when we think one's home, products, pictures or creations are a total disaster, or when their writing style is annoying us terribly. However this type of courtesy is often less visible when your pictures start travelling all over the net and end up on websites such as Apartment therapy, that ask for people's opinion on interior decoration issues. Then all of a sudden you can start reading some more honest views ;). Like this comment, about these pictures of our previous nursery:

"No. I like creative spaces. This is to much junk for a glorified walk in closet, that's pretty much what this room is, WIC. I have seen better put together rooms in a small space, this is horrid."

Ah well, of course it's never a wonderful thing when your nursery is being called horrid and 'too much junk for a glorified walk in closet'. But on the other hand it makes sense: we all have different tastes and I can perfectly well imagine that what I like may be awful in someone else's view.

But it's getting better... The next person commenting on the blog post, a certain MummyKitM, leaves no less than three comments after another.

The first:

"Those cribs actually look illegal. How far apart are the "bars"?? They look as if a baby could easily slide through and hang. And I really detest seeing pillows in a crib. The shelves are hard to get to, as are some of the clothes. What is with that chair? There's no space for it in 3 of the pictures, and yet, magically, it appears in the fourth? It looks truly uncomfortable, also. That is so insanely staged. I'm sorry, but this whole room is a "fail"."

Then the second:

"And I only just noticed: the beds *AGAINST* a heater?? With *NO* cover *OR* space?!?!?!? W.T.H?!?!?!"

And finally:

"I see that this is in the Netherlands, so I don't know their laws for cribs, but I see even more things in this room that, as a parent, raise alarm bells. Buttons? On a baby sleeper?"

The funny thing is that when pictures of our nursery appear on international (mainly American) websites, these 'OMG-so-dangerous' comments always start pouring down. It's interesting that on the one hand I often get nice emails from American readers who ask me where they can find such a nice vintage crib, while on the other hand there are always people who seem to think that here in Europe we are deliberately trying to harm our kids or something.

This online-safety-worrying is a fascinating thing: there seems to be a whole crowd of concerned moms online who are constantly checking every possible nursery picture for any kind of safety hazards. I've seen it so many times (and not only regarding my own pictures!), and if you ask me, it's a bit crazy. Don't get me wrong: like all moms (even Dutch or European ones, which may come as a surprise to some commenters ;)) I'm very much concerned for my kids' health. Also I definitely wouldn't want to ridiculize people's actual concerns for things such as SIDS, which is an awful thing. But this whole obsession with seeing enormous hazards in every possible thing? It seems quite stressful and unnecessary to me. If you want to hear my opinion, these are my two cents.

First of all about these vintage beds: I know so many people with cribs like these (and in fact whole generations grew up in them, because they're 1950s beds), and really, I've never ever witnessed anything that comes even the remotest bit close to babies getting their heads stuck between the bars of the bed. In fact I don't think it can happen (but maybe my kids just have giant heads!). Never say never, but personally I think the safety of your children has much more to do with being attentive and present as a parent than with all those laws, rules and precautions that people come up with in order to avoid any possible danger. I've always had my kids very close to me (like in a crib next to my bed for about the first year or so, or napping in a wrap during the day, or in a crib in the room next to mine) and I always check up on them when I hear them cry.

Personally I think common sense, attentiveness, intuition and staying close are key words when it comes to the safety of your baby and toddler. Of course it's wise to take some precautions, but in the end it's not laws or precautions or all kinds of ingenious technological tools that have to take care of your kid and it's safety, but you yourself.

To be honest I often think that as a mother I should be a little more nonchalant: compared to other moms I often consider myself as a bit too controlling, staying too close sometimes and not  allowing my kids enough room to take risks, make their own mistakes and sometimes get hurt. But of course that kind of thing isn't really visible on a picture with some decorative pillows in a crib ;).

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I never quite understood this whole honeycomb/pompom thing: nice for parties, but all the time, in your home? (says someone who puts buntings everywhere ;)) But during a bike ride in the city I saw a vase with a bunch of bamboo sticks with colorful honeycombs in the window of a house, and I immediately fell for it. At a certain point Rosa asked me why we kept riding back and forth through that same street over and over again... Well, because of those sticks with the colorful honeycombs of course!

I think these will be a perfect replacement for my slightly our of control fresh flower addiction (not to mention the constant work it brings to make sure that there are fresh flowers all the time instead of neglected sad-looking ones ;)). Though I can imagine that these are just way too attractive for tiny curious hands... Let's see if they'll survive their first night with the girls! 

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If I were asked to sell my soul in order to never ever have to tidy up again, I'd probably give it away for free. Seriously, me and tidying up, it's not that it just isn't a match made in heaven, it's more of a match that was never made at all. And of course this kind of thing clashes terribly with my love for beautiful things, and with my wish to enjoy those beautiful things around me instead of constantly looking at a lot of mess. It clashes with running a household with (equally messy) kids. And it clashes with a man who likes everything clean and organized (yes, I'm the one who drops her clothes on the floor here ;)).

I understand people who reach this point of minimizing their belongings perfectly well (but I must be honest: I'll probably never get there ;)). All the stuff you acquire comes with the obligation of taking care of it, managing it even. We all want bigger houses, bigger gardens, more beautiful things, but it always seems nicer to acquire those things than to actually take care of them properly. Well at least I am good at wanting to bring lots of beautiful things into the house, and then I forget to take good care of them, so often they end up on a big pile of non-descript things that I don't really know what to do with. Of course I don't think that you should take care of your belongings like they were your babies or something, but I realize that there's a certain decadence in wanting things so much and then neglecting them once you have them.

So here's plan # Ilostcount to be a bit more tidy and to enjoy the nice things we already have more by actually being able to see them properly, instead of hidden behind piles of other things! ;)

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And so weeks flew by without a single post on this blog... Wish I could say I've been working on a real big project or something, but I haven't ;). Been working on lots of small ones though, like many custom orders and some new designs. And there was a nice photoshoot, that required lots and lots of tidying up, in particular in my studio. So everything looked organized again here, at least for a day or two.

But mainly I've been focusing on stuff away from the computer, like reading lots of books in bath, spending as much time as possible in the garden, and on creating some new healthy food habits. So now I spend half of my time in the kitchen preparing all kinds of good food... But please don't expect this blog to turn into some sort of food blog, there are already so many good ones and I've never been particularly good at nor interested in taking pictures of what I cook (I just always find it so hard to imagine that people can find the time and energy to style and take pictures of their meals, I always just want to eat them immediately ;)).

Also I've been writing some guest posts on the Kleine Sam blog (in Dutch), you can find them here and here.

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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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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!

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

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