Pepe Heykoop Paper Vase Cover

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This is another discovery from the Amsterdam trip. I saw these a few times in Amsterdam and then managed to pick one up during the Woonbeurs. Unlike some foldable vases this one is a bit more stable because it is not actually a vase, rather a paper cover that you can fold and adjust to suit the bottle or container that you put inside , holding the flowers.

The design is quite ingenious ( and it won a 2013 Interior innovation award ). The sleeve which is made of a tactile laminated card has been scored and prefolded numerous times allowing you to squeeze and adjust the shape. Once in place it creates a very striking mix of geometric patterns. I chose a green one but you can also get it in black , white or grey. It comes complete with an mailing envelope of similar card and a leaflet explaining how

What makes this item more special is the story behind it. Pepe has set up this project together with the Tiny Miracle Foundation, which his cousin founded. Their idea is to help a community of around 700 people who live on the streets in Mumbai to escape poverty by helping with healthcare,education and jobs. You can see a video of how the vase works and something about how they are made here. You can find out more about the Foundation here.

VTWONEN & Jurianne Matter Instagram Contest

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Another follow on from Meet The Blogger in Amsterdam – we were lucky enough to get rather lovely goodie bags at the end of the event. There were a lot of fun or useful items in there , but I was especially delighted to get one of Jurianne Matter’s new paper garlands. I’ve been a fan of her work for a long time (and have written about her work before here ) – so this was a real treat.

In addition VTWonen decided to run an Instagram contest to see how this range could be photographed. Well, that was a challenge I couldn’t resist and I submitted the three images here. Lucky me, they chose the first picture as one of their five winners. Thank you VTwonen – you were already one of my favourite magazines – now I like you even more !

If you use Instagram you can find me at @rhiannonmc – you can also follow what VTwonen post at @vtwonen.

You can find out more about Jurianne at her website – and if you are in the UK then the amazing lighting shop Radiance is one place to find her work.

And today is the last day to take advantage of the free shipping on my new cushion range. There some already waiting to go to the post office.

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Book Review – Colour Deconstructed by Tricia Guild

Tricia Guild book

During Meet The Blogger in Amsterdam we also took a trip along the canals to the Designer’s Guild show room in Amsterdam. It was a chance to buy a copy of Tricia Guild’s latest book “Colour Deconstructed” and have it signed as well. They only had the Dutch versions available but actually language isn’t really an issue in this book – colour plays by far the biggest part.

The images include some of the ones that Tricia Guild used in her presentation and started with black and white. She said that she is normally more associated with bright colours but in her opinion black and white can make just as much of a statement.
black and white

I can see that the book is going to become one of my “go to “resources when I want to look for some fresh colour combinations. There are pictures from nature or striking colours spotted on her travels mixed in with how she has interpreted these colours in houses around the world. Definitely a book to look through on an autumn day with a nice cappucino in hand.
purples

This mix of greens yellows and aquas is always a favourite for me.

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And behind the scenes nearly ready to launch my own range of cushions – very exciting to see them go out into the world at last. Would you like to make sure you stay in the loop about new designs and other creative snippets ? Make sure you subscribe to my studio newsletter here.

Amsterdam Holiday Appartment – As seen in Flow Magazine

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For the recent Meet The Blogger I needed to find somewhere to stay in Amsterdam. The places that I’ve used before were unavailable, but then I remembered reading something on the Flow Magazine blog earlier in the year about a studio flat in Amsterdam. I’d filed the info away and with a bit of detective work managed to find it again.

So I spent five nights in this very cosy little gem on the banks of the Amstel. On a map this flat may seem a little out of the very centre, but in fact this is a bit of a bonus as it means you will not be disturbed by city hubbub while you are trying to sleep. There are various trams that go close by so you can get into the centre in no – time , although you could walk it in 20 minutes or so too.

The studio consists of a bedroom , a sitting room with a little kitchen corner and a separate bathroom with bath and shower. As you can see from the images the decoration is white with splashes of reds and yellows. And then more decorative details are provided by the porcelain pieces that the owner ,Joke, makes in her atelier next door. She is happy to let you have a wee look round too, an extra treat.

You do need to know that it is up quite a few flights of stairs, those very typical steep Dutch stairs,as the studio is at the top of the house, so you’ll be happy if you are travelling light !

Just along from the studio is the very good cafe/restaurant “De Ysbreker” which serves all kinds of food from breakfast onwards. In summer there is terrace seating along the Amstel too. It seems to be a pretty popular spot with locals as it was always pretty busy. But Joke will also have lots of suggestions for you on arrival.

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If you speak Dutch you can have a wee look at the Flow article, and if you want to make an enquiry you can do that via Joke’s website www.jokeschole.com which will get you the best rate.

I had a really lovely time staying there and would definitely go back and stay some other time.

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Meanwhile, after my trips to Holland and down south for a big family birthday, I am getting back down to work and *drumroll* my cushions are going to be available next week ! If you’d like to make sure you get a tip off I’d invite you to subscribe to my Studio Newsletter.

Amsterdam Woonbeurs 2013 – Meet the Blogger Part 2

vtwonen barn
The Meet The Blogger event was deliberately timed to allow us to visit the Woonbeurs on the second day and I think that made the trip even more interesting for those of us who had travelled some distance. This big interior fair which is also open to the public is hosted by Sanoma media who are the publishers of most of the well loved Dutch interior magazines.

As a kind of "press" in the modern world the bloggers were allowed to attend the press launch and hear what the organiser of the fair had to say about current trends and the ways in which the consumer finds out about these things in this digital age.

After that we were off to the VTWonen space as they were one of the main sponsors of Meet The Blogger.

Regular readers of each magazine would have found it quite easy to identify which magazine had created which space inside the fair as they did stay quite true to their print personas.

Of all the magazines VTWonen had made the most ambitious use of their space, creating a huge shaker inspired barn – in only 4 days. It was not so much a liveable space as a hive of activity, with the kitchen area set up to make pizzas, the bath room area turned into an old fashioned barbershop and also an artisanal workshop area. I was very impressed with the girls who were casting ceramic items and even firing them in an onsite kiln. They really embraced the shaker custom of using a lot of pegs and hanging items.

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101 Woonideen had a very brightly coloured area with lots of little alcoves and details. As well as a huge table for some hands on cutting and pasting of moodboards.

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Ariadne at Home is a magazine I read less frequently as I find it just a tiny wee bit too pastel tinted for my taste -but I have to say that their house was a very calming and relaxed space. I could definitely imagine moving in there – so time to review some of my thoughts about interior colours.
Alongside these structures many of the well known Dutch brands had stands showing their latest designs or colours and it was good to get an impression of what is current in the Netherlands.

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All in all it was a very enjoyable day rounding off Meet The Blogger and a good way to get a taste of Dutch interior trends .

Meet The Blogger Amsterdam

Meet the Blogger Name Tag

I have been off on my travels again during the last week. A lovely mix of catching up with family in Holland and a bit of “tourist” time too. But first I went to the 3rd Amsterdam Meet The Blogger event. I went to the initial one two years ago and the idea has really evolved since then. First time around it was a one day event around a number of speakers. This time it has grown into something over two days with a very varied programme.

Meet The Blogger Stage
The first day was held at the Wester Gas Fabriek – a sprawling formerly industrial area that is now used by all kinds of events. After a welcome coffee we got down to the serious business of the day – listening , learning and mingling with old and new friends.

Victoria Smith at Meet The Blogger

The first of the main speakers on the podium was Victoria Smith from the very successful SFGirlByBay blog. She shared her story of how she got started and had quite a few tips for us as well. One of the ones that stood out for me was her advice to use your blog to bring together your different interests and strengths.

Tricia Guild at Meet The Blogger

The second of the main speakers was Tricia Guild from Designer’s Guild and that was a real highlight for me as I’ve been inspired by her designs for as long as I’ve had a house to decorate. I asked a question as I was curious to know what she had started off with initially. She replied that she had been inspired by indian block printing and had brought out a range of fabrics based on them. She then opened her first shop because she realised that she had to show people how to use the fabrics. It is useful to remember that this was before ” lifestyle shops” and even Habitat was only just opening around the same time.

Another big difference with the first Meet The Blogger was that now there are workshops in the mix as well. I had chosen to go to the one by Kirsten Jassies about tips and tricks for creating visual content. She had plently of those – and I will be working on adding some of them over the next while. The ones that I particularly picked up on were her suggestions to use infographics in different ways and also to incorporate video. I’ve already had a couple of shots with video and I’m thinking of ways that I could add this more frequently.

The other workshop I picked was SEO with Robert van Glabbeek who is an SEO specialist with Sanoma – less glamourous and more techy but again, I learned a bit more here too. Its not my favourite part of the whole online world but it can make a huge difference. At times like these I am glad of my dreadful year spent training in web design ! One of the surprising facts for me was that when people do a search on Google, the first result will be clicked 52% but by only the fifth result it drops to 15% – so quite an incentive to get the search engine ranking working !
Designer's Guild Amsterdam Showroom

And still the day was not done. At a short hop from the venue we boarded two boats that took us through the Amsterdam canals to the Designer’s Guild Showroom. That was a big success and a very nice touch, especially for those who had never been to Amsterdam. The showroom visit itself was interesting – to see how the different ranges were displayed – the agents were very welcoming to our rather large group. And of course, a chance to buy Tricia Guild’s new book and have it signed. Needless to say, I did have to get a copy , but I will leave reviewing that for another day.
Designer's Guild Amsterdam Showroom detail

If you are curious to read a bit more about the whole event this post gives an overview and links to many other blog reviews.

Of course an event like this doesn’t happen all by itself, so many thanks to all the organisers and also to the sponsers including VTWonen, Moo Cards, Designer’s Guild , Dyson and the Woonbeurs – all in all it resulted in a very enjoyable event.

And the bonus visit to the Woonbeurs was still to come – which I will save for another post as this one is already long enough !

I do make a point of trying to get to one or two of these type of events every year. It shakes you out of your familiar environment and routine and I always come away feeling recharged and buzzing with new ideas.

What are your favourite events to attend for getting out of the studio and recharging ?

Catching up – The Bulb Fields

No moodboard from me today as Etsy has made some kind of change with the way images work ( or so it seemed without too much investigation). So ringing the changes a bit today.

With being so sporadic in my blogging , it does mean I have a bit of a backlog of things that I wanted to mention here. And how could I spend a spring in Holland without the subject of Tulips coming up ?

Fortunately tulips no longer cause fortunes to be won and lost as happened in the 17th Century . But they are still in evidence all over the place. At the market you can buy great swathes of them ,if you time it right. And then there are the bulb fields.

At the right time of year flying in to land at Schiphol can be a real treat as you see a multicoloured patchwork quilt from the air.

I took a drive through an area where there are a lot of bulb fields . The area around Leiden , and towards Amsterdam is a prime spot.

Although most people make a point of visiting the manicured displays at the Keukenhof ( and they are impressive) I like nothing better than seeing the fields full of tulips and other flowers.

I’ve prepared a little taster for you – to whet your appetite for a visit at tulip time.

Also a little reminder that a giveaway featuring my “wearable art” section is coming up this week – keep a look out !