Thursday, January 31, 2008

My mother's home

This week I am helping my mother to paint her spare bedroom. She lives in a small house that is completely filled with her warm loving energy. When you step over the doorstep it welcomes you like a warm blanket :) I find is very touching to notice how people respond to that. To see workmen sitting on her couch with a cup of coffee saying that they like her interior very much. You can tell from their faces that they wonder why they mention that. It makes me happy to know the answer. It is her loving energy that makes you feel welcome; not only as a guest but welcome as a person too, just as you are :)) My mother has three lovely cats that are very relaxed and friendly just like herself. One of them just came around one day and decided to stay; I can't blame him. Besides the cats there are always fresh flowers in her house (which the cats rearrange all the time ;) Furthermore there is a Buddha in every room and incense holders. An eye catcher in the living room is the cat/bookcase that I have made for her. There is space to store books and the cats can climb and play in it. In the centre of the bookcase there is a Chinese Buddha with a lantern behind him. The colour palette in her house is an intriguing combination of different sand colours mixed with natural accessories like wood and shells. One of the most important lessons I have learned about decorating I learned from my mother. She told me that whatever you do to decorate or furnish your house, do it with love. And she was right it is not only the interior by itself that determines the charisma of your house. It is the warm energy that surrounds your interior when you affectionately have chosen and arranged it. That welcoming warm energy makes the difference between a house and a home :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Book shelves

I have received a request from Sonia from the United Kingdom about the book shelves I showed in my post 'Upstairs' . She wondered if I could show some photo's of them. Well Sonia here they are, I have made some especially for you :)This bookcase is made of three cabinets on a row. They are very practical because they are not heavy so you can easily move them around. They have drawers for small stuff and the rear side is open, so you can beautifully display things in them. I bought them some years ago and at first I used them in the living room. Now they form my tiny red library. Here are some details for you Sonia. Each cabinet has four drawers and beautiful wood carving on the side. When I have a bigger house some day I will put them in my living room again because they were my favourite display items. No matter what I placed in the cabinets it looked special right away :)I must admit that I loved it today to unpack the bookcase and to create a new display. I could shamelessly play around all afternoon unpacking and restyling it. Thanks to Sonia's request I could fool myself with the thought I did it for her this time hihihi :))

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Decorating with coins

As a child I loved foreign coins. I didn't quite understand the value of money yet and I just looked at the shapes and colours. I also had a collection of glass stones that came from broken car windows and they were my diamonds. Together they formed a treasure which I hided at a secret place in the garden. Now a days I still love coins and I use them to decorate my house :))This is one of my favourite necklaces. I don't wear that much jewellery anymore these days so it has become a wall decoration now. I like the little used coins and how they tinkle when they move. Here I have used them to decorate some cabinet handles. The coins originally came from a belt which was broken. I love their colour and the hole in the centre, it matches the old wood perfectly.In my kitchen they are glued to painted cupboard buttons. They make even the cheapest handles look special. When I sit at my table and watch those little beautiful detailed buttons I still get that treasure feeling again I had as a child. The difference is that I don't hide it anymore :))

Monday, January 28, 2008

Decorating with consoles

Yesterday I received a link to the beautiful and inspiring blog of Richard Thompson. I loved his decorating style and the creative ideas. When I looked at the pictures I recognised a mirror that I had used (or a similar one) for a kitchen design. Mine came from Ikea just like the lamp and the consoles. They have a design charisma but a friendly price :)When you don't have a lot of space but you do want to make arrangements then a railing made of consoles is a good alternative. You can display all sorts of accessories on them without loosing too much space. The best effect you get when you extend the consoles throughout the wall in one straight line. This way you bring balance and serenity into a room.Here I have made an arrangement with some old poetry books, candles and dried flowers. These consoles are an excellent base for little collections like (Buddha;) sculptures and pictures in different sizes. Because of their size you can use the shelves throughout the house. For example above your bed, in the hallway or toilet with frames and scented candles :) I love little corners where I can surround myself with objects filled with memories and love. Sometimes you suddenly have the need to change your interior but you don't have the budget or the time for it. On consoles you can arrange small bowls with colourful flowers on a row. Combine them with inspiring art prints and beautiful fabrics framed in the same colour palette. Or display the treasures you have found in the woods or at the beach. Those objects that crossed your path during a long walk will fill your room with a warm energy. And they cost nothing only patience and a loving eye to discover them :))

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sonti Tea

I started this Sunday with Sonti tea (tea with dried ginger). Wow, what a taste! It made me glow inside and it gave me a wonderful relaxing feeling. As usual I climbed on my kitchen sink to watch the birds in my garden. For me that is a moment of complete peace and satisfaction; watching those little creatures swarm :) Later on my sister came to visit me and we had another cup of Sonti tea. She loved it too :) I told her I'd received the recipe in a comment on my blog. We discussed the fact how nice it is to discover new tastes. To realize that there is still so much we haven't tried yet because we simply aren't aware of its existence. For me that is the beauty of blog sites and sites like Flickr . You get connected with people you normally wouldn't meet. You discover what interests them and you can share things. And while the rain is pouring down here in the Netherlands I am warm and happy with my Indian Sonti tea :))

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Vitamin attack; the sequel

Yesterday I looked at the comments on my 'Vitamin attack' post. I received some lovely recipes from Vinita and Arty Zen. They told me that instead of taking vitamins against the flu I could try an Indian recipe made with ginger. And while I was reading I realized that I had changed this past year. Instead of taking the time to make myself a breakfast in the morning I quickly grab a slice of bread and a cup of coffee. And for my conscience I take some vitamin pills. No wonder I am not feeling well ;) So this morning instead of taking a vitamin pill I pressed some oranges. I must admitt it made me feel good, the process of pressing, the sweet taste and their beautiful colour. It made me happy. And when I looked at the oranges lying in the sink it seemed like the sun was shining inside of them :)We seem to get used so easily to certain habits that we don't notice them anymore. Sometimes the kindness of other people gives us the change to look at ourselves from a different angle. For me this morning it was an orange coloured one :))

Friday, January 25, 2008

Vitamin attack

Today I am going to fight this flu that lies in wait for me. I have extra vitamin weapons like vitamin C pills and some tablets to rebuild my resistance. Sun will be best the cure for me I now, but I am afraid I have to wait for her till spring.It looks like the sun is already shining in this bottle with vitamin C tablets :) Even as a child I loved the sun, it made me feel warm inside. And to walk outside with my bare feet on hot street tiles is still a very appealing thing to do for me hmmm...Some of you will read this post while the sun is warming up your house instead of the central heating. Perhaps you can send some sun beams to the Netherlands as I am in great need for them. I hope everybody will have a warm and flu less day today :)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Faces of Buddha part 2

My Buddhas keep on travelling trough my house. They are in my study, bedroom, spare-bedroom and near by in the kitchen or living room. They always bring certain serenity to a room or space and I love them for it :)
In this post I will share some of my Buddha corners with you. The Buddha above is a rather large one of almost 160 cm and made in Indonesia. It is a very powerful woodcut, but through his calm radiation he is never prevailing. He has beautiful gold leaf details.The dried bonsai branch matches beautifully with the gold trifles of this Buddha. The gold colour is also reflected in the colour of the wall behind the scene. I like harmony in a still life, of most accessories I always have a pair of two. It helps me to create balance; there is always a reprise in my decorating. In colour, texture or number of pieces....always reprise :) Here is a good example of my love for balance. If I look at this arrangement I feel harmony inside. I guess I am creating these scenes intuitive because they spring from my hands before I have the time to think about the arrangement. If you want to make a still life don't use your head but use your heart. Just sit down with some materials and start to arrange them. Enjoy the process of playing around with them, to me it is a very relaxing occupation. It is absolutely not necessary that a still life is perfect right away. Some I change after a while or I completely remove them. This way the energy in my house is keeps fresh. Recently I haven't changed my arrangements because I was busy with other things (I'm in love hihi ;) But I can really sense it in my house. As soon as I clean some corners and re-arrange things a bit it will feel completely refreshed! Just try it sometime, you won't be disappointed. This beautiful one I got for present from my father last Christmas. His height is approximately 30 cm. It already is one of my favourites (I have noticed that I am saying that about all of my Buddhas hihi) Because of his size it is very easy to create a still life with this sculpture. Just add some flowers or candles and you have a serene still life. Small tables like this one above are ideal to create little corners. They are easy to move around the house or to storage. As I look at the picture now I see that mine is in desperate need of a lick of wax. The orchids were a good investment as they have a beautiful colour that enlightens every arrangement. This Buddha is standing on a lotus and holds a stave with gold rings at the top (sistrum) His height is approximately 20 cm and he is made of brass. This statue really shows the eye for detail of the craftsman who made it. I look at this small Buddha for several years now but he still enchants me :) What I really like about brass is its ability to change with the light. The statue looks completely different in the morning sun then in the evening with candles burning near by. I also like the combination of colours. Brass makes my terra and deep yellow walls look even warmer :) So far my entry on Faces of Buddha in which I showed you my beloved Buddha statues and sculptures. I hope it was an inspiring one and that it gave you some ideas for a still life in a corner of your home.

I have made a collage in which you can see the different Buddha faces I have shown you in this entry. Enjoy :)

Buddha's bath

Today I am feeling a bit ill, I think it is the flu trying to get into my system. I wish I had a bath tub now....a great tub with lots of hot water and bubbles. My small shower downstairs isn't appealing to me at this moment brrr.I wanted to clean my house today but I simply don't have the energy for it. Now I just clean some shelves and one Buddha statue that are completely dusty. I must say that the sight of this small statue in the soap bubbles is getting my spirits up again! As he seems to enjoy the bubbles very much. Housekeeping is fun this way!This little red Chinese Buddha made me smile again. I hope Vinita that he will bring a smile on your face too although you are having the flu this week! And to everyone who is feeling a bit down or ill today; get well soon and keep smiling :))

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Faces of Buddha part 1

Years ago my father gave me my first Buddha sculpture, I loved it right away. It brought peace and calmness to my room. And every time I looked at it I felt the loving energy of the Buddha as well as my father's love for me. It gave me a warm feeling. Since then every year my father gives me a Buddha for present. I love to have them around the house and they always seem to give me a sense of being welcome when I enter a room. Today I want to share some of my Buddha sculptures with you. The first Buddha you will see when you approach my house is this one from Indonesia. I put it up next to my front door about five years ago and the wood still looks soft and smooth. Every time when I come home he is waiting and welcomes me :)There are more Buddha sculptures around my house. This one stands in the middle of a large water bowl for the birds. It is lovely to see the sparrows all gather round him to drink. Sometimes they sit on his head dreaming about birdie stuff.

Every season when the leaves start to fall and turn brown he is there. And months later when the leaves are there again fresh and green he will still be there to greet them. I really love these calm and peaceful sculptures, as they seem to blend in with their surroundings no matter where I place them. This beautiful powdery blue sculpture guards a corner near my garden door. In the summer the lavender blue gets a kind of a mystic glow - I can't wait to see the sun on his face again. I have created different corners with Buddhas in my garden and they always seem to give a space a serene and calm quality.This Buddha has his own corner in my garden. I used an old crate of wood and attached it to a wall. It creates a great alcove for a still life with a Buddha. Throughout the years the ivy has grown into the crate and around the Buddha's face like a green and yellow picture frame. When you take a close look at this Buddha you will see the beautiful soft lines and calm expression of the face. I have different sculptures, from Indonesia, Cambodia, China and Vietnam. If you want to find out more about Buddhist art then click this interesting link from Wikipedia. The Buddha next to my front door is the only one in my collection with his eyes open. It is the first one my father gave me. He seems far more vivid then the other more calm and serene Buddha sculptures. But from his place next to my front door he somehow gives me the feeling that through his eyes my father is still guarding me :)) So far my entry for today. After tomorrow I will show you the Buddhas inside my house. The collage above shows you the different faces of the Buddhas. Although they are from all over the world, you can see the same peaceful energy shine from all the faces - the energy that connects us all with eachother.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Choosing colors

When people ask me how to choose a new colour palette I usually advice them to make a mood board. A mood board is an atmosphere collage which gives an impression of the colours and textures you want to use for your interior. You can use samples of paint, carpet and casement cloth. As well as pictures from magazines with scenes that are appealing to you.In the mood board above I also used samples of floor covering tiles and wallpaper. It is important that the board represents the actual amount of colours and patterns. When the wall is the largest element in your interior use a larger sample of that. The casement cloth is normally an eye catcher too just like the carpet. Represent them on the board in proportion.
By adding details like sea stars and shelves to the mood board you instantly create a beach house scene. Collect little items that are appealing to you and add them to the board. Later on when you are choosing your accessories the moodboard will come in handy. But what to do when you don't really know what colour palette really fits you? In that case it is helpful to make a few small inspiration collages like the one above. You can create them from a beautiful garment you saw. Or an intriguing interior picture. Anything that inspires you.Make three or four little collages with colours that are appealing to you. Take your time and look at them again after a few days, some colours will still attract you while others seem less appealing. When you do the same again in the following days and in different moods you will find out what colours and patterns fit you. The picture above shows an inspiration collage build up from pictures of wood, leafs and a vase. The wallpaper and casement cloth have the same colour palette. And this is the final mood board created from the inspiration collage. Give yourself the time to discover what belongs to you. When I first started in my house I painted my bedroom blue. After a few years and some personal changes it became terracotta and I still love that colour. It suits me at this point in my life, but who knows which colours I will end up with when I am old and grey :) This week there was the cutest little moon in a purple sky. It looked almost unreal, more like something out of a fairytale book or a cartoon. Maybe you have looked at that same moon at the same time also wondering how beautiful the sky was that evening :) When I see something so colourful like that sky I want to start painting that colour scene. Unfortunately I don't have the patience and the skills to paint. So I use the inspiration on my own way by creating a new mood board. Next time I will make one step by step for you. It is very easy to do and so much fun. Nature provides us with the most stunning colour combinations. It always moves me to see how nature creates the most beautiful colour scenes for decorating without the intention to do so. It just appears and leaves us humans far behind with our paint samples and wall papers ;) Last summer a sat in my garden and a little beetle landed on my chair. I had never seen one like that before. He had the most beautiful mother of pearl colours on his wings I had ever seen! Pure glory...And then he peaceful flew away, not aware of his beauty and his inspiring colour palette. Inspiration truly can be found anywhere :)
Try to collect many different samples as possible. When you can choose from different samples you will be able to create a mood board that really suits your taste and expectations. For samples you can browse the internet, most stores now a day have sample services. Visiting your local stores with paint and fabrics is inspiring and will also help you to increase your sample collection. So far today's entry on choosing colours. If there is anything not clear just let me know.

Next week we will make a mood board step by step so if you are interested you can start in the meanwhile with collecting samples and making little inspiration collages. Who knows were it leads you...good luck :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Colour inspiration

I love colour, everywhere I look I see the most beautiful colours and patterns. Once you pay attention to even the smallest colour scenes that surround you, you will discover a whole new world. A world in which every colour combination is possible and what will become an everlasting source of inspiration.This morning I had a mango and juice for breakfast. The colour of the juice is magnificent deep and warm yellow. In our daily lives we see a lot of colours during the day, but somehow we don't really notice them anymore. That juice this morning really opened my eyes again to the beauty of it all :)
When you look at the colours of this mango you will see an intriguing mix of deep orange, yellow, pink and green. I like this palette; warm orange together with soft pink. The green coloured stalk spices it all up a bit......lovely :)
Loose layers of paint on old sculptures or wood also make an inspiring scene. Above an extraordinary combination of yellow, pale blue and salmon with a bright orange background. Very beautiful also is the texture which makes the colours look powdery.
If I want new ideas I just take my jewellery and some samples of casement cloth. I can enjoy myself for hours just to looking at the different combinations and textures.
Ethnic jewellery is very appealing to me because it often has very expressive colours and shapes. I have a little collection of necklaces and braces and they keep inspiring me. I made a collage with some of my jewels. The combination of coral red beads and turquoise is one of my favourites. I collect a lot of stuff; wooden carved boxes, stones and branches, ethnic jewellery and all kinds of accessories. My mother always says that I actually collect collections. She may be right about that ;)
Besides jewellery I have also collected some small Indian purses. They have great colours and wonderful details like buttons, beads and little mirrors.If you attach different purses or jewels on a board which you covered with casement cloth you have an inspiring and colourful wall decoration!
So far this colourful entry for today. I hope the colours gave you some inspiration. If you have your own collection which inspires you feel free let me know :)