Monthly Archives

December 2015

Books

Verbeelding Book Challenge [December update]

Verbeelding Book Challenge

At the start of the new year, we got a challenge at the Verbeelding Bookclub: the Verbeelding Book Challenge. It’s a list with 30 different kinds of books to read this year, so we need to step out of our reading comfort zone. I’m not sure what sort of a reader I am, but I know there are a lot of genres I’ve never read before.

This is the last update in this year’s Verbeelding Book challenge. I’m already looking forward to the 2016 Verbeelding Book challenge, which should come online in a couple of days. #excited!

In my last update I talked about maybe finishing the Verbeelding Book challenge, but then I had a bit of a reading slump. I really struggled and I knew it was because I was pushing myself to read too much out of my comfort zone. The main thing about reading is that I have to enjoy it. I read to relax. I know some people want to learn new things of discover new perspectives, but that’s only secondary for me. When I can choose between almost not reading because I don’t like the genre I’m reading or between reading a lot of the same old things and enjoying myself, I don’t have to think long to pick.

So I dropped the idea of doing a final sprint in December and decided to read whatever I felt like and whatever I would enjoy most. That doesn’t mean I don’t like doing the challenge, I always like a bit of a challenge, but it still has to be fun in the end.

Read

  • A book written in a language other than the one you normally read in  – As I normally don’t read fiction in Dutch, I’ve picked the only Dutch book I’ve read this year for this one: Tirol Inferno.
  • A book that won a prize – I’m read A Monster Calls and it was so good! I really loved the story and the illustrations made it so much better.
  • A book published before 1900 – I’ve wanted to read The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde for a long time. The story is very well-known, so I thought I knew what to expect. In the end this book was a bit of a surprise. I didn’t love it though. It started good, but I didn’t like the second part of the book, it was a tad boring. Pitty, because Oscar Wilde knows how to craft a sentence.
  • Read a book published in your birth-year – I went for a quick relief for this challenge and I picked up Matilda by Roald Dahl. It was published in 1988 and I read it as a child (only one of two Roald Dahl books I read as a child, I didn’t want to read the others, because everyone was reading them. #alwaysbeenacoolkid)
  • A book you’ve been wanting to read for the longest time – I picked Habibi for this one. It’s a graphic novel by Craig Thompson who also wrote Blankets. I’ve read Blankets a couple of years ago and I’ve wanted to read Habibi ever since it was published. Although it was very different from Blankets, I really liked this novel too.

Work in progress

  • A book set in  South-America – I’ve started reading The Stranger by Albert Camus for this one. I’m about 25% in and if I’d push through I’d probably be able to finish this book before the start of the new year (as it’s only 125 pages long), but I’m currently way to engrossed in A Darker Shade of Magic to pick this up again.

Not started

I still want to read the books I didn’t manage to get to in 2015. They’re probably not the highest on my TBR-list, but they all sound really intriguing and I want to get to them one day. 🙂

The complete Verbeelding Book Challenge overview

  • Read a book of 500 pages or more – Cress
  • Read a book published in your birthyear – Matilda
  • A non fiction book– Yes Please
  • A Fantasy book – The Kiss of Deception
  • A sci-fi book – The Martian
  • A graphic novel – Seconds
  • A mystery novel or thriller –  The Girl with all the Gifts
  • A romance or chicklit – To all the Boys I Loved Before
  • A book aimed a children under 12 –  Alice in Wonderland/Alice in Spiegelland
  • A book based on a true story The Yellow Wallpaper
  • A historic novel
  • A book with illustrations – Graduation Guide for Design Students
  • A book that won a prize – A Monster Calls
  • A book that somebody recommended to you – Brave New World
  • A book published before 1900 – The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • A series (you may already have started it) – Percy Jackson & The Olympians
  • A book you loved as a child –  Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
  • A book you once started, but never finished – Flowers for Algernon
  • A book with 65+ main character – Old Man’s War
  • A book you’ve read in one sitting – The Arrival
  •  A book that has been made into a movie – Locke & Key series / Harry Potter
  • A book made into a tv-series 
  • A book you’ve been wanting to read for the longest time – Habibi
  • A book set in Asia
  • A book set in Africa
  • A book set in  South-America
  • A book set in Oceania
  • A book written in a language other than the one you normally read in  – Tirol Inferno
  • A book with short stories – Unnatural Creatures
  • A poetry collection – The See and the Bells

In the end I’ve managed to read 24 books (out of 30) for the Verbeelding Book Challenge, which is about a third of the total amount of books I’ve read this year! Did you participate in any (reading) challenges this year? How did you fare?

Blogging

Most popular posts of 2015 + reader survey

2015 has been quite a challenging year for me. It was also a year where I accomplished lot’s of thing and which brought quite a few changes. I went from almost not blogging to rekindling the flame and restarting the Plutomeisje blog. With 2016 peeking around the corner, I’m going to put a bit of a spotlight on some of my most popular posts of this year.

I wrote 81 blogposts in 2015, which isn’t bad considering the first half of the year was completely bonkers. Since August I’ve managed to post at least eight posts a month, with September being my most productive month as I wrote 16 blogposts! I know I’m a very irregular blogger and I’m very happy you keep coming back to read my posts between all the ups and downs and the going AWOL once in a while.

As I’m very curious to which posts you guys really like or really don’t like and what you’d like to read in the future on this blog, I made a small survey. I would be very grateful if you took a couple of minutes to answer the questions!

Survey Button

1. The Midori notebook style 2016 agenda

How to make a Midori notebook style agenda for 2016

I put a lot of work in my 2016 agenda and I’m so glad everyone seems to like it. It’s my post viewed post of the year, which is quite impressive, considering I’ve only put it up at the end of November. In a couple of days I can finally start using it! #excited

2. DIY Mason Jar lamps

How to make DIY Mason Jar lamps

Another tutorial I’m still very proud of the the result is the Mason Jar Lamp tutorial. I’ve been using these lamps a lot, they’re still on my bookshelf and they’re awesome.

3. 27 in 27My 27 in 27 birthday list

My original 27 in 27 post is also quite popular, which isn’t that strange considering I’ve linked to it in every 27 in 27 update.

4. I Did the 30 Day Shred!

I did the 30 Day Shred

Yes, I started doing *some* sports this year. It all started with doing the 30 Day Shred for the first time. I can’t say it’s a complete succes, but at least I try to move my ass once in a while. I’ve also tried Six Weeks Sixpack (urgh, so much harder) and the past week I’ve started doing some Yoga with Adriene.

5. DIY Instagram Photo Booklet

How to make an Instagram Photo book

Another popular tutorial was my DIY for an Instagram Photo Book. I’m already looking forward to binding in my next stack of Instagram photos!

6. Workspace – Testing Brush Pens

Brush Pen Review - Testing out the pens in my sketchbook

I liked making the brush pen review. I’m still very much addicted to using them in my sketchbook. Maybe I’ll do some more reviews for art supplies or craft tools in the future.

7. DIY Panda Pencil Case

How to make a DIY Panda Pencil Case

I still think my DIY Panda Pencil Case is the cutest pencil case ever and I hope this little panda guy while take over the world, one cute pencil case at a time.

8. Workspace Wednesday – Some book cover designs I did for school

Some bookcovers I designed

I worked hard this year and seeing that the bookcover designs post I did about my school project is one of the the most popular is very nice knowing. I realy liked doing these covers.

What is your favourite blogpost you’ve written this year? Don’t by she about linking it in the comments. And if you’re not a blogger, who is your favourite blogger of Instagrammer?

Personal

Last Week

Christmas happened! To be honest, I was rather looking forward to it! Could you tell? I think I only wrote Christmas related posts this month. Not sorry though. It’s only one week until 2016, so I’ll probably go into wrap-ups and new-year’s resolution mode. But until then, let’s take a peek at the last three weeks.

Last week we put up our first Christmas tree ever!

This year we had our first Christmas tree! I absolutely love it! The lights, the baubles, the smell, it’s all awesome. I had a lot of fun shopping for and making our Christmas decorations. It was also officially the first of our 12 Dates in December.

Last week the cats started chilling on the central heaters as if it's freezing outside Last week the cats started chilling on the central heaters as if it's freezing outside

Somehow our cats just realised they can chill on the radiators. We’ve lived here for the past five years and they only found out this year. Loki and Schrödinger are acting like it’s freezing outside. Which it isn’t, it feels more like spring.

Last week I started wrapping my Chrismtas and New-Year's presentsLast week I started wrapping my Chrismtas and New-Year's presents

I made some extra effort wrapping our Christmas presents. You’d think putting some greenery on them is a good idea, but I’ve already noticed putting it on there three weeks before giving them isn’t. Needles everywhere + I’ll be needing new twigs.

Last week we went on a mini road trip to Cologne (and saw an pretty sunrise)Last week we went on a mini road trip to Cologne (and ate some bratwurst and french fries)Last week we went on a mini road trip to Cologne (and visited the Cologne Dom)

On of the other Dates in December we did was Christmas shopping in Cologne! We woke up early, visited a lot of Christmas markets, did some shopping (at Muji!), found the perfect tree-topper and topped of the day with frietkot fries. In short: a perfect day.

Last week I made some copper geometric photo holders Last week we made an awesome breakfast witch eggs, bacon, French toast, American pancakes and fresh orange juice

As I said, I was on a Christmas inspired roll this month. I also put up a DIY for copper geometric photo holders. I still love them a lot! We did another one of our 12 Dates in December: an abundant breakfast! We made American pancakes, pressed fresh orange juice, baked bacon and egg and made some French toast. It was way too much, but it was also completely awesome! We ate the leftover the next couple of days, which, imo, made this even a better idea.

What have you been up to the past couple of weeks? Did you get any presents for Christmas? (I am very curious! We don’t give gifts until New Years Day, so I want to know what everybody else got)

Personal

27 in 27 [update 5]

27 in 27 - Update 5

Happy holidays everyone! Only one month left to complete my 27 in 27 challenge! I wish I made more progress, but life tends to get in the way (as it always seems to do). There still are a lot of “work in progress” things on my list and a lot that just won’t happen. But first, let’s talk about some of the (almost) finished challenges on my 27 in 27 list!

Buy a book in a local/independent book store every month

The past two months I’ve bought Vuil Vel at the Boekenbeurs. Buying a from the publisher isn’t completely the same as buying a book from an independent book store, but close. I also got Timeline (Tijdlijn) from the Boy, which he bought at a local bookstore.

In December I bought Oblomov at Boekhandel Walry on independent bookstore day. I also got a copy of Voorbeelden van verdriet for free. Oblomov is a book I once tried reading (I was 16 of 17), but I never managed to get beyond page 40. It has haunted me ever since. It’s my ultimate Unfinished Book.  I even put “reading Oblomov” on one of my earlier birthday to do lists, but I never got to it. I guess I know what I’ll put on next year’s list.

Watch 27 new (to me) movies (24/27)

After we watched the complete Firefly series (which isn’t that comprehensive sadly), the Boy and I immediately wanted to watch the movie Serenity. And so we did. I liked the movie as much as the series an I was very sad to see the “end” screen. Maybe someday there will be more space cowboy series to enjoy. Until then, I’ll just have to rewatch the series and the movie. I also saw The Martian in the cinema. I wasn’t too impressed with this movie, as you could read in the page vs. screen review I wrote.

I also finally watched Inside Out! I love animated movies and I grew up watching (and loving) Disney movies. I quite liked Inside Out. It was a very deep movie and I loved all the references to psychology. I even cried a bit, but it wasn’t the best Disney/Pixar movie out there.

I’ve got only three movies to go to finish this challenge, so that should be all right. Especially since I haven’t seen the last two Hunger Games movies and there seems to be a new Star Wars movie.

27 in 27 - make 12 illustrations

Make 12 illustrations

I thought I wouldn’t get to this one, until I remembered I made 12 different illustrations for my 2016 agenda! I also made a couple of illustrations for my course illustration and comic design. Hurray for finishing off challenges without realising!

Go driving 27 times

I finished this one! Not really though. I’m cheating my way through this one. Normally my parents were planning on teaching me how to drive, but after two years of having my temporary driver’s licence and doing almost no driving, I decided it was time for bigger measures. I signed up for 20 hours of driving school, which means I should be able to drive alone in a couple of weeks. You’ve all been warned!

So, that’s it for this last 27 in 27 update! Next time, it’ll be the end of January and we can count how many things I’ve finished (and how many I’ve failed 😉 ). I’m not sure I’ll be doing a 28 in 28 list next year, I’m having a hard time coming up with challenges. I might have to rethink the concept… Is there something you really want to accomplish next year? Or something that’s been on you bucket list since for ever?

Books, Inspiration

15 books you should gift this year

I read a lot of books in 2015 of which some I didn’t like and of which others I enjoyed enormously.  Some I enjoyed so much I’m putting them in today’s blogpost, which is my 2015 bookish gift guide.

I’ve scrolled through all of the books I’ve read this year and picked my favourite books to put in this bookish gift guide. Although I’ve read all of these books in the past year, not all of them were published in the last year though, some have been around for quite some time. Also, this guide is personal, if you want to read more reviews before you make a decision about a book, you can always check the Goodreads page of that book.

Graphic novels and comic books in my 2015 bookish gift guide

Graphic novels & comics

I’ve mentioned Locke & Key a couple of times on the blog this year. I had a difficult relation with the series. At first I thought it wouldn’t be something I’d like. Than, after reading the first volume I couldn’t wait to read the rest of the series. After I read the fifth volume I was a bit apprehensive of reading the last volume, because how could this series be so good and end in a satisfying way? It did end in a completely satisfying way, it was even better than I’d hoped. Awesome series, but know that it’s violent and gruesome at some points.

I wrote a complete review about Nimona, so you shouldn’t be surprised to find this comic in this gift guide. I really liked everything about Nimona, but mostly just how quirky the book is. This is an excellent book to give to anyone who likes shape-changers, knights, good vs. evil and lot’s of sarcasm.

Seconds is a graphic novel that is the perfect gift for all those people in your life that are “in between”. Where you’re figuring out what you want in your life and nothing is really going like it should. I’ve already mentioned Seconds earlier this year, in my post about four books I really, really like. The other books mentioned in that post are all excellent gift ideas!

Rat Queens has the most kick ass bunch of main character’s I’ve read about all year. Even better: they’re kick as female characters. They’re also really messed up, have social and personal problems and they’re all so different from each other. Reading this was a delight and I’m hoping the second volume can keep up. Otherwise I’ll just be re-reading volume one and mourn about what could’ve been. Note: this series is drenched in gore ^-^

Illustrated Books you should gift this year

Illustrated Books

Last year I worked on my CREARES, an individual project for which I needed to work together with a mentor. I found Peter Goes online, contacted him and thanked my lucky stars the following months for him helping me. On one of our meetings in March he showed a piece of a book he was working on. The book got bought for translation before it was even finished and I can only nod approvingly, because Peter made a little gem of a book. Timeline (or Tijdlijn in Dutch) tells the complete tale of our history and the history of our planet in an awesome illustration style. I think this is the ideal Christmas gifts for everyone between 10 years and whatever age you still can read or enjoy quirky illustrations of dinosaurs, knights, vikings and everything else we came up with the past couple of thousand years.

Another illustrated gem I read this year was A Monster Calls. It’s a short book and it tells the heartbreaking story of a boy who’s in denial about his mother’s disease. One night a monster appears at his window. Although you can buy the book without illustrations, I’d recommend buying the edition with illustrations by Jim Kay, because they add so much atmosphere to the book. The illustrator illustrated the new Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone edition. Another book I really recommend, but that shouldn’t be a surprise. It’s Harry Potter and it has some of the most wonderful illustrations I’ve seen all year.

Short Story Collections on my 2015 bookish gift guide

Short Story Collections

Maybe I’m easily impressed, because I never really read short story collections before this year, but I’ve read two this year and I liked them both enough to add them to this list. First I read Unnatural Creatures, a collection of stories curated by Neil Gaiman. The stories ranges from strange magical realism-like tales, to more eerily and creepy stories. All tell about strange mythical and magical creatures though and although I didn’t love each and every story, there lot’s of tales I still think about fondly, months after I’ve read the book.

The other short story collection I’ve read was A Portable Shelter by Kirsty Logan. This books tells the story of two woman who’re expecting a baby and who tell their future child stories about loss and love. The stories were really strange with lot’s of magical realism elements. I felt like I was reading some sort of book with fairy tales.

Non-fiction books you should gift this year

Non-Fiction

I’ve read a couple of non-fiction books this year. My first non-fiction recommendation is the The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer. I listened to Palmer’s book as an audio book and I loved this version. Palmer narrates the book herself and puts a lot of personal extras and musical intermezzo’s in. The downside is that you can’t watch the photos that are in the book. Either way, the content of the book will inspire and touch you in ways you never thought a memoir would do.

My other non-fiction recommendation is Shoot! bij Anki Wijnen. Anki blogs at Zilverblauw and put everything she knows about photography in an extremely pretty book. I can swoon about the design of the book for ages, but that’s not the only good thing about the book. The information about photography is very easy to understand, it inspires and it motivates to get better at photography. I haven’t finished the book completely and yet, I’ve put a lot more effort in my photos since I’ve started reading it.

Fiction books you should gift this year

Fiction

For the last part of this bookish gift guide I’m going to recommend some fiction books. Although I’ve read a lot of books this year, I find in looking back, that a lot of the fiction I read was quite mediocre. I have only four fiction books I want to recommend.

First off, we have Uprooted (in Dutch it’s called Ontworteld)  I loved this book almost instantly! The world building, the characters, the writing style. It all suited me perfectly! If you know someone who likes fast paced books about magic, dark woods that want to consume people and Eastern-European folklore, then you’ve found the perfect gift.

Another book I really enjoyed this year was John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War. The main character of this sci-fi novel is a 75-year old who signs up for an intergalactic army. Although the premise might sound a bit dark, the story isn’t. It is written with lot’s of humour and I absolutely loved the main character.

I was already a bit spoiled when I started reading The Girl with all the Gifts (Het Meisje met alle Gaven in Dutch) by M.R. Carrey, but I still enjoyed this book a lot. I’ve once heard it described as “if Matilda and The Walking Dead had a bookbaby” and that’s about as accurate as a description can be.

Although Flowers for Algernon is my last recommendation, it’s certainly not the least. It was the Boy who recommended this novel to me and I thoroughly enjoyed it! The story is about a mentally disabled man who participates in an experiment to increase his IQ. What follows is an insight into the main characters mind while he undergoes the change and an insight in how mentally disabled people are treated in our society.

So, that’s it for my bookish gift guide for 2015. Do you give books as gifts? Which book you’ve read in 2015 would you recommend as a gift?

Interior, Tutorials

How to make copper geometric photo holders

How to make copper geometric photo holders with paper clay

Today I’m showing how to make geometric photo holders from paper clay, a material I’ve started to appreciate a lot. You can use these photo holders either as some pretty accessories for your home or as handmade Christmas presents.

Making these geometric photo holders almost doesn’t take any time at all. You can make a bunch in an hour, although letting them dry, sanding and painting them can take a bit more time.

Materials needed:

  • paper clay or white clay
  • sharp knife
  • copper or gold acrylic paint and a paint brush
  • sandpaper

How to make bronze geometric photo holders

I’ve started by making a ball from my paper clay, a bit bigger than the height you want you geometric photo holder to be. By slicing the extras from the ball you can create the shape you want your photo holder to be. I wanted little pyramids, so I cut of tree pieces and then cut of the bottom.

Cut your paper clay into shape

If you’re not getting a nice shape at first try, don’t worry, it took me a couple of tries to get my photo holders pyramid-y shaped. They don’t have to be perfect when you stop cutting, because after drying the photo holders you can still sand the shaped down and make the corners sharper.

When you have your pyramid shape you’ll have to make an extra slit in the back where you can put in the photo (or holiday card).

Sand down your photo holder, this way you'll make the corners sharp Paint the photo holder with acrylic paint

After they’re dried, sanded and dusted down a bit, it’s time to get your paint out! I discovered copper paint a while a go when I was browsing the gouache section in my local art store and I was delighted to discover they also have a acryl version. I absolutely love copper paint! It really looks like copper and I want to use it on almost everything in my house.

Paint the photo holder with acrylic paint

Give the geometric photo holders enough time to dry. Afterwards you might need to sand down the slit for the photo again, because sometimes the paint clogs it.

I made some extra pyramids, a couple without slits for photos or cards, because I liked the idea of grouping them together. I also made smaller and bigger ones, again because I thought this would look better.

Enjoy your new geometric photo holders How to make copper geometric photo holders with paper clay

So, that’s it for some quick geometric photo holders. I’ll be using them for my Christmas cards and I might make some extra as a present.

Are you making any handmade presents this year?

Inspiration, Personal

A Small Wishlist [5]

We’ve put our Christmas tree up last night (it’s so pretty) and I’m really getting into the holiday spirit of spending all the money! I’ve spent a lot of time looking for Christmas presents, fruitlessly I might add, although I did found a couple of things I really wouldn’t mind finding under the tree myself this year.

A Small Wishlist

  1. I’m looking for some new jars for my kitchen. I had a pair of pretty tins, but they started to corrode. I do like the simple glass ones of Ikea (Korken 2L, €2,99 & Korken 1L, €1,99) and the glass jars with cork lids from Madame Stoltz (set of 2, €8,95).
  2. I recently discovered Lush’s soaps (I only ever used the bubble bars and now I’m eager to discover more of there facial products. Especially their cleansers with coal, either Dark Angels scrub or the Coalface soap.
  3. A cookie stamp saying “handmade”. I love the idea of stamping your cookies. – Suck UK, €14,95
  4. I already have two brush pens, but I’m completely sold! I want to try a couple more of the Pentel Aquash Water Brush Pen in different sizes and try the Pocket Brush Pen.
  5. I’m having a bit of an obsession with cutting boards at the moment. I really like this strangely shaped one from Ikea (Sittning, €4,99).

A Small Wishlist

  1. How pretty is this edition of Sylvia Plath’s Ariel? I absolutely love this cover! – €12,99
  2. I’ve keep hearing how good Grief is the Thing with Feathers (€12,99) is and how you should read it in combination with Ted Hughes’ Crow (€14,99). I like the idea of Crow, an omnious being, taking up residence with a grieving family.
  3. I’ve been reading a lot of graphic novels and comics the past year. I’ve always loved comics and this year I’ve re-ignited that love. I’ve especially enjoyed Saga, Rat Queens and Chew (€13,99 each), so I’m looking forward to reading the next instalment in each of the series . I also think it’s high time I gave Maus (€16,49) a read, I’ve been curious about it for ages!

What’s on your wishlist? Anything very fancy?

Personal

Last Week

I wasn’t very active on Instagram these last weeks. Somehow, posting pictures wasn’t on my mind, although I did take quite some. I even tried doing a photo-an-hour, which I failed. I wasn’t doing something photogenic every hour and I completely forgot snapping pictures when I was. Some day I’ll be able to do a photo-an-hour, but until then, you’ll have to put up with these biweekly posts.

Wrapping the 12 Dates of December cards with our dates on Finishing the 2016 Agenda

I spent a lot of time behind my desk, working on the 2016 agenda and other DIY projects. I forgot how much fun this could be, just working on my own projects.

Last week I finished my Midori style 2016 agenda! My Midori style 2016 agenda!

I finally finished the 2016 agenda (some projects can take too long and then you’re just happy you can pull it off and finish things up :p).

Putting together a fake Christmas tree for the greater good. I mean, for keeping up appearances on the blog.

I tried making a fake Christmas tree with a pine tree branch and some of the Boy’s weights. It did work, but I’m not sure I want to keep this branch as our Christmas tree. Because of harsh contrasts in the light I couldn’t take decent pictures of my Christmas ornaments in the tree though.

Cheese + wine + movie night was our first 12 Dates of December Date! Cheese + wine + movie night was our first 12 Dates of December Date!

The Boy and I started out 12 Dates of December “project” last week! We skipped date 1 & 2 (buying and putting up a Christmas tree & decorations), because Ikea didn’t start selling tree until December 5th. We didn’t want to wait until after December 5th to start our 12 Dates (eager as we were), so we picked up the next in line. It was one of the Boy’s and it said “Cheese + wine + movie night”. And that’s exactly what we did. We watched Serenity and Inside Out and had an awesome evening. 🙂

Last week I made a flantaart my grandma would be proud ofHomemade cookies that look a lot like my homemade Christmas ornaments

Last Week I also had a reunion party with some of my high school friends. It had been so long since we got together and it was a wonderful evening (of which I have no photographic proof, even though all the food was awesome and IG worthy). I baked a flantaart (some sort of sweet custard pie) according to my grandma’s recipe. I used the leftover of the shortcrust pastry to bake some cookie, that look very much like my Christmas ornaments. I love flantaart. *sighs dreamily* So simple and creamy. Yum.

Been a good girl and got lot's of presents from SinterklaasBeen a good girl and got lot's of presents from Sinterklaas

It was December 6th yesterday, which means we had Sinterklaas! This year I’ve been very good (apparently so) and I’ve got the complete set of Harry Potter books in Dutch! I didn’t have a Harry Potter set of my own (I had a shared set with my brother) and now I have one! I reread all the book recently (in audiobook version) and I want to reread the Dutch ones now… I also got Dagelijkse Kost: mijn 200 klassiekers (which means inspiration for every dinner party I’m throwing in 2016 and beyond!) and lot’s of chocolade ventjes. #overexcited

How has your week been? Did Sinterklaas stop at your house?

Interior, Tutorials

DIY Paper clay Christmas ornaments

I promise I won’t go all Christmas decoration crazy this month, even though I posted my decoration inspiration post only yesterday and I’m posting a Christmas tutorial today. I’m going to show you how to make your own Christmas ornaments!

Preparing the paper clay and using crochet doilies for adding texture

Materials needed

Making the Christmas ornaments doesn’t take a lot of tools or time. All you need is:

  • paper clay or white clay
  • crochet doilies
  • cookie cutter
  • sandpaper
  • twine

Preparing the paper clay and using crochet doilies for adding texture Making cutouts in the paper clay with cookie cutters

Making the Christmas ornaments

I struggled a bit with my paper clay, as it had been open for a long time. I soaked it in a bit of water for a while and it was fine afterwards! Making the ornaments doesn’t take any time at all. First you have to roll out the clay and press the crochet doilies hard in the clay. Then you use the cookie cutters and cut out the shapes in the clay. I’ve also added eye holes with a piece of a ballpoint pen.

Let the paper clay ornaments dry after cutting them out

Put the ornaments somewhere to dry. I’ve placed them next to the heater for a couple of days until they were dry. Maybe it’s because I’ve put them next to the heater or maybe this always happens when drying paper clay, but they started curling a bit. I’ve placed a stack of books on top after I noticed this and they dried flat afterwards.

After drying the Christmas ornaments you'll have to sand them down a bitAfter drying the Christmas ornaments you'll have to sand them down a bit

When the ornaments where dry I’ve sanded them a bit. It made the smooth surfaces look smoother and whither. I also sanded the textured parts a bit, cleaning them up.

Adding a burlap twine to the paper clay Christmas ornaments as a finishing touchAdding a burlap twine to the paper clay Christmas ornaments as a finishing touchAdding a burlap twine to the paper clay Christmas ornaments as a finishing touch

Afterwards you only have to put the twine on the Christmas ornaments and you’re done!

Cute handmade paper clay Christmas ornamentsCute handmade paper clay Christmas ornaments

I tried taking photos of the ornaments in my “Christmas tree” (we don’t have one yet), but the lighting wasn’t helping at all. So I made some extra on my desk. And then I couldn’t chose which one to put on the blog, because the ornaments look so pretty…

Cute handmade paper clay Christmas ornamentsCute handmade paper clay Christmas ornaments Cute handmade paper clay Christmas ornaments Cute handmade paper clay Christmas ornamentsCute diy paper clay Christmas ornaments

So, that’s it! A lovely bunch of handmade (and sturdy, I’ve dropped them already a couple of times and they survived each fall) Christmas ornaments! Are you making your own ornaments this year?

Cute diy paper clay Christmas ornaments

Project costs: paper clay, €6 – burlap twine, €2

Inspiration, Interior

Christmas Decoration Inspiration

One of the dates in 12 Dates of December the Boy and I came up with is putting up a real Christmas tree and decorate it together. We’ve never had a proper Christmas tree before and we’re planning to do it thoroughly! So I’ve spent some hours (ahum “some”) gathering Christmas decoration inspiration and making up my mind as to what style I’d like for the tree and the other decorations.

Christmas tree inspiration1. My Lovely Things | 2. Ohhh Mhhh | 3. Enjoy Your Home

As we have a small living room we don’t have much space for a large tree or exuberant decorations. I don’t mind though, as a I really like the idea of having a cute small tree with only a few decorations. I’m not ruling out multiple small trees or even a bunch of branches put together in a nice big bottle vase.

Christmas decoration inspirationChristmas decoration inspiration1. Vibebe Design | 2. Petra Bindel | 3. House Doctor, 2014 Catalog, via Christmaholic  | 4. The Merrythought

I’m not a big fan of the traditional Christmas colours. I don’t feel much for decorating the house in silver (although one of my favourite colours), gold or red. Our living room is a dark shade of green and I’m thinking adding white, black, pastel pink and some dashes of copper should make it extra festive. Natural hues and geometric shapes should finish it off.

Christmas decoration inspirationChristmas decoration inspiration1. House Doctor, 2012 Catalog via Ellens Album | 2. Sweet Living and Things | 3. A Cup of Life | 4. Residence Magazine

Christmas packaging ideas with craft paper & greensChristmas packaging ideas with handwritten tags and washi tape1. Local Milk | 2.  Local Milk Retreats | 3. unknown source | 4. Almost Makes Perfect

Packaging wise I’m thinking in the same lines as y decorations. I want natural hues, pine-tree branches and handwritten labels. Although using white wrapping paper and adding geometric shapes using my vast collection of masking tape also seems to be a very pretty option.

Globe light and diy christmas globesDIY recoloured bottle brush trees1. Cox & Cox | 2. Whipperberry | 3.  source unknown | 4. A Beautiful Mess

I also want to add some handmade decorations. Making lightbulb domes has been on my list, ever since I saw one at Ollie & Wallie’s. I also really want to make something with the bottle brush trees I’ve bought last year. Either to make snow globes from mason jars or repainting the mini trees in happier colours as I’ve seen on A Beautiful Mess and Yvestown.

Do you put up a Christmas tree? What’s your style?