Sunday, November 27, 2011

the 'giveaway-give away'

Today it is the first of advent. We lit one candle at our cosy breakfast this morning and it made me think of people who could use a little light in their lives...

That's why I want to offer you a 'GIVEAWAY-GIVE AWAY'. Every week from now on untill Christmas, I will send a package of my latest designs, Shine lanterns, to 3 people of your choice.
Do you know anyone who could use some extra warmth, attention and light at the moment? Your aunt in hospital, your lovely neighbour who's always there for you, your best friend, or maybe you could need some light yourself...

How can you win the giveaway-give away? 
Just send me an email with the adress of your friend and a small text, wish or greeting (not more than 20 words), which I can print on a nice tag. Please don't forget to write your name (the sender). I do not need to know your reason to send the give-away, it will not be a contest for the most pityfull story, hi, hi.
It doesn't matter if the person lives somewhere else in the world. It's my Christmas treat!
Every Thursday-afternoon one of my sons will pick three names. The rest will go back in the basket to have another chance in the next round on the next Thursday.

Let 's Shine some light!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

beautiful embroidery

Hmmm...I'm getting in the mood for gifts - giving ánd receiving. First I found the DIY iPhone cross stitch case from the Purl Bee. And then I couldn't stop searching the net for more breathtaking embroidery. The iPhone case is high on my wishlist. I know my husband Peter reads my blog every now and then, so this one's for you, darling: I would loooove a black one!

Left: embroidered driftwood by Ella Robinson, right: DIY iPhone cross stitch case. You can buy the case here at the Purl Bee and find the adorable tree pattern (and tutorial) here

These two lovely pieces I found on Etsy, in two different shops. Left: Sometimes I swirl and on the right: About SHE.

These little people have personality, their embroidered faces are so sweet! And it is reassuring to see that folkloristic patterns - used in a genuine way - are always 'in fashion'. I love the designs, the shop and the blog of Specks & Keepings!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

one of olivier's artisans

I think it must have been the surgery (the anesthesia) that I'm kind of less focused than I was before: I completely forgot to tell you about a book that was recently published by Thames & Hudson.
It's called: 'The New Artisans' and yes...I am one of them! 

This book captures the new mood – a return to a preference for the unique and the handmade.Design expert and acclaimed blogger Olivier Dupon has sourced the cream ofthe contemporary design world from all over Europe, Australia and the United States, profiling 75 artisans who use craft techniques, rather than massproduction methods, to create stylish, whimsical, covetable objects. Hundreds of colour photographs feature a huge variety of crafts, including art,ceramics, furniture, glasswork, jewelry, lighting, metalwork, papercraft,textiles and woodwork.

When I got the first copy - still smelling of fresh ink and new paper - I was beaming with pride. The book is só beautifully published (hard back, thick, great layout etc) and the content is so balanced and interesting, it feels like a big applause for what I have done up untill now...
Thanks Olivier, it was great working with you!

I invite you all to blog about this inspiring book and to buy it for Christmas, it is worth every penny!

Below you see some work of artisans I share this 'crafts bible' with:

 Xenia Taler - ceramic tiles

Nic Webb - woodwork

Vera Joao Espinha - knitted jewelry

 Kristina Klarin - my colour guru - wooden jewelry
Elisa Strozyk - wooden textiles

They all have their own chapter in the book. Below you see 'my pages'.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

STOCKIST SPOTLIGHT: Gosto Design & Lifestyle

The shops, the people who sell my work worldwide...who are they? What are their dreams, their inspirations, what made them start their own businesses? A feature in words and images with a little surprise-coupon at the end...

Gosto Design & Lifestyle is a very special brick store as well as an online design shop, based in Blaricum, a 20 minutes by bicycle from my house. I am so happy with Gosto spicing up the rather boring retail life here in our area!

Gosto Design & Lifestyle - Brinklaan 9A 1261 ER Blaricum

Who is behind Gosto?
Sonia van der Zwaan-Barrigas, from Lisbon, Portugal, happily living in the Netherlands for almost 10 years. 

Sonia, what made you decide to start your own shop?
Since I moved to the Netherlands (chasing my love) I was lucky enough to work as an urban designer. A nice job, but after a few years I started to ask myself if that was it.

I had been blogging since 2005, first to get in contact with other mums, but soon I discovered a new world, a world of creative people. Innovative and nice websites like Etsy and Flickr were emerging. I started to read a lot of blogs about crafts and design and found my passion in interior design, specially northern european/scandinavian design.

When last year this store, a family store - and formerly the 'milk shop' owned by my husband's grandfather - came available I made the decision to start my own business in two weeks. It was not a strange decision, I just had to downscale my way of thinking, make a serious 'business plan' and go for it.

What are your Gosto ‘classics’? 
That's tricky to say... we're just open since November 2010. In  my shop I would say Ferm Living and JurianneMatter do it very well, but in my webshop I notice that people make other kind of purchases  and my best seller brand is Muuto, followed by the posters from Keep Calm Gallery.

What article did you buy for the shop recently and why did you buy it?
I'm always looking for new brands. Some brands I find myself, others find me. I recently had the designers (in person... how cool is that?) from Gewoon and Snurk visiting me, they showed me their products in such a passionate way that I simply couldn't say no, besides their products are amazing. But what I am proud of most is the houseware of Alma Gemea. I'm the only shop in the Netherlands that sells this Portuguese brand, a joint-venture between a cork and ceramic company that asked young designers to come up with such a beautiful collection.
Do you have a particular way of styling in your shop? Your own ‘hand’? 
I do the styling of my shop by intuition. I have a good basis, the building is more than 100 years old, with high ceilings and lots of light, I say that the space does it almost by itself. I also try to mix high-end design with handmade products to give the shop not such a 'showroom' look. Mix and match I would say.

Are you planning to change things in your Gosto-concept in the future?
I struggle with the categorisation of my shop. I want to use my shop as a platform for interior advice to show the clients my style and taste (I just got my first assignment) and also had this idea of organizing workshops with emerging designers, which is harder than I thought. It's not easy to find creative people to hold an interesting workshop, an issue that must be seriously worked out in a near future. 
I like to think of my shop as a mini concept store, a mix with high-end design and design from young talents where you can also find books, accessories, stationary and biologic food and wine.

What is your ultimate dream?
My ultimate dream is to succeed with my dream: having this shop. I don't have to become rich, just enough to held the shop and be able to innovate myself and my business. 

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I would like to say that I also was a blog(ger) reader and I had this dream for years and had the luck to try it. Only time knows if I'll succeed, but people say that you only must regret what you didn't do. It has been an overwhelming experience, I miss a business partner sometimes, someone to share my decisions with. I'm also thinking in that too, to find someone to share my vision and my passion! 

Thank you Sonia, for your time, your lovely photo's and your wise answers. I hope many more people will take exit 8 on the A1 (it is only a 20 minutes drive from Amsterdam!) and visit your homely shop in beautiful old Blaricum.
And of course everyone should visit your webstore! If you do: don't forget to use the coupon below!