Mat Leave Crafts Part 1: Wooden Block Mobile

My parental leave has started, which means I spend most of my days cleaning the house, watching Law & Order SVU, reading up on childbirth, looking for my toes, and... handmaking our baby a boatload of things he doesn't really need. 

                                                            I seeee you (almost)!

One of those things is a little mobile, made from second hand wooden blocks I got at the charity shop. I read somewhere that babies' brains are stimulated by (black and white) patterns, and wanted to make our little boy something to that would get those synapses firing.

A few years ago my talented friend Kim made a gorgeous little mobile for her baby boy (see blog post here, she occasionally also sells them in , but they go quickly) and I was inspired to get crafty myself. 

I'm quite pleased with how these turned out, and it was fun to do, despite my dislike for literally watching paint dry (just kidding, I cleaned my fridge and labeled everything in the hospital bag while waiting. I am turning into horror mom already). 

                                                 Waiting for the first layer of paint to dry.

For instructions on how to make your own mobile, check out Kim's post, and these (link 1) two (link 2) tutorials on the Etsy blog! 

Journal Pages: #DecafBrain

"Being pregnant is hilarious" said my friend, as she was describing how by 8 months she couldn't tie her own shoe laces.

Now that I'm 8 months along, I am enjoying myself immensely of course. Also, ordering decaf in Rome is almost as much fun as misreading signs ('deep tuna massage' anyone?) due to #babybrain, which I think is more like #Imnotsleepingandoffofcaffeinebrain. 

Journal Pages: Iceland, Canada, USA

Somehow I feel like I'm doing this pregnancy thing all wrong. Well, mostly I feel great, but people keep commenting on how I should be taking it easy and focus on resting and relaxing before our precious little one arrives to come and take it all away. 

Rest and relaxation wasn't really what we had in mind when we booked our trip to Iceland and Canada earlier this year (before we knew we were pregnant), and work happened to ramp up right at the same time. So here's the story all about how, my life got flipped-turned upside down. Or, I mean how I non-stop traveled for a month while 6 months pregnant. 

Pre-Baby House Tour

A lot of friends have been asking me whether we're planning to move now that we've got a little one coming. Like most Londoners, we're in a one bedroom 'flat' (apartment) with little budgetary room to wiggle our way into something bigger that's not an hour or two away from work or would bankrupt us within six months. So the answer is no. We're not moving. 

As I imagine it will be interesting to see how we'll manage to squeeze in the babe in between the lack of storage space and came-with-the-flat bolted down IKEA stuff, I thought I'd give you all a 'before' tour of the house now, and come back in a few months from now when we've set up our baby gear. 

Living Room

The living room is by far the largest space in the house. It has large bay sash windows and holds a lot of our second hand and up cycled treasures. It's also where my studio nook is. It's tiny, but it's more than most people have and Jochem is often jealous of my miniature desk (an original Gispen), even if I end up accidentally knocking off my notebook, watercolors, water, tea, etc. while working.  


The bedroom came fully furnished (as did most of the house, originally), and most of the furniture here wasn't bought by us, with the exception of the bed. We decided to splurge on the bed when we moved in and it's been the best decision ever. Memory foam FTW. The bedroom has a large sash window overlooking the garden. 


Most of the kitchen is kind of a mess, but it's large enough and has a breakfast bar (my favorite) and a door leading to the shared garden (Jochem's favorite). It's airy and bright and I love sitting here in the morning with a cup of (now decaf) coffee. Not pictured: the dirty dishes. It's my blog, I can pretend I'm a good person here. 

Also not pictured in this post is our bathroom. We have a bath, but honestly, that whole space just depresses me. It needs a paint job and then some, so perhaps in the future I'll do a before & after on the bathroom. 

Hope you enjoyed that little tour!

Commissions: All in the Family

Lately, I've been trying to hold off on taking on too many commissions. I've been doing a lot of travel and the pregnancy is taking up its fair share of energy as well. I've got one more wedding invite to finish before my maternity leave, but other than that I've mostly been working on a baby book for our little one and trying to keep up my own journal pages.

Here's two commissions I did do this past year, both for family. I also hand lettered 350 place cards for a friend's wedding (which was surprisingly relaxing), but I forgot to take pictures.

Samme's Born!

I had the honor of designing my nephew's birth announcement. He was born back in November, and he's the absolute cutest of course. I love working with my brother and sister in law, as they always know exactly what they like and don't like. It helps when people have a clear idea of what they have in mind (and have somewhat of an understanding of the design process). 

Party Invite

Exiting things are happening in my family, as my youngest brother is getting married next year. Because our stepmom has recently fallen quite ill, and we're not sure how long we'll still have her with us, my brother and soon-to-be sister in law decided to organize a small gathering for all of the parents in honor of them getting their wedding license. We had to throw this one together in quite a rush, so we used a drawing I made of them in my journal before from when they got engaged (see here) and turned it into an invite. It was total card blanche from their end, so this went to press with only minor adjustments. 

Journal Pages: In the Oven

If you're a careful observer of these journal pages, you might have noticed I've been sick and tired a lot. The good news is this wasn't completely due to my loud neighbors, the shitty weather, or the travel. Nope, we're expecting a little baby Floor! I'm due December first, so there's still a while to go, but we're over the moon excited. Hope you guys like babies! 

Journal Pages: Two Months On

I used to be one of those people to loudly brag on about how I "function just fine on five hours of sleep". While that may or (probably) may not have been true (both the five hours and the functioning part), this has definitely changed. 

See, I gave this whole 'eight hours' thing a try, and let me tell you. It's friggin magic. Not only are a seriously disrupting caffeine habit and hazardous 4 PM afternoon dips (Geronimooo!) no longer facts of life, it turns out those slow sleepy hours between nine and noon weren't just signs of me 'not being a morning person'. I am still not a morning person, but at least my brain can perform simple tasks like tying my shoes or having a polite conversation with colleagues without insane amounts of sugar and/or coffee. 

This is all a very roundabout way of telling you that it's been two months since I last posted here. And it's because I chose sleep over blogging. And I am not sorry. Sleep is glorious, you should try it. Enjoy the long ass update!

Journal Pages: Where the Eagles Cry!

I am a known 'stadsmens', as we say in Dutch. A 'city person'. I grew up in the city, have always lived in cities, and I just very much love and enjoy cities - the bigger, the busier, the better.

I enjoy the concept of nature and the outdoors, but severe allergies to everything natural, a constant need for stimuli and soy lattes, as well as weak knees have often been enough reason for me to not venture too far away from civilization. Now, though, I seem to have found a reason to actually love nature: I love painting mountains.