it’s time for a chat…
Posted in nature, personal, pia's photos, the houseboat July 21st, 2010 by pia

…little treasures at dusk, in my garden…

I still cannot believe my luck in being reunited with my bike! I have never heard of anyone finding their bike here after it’s been stolen, it’s some sort of miracle.  I would really love to know what happened,  if only my beautiful rusty bike could talk. Today I took it for a little ride around the neighbourhood, it was like we were never apart. I will be sure to buy it some flowers, or a new light, or something, just so it knows how much I love it so.

Aside from my bike being stolen and found, life for me so far this summer has been full. on.  With the Amsterdam: Made by Hand book release and my current book deadline all happening at the same time, it’s been ‘nose to the grindstone’ all the way. Last week I thought I was going to explode so I went for a jog to see if i could release some of the tension. I lasted about 30 seconds before I started hyperventilating. The next day my shins were crying out in pain. I’ve never been a jogger but you know it was one of those things where other people make it look so easy and enjoyable. It’s like high heel shoes – every few years or so I get seduced by some fabulously leggy woman strolling past me in heels and I think “wow, I really must get my heels out and wear them like this!”, to which I do and then after about 25 minutes my lower back screams out in agony.

One thing that has kept me in good stead though while I’ve been so frantic this past month (beside french boy, of course), is my kitchen garden. It has been wonderfully therapeutic – when I have a tea break I check the plants to see how they’re going, give them some water, make sure they are healthy. Some of them have been transplanted into bigger pots on the front deck of the boat – while inside I have basil, thyme, parsley, and rosemary, outside there are strawberries and lavender, and I even managed to grow lemongrass from a dried up piece of stalk I bought at the chinese supermarket! Gardening truly is so great for the soul…

And lilies – my dear friend Zoë planted some beautiful lilies in my garden last summer while we were prepping the boat for a Finnish tv crew who came to visit (I know, I still haven’t had a chance to tell you about that!). I thought the lilies would not last through the winter so I was stunned a couple of months ago when I saw them popping up and reaching for the sun! They are truly stunning…

So what else can I catch you up on? As you know Amsterdam: Made by Hand is now well and truly out there in the big wide world.  I want to thank everyone who has blogged about it since its launch, and those of you who have told your friends, colleagues, family and local independent bookstores about my work –  I really cannot tell you enough how much your support means to me, and how incredible your blog posts and conversations about my work have helped spread the word  – you guys are the ones who enable me to keep doing what I love.  thank you.

On my to-do list is to make a special blog page for Amsterdam: Made by Hand like I have for Paris: Made by Hand. I will create a list of all the lovely shops that are selling the book around the world so if you’ve seen the book somewhere, please let me know and I’ll include that store in my list. And the same goes for reviews and features in magazines and blogs – if you’ve seen one let me know so I can be sure to include them on the page.

Also on my to-do list is to update my online portfolio, it’s in desperate need of attention. I may have the oldest, most out-of-date portfolio on the planet by now. Oh well, it’s impossible to get to everything at once and right now I am devoting all my attention to you know what. Mes amis, I am so incredibly excited about what is transpiring, it is turning into an exquisite book and I am bursting at the seams to share it with you. All in good time.

Well, that’s pretty much my catch up post! Hope you are all having a fab summer and for the southern hemispherians, a fab winter. I have another ‘catch up’ style post coming tomorrow, so stay tuned for that one.


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    Can you tell me what camera you used for these photos, they are beautiful.
    Thank you

    July 21st, 2010 | #

  2. erin, reading my tea leaves says

    i love these dusky photos! the fire-escape garden at my sister’s where i’m staying this summer has been treating us, too! tonight we eat the first red tomato!

    July 21st, 2010 | #

  3. Sarah - Jane down the lane says

    Ooh ooh ooh a new book, how delicious!
    sounds like it’s going to be another gorgeous addition to my shelf! loved your pics epecially the little strawberry pouring over the edge of the pot, lovely!

    Sarah x

    July 21st, 2010 | #

  4. katiecrackernuts says

    Oh Pia, you are funny. Maybe a good brisk walk rather than a run. The breathing in and out and the meditative effects will do wonders. Try again. I love running. I was never a runner but love it now. Am running up and down the Parramatta River, which is fabulous, at lunch time. I hope to stroll it some time soon to read all the historical bits and pieces and maybe even a spot of lunch or cuppa at ELizabeth Farm in Spring when it’s too hot to run.
    Good luck with that project I know you love so much. It will be brilliant.
    Oh, and the garden. Yes indeed. Can’t wait until I have a weekend where I can set aside time to start my spring plantings. Winter veggies didn’t go so well this year.

    July 21st, 2010 | #

  5. Maria says

    I didn’t know there was a book and I now can’t wait to get my hands on a copy! Your pictures are so gorgeous! Woould you mind elling me what kind of camera you are using? I love how you choose to go from the vibrant colors of the flowers to the delicay of the spider web! So very beautiful!

    Have a wonderful Day!
    Thanks for sharing,

    July 22nd, 2010 | #

  6. Leanne T says

    oh i love that ‘breath taking’ first photo! makes me want to paint something like that!!!!

    July 22nd, 2010 | #

  7. Miss Burberry says

    I like your blog but i’m sorry, you really do self indulge sometimes and go on and on about yourself… and as for the complaining about your big workload of late and how you havn’t even had time to cook, then think of the less fortunate people out there who don’t get to do what they love due to circumstances. You are fortunate, so less whiny posts would be more becoming as you come across sometimes as living in a little bubble world that while it seems cute, and lovely, also seems very self centered. I do wish you well and I also do appreciate that you inspire many people out there, so good work for doing that.

    July 22nd, 2010 | #

  8. b from pergolina says

    i especially love the image of the decaying flowers and not quite ripe green strawberries. gorgeous.

    July 22nd, 2010 | #

  9. Victoria says

    Pia, it’s raining in Melbourne, however you always bring sunshine into my days. Especially loving the boat garden photos, beautiful personal touch xx looking forward to that book!!

    July 22nd, 2010 | #

  10. michele morcos says

    oh Pia we are on the same wavelength. Im shooting beautiful things and treaured spots too….saying thank you for all the tiny and massive things that the universe has thrown my way! I get it! one thing…. just walk! its just as theraputic… michelex

    July 22nd, 2010 | #

  11. g @ kiss my spatula says

    so happy you have been reunited with your bike! gardening is food for the soul, isn’t it?

    July 22nd, 2010 | #

  12. airelle says

    Hello Pia, lovely photos as ever.
    I was to Aix en Provence, Southern France, yesterday and was disappointed not to find your books in the English Language Bookstore there. Ok, I suppose I can find them in the internet somewhere but I would have loved to buy them there. Are you marketed by your editor or do you contact bookstores yourself? They are called Book in Bar and catter to an ever growing public of resident foreigners, students and tourists in the central Provence area.

    July 22nd, 2010 | #

  13. pia says

    hi airelle- thank you! Yes I am marketed by my publisher, I’m not sure how much access they have to overseas retailers as they are based in the US and most of the sales are there, but since I live in Europe and am Australian I have been able to encourage sales in these continents too. It would be so great to have the book in this store you mention. The best thing I can do is to encourage readers of my blog to ask their local bookstores to stock my book. My publisher is small and independent, as am I and I’m not in the position to be able to have the resources available to contact individual booksellers around the world. But I will pass on your comment to my publisher and see if they can contact this store. Thanks again for your interest and support for my work!! It means alot.

    July 22nd, 2010 | #

  14. Nicole says

    Thanks for the chat today and many other days… I look in on you here quite often but don’t always comment. I am inspired by your words and images and the energy you put into your work. For me it’s a way to travel, to wander with you a little while I’m actually sitting quite still. It can touch my own sense of adventure and curiosity about the world… its places and people. Thank-you from frosty Melbourne.

    July 22nd, 2010 | #

  15. pia says

    thank you nicole, what a beautiful comment. Everything you have said is everything that I hope to achieve in my work, it makes me happy to know that you feel this way.

    g -it is! A little bit of gardening a day is incredibly soul nurturing.

    michele morcos – haha, I will stick to walking, indeed 🙂 It’s nice to hear we are on the same wavelength! Thank you.

    victoria – thank you!!

    b from pergolina – aaah, I like those ones too 😉 merci.

    Miss Burberry – my blog is a personal journal. I’m sorry you feel this way about my recent posts but since this blog is my personal journal it will seem to some at times, like yourself, as self-indulgent. But I also notice that you have never made a comment on my posts about human rights issues, you might want to consider adding something to these posts, especially considering the way you feel about my more personal posts. Here is the link to make it easier for you to find them:

    Leanne T – thank you!

    Maria – thank you, if you like my photos then you might just love this book I’m working on :-). I wrote a post about the camera equipment I use, here is the link:

    katiecrackernuts – see, you are one of those people I’m talking about! You make it look so enjoyable and easy. Perhaps you can teach me how to run one day, for now I will stick with walking – and while you run up and down the beautiful parramatta river, I am walking up and down the amstel river. Nice!!

    Sarah Jane down the lane – thank you sarah 🙂

    erin, reading my tea leaves – delicious! There is nothing like eating produce form your own garden.

    KAREN HUTCHISON – here is the link to a post I wrote about my camera equipment:

    July 22nd, 2010 | #

  16. Prudence @ Flotsam Friends says

    More wonderful shots… You are so inspiring… I’m hoping my photos of my blog are improving too, all because of you!! Thanks again. Pruxxx

    July 22nd, 2010 | #

  17. Cassandra says

    Pia – don’t ever run. It makes one puff…. A brisk saunter to the cafe with dog far more enjoyable. I too have said goodbye to heels – literally I gave them all to my sister. I am at one with my ballet flats, brogues and jandals. Hoorah for walking and flat shoes. And hoorah for more lovely books!

    July 22nd, 2010 | #

  18. becka says

    Beautiful photographs 🙂

    I used to hate running, but after a while I got into it; you have to be in the right mood though, and I have definitely started out full of energy and then died about a minute later!

    your new book sounds very exciting!

    July 22nd, 2010 | #

  19. hybrid handmade says

    I can’t believe you got your bike back!! I’m astounded but also a little bit lifted by human decency – someone obviously just really needed to borrow it (they were late for a meeting with their boy/girl friend or something) and then they put it back!! What a good thing – especially when you are under so much pressure (and are getting the odd narky comment…I think you handled it very well – as my mum used to say ‘If you haven’t got anything nice to say then just don’t say it’…it’s good advice I think)

    July 22nd, 2010 | #

  20. zoe says

    Hehe, can Romain keep an eye out for my bike while he’s out there?! Last seen on the corner of Vechtstraat and President Kennedylaan!! I love that your lillies came back this year, just as your orchid did! With a bit of luck they’ll have multiplied and you’ll get an even better show than last year. Just remember to fertilise them once or twice after the flowers have dropped – then they’ll come back again next year too!

    July 23rd, 2010 | #

  21. Maria says

    Oh thanks so much for the link… it’s so appreciated! 🙂 have a lovely day!!! 🙂

    July 23rd, 2010 | #

  22. MissHeliotrope says

    I am always slightly astonished at people being cranky at others’ blogs – they are the ultimate non-forced reading, surely – and thought that you responded well. As someone who is reading this at home while seriously ill, I find it diverting to be able to follow what you are doing, and that it involves such beautiful locations and objects is something that I appreciate and feel that you are aware of how lucky you are to have. Everybody gets sick or flustered from things & complains sometimes, no matter how pleasant our surrounds, and you are very obviously clear on how rare it is that you are living & working the way you are & enjoy so much.

    I actually used your idea of paper flowers from the book shop display & made some for my nephew who visited yesterday, and am considering trying to make some out of newspaper to see how they look that way. I often use links you suggest to see even more beautiful and interesting things, and have enjoyed reading (& purchased the Amsterdam one) your books for the same reasons. Have been slightly less regularly reading lately, due partially to slower internet after husband used our monthly amount up early due to the World Cup, but have also been diverted by the Australian Federal Election. But thank you for the interesting and beautiful things (am overusing those words) you bring into my life.

    July 23rd, 2010 | #

  23. MissHeliotrope says

    PS – after all that, would it be possible for us to see a floor plan of the houseboat? I can’t quite figure out where everything fits in & it spoils the daydreams…

    July 23rd, 2010 | #

  24. sharon says

    Your blog is so fantastic. I bought your Paris, made by hand book last year before heading there and it was a wonderful guide to quirky and beautiful artisans there. I have been to Amsterdam twice and hope to go again someday – your guide will be my muse 🙂 Thank you for posting about your stylish life.

    July 23rd, 2010 | #

  25. la ninja says

    I totally relate to your thoughts on jogging & high heel wearing (painful unattainable feats) and to tending the plants as a therapeutic activity (balcony in a’dam in my case… tomato plant going nuts right now…)

    such a shame I missed the book do back in june. I was out of town, but hopefully there’ll be a next time.
    (I’m a “friend” of esti’s from fb. different alias there, though, one has to keep it mysterious as a ninja 😉

    July 23rd, 2010 | #

  26. pia says

    la ninja – oh, I think I know who you are 🙂 Thank you for your fab comment – made my laugh, I’m thinking I should have an alias too, being a ninja by night just seems so cool!!

    sharon – merci! That is so wonderful to hear. I do hope you get to use the book in Amsterdam sometime.

    Miss Heliotrope – you made my morning, thank you so much, everything you have written is what I hope to be achieving and you are spot on – I know all too well that these moments, these circumstances don’t last forever and that this time I have is precious and nothing can ever be taken for granted. Life is a series of phases, and sometimes they are phases where all the good things come at once, and sometimes they are phases where some things don’t go so well. Illness is also something ever-present in my life, and suffering is something we all have to go through – for that is life. But I have learnt that by having a generous spirit and a positive attitude to the everyday makes all the difference to how we see and feel things, not matter what our circumstances. Onward and upward, I say!

    The newspaper flowers sounds like a FABULOUS idea!! I love it, go for it – the lightness of the paper will really work for this type of construction I think. And yes, I will draw a little floorplan, great idea. Thanks again for brightening my day.

    Maria – no worries.

    zoe – thank you for reminding me re: orchids! I will do that for sure. You are such a clever cat, we miss you over here! We will look out for your bike. x

    hybrid handmade – me too 🙂 and your mum has good advice!

    becka – you’re a runner! I’m impressed.

    Cassandra – you crack me up! But you already knew that.:-) thank you, we are so similiar, it warms my heart.

    Prudence @ Flotsam Friends – thank you pru, I’m so glad to hear you’re inspired by my photography. Keep it up! It’s all about the journey. x

    July 23rd, 2010 | #

  27. Di says

    So glad to have found you out here in the blog world. You have the most delicious site.

    August 2nd, 2010 | #

  28. Kate says

    Dear God! You have a houseboat with a garden, a garden on your houseboat! You are the luckiest of houseboat dwellers and also the luckiest of garden makers! Thanks for sharing delicious photos.

    October 21st, 2010 | #

  29. Lucy says

    I love everything about lilies. The petals, the nostalgia, even the name! A tea break among your kitchen garden with a view of the lilies sounds like a little slice of serenity… I, too, have a windowsill garden in my kitchen. I love it because then I will always reach for the fresh rosemary instead of the dried.

    December 12th, 2010 | #

  30. cheap lululemon says

    One of the best things about yoga is how easily it can be adapted to meet the needs of practically anyone willing to give it a try.

    May 15th, 2013 | #

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