holiday decorating guide: gift wrapping!
Posted in christmas ideas, handmade December 9th, 2008 by piablog

This will be my final post of the holiday gift guide and holiday decorating guide series. It’s been lots of fun putting these together. When I decided to do a guide I had loads of ideas and intentions but alas, time ran out! and I haven’t been able to post about everything I wanted (i.e I would like to have put together some ideas for decorating and making wreaths, and look at alternatives to traditional christmas trees and traditional decorating ideas). But this first series has given me plenty of inspiration and guidance for the next one, so this time next year, be sure to come back for more of the good stuff!

For now, let’s finish up by wrapping our presents, shall we?

Above are two of my favourite finds for holiday gift wrap this year. Left is the most fabulous wrapping paper by earth greetings. It is made from chlorine-free, 100% post-consumer recycled paper, and is printed with vegetable ink. Made in Australia, AUS$4.50. For online stockists click here. More of earth greetings wrapping paper are also available online at pulp creative paper and biome.

On the right, royal buffet does it again! those girls are so clever. I love these tags. $5 for a set of four.

clockwise from top left:

1. the above mentioned tags, just can’t get enough of them.

2. super stylish upcycled tags. $2 for a set of 5 from Marang97.

3. printable, giftable snowflake wreath stationery that you can print over and over again. What a gorgeous idea! It’s from blue tricycle. just $4.

4. i think these little elf holiday cards are super gorgeous. $13 for 6 from ghost kitten.

5. simple song’s holiday gift package $12, click here to check out what you will receive in the package.

I love wrapping gifts in cloth – no sticky tape needed, no fussing – just some lovely vintage ribbon or string wrapped around and around to secure your wrapping et voilà! instant gift wrap that doubles as an extra gift. On the left, is the very stunning japanese flower printed cotton from Australian etsy seller japanese treasures. 50cm x 57cm, $3.90.

On the right, limited edition protea print fabric by West-Australian based designer Danielle Smeets. $7 for a panel measuring 35cm x 45cm. Available from of paper and thread.

I love string! and beautiful beads. clockwise from top left:

1. & 2. natural string from baileys, various prices.

3. a ball of natural flax wet-spunlinen thread, 2-ply. $4.75 from namolio (also check out her range of fabric buttons – yum).

4. fossil mammoth beads from courtney tripp’s shop $44 for two. read more about these special beads here.

and last but not least, handmade story beads, 10 per pack, $5 from field and sea. incredibly gorgeous, wouldn’t you love a couple of these attached to your gift?


that’s it my dear friends, that’s. a wrap. 🙂

I do hope you’ve enjoyed this series, and I hope you’ve found loads of great gifts for your friends and family (and you!), as well as found inspiration along the way. I could keep going! But there is much to do and share with you.

Next up: oooh I think you’re gonna love it…


holiday art…
Posted in christmas ideas, photographers December 8th, 2008 by piablog

How was your weekend? I hope it was lovely. Here a few photographic delights that I’m loving for this holiday season…

Clockwise from top left:

1. I first mentioned Jude McConkey’s photographs here. This one, called echo of the trees is of snow falling in a forest in Kincheloe, Michigan. Isn’t is just magic. 8 x 12 $30.

2. Little Tree greeting card by nature mandalas. midcoast maine. $4.

3. travel lightly greeting card set of 4, from g(ART)en fine art photography. $12.

4. Another of Jude’s images, this one is part of her life in a snowglobe series. $30. check out the rest of jude’s work here.

And these guys above have been a hit ever since they landed on the etsy boutique shelves of photographer Sharon Montrose just over a month ago. There are cocatoos, kangaroos, reindeer, owls, lemars, otters… the list goes on. These gorgeous creatures are part of a small Californian zoo. 7 x 8, $25.


Next up: the last enhance the everyday holiday guide is on it’s way! Just in time for you to start wrapping your gifts…

holiday decorating ideas: ornaments…
Posted in christmas ideas, handmade December 6th, 2008 by piablog

It’s a rainy Friday night. Everyone is tucked up in their homes here in Amsterdam reading each other poems, opening gifts, and munching on handfuls of pepernoten. Why, you might ask? It’s sinterklaas here in The Netherlands. And this is (apparently) what they do today! For some reason this was a tradition that did not travel with my oma & opa when they moved to Australia. Although the best part of the tradition, in my opinion, did – each year my great grandmother came to visit us in Australia and brought each of her great grandchildren a large chocolate letter – the letter being the first letter of one’s name. So, every year I delightfully received a chocolate “P” and boy, did I love that tradition!! I still uphold it – just the other day I bought myself an organic chocolate “P”.

Hmm after that little story, I’m ready to start decorating the (blog)house and the (blog)tree! Are you with me? First up are those gorgeous recycled wood sock and stocking forms from Baileys (£18 and £24 each), and recycled glass baubles (£6.50), also from Baileys. So beautiful.

Clockwise from left:

1. little woollen trees made by little love blue. part of a set of 3 for $38. NY

2. felted christmas trees from reya veltman. so so cute. set of 3 for $45. The Netherlands.

3. country day trees from middelburg folk art studio. I love the texture of these! Imagine a row of them along a sideboard, so lovely. Set of 3 for $67. St. Charles(where is that exactly?)

I’m in love with these 1930’s deer decorations. A little battered and bruised (some have a limb missing), but just as lovable. callooh callay set of four, $17…

…and these toy soldiers from the ’60s, $22, also from callooh callay.

Clockwise from top left:

1 & 2. folded painted stars from sew danish 6.50 each.

3 & 4. royal buffet’s paper butterfly wreaths and garlands are to die for! check out what’s in store today (items are selling fast so if you see something you like, grab it tout de suite!)

5. paperboat press (aka the lovely kylie johnson) have a fabulous collection of handmade holiday ornaments, and these ceramic christmassy circles are just part of it! AUS$12.95 each, available online through biome.

6. This winter white rose garland is so pretty. It’s from pamela angus. $69. France.

7. how dainty is this little garland from lobster and swan? I think it’s sold, but it is lovely inspiration for holiday decorating none-the-less.

8. I think these German wool felt ornaments would look equally great on a traditional tree as well as a white one or even a branch. Or strung along on a ribbon as a garland. They come from filz felt. set of 4, $20. Boston.

9. kim westad’s coral pendant’s look great as hanging ornaments – how fabulous for a tree by the sea. $22 each. NYC

I’m off to bed now. But I’ll be back on the weekend with some holiday art and finishing up the enhance the everyday holiday guide with an awesome gift wrap selection on Monday! But before I go, I have a little treat for you: The lovely danielle from room service cleveland has so sweetly sent me this special gift for each and every one of you…

…thank you danielle! click here to be whisked away to danielle’s boutique, and don’t forget to enter “piajanebijkerk” in the coupon code box at checkout.


holiday decorating ideas: tabletop styling
Posted in christmas ideas, handmade December 4th, 2008 by piablog

(photograph by me, taken from this post.)

It is snowing here in Amsterdam again today. It’s always a treat for me to see snow falling from the sky. Even though I’ve lived through a number of snowy winters in my life (there are many Australians who have never seen snow), I still to this day find it so magical. And it is the perfect inspirational backdrop to share with you my (blog)house holiday tabletop theme of white, warmth, shadows & textures.

First let’s start with your bare table. A beautiful tablecloth is always the basis for a beautiful table setting. I like to keep my tablecloths simple so that the setting can do all the talking. Here are some that I like that fit the moodboard perfectly…

clockwise from top left:

1. UK fabric house namolio has some gorgeous linens in stock at the moment. Although this one is on the ‘shadow’ side of my white theme, it would make a lovely backdrop for a holiday tabletop setting. Your setting will stand out against the dark cloth and look very dramatic. This linen is sold by the 1/2 metre for $7.50.

2. plain white cotton napkins – you can never have enough (I have a drawer full of them and mix + match for shoots). These particular ones are rather special – they are handmade in romania and are 80% hemp, 20% cotton. The materials used in these linens were organically grown on family farms, then harvested, processed and spun by hand. Available from Branch Home, $38 for 4.

3. I love this hand-embroidered snowflake tablecloth from jodii. Its 100% linen and measures 160cm x 160cm. $530. made in germany.

4. This handprinted linen + cotton fabric from maramkiki would make a beautiful tabletop cloth. $40 per yard (57″ wide). chicago.


stylist’s tip: If you have just a plain white or cream tablecloth, you can add layers to create texture. Use similar coloured fabric remnants to lay over your plain cloth base or display a few vintage doilies – I have a collection of vintage cotton doilies in my props cupboard for just such occassions. Keep an eye out for some in your local vintage shops and markets, as well as ebay. I styled a Christmas tabletop story for maria magazine using some of my doilies (I promise to show you soon).


After you’ve chosen your tablecloth, you can get started on adding textural elements. As you know I am loving the use of feathers lately…

…and I found these stunning feathers for cindy k’s request yesterday. They are hand collected from a free range farm in Texas, carefully washed and dried, ready for using for decoration. (note: make sure the feathers you purchase are properly cleaned. Also try to source them from your local farms rather than commercial craft warehouses.)

Next, scatter some beeswax tealights around and light them! I can’t help but light the candles while I’m decorating as it adds mood and helps my inspiration flow. It’s also handy to see where the candles are most appropriate to place. Make sure you leave lots of room in the centre of your table for the centre piece and platters of food.


Now for the centrepiece. And what will it be? a simple collection of milk glass candleholders and vases…

I’ve selected these ones from sister’s vintage in orlando. All together these pieces are just $27. Fill them with tall white candles and single flower sprays and you have yourself a festive centrepiece that will look gorgeous by day & night. Place some tealight candles around the bottom and a few extra feathers. Step back and assess your masterpiece. The beauty with milk glass is that it mixes so well with clear glass and silver cutlery – once all your glasses and silverware and white plates are on the table, the milk glass adds a sophisticated softness to the table arrangement. And you can find milk glass at your local bric a brac store – just start a collection in one of your cupboard shelves and you can pull pieces from it for serving your various dishes (I also like this jug, these bud vases, and this serving platter)


And last but not least, the extra touches…

clockwise from top left:

1. rae dunn customised napkin rings. $22 for two.san fransisco.

2. a mix of vintage buttons to add to your plain white napkins, or tablecloth, or use with ribbon to make pretty napkin rings. 65 buttons for $10 from button contructions.

3. nesting bowls by sara paloma. $160. san fransisco.

4. cake plates from baileys home and garden. £18.

5. milk glass compote from callooh callay, $9.

6. oatmeal fig tea towel from lotta helleberg. $24.


So there you have it! I hope you find inspiration in this selection, do let me know.

coming up next… have your tree ready because I have a fabulous selection of festive ornaments in store…

holiday decorating ideas: introduction
Posted in christmas ideas, pia's photos, trend December 3rd, 2008 by piablog

Have you all been enjoying the holiday gift ideas thus far? I can tell you I have! I am just so wrapped with the treasures I’ve found for all of us – they are so cool and I would be wrapped if any of them landed under my tree this year. Although I have categorized them don’t let that stop you from thinking outside the square and mixing up categories (I know I am hankering for everything in my ‘for kids’ and ‘for him’ round up!!). Which reminds me of a little story from my childhood…

…one Christmas when I was not yet ten, my parents had decided to put all our goodies in big sacks instead of gift wrapping each one individually. When it was time to open the sacks I was so thrilled with everything I was finding – a walkman, a board game, a heavy duty skipping rope… but when my brother opened his sack something was not quite right -there was a doll, hair clips, a barbie boutique, a flower press… in my parent’s haste to get the sacks under the tree in time the night before my mum had accidentally put the wrong name tags on the sacks. I was gutted! But I recovered rapidly, I promise (that flower press and the barbie hat boutique very quickly became my two favourite play things in the world)…

Anyway, let’s get back to what this post is really all about! It’s all about my 2008 holiday decorations and styling ideas. Each year I come up with my holiday theme by simply looking around my home. I collect things from my inspiration board, props shelves, craft box and linen cupboard. Last year you may recall I was right into this colour combo – lots of dark browns and earthy colours – rich plum, soft greens inspired by peacocks, shells, stray buttons and found cards. But this year, I am loving white with the focus on textures – light feathers, soft fabric buttons, natural string, beautiful crochet garlands, skeleton leaves and antique cream linens.

So my holiday decorating ideas for this week will be very much inspired by my colour palette for this year, with touches of traditional colours here and there. I do hope you will enjoy it! Coming up first will be all about decorating your tabletop, and at the end of the week we will look at gift wrapping and cards. And all of it, as I’ve mentioned before will be following my styling philosophy.

To get us started, here is my holiday decorating ideas moodboard…

And when the night falls…