the window display “in the making”, finale: THE WINDOW!
Posted in amsterdam: made by hand, behind the scenes June 2nd, 2010 by pia

So. The window: it’s all done! I finished at about 6pm yesterday and had all intention to post pics for you as soon as I got home but when I sat on the couch I promptly fell asleep instead, it so happens I was pretty exhausted…

But now I’m refreshed and ready to get on with the rest of the week’s plans, starting with the last post in the series, the window display “in the making (if you’ve missed the first 5 posts, just scroll down this page to find them).  Are you ready? The first photo in this post is a little sneak peek of the finished display, but for now I want to take you all back with me to the beginning of yesterday, when I gathered all the little display items in my basket and headed to the american book center by foot. French Boy carried the large cardboard cutouts.  It was a rather grey day and about half way there I thought it might rain but it didn’t, thank goodness, because if it did well, let’s not think about it! Anyway, below is my basket of goodies…

As soon as we arrived I began attaching the banners overhead, and then began assembling the main display…

French Boy assisted me the whole afternoon, handing me tape, scissors, string, and taking pics of each stage – what a treasure. Then, we had two lovely visitors stop by to say hello: Marie and Yvette! That was quite a treat…

It didn’t take long to assemble the whole display, probably about an hour/hour and a half – with lots of chit chatting in between…

Then came the window painting…

In my sketch I was thinking of painting a tree but on the day I decided a tree would visually cut into the display so I decided to paint vines and flowers coming in from the sides instead. The painting was a lot of fun. I could have happily whiled away the entire afternoon doing this… oh, right, I did…

And that was that! Suddenly it was 6pm and I had to pull myself away from the window painting. While I was painting the window a number of passers-by remarked “mooi mooi” or “lekker” or “leuk”… which all translate as “nice!” so that was lovely to hear. Now, would you like to see some of the final result? Okay, first here are some close up details…

Each canal house has cut out windows and in the windows I taped some pages from the book. But not so you could read the pages in full – just enough with the hope to entice and inspire.

And overhead I attached word banners with taglines like “a little book of enchanting wanders” – Rani supplied me with a number of catchy taglines to use and this is one of them, thank you Rani! I also liked her flatmate’s suggestion which was “Amsterdam: Made by Hand – handier than your iphone”. Clever! I didn’t use that one though (sorry Rani’s flatmate, but I very much appreciate your input 🙂 ).

At first I was thinking that I’d write a tagline on the window but then I decided not to in the end as I felt it would be a bit messy. So at the last minute –  yesterday morning in fact  – I made these word banners and I’m really happy I did!

Also at the last minute – late Monday evening in fact – I decided to make little origami boats for under the bridges. I used left over bits of paper and tape.

On one of the canal houses I layered it with two different papers and then cut out butterfly shapes to expose the paper below. I wanted to make the window as layered as possible. Which wasn’t an easy feat since the window is actually only 26 cm deep. But with the painted window, the banners, and the colourful canal houses and bridges I think it does the trick. So would you like to see the window in full? Of course I’m going to tell you that it’s much better to go and visit it in person but for those of you who will not be in Amsterdam over the coming few weeks, here it is below. All you have to do is click on the image and a large version of it will open in another window…

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series of “in the making” posts showing my creative process from concept to realisation. Thanks for all your wonderful comments over the past week – you’ve made this project extra fun, your encouragement along each step has helped my creativity tremendously. Now I have to get cracking on the rest of the book launch plans for this Saturday – anyone know a musician who would like to play a little something at the launch? I’m still looking for someone so if you know of anyone, please let me know. I’m thinking violinist, or accordionist, or acoustic guitar – anything acoustic, and anything simple, soft and melodic.

In my next post I’ll be letting you know the other book events happening in June, so stay tuned…


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  1. Aron says

    It looks fantastic and I love the paper boat. I’m sure Saturday will be a huge success!

    June 2nd, 2010 | #

  2. nadia says

    i must admit to coming to your blog ten times i the last two days waiting for the unveiling! BEAUTIFUL i so do wish i was there in person to take a peek and explore through the openings and hidden treasures. it reminds me of childhood staring at the Ogilvy window trying to not miss a thing! bravo Pia absolument delicieus!

    June 2nd, 2010 | #

  3. Nidhi says

    It’s stunning and whimsical…I love the colors…can’t imagine how much more wonderful it would be in person!

    June 2nd, 2010 | #

  4. Cecile says

    Oh, it’ so beautiful!!!!!!!!

    June 2nd, 2010 | #

  5. Julie says

    I adore your site. For an armchair traveler it is a piece of cotton candy visual heaven.

    June 2nd, 2010 | #

  6. Alison May says

    Oh this is just the sort of magical bookish window I dream of passing. Clever, clever you!

    June 2nd, 2010 | #

  7. nyla says

    the colors, the patterns, the bridges, the boats… absolutely darling! this display would stop me dead in my tracks! love how the layers of banners create depth (they kind of remind me of tibetan prayer flags.) so much fun to witness the alchemy step by step. you’re a master, pia.

    June 2nd, 2010 | #

  8. chelsea says

    So lovely, Pia!!!!

    June 2nd, 2010 | #

  9. erin says

    really, really lovely job, pia!

    June 2nd, 2010 | #

  10. Masha says

    This is so pretty! Once again – I love the colours.

    June 2nd, 2010 | #

  11. sammy & glenn says

    well done on the window pia, it looks beautiful! it really looks good with the shop front being black too, the colours you have chosen work so well. hope the launch goes well and that you sell lots and lots of books.

    June 2nd, 2010 | #

  12. Nuria says

    this window looks so lovely!!! I wish to be in Amsterdam to saw it.

    June 2nd, 2010 | #

  13. Becka says

    it looks wonderful! I love the colours and the boats! I hope the launch goes well for you!

    June 2nd, 2010 | #

  14. Brittany Noel says

    Pia! This window is gorgeous. I’ve been away for far too long. I can’t believe this book is ready to launch and everything. I can’t wait to buy it, I know it will be beautiful. It’s nice to see your lovely face 🙂

    June 2nd, 2010 | #

  15. Maria Helena says

    Pia, it´s fantastic! It’s been great to see all the process & now the result!! I love the colours, their combination is not very common, it was surprising! All the best for the book launch * greetings from sunny Portugal

    June 2nd, 2010 | #

  16. Julie says

    Looks amazing, very colourfull and amsterdamnish:-) You have done a beautifull window there. Good luck this weekend.

    June 2nd, 2010 | #

  17. Jodi Anderson says

    I have been quietly following your progress, and I just have to tell you that I love your window display. Thank you for sharing the adventure.

    By the way, I love your striped shirt/jacket.

    June 2nd, 2010 | #

  18. BB says

    Very eye-catching! i love the details and the colours, well done:)

    June 2nd, 2010 | #

  19. Kitty says

    I have enjoyed reading the posts you have shared with us over the last few days about your window…I must say that the result is stunning! Wish I could be in Amsterdam to admire all the little details.

    June 2nd, 2010 | #

  20. Will says

    Yay! The final display! How exciting…have to say it looks fab, Pia! Great work 🙂 Looking forward to hearing about the other book events, too.

    June 2nd, 2010 | #

  21. Teacher Teacher says

    I really like your entire display! The frames showcasing a portion of the book are mesmerizing. Love the boats and bridges – a stroke of genius. I wish you the best of luck with your book!

    June 2nd, 2010 | #

  22. Unni Strand says

    I have been following your posts with great interest and showed them to my students. I teach Interior and Visual Merchandising so it was perfect as a part of the repetition for them before their exam! Thank you so much!

    June 2nd, 2010 | #

  23. Lynn says

    Your book is fabulous, (and I love your window display)I can’t wait to come to Amsterdam..but even if I didnt your book paints fabulous dreams thankyou.
    Hugs Lynn xxx

    June 2nd, 2010 | #

  24. Amy@The TreeSpace Studio says

    Beautiful, Pia! I wish I could be there to see it in person…

    June 2nd, 2010 | #

  25. Cherie says

    Very beautiful. You are completely, utterly talented.

    June 2nd, 2010 | #

  26. Kym says

    beautiful! I was swept away “watching” you put it together.
    That was fun. Thanks 🙂

    June 2nd, 2010 | #

  27. Kate says

    It looks AMAZING! An interesting journey

    June 2nd, 2010 | #

  28. Bec says

    WOW! So much beautiful work – you deserved that nap on the couch!! We’re all cheering for you back home in Australia 🙂

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  29. Sarah says

    I love the finished window! So whimsical and pretty and-importantly-handmade! I love the little painted plants, they really finish it off beautifully. Wish I lived in Amsterdam and could have a look in person!

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  30. Pip says

    That is so gorgeous! Beautifully executed! It looks lovely and handmade and cohesive and gorgeous! Yay for you! xxP

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  31. Sally says

    Congratulations Pia – and thanks so much for including us all in the preparation of your window display – now go ahead and enjoy all that Saturday brings. Just wish I was there instead of in Queensland!

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  32. Suzi says

    It looks fabulous, I just love the layers. You’ve so inspired me! 26cm is a whole world in this window. I love it!

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  33. katiecrackernuts says

    Just gorgeous, but because it’s you Pia, it was always going to be. Well done and congratulations.

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  34. Mandy says

    Well done you, just amazing !!!!!!!

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  35. georgina says

    Book arrived today, love it.

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  36. Lisa says

    I love it!!!!

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  37. Jasmin says

    Gorgeous, gorgeous details. Wish I could see this in person! Thanks for sharing the process, Pia.

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  38. Mietta says

    So gorgeous Pia!!! its been lots of fun watching your process throughout the week, and that window is just divine!!

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  39. Emma says

    It would be so nice to live in the little world you have created!
    My copy of your book arrived yesterday… I can’t wait to settle down with a cup of tea and peruse!

    x Emma

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  40. sarah says

    this is lovely Pia! If only I were there to wander by and admire your beautiful work. I so appreciate you letting those of us in on something that I wouldn’t otherwise get the opportunity to see.
    best of luck on the new book! I will be getting my copy as soon as I can.


    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  41. rosie says

    this looks a-maazing! love love the paper sailboat and yellow stripes!

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  42. Jennifer says

    Oh, Pia! Your window came out so lovely! I’m very far away from Amsterdam 🙁 so I won’t be able to enjoy it in person, but I have really enjoyed following along on your creative journey in producing it. Congratulations on another wonderful book, and have a great time at the reception!

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  43. bonjour! says

    Congratulations Pia! All are beautiful. Thank you for giving us the chance to view your wonderful creations (especially for us who are unable to come in Amsterdam)!
    Good luck and lot of success!
    Bonne chance 😉

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  44. bonjour! says

    .. as for the musuic, I would suggest some jazz music or a jazz band which includes sax as well! Just an idea..
    Best of luck for your book.. which I am sure that all your fans are going to love it!!

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  45. Siobhan says

    Looks great. I like how it’s landscape to your portrait Paris window. You must be so excited / exhausted!

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  46. Sonya says

    Wow Pia- great job! So much thought and love and so Amsterdammy too! Will def come down and check this out in person.

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  47. Leanne T says

    completely gorgeous. must be very satisfying to stand back and see it completed!!

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  48. Zoe says

    Oh, Pia, it’s beautiful! Do you know, for the first time since I left, I miss Amsterdam?! Only because I wish I could be there this week – oh how I’d love to get my hands on that bunting!! I’m so glad you have Rani to help, and French Boy supporting you like crazy as always, but I have to admit to just a teeny, tiny, weeny twinge of unadulterated jealousy ;o) I hope the launch goes beautifully, with yummy goodies, and sweet music, and laughter and joy. The world is surely smiling on your achievements this week. I’ll be raising a glass on your behalf!

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  49. Antonella says


    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  50. kylie j says

    love it
    love it
    love it
    (especially the paper boat… hee hee)
    congrats lovely, you are so clever !

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  51. hilde says

    It is gorgeous. It looks like a party…fantastic!!
    I’ll be there.

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  52. leslie says

    Pia, looks amazing! Love the painting on the window (really draws attention). Looking forward to seeing it in person when I get back. Good luck with everything at the signing – sure it will be a great success!

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  53. shelley t says

    gorgeous and inspiring. i love that it was such a collaborative effort. x

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  54. Gillian says

    Absolutely beautiful!! I’ve been sitting on the edge of my seat the past few days, waiting to see the final product….well done! You must be so proud! You should make a “Sydney: Made by Hand” so that you can make a display like this over here!

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  55. Yvonne says

    Wow! Pia, you are so creative. The window is so whimsical and sweet. If I walked by that window I would definitely stop and enjoy. Have a fantastic time on Saturday for the launch. A pretty dress and and flower in hair somehow seems ideal for such an occasion. Oh, how I wish I could be there!! Lot’s of love from Toronto! xo

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  56. Edina says

    it’s very beautiful, pia!! 🙂 love the little paper boats and their stripy flags! too cute!

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  57. Katarina says

    Congratulations, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a nicer shop display.
    I’m looking forward to getting both your books soon.

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  58. ingrid says

    beautifully enchanting x

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  59. Mina says

    You are so talented Pia!!! Congratulations from Brazil. I wish I could be there to get the book and to see the window art and the sailboat.
    Warm wishes!!!

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  60. Just a Plane Ride Away says

    Dat is zo mooi! I love every magical detail. I hope to get up to Amsterdam to see this in person 🙂

    Congratulations on your new book!!

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  61. Ameesha Lee says

    Gorgeous! You are one clever lady. I just worked on my first art direction job & got a taste of what styling/set dressing is like. So much fun!!

    Congrats on your new book, bet it’s just as lovely as the Paris guide.

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  62. missmilki says

    its absolutely beautiful! I’ve really enjoyed following its creation. Thanks for the series & a huge congratulations! 🙂

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  63. Catalina says

    Thank you Pia! so generous to show us your creating steps!

    So beautiful as well! all the best! I got Paris made by hand I will get this one as well for sure!

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  64. karin klazes says

    Hey Pia, nice pictures of your tuesdayshopwindowjob. Also nice to meet you in person after you just finished your display. Have fun this coming saturday !

    June 3rd, 2010 | #

  65. Tracey Cove says

    It looks wonderful Pia. I bet it looks great at night, with the lights on behind it??? I love your books – they’re never far out of reach : )

    June 4th, 2010 | #

  66. Machteld says

    Pia, it’s a dazzlingly darling display! I feel so lucky for being able to actually see it IRL tomorrow! I hope you’ll catch some sleep tonight, I can’t even imagine how exciting this must be for you!

    June 4th, 2010 | #

  67. Ana says

    It´s beautiful! I love that you put several layers of significance into the display. Love it! Sending you warm thoughts for tomorrow!

    June 4th, 2010 | #

  68. Ivette says

    Gorgeous!! I love all the details! Can’t wait to get the book!!

    June 4th, 2010 | #

  69. Eva / Sycamore Street Press says

    It looks amazing! Congrats! I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of the book…and to take a trip to Amsterdam. 🙂

    June 4th, 2010 | #

  70. Michelle says

    You did such a wonderful job! I love all the bright colors. And the window with the lace covering is my favorite. You should be so proud!

    June 5th, 2010 | #

  71. judith b says

    Dear Pia,

    You have done a wonderful job (natch!) and it has been very enjoyable following the process from the adorable poster to your irrestistible window drrssing.

    I so hoped to be able to get to Amsterdam today to toast to the success of your second book, but, sniff, it’s not happening. However, I am sure you will have a marvelous turn-out and the bookshop will have to order more books for…Monday!! I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy, it looks soooo luscious!

    All the best for your big day!


    June 5th, 2010 | #

  72. judith b says

    drrssing = dressing, sorry!

    June 5th, 2010 | #

  73. beauty comma says

    oh my gosh pia, it looks absolutely wonderful and fabulous. no wonder you fell asleep on the couch, this must have been a lot of work putting together! i love everything about it – the paper boats being my favourite detail =) it looks like there’s going to be a party in the shop (which i guess there will be)…
    congratulations – enjoy your weekend!

    June 5th, 2010 | #

  74. Eva says

    Fantastic! It looks very eye-catching and intricate, I’d love to see it in person. It was nice to watch it grow. Congratulations on the book too!

    June 5th, 2010 | #

  75. Christine says

    Beautiful job! I could only imagine how much fun it would be to decorate a store window.

    June 6th, 2010 | #

  76. claire says


    June 6th, 2010 | #

  77. circus charlie says

    this is dreamily wonderful pia.
    i just want to sail away on that little paper boat
    like in the science of sleep or something
    great job lovely!

    June 6th, 2010 | #

  78. bambooska says

    Wow, that looks good and fun! Also, how many bikes are there in Amsterdam? I saw hundreds in one of your pictures! I’m new around here but I’d like to ask: are you publishing a book? How awesome! What is it about?

    June 6th, 2010 | #

  79. guerligirl says

    It’s almost too beautiful to look at. Thank you for sharing the whole process with us; it makes me want to get up and do something. Stunning, really.

    June 6th, 2010 | #

  80. ToneF says

    Such a gorgeous display you have made!!! I love the banner and the houses, and that touch you have made to the paper-boats :o)
    And congrats on your new book!!!
    It looks amazing!
    I hope I get get hold of it since we are going to the Netherlands and Amsterdam for the first time this summer :o)
    Looking so forward to it and I would love to explore some of the handmade Amsterdam 😉

    June 6th, 2010 | #

  81. Brooke says

    WOW Pia! wow wow wow. So great-looking!

    June 7th, 2010 | #

  82. Jeska says

    Looks so beautiful, can’t wait to get my hands on a copy and plan my next city break.

    June 7th, 2010 | #

  83. Luis says

    Congratulations! this 100% Art Direction plus 100% creativty.
    Beautiful, beautiful.

    June 7th, 2010 | #

  84. gretchen says

    i received the amsterdam book in the mail in the mail in the U.S. a few weeks ago. i love it! can’t wait to visit amsterdam soon. i remember seeing a great display for the paris book when i was in paris last summer. thanks for showing the making of the display. such inspiring, yet doable, use of paper. brilliant.

    June 7th, 2010 | #

  85. Tara Bradford says

    Pia, as always, you’ve done a beautiful job! So creative and clever. Wish I could have been there on Saturday! xo

    June 8th, 2010 | #

  86. Helene says

    Absolutely stunning! So creative and fun!

    June 10th, 2010 | #

  87. Adina Deen says

    i’m surely late to post this comment (barely new to this blog)..
    but. it really nice.. really2.. and also congrats!! hee

    November 6th, 2010 | #

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  89. Veira says

    Chanced upon this while doing research for VM ideas and I’m totally smitten by the great detail and beautiful outcome. This really inspires me a lot and can’t wait to get my hands on doing a similar project someday. Cheers to great work!

    February 19th, 2011 | #

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