the official book launch…
Posted in amsterdam: made by hand, behind the scenes June 8th, 2010 by pia

I’m still recovering from all the attention at Saturday’s book launch. It was a great success, I was (and am still) overwhelmed by the number of people who came along and the amount of books I signed.  I was so very nervous before the event, so many “what if’s” were running through my head. But as soon as I sat down at the signing table, all the nerves went away as I spent the next hour signing my little heart out and happily chatting away. Thank you so much to all who attended – you really made me feel like a star…

So would you like a re-cap of the launch? Okay, well, here is how it went: French Boy and I arrived at about 2:30pm. We went off to buy some flowers for the table, by then I was super anxious. It was a very hot day – quite unusual for Amsterdam so I was sure that everyone who had planned to come to the launch would instead, go to the beach. I had no idea if there would be any music, or if the nibbles would arrive in time, or if my publisher had made her flight. Yes that’s right, my publisher from New York! It was the first time I was going to meet her face to face – we have worked on 2 books together and have been in close contact via email for more than 2 years, and Saturday marked our first ever meeting.

Once French Boy and I came back to the American Book Center with the flowers, everything started coming together – within minutes of each other, 2 friends (who didn’t know each other at all) turned up with instruments! Arun (who is a freelance journalist here in Amsterdam and had recently interviewed me for an article in the June issue of Time Out – more about that soon) brought his guitar and Simone (who plays with one of my fave local bands,  Point Quiet) brought her violin. They decided to play together so off they went to find a little quiet alley to do some quick practice and then came back just in time for the first arrival of guests. Their music was INCREDIBLE. It was exactly what I had hoped for and envisioned, and as soon as they started playing I was filled with happiness. Thank you Arun and Simone!

Then came my dear friends Yvette and Sophie from Aan de Amstel with their absolutely gorgeous nibbles which were letter-shaped pastries spelling out “amsterdam made by hand” and “pia jane bijkerk”…

Aren’t they clever? They also made little savoury biscuits that said “pia!” on each one, it was really amazing. Thank you so much Yvette and Sophie!!

All the while I was signing books and when I did dare to look up from the table I noticed a long line going all the way back, I couldn’t believe it! There were so many people. I was thrilled to see familiar faces amongst the unfamiliar too – friends, local shop owners and designers, everyone made me feel very special. And everyone adored the barbara munsel dress I was wearing:  On the Thursday evening before the signing, Barbara came to Amsterdam to help fit a dress for me at YDU (which, as some of you already know,  is one of the stores featured in the book). The dress we picked suited me to a tee  – I’ll be sure to take a pic of it in it’s entirety so you can all get a good look at it, I’m completely in love with it, thank you barbara!!

Low and behold my publisher Angela and her husband Rea were sneakily standing in line, waiting to say hello, I was so happy to see them. We chatted for a bit and then I got back to the table to sign books and meet guests. What a rush, I was really on top of the world at that stage…

And throughout the whole afternoon, good friends & talented photographers Alan Jensen and Cath Conroy snapped photographs. You guys rock, thank you!!

I received incredible gifts as well, all of which I want to share with you here in the (blog)house in coming days. I’m overwhelmed by the generosity and encouragement I received on the day, I just cannot thank each of you enough…

Here is a little detail of my shoes and a gorgeous shot of one of my dearest friends and loyal fan,  Marie.

Thank you to the American Book Center for hosting the official book launch and for lending me your front window.

I’ll be back later to let you know about the other two events in Amsterdam that I’ll be a part of in celebration of the release of the book this month. For now though, I need some quiet time to catch my breath.



all photographs by Alan Jensen.

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  1. Ana says


    Thank you for telling how it went: it feels like somehow I was present too. 🙂

    June 8th, 2010 | #

  2. Julie says

    Couldn’ t make it, but hope to get one of your books soon!! Looks like a lovely day.

    June 8th, 2010 | #

  3. Yvonne says

    What a gorgeous event, detailed through and through. You looked beautiful in your dress, heels and a sweet flower in your hair! I love the little alphabet biscuits too. A really nice event for women to get together to celebrate art & craft in Amsterdam. Everyone looks so happy to share the moment with you. You have made a positive mark in the world with your talents. Merci Pia!

    June 8th, 2010 | #

  4. Masha says

    Congratulations! You looked really pretty! 🙂 It looks like it was amazing!

    June 8th, 2010 | #

  5. sammy & glenn says

    it sounds like it couldn’t have been more perfect pia! glad you had such a lovely day.

    June 8th, 2010 | #

  6. Yoli says

    Pia congratulations!!!! I am so in love with your first book and so excited about your second! I’d kill for an autographed copy! You looked so etheral in that dress and with your hair oh so lovely coiffed! Again, congratulations and enjoy, you so deserve it!

    June 8th, 2010 | #

  7. Luis says

    yes congratulations!
    Lovely presentation.

    June 8th, 2010 | #

  8. Georganna says

    How exciting for you and you look so lovely — beautiful dress and love the flower in your hair.

    June 8th, 2010 | #

  9. jen says

    oh now i REALLY feel as if i was there,how exciting!thanks Pia for a brilliant fairytale 😉

    June 8th, 2010 | #

  10. Becka says

    I’m so glad it went well! The photos are beautiful, your dress (what I can see of it) looks beautiful, the flowers and your hair!

    I am impatiently waiting for your book to arrive!

    June 8th, 2010 | #

  11. Marte Marie Forsberg says

    Congratulations Pia!
    It sounds like the most perfect afternoons;)

    June 8th, 2010 | #

  12. Tip says

    Oh Pia! It looks like it was a wonderful day – sad to have missed it but hopefully will get a chance to have a book signed on another occasion! Congratulations! 🙂 Tipxo (PS: You were shining!)

    June 8th, 2010 | #

  13. Christina says

    Can’t wait to check it out!!! Congratulations 🙂 How exciting hehe.

    June 8th, 2010 | #

  14. sophie munns says

    Congrats Pia… this looks like the most wonderful afternoon event. The photos are beautiful so we cant possibly feel we have missed out!

    June 8th, 2010 | #

  15. nadia says

    pia so so wonderful and fairy tale like. you looked so lovely and what great and talented friends you have!

    June 8th, 2010 | #

  16. Bicocacolors says

    Congratulations Pia!

    June 8th, 2010 | #

  17. Sarah says

    It sounds like a fantastic day! I love the dress and your hair too. Congratulations!

    June 8th, 2010 | #

  18. FrenchGardenHouse says

    Schitterend! It looks like a fantastic day, and you, look gorgeous! so glad it was everything and more that you wished for. It must have been glorious weather, since everyone is wearing summer clothes. Yay! Congratulations. xo Lidy

    June 8th, 2010 | #

  19. desiree says

    ik heb even in de etalage gespiekt gisteren toen ik over het spui liep 😉 dIE MEVROUW OP DE EESTE FOTO KEN IK OOK.. WEET NIET WAARVAN MAAR GOED, T ZIET ERUIT ALS EEN FEEST, gEFELICITEERD!

    June 8th, 2010 | #

  20. desiree says

    oops sorry voor de capslock!!

    June 8th, 2010 | #

  21. Tara Bradford says

    So thrilled for you, Pia! Looks like a big success. And you look gorgeous in all the photos! So glad you and your publisher met face-to-face and you received lots of well-deserved attention! Bravo! xo

    June 9th, 2010 | #

  22. Mandy says

    Wow, what a day !!!
    Everything is so divine, your dress, your hair, the food, the venue ….. there seems to be some very happy customers by the look of the photographs, I’m so happy for you, Well Done.
    PS … I’m a bit jealous of all those summer dresses, Winter is almost here for us.

    June 9th, 2010 | #

  23. Leanne T says

    so happy for you. you can sense the ‘happiness’ of the event in the photos – what fun!!! and well done!

    June 9th, 2010 | #

  24. Leslie says

    Congratulations! 🙂

    June 9th, 2010 | #

  25. Suzi Poland says

    Fabulous Pia, sounds like it was lots of fun :))Suzi

    June 9th, 2010 | #

  26. nikole says

    so happy for you pia! congratulations!

    June 9th, 2010 | #

  27. Amanda {Mocking Bird} says

    Congrats love!
    That’s wonderful news.
    You looked absolutely stunning and not nervous at all!

    June 9th, 2010 | #

  28. katiecrackernuts says

    Yay! A little cheer from the Down Under cheer squad.

    June 9th, 2010 | #

  29. rosie says

    how exciting! congrats on your big day 🙂

    June 9th, 2010 | #

  30. circus charlie says

    oh huzzah!
    this post makes me so so happy
    lovely to see everything come to fruition and with such clever canapes! looks like everyone is having a lot of fun
    wish i could have been there!

    June 9th, 2010 | #

  31. nell says

    congratulations!! wishing you all the success to come.. love the alphabet pastries, absolutely thoughtful.. keep inspiring ^*^

    June 9th, 2010 | #

  32. Aron says

    So great! It looks and sounds like the event was a great success! Congratulations again.

    June 9th, 2010 | #

  33. Joan says

    Your write-up is like being there. And the pix are absolutely charming… esp. the detail of your shoe, and the flower in your hair. Luscious dress! And the food… so clever and eprsonal. All your friends did such an amazing job of hel;ping make it your very special day. Congratulations! And do come to San Francisco and have a signing, won’t you? Congratulations!

    June 9th, 2010 | #

  34. Lisa says

    Beautiful photos!! Can’t wait to read the book Lisa

    June 9th, 2010 | #

  35. judith b says

    Dear Pia,

    Look at you glow! That darling smile says it all! Congratulations on your perfect, made-by-hand day and new book.

    Paris attend son tour – chez WH Smith?


    June 9th, 2010 | #

  36. bonjour! says

    I knew it that is going to be a huge sucees:-) I ve bought Paris Made by Hand. Now am looking forward for Amsterdam Made by Hand.
    You looked like a shining star, Pia!
    Well done! I wish I was there too 🙂

    June 9th, 2010 | #

  37. MariaM says

    I have been enjoying playing with my copy of the book here in Melbourne, but had to make my own cake (so I used the Irish tea brack from the kitchen & it was very well received).

    June 9th, 2010 | #

  38. Ibb says

    I have both of them at home, need time to enjoy them.

    June 9th, 2010 | #

  39. mariska meijers says

    Dear Pia it was great meeting you in person. Fabulous book and I loved your window display at ABC as well.

    Mariska xox

    June 9th, 2010 | #

  40. BM says

    Dear Pia,
    it’s obvious, the dress was made for you…!
    It was a wonderful afternoon,
    thank you, B xxx

    June 9th, 2010 | #

  41. cindy says

    how gorgeous you are … i just ordered my copy and can’t wait to receive it! congrats on all your hard work, pia! xo, c

    June 10th, 2010 | #

  42. Malwina says

    Looks like I should have waited for the cookies 🙂 It was really a nice time at the ABC, it was great to meet you, and I’m thoroughly enjoying the book. Congratulations!

    June 10th, 2010 | #

  43. Cannelle Et Vanille says

    congrats pia. how wonderful. i wish i could’ve been there!

    June 11th, 2010 | #

  44. Anne says

    Congratulations with your new book Pia! Can’t wait to have it on my shelf next to the Paris one 🙂

    June 11th, 2010 | #

  45. Charlotta says

    Hi Pia,
    I have just found your stunning blog and have been reading away with the morning sun playing through the windows here in Sydney.
    What a wonderful achievement – I actually got teary reading this fab recital of your book launch. CONGRATULATIONS!
    Is the book available here in Australia? It looks like a given addition to my library!

    Also want to say that your friends seem fantastic. What wonderful gestures of love and appreciation for you they showed on your big day. From the music, pictures and nibbles they seem to really really value you as a friend. They seem so proud of you and rightly so!

    I’d love to do an interview with you a little later. A nice feature of who you are, what you do, the book and generally what inspires you etc. Would you be up for that?

    Anyway. I am off to explore more now.

    Happy weekend and thanks for this post!

    x Charlotta (Swedish in Sydney)

    June 12th, 2010 | #

  46. irene says

    Everything looks so perfect, I’m very happy for you, well-deserved, your gorgeous book is still on our dining table and we scroll to it very often. Love from KL!

    June 16th, 2010 | #

  47. Another Familiar Backdrop « the waste-paper basket says

    […] Photos via pia jane bijkerk […]

    June 21st, 2010 | #

  48. a little message, while I’m on a break | Yvette van Boven says

    […] nibbles fit for a bookstore (no dripping!). The nibbles spelled her name and the name of the book: Amsterdam: made by hand. If you ever come to Amsterdam, it’s a ‘must have’ guide, that shows you where to […]

    July 29th, 2010 | #

  49. nichole says

    Congrats! I can’t wait to pick up a copy. LOVE Paris Made by Hand.

    July 29th, 2010 | #

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