“messy painting”…
Posted in child's play April 20th, 2016 by pia

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Over the past few months while looking at Laly’s preschool photos, I noticed she was rarely at the painting table or easels. And when I looked in her art folder there weren’t many paintings – lots of craft and drawing, but not much work with paint. Which I found odd, because she used to always love to paint with me at home. When I picked her up the other day, I asked her why she wasn’t doing paintings at school…
“Because I don’t want to get messy.” Whaaaaat?! My jaw dropped. So when, how and why did this idea of hers come about? I wondered.
“But getting messy is the best part of it!” I said. She looked up at me a little perplexed.
Then I said, “Okay, well would you like to do some painting with me soon ?”
“Messy painting?” she asked.
“Yes, exactly, messy painting!”
So yesterday afternoon that’s what we did in the backyard after the rain had stopped and the sun peaked through the clouds. And wow, did she embrace it…



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Here is some of the finished work drying on the line, created with lots of body painting, foot & handprints. As the sun faded, I hosed & cleaned up outside, peaking in the window to check on her while she bathed. Messy painting, Laly & I highly recommend it…


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ONE & ONLY SALE: Little Treasures: Made by Hand
Posted in books, child's play, DIY September 18th, 2015 by pia


Some of you may have already seen on my instagram feed that I launched a flash sale for Little Treasures: Made by Hand on Tuesday. Thank you for the sales so far!

Here is a recap of my post:

It’s time for me creatively to be out with the old to make room for the new so I’ve decided to have a flash sale for the remaining stock of Little Treasures: Made by Hand at less that wholesale.

Just $10 per copy.

This one-off sale will end this coming Tuesday, September 22. If you’d like to buy books for your shop or to have on hand for the new mothers-to-be in your life this is the time to buy them. If you’d like to order more than one copy then please feel free to email me with your address and quantity and I can send you an invoice including shipping. Otherwise you are welcome to come and pick up your order here in Sydney. 


As I mentioned on instagram (@piajanebijkerk) I’d like to offer the remaining boxes of books to charities. I’ve had a couple of wonderful suggestions so far like Westmead Hospital and the MS Research Centre which I’ll be offering boxes to, however I have lots of boxes of books (24 in each box) so I’ll need some more suggestions or an organisation that can take all of the remaining books. An organisation that helps new mothers or babies would be great. And if you or someone else can be in charge of liaising with the organisation that would be preferred.

Thank you all. It’s heartbreaking to sell the books off like this,  but I know I need to do it to make room for new possibilities.

Click here to make your purchase.  Or email me here.

With love,

Pia xx

sweet mini art exhibition…
Posted in child's play, the sydney cottage August 9th, 2014 by pia


Laly LOVES craft, and as you can imagine, I’m pretty thrilled about that. This week, she got into art & craft in a big way, so I was inspired to hold a mini art exhibition of her work in our hallway with a surprise ‘opening’ on Monday evening in time for her guest(Papa)’s arrival. By the end of the week the exhibition had grown from displaying various craft techniques she’d experimented with, to painted found objects and favourite pieces of textile.  It was such a beautiful process which I’d love to share with you. Here is how it happened…

On Monday, Laly told me she wanted to use glue and scissors, so I set up a craft table on the front porch so we could get some winter sunshine while we cut and pasted. We gathered leaves from the street pathway and I gave her washi tape (beautiful cloud washi tape from paper boat press) to stick her chosen leaves onto the walls. By the afternoon she had amassed quite a portfolio of work, which is when I got the idea for an exhibition. We put on some ‘art gallery’ music (putumayo felt appropriate), and Laly taped each artwork up herself very carefully, understanding that the tape needed to be half on the paper, half on the wall to be able to stick.

The next day, she wanted to paint, and it was high time I refilled her paint pots so she patiently waited for me to do that and then spent an hour or more painting found rocks, shells and sticks. I was in awe of what she made…



At two and half years of age. I couldn’t create such wild magic if I tried (I did try actually, but mine were pretty unimaginative). Below, she is proudly standing among her work, choosing to accessorise with her sunglasses (!)…



On four pieces of small, black paper, she painted on glue and sprinkled different coloured glitter which we decided together to call the series “stars in the night sky”.

The works below are all about texture. The one on the left with the cotton balls is her ‘feeling’ painting, and to the right, her ‘ripped paper flowers’ work (the one in the foreground is mine, I couldn’t help but try out the technique myself!)…


We added a beautiful sari curtain (given to us by our sweet friend Kaspia) at the end of the hall to give the exhibition a sense of intimacy…


…And then outside on the front door I made a sign that read “Laly’s first art exhibition. For Papa, prepare to be dazzled!”. And dazzled he was.


A great activity for a cold wintry week, even if it meant skipping the week’s cleaning chores to fit in the time to oversee and curate the exhibition. The dust balls and bits of leaves and ripped paper across the floor throughout the house just add to the ambiance of the art show, right…Well,  it was worth the mess. And in case you missed the video on Instagram I made of her painting, click here for your viewing pleasure. It’s called “I’m quite finished with that”.



a little beach made by my own two hands in our backyard…
Posted in child's play, handmade June 9th, 2014 by pia


Laly adores the beach. Well, mostly the sand, as she’s still “quite scaredy” of the rolling waves and vastness of the ocean. So I thought it’d be great to build her an all-natural sandpit in our backyard so she could play with sand anytime she likes. Of course I like to set myself some major challenges, and for this project I decided that I wanted to source most materials from our own backyard, and to build the whole pit for FREE. That’s right, not spend one single cent.

Inspired by the idea of living as freely as possible, I signed up to my local freecycle group and after only a few weeks of scanning the incoming offers, I found the sand and the shade cloth to cover the pit. I am loving being part of the freecycle community, it’s been a fantastic way to move things out of my home that are no longer in use, and bring in things that we want.


I dug a hole in a corner of the garden protected by trees for shade.  I found all the rocks outlining the sandpit under and around our house, and moved them all myself with the exception of a giant rock which I enlisted the help of Romain, who kept telling me over and over again “there is no way you can move that rock” and “this is impossible” – he was still saying this while we maneuvered it inch by inch to where I wanted to place it. Within minutes and only a little bit of sweat we had it in position. I couldn’t help myself: “umm, yeah, impossible, did you say?” Oh how I love seeing his dimpled smile appear despite his efforts to hide it. A great example of how nothing is impossible, no matter what anyone tells you! After a few weekends I had finished the sandpit,  just in time for Laly’s birthday party in February.


This sandpit is one of my proudest home projects, for three reasons: I built it myself from scratch,  I built it for free, it’s beautiful and earthy. Because of this, I get the greatest satisfaction just looking at it, and even more when I see Laly playing in it…




bird by bird…


Yes that does happen to be the title of one of my favourite books by Anne Lamott, recommended to me by sweet Kylie some years ago while I was writing My Heart Wanders. It helped tremendously as I had spent many days sitting looking at a blank screen, wondering how to start the mammoth task of writing a memoir of that time of my life.

But I digress! Do you recall this bird mobile I made for Laly’s room, which I featured in Little Treasures: Made by Hand? It’s on pages 208-211, with reference to Spool sewing who released the pattern some years ago. I made the birds using the pattern then attached them to some twigs with ribbon, and embellished the mobile with vines and dried fern fronds. It hung above Laly’s cot for many months, but once she began to be able to stand – and reach up to the birds – I took the mobile down. The birds were added to her toy basket until a few months ago when I found an abandoned birdcage. I gave it a good clean and then Laly and I painted it in an array of her favourite colours. I let her paint it in her way (mixing colours together, with big dollops of dripping paint). We added a couple of twigs inside the cage et voilà, the birds have come out again to play…



I’m thrilled to have found a way for the birds to be played with again, relevant to Laly’s new skills: She’s right into inventing her own games and role play. To decorate the cage we went out to forage for some vines and ferns. Of course I had plans for her to be part of the photoshoot for this blog post, but she didn’t want to and I’m doing well now to let her make her own decisions when it comes to play. So while she was out with her Papa I took the opportunity to play with the birds and cage in my own way…


Happy weekend mes amis!


PS new music on the way, I hope you’re enjoying my growing collection so far. Thanks for your downloads and encouraging comments thus far, so appreciated.