thank you: home beautiful…
Posted in (blog)house news, pia's photos, the houseboat August 23rd, 2010 by pia

It’s raining buckets here in Amsterdam this morning. The lack of sunlight makes my little boat dark, but oh so cozy.

On Saturday I received the latest (september) issue of Australian Home Beautiful. It is always a real treat to receive a little slice of Australia through my front door mail slot all the way over in this part of the world. But this particular issue of Home Beautiful is extra special, take a look…

A big thank you to Vanessa Keys for asking me to be a part of Home Beautiful’s style insight section in this month’s issue. The article is so beautifully written, and I love the little “guide to unearthing the handmade in your own city” at the end.

+To view the article in full, I suggest you buy the September issue of Home Beautiful… but also, you can click here.

+All images in the article are by photographer David Finato and me.


I’d also like to direct you to a very special giveaway that dutch designer mariska meijers is holding on her blog this week: Mariska is offering a signed copy of Amsterdam: Made by Hand, read all about it right here. Thank you so much for your support Mariska. x

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.


my kitchen garden…
Posted in nature, pia's photos, the houseboat May 14th, 2010 by pia

At the beginning of the week I went to the plant market to get some potted herbs, strawberries and a chili plant. I’ve decided to make a little garden in the corner of my kitchen because it gets lots of sunlight, it’s kinda like a greenhouse…

Upon purchase of the chili plant the seller kept saying (in Dutch) “outside in the sun! outside in the sun!” I did my usual “ja ja” (yes yes) but inside I was saying to this man “you don’t fool me, there is NO sun outside in this country! If I plant this little guy outside, he will die within days!” And I’m so glad I didn’t listen to him because if I had planted it outside, it would have drowned since we’ve had 4 days of non-stop rain and very, very little sunshine.  Today, the chili plant is standing tall and strong on my window sill. I’m not sure how well it will grow but you know, this gardening thing is all about observing and learning, and even more so when in different climates with different soil.

Anyway, what are growing gangbusters are my orchids! Look at all those beautiful flowers, and there are still plenty more to come. It’s all with thanks to Zoë  & her fab instructions, remember this post?

So what do you think of my kitchen garden so far? I’m rather fond of it, myself.  If you’re interested, I’ll let you know how my garden grows over the coming months.


sunday: through the looking glass…
Posted in amsterdam, pia's photos, the houseboat May 9th, 2010 by pia

While working quietly this morning, I had the distinct feeling that I was being watched. I turned around to find this young mum at my window. She has been at my window alot lately, even when it’s open she doesn’t hesitate to pop her head in. I’m not sure why she suddenly feels the need to come so close, have I been feeding her and her little ones too much from the kitchen window and now she expects more? There is a silent rule between me and the water creatures that I will only give when I can, not when they want. And of course when there are little ones around I will give a little extra – you know, instead of just the left over stale slices of bread I might throw in a fresh slice.

But this one doesn’t seem to understand the boundaries. She has been shooed off a number of times but still, she persists.  She looks at me in a way that makes me feel guilty for not having food for her when she needs it, and some times I cave in and give her the only piece of bread left, the very slice I was about to eat. Then I see other canal dwellers like myself throw great bundles of bread out for her and her family and I say to her, “you see? Not only do you live in an already incredibly bountiful environment, you are also given so much on a regular basis, much much more than is given to those around you. You have more than enough so be happy with what you have, don’t wish for more”.

But still, she stares at me through my window. It’s become clear that we don’t understand each other and that perhaps I have given too much. I’ve decided it’s time I stop.


PS I am going to announce the giveaway winner tomorrow! I hope the suspense does not drive you mad before then…

my view…
Posted in amsterdam, pia's photos, the houseboat November 12th, 2009 by pia


This is the view I see  everyday while I sit at my desk and type away. As the boat windows are below street level I can glance up and see people coming and going with their bikes, chatting, etc. All the while I sip my tea and get back to the words on my screen. The words are getting plentiful now, I’m on a roll. And rolls are good.

I shall not digress, but I just wanted to stop in and say hi.


PS I did digress a little though, and posted in the library what I’m reading now, it’s a really good book.

PPS For Amsterdammers, there is an upcoming event organised by a friend of mine. It’s called swap and the city where you can exchange your perfectly good items that you never wear for fabulous fashion finds. There are heaps of fun things organised for the afternoon too. Sounds pretty cool, read more about it here. It’s on November 29 from 2-5pm so gets your tickets soon if you plan to go!