the last post on this blog…
Posted in (blog)house news April 24th, 2016 by pia

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I’ve been writing on this blog for nine years, can you believe it? With only one makeover about 7 or so years ago. And in a few days, it will be no longer as my new website is almost ready. We have just a few more things to do and I’m hoping that by mid-week it will be able to go live. So although all the posts on this blog will be transferred to the new site and I’ll be continuing to write in the new space, technically this post will be the very last one on this blog, as you see it now. It’s the end of an era. A part of me that is ready to shed, shift and transform. I’m ready to open the door.

So for the next few days, I hope you can take a moment or two to peruse this old blog, read back on some of the archived posts from when I lived on the houseboat, rode my bike around Amsterdam, shared beautiful work by beautiful people, made soundscapes in Paris, travelled to some beautiful places in France, became pregnant, shared my music… there are many memories, and I’m incredibly thankful to those of you who have joined me along the way and shared the ride.

There will be lots of new inspiration in the new space, and a few special items I’m so looking forward to sharing. If you’d like to make sure you are one of the first to view it, please subscribe via email. I hope to see you in a few days, in my new space. Au revoir (blog)house, you’ve been wonderful…

Pia xx

“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…

xx

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Posted in (blog)house news, personal March 26th, 2016 by pia

Yesterday on…can I admit this without internally cringing –  facebook –  I shared a video shared by a friend shared by someone else titled “3 reasons why you should share your work” featuring author Austin Kleon. I’m not a fan of the word ‘should’. And I hadn’t heard of the host or author Austin, but I took the 4 minutes to watch the video and was instantly reminded of how those very 3 reasons Austin gifted were at the very heart of how and why I started my blog 9 years ago, and hence became a published author. Without realising it at the time, I started my blog because I had ideas and stories and experiences I felt a calling to share. I also had a very deep longing to connect with other souls like me, and a hidden away dream to become an author. And now I understand it was that deep part of me that found blogging and got me started. To be fairy-like about it, the Universe answered my call.  Because after all, it was this very blog that launched my published creative writing career. But in recent years, I lost my way. Before I continue, here is what I wrote on facebook:

“As I’ve been rebuilding my website over the past few months, reshaping it and bringing it into alignment with who I am now, I’ve also been looking at how I want to progress from this new space. Looking back at how I started blogging, what I loved the most about the experience was the rawness, openness and connectivity that developed and I want to find that again, perhaps it will require carving out a new pathway in the face of how much the format has changed in the last decade. This video below is exactly what happened with my blog when I first started, these 3 reasons to ‘show your work’ naturally developed and it’s how I became a published author. This is so helpful to those who want to do the same. And I’m taking note for my own creative journey ahead as I’ve definitely gone off track since those early days…”

To elaborate, it was during the manuscript writing of My Heart Wanders, I remember back then in 2010, I felt a struggle and need to separate the content – writing and revealing intimate stories of my life and journey became reserved for the book, and in the process of that need to seperate, I lost the fluidity and rawness and ‘stripped-back storytelling’ I was known for and what I loved about my blog. My posts became more refined, less raw. And 6 years on, I feel the calling again to connect and share getting louder and louder. To just ‘put myself out there’. Perhaps it all came unhinged in the over planning, and the what ifs. In the past 6 years my life has changed so dramatically and even though I haven’t been blogging in depth about it, writing has been one of my best healers, though keeping everything locked away in my diaries feels somehow, not the place for it. I think I felt it was a safer place there. I was scared to share as what I’ve felt has been so raw, so real, there are no pretty pictures that go with them.

But I need to forget about formats and pretty pictures and books now and get back to what I loved about writing on my blog in the first place. The openness. The connection. Yes this can be a vulnerable place to be, but my vulnerability is what I was taught to spend my lifetime suppressing , and it’s what I have now understood I need to nurture.

The lovely editor Amanda Carmen Cromer of My Heart Wanders wrote in reply to my post on facebook:

“Stripped-back storytelling gets me every time. Like the first draft of My Heart Wanders. X”

Her comment got me thinking and inspired me to write this blog post. Then came another comment from Heather Sanders, it was as if she was reading my mind:

“I am sure you know how many you inspire, your book MHW sits in my front room and I turn to it often. I find it not just beautiful but somehow comforting. However, it is in your more unrefined – if that is the right word… posts, blogs, that now speak to me even more. The polished works of all artists whilst beautiful and inspiring separate us somehow. The sharing of more vulnerable, less edited words and pictures connect with people on a different level. They make us believe that the impossible may indeed be possible. They awaken the writer, the artist the dreamer in all of us. For that I thank you.”

So while I build my new website, I am figuring out how I want to proceed with blogging. For a long time I’ve been focussing on the idea of sending out a newsletter, thinking it would be more intimate but in recent days I’ve gone off that idea, as I realised it was yet another form of controlling and fitting into a format, and yet another piece to write. Instead I’m going to stick with blogging in it’s straight forward, simple format. I want to be able to share what I’ve read, what I’m creating, what I’ve learned, what Laly’s reading, what’s happening with her, the things we do together… I want to make it loose, light and carefree again. I also want to make it interactive again – I miss replying to comments and my new website will have the feature for me to reply directly  to comments. Perhaps I need to give myself a time limit per post, so that there isn’t enough time to refine and self-edit other than grammatical errors. And perhaps I’ll start it with this very post! Yes, this very post: I got up at 6:15am with Laly, I told her I’d be writing on the computer in the office and that she needed to play on her own like she does if I’m still sleeping. She was great for about an hour and has been wanting my attention for the past 15 minutes but I’ve managed to write this post. Can I post it without images. Can I? Oh that seems like a stretch. But if I don’t post it now it won’t get posted. Okay, here goes! Breakfast time for us. Thank you for reading and thank you for connecting.

 

With Love,

 

Pia x

 

PS maybe I’ll add a few images later if I can’t bare the nakedness of the post :)

 

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the solace of my bedroom, as captured by Helene Athanasiadis…
Posted in interiors, photographers, the sydney cottage January 4th, 2016 by pia

HELENE_ATHANASIADIS_PIAJANEBIJKERK_SOLACE_2015_2 welcome to my home. please come in, no need to take your shoes off…

Happy New Year mes amis.  How do you feel about the year to come? There has been so much change in the world, and I sense there will be much more to come yet. But change is transformation, and I can feel our world is in dire need of it. In my creative life,  I feel ready to come out of my healing cocoon. I learned so much in 2015, and wrote and wrote and wrote all the while.  So there is a book or two or three there, and in time all those words and photographs and experiences will take shape. If there is one thing I have in abundance it’s ideas and in the past year the well has not dried up – it’s now overflowing.  It’s always been my dream to be able to realise and share not necessarily every single idea, but at least a steady flow of them.  Ideas not only need creative thinking but also time and money, and these two requirements have never been in abundance in my life, and I’ve finally accepted that these need attention too. So finding a way to get the balance I need to pull myself into alignment with what I’m called to do in this life is now my priority… without compromising my ethics which, for those of you who have come to know me quite well, is as resolute as ever, if not more nowadays.  And although I still feel a little at sea about what the direction will look like and where it will take me from here on in after taking the last year off from all creative commitments, I am trusting the process and I’m trusting the deepest depths of my self.

As I set sail on this year’s vessel, my first port of call with french boy (as the only other member of the crew so far – this is a small boat!) is the creation of a revitalised online space: one that houses all my creative endeavours under one roof and is once again interactive and free flowing.  Since my focus has been elsewhere over the past few years my online space has been neglected. It’s become outdated, haphazard and disorganized, and it needs some attention & love. So in coming weeks I’ll take you to this new space when the walls have been built and the paint has dried.

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As promised in an earlier post, here now I share with you some beautiful photographs by Helene Athanasiadis of my very personal offline space – my bedroom. This room has been my retreat over the past few years. It’s the place I have spent the most time – mothering, resting, grieving, healing, learning, and writing…

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As part of her photographic project and book Solace, Helene has captured what this space means to me and it feels special to have this documented and shared in such a beautiful way.

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Although this house has been falling apart around us over the past year, seeing these photographs has made me appreciate the space for what it has been and what it still is for me today. As my own projects unfurl, I’ll be sharing with you more of my home and how it’s evolved over the years.

2327265_origsurrounded by talented souls: my favourite dutch bag made by leslie oschmann, and some beautiful organic cotton garments by mady doijes

Thank you again, Helene.

With love,

Pia

christmas, chez nous…
Posted in christmas ideas, interiors, nature December 23rd, 2015 by pia

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While others might revel in this time of year, I have felt a growing resistance to it over the years, especially the last decade. On reflection I can see there are many personal reasons for this, but I can also feel it connects with a collective consciousness as the world opens to change…

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As I’m not religious (in that I don’t follow any particular faith), I’ve always felt conflicted with celebrating Christmas in what it traditionally symbolizes. In past years we’ve just pulled back from it and done our own thing. And that was okay until we had a child… how to make this time of year retain the magic and joy for a child but also give it deep meaning that is in alignment with our family without following the hype and conformity?

I have been able to take some wonderful and small steps toward reinventing this time for my family. This year I have the emotional and physical space to create what we want and need as a family without family pressure, social or religious conformity, hype, excessive-consumption, drama or stress. For us that means rather than focus on “Christmas” as the destination, we choose to focus on the journey we’ve had together and as individuals this year. So it becomes about gentle reflection and slowing down toward the end of year rather than speeding up. And instead of just showing up and receiving, the emphasis is on the giving which also and most importantly for me includes giving care to self. For us, this time of year in our home is about creating tranquility and peace, along with strengthening the connection to earth by spending as much time in nature as possible, bringing it in and expressing gratitude for it daily…

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A few changes that I’ve been able to put in place this year include:

…being ‘just the three of us’ for the whole day of Christmas – it will be completely free of plans and be inspired by nature and the weather. Beach, mud puddles, playing with puzzles, who knows, but it will be about being together.
…Romain and I haven’t given gifts to each other for Christmas since we’ve been together and we don’t want to but I didn’t want the tree to have gifts just for Laly so – as suggested by wonderful Meg who runs the playgroup that Laly and I attend – Laly has made a gift with her Papa to give to me and her and I will make a gift for her Papa to give to him. I have also made a gift for her so each of us will receive a handmade gift. This for me has been one of the loveliest experiences and I’m thrilled to make it a new tradition.
…not visiting a single department store or mall in the lead up to Christmas. I’ve done without this for years as I only shop locally or online for handmade items, but this year I decided to make it an essential part of the preparation.
…this year I introduced an advent wreath on our table to acknowledge and express gratitude toward the mineral, plant, animal and human kingdoms on earth. Traditionally this is religious but I choose to focus on nature as the divine, and each week we light a candle for each kingdom while adding a found piece of nature that represents that realm…

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…And I made a wreath from foraged flora for the front door in the first week to express gratitude for the plants we have around us…

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There is much more I’d love to add and rather than strive to get it all together now, I’ll implement the shifts slowly over the years and see how they evolve as Laly grows… and I have no doubt she will want input on it all as she gets older.  I can’t wait to share all these ideas with you. Along with this I’ve been creating some beautiful projects & I look forward to sharing all of it with you later in the new year.

Processed with VSCOcam with f1 presetmaking little trees

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetcollecting fallen pine branches

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetLaly’s frangipani sculptural piece hangs in the hallway and smells delicious

In the new year I’ll be transforming my creative online space and evolving it into the next phase of my creative work. In the meantime, I’ve been having fun in my growing online store by adding some new book packages and a special digital download of the how-to projects from Little Treasures

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Click here to find out more.

So this year for the first time in a very long time, I am feeling joy and gratitude and contentment about the coming few days. And although it will be the first Christmas without my Mum in my life, incredibly I feel her presence stronger than ever. I know she is here with us, I feel her love everyday and it feels amazing – like the warmest blanket on the coldest night, or the sweetest ocean breeze on a hot summer’s evening.

Last but not least, with all that I’ve learned from this year’s journey of self discovery and healing, stars have become my central theme for the holiday season because we are all made from stars…

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Eternal Love,

Pia xx