inspiration overload: alys fowler from the edible garden…
Posted in DIY, food, hunter gatherer, nature April 28th, 2010 by pia

This past month, I’ve been glued to BBC 2 every Wednesday night, blissfully absorbed in Alys Fowler’s world as shown in The Edible Garden. Each episode, Alys demonstrates through polyculture how she grows various fruit, vegetables and edible flowers in her small city back garden, with the aim to not only avoid shop-bought fruit and vegetables so she and her husband can live off their home-grown produce but also create a beautiful, inspiring garden. The misfortunes and mistakes are not edited, and her style is perfectly imperfect. In tonight’s episode, she planted strawberries, raspberries and blueberries; picked apples to make delicious apple rings; concocted a lip-smacking fruit infused vodka with friends; made gorgeous hapa-zome fabric lid covers for jam pots; and introduced a friend who lives in Bristol and forages for plums and berries in her local environment. Last week she focused on root vegetables, the week before, salads – each episode packed with extras.

While I have no soil patches on-shore or on-deck of my little boat home, I’m completely re-inspired to pot up some edibles again. I love walking passed the on-shore gardens belonging to the houseboats (also love spotting the adorable newcomers) along the Amstel, they never cease to inspire me as most of them are filled with wild flowers, tulips and untamed bushes. There is one that even has chickens.

Also, I’ve been reading up a lot lately on suburban foraging (a couple of episodes ago, Alys made dandelion fritters from foraged dandelions and I’d love to try it!) but really don’t know enough about northern hemisphere wild foods, nor the protocol for foraging here in The Netherlands. Plus, I have no idea where to go. I would love to have the courage to forage but I think it would take a series of workshops and guided tours before I got out there myself.

Anyway, Alys Fowler– wonderfully inspiring, just as much as Ray. Even though you can’t replay the episodes on bbc iplayer unless you’re in the UK, it’s worth reading the episode details and even better, buy Alys’ book. I haven’t got it myself but I’m sure it’s awesome.


PS I just remembered this photo of me in the garden in vancouver island, rather fitting for this post…

the month to be in Amsterdam…
Posted in amsterdam, amsterdam: made by hand April 26th, 2010 by pia

In a couple of days time I will be announcing the day, time and place of the Amsterdam: Made by Hand book launch! I’m so excited about it. Also, I have a few other great events in Amsterdam organised for the release of the book. I’ve noticed a few of you are already planning trips to Amsterdam this year, so I want to let those of you know who haven’t yet planned a trip but are thinking about it: June is the month to be in Amsterdam! It is packed full of Amsterdam: Made by Hand fun, and I will announce the dates of events (and window display locations!) in coming days.

Tonight, for local readers, I hope to see you at theater bellevue for some nice music.

Have a great Monday, mes amis.

point quiet…
Posted in amsterdam, music April 22nd, 2010 by pia

I admit, I’ve been keeping this band secret for a while now because well, sometimes I like to just keep some of the things that inspire me all to myself for a little bit before I share it with the world. You know? Anyway, when I first heard them play live last year it was at the invitation of my dear friend Simone who is the violinist in the band, and it was at the Lloyd Hotel. It was just a casual, mid-week gig, sitting around in a small corner of the restaurant which made it so wonderfully intimate – I was instantly captivated by their music: a little dark, a little folk, a lot melancholic and utterly enchanting.

They have just launched their first album under the new band name Point Quiet (previously known as White Sands). Before I bought the album last week, I had been playing their song anchors and birds over and over again – it’s repetitive actions like this that tell me I need to take it the next level. So I bought the album at their last gig and now, I can listen to the whole album on my ipod while I walk along the Amstel – completely day enhancing, to say the least.

They have a gig coming up at Theater Bellevue, on the Leidsekade this coming Monday, April 26 at 8:30pm, with another couple of local bands, tickets are €13 (click here for more info although it’s all in Dutch) – I think it’s going to be a lovely evening and I’m aiming to pull myself away from the writing desk to be there, I’d love to see you there too.


+listen to some of their songs here.
+buy their album here (in the netherlands and belgium) and here on itunes (US and rest of the world).
+ come to the gig on monday.

+There are lots of songs I am particularly fond of on the album (including long may you hide, venom minds, and the hidden track) but just to give you an idea of how beautiful their music is, please take a listen to anchors and birds while you read the lyrics.


PS Their cover album reminds me of this photographer’s work that I just posted on facebook. Volcanoes, smoke, horses… synchronicity at it’s finest.

a ship for sore eyes…
Posted in personal April 19th, 2010 by pia

foundfound via nyla who found it here (but I couldn’t locate the original post, so if you find it, please let me know as I’d love to know more about this beautiful beast)


This image hence post, ironically, does not fit into any of the (blog)house categories, so it’s defaulted into ‘personal‘. Perhaps it is personal after all.

Anyway, I thought this might enhance the days of those who were hoping to be air bound but instead, are grounded. If I had a magic ship like this, I would come and get you. But I don’t so instead, you will have to do your best to enjoy your surroundings and try not worry about what might happen tomorrow, or the next day, or the next day.  You are all essentially safe – nobody has been hurt (unlike the thousands from the earthquake in Tibet, the children of Burma, or the people of Haiti, for example).

I, personally, was very much looking forward to a dear friend’s visit today. I had plans to take her to some of the artisans in my soon-to-be-released book, and eat crepes and drink hot chocolate in the sun. But it won’t happen. But that is okay because she is okay, I’m okay, we are alive and well.

Enjoy your day mes amis, in whatever special part of the world you are in.


PS Yesterday I posted a photo on facebook that you might like. It’s too personal to put here though, so it’s in there.

chasing cherry blossoms…
Posted in (blog)house news, blog favourites, photographers April 11th, 2010 by pia


Here for you is an incredibly dreamy photograph taken by narumi of the Meguro canal in Hanami, Tokyo. See more images & read about the cherry blossom lined canal in the original post here (note: narumi’s blog is utterly gorgeous, you will want to make a pot of japanese green tea and linger).

Now I feel like taking my bike and camera out into the city to chase cherry blossoms. Perhaps you would like to, for me? I’d love to see the cherry blossoms blooming in your neck of the woods.  I instead, must. keep. writing.


PS I’ve decided to post sporadically until the end of the month (or thereabouts) as I am still in isolation-writing-retreat mode. So, every now and then over the coming couple of weeks  I will post a little inspirational image like the one above (and in the previous post) – it will be like taking a short but sweet tea break together.