a new year brings new beginnings…
Posted in books, little treasures: made by hand January 14th, 2013 by pia

LTMBH_mamanandlaly_IMG_1264 copy

I’m sitting at my desk, with mess and books and pens and paper all around me.  Glancing over at my pin board I see the four ultrasound photos I was given some 15 months ago of our little baby who is today, 11 months old. I remember when I first saw those photos, it just didn’t seem possible that one day I would meet this little being growing inside me. Who was she? I was so eager to get to know her, to hold her and kiss her. I really had no idea how much my life would transform once she was born. No idea. These past 20 months I have experienced an incredible succession of extreme emotional highs and extreme lows, but there is one consistent truth underneath it all that remains and grows stronger by the day: love.


The  moment we announced the birth of  Laly 11 months ago, parcels began to arrive on our doorstep, each filled with the most beautiful gifts made by hand from around the world. From France came knitted cardigans, booties and toys, and from friends here in Australia came tiny felted slippers and the sweetest crocheted dresses and blankets. I was overwhelmed with gratitude and love for these sweet gift-givers who, with their generosity,  helped get me through each challenging day as a new mum.

But how to find the time to say thank you?  All I managed was a simple email, and it just didn’t seem enough.

Then, one night, in the early, dark hours of morning while feeding Laly, I had an idea. It shone in my mind’s eye as clear and bright as a shining star:

Imagine if I could create a book, photographing and cataloguing each unique object, writing a little about each person who made and sent the gift, sharing links to their websites so others could also buy their beautiful creations or find out more about them. It would be a collection of little treasures, connecting creative souls around the globe. I thought, Yes, this would be the most wonderful way to say thank you…

So I started to make notes and lists in a journal which I carried with me everywhere, a habit from making each of my past books.  Any spare moment I had, I thought about what it would look like. But the reality was evident – if I didn’t have time to write or send a proper thank you card, how was I going to find the time to make a book?

LTMBH_internals_diaryentry_1{note cards and diary pages from my journal}

Let’s be truthful, you all know time management is not one of my strongest character traits. And now, becoming a new mum, I suddenly realised my time was no longer my time.

That’s when serendipity stepped in. Around 6 months ago I had the pleasure of meeting Fran. With Laly in my arms, we got talking over chai, I told her all my grandiose plans, and before I knew it, Fran agreed to be my manager and help me make. stuff. happen…


With Fran’s incredible dedication and amazing efforts of managing my work life so that I could concentrate on being a mum and being creative over the past few months, I’m so so thrilled to announce that the book has gone from being just a vision in my mind, to something very real…

LTMBH_PJB_bookpages{here are pages back from the designer, ready for me to check & make final changes}

Oh I’m so excited!! It is looking so beautiful. Would you like to know the title?

Little Treasures: Made by Hand.

It will be the third in the “Made by Hand” series. And there are even more exciting things to tell you. This special, limited edition book will be in both English AND French. The French title is : Petits Trésors: faits à la main

PJB_LTMBH_onlinecover500_1the cover! Little Treasures: Made by Hand

I’m so excited to say that we are in the final stages of production, and that the book is ready to be printed!  One of the thoughts that transpired on that night was that I wanted to self-publish this book to have it ready for Mother’s Day 2013. In order to do that I have created my very own little publishing label – par cœur press –  (‘by heart’) and I have a wonderful team working with me including the fabulous designer Vivien Valk and editor Amanda Cromer who both worked with me on My Heart Wanders.

And what’s more? The book will be printed right here in Australia by Arena Printing who specialise in environmentally responsible printing using vegetable-based inks and environmentally-friendly paper stocks.

To be able to pay for the production costs of printing, editing and design, I am about to launch a crowd-funding campaign through Pozible.  As Little Treasures, Petits Trésors is so personal, I really wanted to be able to offer it directly to you guys, as well as independent booksellers & retailers via this campaign, so here’s hoping I can reach the target!

The campaign has JUST GONE LIVE and will end on Laly’s birthday on Thursday, February 14. Check out the page for a sneak peek look at some of the pages, and for all the information. Not only is the book available to order through the campaign right now, but there are some amazing packages created exclusively to help raise funds.

LTMBH_internals_threadopenerhere is a chapter opener from the book.

Far out! Putting myself out there in the hope that you guys might jump on board and help support this project is really really scary. Remember my first ever blog post 6 years ago? That’s how I feel right now: My heart is racing.

If you live in Europe and are interested in purchases any of the packages other than the book on its own, the shipping is only available within Australia, NZ, USA, & UK  however if you really want one of the other packages, just get in touch and we’ll get you a personalised freight cost.

Okay, I’ll leave you to peruse the site now, and I’ll get on with jumping around the house like a jittery jack rabbit.

Thank you dear friends! I’ll be updating you on the progress of the book and the campaign every few days. I hope you’ll help spread the word any way you can, and if you would like a copy of the book, head straight to the Little Treasures/Petits Trésors project page and click away! Merci merci…

with love.

THE BOOKSHOP is now online & open for business…

I know it’s not a revolutionary idea, and I realise most of you figured I should have done this a long time ago but here it is, enfin, my very own online bookstore so that you can buy a signed copy of My Heart Wanders, Amsterdam: Made by Hand or Paris: Made by Hand any time you like, delivered anywhere in the world.

You’ll notice on the sidebar of the blog there is a button called “THE BOOKSHOP”. You can click on that whenever you’d like copies of the books sent to friends as gifts or of course for yourself. Each book can be signed if you leave a note in the comments section of your order, and each book will be wrapped in brown paper and string. No doubt with a little dried flower from my garden attached to it.

In celebration of finally opening a permanent online bookshop, I thought you might like to learn about the design of My Heart Wanders and how I came to create some of the pages. Those who have the book will know now that with the help and guidance of head book designer Vivien Valk, I designed each double page spread uniquely (in other words, there were no templates involved) as I wanted each page to be an artwork in itself, and for the book to be something that you could open at any random page and find inspiration within each single page of illustrations, images and text. With over 300 pages, there is much to explore and discuss about how it all came to be…

I hope you’ll enjoy this little series of posts. And I hope you will visit THE BOOKSHOP soon. Merci mes amis, have a wonderful weekend!


PS I should mention that I haven’t had the time to put shipping costs in place for every country in the world, but each continent is covered so if you live in a country that doesn’t have a shipping cost in place, just look for the nearest country and use that (just be sure to enter your exact shipping details), otherwise send me an email and I’ll invoice you directly. The shipping is expensive to send books from Australia, unfortunately there is nothing I can do about that but each will be signed and wrapped by me so I hope that will count for something. x

dandelion: “bullying is for people with no imagination”…
Posted in apps, books, creative ventures June 29th, 2012 by pia

I’ve become increasingly interested in kickstarters these past months. I love the concept of being able to fund independent projects, to be directly involved in the making of something unique & wonderful. The other day I received an email about a fabulous concept for kids – an iPad app that explores the topic of bullying through the highly creative story of a young character named Benjamin Brewster. Dandelion tells the tale of Benjamin’s journey against the odds to defeat bullies. Through illustration and beautifully written text, the aim is to encourage dialogue between parents and children, inspiring the reader to interact with the pages of the book and help Benjamin’s wish to come true…

World, meet Benjamin Brewster…

“With all my might, you’ll all take flight… If I could but wish for better things, you’d all disperse and grow your wings…”, Benjamin Brewster, Dandelion.

Each scene in the app is pencil drawn, digitally painted, spliced and then animated. Benjamin himself has been drawn as a “blank canvas”, allowing each reader to be able to place themselves in his shoes. Click here to see a sweet little behind-the-scenes video of Benjamin’s magical world coming to life.

I love the idea of defeating bullying with “a little imagination”.  I’m passionate about both communication and imagination being key elements in the way we can better live our lives.  Not to mention the clever use of the technologies available today, allowing us to combine old crafts with new.

While the app is well under way to being produced and available soon, there is a special kickstarter project currently in progress to enable you to pledge your support for Dandelion and in return to receive any number of limited edition items like colour signed prints, wall decals, and signed hard-cover books. These extras are uniquely available for the duration of the kickstarter project. The deadline is July 23rd, which means there are only 24 days to go…

Thank you Luke for taking the time to email me about this fantastic project, and for giving me the opportunity to share it right here in the (blog)house.


For more info on Dandelion, click here.
To pledge your much appreciated support, please click here.
And please feel free to reblog or share this post with your own social network, obviously the more support, the better.

welcome one & all: my november online book boutique is now open…
Posted in amsterdam: made by hand, books, my heart wanders, paris: made by hand November 1st, 2011 by pia

As many of you are aware, My Heart Wanders won’t officially be available in North America until April of next year. Over the last few months I’ve taken note of the collective dismay expressed by those living in North America not able to get a copy for themselves or their friends and family for Christmas. So it got me thinking, what can I do?

Well, in between bouts of nausea and back pain (but oh to also now feel little feet and hands kicking and wriggling inside my growing belly – it’s so strange and beautiful) over the last few weeks I’ve been quietly working on creating a little “November only” online book boutique – a place where you can buy not just My Heart Wanders, but also Paris: Made by Hand and Amsterdam: Made by Hand, no matter where you are in the world.  To make it extra special, I will be signing each book with a personal message and dedication, so that your copy will be one of a kind.

The November book boutique will, as the title suggests, only be available for the month of November so that I can get all orders shipped out and to your door by mid December. And although due to the weight of the books the shipping seems expensive, it’s important to note that knowing my current situation,  I won’t be able to travel to book events, workshops or signings for quite a while, so this will be the only chance to get hold of your own personally signed copy of the book…

If you don’t see your country of residence in the shipping section, do not fret – I was not able to select regions (i.e. Scandinavia, Europe, North America, Africa, Asia etc) so instead I chose a few countries in each region –  you can pick the country closest to you as that will be the same shipping cost, or if you don’t see a country near enough to you then just email me your country and what you’d like to purchase and I’ll email you a paypal invoice tailored specific to your needs. (Australians please note: There is a great inexpensive flat rate for books sent within Australia – $5 for either Made by Hand books, $12 for My Heart Wanders , or $18 for all three).

I made the boutique very simple, specifically for buying one copy of each. However, if you want something more,  for example, 2 or 3 copies of My Heart Wanders with 3 different dedicated signatures, then email me your order request, I’ll get the shipping quote for you and will email you a paypal invoice specific to your needs.

So without further ado, let me welcome you to my November online book boutique! Please click here to browse the boutique at your leisure…

I do hope you like this idea, and that you’ll make room for a book or two on your Christmas list.


Extra notes:

+All prices are in Australian dollars.
+Limited copies available, so please get in earlier rather than later to ensure your signed copy.
+The last order will be taken November 30, 2011 to ensure deliver by mid-December.
+Please click here to send me an email for special requests.


polaroid day book…
Posted in books, paris: made by hand, photographers February 8th, 2011 by pia

Dear Amanda just announced on her blog that a few of her beautiful polaroids have been featured in a gorgeous book in Korea called “Polaroid Day“. And I’m a bit thrilled to see that one of the polaroids chosen from her extensive collection feature my very first book as a prop. Super cute!

This looks like a gorgeous little bound treat for polaroid lovers & photography enthusiasts. You can read more about the book on Amanda’s blog,  mockingbird.