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

the ever-evolving wreath just evolved for twenty twelve…
Posted in christmas ideas, handmade December 13th, 2012 by pia

PJB_holidaywreath2012_2

For those who have been reading my blog since the beginning (it’s been 5 years this month!), you might recall my early attempts at the ever-evolving wreath back in Amsterdam, using materials I had on hand. Now in Sydney, I started a new wreath this time last year, using an embroidery hoop as a base and adding cut branches and found foliage from my backyard. This is what it looked like in 2011…

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Then I let it wither and age, and fell in love with it even more…

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It has been resting on top of the piano for most of the year, although I did use it as a prop for a very special shoot a few months back (to be revealed in the next post). For the holiday season this year I have added hydrangeas and seed pods from the back garden, and this is what it looks like now, for 2012…

PJB_holidaywreath2012

Do you like it? I’m really happy with it. I’m not sure how well it will age, the hydrangeas may just shrink and brown, but we’ll see, I’ll keep you posted.

xx

PS and I managed to sneak a little blossom behind her ear when she wasn’t looking…

PJB_holidaywreath2012_laly

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holiday inspiration: gift guides by shelf / life…
Posted in christmas ideas, stores, sydney December 7th, 2012 by pia

shelf / life, photography by daniel shipp, styling by kam huckins

There is a beautiful store here in Sydney called Shelf / Life, tucked away in the creative enclave of Surry Hills. It’s one of my favourite shops. Owner Jess has incredible taste, but she also takes great care to handpick items that are kind to the Earth. I asked Jess if she would consider creating a holiday gift guide for you, my readers. She has come up with a fabulous guide, separated into three categories: “homebody”, “pamper” and “entertainer”. Most of the items are available online in her store or directly from the artisan themselves. Thank you dear Jess!

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Hello, I’m Jess, owner of Surry Hills store, shelf / life, and today Pia has been kind enough to let me share my festive gift guide with you. The weeks leading up to Christmas are my favourite time in the shop. The weather is warming up, people are happy to be out and about, and every day we receive a new and exciting parcel in the mail filled with fresh products for our shelves. It’s a vibrant and happy time of year and, although busy, it’s really rewarding to see customers excited about giving our products as gifts.

Born from a desire to showcase works from my favourite designers and increase conscious consumerism, shelf / life was established in late 2009 and continues today with an ever-evolving range of home wares, stationery and gifts handpicked for their considered design. The little gift guide below features some of my favourite products from shelf / life as well as my top picks from a few other independent designers that I admire. I hope you enjoy it!

(Click here to read more…)

just when I thought sending holiday cards was a thing of the past…
Posted in christmas ideas, handmade, pia's photos January 20th, 2012 by pia

Here is a quick still life of a few of the gorgeous cards I received last month – some made by hand, others printed photographs and illustrations on beautiful card stock. Thank you lovely friends.

I hope everyone has had a peaceful, ‘time to reflect’ start to 2012. I’ve been nesting as you can imagine, and am happy to say our house now – finally – feels like home. It took a while but it’s ready – and I’m ready – to greet this new little person in our lives.

Happy holidays everyone! Here’s to 2012 being a year of hope, action, and positive change for all and each individual.

xx

PS my friend Jenni rented out the movie “babies” for us yesterday, something she’s been telling me about for months but I hadn’t yet got around to finding. We watched it last night and it’s truly fabulous, I was especially drawn to the Namibian family, and french boy loved the mongolian nomadic way of life (impressed that they had a satellite dish and mobile phone). An inspiring film, I hope you take the time to watch it if you haven’t seen it already.

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made by hand in amsterdam…
Posted in amsterdam: made by hand, christmas ideas, handmade November 18th, 2010 by pia

The other day I was visiting Hilde at Atelier Tempel (page 153 in Amsterdam: Made by Hand) and saw these little egg cosies she had just made which I thought were utterly gorgeous. On top of each one there is a bird with the corresponding egg on the front. What a brilliant gift for the holiday season. Although they are not on Hilde’s website yet, you can email or call her to purchase them – her contact details are here.

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