Funny reminders

Sometimes I forget, but I live in quite an awesome city. Amsterdam. And whenever I forget, the city itself hands me a kind reminder, telling me “Hey you, look! It’s pretty lovely around here”. 

Like today. I’d done my errands and picked up a massive parcel which made it impossible to cycle. So I walked the last 10 minutes, looking like a pack-donkey. Almost home, I passed the local florist. Of course, from the corner of my eye I spotted flowers that were perfect for my collages, so I made a stop to have a look. They were perfect, so I wanted a bunch. Two things you can do: 

a. Walk home, dump stuff, return later.

b. Buy the flowers immediately, embracing your inner pack-donkey. 

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t go with option b. The florist came to help me and the moment of payment arrived. Card at hand. He… only accepted cash. Solutions are there for those who need them, the ATM was two doors down. 

I started to clumsily fiddle with my bike and the several bags hanging from it. But “no, no, no, leave your bike and bags! Come on, in you go with that bike!” the florist said. Yes. He was bloody serious. I found myself riding my bike into the flower shop. Bags and parcels included. The florist would make sure it wouldn’t get stolen. 

He kept his word, I paid for my flowers, carefully rode the bike outside again, walked home and thought to myself “only in Amsterdam…what a wonderful city”. 

Flowers look so good on my bike.

A Heart A Day #10

It’s Gay Pride in Amsterdam, so for today’s heart from me to you I thought I’d stick to the colours of the rainbow. This heart turned into my morning meditation, then got me into a drawing-flow.

Gay Pride and compassion are an interesting duo, I think. We celebrate that everyone has the right to be who he or she wants to be, no matter what sexuality. Pretty compassionate. Yet so many people have something to say about some other’s sexuality. Judgement seems to be around the corner. Especially on days like these.
But what if all people judging others would start with themselves? If they would start to feel, listen to themselves. Would they maybe be surprised to hear a total new story, to see a whole new picture, that isn’t influenced by parents, friends, neighbours, isn’t influenced by someone else’s story and opinion? Would that make them more compassionate? In my ideal world, yes, it would.

10

[I love love and I love hearts! But oh, there’s too little of it, this world needs more love. So let’s change that, step by step. Away with pessimism. Away with hate. Let’s fill this world with love. And hearts. To show compassion towards each other, towards the planet, towards ourselves. It proves to be difficult for so many of us. But instead of judging it’s more meaningful to show love, to respond with love, to act out of love. Say it with hearts.

I’m sharing A Heart A Day. Homemade. Every day I will create a heart and post it on this blog. Will you help me make love and hearts spread like a contagious but healthy disease?]

About a Discodipped and starry night

Last week I celebrated my birthday. I turned 31 but celebrated like I hadn’t even reached 13 yet. Growing up is something I’ll save for later.
I celebrated my birthday with a group of lovely people that I feel blessed to have in my life and call my friends. The theme was DiscoDip, after my favourite ice cream decoration.

Ice cream1

This accidental Discodip picture I took a couple of years ago. Copyrights by me, 2014.

I bet all my friends stressed out at the thought of a theme. That was the only true reason I decided to go with a theme – to make them feel a little awkward. And also the fact that Discodip is just too good and colourful to be true. It really makes me happy!

We met up at the TonTonClub in Amsterdam’s Red Light district. No red ears or under-age warnings needed; TonTon Club is kind of a modern game arcade where you can play Jenga or get lost in a car race (never ending if you keep on feeding the machine coins) and dive in a ball pit. You can also watch the prostitutes from a safe distance if visiting them is too much for you, guys.

Like any 13 or 31 year old probably wouldn’t… I made party bags for my friends. The kind my mother used to make for my birthday parties when I really was young. With a candy heart, confetti, a weird-shaped eraser and a lucky star. Because I love my friends, I love to give and I love to show my gratitude. The lucky stars I made myself and I added a little message to them before I folded them. Unless they’ve all unfolded their stars, they still don’t know what’s written on it.

So here it is, my message to you ‘unfolded’:


“Be the DiscoDip to someone’s icecream”. That’s the loveliest thing you can be: colourful, happy and full of love. And to share that is spreading it, like a colourful love-virus. So I won’t stop you from spreading. Enjoy!

If you want to fold Lucky Stars – it’s pretty easy! I just don’t like to write out the instructions so here’s a link to someone else who already did write the instructions down for you.

The colour-hunter

Today I received a card from a friend, and some words she’d wrote down for me coincided with a little day-challenge I gave myself. She wrote “…no matter how dark the days can be sometimes, you always manage to see light and make your life so colourful!” Her timing was perfect and her words touched me with all their might: after a couple of dark days – or more, weeks – this morning I’d given myself the challenge to go colour-hunting. As I felt I needed to see more light and colour again.

I sometimes give myself a single colour at the beginning of the day, with the simple challenge to notice that colour during that day. Where ever I go. It’s amazing how the whole day seems to burst with that given colour. You should try it! Today was multi-colour day and the colour-hunt brought me lots of colour, which was marvellous on a very grey-gloomy day.

 


These are some of the treasures I discovered today. Blue stood out somehow. Maybe as a tribute to my “little blue lately” ;-)

Which colour will you be hunting tomorrow?

Being biased

There is a new shop in my hood. It opened its doors to the public yesterday. And I think it’s amazing. But I’m biased. I rent a shelf there. And on that shelf lie my cards!

That new shop is called TOON. It existed before, on a different location. But has now moved to de Baarsjes in Amsterdam. TOON is a shop where you can show your products and art, by renting a shelf, couple of square metres or a nail on a wall. It also has a little stage where performers can do their thing. Some people rent square metres and create there little studio there.

The shop is enormous. It has corners and lovely shrines filled with a diversity of beautiful things. You could get lost. You can have a cup of coffee too. Sitting on any chair in the shop you like. The only risk there, is that the chair is being sold while you sit in it.

If you’re in Amsterdam only for a short trip, skip the main shopping area and head over to de Baarsjes in Amsterdam West immediately. Stop by at TOON. Come say hi to my cards in their own little corner and leave your drawing marks on the sample-cards like this little guest has so beautifully done.

Someone understood what the pencils are for and multi-coloured this heart!

Someone understood what the pencils are for and multi-coloured this heart!

Marvel at all the beauty the shop has on offer. It’s absolutely worth visiting. I know, it’s not convincing hearing that from someone as biased as me.
If you would like to see my little corner at TOON but are not anywhere near Amsterdam, pay a visit to my corner on their website (which is in Dutch, so good for your language skills).

 

 

TOON is located on the Jan Evertsenstraat 4 – 8 and can very easily be reached by tram and bus.

 

I sketched how to get there

 

[ Note that my cards will be at TOON for the next 3 months! ]

Prakken in West – een artikel voor buurtkrant De Jan Eef

[ Time to practise your Dutch! Below a scan of an article I wrote for the local newspaper…]

Voor de lokale buurtkrant De Jan Eef schreef ik onlangs een artikel over de nieuwste sociale onderneming van Amsterdam West: Prakken in West.

 

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Dit artikel werd gepubliceerd in de tweede editie van De Jan Eef – De buurt van binnenuit, een initiatief van Winkelstraat Vereniging Ik geef om de Jan Eef. Uitgave: December 2014.