Friday, February 13, 2015

Wisdom on: being alive is a grand thing

I love collecting quotes. My own thoughts, when they come in the shape of quips of other people's wisdom, seem more fully formed.

I'm hoping to renew my old habit of collecting quotes in a series called Wisdom on: in which I pair quotes that resonate with me with pictures that are inspired by the words. In keeping with the spirit of the blog, I'm trying to feature European crafters and artists.

Here's my quote for this week:
 
"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly despairing, acutely miserable, tacked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing."

Agatha Christie - An Autobiography

Nursery art by Cassia Beck on Etsy :: Being alive is a grand thing (Agatha Christie)
Nursery art by CassiaBeck

Another Wisdom on: the unfounded fear of being childish.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Wisdom on: the unfounded fear of being childish

I love collecting quotes. My own thoughts, when they come in the shape of quips of other people's wisdom, seem more fully formed.

When I was little, I used to fill notebooks with quotes and pictures that matched them. There was really nothing that I couldn't pair with a picture. For hours, I would sit at my desk and cut and paste (literally, using real scissors and glue) little bits of printed magic. I used magazines, newspapers, chocolate wrappers, packaging and pretty much anything with a cute picture printed on it. Everything that fitted beloved words. I would then get out my quote notebook and find one that matched the mood of the picture. Sometimes, it was the other way around, with the words of wisdom waiting patently at the bottom of a blank page for the colors, shapes and textures of a glossy piece of daydreaming. 

When I first started this habit, I had never seen a computer. I didn't even know such things existed beyond computer labs. It was the mid-90s and the only screen that we had in the house was the bulky TV set. (Yes, it was a set back then.)

The notebooks are long gone. My high school self was too embarrassed to keep any. Some of the words are long forgotten. Some are still ingrained in my memory. Some are lost, but have left a mark on my life. They taught me that words are powerful, mighty and dangerous. But words can be whatever you want them to be. Words are uplifting, encouraging and brave. Words are loving, creative, inspiring, playful and hope-giving.

I'm hoping to renew my old habit of collecting quotes in a series called Wisdom on: in which I pair quotes that resonate with me with pictures that are inspired by the words. In keeping with the spirit of the blog, I'm trying to feature European crafters and artists.

Here's my quote for this week:

"When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."

C.S. Lewis

Voyages over Edinburgh by David Fleck
Voyages over Edinburgh by David Fleck


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Polish Textiles from Taftyli

I found out about two talented textile designers and I want to spread the news. Some of their work appeared on Kickan & Conkers, one of the blogs that I read faithfully. 

The textile work of Swlvya and Dorota is bulky, daring and unapologetic. Almost magnetic, I would say. You can find something for both masculine and feminine interiors, and it would certainly match sophisticated, white spaces as well as darker, moodier rooms.

Braided pillow case by taftyli on European Beautiful
Braided headboard by taftyli on European Beautiful
Braided textiles by taftyli on European Beautiful

Every piece is unique, hand-dyed and sewed by hand.  And I'm still dreaming about that braided headboard.

This is their blog: Projekt-i.
This is their Pinterest.  
This is their website
And their Etsy shop.

Here's where I would see their work showcased:

1. In this warm, coastal-inspired living room in Spain.

Warm, coastal-inspired living room in Spain
Photo by Manolo Yllera via Domaine Home
2. As headboard/backdrop against this grey wall on the Cosy Home blog.

Grey bare wall in the bedroom on CosyHome blog via EuropeanBeautiful
Source: Cosy Home
3. To break down and blend in with the palette in this deep blue and black&white bedroom.

Blue and white bedroom from Fantastic Frank via European Beautiful
Source: Fantastic Frank

Saturday, January 24, 2015

It's a new year. It's a new dawn.

The holidays went by so fast, like happy free days tend to do. I was holding my breath in the beginning of December to make sure I take every occasion to celebrate and enjoy the month. Next thing you know, it was January 3rd. But I did have a great time on a wonderful trip to New York to spend time with my friends. I even managed to enjoy the city for a week, and was lucky enough to have beautiful warm winter weather.


Top to bottom:
1. Chandelier at New York Public Library
2. Light angel at Rockefeller Center
3. Statue of Liberty on a clear and sunny winter day
4. Textile booth in Bryant Park
5. Carousel in Bryant Park
6. Brooklyn Museum
7. Peeking in a New York office building, Rear Window-style
8. New York skyline from the Brooklyn Bridge.

Friday, December 19, 2014

How to make paper snowflakes

Early in our relationship, my partner and I decided to get a Christmas ornament each year. We don't like buying the Christmas ornaments that you find in stores. It seems to me that all the collections available are cheaply made in China. The glitter is more in the box than on the baubles, Santa's eyes are drawn on his forehead and angels have dubious things hanging from their backs, that definitely don't look like wings. We like to buy from small businesses or independent vendors at craft shows or online, but we're also learning how to make Christmas ornaments from scratch.

Making a paper snowflake was a simple and fun project done while we were watching TV. I remember doing this paper project when I was in kindergarten, so it really is easy. The most difficult part might be picking the right book to butcher, if you choose to use book pages instead of regular paper. I did, so I picked Jerry Seinfeld's Seinlanguage. Jerry wouldn't mind, and all the jokes are in his shows anyway, so I felt the sacrifice was minimal.

What you need:
3 book pages for every snowflake
sewing thread
a needle
scotch tape
scissors
patience


1. Take a page out of a book. 
 
2. Fold it accordion-style. 
 
3. Cut the ends into little hearts or stars (optional, but it looks nice). 
 
4. Fold it in half. 
 
How to make a paper snowflake :: EuropeanBeautiful
 
5. Make two more, following steps 1-4. 
 
6. Tie three folded pages in the middle with regular sewing thread or a thin ribbon. 
 
7. If the snowflake doesn't stay "open" (this depends on the paper), use scotch tape to attach the separate pieces of paper at the ends. You can also use double-sided tape.  
 
8. We used a needle and thread to attach the snowflakes together. 
 
How to make a paper snowflake :: EuropeanBeautiful
 
If you're making just one snowflake, you can leave the thread long and  use it to hang the snowflake on the Christmas tree. We made three flakes and put them up on a wall. As you can tell, it was really dark when we finished. Which means it was probably 4:30 pm in Pennsylvania. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

This the season to buy from a small business

Anna from Door Sixteen is crowdsourcing a list of independent crafters, artists and designers that offer an excellent alternative to shopping in big box stores for your holiday gift. Supporting a small business means supporting a talented artist make a living. I strongly believe that making a living through your art and work should be a viable alternative in this day and age.

 So I combed through the links of talented designers and makers, and picked a few gift options that are made in Europe:

1. Inge of Windward Made offers sustainable fashion accessories and home goods made of fine hemp fabrics. A couple of her creations that I really like:

Hemp and organic cotton tea pot cozy and tea towel. Hand-printed, non-toxic ink and organic fabrics.

Hemp and organic cotton tea pot cozy by Windward Made on EuropeanBeautiful

Hemp and organic cotton tea pot cozy by Windward Made on EuropeanBeautiful

 2. Ella Moe makes mesmerizing kaleidoscopic cards that you can buy in a set of 4.

kaleidoscopic cards by Ella Moe on European Beautiful

3. Boxwood pendants stamped with handmade stamps are a really unique gift made by Judith of  Kiriku Artesania

Boxwood pendants by Kiriku on European Beautiful

4. Yvonne of Mouseblossom is drawing botanical prints on ceramic brooches. You'll know that these mushrooms are in good company, if you look at the other nature-inspired illustrations in Yvonne's shop.

Botanical prints by Mouseblossom on EuropeanBeautiful

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Simple Christmas Trees

I always loved putting up a Christmas Tree. The glitz, the anticipation, taking the ornaments out of the boxes, reminiscing about each and every one of them.

But there are times when a tree may prove too big or too complicated an idea. I remember that before I moved countries, I wanted to keep the Christmas tree decorations as hassle-free as possible. So if you're getting ready to move, or your apartment is too small for a Christmas tree, or you're traveling for the holidays and can't justify decorating an empty house ... these 4 ideas are for you.

Small simple Christmas Tree decorations - europeanbeautiful.blogspot.com

From top, clockwise, we have inspiration from :

1. Live tree in a pot with polka dot hearts and stripped hearts found on Trendenser.
2. Wooden tree with white stars made by Ann Elin from Idyll and him.
3. Advent calendar in the shape of a tree from Home by Linn.
4. Twig Christmas tree with black stars and lanterns from Lekker Fris.