The sweet cure
Eleven years ago, when working in fashion with lots of fabrics, I started sneezing. And I never stopped: I became "allergic". Allergic to dust, to synthetic perfumes, to dark chocolate, to alcohol, to eucalyptus... After a few years I started taking antihistamines, which keep me from sneezing all day long.
Last week I realized that I'm sneezing more since the pollen season started. Which makes me wonder whether I suffer from hay fever... Anyway, I don't want to complain (paper hankies are my best friends!), but maybe eating local honey will help me reduce the sneezing?
A happy coincidence: I met a beekeeper this weekend who was selling his honey at a brocante. His beehives are located at only 2km from our home, pretty local, right? I bought one of his jars and asked him if I could come and have a look next time he'll harvest honey. He agreed and I'm really looking forward to that. I wonder if his beehives are just as colorful as the ones we saw in Burgundy...
According to Ian Douglas, honey is not a cure for hay fever, but hey: eating honey every day sounds like a pretty sweet idea to me ;o) Do you think honey can be a cure for hay fever? And do you like honey?
Designing beautiful packaging for honey would be one of my dream assignments as a graphic designer. Honey inspires many fellow designers, so I started collecting lots of their designs on my honey bee bee pinterest board:
Golden Cheese cookies
I loved reading all your comments on my misfortune baking. It's so good to know that I'm not the only one who messes up simple recipes. And finally I made something edible that tasted good! Inspired by my bakerella sister's Pacman cheese cookies, I tried to make them last weekend. And everyone liked them! So here's the super easy recipe:
Mix 100gr cheese (whatever you have/like: I used gouda because we didn't have any parmesan as in the original recipe...), with 60gr melted butter and 125gr flour. Add some curry powder, a pinch of pepper and I also added a little salt. Knead little balls of the dough.
And roll these little balls in a tiny bowl with sesame seeds:
Then press them onto your baking mat and bake them in the oven for about 20-25 minutes at 180°C until they're golden brown.
Our two semis
When I counted the pendant lights in our home on monday (8... oops!), I completely forgot about our Gubi Semi pendant lights. They hang in my husband's practice.
Actually it's only one real Semi lamp, designed by Claus Bonderup and Torsten Thorup in 1968, found at a Dutch flea market for a lucky 5€. We thrifted the other one in Copenhagen: it's a vulgar copy with lots of scuffs and dents. It was also a bit bulky for city strolling, but we knew they would make a nice couple :o)
So what do you think? Do you have any classics at home? Would you buy a fake design or do you absolutely want the real deal?
Below is a little video by Gubi on the Semi design. I'm such a sucker for Danish spoken language:
Les carrières de Montigny
When we ride 50km south-west from our place, we are in the middle of Paris. And if we ride 50km up north-east, we're in the middle of nowhere. Well almost but not quite. Near a small village called Machemont, there is this huge stone quarry site called Montigny.
As of the 19th century stone was excavated from Montigny and transported (via the Oise river) to Paris and beyond. That's why many Haussmannien houses in Paris are built with limestone from Montigny!
Workers used their environment to its full potential by digging their homes directly into the rocks. These troglodyte cave houses stay at a constant 12°C, which makes them convenient all year round.
Les carrières de Montigny are best known for their function during the WWI: the French army resided in the cavehouses and even opened an army hospital. Up until the 70s families actually lived here and today an Association is taking care of its renovation and nomination for inscription on the World Heritage list of Unesco.
We visited during the Nature & Garden fair, which was cute because the crew and exhibitors were very enthusiastic. The man of the Mushroom Truck showed us in detail how they used to grow mushrooms in the quarry. Unfortunately the subterranean galleries and tunnels were not open to the public that day, so we need to come back soon and discover what everybody is so excited about!
On our way back home we passed by this Manoir. The gently sloping countryside of the Oise is so pretty:
The ugly truth
Oh yes, this is it: our current bathroom. I'm certainly not following the unwritten rules of the ugly truth challenge by showing ALL of it (I'm trying to keep my blog pretty hihi), but as you can see it's quite an emergency! Even though I still prefer watching the pretty side of home interiors, peeking into daily life in pretty homes is very refreshing and makes it more human, I think. We all leave dirty dishes in the sink sometimes, do we?
Nine years ago we converted the former men's room of our building into a bathroom by simply putting in a shower cabin, central ventilation and a towel radiator. Now it's time to finally create a beautiful prestine bathroom, with a double sink, a walk-in shower, storage and nice tiles. Something like this.
After watering the red blossom last night (which is slowly turning white!) this truth doesn't look so bad:
Would you show what your home looks like on a regular wednesday without cleaning or tidying?
During a quick visit of the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, I spotted this pretty pendant lamp designed by Front for Zero lighting. Swedish design trio CKR also used this lamp in the famous lobby of the Nobis hotel, where it looks really stunning. But to me, this historic ceiling looks even better as a backdrop for this lamp called Camouflage!
I count 8 pendant lights in our home (oops!)... so there is not a lot of place left for one of these beauties by David Trubridge:
My sister decided to start sending me more snail mail. She told me I should write about it on my blog. So I will! Always listen to your little sister!
This Duschlampe card came with some creamy chocolates she brought home from Hamburg. I have no idea what this card is about, beside from "shower lamp". When I scanned the QR code on the back it went straight to the movie trailer of a German feel good movie called Kokowääh (coq-au-vin). It's about a man that finds an 8-year old girl on his doorstep with a letter that tells him she's his daughter. He doesn't know how to be a dad... you feel where this is going ;o)
Anyway, I stuck the card on our bathroom door near the emergency shower sign. Our bathroom itself is actually quite an emergency. And on top of our renovation list. I cannot stop pinning beautiful bathrooms on our new bathroom Pinterest board...
Have a great weekend!
Red Blossom branches
While I'm impatiently waiting for warmer nights to get my succulents and palm trees out of their winter storage, I can't help but picking flowers. I know... again! I may turn into a real flowergirl... After the yellow daffodils and blue hyacinth grapes I found these red blossom branches in another neighbor's garden. I'm so not used to having flowers at home (our cats like eating them), that the best vase I could find, was a measuring cup ;o)
Oh and I really loved reading all your comments on that particular minty green color at the Sugar Factory! Rebecca pointed out that it is called Eau de Nile and was used in many official buildings in the 1950s, like schools, offices and court houses. Ilaria had a more poetic suggestion: carta da zucchero. After the faded blue wrapper of sugar. How appropriate in a sugar factory! In the old days sugar used to be wrapped in blue paper to keep the sugar from turning yellow. I think there is no doubt about the blossom above: it's pretty red, right?!
A sunny Cinemagraph
As you can see, Rose really enjoyed the wonderful weather we had this weekend! A few hours later she (and me) looked more like a tomato... we didn't quite feel the power of the sun because there was a light breeze. The same breeze that is playing with her feather earrings :o)
I'm by far not a master of the cinemagraph, unlike Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg, but I really enjoy making these more sophisticated versions of the animated gif. It requires a few simple Photoshop skills, but you can also use an app like Echograph or Flixel (iphone) or Cinemagraph (nokia lumia).
If you want to make a cinemagraph using Photoshop, I have a few tips:
► use a tripod to shoot the video (I didn't and it made positioning the motion images more difficult and less precise)
► you'll need less video and layers than you'd think
► think before you start filming: think about details: like the exact part you want to animate, the shadows, elements behind the moving part (like the necklace in my case) and light reflections
► the motion can be more subtile than you'd think
► open a cinemagraph by Jamie & Kevin or a gif by rrrrrrrroll in Photoshop and learn from watching the layers and their content
► this is a great cinemagraph tutorial, or this one in video
► and of course: have fun!
Inside la Sucrerie
Last week I showed you some pictures of the Sugar Factory in Francières. The weather was rather gloomy and like for our first visit, I photographed in black & white. Today I'll take you inside where it's a little bit more colorful (but also colder than outside!).
I really liked the color of the walls in the factory's chapel. It looks rather contemporary, but old pictures of the chapel before the renovation, show exactly the same colored walls! The minty blue ( or how would you call this color? ) goes perfectly well with these tiles:
In the factory's school they used a slightly different shade of minty green/blue. I never knew it used to be such a fashionable color!
In the main factory, which now houses a permanent exhibition on today's agricultural industry in France, the architects cleverly re-used this color:
Minty green/blue, jungle green, toothpaste green, jade, aqua blue... What would you call this color?
Weekend tip: la Brocante
My favorite season started: brocante season! Visiting a flea market on Sunday is like a national sport here in France. After visiting numerous marchés aux puces, I must admit that I became quite addicted to the art of junk hunting. It's a nice opportunity to visit new places in the Oise, discuss (or negotiate!) with locals and maybe find that one thing that I've always wanted but didn't know I needed.
The best online resource to find out if there's a marché aux puces going on somewhere nearby is vide-greniers.org. The site really hurts my eyes, but has very up-to-date info on brocantes all accross France. You simply select the region or département of your choice and off you go. I always prefer the vide-greniers (empty your attic) over the brocantes, because it's more exciting when there are less professionals selling their overpriced antiques. Simply strolling around the streets, watching people and their old stuff... aahhh I love Sunday mornings!
My best find ever was a pair of near new Ann Demeulemeester riding boots for 10 euros. Unfortunately they were too small for me, so they were sent off to a lucky Australian eBayer...
Do you like visiting flea markets? And what's your favorite brocante treasure?
In our house a few grape hyacinths in a blue rimmed shotglass means spring has officially started. Back in the 80s my Dutch neighbor used to drink his gin from one of these pottery shot glasses. But in the early spring his wife dressed his favorite glass with some grape flowers.
Many years later I found a set of these little shot glasses at a flea market and decided to reinstate this spring tradition. So here we are again:
I "stole" these grape hyacinths from someone's garden (don't tell him!) and added a few daisies from our own yard. Today they are residing on my desk and make me happy :o)
Anything looks good on these super soft wooden coasters (handmade by my dad). I also used them here and here.
The Typography of Travel 16
Beautiful typography spotted on some of my travels:
Belloy et Cie (seeds & grains) - Estrées-Saint-Denis, France
Design Panoptikum (museum of extraordinary objects) - Berlin, Germany
Le Mon Bar - Montbard, France
Comédie Musicale theatre - Paris, France
Grocery store Tetrel - Paris, France
Snickarbacken (concept store) - Stockholm, Sweden
To see more travel typography: part 1 and part 2 and part 3 and part 4 and part 5 and part 6 and part 7 and part 8 and part 9 and part 10 and part 11 and part 12 and part 13 and part 14 and part 15!
Vitamin boost 2
It think I'm feeling it. After one week with a jet lagged feeling of Daylight Saving Time, I think I'm back on track. And I even experienced some spring cleaning urge!
As you may know I'm a fruitjunkie and love almost any fruit. So for some additional spring vitamins I turned 4 pink grapefruits from my favorite stall at the market into fresh juice.
The best feature of pink grapefruits is that it looks like they are blushing. I think it's so cute:
What are your healthy spring secrets?
the Sugar Factory of Francières
This weekend we went back to the Sugar Factory. Ever since our visit last summer I wanted to go back and go inside. Apparently visiting la Sucrerie de Francières isn't easy: it's closed most of the time... but not this weekend!
The sugar industry played a prominent role in the economy of my region and that's why it's so cool that local volunteers decided to save and restore this factory. The school, the chapel and main factory hall are in great shape again... but the untouched buildings were even more intriguing:
I really wanted to climb these stairs and have a look on the first floor:
For obvious reasons they wouldn't let me...
The 34 meter high chimney is a beautiful landmark in the middle of nowhere. In the 19th century the nearest village was situated at 4km and the workers' families formed a self sustaining community. One third of the sugar production was used for themselves, kids went to a private school and the families lived in houses accross the street. The factory shut down in 1969, but one of the children that grew up here told us that life was "tough, but happy and good".
Check back soon as I'll show you the more colorful inside of la Sucrerie...
Chambre avec vue
Last night Rose and I had a soirée at the Auberge du Jeu de Paume, the brand new hotel at 10 minutes from our place, in Chantilly. The promise of champagne and a chocolate fountain immediately convinced Rose to join me. I was very curious to see what the concept of a "personal dressing" by Chambre avec Vue was all about.
After Venice and Saint Tropez, Mélissa and Taya, founders of Chambre avec Vue, decided to show a feminine & elegant collection of prêt-à-porter de luxe in Chantilly. I liked the upcycled pieces of Semi Couture but the best part was the glow of one of the models: a woman, probably in her 30s like me: so confident and powerful. The younger models were pretty and cute, but she lit up the room and made everyone smile. So cliché, but beauty isn't about looks :o)
Have a wonderful weekend!
Ever since I was a little girl, these 4 piggie banks stand on the windowsill at my parent's house. They were made by my mom in the early 80s when she was into pottery and ceramics. One of them lost part of his belly in the oven, but he survived.
A few hours after I took their picture, I petted these cuties at the Easter petting zoo at the mall. I'm still not over their warmth and softness... so cute!
I'm lost in Cheeseland
Maybe you've seen it? Last friday I was featured on Lindsey's wonderful blog called Lost in Cheeseland. As part of the Franco File Friday series I answered a few questions about my life in France.
Although my day-to-day life certainly doesn't consist of (only) sipping wine & munching on cheese, and whilst I sometimes struggle with French bureaucracy, and miss my Dutch family, the decision to move to France (almost 11 years ago) has been one of the best we've ever made. We've built a home, made new friends, tasted lots of delicious things, discovered wonderful new places...
So I'm definitely not lost in Cheeseland: I'm at home here! And you? Where do you feel at home?
Photos taken at Palais Royal, Paris
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