Etsy order

   Last week I ordered on Etsy a print from one of my favorite illustrators du jour,
   Rob Hodgson. It arrived yesterday (without the frame) with a few postcards thrown
   in as well, I love it! A high quality beautiful illustration print on pretty paper, more
   about this talented illustrator later...

Winter colors

   This morning I woke up and surprise surprise... a (very modest) layer of snow and
   crisp cold air welcomed us here in Utrecht (the Netherlands) to winter.

   Apparently we're not the only ones where winter suddenly kicked in, see Sandra's blog.

Peek into the process

   Looking at other illustrators work I'm always curious, how did they do that,
   what technique did they use?  Aren't you? I hope you are cause I'm about to 
   show you how I work...

   1. I mostly work with texts or ideas, I start thinking and looking at simular 
       subjects and objects (what does a TV look like, what do I want the cabinet 
       to look like and so on), in this case I just looked around at my living room.
   2. I start drawing with ink and a fountain pen untill I'm happy with the result. 
       I also collect structures (from paper or handmade ones with ink, paint, etc) 
       which I scan and keep in a special 'structures' folder on my computer.
       The drawings I just made are also scanned and so are the 'people' elements
       I cut out of magazines and pretty paper.
   3. When everything is in the computer I start with essambling the illustration, 
       first background, then furniture and so on. Some drawings I eventually
       don't use, but I always save them in case I need it in a future illustration.
   4. Now the structures come in... I cut them into the shape of the object they 
       have to fill, and add color. Sometimes also a (opaque) second layer, just to 
       give the surface more dept. I also delete the black outlines most of the time.
       I fiddle with this till I'm happy with the colors, look and layout. 
   5. Last, I add some extra touches like shadow, blush or lines (like the tv cord). 
       The illustration now contains lots of layers and I save it that way so I can 
       always change or move something.

   You can see the full illustration (bigger size) here.
   Have a lovely and creative weekend!

Birthday 2

   Yesterday evening was, apart from my birthday also the last lesson of this season's
   illustration course. My students surprised me with some great handmade birthday
   cards. The lovely P also gave me a fab little surprise package to say 'thanks'.
   It contained all sorts of cute goodies like animal print patches, tea and some
   amazing vintage finds (the wine bottle cork-man is my fave!) which came in a little
   basket. I just couldn't stop smiling!

   I also promised to post the recipe for the cake... here we go:
   (c = cup = about 240 ml, t = teaspoon)

   3 c flour
   1 c vegetable oil
   1 c grated zucchini
   3 eggs (and P, these are the organic small or medium ones!)
   2 1/4 c sugar (or 1 1/4 c fructose/fruitsugar, as I used)
   1 pinch of salt
   2 t baking soda (for the dutch: you can buy this at a 'toko')
   a pinch of 'real' vanilla (or 2 t vanilla extract)
   3 t cinnamon
   crumble topping
   1/4 c flour
   1/2 cup muesli
   3 tablespoons sugar (or 2 of the fructose)
   1/4 c raisins
   1/4 c chopped mixed nuts
   2 1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

   pre-heat the oven to 170 C (325 F, gas mark 3) 
   1. whip the egss together with the veg. oil and sugar with a electric mixer for about 3
       minutes, till it's thick and lobed.
   2. add the flour, salt, baking soda, vanilla and cinnamon and mix it into the eggs
       mixture with a spoon.
   3. add the grated zucchini and mix it together (again with the spoon).
   4. cover the bottom of a round baking tin (of about 26 cm / 10 1/4 ") with some
       baking paper, and the sides of the tin with a thin layer of butter.
   5. add the mixture to the tin and spread it out evenly.
   6. put it in the middle of the oven for about 20 minutes.
   7. put al the ingredients for the crumble topping together in a bowl and mix in with
       your fingers until it looks a bit like breadcrumb.
   8. take the cake out of the oven (but keep it on!) and evenly sprinkle the topping over
       the cake.
   9. put it back in the oven and let it bake for about 20-30 more minutes. Check by
       sticking a thin knife or knitting needle into the middle of the cake if it's fully baked.
       If the knife or needle comes out clean, it's ready, if not, put it back into the oven
       and check again in 10 minutes.





   Today I turned... well thirty something (let's not talk about numbers), hurray!
   I started the day a bit grumpy as Seb thought it to be a good idea to chew on the
   fridge electricity cable. All of a sudden the lamps turned off... Luckily Seb was
   still alive (thank god, this would have been a bad day if something had happend
   to him, even though I was a bit cross, and he knew it seeing the way he looked
   at me, see the picture). I had to rewire the fridge (yes, I can!) and then my family
   came over with lots of big presents and we had lunch at one of my favorite
   places in Utrecht, Hooi. They also brought a painting I inherited from my
   grandmother, who passed away a few months ago, it was like she gave me a
   present from 'the beyond'.
   Last but not least I got a lovely surprise from a friend who's currently on holiday
   in Malesia, she send me a present by mail, thanks K!
   Friday I'll celebrate some more with friends, having dinner and then some (or a
   lot) drinks till...

   The cake is a birthday treat for my illustration students tonight!

family 2.0

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   Do you remember the illustration I was working on a while ago about the
   new marriage? I did a new version as I wasn't happy with the last one, this
   is a detail. You can see the whole finished illustration here.

   Also, my new illustration courses are starting in februari and there are still 
   some spots left on monday evening (14 lessons in Utrecht/ Leidsche Rijn,
   lots of free parking space available and easy accesible by public transport), 
   so if you've always wanted to do all the fun stuff I'm doing, subscribe!


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   The amaryllis finally flowered last week, my lunch today (beetroot salad) and I bough
   this cute card at Dille & Camille (it's made by nineteenseventythree).


   My illustration students made diarama boxes on a text about the internet and
   social media, the flood of information you digest every day.

Valentine boxes

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   We just started the new year and I'm already making Valentine editions of the Instant
   Comfort Pocket box. I just put them in the shop, this is one of the three designs.

Stamp workshop

   It's finally happening, I'm teaching a stamp workshop on saturday the 4th of februari
   from 12-15 o'clock. We'll make our own stamps (2 to 3 per person) and stamp away to
   create some wonderful wrap or craftpaper (which will hopefully inspire you to new
   arty projects)! All this fun is happening at the UCK on the Verlengde 
   Hoogravenseweg 150b in Utrecht (Netherlands) for the price of 40 euro (all materials
   included). If you'd like to join, send me an email with your name, phone number and
   mention 'stamp workshop'.

   ps If you don't speak dutch, no worries, you can still join (you're not alone ;-)


   Ok, I think I mentioned it shortly a while ago but I'm working on something for
   the 101 woonideeen magazine (a dutch interiour design magazine) which I'm very
   excited about! The thing is that they'll do a (big!) interview with me for the may
   issue and I feel so very very flattered and proud. Apart from the interview there'll
   also be a special designed little craft project involved which I'm working on very
   hard at the moment. Can't really show you much yet but some inspiration pics that
   are at my desk at the moment...

8 x Berlin


   The last pictures of Berlin, I hope you enjoyed it... Have a lovely weekend!

Hamburger Bahnhof

   There was an amazing exhibition at the Hamburger Bahnhof (comtemporary
   art museum of Berlin), 'Cloud Cities' by Tomás Saraceno. This museum also 
   has a yummy bookshop where I bought some new favorites like this one and 
   this one. I regret not buying the one in the last photo but I might order it 
   some time soon...

Botanischer Garten

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   We visited the Botanic Garden in Berlin, which housed (among others) an amazing
   cacti paradise and cute museum.

Berlin food

   Places we visited for food, drinks or snacks:
   + Monsieur Vuong (Alte Schönhauser Str. 46): Vietnamese food, lunch and dinner
   + bockwurst at the Botanischer Garten cafe
   + Weinblatt (Dieffenbachstr. 59): turkish tapas, lunch and dinner, also take away
   + Cinnamon Tree (Schonleinstr. 11): Indian food (the best we ever had!)
   + Safran (Oranienstr. 172): persian food, lunch and dinner
   + Pagode (Bergmannstr. 88): Thai food, dinner
   + Luzia (Oranienstr. 34): bar
   + Mädchenitaliener (Alte Schoenhauser Strasse 12): Italien food, lunch and dinner
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