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Amsterdam: Made By Hand

Visiting Amsterdam soon? You’ll want this book in your bag! When Pia sent me an advanced copy of Amsterdam: Made By Hand I knew that the moment I had some time to read it, that I would love it. This past weekend I had a little time on Sunday night to flip through the pages and read her lovely introduction which feels so personal, and some of the shop profiles, and all of the images (because let’s face it, the visuals are always the best in books like this)… and well it’s quite charming and certainly worthy of a review. I’m sure that many bloggers who have the opportunity to pick this book up will give it a glowing review in addition to my own because it’s one that will appeal to so many I think.

Amsterdam: Made By Hand

Amsterdam: Made By Hand is a compact guidebook, published by Little Bookroom in New York, that has around 171 pages with many pretty photographs taken by the author, Pia Jane Bijkerk, and it captures how Amsterdam looks and feels through her eyes along with some of her most cherished shop suggestions. This book is ideal for those looking for a bit of an “off the beaten path” guide to where one can find shops catering more to the handmade, upcycled, vintage-loving crowd.

Here are some peeks from my copy:

Amsterdam: Made By Hand

Swarm – Shop shown above.

Amsterdam: Made By Hand

Amsterdam: Made By Hand

Juffrouw Splinter Curiosa – Shop glimpse above

Amsterdam: Made By Hand

The Frozen Fountain – Shown above.

“As a stylist, I am always on the lookout for objects that are distinctive and alluring—which is why I adore all things handmade. Amsterdam: Made By Hand is an insider’s guide where you’ll discover Dutch ateliers tucked away on the cobble stoned backstreets of the old canal district, and boutiques that Dutch designers and stylists have kept well-hidden inside their black books. . . until now. Between its pages you can expect to find woodworkers, flower artists, jewelry designers, dressmakers, ceramicists, and more: with the backdrop of Amsterdam’s beautiful canals and wonky buildings, you can expect to see this quaint old city in a whole new light.” – Pia Jane Bijkerk.

Amsterdam: Made By Hand

Another view of The Frozen Fountain shop.

Amsterdam: Made By Hand

Tesselschade Arbeid Adelt shown above.

Not all of us traveling want to shop only at big department stores – many delight in finding things that feel like no one else has ever found them before and most of the shops in Pia’s book feel exactly like this – mini hidden treasure boxes tucked away on random side streets owned by passionate people who have made their retail store and the products in it their entire existence. It’s hard to find shops like this in cities nowadays, even in Europe, as more and more chain coffee shops and stores move in paying top dollar for property forcing long time tenants out and sometimes not just out to another neighborhood but out of business altogether. Don’t get me started on this topic though as it makes me quite warm and my cheeks get a bit red! Ha! But yes, this is happening because how can one compete with paying top dollar costs for renting a shop when your store is really more about passion and community building than counting stacks of bills at the end of the day?

Amsterdam: Made By Hand

Fabrics at Tinctoria.

Amsterdam: Made By Hand

Cute things at Happy Red Fish.

Amsterdam: Made By Hand

Gorgeous and a bit edgy – jewelry at Gild Goldsmith Atelier.

And so, when you go to cities you often only find these big stores in the main sections and sometimes it can seem as though a city lacks a local identity, the very identity that is found from the shops that had to move out to make way for the big boxes. Fortunately, in Amsterdam, many sweet stores do exist but often tucked away here and there and Pia has found them and placed the gems lovingly into this book. This is the real value of a book like this – it supports those who are happy to stay small and leads us who are happy to shop there to them. Thank you Pia for your efforts in pulling together this sweet glimpse of your Amsterdam and I hope that anyone interested in handmade goods will pick up this title the next time they plan to visit there.

Amsterdam: Made By Hand Party

Psst: If you are in Amsterdam on June 5th see the above image for a fun signing party that you can attend! If you go, have fun!

Psst Psst: I’m an Amazon affiliate so the links to Amazon are part of my affiliate program.

(images: top 5 photographs taken by Holly Becker for decor8, all others submitted by Pia Jane Bijkerk for this review.)

Posted in Books + Magazines on May 25, 2010

Copenhagen Tips?

I’ll soon be off again only this time I’ll leave for Copenhagen in the coming weekend where I’ll be camping out for a week to direct various shoots. I’m excited because all of the homes that we are shooting are so beautiful and I can’t wait to meet the home owners, see some of their most cherish possessions and to gather their tips to weave into the Decorate book for all of you to see in the near future!

Copenhagen - Got tips?

We’ll also be in Sweden for the day in a tiny town along the coast, and hopping around Denmark a bit, but our base is in Copenhagen and though I doubt I’ll have time to do much of anything outside of work I’d love to know if you have any absolute “must-see” spots there that I should visit. Restaurants and cafes would be nice, but also shops for design. We are staying near Tivoli Gardens so near to there would be my preference. If you’d like to drop some tips here I’d really appreciate it and I know others who are Copenhagen bound this year would also appreciate reading your ideas, too! Thank you so much! :)

(image: library of congress)

Posted in travel on May 24, 2010

Find Inspiration

Have you ever found something while out on a walk — a stone, a shell, a feather — and taken it home only to realize what a tiny treasure you really have? Outdoors it may have appeared to be such a mundane find, but in the surroundings of your own home the item takes on a new look and feel. I found this random feather in the park near my house and brought it home and just as the sun was setting last night I admired it resting on the table near the window and thought that I should capture it with my camera (my husband gave me his Olympus DSLR so now I am officially learning how to use one, yay!). As I shot, I placed it on a few different surfaces to see how it would affect the mood and these are my favorite three shots.




feather study

Sometimes we need inspiration but have very little means of getting any whether that be lack of money to travel far, lack of motivation to change something in our life, lack of energy — the list goes on. Perhaps on your next walk outdoors you can look for something small and seemingly simple and bring it home with you and photograph it showing the object in three different moods. Think of what you are trying to show, a story you are telling, as you take the photos. Here I thought about how birds can represent so many things, freedom and wisdom (the wise old owl!) but also how very delicate and precious they are. And then I just clicked away and found something in the end that made me feel inspired and myself all over again.

(images: holly becker for decor8)

Posted in uncategorized on May 24, 2010

Judith Dekker Photography

Here is a little glimpse into the portfolio of Dutch photographer Judith Dekker today so here you are… a sweet photo or two to inspire you and to also highlight her most inviting portfolio.

Judith Dekker

Judith is also represented by Hollandse Hoogte for archive sales.

Don’t you love the butterfly resting on the hand? Doesn’t it evoke the sweetest feeling — that of connecting with nature and the joy in simple pleasures? The stack of books is another favorite because I love the colors of the jackets and the teacup resting on top, plus the lighting is perfect!

(images: judith dekker)

Posted in inspiration on May 24, 2010


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