Our camper project: Tallulah

 

Life has these mysterious ways of making its road lead you in directions that you had never previously thought you would follow.

This is a sad post. It’s sad because it’s about letting go, sacrifice, saying goodbye.

I am one of the worst when it comes to letting go, but even me, a neurotic keepsakes clenching hoarder, even I know that in order to let the new in, the old must go out..

I fell ill, moved country, I fell in love, we commuted between countries, him and me built a camper van… And now, because we want to take our love to the next level we have to sell our precious project we worked so hard on. We have to sell her way before her time. So many holidays we could have still enjoyed, so many road trips we should have made still. Unfortunately there’s no way we can keep her as my boyfriend needs to migrate in order to be with me and importing the van isn’t an option.

So here’s a little photographic hommage to the run down London florist van we turned into a very special camper van. Tallulah, our labour of love.

The highlights.

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driving through Scandinavia last spring.

 

coffe in VW camper van

Coffee and magazines are your no 1 necessities whilst campervanning.

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Tallulah’s toes in the sand…

sunset vw camper

Tha back window as a frame to a perfect sunset.

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My home made upholstered sun visors!

beach denmark camper vans vw

In Denmark we found this amazing wide beach which was completely accessible to camper vans, it was amazing.

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The view in Sweden.

travelling camper

Let’s go travelling…

rabbit passenger

Our rabbit passenger

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sniffle sniffle, travelling Parker rabbit style!

vw t4 birthday camper

Birthdays, camper van style!

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Coffee and magazines…necessities for camper vanning!

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Rabbit house

So, as you all probably know by now, my boyfriend and me have a house rabbit named Parker. He is incredibly fluffy, hairy, blue eyed, not very intelligent and makes for hours of in-house entertainment.


The reason Parker lives indoors with us, is because we have a massive apartment with lots of space for him to run, stroll and wobble around. Parker is litter trained too, which is amazing. Unfortunately we don’t have a garden, not even a balcony. Whenever we go over to the UK, which is quite often, we take Parker with us and he has a blast playing in my parents in law’s garden. Mind you, that wasn’t always the case: the first ever time we put him on a lawn he didn’t know what to make of it. He didn’t even figure out grass was an edible thing until very recent.

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I am planning to write a post about the pro’s and cons of having a rabbit live indoors, with tips and tricks to keep it doable for both, I haven’t gotten around to doing that yet.

IMG_6039 copyI want to dedicate this post to Parker’s house, since it was a very special and fun project to make and his house has a prominent place in our interior.

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Building housing for my rabbit.

First of all, I HATE metal fencing, wires, caging etcetera. I hate it with a passion. Ever since I decided to adopt Parker into my house I was sure of one thing: I wasn’t gonna get a regular rabbit cage that looks like a prison, sounds like a prison, not to mention is completely unstylish plasticy and metally. Yuk.

Luckily, I’m a good diy-er and decided to build Parks a house he could sleep and go to the toilet in. I love reclaimed wood and my interior features lots of reclaimed wooden furniture and decoration. I wanted to give the front of the house o little Dutch touch, so I made a ‘klokgevel’, it’s a type of facade you see around Amsterdam for example. I didn’t have to think long about what materials I would use to make his house out of.

A few years back, I was big into manual photography, I used to spend hours in the darkroom when I was at uni.  Despite my good intentions, I had a box full of darkroom equipment stored under my bed for ages, which is only collecting dust. I decided to use one of the jumbo sized photo developing trays as a basis for the house. (For all you non-darkroomers: a developing tray is something like a very shallow washing up bowl, but bigger.) The tray is made of plastic, it’s easily washable in case Parker has any accidents outside of his toilet and best of all, it is so shallow I can remove it from under the house without any hassle. No lifting or manoeuvring required.

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Height of the tray and height of the wheels.

I took the developing tray as my starting point and size wise I went from there. I used pieces of reclaimed wood to build a sort of box around the tray, I placed it on castors to raise it just enough for the tray to slide under. Inside the box, to add more space I added a little shielded corner for extra dark privacy, bunnies love hiding away. And I added a shelf, which in hindsight was a stroke of genius because Parker loooves chilling on that shelf. Whenever I wake him up in the morning and remove the roof to see how he’s doing he lies there on his chill shelf, like a hairy mermaid, legs out, just hilarious.

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Parker’s shelf and hide-away-corner…

It took me a while to figure out what to make the roof out of. I think Parker was too small at the time I first made the house, he wasn’t actually able to jump out yet, which gave me the time to figure out a nice material. I wanted the roof to be light and let light through, but, again, I don;t like metal wiring of any sort.

I ended up using perforated radiator panel, it’s available in any big hardware store. People use it in radiator covering panel builds, it lets warmth through. It’s basically a very thin wood pulp board, plasticised on one side and a pattern perforated into it. There are lots of types of patterns, to go with any interior. I’m not sure about the variation in colours, I only saw white and natural straw. Most hardware stores offer a free cutting service, which is amazing, since the board gets a bit chippy if you attempt to cut it by hand.

So here it is, Parker’s night time mansion.

IMG_6039 copyIt’s not the biggest palace you will ever have seen, but trust me, he gets soooo much running around space during the day, he doesn’t mind spending his nights here.

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peek-a-boo!

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Good morning sunshine!

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Chinnin’ ma front door!

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Without the tray (during cleaning time) Parker can limbo dance his way in and out.

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Because of a lack of wood of a certain width I decided to keep a little peek through strip in the structure. It turned out to be quite a sweet feature, I can see when Parks wants to come out when he tries to poke his nose through!

IMG_6283 copy IMG_6068 copy IMG_6288 copy IMG_6315 copy I’ve been using this house for two years now and still really love it. In the beginning I was afraid it might become a bit unhygienic, because wood is such a porous material and I didn’t want to treat it with anything. But Parker really behaves himself well, he never wees in his wooden shelf bit, nor does he poop there. He has gone through phases where he nibbles on the wood, but that doesn’t bother me.

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I attached the door with two old hinges, super simple. And as a special touch I added a ceramic door knob, ‘Delfts blauw’ style, it’s a Dutch decorative pottery technique.

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I like the rough, old, worn look of reclaimed wood and some teeth marks don’t interfere with that style
. :-)

 

 

 

 

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I admit, I could’ve made a better effort, but the bottle sits and stays and works, so what?

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I use wooden catlitter pellets in my rabbit’s toilet, they’re amazing and eco friendly. I’ve never caught Parker nibbling on them but if he would it would be totally safe.

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Honestly, this stuff is a god send. Odour busting and perfumed powder to sprinkle underneath the litter pellets. Takes away all scents. Not that my bunny stinks, but hey.

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Outdated item… Scandinavian style white make over

We all have one…

That item around the house we really shouldn’t have. Let’s call it a guilty pleasure object.

Because it doesn’t live up to our own uberstylish standards, it doesn’t go with anything, it’s either worn too much, used too often or so out of sync with the rest of our style it might as well be Cameron Diaz trying to sing.

 

I definitely have one, actually, I have several. I own this gruesomely ugly woollen vest. It doesn’t go with anything and, to be honest, at times it even itches. But…. it was my late grandfather’s vest and so I love snuggling up to it from time to time.

But in this post I am not gonna talk about items of clothing, I want to talk about that one guilty pleasure item in your house that is almost too passe to look at but you can’t possibly get rid of it either.

Here’s my guilty pleasure item: a lamp that screams EARLY NINETIES.

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Sporting colours similar to those you see in the toilet the day after eating a bad curry, I have never digged its shades of brown and , erm, gold? But here’s the thing: I need this lamp! It has THE best light, its halogen light bulbs throw a soft veil of golden diffused sunlight all over my living room and its high tech dimmer even makes reading or crafting at night possible. Believe me, I have tried looking for a different lamp, one that would actuallly go with our interior, but I haven’t found an affordable solution that even comes close to the joy this lamp gives us.

This light was a git from my brother in law, who inherited it from his parents and when he gave it to me he said I could do with it whatever I wanted. Those words suddenly started echoing in the back of my head last weekend when I was in a specially productive mood. I absolutely love make overs, so why shouldn’t I give this lamp a go? See if I can pump some scandi modern minimalist vibe into it and scare away those nineties demons?

My plan was to spray paint the brown and golden parts of the light bright white , maybe play with a colour accent and DEFINITELY replace the golden chord with a funky cloth covered wire.

Before doing anything, I had to take the whole thing apart, to check how big of a job this was going to be. I needed to check if all the connections were intact, if the screws and bits were re-screwable and if the inside of the dimmer was very difficult to figure out. Why did I need to check the cables? Well, I have a house rabbit and unfortunately he has his naughty moments, hence the ugly black gaffa tape.

 

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I used clingfilm and aluminum foil to cover the bronzy metal parts (more hassle free than masking tape) , I guess they would go well with the new style anyway.IMG_5811

Luckily, the dimmer was easy enough to understand, so in with the coloured cloth covered wires..

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I started with a white primer spray paint, the cheapest one I could find because I’m on a budget, as always. I was a bit disappointed with my spraying skills, I needed so many coats to get an even result, but being a very cheap spray paint, it might be the bottle’s fault.IMG_5816 IMG_5817
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I decided to cover the horrible orangy wooden bit on the base as well.

And a part of my garden pavement as you can see.

For the other part of the lamp, the part with the spotlight, I decided to sand the wooden element to get rid of the orange varnish and discolouration. I think wood and white and lights are a good combination, if one of them isn’t orange that is.

So here we go… end result. White and light, a bronze touch and a light shade of wood. I am still considering if I want to spray the metal part in a different shade of bronze or copper, just to get the style a bit more current.

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I had to keep one of the golden chords unfortunately because it was too difficult to replace it, it goes all the way up in the high tube. But hey, you can’t have it all.IMG_5984IMG_5988 IMG_5982

What do you guys think? Have you ever given any of your guilty pleasure interior objects a make over?

 

 

Personalised drawing made into piece of jewellery

I have a weakness for all things personalised. Adjust any item or present to fit the occasion, recipient, mood and the simplest of gestures is multiplied by awesome and a trillion.  Oh well, I’ll just admit it, I still make hand drawn cards, drawings and poems for my mum’s birthday!! And yes she loves them.

I have been drooling over custom made (family) illustrated portraits on Etsy and Fiverr  for a while now. I think I was first introduced to them in an article in Flow magazine a few years back. Last x-mas I decided to put and end to the wait; it was the perfect time to order my first commissioned illustration. After a few sessions of websurfing I ended up in a little Etsy shop named  Strangeteeth run by a lovely illustrator Claudia. Click here for her main website which is very beautifully designed!  In one of her listings Claudia offers a mini portrait, drawn by hand with prisma markers (you learn something new every day!) ‘giving them a sweet and dainty watercolor look’ (I quoted Claudia there, hence the missing u in colour:-).

 

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I bought the listing and sent Claudia a digital scrapbook collage with pictures of my guy, my bun and myself. The communication with Claudia was really easy, she asked for certain extra info and she even sent me a little ‘in progress update’.

The drawing arrived digitally in time for christmas (Claudia includes sending the real thing by post in her listing), I added a little title to it and gave it as a christmas present to James. He absolutely loved it, it cracked him up. I don’t think he had ever seen a custom drawn portrait before. I showed it to one of my friends the other day and she’d never heard of it either. I think I found a bit of a new calling in ‘pushing’  custom drawn portraits to everyone I know.. It just makes such a considerate gift! Now that I think of it, it might well be the easiest most original gift you never even have to think about anymore. It could be your signature gift for a lifetime! Think of all the possibilities: a friend with a baby on the way, a new house, a new pet. It’s like a gift that keeps on giving,; each update, hairstyle change, family addition means a new gift. Ha!

Anyway, I wanted to show you something else I did with my portrait, besides framing it. I’ve recently been really into resin pouring, mainly because I have to test lots and lots of different types for our new series of coffee tables. So as I was pouring away I thought it would be nice to use some of the leftover resin to cast a mini mini version of the drawing into a silver pendant. So it can go on a necklace for me or a keychain for him. Here’s the result, look how tiny…

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IMG_5853I think it turned out great, very chuffed with it.

 

oh happy day, new Etsy buy!

 

What better way to lighten up these grey, drabby and dark days, than by receiving a (de)lightful package in the post….?

Today I received a package containing something beautiful, something handmade, an object skillfully made by someone living aaaaall the way on the other side of the world… Even just that thought alone puts a smile upon on my face…

Starting an Etsy shop so far has actually costed me more money than it has given me! It’s not my fault though; I keep finding these amazing things made by equally amazing and passionate people! Today’s purchase is a beautiful handmade wooden light that travelled all the way from the workshop of Ken Read from Mequon, WI, America, to my living room here in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

The product was very carefully packed and accompanied by a little handwritten note on top, isn’t that cute? Actually, Ken’s handwriting reminds me of the handwriting of my nan, she used to write me lovely notes when she was still alive. So without even having unwrapped the contents, Ken’s package has already had an instant melt effect on me. I’m such a fondue kit.. IMG_4823 IMG_4824

Very carefully wrapped up in a box with popcorn foams, the package contained a handmade wooden light with dimmer, a chord with american plug and an Edison lightbulb.

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Beautifully plashed and varnished red toned cedar wood. And look.. as a true artist Ken even signed his handmade lamp. What a dude!

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my chord and electrical bits collection…

I knew the plug was going to be an American one because I asked the seller about that in advance, but luckily I love making lights too, so I have the supplies to easily replace the plug with a European one. IMG_4833

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I love that handmade wooden dimmer. I find retro filament bulbs don’t really make sense if you use them on full power, I always add a dimmer to them myself.

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And tadaah.. Looks good, doesn’t it?

Thank you Ken, for lighting up my day…