Why non-creatives should not be scared of craft workshops.

As a self-confessed workshopaholic I have often met them. The non-creatives. Or at least that is who they think they are.
They usually are at a workshop as a gift or in a group activity (like a baby-shower or a birthday). With slight panic in their eyes they enter the craft studio. Apologising beforehand that they are incapable of making anything nice, because they "are not creative at all".
Well here's the news: there is no such thing as a non-creative!

"Oh, but I am not creative at all!"
The first misconception: "I have no imagination."
Really? In childhood you made dozens of drawings, paper planes and clay models. Your imagination does not disappear. You are just using it in a different way now. Maybe you are fantasising about your travel plans, home décor, diner or a revolution.
When you cherish and challenge your imagination your ideas will become fresher and bolder. Clear your mind and something will appear in your head. Ask people who meditat…

Pretzel Love Crossstitch for Make-A-Wish

At my place of work (the Dutch branch of Holland and Barrett) we are having a fundraiser for Make-A-Wish.
The Make-A-Wish foundation grants wishes of seriously ill children. So that, for one day, the kids and their family can forget about the illness and enjoy themselves.

My contribution to raising the money is selling these 6 crossstitch DIY sets I put together.
My design is a pretzel with a heart. It was a design I started on for my friend, a big Pretzel lover. But her gift eventually became a bigger pretzel. ;-)

I sold already a few, but there are still kits available! You will get black crossstitch fabric, embroidery thread, a needle, a 11cm hoop (that's about 4 1/4"), a design and a tutorial in both Dutch and English.

How do you get your hands on a Pretzel Love crossstitch kit?

A DIY set costs €12 (is about 13.40 USD or 10.25 GBP). The shipping's on me, so FREE SHIPPING!
If you would like to order a kit give me a shout via the comment section, or send me a mail or a …

Going Green. Plastic-Free July - Food & Drink - The Easy, the Adaptations and the Struggles

We are a week into Plastic-Free July: a challenge to deplastify your life.
I got into it through The Story Of Stuff on Facebook:

So here's my first update on how it goes so far. I'll focus in this post on the food and drinks sections.
In the Netherlands we do have a special plastic recycle program ( or actually: downcycling) , so it is very easy to track how much plastic our household collects as we keep it in a separate bin.

I divided my experiences in 3 sections.
* Easy life change: the why didn't I do this before?
** Needs some adaptation in lifestyle: doable, but takes more planning.
*** The struggles: Hm, difficult: How am I going to make this work?

* Easy life change

- Shop local
Preferably I'd be baking biscuits myself any way, because of the sugar. But in events that I will buy cookies, the ones at the bakery come in a paper sachet or I can bring my own container. While supermarket cookies are wrapped in 2 (sometimes even 3!) layers of plastic.

- Be prepared

Breien! in Fries Museum - Knitting! Exhibition

Four knitters on a train. All the way up north to Leeuwarden.
The exhibition Breien! / Knitting! in the Fries Museum is all about knitting.

Finally I could see my Flamingo hat among the other 14 nominees for the Animal Hat contest 'Beestenboel'. It's really fun to see how each knitter has a different approach to the animal hat theme!

In the same room as the 'hat-tree' there were little boxes with miniature knits about the history of knitting.

We really enjoyed our museum tour. There was work from knitters we were familiar with and new discoveries.

Westknits shawls at @friesmuseum . I wore my own #dottedrays 😊 @westknits #breien #friesmuseum #museum #knitting #exhibit #leeuwarden #shawl #westknits #westknitsshawl #knit Een foto die is geplaatst door Ama (@missminoes) op 21 Mei 2016 om 11:40 PDT
Nice surprise was there were knitting patterns available. For instance of the skirt in the top right picture below. If you understand Dutch: the patterns are also on the Fr…

Hello Spring - Flower Tulip Buntings

Our cat Dita turns out to be an avid plant and flower eater. So we did not have any bouquets in our house for a while now.
And as spring is only crawling in with baby steps some floral decoration would be nice to brighten up our home.

From a flower guide book I took these beautiful illustrations and gave them a decorative edge.

Hello floral bunting!
Hello spring!

Bring the springtime in your home too!
Book & Button Buntings available at AllFairness.

The making of a knitted Flamingo Hat

When the Breien! (Knitting!) exhibit at the Fries Museum in Leeuwarden opened I immediately wanted to jump on a train to the far north.

But..hold it...
They announced there would be a competition for knitted animal hats!
Entries before February 29th 2016, and a selection will be on display for 2 months from April. So I will go later this year, when the hats are in the museum, hoping mine will be among them. :-)
(Dutch readers: so you can still enter the Beestenboel competition!)

In 2003, when I got back into knitting after decades of non-knitting it all started by making kitty hats as Miss Minoes on Etsy to raise money for the Stevenshage animal shelter in Leiden. Some other animals have popped up in that parade: a bunny, a donkey, a mouse and even a cow.

So, having made so many hats with ears already, I really wanted to approach this from another angle.
I made a secret Pinterest board (now public) to find the elements I wanted in my design.

Follow Ama's board Inspiratie v…

Sorrow - On losing Bowie

"Usually I am not that affected by a celebrity's death" is a phrase that came up in some responses to David Bowie passing away.
When it hit the news on Monday, it left me lost for words for a while as well.
As one does nowadays it is comforting to have so many friends so close at hand through social media and to share our emotions. And my mum and brother send me text-massages, so sweet.
It became evident that for a lot of people this was also so much more than a famous person dying.

There have been other singers that truly touched my heart who've passed away. And usually I thought "ah, that is very sad" and played some songs. But this time it was different.

For family and friends a death leaves a giant hole. No more moments to talk with someone, to hold someone.
But why are we so affected by losing someone we never even met in real life?

Since the release of The Next Day and seeing the "David Bowie Is" exhibit in London Bowie had been more in the …