Showing posts with label Dutch Days. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dutch Days. Show all posts

Oct 28, 2015

Winners Dutch Days


2 Rituals packages - Nikolina V

Eveline's Garden - Heather S

Blond Amsterdam -  Soozle

Pip - Anastasiya K

Candy - Margaret I

Hi di Hi brown read bags - Jess M

Return to Sender - Shelly H

Delft Blue - Kat J

Rituals Ayurveda Gift Box - Christine S

Dutch Kawaii - Sarah E

Hema package - Sarah S

Stacked Book necklace - Ruth H

Crocheted Owl - Maida M

Druzy Agate necklace - Mary G

Hi di Hi handbag and wallet - Alexandra E

The Twins or The Angel Maker - Judy T

Aquamarine and orange bracelet - Jen7

Buddha bracelet - Jayne T

Wire wrapped earrings - Piroska B

Delft Blue bracelet - Colette P

Needle Heart Decoration - Clenna L

Shroomper - Judith C

Big last giveaway - Amber T

The Girl Who Wouldn't Die and The Girl Who Broke the Rules - 
Dawn O & Karl B & Rachel C & Julia B

If you are on this list and you didn't receive an email, then please contact me. 

Oct 1, 2015

Dutch Days: Last Post & Giveaway


This is the final post of my Dutch Days event. I'm going to miss it, but the event will definitely be back. It was fun to blog about The Netherlands, I really enjoyed showing you some of the wonderful things that my country has to offer. It's good to be back!


The winner of this giveaway will receive a copy of Brothers and The Girl With Nine Wigs, both via the Bookdepository. This person will also receive a wonderful gift package with some lovely Dutch jewelry, a surprise gift from Rituals and two different kinds of perfume. 

I will contact the winner via e-mail. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international, you can find the official rules here.

Sep 30, 2015

Dutch Days Book Review: Brothers by Ted van Lieshout

Amazon USA Amazon UK

Review by Suze

Luke's younger brother Marius was only 14 years old when he passed away. Luke is wondering if he's still a brother now that he doesn't have a brother anymore. When his mother wants to burn his brother's things Luke tries to rescue Marius's diary. At first he doesn't want to read it, but to make sure his mother doesn't put it on the fire he writes his own secrets into the diary as well. When he eventually does read it he starts to reply to Marius's sentences. Because of the diary he discovers a lot about his brother, things he didn't have a clue about in life...

Marius is really sick and in his diary he writes about what it's like. It's a heartfelt story that makes me cry every time I read it. I've read this book several times already and will continue to read it over and over again. Luke has a secret and Marius knows what it is, he's gay and he doesn't dare to tell anyone. Which is why he's shutting himself in his room and doesn't want to talk to anyone including his brother. While reading the diary he's slowly opening up. That's one thing I find truly beautiful about this story. What's the best part for me though is the way they are talking through the diary. Even though Marius isn't there any longer Luke is still communicating with him.

Ted van Lieshout is a brilliant writer. The questions Luke has, the moving way he tells this story and the way he describes everything that's going on inside the minds of both brothers are making this such a special book. It enables the reader to get really close to Luke and Marius, to nearly feel what they are feeling. I think it's one of the best Dutch books of all times.

Dutch Days Etsy Spotlight & Giveaway: Suze Loves Shroompers!


I love Shroompers, I think this shop is absolutely fantastic.


Shroompers are tiny organic, eco-friendly felt figures. I think they'd adorable.


They're well made and there's such a great variety of characters.


They're both amazing to play with and to put on display.


I've asked Charlotte, the owner of Shroompers, a few questions to find out more about her and her shop:

How did your Etsy adventure start?

I started with one mushroom doll (Musca) and my husband thought it would be a good idea to make more of them in different colors with a variety of hats, like various species of mushrooms. His mother was creative as well and used to sell on craft fairs. That’s why she thought it would be a good idea for us to try one of those markets as well. Once we started selling we received so many positive reactions. Several people gave me the advice to take a look on Etsy to open a shop there and sell my creations. At the time I was pregnant and I moved to a new country where I had no job and didn’t earn a salary. It sounded like a good way to make some money with something I could do at home.


Where do you find your inspiration?

When I was a child I went to a Waldorf school. My whole family was like that and I was always around flowers and dolls made from felt. At Waldorf schools toys have been made from natural materials and they often have simple details. It's because of this background that Shroompers also have those characteristics.
When I was a teenager my mother did a course to learn how to make felt dolls and I made several as well at that time. That's how I learned to sew and it also taught me the basics of pattern making. I love natural materials which is why I've chosen to use 100% felt and woolen stuffing for my dolls.
Another rich source of information is the amazing world of beautiful mushrooms. Because there are so many there's always room for a new Shroomper with a different outfit and characteristic shape. Every Shroomper is being based on a real mushroom species. The names of the dolls are based on the original Latin names.    


Where have you learned how to make your products?

I learned the basics at home from my mother. I improved my skills with every day practice and I'm a creative person, so I fantasize and come up with ideas and stories. That's how new characters are coming to life. It's also how I made the snail and the house for example.


What are you the most proud of?

Working together with my husband. He's responsible for the drawings. You can find them on our business cards and every Shroomper has its own personal tag. My husband helps me with the internet side of having an Etsy business. Together we're great at sparring about new ideas and characters. Sometimes he draws something new for me and I use this as an inspiration for a new Shroomper. Sometimes I make the Shroomper and he makes the drawing afterwards. It works both ways.


What can we expect from you in the future?

More Shroompers and other characters. Maybe there will be a book based on the drawings with a matching story... 


I admire the wonderful creativity and love that there's such a great vision behind this shop.


I'm completely in love with these fantastic dolls.


The quality of both the designs and the handwork is amazing.


Check out this amazing Etsy store.


And don't forget to visit the wonderful website.


Enjoy browsing...


And have fun shopping!


One very lucky reader of my blog will receive a stunning prize:


The winner of this giveaway will get the fabulous Auntie Frizal, a character everybody loves.


Good luck!

I will contact the winner via e-mail. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international, you can find the official rules here.

Dutch Days: Rituals Gift Packages


Enter this giveaway for a chance to win two Rituals gift packages. Good luck!

I will contact the winner via e-mail. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international, you can find the official rules here.

Dutch Days Book Review: Frog and the Treasure by Max Velthuijs

Amazon USA Amazon UK

Review by Anniek

If you look up this book on Amazon you will see that Max Velthuijs is one of the best creators of children's book in the Netherlands. When you read a Frog book with your children you will understand why.

All of the stories of Frog and his friends will warm your heart and/or make you laugh. Luckily my son loves to read just as much as I do. I love our little quiet times when we just sit down together and read a story. 

What I like the most about Frog is that there is a message in every book. In frog and the Treasure it is that you must always stay positive (which is a great match for this blog), everything will be OK and you will learn from your mistakes. Also, this is a story about a treasure. What can be more exciting for a child than a treasure hunt?! The drawings are fantastic. They are simple and that is perfect for your little ones.   

There are plenty of Frog books on my son's bookshelves and I love every single one of them. When you have little children they will definitely enjoy these books. Luckily lots of them have been translated into English so you don't have to miss out on these great Dutch books.

Dutch Days: Candy, Chocolate, Tea, Cookies & Mugs Giveaway


Enter this giveaway for a chance to win Blond Amsterdam and Pip Studio mugs, Hema candy and cookies, Hema tea and two brands of fair trade Dutch chocolate. Good luck!

I will contact the winner via e-mail. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international, you can find the official rules here.

Sep 29, 2015

Dutch Days Etsy Spotlight & Giveaway: Suze Loves Moonwingcrafts!


I love Moonwingcrafts, a wonderful Dutch shop filled with beautiful jewelry.


The owner, Eveline, makes dreamlike bohemian jewelry.


I love her style and think all of her pieces are really pretty.


I've asked Eveline a few questions to find out more about her and her shop:

When and how did your Etsy adventure start?

Etsy was the best choice for me because it's a handmade marketplace with customers and shop owners from all over the world. After three years on Etsy I can say that some even have become good friends.


Where does your inspiration come from?

I get my inspiration from nature, gemstones, clay and ceramic beads, yarn and fabric like silk and cotton. I also love old pieces of lace to assemble and mix, so I can turn them into a little piece of art that people can wear.


Where did you learn how to make jewelry?

I'm pretty much self taught. I learned sewing at school and from my mother. It made me fall in love with working with fabric. The passion of creating jewelry was born when my sister-in-law wanted a bracelet with gemstones and she couldn't find one she liked. I bought a few tutorials on wire wrapping, silver wire and some gemstones and that was the start of a great adventure.


What are you really proud of?

The most pride I take in making things that are one of a kind, sometimes I use the same design but I always use different colors and beads. I welcome custom orders.


What can we expect from you in the future?

I want to learn new things. At the moment I'm making new designs with soldered jewelry and who knows what else the future has in store for me, creative wise...


I love the versatility of the designs.


The mix of materials is fantastic.


The colors are cheerful and bright.


And the happy vibe is fabulous.


Check out this amazing Etsy shop.


Enjoy browsing...


And have fun shopping!


One very lucky reader of my blog will receive a stunning prize:


The winner of this giveaway will receive rose quartz and swarovski bead wire wrapped earrings. The wire that has been used is sterling silver. Good luck!

I will contact the winner via e-mail. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international, you can find the official rules here.

Dutch Days Book Review: Madame Verona Comes Down the Hill by Dimitri Verhulst

Amazon USA Amazon UK

Review by Suze

Madame Verona and her husband Monsieur Potter are living in Oucwègne. Their house is on a hill and it's in a remote forest area. Oucwègne is a place where people are set in their ways, where table football is an important part of daily life, where people go to the vet if they have health issues and where baby girls are rare. Madame Verona is beautiful and still young when she loses her beloved Monsieur Potter. She misses him dearly and tries to endure life without him. Meanwhile she has the company of dogs as all dogs love her and want to be close to her.

Monsieur Potter chopped as much wood as he could for his wife. When he discovers he's ill he ends his life in a drastic way. Madame Verona has a lot of wood, but no husband to chop new wood for her, so eventually she will run out. There will be a final time when she goes down the hill, a time when she won't be able to climb back up again...

Madame Verona Comes Down the Hill is a beautiful poetic story. Every word Dimitri Verhulst writes counts. It isn't a long story, but it doesn't have to be. The strength is in the love between Madame Verona and her husband and in the peculiarity of the village. They are a perfect match. The house on the hill and Oucwégne are an important part of this tale. Together they are balanced, they belong together. This book should be read because of its special love and the beautiful writing. It's fantastic, a true work of art. 

Dutch Days: Dutch & Flemish Books


By Suze

I wish more Dutch and Flemish books would be translated into English. There are so many fantastic writers and even though there are plenty of translations of their books most of them aren't in English. I often think about the reasons why. There's such a huge selection of books in English already, so when there are so many originals why would translations be needed? I think diversity is always a good thing and a large offer of books can always be expanded. I love the initiative of Gallic Books, the best French books in English, and hope someone will start something similar for Lowlands Books. 

There might be a prominent cause for this lack of translation, character flaws. It's something I've noticed over and over again while reading both reviews and review books in English. For a lot of people it's a must to like the main character of a book. If stories are based on people who aren't likable at all then most English and American people generally won't like the story. What some might see as a weakness could also be a huge strength though. Not every human being is good, someone's character is a whole spectrum of grey and that is what's often being explored by Dutch and Flemish authors. The more complex and literary the better in a lot of cases. It's something I grew up with and a thing I sometimes miss while reading for my blog. I hope at some point, if I keep mentioning it, I'll be able to convince my readers that stories about unlikable characters aren't necessarily bad at all, they are actually really interesting.

Another reason is probably insufficient finances, but with digital publishing opportunities might arise. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. And to show how amazing Dutch and Flemish books can be I've made a top 5 of books I really enjoyed that did find their way to the English and American bookshelves on Amazon.

Some great examples of books that have been translated are:

Amazon USA - Amazon UK
Amazon USA - Amazon UK

Amazon USA - Amazon UK

Amazon USA - Amazon UK

Amazon USA - Amazon UK

Dutch Days Etsy Spotlight & Giveaway: Suze Loves Happy and Proud!


I love Happy and Proud, a shop filled with handmade items.


Some of the items in this shop have been made by Fiona and she also sells things that have been handmade by other people from all over the world. 


I like her mix of items and think this is a fun and happy shop.


I love the cheerful colors.


What I also like is the variety of gemstone pieces.


And the prices are really good.


I like Fiona's concept and think her shop has a great vibe.


Check out her wonderful collection.


Enjoy browsing...

 

And have fun shopping!

One very lucky reader of my blog will receive a wonderful prize:


This turquoise Buddha bracelet will be for the winner of the giveaway. Good luck!

I will contact the winner via e-mail. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international, you can find the official rules here.
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