Hi! Do you remember the illustrated advent calendar I made for my children last December? Well, after your many enthusiastic feedbacks I am happy to offer you a new version to customise at home!
In each box you will find 24 illustrated paper pockets, 24 wooden pegs and a long jute string.
All you have to do is fill these pouches with sweet treats and little surprises to the delight of your children!
24 illustrated pockets filled with chocolates and sweet words!
It was super fun to make, I printed my illustrations on A4 sheets of paper that I sewed to make little pouches. I know 3 children who will be very happy to see the calendar up on the wall when they come back from school!
Yesterday we celebrated Lucien's 10th birthday at home, the 5 of us. Lucien had chosen what he wanted to eat on the big day, it was going to be pancakes before school and home-made hamburgers and fries for dinner!
I also cooked a chocolate fondant for dessert and on top I made colourful 3D style paper cuts featuring the big number 10.
After blowing his candles, Lucien said proudly: Maman, I will know have a two digit number for the rest of my life!
As you may have previously seen on my blog, I have been recording Lucien's growth since he was born, with the same setting, him laying on a bed, with his age written with coloured felt letter (I bought them on Etsy, 10 years ago).
When I started photographing him I never thought I would do it for the next 10 years, I was just having fun recording his first few months and somehow it became a tradition on his birth date. I only forgot to do age 6. I think we were probably moving country as we do often!
I wish I had done it as religiously for his big sister and his little brother. But you know how busy life gets, especially with 3 kids! For Ophelia, the first child I wrote down in a beautiful little book at every stage of the pregnancy with photos, I made photo albums for every year...well until number two was born. Poor little Téo I haven't even started a single photo album (I'm 4 years behind!)
I find it fascinating to see how his face has changed but still it's Lucien all along, with his blond hair and cheeky smile!
I'd like to keep this tradition going, of course if he is willing to cooperate and if we keep it fun. But I'm not sure when he turns 15 that he'd like to have his photo taken with the cute little felt letters on top of his head :-)
This is Lucien's first 12 months. How the project started and as I mentioned above I never thought to do this for the following 10 years!
For the first time, I offer for sale my original paintings I made over the Summer.
These 8 unique watercolor paintings were inspired by a more than 100 year old fig tree in our family home in the South West of France.
It is a beautiful tree with quirky old branches and large leaves that change colors according to the warm light of the South.
Available for sale on Famille Summerbelle e-shop.
On 1st March we celebrated Téo's 4th birthday with his friends at home. I can't believe how time flies...These 4 years have gone so fast since our little Téo was born in Amsterdam!
For the occasion I made a paper cut mural illustrating all the things Téo likes: helicopter, cars, PJ Mask characters, tulips to remind him of the Netherlands, a skateboard, a football, arc and arrow and I hesitated but I included his favourite pacifier ;-)
Usually birthday parties are exhausting but for the first time I had help from my older kids, Ophelia and Lucien who were so eager to help out and to organise activities for the little ones. Ophelia made a playlist with Téo's favourite songs and they played Pass-the-parcel and Musical chairs (on cushions!). Lucien had prepared a face mask activity with cut pieces of felt and pompoms to stick on a piece of paper. It was so cute and Téo's friends were really happy!
The other day Téo ask me to watch his favourite cartoon Paw Patrol on TV but as he saw his brother using paint he quickly changed his mind. He wanted to do the same and play with paint instead. Phew :-)
I asked him which colours he wanted to use and we made a pretty palette with a mix of green, blue, red, white and yellow. I have a lot of cardboard sheets that I use for packing Famille Summerbelle orders and they are great for painting projects.
Here are some images of our little painting session and to get kids distracted from watching TV!
This year the kids kept asking me to make an advent calendar so I managed to finished it just on time! Behind each illustration I wrote a fun activity to make with the family on each day up until Christmas!
Sorry for the lack of posts over the past weeks. We moved from the Netherlands to the neighbouring country, Germany this August. We are slowly settling in this beautiful white house who must have been built in the early 1900. How stunning is this entry with the stained glass windows?! This is the 5 of us waving goodbye to our dear friends Esther from Babyccino, her husband Tamar and their 5 beautiful kids. They stopped overnight before heading back to Amsterdam after 6 weeks exploring Eastern Europe with a camper van. I'm sure you have followed their wonderful road trip on Instagram!
We spent a lovely evening together listening to their travel stories and dreamt the rest of the night of doing the same one day soon...
The removal boxes have been emptied although we pretend not to see the pile of remaining unpacked boxes when we go down to the basement ;-) I think it takes a while to get used to a new place, how to organise each room and where to place the framed artworks on the walls. We lived for 5 years in Amsterdam and yet I never felt like the flat was done in terms of decorating. I had lots of ideas still. I like to know that it is never done and that decorating is always work in progress!
Saying that we managed to organise the kids bedrooms relatively quickly.
The boys are so happy to finally have their own room while they have always shared the same space in Amsterdam. Lucien who's turning 9 soon is delighted to have his own space to build his Lego towers without having them knocked down by his younger bro.
Téo has a bedroom with lots of light (there are 6 windows in his room!) and a big door surrounded by shelves. They were already there when we moved in this rented house. These shelves are perfect for displaying his books, toys and I was very happy to add some more colourful touches with the House Boxes! It is a cute and playful storage solution to hide all the small toys like Playmobil, Lego, cars, pencils and the never ending small things that kids have in their room!
We arrived in l'île de Ré exhausted after busy weeks in June and July preparing our move to Germany, but so happy to finally switch off for a couple of weeks. We've planned nothing apart from going to the market, make jam, cycle around the island, draw and read book by the pool :-)
I was surprised by this beautiful painted box by my children for my birthday! It was filled with fresh flowers, drawings and candles. Ophelia and Lucien painted it secretly in their bedroom adding adorable flowers and bees. I first got this box from the supermarket to carry the groceries and I love how they recycled it, transforming it into such a unique and pretty storage box. It's already in good use in my office!
Make your own paper flowers bouquet with these Paper Flowers! They are so pretty to hang in your home to add touches of colours.
The kids and I also decided to cut a bunch of flowers to make a bouquet as a Valentine's present. Isn't it always best to receive a hand made gift? Especially coming from your kids ;-)
Look how beautiful and unique they are! (Of course I'm in total admiration in front of my kids designs!)
Ophelia made the one on the left with some pattern details and a very elegant hand with rings and nail varnish.
Lucien made the one on the right that we framed. I like the bold colours and the simple and graphic shapes he gave to his flowers and stalks.
We wanted to share with you how easy it is to make.
- Before starting paint with your favourite colours several sheets of paper. It's best to use paper of a certain weight so the paint doesn't go through. I would go for a minimum of 180 gsm.
- Add lines, dots, circles or any patterns you like to some of your painted sheets.
- Draw the stalk and flower shapes on the reverse side of your painted paper.
- Cut the shapes with scissors or a scalpel.
- Once you have cut several shapes it's now time to have fun making a collage and create your own bouquet!
Here Lucien cutting the stalk of his hand drawn flower:
If you think of cement tiles, no doubt you'll have one of Popham Design image saved in your Pinterest board (like mine on Floors) or in your Inspiration folder. Every single interior mag has been featuring stunning homes decorated with the highly colourful and bold patterns of Caitlin and Samuel Down-Sandes, the owners of the brand. They have revolutionised cement tile designs thanks to their vision and collaborative projects with international designers such as Claesson Koivisto Rune who designed the iconic Dandelion tile.
So when I knew we were going to Marrakech this Winter I immediately contacted their Head Office which is located at about 10mn car drive from the city center.
We were greeted by the lovely Mariam who proudly showed us around their beautiful showroom, with floor to ceiling examples of their most iconic designs.
Here is Lucien in his djellaba in front of the blue and white wall panel featuring the ZigZag pattern.
Splinter asymmetrical design:
Mariam offered to give us a tour of their nearby factory and ask the kids if they wanted to make their own tile. The answer was a cheerful YES! OUI!
Our first impression beyond the amazement of the fine craftsmanship was the smile and the warm welcome we received from the artisans. They were so happy to share their skills and knowledge of their craft with us. It felt like entering into a large friendly family.
The children were fascinated by the process of layering the pigments, marble powder and cement into the different sections of the moulds. Each tile is entirely made by hand by these skilled artisans.
I can't tell you how much I love taking these yearly birthday photos of Lucien and compare them to the previous years to see how much this big boy cute little face has changed over the years!
Happy birthday, Joyeux anniversaire mon Lulu adoré!!
Look Here when he turned 7, and here when he turned 5!
This was a drawing and painting session with my son Lucien.
Little bro Téo fell asleep for his afternoon nap so Lucien and I decided to make the most of this quite time to do some creative stuffs before little tornado woke up.
We set up the paint brushes, paint tubes, chalk and cardboard sheets out on the long kitchen table and started to draw birds. Why not? Lucien came up with the idea while looking out of the window and saw a couple of birds standing on the rooftop.
It wasn't sadly toucan birds...this one he remembered from our trip to Mexico!
How beautiful is Lucien's toucan!
It was a real pleasure to spend an hour or so drawing and painting with Lucien. It's so inspiring to watch him draw and I love his drawing style so much! I think he has a very good eye for proportions and has a firm hand to draw lines.
For the colour palette I was inspired by an image I saw on Pinterest. It was a photo taken by Charles Eames of Alexander Girard's home in Santa Fe.
The Summer has gone too fast as always. We had a wonderful time spent with our family in the south of France. The 14 cousins played every day until dark, riding their vintage bikes in the old village. I love Summers in our family house. It's party time with all the siblings, parents, cousins, aunts, uncles and so on. Big tables, lots of good food, wine and laughter :-)
Now we're back in Amsterdam and I have to say I am very happy to get back to work and plan the year ahead.
Téo started his new nursery - in Dutch - Lucien is back to the French school in CE2 and Ophelia is moving to Secondary (how did this happen so quickly?!?). For her no more French at school but Dutch and English. She will be fluent in Dutch in no time! She started her new school this morning, a bit nervous but also very excited about this coming year.
I love how she has organised her desk and decorated her bedroom. Like me she likes to surround herself with lots of pretty colourful things and some fresh flowers...
Illustration from Flow magazine. Wooden spoon painted by Ophelia.
It was few weeks ago, mid July.
The sun was hot. Very hot.
The sky deep blue.
The 5 of us were strolling the streets, churches and palazzi of Roma with a big smile on our faces and our eyes wide open in wonder at so much beauty.
An afternoon sketching the Greek and Roman sculptures at Palazzo Altemps with Ophelia and Lucien.
We escaped the heat of Roma for few days to meet with our friends in the beautiful Umbrian hills.
Ophelia turned 11 on a 14th July. I am fascinated to watch my girl grow so beautifully every day.
The children made fresh pasta and bread and we ate like kings and queens thanks to Danny, our Anglo-Italian-friend-chef!
Slowing down means having the time to draw this flour packaging. That's my kind of holidays!
Yesterday we celebrated Ophelia's 11th birthday with her girlfriends.
She wanted her party to be around the theme of FLOWERS so we made some paper flower headbands inspired by Frida Kahlo famous flower crown.
This crafty activity is very easy to make with children or for yourself (wouldn't it be lovely to wear at a Summer party or imagine little Flower Girls wearing those pretty flower headbands for a wedding- it would look so beautiful!)
-Tissue paper - lots of different colours!
-Thread and needle
1. Start by cutting lots of square shaped tissue paper. A good size would be 10cm x 10cm
2. Take 10 to 12 sheets and staple them to the middle of the elastic band. Make a cross shape with the staple.
3. Cut the tissue paper in a round shape once it is attached to the elastic band.
4. Starting with the top sheet, start creasing each sheet with your thumb and index, and then continue sheet by sheet until you get a beautifully shaped flower.
Wednesdays are a short day for the children so I try to plan some activities to make it fun for the kids.
On our way home from school we collected a handful of flowers and leaves from the local park.
We then decided to draw and paint them to make a leafy wall hanging for our upstairs landing.
Lucien preferred to draw the leaves with a thin chalk, Ophelia used a thin pencil to draw and painted over it. I really enjoyed making this 6 hands project and how our different style made it very unique.
This is what you'll need:
- Fresh flowers and leaves
- Thick paper or cardboard. If you use cardboard it is best to apply a white primer before painting.
- Pencils to draw or thin chalks.
- Cutter & blades + a cutting board
- White or transparent thread
- A Needle + scissors
- A long stick
Ta-da! This is our cute little wall Spring mobile! We use the House Boxes to store the threads, paints and pencils. The blue box is for brushes, the yellow box for sewing threads, the pink and black boxes for paint tubes!