maandag 26 november 2012

As Christmas is approaching I have to share some of the new Christmas stuff I got on my last shopping trip to Mumbai. I have some cool ribbons, dupioni silk in Christmas colors an SUPERB silk brocades!!!! I am adding a few pics, but check them out for yourself. My favorite of today is this silk brocade in green en red with small trees on it. Enjoy!

woensdag 14 november 2012

My India is great !

A good friend of mine - we met when I was living in Mumbai - used to have an extreme hate-love relationship with India. She loved big parts of it, but hated an equally big part. She was for example totally crazy about the yoga, but hated the cramped Mumbai traffic. She craved the food, but could not handle it too well. She loved the individual persons, but hated the crowds.

One never knew if on one particular day the she had a good or a bad India day. It all depended on the most current experience. The extremities of her reactions never changed during her years in Mumbai. Her approach to India used to make us - the friends - smile in silence. Although I initially had many of the reactions my friend had, after some time, as I learned to understand India better, life in Mumbai became more predictable.

But my friend took India on head first, and even though she hurt herself many times while doing so, she never closed her heart. I truly believe that the only way to "get" it is to open your heart and leave your baggage at home. This is not easy, but once you do it there is no way back.

It has been three years that she left India. And while I was preparing for my fabric shopping trip to Mumbai last month I came across a shopping bag that she gifted me when she left.

The text on it says it all, really.

Indeed my India is great, and I am sure hers is too.

maandag 9 juli 2012

The Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

I can vividly recall the moment I first saw the cliffs of Moher.

We were visiting Ireland for three weeks, and having been in Cork, Kerry and Limerick we arrived in the Burren where we stayed at a great B & B. We were kid-less back then, and were planning walks and off course a visit to the famous Cliffs of Moher. Much to my surprise we met so many families with kids both at the Cliffs aswell as during the walks (going much faster than we were by the way).

Standing at the edge (my husband-to-be a few steps behind me because of vertigo), I felt a deep feeling of humility seeing those huge steep walls rising from the Atlantic ocean, that not one man touched to make. It is such an amazing feeling to realize that we men, are not as important as we want to be. Quite liberating!

The Cliffs of Moher are located at the south-western edge of The Burren area near Doolin, which is located in County Clare, Republic of Ireland. In 2006 Ireland applied succesfully for a Unesco Geopark protection status. This is what the Unesco site has to say about the cliffs and the Burren area:

"The Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark is a unique glacio-karst landscape located on Ireland's west coast between the cities of Limerick and Galway, with magnificent Atlantic coastal landforms, unique floral diversity, fascinating archaeology; all set in a landscape managed by traditional farming practices, and amid a thriving culture of Irish music, dance, food and sport."

Honestly, there is not much to say about the cliffs: they are nearly 700 ft (214 m) high for a distance of about four miles (8 km.). But this knowledge does not prepare you enough for the sight. Both the view of the cliffs of Moher, as the view from the cliffs are amazing and breathtaking.

Yes, if you have vertigo issues the Cliffs are a bit of a liability, and you might want to step back from the edge a bit, but if you can get yourself past that O-my-god-I-am-going-to-fall-and-break-my-neck point I promise you it is worth the trouble.

Why take your kids there?

For one simple reason.

Because it is the easiest way to explain to them that there is more to life than television and video games. That there are things on this earth that are (literally) bigger than us, and that the beach is not the only natural feature that we can enjoy fully as humans.

They will feel the connection (and you too)!

for more information:
Cliffs of Moher site
The Burren national Park
discover Ireland
Unesco on the Cliffs of Moher

woensdag 27 juni 2012

500 places to take your kids before they grow up, part one

I love to travel.

Ever since I was a little girl, growing up on a small island in the Caribbean, I would read about all the places that are out there and that one day I would be able to visit (little did I know back then that having enough time and money is crucial to this plan).

I did some travelling myself, but by far not as much as I wanted. When I had the time, I lacked the money and when the money was there, guess what.... no time to! But on a whole I cannot complain.

Having two boys myself I see it as my task - as a mother - to teach them:

- To be confident and responsible adults.
- To be great cooks and cleaners (a fool-proof strategy in order to delay the arrival of the first daughter in law).
- To know who to call when they are in deep deep deep shit (that would be me).

and last but not least:

- To know that they are not alone in this world and that there is more to life then their own.

Taking my responsibility at heart I travel with them as much as I can and as much as the school board will allow me to.

Years ago I picked up this book by Frommers: 500 places to take your kids before they grow up. Inspired by this great book I decided to dedicate a few blog articles to some of the amazing tips in this book. For the coming four weeks I will be spending time highlighting one travel tip from each segment of the book that stole my heart and might do the same to you.

My first post will be in the category of great views. I will be dedicating it to the marvelous Irish Cliff's of Mohair.

Stay tuned (en start arranging enough time and money)!

vrijdag 22 juni 2012

Article about Travelher in East!

De zomereditie van East! Magazine heeft leuke aandacht besteed aan Travelher. East! is een reis glossy voor iedereen die gek is op Indonesie en de rest van Zuid-oost Azie. EAST! komt vier keer per jaar uit en staat boordenvol leuke reisreportages, achtergrondverhalen, mooie foto's en...... een stukje over Travelher!

donderdag 21 juni 2012

New kids collection!

I am really excited to tell you guys that I am working on a new kids travel collection. I am working really hard on the collection to have it ready by next week.

This kids collection will consist of a zipper pouch (for nintendo's, ipod's and other bits and pieces), a passport cover and a luggage tag. Be patient! It will be ready soon.......

Ik ben deze dagen aan het buffelen om mijn nieuwe kinder collectie af te krijgen.

* Moet jij voor je kinderen deze zomer ook een eigen paspoort aanvragen?
* Vraag je je af hoe je al die paspoorten uit elkaar gaat houden?

Iedereen heeft recht op een eigen paspoorthoesje!

De nieuwe kinder collectie bestaat een paspoorthoesje, een reistasje en een bijpassende koffer label. Het duurt nu niet lang meer.......

zondag 17 juni 2012

Tale of a menstrual secret

When I think about designing a new item (and this can be anywhere: in the shower, in heavy traffic, while picking up mu kids from school), this is often a process that cannot be interrupted.This is quite annoying to the ones around me, but in my head colors and functions work together in creating the perfect bag.

Anything can trigger this process. It can be a conversation with a neighbor, a specific color or in this particular case an advertisement for sanitary pads without even mentioning the words: period, menstrual cycle, blood, heavy flow, or even "drop dead all of you". The advertisement was all about nice clouds and being me all days of the month.

Ladies, this story is about your monthly discomfort. See? I did it. I did not mention it by it's true name, and again I am not doing it! Why is that? Why do we shy away from the one thing that makes special, defines our gender and the single true miracle of life?

Everybody works together in keeping this a secret. We are even ashamed of it and would prefer it if nobody knows when that part of the month arrives. But we know! And don't worry, everybody around you will too. Why? Because God decided that it is a bloody shame that we go around hiding the gift of life that - for those couple of days - he makes us cranky, unreasonable, unreliable, unpredictable, unstable, emotional, aggressive bitches.

Well WTF! I am being me all days of the month! Just a different me when I am having my period. If you have a problem with that, I will meet you outside after this!

But life plays funny tricks on us. It is said that women, living together tend to synchronize their menstrual cycles. I used to live in a house with 7 other female students and at some point we figgered out that 6 out of 8 were having their period in the exact same week. This - again - is the universe taking care of us. If we are going to be in the above mentioned state, we might as well turn at each other and get it over with. This - by the way - worked very well because we could bulk shop for chocolate bars.

But now back to the issue at hand.

I designed a travel pouch for sanitary pads. What I wanted to do is make a pouch with fake sanitary pad on the outside of the pad. But then I realized that the world is not ready for that - yet.

So to avoid further embarrassement I designed the fake sanitary pad on the inside of the pouch*. If you look at the closed pouch you will be thinking of clouds and being you all days of the months.

When you open it, reality will sink in, and you will be your own bitchy self again.


* I have two versions: A blue one and black version. Choose according to your mood.

maandag 4 juni 2012

New Japanese travel accessories

This series of travel wallets of world flags is actually a lot of fun. First I choose the flags and then I think about what materials I have in stock to make make a travel wallet or passport cover in a special way. Then I take it from there. Reading about the flags and how and when they were introduced is quite interesting. Some have been designed and introduced by governments in an orderly way while others just kind of appeared at some point.

The interesting thing about the Japanese flag is that it is believed that it was Emperor Mommu who used a flag representing the sun in his court as early as 701, and that this is the first recorded use of a sun-motif flag in Japan. This flag is officially called Nisshōki in Japanese, but is more commonly known as Hinomaru, "circle of the sun". Even though this flag was widely used it wasn't until 1999 that the legislation caught up with common practice.*

The Japanese flag is one of my personal favorites, not because it is easy to reproduce, but because it is the vivid example of the "less-is-more" philosophy. The Japanese flag is beautiful because it is simple!

I just finished a range of Japanese travel accessories. The travel wallet and passport cover I made of the striped vintage obi are absolutely fabulous. This fabric is so exquisite and sturdy that many things can be made out of it. I complemented the two with a "rising sun" passport cover made of raw silk and lined with Japanese upholstery cotton. I also used typical "fallas" fabric from Valencia, Spain in the Obi travel wallet. About these Spanish fabric I will tell you more next time. Stay tuned!

* source: wikipedia

dinsdag 22 mei 2012

Tante Hans en de handwerkdozen

Tante Hans was de ongelooflijk lieve tante van mijn man, Maarten. Hij had een hele bijzondere band met haar en ik mocht - in mijn hoedanigheid van aanhangsel - daarvan meegenieten. Tante Hans was ruim tien jaar ouder dan Maarten's vader waardoor het contact tussen haar en Maarten meer iets weg had van een grootouderlijke relatie. Ze zagen elkaar vaak en graag.

Ook ik was erg op haar gesteld. Ze was niet alleen lief en dol op Maarten, maar kon waanzinnig lekker koken. Het water loopt mij nu nog in de mond als ik denk aan haar draadjesvlees, snijbonen en aardappelen (voor aardappelen, hoe dan ook klaargemaakt, kan je me 's nachts wakker maken). Maar daarnaast was zij oprecht geïnteresseerd in anderen en in de wereld om haar heen zonder klaar te staan met een oordeel. Tante Hans was tot aan het eind levenslustig en actief en .... was gek op handwerken.

Toen ik tante Hans voor het eerst leerde kennen had ik al jaren niet gehandwerkt. Vroeger borduurde ik veel en mocht ik ook graag haken. Als tiener naaide ik zelfs mijn eigen kleding! Hoewel niet alle kledingstukken even goed lukten, had ik er wel plezier in. Ik ben nog naar een feest geweest met een zelfgenaaid oversized overhemd (cut me some slack, dit waren wel de 80's), waarvan de boord asymmetrisch was ingezet. Ik mag van geluk spreken dat in die periode geen vriendschappen zijn gesneuveld!

In mijn studiejaren bleek het werken aan een merklap toch wat moeilijker te combineren met bier gooien in de societeit en patatjes oorlog om 3 uur 's nachts dan je in eerste instantie zou denken. De eerste keer dat ik met een haakwerkje bij tante Hans op de bank zat, was dan ook voor het eerst in vele jaren. Maar ik had de smaak absoluut weer te pakken. Na die eerste keer heb elkaar vele uren gezelschap gehouden. Tante Hans met een patchwork klus en ik met een merklap.

Enkele jaren geleden overleed tante Hans en ze liet mij een een enorme hoeveelheid handwerk spullen na. Ik heb dozen vol met patchwork lapjes, breinaalden, garen, borduurringen en veel meer. Ik had geen idee of ik deze nalatenschap ooit zou gebruiken, maar toen ik met Travelher begon, viel alles op zijn plek. Ik haal dagelijks wat uit de doos van tante Hans, een lapje, naalden of -zoals vandaag - biasband.

Werkend aan mijn nieuwe serie reistasjes was ik op zoek naar een biasband dat past bij deze vintage Japanse obi. Ik had alleen felle kleuren, maar tante Hans had deze donkergroene biasband! Ik ben er blij mee. Het geeft me het gevoel dat we Travelher samen zijn begonnen. Maar het heeft ook nadelen, want als ik een naaifoutje heb gemaakt en geen zin heb om het uit te halen, hoor ik haar stem:"doe maar wel Monique, want je blijft het altijd zien!".

woensdag 18 april 2012

Ik ben mijn wereldserie reisaccessoires aan het uitbreiden. Ik heb de Nederlandse vlag en de Amerikaanse vlag al gemaakt, maar heb nu tips nodig voor meer landen. Geef mij tips en aanbevelingen hier of op mijn facebook pagina!

With the new travel season, the olympics and the European series I am working on expanding my "world series" travel wallets and passport covers. I am sure you are familiar with the Dutch flag, and the stars and stripes items I made, but which countries are you missing and should I be adding to the collection?

woensdag 4 april 2012

Albert Cuyp Market Amsterdam - time laps

Albert Cuyp market in Amsterdam

Buying fabric is an addictive activity. I don't often go fabric shopping in Holland due to the lack of fabric shops. The occasional fabric markets here are - even though you can find some cool stuff - not to be compared with markets in India, Thailand or China.

There is a reason for this off course. Compared to for example India, in Holland hardly anyone wears tailor-made clothes. Almost all our garments and home accessories are ready made. There is no need for fabric shops! For this reason it has grown extremely difficult to find nice and unique fabrics. There are a few good shops here and there, but you really have to make the effort to find them.

There is one market though, that is different. On the Albert Cuyp market in Amsterdam you will find many fabric shops clustered in one street. There is one silk shop called Silk Route with a nice collection, but if it is upholstery material you are looking for you have a wider range of choices. But that is not all. You can find typical Dutch cottons (here is where I get mine), theater fabrics (amazing stuff! over the top and beyond!), and everything in between. And when you are done fabric shopping (and you picked up a pair of soft Dutch clogs on the market itself), take yourself to Jan de Klein vakman for zippers, buttons, and more.

So no, it is no Kalbadevi, but Albert Cuyp is not bad at all and worth a visit. On my visit last tuesday I picked up some really amazing e batik cottons at very reasonalbe prices. They are only for me, for me, for me!!!! (Ok maybe I will use it in a bag or something).

How to get there

donderdag 29 maart 2012

My new website is ready! get 20% discount TODAY

Today I may present my new - and improved - website to you. My website will give you alle the information about me and my work and is a portal to my facebook page, my Etsy shops and my new blog. I am so excited that I will give everybody that buys something from my shop today a 20% discount. ONLY TODAY!!!!

Use this coupon code to get the discount: todayonly20

The code will be valid until it will be tomorrow, everywhere in the world!

Feel free to share this information with your friends, neighbors and unknown strangers.

dinsdag 20 maart 2012

Textiel plus dagen en Etsy

For the art exhibition organized by Textiel plus, EtsyNL gattered little piecec of art made on the scale of 7 x 7 cm. This little purse is my contribution!

Op 16 en 17 maart werden de textielplus kunstdagen gehouden in Deventer. Voor die gelegenheid heeft Etsy van Etsy verkopers kunstwerkjes van 7 x 7 cm verzameld. Ik ben benieuwd naar het resultaat, maar dit was mijn bijdrage. Het kleine zijden tasje zit vast met een magneet waardoor het aan beide kanten kan worden beworderd. In de tas (zit vast met een koordje) vind je ook nog een klein portemoneetje met goudstukken. De hengels zijn van suede. Allemaal restjes!