Beautiful Mondays: Be Still and Create

I have been busy this last week. Busy with thinking. Busy with worrying. Busy with my son’s birthday. And busy with bringing my creative side into action. The ironic thing is that all this ‘busy-ness’ has left me wordless. There have been too many words and thoughts in my mind that I don’t even know what to write down anymore.

I have learned this weekend, though, the importance of communicating and not giving up, especially when things get rough. At home, we are going through some issues that can, at times, get very stressful. The entire atmosphere in our home threatens to get polluted by our negativity and hurt feelings then. With two small children that is not good. But talking and learning to take some rest helps. And I want to just encourage you to be still and take a step back when life gets a bit overwhelming.

Like I said, I have been busy with pursuing my creative dreams. I have been promoting some of my things on my instagram and facebook account. And I have been putting quite some thought into a name for myself. I just want to share some pictures of what I have been up to.

Party Accessories

Gift Wrapping

Follow me here on instagram to see more of my creativity!

Have a beautiful Monday!

❤ Nan

Beautiful Mondays: A lemony memory

Lemon Bars

When I was in high school, I lived in a dorm for a while because my parents were doing missionary work in a small town that was located (or isolated) on top of a mountain. My sister and I lived with a family and about 6 other kids. Each night, there would be a home-baked snack waiting for us. My all-time favorite was the lemon bar. If I ate one, I had to eat another one…and another one…and just one more.

This, however, became quite a conflict when I started dieting. All other snacks (and food) I could easily avoid and ignore. The lemon bar, however, was my weakness. When those were baked, a plate full would be beckoning me to take not just one, but a couple more.When my dieting started to become an obsession and my dorm-mom starting worrying, the lemon bar started making a weekly appearance. And my dorm-mom would lovinlgy tell me that she had made lemon bars, just for me. I hated this. All I wanted was to eat nothing, definitely not anything sweet, but there was that plate with lemon bars, begging me to eat just one. But one was never enough. So, they were my weakness. I don’t think I stopped eating them during that time. Maybe I just limited the amount.

Well, back in Holland, I got to know my husband who loves all things lemony. So I decided to ask my dorm-mom for her recipe and make him lemon bars. I was SHOCKED when I saw the ingredients. No wonder my dorm-mom loved feeding the way too skinny me those bars! The amount of sugar (and butter) would make any dieting person look the other way.

These lemon bars still are a weakness to me. And now have become a special request from my husband and baby son. I enjoy eating them on a warm summer day. And they always bring back the memories of my times in the dorm.

Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars by CB

So, for all you lemon-lovers and those with a sweet tooth, here is a lemon bar recipe you must give a try. You won’t regret them.

Recipe for Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars
Ingredients:
1/2 cup flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 Tablespoons flour
1/4 cup lemon juice

How to make it:
Combine flour, sugar and butter.
Pat into greased 13×9 inch baking pan.
Bake at 350 F for 20 mintues.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, flour and lemon juice until frothy. Pour over the hot crust.
Bake ate 350 F for 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown.
Cool on wire rack.
Dust with powdered sugar.
Cut into squares.

Enjoy this recipe and let me know what you think!

Have a beautiful Monday!

❤ Nan

P.s. Don’t forget to follow me on instagram, where you can follow my journey as a beginning stylist.

Beautiful Mondays: DIY – Pass a Note

I don’t know how you spent your hours during high school, but me and one of my best friends spent most of our hours passing notes. There always was something of utter importance to say that could not wait till the end of the period. Usually our notes included our weekly crushes, whom we had the perfect code names for. Silly but memorable times.

Now, each living on different continents, we still spend our time passing notes. It now takes a bit longer for our notes to get to each other, but the tradition of writing important news to each other has remained. Our weekly crushes have been replace by stories about our husbands and our dramatic high school issues have been replaced with sharing the reality of our lives.

Passing Notes

Sending someone a card or letter was very common years ago. Now with internet and whatsapp, taking the time to send someone a handwritten letter or a postcard seems unnecessary and old-fashioned. But there is a lot of joy in finding a card in your actual mailbox instead of your email. Someone taking the time to write down what is going on in their lives and encouraging is a treat.

Today I want to encourage you to do this yourself. I guess I have a little DIY for you after all. Write someone a letter. Or if you really want to put some effort into it, you can make someone a card like I did!

DIY Postcard

Don’t forget to send it to them. Go to the post office, by a stamp and mail it. It will definitely surprise someone and put a smile on their face.

Have a beautiful Monday!

❤ Nan

Beautiful Mondays: Made to Shine

DIY Picture Display
Being a mother gives me bitter-sweet feelings. I love having children, watching them develop and learn. I enjoy their innocence and interest in the world around them. Yet often, I am filled with a fear. A fear that I won’t always be able to protect them from the dangers and temptations of this world. A fear that in the process of growing up, I will lose them somehow. When that fear starts creeping up, it can, at times, consume me. I reach a point that all I want to do is move ourselves to an island where it’s just my little family. Where I can protect and care for them. But then the ‘sweet’ part of motherhood kicks in when I see my son not only exploring but mostly enjoying the little things around him. One of his biggest joys right now is being able to play on his dad’s drums. He gets this proud and satifying look on his face, like he has found his right place and purpose.

We took a picture of that a couple of weeks ago. I had to print it out and scrapbook it into something I could place in our home. Looking at this picture, I am reminded that we were made to shine. Each of us has something that lights up a fire in us, that makes us shine on the inside and on the outside. When we find what that is, big or small, and start investing in that, I believe we will become a lot more relaxed. We will be at ease because we have found our right place and our purpose: to be the light and to shine.

Home Decor Shine
I have to be reminded of this daily, which is why I decided to write it down and display it in our home.

On this Monday, be the beautiful you and shine. And do this stretching warm-up to start your week off well and help you shine!

It made me feel more ready for this week!

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.”

Have a beautiful Monday!

❤ Nan

Beautiful Mondays: Bravery

In a previous post, I had shown you the chalkboard my husband had made with pallets. You can read that post here if you missed it. I hadn’t written anything on my chalkboard yet because I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to write on it. This was starting to bug my husband.

Today I went for a walk with my two babies and we found some feathers. When I came home, I looked at my chalkboard and suddenly felt inspired. Remembering something I had seen on my Pinterest board “Inspiring”, I finally figured out what to do with my chalkboard! So I grabbed my chalkboard marker, my washi tape and my feathers and this is how it turned out.

Home Decorlive brave

It is actually a very easy D.I.Y. On Pinterest they had placed this in a picture frame, which would also make for a very cute home decor piece.

75948b81048d25ae863289da13708403via

Of course, you could do anything with some inspiring words and some feathers.

There is one more thing I want to share with you. I recently heard a song from Casting Crowns called “Thrive”. A part of the chorus really encouraged me. They sing:  We know we were made for so much more than ordinary lives.  It’s time for us to more than just survive. We were made to thrive. I was reminded of these words as I was writing ‘live brave’ on my chalkboard. I have been trying to figure out who I am for the past ten years. When I started my internship as a stylist just two weeks ago, a part of me started to feel more alive. I realized that we all are created for something. A desire, a passion and a talent has been placed in our hearts. Once we start listening to that and living that out, we become more and more alive. It takes bravery though, to take those steps. But we are not here to merely survive life, although at times it may feel like that. Like the song says, we were made for so much more! And I am starting to experience the freedom that comes from thriving. None of us are made for the ordinary. We all have a talent and special purpose on this earth and it’s time we start figuring out what that is and start thriving instead of surviving.

So this Monday I want to dare you to start living brave. Begin following the passions and talents you have and you will feel yourself come alive.

Have a beautiful Monday.

❤ Nan

DIY: Picture displays

For those of you looking for a new and different way to display your pictures throughout your house, I have an easy “Do It Yourself”. Yesterday I was in a creative mood and I really like the results I got.

Both are very easy to make and not many supplies are needed.

A photo display

For this first one, all you need is some scrapbooking paper, washi tape, scissors, a sharpie (or any kind of pen or marker), dubble sides tape (or glue) and some fun stickers, cut-outs or vellum shapes. Then the rest is up to you! Start experimenting different positions for your picture and stickers/vellum shapes till you have created your own beautiful masterpiece! The Maggie Holmes collection actually inspired me to do this. She makes some beautiful supplies for creative people. You should take a look at het blog!

This second DIY is one I have wanted to do for a while, but hadn’t made time for yet. This one is my husband’s favorite and I must say I am pretty proud of it.
Picture in a Jar
For this project, you will basically need the same supplies as in the one above. Except this one also requires a jar and some ribbon. What I did was glue some scrapbooking paper to both sides of the picture. With a slick writer (the perfect pen to write on washi tape and other “slick” surfaces) I wrote love on the picture. I then placed that in a jar. I added a cute ribbon that has words on it. And I added brown string. I sewed two vellum shapes onto the string. And that was it!

I hope you will feel inspired to make some beautiful photo displaying decor for around your home.

Have a lovely weekend.

❤ Nan

Beautiful Mondays: A Bohemian Adventure

From the moment that new life is born, exploring starts. A baby discovers the world around him. As his vision gradually becomes clearer, he discovers the faces of his parents. He notices his hands and entertains himself for hours (okay, minutes) when he realizes he has fingers he can move around. Little by little, his world starts getting bigger as he examines more and more of his surroundings.

Little children are adventure-seekers. They thrive on discovering new spots and exploring what is in their reach. We can learn a lot from their innocence, patience and curiosity when they take the time to wander, dream and investigate.

This is exactly what Nons photography was able to capture during the styled photoshoot. The curiosity and innocence of children are visible as they are exploring and discovering their surroundings. It really was a bohemian adventure.

Enjoy the results of the photoshoot, photographed by Nons and styled by me, with special thanks to each of our kids for modelling and to my husband for helping us with some of the styling and “heavy lifting”.

let's be adventurers

Dream

Explore

Discover

We would love to hear your comments on our styled photoshoot, as this was a first for both of us. So please share!

Have a beautiful Monday!

❤ Nan

Beautiful Mondays: Feathers and Arrows

Part of the reason that I started the “Beautiful Mondays” was to find out what things I like, what inspires me and makes me ME. And I found something that I love AND that inspires me at the same time: styling. I have known this for about a year and a half, when I helped style my sister’s wedding, yet I never really pursued it. I kind of waited for it to come to me I guess. But a couple of weeks ago, I heard that a girl nearby had started a styling business. If I am being honest, my first reaction was jealousy. But then I started thinking about it and realized she just pursued what she loves, instead of waiting around for it to happen. I should be doing the same thing! If I am excited about something and want to learn and grow, I need to start pursuing that. So I did.

I have a friend who started her own photography business, Nons. You can see her work if you click here (for my Dutch readers, consider asking her for a photoshoot!). I approached her and asked if she would like to do a styled photoshoot with me. And, lucky for me, she said yes! We will be photographing our own kids (hopefully they will cooperate!) and have a feather/adventure themed photoshoot. Keep following me to see the results!

Prepping for the photoshoot has given me a busy week and a well-needed distraction. Here is a small preview of the props we will be using.

Preview

I am really excited! Working on this has given me new energy and has helped me to focus on fun things in life. I have been creating beauty to create even more beauty!

So this Monday I want to inspire you to pursue the things that give you energy, that excite you, the things that make you happy and the things that you are passionate about. Most of the times, it requires us to take a step forward in order to get where we want to.

Here is a little DIY for you: arrows! I came across these on Pinterest and loved them. I will definitely be using these in the photoshoot.

DIY arrows

They are very easy to make. All you need is some felt, sticks and a needle and thread. Oh, scissors are also handy to have.

Supplies arrows

I first cut out little triangles.

Step 1

I then sewed two together and on the bottom I placed a stick in between the two pieces felt. To make sure the sticks stay inside, I sewed around the stick twice.

Step 2

Then, just place the arrows in a fun jar. Or create a bow to go with it, like this one (which my hubby made).

Display of Arrows

I wish you all a beautiful Monday! I am looking forward to sharing the results of the photoshoot with you.

❤️Nan

DIY: Turning old into new

This past week has been one where I have let worries and fears take too much control of my mind and life. I have been tense and stressed. This weakness of mine is something I have been trying to grow in by learning to just let go (whenever I say that the song “Let It Go” from Frozen pops into my mind, which makes me smile already 😉).

The funny (and oh so challenging) thing in life is that when we decide to turn old, bad habits into new and good ones, we tend to get extra challenged in not giving into our weaknesses before a new strength starts developing. It feels like when we decide to change, we get attacked even more at our weak spot so we can really start making healthy choices and fighting back. I find that very tiring and challenging. Changing old thoughts into new (colorful) ones is a tiring process that needs some enlightenment along the way! And that is what I needed today. I had to do something to just relax and turn my attention to something fun instead of my fears.

So, I finally started (and finished) a mini project I had lying around. I had an old picture frame that I wanted to turn into something colorful for in my babies’ room (I forgot to take a picture of it before I went decorating!). Working with my fun art supplies, deciding on colors and the perfect places to put things on helped ease off some of the stress. I was almost literally trying to live colorfully by making something beautiful….

I really like how it turned out. And I hope it will encourage me and help me to do the same with my thoughts. Old things (even old, not so healthy habits!) can be turned into something new, which will add beauty to an area in our lives. We just need to let ourselves take the time to create.

So DIY (Do It Yourself!), change something old into something new.

A lesson from my 1 year old

My 1 year old son has figured out how to be funny. He makes a crazy face, which makes practically anyone laugh who gets a chance to see it. And that’s how he reminded me that sometimes a little crazy is all it takes.

A little crazy is all it takes to ease someone’s stress, to bring a smile on a downcast face.
Sometimes a little crazy is all it takes to draw out a laughter, to encourage a wounded soul.
Sometimes a little crazy is all it takes to bond with a child, to meet someone new.
Sometimes a little crazy is all it takes to overcome a fear, to try something new.
Sometimes a little crazy is all it takes to end a bad day well, to feel refreshed again.
Sometimes a little crazy is all it takes to find yourself in someone else’s smile.

So, be a little crazy and have a little fun.
Do a childish thing, just to experience true bliss.
Take a picture and when you’re done,
remember a little bit of crazy is a moment never to dismiss.