UrbanJungleBloggers: Planty Wishes for 2016!

UrbanJungleBloggers: Planty Wishes for 2016!

… and here is the last challenge of the year for the UrbanJungleBloggers platform. They asked us to share our Planty Wishes for 2016: to be creative and to feel free to interpret this rather open topic. An illustration, a table setting, a vignette, greeting cards, a wishlist of plants – whatever inspires us to show our planty wishes and positive energy!



Ha, and for me that was definitely a table setting. There wasn’t any doubt about it – as a wonderfully decorated table is for me a perfect symbol for this season of the year, representing warmth, welcome, friendship – eating and celebrating together!

And of course those are my wishes for the new year, too: that there may be peace and friendship, mutual respect, health and well-being for all those near and far! May we surprise each other with lots and lots of positiveness, support, and openness!



I just spent a great couple of hours getting together all kinds of props to do this styling challenge and I hope some of that fun and joy spats right of the photos.



I tried a bunch of different angles at natural light, but quickly realized that too much background made the photos quite busy.



So I added some light from the overhead table lamp, and like magic the background darkened out. But as you will see, it makes for a whole different atmosphere:



… and the last one of the bunch with the ragged edge I typically use:



Thanks like always to Judith & Igor for having set up the UrbanJungleBloggers Platform in the first place. I wish you and everyone else who is participating in this great platform all the very best for totally enjoyable holidays and a peaceful and creative new year 2016!!!





… styling fun for UrbanJungleBloggers platform:

… styling fun for UrbanJungleBloggers platform:

It is time again for an UrbanJungleBlogger post, this month it’s a „plant shelfie“. Funny idea, this “s(h)elfie”! Seems that it was one of the most popular post types ever on the UrbanJungleBloggers platform, so it is being repeated this month. Here we are:



I had quite some fun with it, I must say. There’s only one big shelf in the house and that’s the bookshelf in the living room which is filled with my own books (the hubby has a little library chamber of his own, he’s even more of a voracious reader than I am!).

Even though I like the professional decorators’ idea very much to put books of the same color together in order to make the overall look of the shelf more calm and pleasant to the eye –I must sadly admit that this concept doesn’t work for me at all. I wouldn’t be able to find my books back and I need to source books regularly, especially on yoga, decorating, and travelling – so my shelf remains  multicolored!



But for this styling task I set out to clean a central compartment of the shelf and I repurposed my very recently acquired thin bone china tea-light holders with their fine graphic design to be used as plant pots. But just white on white wouldn’t work, so it took the copper accents and a tad of pink to make it all come together.



… most important, though, was waiting for the right light. Only in the afternoon does the light from the patio reach far enough into my living room to reach the bookshelf. So patience eventually paid of to help me create this nice shot:



So, thanks UrbanJungleBloggers platform and its creators Igor Josifovic (Happy Interior Blog) and Judith de Graaff (JOELIX.com) for yet another wonderful styling task, can’t wait to hear what we will do in December.




… and while signing off, here’s a freebie from around the far corner, where the kitchen table is resplendent in fall colors:


Nepali Art and plants & flowers – inspired by UrbanJungleBloggers

Nepali Art and plants & flowers – inspired by UrbanJungleBloggers

Wow, the beauty of modern art from Nepal enhanced by a greenery photo shoot! How did THIS come about?

Well, a couple of weekends ago I went to a 2-day bloggers conference in Amsterdam and was totally inspired by Igor and Judith from the UrbanJungleBloggers platform. In less than two years they have managed to attract more than 700 bloggers from all over the world to their platform which focuses on getting more greenery into the world – and not only for people who had green thumbs all along, but also for us beginners …

And a beginner I am. My husband has always been the green thumb in the family and for the longest time I have found plants in the interior a bit stuffy and old-fashioned. I tolerated our two oversized pots with I-have-no-idea-what-they-are-but-they-grow-like-crazy, as they make a nice division between our open kitchen and the living room, but taking care of them was totally my husband’s domain.

And now Igor and Judith inspired me to actually go out and get some plants on my own and I am ready to care for them. Please, you long-time botanists, don’t laugh at me, as my selection leans heavily to the easy-care of succulents, but, hey, everyone has to start somewhere! So here’s the arrangement on my livingroom table with a painting of Saroj Mahato on the wall in the background.

Urb insta black best

Urb insta couch plants art


I actually waited around for afternoon light to take the photos, which needed quite a bit of patience. But it did make the other shots come out nicely, too, such as the view of the table with a great piece of art (not from Nepal!) by Ariane Boss from Berlin.

Urb inst closeup flower art

Urb insta table light reflex


And the same holds true for the shot of the flowers and art above the sideboard (all from Nepal: yellow and gray/black painting by Binod Pradhan, blue Buddha face by Ratna Kaji Shakya, and the small sketch of mythical “Kalki” horses by veteran artist Shashi Shah).

Urb insta usm


… and just for your enjoyment one last close-up:

Urb insta closeup


(And if you want to see more of my house WITHOUT GREENERY check out this earlier post!) UJB-sidebar-lime

A recent styling project: Before & After

A recent styling project: Before & After

A small apartment previously lived in by my son during his university years needed to be turned into welcoming guest quarters for 2 to 4 people.

During major holidays we’re quite a big family so it comes in handy that there is a full 1-bedroom apartment in the downstairs of my mother’s house, with its own kitchen and bathroom. It can even sleep another two people as there is a sleeper-sofa in the living room.




It took me a while to collect the right furniture, especially as I was doing this total re-style on a very small budget (totalling under Euro 2,000), so I mail-ordered the sofa, desk, and sideboard. The round table is from Ikea and the replica Eames chairs I had already scored earlier.

But by far the most the most fun was getting the colors right and collecting just the right light fixtures, pillows, and decorative items to give the place a somewhat whimsical retro and slightly Scandinavian touch, made possible during a summer vacation in Sweden and Norway last year.


detail 1

detail 2

detail 4

IMG_3347 neu





1 before 1


1 after 1d



2 before 2


2 after 2 (2)



4 before 4


4 after 4


… and the bath was fixed up nicely, as well as the kitchen through which you enter the apartment:








Day-trip to Gouda

Day-trip to Gouda

A cold and sunny day about town in Gouda, the famous cheese-town. For the first time this year the open-air cheese market was going on again. Big rounds of cheeses were being traded right in the center of the historic town. What a sight to behold…

After walking around town and enjoying a snack of traditional cheese soup,  fried cheese roll and old cheese sandwich the day-trip was topped off by a visit to the “Kinderdijk” collection of historic windmills (19 of them, the largest collection of windmills in the world in one place!). Enjoy:

Gouda 1 neu

Gouda 2 neu



Gouda 3

Gouda 4




… and the Rothko exhibit in The Hague!

… and the Rothko exhibit in The Hague!

Visited the Rothko exhibition today. It was quite impressive but massively overshadowed by the huge number of visitors. The show is so incredibly popular that on a Sunday afternoon there were long lines of people trying to get in. Luckily I had arranged tickets via internet so we could skip the queue – but inside it still was overwhelming peoplewise. Too crowded, too hot, too stuffy. I am still glad I saw the works in the original and was especially impressed by their enormous dimensions.

(All fotos are mine - text and film from the city of The Hague)

Feb2015 437 Feb2015 438






Feb2015 448

The “Gemeente Museum” in The Hague

Rothko’s work & life

The oeuvre created by Mark Rothko (1903-1970) is both epic in scale and extraordinarily human and intimate in feeling. It has great appeal and attracts many passionate admirers. Painted layer upon layer, his colour fields are of unprecedented intensity and sensuality and communicate universal human emotions such as fear, ecstasy, grief and euphoria. Rothko was an intensely committed painter who invested his whole being in his art and, like many other great artists, led a difficult life. Deeply disillusioned by the two world wars and plagued by depression, he was a tormented soul, yet capable of producing great art with an enduring capacity to comfort and enthral. Exhibitions of his work still attract huge crowds and his paintings now fetch record sums at auction.

 Feb2015 426

Feb2015 429

Rothko was of Russian Jewish origin but grew up in America. Nothing in his background or family seems to have predestined him to become an artist. Indeed, he discovered his bent for painting only relatively late and more or less accidentally. He took some courses but always regarded himself as essentially self-taught. Rothko is famous for the ‘classic style’ he used from the 1950s onward. By painting large colour fields on outsize canvases, he aimed to use colour to evoke emotion: from jubilant yellow and pink to sombre blue and black. The vast square or rectangular monochromes seem to overflow their canvases and were intended by Rothko to overwhelm and engulf the viewer.

Feb2015 440

An early work, very different still!


The exhibition in The Hague

The exhibition will include plenty of these ‘classic style’ paintings but also examples of the less well-known early work, in which Rothko moved towards abstraction via a kind of Fauve-like Realism and a highly personal form of Surrealism. The exhibition will draw on recent research on Rothko’s transitional period. As home to the world’s greatest collection of work by Mondrian – an artist renowned for his own path towards abstraction – the Gemeentemuseum is a particularly appropriate place to examine Rothko’s somewhat similar artistic journey. This exhibition will consider both the analogy and the differences in the evolution of the two artists’ work.
By the early 1950s, Mondrian was famous in New York, whereas Rothko was still a nobody. That is probably why one art critic called his work ‘blurry Mondrians’. While publicly resisting this view, Rothko otherwise showed great respect for the older artist, once even saying that Mondrian was the most sensual artist he knew.

Rotterdam and great architecture

Rotterdam and great architecture


I had a fabulous weekend in this amazing place, the only city in the Netherlands to be totally bombed at the end of WWWII, thus practically nothing quaint left – instead a very modern and multi-cultural place to visit.

Feb2015 408


We just had to see two major sites: besides the modern watrfront area “Wilhelminapier” this was first the “Markthall”, an indoor market-place just recently opened (near the famous cube houses) with an absolutely amazing arched ceiling and apartments on the outside, creating a kind of shell around the market activities inside. On both sides the market hall is enclosed by huge window fronts which had to be specially engineered to withstand winds and temperature changes in summer and winter (and allowed for some nice mirror photos!).

Market Hall

Feb2015 336

Feb2015 352   Feb2015 332

 Feb2015 350


On the way through town we also saw an ingenious underpass, making possible the continuation of a major shopping street UNDER a busy thoroughfare – nice shops and a very pleasant experience instead of having to wait to cross the busy street above:

Feb2015 356


Feb2015 358


The second major point of interest was the Wilhelmina pier. A totally new quarter on a pier that still welcome about 30 enourmous sea cruise ships per year, but also hosts the highest apartment tower of the Netherlands (43 stories!) as well as just one historic building, namely the “Hotel America”, last abode of thousands of emigrants taking off with the Holland-America Line for a better future in the U.S.!

(image by kcap.eu)

(image by kcap.eu)


View of “Hotel America” with the modern construction all around it:

Feb2015 407

Feb2015 389

On the very left below the highest apartment building of the Netherlands , the New Orleans building.  It  is a 43-storey,  158.3 m (519 ft) tall residential tower, designed by Álvaro Siza Vieira. It is currently the tallest residential building in the Netherlands:

Feb2015 393

(all photos: Beata Wiggen - except when specified)


And if you want to watch a really cool advertising film: