The Little Things… an easy-to-sew child’s apron made from a dish towel!

For this week’s The Little Things, I’m showing you how to make a super sweet, and super easy-to-make child’s apron out of a dish towel! No kidding, if you have a sewing machine (or know someone who does!), you can make this apron.

One simple dish towel and two (shoe) laces is everything you need to get started!

The sweet image above (drawn by Sara Musch) shows you exactly how to do it. Click here for your free download! And yes — it is really that easy. You only need to sew seven straight lines! Two for the arm holes, and five for the pockets…


My mum taught me to use a safety pin to easily thread a ribbon through a channel. It works really well!


The end result is cute as a button. And what a sweet gift for the holidays!

Enjoy making this… (And please share the result in the comments below!)

xxx Esther

PS  This is the third post in a series which is called ‘The Little Things’. Thank you Maud Fontein for taking the beautiful photos, and Sara Musch for the sweet download! I used an apron and shoelaces from Hema, and Ava’s shirt is from Nils & Happy to see you.

Tips for decorating your child’s space

Children are so playful and fun and it has been very rewarding for to me to represent a child’s personality through their space.  A child’s space doesn’t have to follow all the rules that adult spaces follow and can be more whimsical and creative.

I thought it might be fun and hopefully helpful to share a few of my tips for decorating children’s space:

Tip # 1:  Give your children a space where they can be creative and express freely.  I think it’s important to provide a space for productivity; drawing, painting, and sculpting.  Children learn to problem solve by being creative and making “messes”.  This “creative nook” doesn’t have to take up much space, and can be a wall or a small desk.  My children love drawing on Maja’s large chalkboard wall.  And it has also helped eliminate my daughters desire to draw on all the walls and furniture in our home.

Tip #2:  Keep books, toys, and clothing easily accessible to encourage healthy independence.  For example, in my daughter’s room I have kept most of her clothing hung low where she can reach and dress herself, along with her favorite toys and books. The storage items that I would not like her getting in to are kept in the red bins on the top shelf.

Tip #3:  Give your child an everyday environment that is warm and inviting.  For example, in my children’s bathroom we have framed prints taken from some of our favorite sea voyaging books.  As well as other small accessories and pops of color that add warmth to the bathroom, and make it feel more childlike and a fun place to spend time.

If you’d like to see our entire home as well as some more of my ideas on decorating you can see our home tour featured on Design Mom.

– Meta

p.s. To read more from Meta, visit her inspiring and creative blog One More Mushroom.

Sharing a room — a girl’s and boy’s side

Sara and Pim have shared a room since Pim was born. I recently asked them if, when we have a bigger house, they would like to have separate rooms or still share. They both said they still would like to share! So sweet. Sara is now 8, and Pim is 6, and I imagine that in a few years they will think differently. But for now, they’re happy together.

They share a fairly big room, and I tried to decorate it to each give them their own ‘identity’ in the room, with a more boyish and a more girly side. The rest of the room is unisex. Checked red and white curtains and a huge wallpaper tree by Inke bring the two sides together and make the room ‘one’.

To give Pim’s side of the room a more boyish appearance, we painted a big blue square above his bed. We put up the beautiful house shelf boxes by Ferm Living to display some of his treasures, and a sweet knitted garland by OeufNYC. On his bed the gorgeous harlequin bedding of Olli Ella, and a personalised pillow from Petiotes. Beauregards the Wolf doll is from BlaBla Kids.

Sara’s side is definitely girly — we bought her antique bed on Ebay and painted it white, and I made her a flowery patchwork quilt myself last winter from a batch of Liberty fabric scraps.

You can find the sweet mushroom nightlight at YadaYada, and the Maileg mice at Sisters Guild.

Pretty soon, Casper is moving in with Ava as well — Ava is looking forward to it!
Do your children share rooms? Did you, as a child? (I’m an only child, so I always had my own room!)

xxx Esther

A fantastic Glow In The Dark Owl Poster

How cool is this Glow in the Dark owl poster? Fast asleep during the day, but when the lights go out, Mister Owl wakes up and keeps an eye out for whoever needs the reassurance. It is available in a fantastic neon pink or orange, and (literally) brightens up any kids room.

Available from the wonderful lifestyle & gift shop, The Kid Who.

xxx Esther

My house, featured on Design Mom

The wonderfully kind and thoughtful Gabrielle from Design Mom has featured my home, and an interview about our family life, in her Living With Kids blog series today.  What I love about this series is that she asks such thought provoking questions — she really tries to draw out the kind of answers that give a genuine glimpse of each family’s day to day life. She goes beyond the usual ‘where did you buy that sofa’ type of question and really delves deep. (I nearly had tears in my eyes as I typed my answers out!)

I am extremely flattered to have been invited for the interview and to be included among so many other great families and homes in this series. You can see the photos of my home and read my answers here. Thank you Gabrielle!

x Courtney

Hartendief lamps

Even though we have been living in our current house for over three years, Ava still had a temporary lamp up in her room… until this weekend! We finally installed the adorable ‘miracle lamp‘ from Dutch design company Hartendief. Hylkia, the sweet and super creative owner behind Hartendief, introduced the ‘miracle lamps’ a little while ago, and I love how clever they are.

When switched off, the lamp is plain white with just a few simple balloons on the outside. Only a faint outline indicates what will happen once you switch the light on — a whole parade of darling animals appears, each holding one of the balloons!

I love the simplicity of the concept and the attention to detail with which it is carried out. The drawings of the animals are truly adorable, and the light gives a darling atmosphere in the room — switched on or off. So sweet! I bet every child would love to have this lamp in his or her room… Ava surely does!

xxx Esther

Cheeky Monkey Home

Cheeky Monkey Home has the cutest collection of pillows, floor cushions and murals, all made from 100% wool felt and available in fun, bright colours. The designer, Holly, makes each piece to order in her studio in Belmont, MA (USA) where she hand cuts the felt appliqués, hand embroiders all the details, and then machine stitches the products to ensure durability.

I was in touch with Holly earlier this summer and she kindly sent me one of her Dala Horse throw pillows as a gift for my children, complete with a hand embroidered message on the back. I squeezed it into my suitcase and lugged it back with us to London, and it’s now sitting proudly on the sofa in our playroom. We love it!

I also really like the whale design and love the look of the floor cushions – so cute! All her products are made-to-order and available from the Cheeky Monkey Home Etsy store.

x Courtney

An (attempt at an) organised entrance way

With 6 people in the house, we have to deal with a lot of coats, scarfs, hats, shoes and boots in our tiny little entrance area. It’s so difficult to keep this area in some sort of order! This is how we organise our entrance at the moment (suggestions are welcome of course!):

  • A coat rack installed on kid’s height — so they can hang their own coats.
  • A second coat rack installed above coat rack number one, with 4 baskets hanging from it. One for each child — for (sun)hats, scarfs, mittens, shinguards, helmets etc.
  • Underneath the coats — pull out shoe storage.
  • On the wall — chalkboard wall stickers with the children’s sports and music classes
  • I keep sunscreen and umbrellas next to the door as well as a mental reminder to bring them if necessary

xxx Esther

My workspace on the Babiekins blog

I’ve been away all summer… and while I am so sad that summer is slowly coming to an end, I will admit that I am a little bit ready to be back in my home, back in my office, back to a bit of organisation and routine.

Elizabeth from Babiekins Magazine recently asked me to share photos of my home office. Looking at these photos makes me actually miss it a little. : )
You can see the photos and read a little interview on the Babiekins blog here. Thanks, Elizabeth, for featuring me!

xx Courtney

Mausbird


I met illustrator MietzeB at the Kleine Fabriek recently where she introduced me to her gorgeous brand Mausbird. Mausbird is a collection of clothes for children and adults, that is characterised by the fresh and modern illustrations by MietzeB and an original, unexpected use of colour.

Meerkats, otters, flamingos, bugs and hip triangles adorn retro style sweaters, t-shirts, onesies and pillows. All the pieces are unisex and very cool I think!

xxx Esther

My (full!) house on Design Mom

If you ask me to name some people I admire most in the online world, Gabrielle Blair (Design Mom) comes to my mind instantaneously. The way Gabrielle organises her life as a business woman and a mother of six is a constant source of inspiration to me. Gabrielle not only runs one of the world’s most successful parenting blogs; she also comes up with new and innovative business ideas and makes them into a success (check out Kirtsy and AltSummit). Her courage and energy to re-locate her family to France for a few years and soak in the culture and diversity of this side of the pond is amazingly inspiring! Also — she always looks beautiful and pulled together, and is so caring and fun — what a woman!

Today, Gabrielle features my (very full) house on her blog in her ‘Living with Kids‘ series. I’m so flattered! If you would like to have a look, you can do so here.

xxx Esther

Ruby and Joy, sweet handmade homewares

Scotland-based, Nicola Goring, from Ruby and Joy recently sent me a couple of her sweet handmade cushions and I love the pretty fabrics she uses. What a lovely little Etsy shop! Her little elephant and whale cushions are cute for a baby’s nursery, and I love her pretty heart-shaped lavender cushions too.

All the products are handmade with love in her wee little studio in Scotland. I love promoting little brands like this one!

x Courtney

Yellow Velvet embroidered cushions


I have so many children’s drawings flying around my house, I think I could fill up a gallery. But there are some that are actually really good (obviously I am subjective), which I really want to keep. Some are hanging on our kitchen cupboards, but I also like the idea I stumbled upon on the super cool cushion shop Yellow Velvet. They take your kids drawing and make it into a sweet embroidered pillow.  I think a cushion like that would be so nice to have in a children’s room.

They also make cushion’s out of Instagram photos, which I also love the idea of!

- Emilie

British Garden Birds Poster


We recently hung a bird feeder in the apple tree right outside our kitchen window, and it has been so much fun to watch all the garden birds help themselves to the birdseed. There are moments where we can spot three or four different birds taking turns flying up to our bird feeder, meanwhile pigeons (and squirrels!) help themselves to the seeds which fall onto the ground. The kids love pointing out the different birds we spot in the garden, which is why I knew they would love this new British Garden Birds Poster from Finch and Robin. The poster details 10 different garden birds, and we’ve hung it right on the wall by our kitchen table so that we can reference it every time we spot them.

I also like that £2 per poster is being donated to the RSPB Scotland to help save wildlife.

x Courtney

Not just a towel…


Whenever we go on a beach holiday, I like to pack turkish towels instead of normal beach towels because they take up less space in your suitcase, they’re less heavy when wet after a long day at the beach, they dry more quickly… and they’re super cute!

Yesterday I was in the Conran Shop with my mom and we stumbled on these large linen bath towels by FB Collection from Frescobol Carioca, and I couldn’t resist picking up the cute pink and white striped one. I love how multipurpose they are — they can be used as a scarf, a shawl, a sarong, a blanket or a beach towel. The perfect thing to have at the beach! (Can you tell I am desperate for a sunny, beach holiday? Desperate!!!).

x Courtney

The String Shelf

I completely adore the String Shelf. The String system was design in 1949 and over the last years has become one of the most popular pieces of classic scandinavian design. We got one for Nico’s room —  we call it “the treasure shelf”, because this is where he keeps his most valuable toys at the moment.

Robots, dinos, rockets. But the most important toys are the Star Wars ones, because they were a present from Uncle Javi. The toys belonged to him since he was little, and now they belong to Nico, 30 years later! Such a lovely present.

We are very happy with our String ! Hope you like it!

- Maria

Decorating a baby’s nursery, wallpaper on the ceiling

A few weeks ago I told you about the nursery I had the pleasure to decorate. Today I would like to share the lovely wallpaper we used — instead of putting it on the wall I put it on the ceiling! It looks different, don’t  you think?

The paper is one of my favorite nowadays. The Ferm Living, Harlequin. I am completely madly in love with it! Hope you like it!

- Maria

Merci – online


This post is actually written for some of my favourite ladies, Courtney and Esther, who have a favourite shop here in Paris. They literally go there every time they come. In fact, I sometimes suspect that they might be visiting me just as an excuse to visit Merci, the fantastic concept shop which happens to be very close to my flat.

And now they might never come visit again, as Merci has (finally) started an international online shop, full of amazing linens, the Merci clothes line, wall paper, these cool picnic napkins and many other bits and pieces.

Merci was started by the same people who founded Bonpoint many moons ago. It actually functions as a very stylish charity shop: all the proceeds of the shop are invested in educational projects in Madagascar (but certainly does not look like any charity shop I have ever seen before). Hopefully the online Merci is not the end to a wonderful friendship ;)

– Emilie

Beautiful illustrations by Liekeland

How beautiful are these works by Dutch illustrator Lieke van der Vorst? They have something so innocent about them, and at the same time they are so incredibly wise. They would be perfect for a nursery, a kids’ room, any room in the house, really. The third picture above is an illustration Lieke designed for a birth announcement last year. So, so sweet!
If you’re interested in Lieke’s work, you can her purchase postcards and prints via her webshop, or the bear postcards are available through BijzonderMooi as well.

xxx Esther

A tree coat rack

Today I would like to share the tree hanger I made for my son’s room. I did it myself a few years ago and I remember it was much easier than I had expected! I made it with palet wood and it looks great in Nico’s room!

We decorate it acording to the time of the year and the season! It is fun! (Inspired by the great great Camille Soulayrol.)

Hope you like it and hope you give it a go. It looks good in many parts of the house, as long as you have a free wall!! ;-)

- Maria

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