Category: Inspiration

Macrame project

Macrame – trying something new

Time off

A lot of things that have to do with art, don’t give me the relaxing sensation it used to do when I was a child. That’s why I like to look for new things to do in my spare time. That way I don’t have the feeling that I am working but I can still look for new art forms.


Macrame is a form of art with knots. You put all kinds of different knots in pieces of rope. Then a pattern grows and you can even choose to put things in it like buttons. Here you can see a picture of a recent piece I did. And of course the internet is full of examples.

My own macrame

I quickly knotted a hanger for a plant but after that I was looking for a new project. I was just knotting away without thinking, without a purpose and just look at what happens in the end. I do like to work this way. I love the way things submerge under your fingers without thinking about it.

But then I could take everything out again because I thought something else would look even better then what I was doing. Right after that, I bought two tiny plants. I thought it might be nice to put them into the work. This gave me more of a purpose to knot for. It was easier to make choices. It was nice to work without a plan but it is a lot more practical to work with one.

Finally I had a plan and I knotted the day away. One the one hand I knotted for fun, practice and decoration. On the other hand with a target in mind, so the little plants fit nicely into the work. It’s almost like a puzzle. I keep on looking for the right kind of knots and shapes so the little plants and the knots look well together.

I’m open for suggestions for a next project!

Macrame project
Book cover

Book: nice girls don’t get the corner office

A book as a gift

As a Christmas present Joeks sister gave me a new book: nice girls don’t get the corner office, written by Lois P. Frankel. I mentioned this book last week.

How does this book work

It is a workbook of sorts. You can actively work with it, use it. In the first chapter you’re asked to fill in a questionnaire. You get a certain score; this helps you navigate through the rest of the book.

The book is divided in a couple chapters. Every chapter obviously contains a lot of text but not in the way you would expect it. The chapters are filled with ‘mistakes’, they are numbered through the book. In these mistakes you can read about what someone else did and how you can do it better to get a bigger succes.
Sometimes the writer tells you what someone did absolutly right.

After every subheading, every mistake, you find a couple of tips. Sometimes just the coaching tips from the writer. Sometimes tips from a professional.

A good book

I think this is a good book for a number of reasons.

Reason 1

Two years ago I picked up a book after years of reading almost nothing. I picked up a book and read it cover to cover. Since then, I started to read a bit more again.
I’ve read a couple of books these two years but you can’t say I’m a bookworm.

Now we’re at the point of why I like this book: it’s easy to read. The mistakes are written down on usually one or two pages. This gives you plenty of moments to put the book down. I wrote about how I like that earlier in this post about ‘The secret lives of color’.

Reason 2

I like to make notes in my books. With some books it feels like I’m not allowed to. In this book you are encouraged to make write in the book.
Of course you can choose to do this on a different sheet of paper so you don’t need to write in there if you don’t want to.

Reason 3

The book is about how to become a more powerful or empowered person at work. I already see myself as an empowered and/or powerful woman but not yet at work. There is a lot to learn and I am, thanks to this book.

Reason 4

It is very practical, with all it’s tips and tricks. There are a couple of things I can and want to use right away. These things make changing myself for the better very achievable.
There are a few things I’d rather keep or work on later because right now they aren’t relevant or seem too big.

Reason 5

It’s written by a woman for women. You will read about countless examples of strong women in the businessworld and comparisons between men in women. The book is about how to close the gap between men and women.

What now?

I’ve read a quarter, maybe a third, of the book. I’m going to continue making notes at the points I need to work on. And keep on reading through things I don’t want to work on yet.

All pages I think I can use right now, I write down. That way I can easily find back my notes and practical tips.

The missing scheme

The text I was reading spoke of a scheme. It was based off of the pyramid of Maslow. I had to look this up. The text said the scheme in the book was about working life.

At the spot where the scheme should have been, was just empty space. I had no idea what the text was about because it was so deeply connected to the scheme.
Because I didn’t understand a thing about this subject, I emailed the writer. I wrote about which book I was reading, the missing scheme on which page at what misstake and if she could send me the scheme.

I didn’t expect much to happen. A writer of a bestseller and a coach probably doesn’t have the time to reply to an email full of spelling mistakes and she even had to figure out what scheme I was talking about.

I was wrong. Within three days I had a reply with the missing scheme attached and the best wishes for the new year!

Book cover
Book page 213
Christmas vacations illustrations Marieke Noordhuis

Christmas vacations 2019

Intentions for the Christmas vacations

My Christmas vacations takes up two weeks. Two weeks of no workshops. I should keep myself busy in another way. First a couple days filled with the birthday of Joek and the two Christmas days we have here in the Netherlands.
Then it’s time to start working for a bit again. I was going to stay at Joeks place until after new years eve. I would have all the time in the world to work on the book I’m illustrating. When I would have drawn everything to my liking, the vacationdays would be over and I could start giving workshops again.

What book?

A couple of weeks back, I wrote about the new book I’m illustrating. I got two chapters of this book at home. Each chapter has 13 little chapters. Every little chapter is only one page long. The other page has space for my illustrations.

The book is about how to battle a depression; a subject that is very close to me. I’m honoured to be illustrating this book.

I got the text on paper. In this paper version I drew the sketches. I started a few on my laptop as well to make them into a digital illustration, like I always do.

The Christmas vacations so far

I enjoyed Joeks birthday and the two Christmas days with family. I had all the time I wanted to catch up with members of the family during some lovely meals. The first day, my brother coocked. The second day the preperations were done by all of Joeks family.

After these festive days Joek had to go back to work until new years eve. We’re going to celebrate new years eve in Diever and watch the carbid shootings.
Since Joek started working again, I feel the need and want to start working as well.

In good spirits I got up and grabbed my laptop. It didn’t power up, the battery was too low. That happens, that’s why we have chargers. Right? Where was my charger? I forgot to bring my charger. It’s still in Haarlem while I’m staying in Zwolle this week. Now I can’t do anything but take the vacation.

What to do now?

Somehow it’s a good thing I can’t use my laptop because I actually have to take the vacation. I can write a blog on Joeks laptop. And if I get desperate, even on my phone.

Luckily I got a wonderful book from Joeks sister: Nice girls don’t get the corner office, written by Lois P. Frankel. Now I’ve got all the time to read.

And I’ve got two more days to make a tax return. So thank god, there is still some work to do. Even if I can’t work on the illustrations for the book.

Christmas vacations illustrations Marieke Noordhuis
Christmas vacations wish Marieke Noordhuis
Picture at Museum of tin figures

This week

VAT – last week

What a week! It started last week on saturday with my first official VAT tax return. Or like it is actually called: turnover tax return.

I explained already how little I used to know about the accountancy but it is starting to become a little more clear to me. I know where to put unpaid invoices in my online accountancy, I know where to add my receipts, I can import my bank details. But still – especially because I do a lot by myself instead of just importing it all – things go wrong.

So, my accountancy didn’t add up. I didn’t have the same number in my accountancy as in my bank account.

So I checked all the mutations I put in there. I could take out a few double numbers.

Still, it didn’t add up. I checked it all again. This time with my bank account next to me. Everything seemed to be in order but it wasn’t. I had an invoice sent to my mail and I had put it in my accountancy and I payed for it with my business bank account.

But I couldn’t find it in my bank account. I checked it several times. I took a while put in the end the penny dropped. The invoice was in dollars and my bank account shows me euro’s. So I still put a double invoice in my accountancy. One done by me and one imported from my bank account.

Handlettering in Tilburg – this week

Last week I had a calm schedule. I had only one workshop, on wednesday. I was asked to come to Tilburg with all the stuff for the workshop.

Kleinkunstig asked me to go to MBO de Rooi Pannen, department Marketing and Events.

Together with 11 more colleagues we gave all different kinds of workshops which had something to do with languages. Someone taught the kids to rap and another taught them how to act in soap series.

I was doing what I do best: making an image. Handlettering is a form of art somewhere in between writing and drawing. Languages and images. Right up my alley, my style!

The students were – probably because they chose to do a workshop Handlettering – terribly motivated. It was a quiet and large group of students. They didn’t really know each other and that made the group quite quiet. They still made wonderful drawings.

I gave them an assignment that I planned for them. Marketing and Events, those students are trained to plan everything around an event. I let them choose from three themes: Autumn, Winter and Halloween. Then they could choose what they would make: an A-board, a poster or an invitation. The students made beautiful artworks and very creative too! Some of them didn’t come up with a creative idea for an event because handlettering itself was enough of a challenge. These students made wonderful pieces of art as well!

Tinnen figuren museum – this week

On thursday of this week I was invited to have a conversation in Ommen, at the national museum of tin figures. This museum is looking for a little renewal in the education part. And I happen to have a degree in doing just that.

This museum – even though it doesn’t look like it at first sight – does a lot with education. Mostly history about Romans, the dark ages and Napoleon.

I’ve been asked to help this museum and the people who work there to elevate the educational program.

I spoke with two people who work there. There is a considerable age difference between us but we have the same view on art, culture and the development of a child. And the same kind of humor, thankfully!

This will be continued as soon as there is more information on what my work will look like at this museum!

Picture at Museum of tin figures
Illustration of the garden of Ida

Ode to Ida

Ida de Groot

Ida is next to my mother the most important woman in my life. She is a friend of my parents. In the beginning I knew little of her. The only memory I had of her and Marcel goes back a long time and I still remember only a fraction. I remember that I was allowed to draw on the window.

If you’re curious about who this woman is, you can look at this illustration.

How it started

I was a couple weeks in my study to become a teacher of arts. I lived with my parents and twice a week I got up at six in the morning to be at the academy in time. Not my favourite thing to do.

During a party that my parents threw I saw Ida and Marcel. My mother told me to talk to Ida because maybe I could stay with them every now and then. I approached a woman I barely knew to ask if I could stay with them twice a week.
A short while later I rang at her doorstep and a new chapter of my life started.


Monday evening

On Tuesday and Thursday I had to be at the academy by nine o’clock. So every monday I packed my bag for two days. After the classes I walked a couple of streets further, to the backyard of Ida en Marcel. Then we sat outside, drank a speciality beer while Marcel cooked the most amazing dinner. Meanwhile Ida and I started to talk. Talking like you would do with your mother at the kitchen table: How was your day? What are your obstacles in life?

I always find it hard to talk about how I feel but with Ida I didn’t seem to have a choice. This is not in a bad way, by the way. This happened very naturally.

During dinner we usually opened up a bottle of wine and after dinner we drank tea. Sometimes I studied the history of art. Then I went to bed in the guestroom. The next morning I was usually alone. Ida was still in bed or already gone for work. Marcel had already left on his bike or I saw him just before he went as I made myself a cup of tea. Then I ate my breakfast and walked to the academy. From that moment on the Tuesday and Thursday mornings didn’t feel like early mornings but like sleep-in mornings.


Talking with Ida

After a few months I found a room in Utrecht and the contact I had with Ida en Marcel was crumbeling down. I was busy with my studies and I didn’t take the time to sit down anymore. I got overstrained.

Ida offered me to come by for dinner. We had a good talk, as usual. We agreed to see each other more often. That’s why I came by every monday evening to for dinner again. The same ritual started. We sat outside, we drank a beer, we had dinner and a bottle of wine. After dinner we drank tea and then I went home again.

Ida is a woman with an opinion and a vision on life. It turns out that we share the sime view on the world. I learned a lot from the conversations Ida and I (and Marcel) had. As well about myself as about life itself. She saw me grow into myself. She helped me become myself. She helped me through hard times and laughed with me through the easy ones.

Ida is a miracle. She has meant so much for me and I hope I can give that back to her. Partially through this post but a lot more in the years to come at her home.

Illustration of the garden of Ida
Picture of a cup of coffee, shot by Esteban


A couple years ago I met Esteban. I was on a study tour to Stockholm in the first week of February. At 16.00 o’clock it was dark and me and my travel companion were standing there watching the ice skating ring. There was this clumsy guy skating and he asked us to join him. This guy turned out to be Jané Esteban Holst.

I wanted to take the time to write about him because his pictures inspire me. His pictures give you a sensation of serenity and I like to look at them because of that. His work also has a curtain stillness about it that I find often in my own work.

Next to the text you see some of his pictures.

What I like most and find calming about his pictures is that it’s nice and ordinary and full of warmth. I remember the dock of Stockholm. This is a saltwater dock and I saw big chunks of ice, about 20 – 30 centimeters thick, sliding over each other. And the pictures of Esteban warm up my feeling about Stockholm and this memory.

The confusing part about the pictures is this: I just wrote about the stillness in the pictures, they have a curtain distance and at the same time they feel very personal. I’m curious to know what you think of his pictures. This is a LINK to his instagram page. He’s still working on his website.

Picture of a kitten, shot by Esteban
Picture of a cup of coffee, shot by Esteban
Illustration of an open book

The secret lives of color

For my birthday I asked for the book ‘The secret lives of color’, written by Kassia St Clair.

The book is about – you guessed it – colours. It’s set up very clearly. It starts with a general text and then more detailed information.
It starts with some general information about why the book is written, about colours and their origins. Then the real deal begins: the different shades of colour.
First you read about different shades of white. The colours are broad. So in the category ‘white’ we find lead white but also silver. 

With every shade you learn a little bit more. Sometimes it’s more about the origins of a colour or how a colour used to be made. But other times it’s about battles and important people with a certain hair colour.
In almost any case, the name of the colour is explained. 

‘The secret lives of color’ is written so lightly! I’m rushing through the book. It makes it readable because every shade has only two or three pages text.
I like to read in the train or right before I go to sleep. The fact that there are so many put-the-book-down possibilities, makes it a practical book for me.
What makes it hard to put away is that it’s so well written!

Next to all the nice information in ‘the secret lives of color’ there are some beautiful quotes. There is one quote of Kandinsky: “… red that’s been brought closer to humanity by yellow”.
I think this is a wonderful description. As you can see on the website, the colour orange means a lot to me. With this company I try to bring people closer together. Sometimes that means that I bring myself closer to other people, sometimes I bring others closer to each other. That is why the colour orange means even more to me thanks to the quote of Kandinsky.

Illustration of an open book
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