Nostalgic walking

Can I start a new trend?


Nordic walking is sooo 2009, right?


Why not join me in some Nostalgic Walking?


We have had some very nasty health issues in our family. The ones that make you see the concept of family in a whole different light.

The growth of a family can make it quite hard to really connect, so my sis and I started planning days together with just dad or just mom for some more one-on-two time (next to the big family days of course).

This weekend dad took us to the village where he was born and had lived in for 20 years, up to the point that he met my mom.

(I still cannot for the life of me understand why someone would go from the beautiful village of Nuenen – Van Gogh heritage! – to live in lodgings in a place called Ulft!. But that’s a whole different story.)

The whole day my dad couldn’t stop talking. All those wonderful wonderful stories he told! Even though it was raining the whole day, it was fantastic to see this village through his eyes (and reliving my memories as a 6 year old girl visiting granny and granddad…:)).


The window to my dad’s old room:

nostalgic walking dad nuenen old house blue door ellen vesters illustrator graphic designer

nostalgic walking dad nuenen old house ellen vesters illustrator graphic designer

nostalgic walking dad nuenen young kitten ellen vesters illustrator graphic designer

nostalgic walking dad nuenen van gogh statue ellen vesters illustrator graphic designer


One of the stories my dad told me:

My father’s grandfather had known Vincent van Gogh (like many Nuenen children he would collect bird’s nests for Vincent to paint).
So of course when a classmate wanted to write a lecture about Vincent van Gogh, an interview with my great-grandfather was very welcome.

The interview went fine and my dad really enjoyed seeing how his old and sickened pa felt revived, bringing up all these memories.

At one point my father’s classmate asked something that made the whole room go silent.

“Is it true that Vincent was chased out of Nuenen by the pastor because he got a girl pregnant?”
Great-granddad answered: “Yes, I believe that that is true”.
“But”, Mr Classmate said, “Is it also true that the girl had actually gotten pregnant by the pastor himself”?

Great-granddad, as old and sickened as he was, got out of his chair, waved his giant cane around and rrroared “Get out of my house, you devilish boy!!!”
He chased the poor guy around for three whole blocks.

My dad lost a friend that day.


Dutch Dwellings: Etsy tips and the selling of Dutch houses

During my trip to the US, I met the loveliest fellow Etsy’ers. Amongst them were Elles Lanfer and Saskia de Winter. Both Dutchies, living abroad in California.
(sigh… California!)

Saskia had just delivered a baby (three weeks old!) when I met her. And still she took the time to see me and share her advice on being successful on Etsy!

ellen vesters etsy

From all the inspiring conversations I had, I gathered the following Etsy tips:

  • Say goodbye to the fear of being commercial. Try to identify with Etsy buyers, investigate what they are looking for and adjust your listings to this knowledge
  • People tend to look for gifts when cruising Etsy. Make products, not only prints!
  • Popular products are products that tell a story, for instance about your city or country
  • Work on your photography skills, good product photography makes all the difference (still working on this one…)
  • Get over your wedding allergies (thankfully this intimate wedding did the job)! Weddings pay the bills!
  • Make sure your shop looks full, have a large array of products ready for people to choose from, but still retain a simple (visually quiet) and cohesive look overall
  • Be open to customizing, and tell your crowd about this option!
  • And then for a good-old-sneaky-commercial-thinking-bastard-trick: use Statsy Clockbot for regular relisting to get more views


All this resulted in me deleting all my old stuff from my shop and putting in new prints, but also my first product: Dutch Dwellings, or “Hollandse Huisjes”. You can now buy five varieties of little Dutch houses, each representing another Dutch city (Leiden, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Volendam and Lutjebroek). More versions to come!

And guess what… they have been blogged about already! I am so proud.
As well as very happy that there are people out there that are doing a much better job at product photography than I am…!

(the Dutch Dwellings, or Hollandse Huisjes, are for sale at my Etsy shop:


Oh Marie:

ohmarie dutch houses

Enter my Attic:

ellen vesters dutch houses

 Mintstudio Creations:

ellen vesters dutch houses


zilverblauw dutch houses

zilverblauw dutch houses

Road Trip Part III

We Dutchies often have to chuckle about Americans trying to fit in seeing all of Europe in just one month.

And what did I do…? Cruising states like a madmanwoman ! In four weeks time we have seen California, Nevada, Utah AND Arizona. When you cross a freaking ocean to visit another world, you feel like you need to see everything, you don’t want to miss anything.
I understand now, people!

But next time… I would prefer a little more ease…


Pictures below: Los Angeles, Highway 1 and back to new found love San Francisco again (♥ Mission…).

(Part I:

Part II: