For my Amsterdam explorations I've consulted many good sources (Design*Sponge's city guide for Amsterdam is awesome) but my favorite resource while I've been here has been Pia Jane Bijkerk's Amsterdam: Made by Hand.
Pia sets up the book as little neighborhood vignettes --- "wanders" --- each highlighting a few favorite artist's ateliers/second hand shops/or handmade craft sources. It's really a nice way for a visitor to start off an exploration of each area; I head off in search of one or two places from the book and in the process find all kinds of other serendipitous happenstances. For example the button shop below is from the pages of Pia's book but the ribbon and global salvage shop are not and thus I get to feel as if I, little Letha, made a miraculous discovery... :)
Knopenwinkel's owner was closing up when I arrived --- which threw me into a bit of a panic --- I knew I'd be coming back but what if I couldn't find the shop again? What if, somehow, the place was closed everyday until I had to fly home?! I had to have proof that I'd found such a heavenly place. This was my hasty and precious little button haul.
What is it about buttons? I mean really? I don't sew, I'm terrible at sewing (probably because I've not found a way to like sewing.) But I do love buttons. I'm sure it has a lot to do with nostalgia (mom had baskets and jars full) but I think it might have more to do with being incredibly drawn to collections of like things. Buttons in particular have a jewel like quality that inspires a impulse to touch and keep for one’s own... A stunningly well stocked ribbon, tassel and (all around) trim shop... As with all the shop owners I've encountered here so far this shop's owner was very friendly and kind but when I started stammering about how much I loved the color and the sheer volume of the trims indicating a passion for the stuff and how much I loved seeing it she totally melted and declared emphatically "it's better than chocolate for me!"Beautiful, world worn items at Raw Materials a cavernous (for Amsterdam) shop just outside the 9 Streets area. If I were a Dutch gal I'd be frequenting this place and hauling home one or two of the dinged and perfectly aged painted metal chests scattered about the place on a regular basis. And the flower shops...gosh I wish the US of A had more flower shops integrated into neighborhoods, etc.. Truly I believe I would buy a little handful of flowers every day if there were more little pockets of colors and shapes spilling themselves out all over the sidewalks as there are here. And then, headed home along the Prinsenstraat (quickly becoming my favorite route for cross city travel.) Up the stairs... ...to dinner in the flat.
Can't wait to do it all again tomorrow...