Mom Story: Joscha from the Netherlands
My name is Joscha (36), designer from the south of the Netherlands. I studied ballet in Den Haag and Rotterdam. I lived in the city last mentioned, where I also met my husband. After this period I worked 1 year at the NAi, a Dutch architecture museum. I went back to school and followed audio-visual education in Antwerp, Belgium. Today I work in a psychiatric hospital two days a week. 2,5 years ago I started a blog called MUShandmade about things that catches my eyes in daily life, and about my passions photography, fabric- and paper printing, making stamps, illustrating, designing logo’s etc.
Soon I will launch my new shop: ontwerplab MUSwerk with my products and ideas (house style-design, logos, handmade personified stamps etcetera). The website will be called
MUSwerk is cooperating with t-a-k for a very lovely project. It is called jaszakschatten (Dutch for jacket pocket treasures. Schatten has a double meaning… it is also: sweethearts). You can find more information about the project at 'jaszak schatten". We also give workshops at festivals, kid nursery’s and last year October at the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven.
What kind of house do you live in – are you and the kids happy here or is there anything you find lacking or would like to change?
We live in Volckerdorp, a village situated in the polder close to the Belgium border. VÖlckerdorp was a village of 18 houses founded in 1904. The villagers worked in the surrounding polders. The village was separated in catholic and protestant people each going to churches and schools in Woensdrecht or Rilland. Today only 7 families are living in this little street. The view from the main street is still the view people had one hundred years ago, while some of the houses are modernized on the non-visible side. Our house contains lots of glass and brings the natural light inside. Although we are very happy living here I sometimes wish we lived in a city: our children’s school is in the city and it’s about 15 km/10 miles driving by car. A city also has got more social possibilities (kids’ clubs/ kids’ ateliers etc).
What is it you like best about living here?
Living out in the open fields makes you more aware of the changes of the seasons. Driving home also makes you feel like you’re going on a vacation, especially in summer.
Do you like to spend time on decorating your home and the children’s rooms?
We often change rooms. I like reading (online) magazines about house and garden design. So every time I see something I really like, something in the rooms will change to. The growing quantity of our children also forced us to be very creative in room dividing and decorating.
What are your children’s favorite items in your house?
Floyd (27-01-04) just started to learn to play the guitar.
Lola Elvis (16-07-06) loves to dance, clay modeling, but most of all she likes her books. Her bed often looks like a horizontal bookcase. Roemer (05-08-08) is the second big musician in the house (he’s always making music or singing) loves clay modeling to and he likes playing with his barbapapas. He watches Pippi Longstocking and Sinterklaas on You Tube. Pippa Rose is just born a few weeks ago (3-04-11) and I think food is her favorite item.
Some tidying tips? Do your children tidy up after themselves?
I try to make them do so…and try and try and try……..…
What places in your new neighborhood do you like to go to for shopping?
Antwerp (Belgium) for its shops and museums.
Middelburg for the atmosphere and we like to combine this with a walk at the beach afterwards.
And I also like to go to shops where they sell secondhand stuff.
What is your idea of a perfect day with your children?
No serious, going to the beach very early in the morning or late in the afternoon for a diner pick nick and let them having fun with sand and waves.
What is a normal day with your children? What do you do on weekends?
…at this time I gave birth 5 weeks ago. The oldest children are going to school while I am enjoying time at home with Roemer and Pippa Rose. I go out of bed at six o’clock during the week. When Floyd en Lola Elvis return from school they most of the time play with other kids in our neighborhood. In the weekend we visit family and friends or go for a walk.
Any books you can recommend for parents and how to raise your children?
No… just follow your heart.
But Uitgeverij Snor (one of my favorite book editors) makes some fresh very lovely designed practical, funny books for parents. (In the attachment you will find some English info about them).
What kind of DIY projects do you like to do with your children?
I like to make new things out of recycled materials with them. Or give them drawing assignments.
Any tips for keeping the house clean when crafting?
No. Don’t think about the mess just be creative.
Are you a crafter or DIY person?
I think both. I like to design…. But also like to get inspired by others and try to make it more in my one way
What do you do with all the projects your children make at home or in school?
Frame it and hang it on the wall. We can change their works on the wall easily and save the best ones in boxes.
Sometimes they give their work away as a present.
It is also nice to make leporello books with their drawings. Leporello’s are some sort of harmonica books. (Irene I have send you some pictures)
What are some favorite games in your home?
Hide and seek, dress-up (pirates and princesses etc.), board and card games. The (French) Djeco games are wonderfully designed and beautifully illustrated.
What kind of sports do your children like to do and are you very involved?
Floyd, Lola Elvis and Roemer love to play soccer. And the oldest 2 like racing with their bikes around our house… as of next month they will take swimming lessons.
Are there musical instruments in your house?
Most of the instruments are guitars. We do have 2 saxophones a mouth harp and a box full of kid’s instruments. My husband graduated conservatory in Rotterdam. His is teaching Floyd to play the guitar. For his seventh birthday he got a new little amplifier and an electric guitar.
I think at this moment Roemer is the most musically active child at home. He is singing and swinging everywhere. But I will stimulate them all to play an instrument and hope that they will have fun with it in the future.
What are all time favorite books for the children?
They like the illustrated books of Charlotte Dematons, especially Sinterklaas (2007) and de Gele Ballon (the yellow balloon) (2003), pop-up books (nice ones are ABC3D, pop-up stad). You can find some very nice pop-up books at YouTube.
We (not only for toddlers) love the Dingen boekjes. (Read more info in the UK here and some pics here) They do have an English version too from the Amsterdam book.
And of course you will find at their bookshelves some books written by the legendary dutch writer Annie M.G. Schmidt and illustrated by Fiep Westendorp (f.e.: Jip and Janneke). Some funny and creepy storybooks by Roald Dahl and some books written by Astrid Lindgren famous for her Pippi Longstocking books. I like by the way the Pippi book that has been illustrated by Lauren Child.
Do your children read books online? Do they go to the library?
The kids like books. Floyd and Lola Elvis are beginning readers…
We did go to the library but I have to confess that I’m negligent in bringing back the books and besides that I love children books and some books I just want to have myself.
Do you cook together with your children? Does Dad cook?
I am a food lover, not a cook. Kids want to help with chopping (and eat halve of the meal in the mean time)
Dad is the kitchen princess in the house. He is also a good cleaner…;-)
I am happy with our vegetable garden. It is enjoyable and tasty, the kids learn about seeding and growing, and it helps them to be more open in trying new food.
Do you keep some sort of travel journal with the children?
We keep a journal about each child from the time that I was pregnant. Erwin and I do make lots of photos, so nowadays we save our every day live in pictures. And we keep the best memories in our mind, just like we make the best pictures in our mind ;).