In which Whimsy finds Felted goods in Amsterdam

Shirdak's sunburst wall hanging

When neighboring countries are a mere hours flight, one can take advantage to enhance a vacation.  However, we did rise in the chill dark early hours for a bus ride to the airport.  Seated up top-front in a double decker bus affords a unique view of Edinburgh, and one can easily imagine how JKRowling thought up the skinny-squeezing Knight Bus in the Harry Potter series.

Dbl deck bus 1  Dbl deck bus 2

A brief stay in Amsterdam, city of canals and tall, lovely, colorful architecture.  Instead of Edinburghs wobbly cobblestones, we tread flat brick in herringbone pattern.       The cheese shops here have exquisite grand displays, and we noted samples were supplied with a variety of tasty mustards – the combination is delicious!  Alas, the Black Sheep shop had clothes, not yarn…  

Amsterdam 1  Amsterdam 2

Herringbone streets  Black Sheep shop  Cheese BLISS  Tiniest car

Chilly Amsterdam Cycles and Canals

Lil’ Whimsy was excited to discover two shops with FELTED GOODS.   In the first, Zij-aan-Zij, we thought we’d interupted a class, but the woman explained it was a place for intellectually  disabled people to do these crafts, and sell the results of their efforts.  We thought the simplicity of some designs was exactly what gave them charming appeal.  Other designs were quite skillful, such as the peacocks (sculpture or shawl), the hats, vase and booties.   What a wonderful enterprise!

Shop was closed Charming felted goods

Felt hats, seahorse  Peacock shawl  Zij-aan-Zij felted goods

Wandering blocks further, dodging cars, cyclists, pedestrians & short posts lining every street….we came upon another, more sophisticated felted goods shop:  the Gallery: Shirdak.  Read how owner Marianne Tuerlings imports nomadic felts direct from the makers.  Her shop has elegant felted hats and incredible wall hangings.  Comfortable elfish slippers, and charming little wooly critters.  The enormous yellow sunburst seizes attention as you enter the door.  The painterly felted flowers hang above the stairwell.  Everywhere are hats to try on, and our daughter found the perfect one.

Shirdak's sunburst wall hanging  Jenna and Shirdak owner

Perfect hat (1)  Shirdak sheep   Shirdak donkey

Shirdak painterly wall hanging  Shirdak hat

Our 2nd was a long day of tromping the streets of Amsterdam…. but many shops were delightful.  We happened upon a Leather goods shop.  Look up Art-in-Leather on Facebook.  Jenna admired beautiful leather purse in a window, so we stepped in.  And, to our surprise, found ourselves in a very appealing workshop, where the owner, Andrea Monti was at his table, slicing lengths of leather with great precision, and warmly welcomed us in to look around.  Old wood-handled tools with lovely patina decorated the walls.  Stacked of dyed leather in many colors on the shelf, and beautiful workmanship wherever we gazed.

Owner leather shop  Leather workshop

Last:  a sweet treat.   Jordino, an exquisite pâtisserie in the heart of Amsterdam.  Lil’ Whimsy was giddy with delight, and delved into the display (admittedly, the shop owner placed her there to amuse the silly tourists!)   The chocolate shoes & purses look almost too beautiful to consume.  Almost…..  Okay, I’ll try a slice!

Jordino Patisserie Enchanting Jordino sweets

I love this photo of Jordino’s colorful sweets on display, & the lovely Amsterdam architecture reflected above.

Up next:  Lil’ Whimsy visits The Scottish Highlands, and the port town of Oban ~ where a whale had spent time in the bay as we cycled around the island of Kerrera!

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