Friday, November 3, 2017

Go with the FLOW

As a rule, I don't buy magazines. Although I enjoy looking at home decor and arts and crafts magazines, I have a difficult time throwing them out as I think I will reuse them or refer to them sometime. Honestly, that rarely happens so I try to avoid the temptation of bringing them into my home.

But there are always exceptions to my rules. Take FLOW magazine for example. I was introduced to this magazine that celebrates "creativity, imperfection and life's little pleasures" a year or so ago by a friend. It hails from the Netherlands and is filled with the most engaging illustrations and thoughtful articles plus all sorts of treats for the reader. By treats I mean tear-out decorative papers, tags, prints, stickers, and inspiring words. You never know what its pages will hold. There are articles featuring artists from around the world and essays on all sorts of topics — philosophy, slowing down, unplugging, organizing, crafts — all written from the point of view of taking one's time to engage, experience, enjoy. 

I love this magazine. It is relaxing to leaf through its pages. But, it is difficult to find and a subscription costs a fortune as it ships from the Netherlands. However, I discovered that my local Barnes & Noble carries it. The couple of times I have looked for it though, the magazine has been sold out. Apparently I'm not the only one to be taken with its wisdom.

So I was thrilled when I stopped in B&N on Sunday and found a stack of the latest issue #20. They must have just arrived. I snatched one up and was delighted to read in the table of contents that there were pages devoted to tours of the homes of three different artists, the importance of friendships, what we can learn from Mother Nature, setting up a morning routine, and the advantages of loafing. (Ooh. I love that one.) Plus three 4x6 notebooks each with a different illustrated cover are included. There are four full-page prints by German naturalist and scientific illustrator Maria Sibylls Merian from her book Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium which was published in 1705. There is even a sticker for my cell phone that advises: Offline is the new luxury. 

As I stood in line to make my purchase, excited to discover the surprises it held, imagine my delight to spy a display of a special edition of FLOW: 19 Days of Mindfulness. Wow! I really hit the jackpot.

I swooned.  

This edition contains 163 pages of day-by-day ways to bring mindfulness and creativity to your life. There is a notebook for your Morning Pages, a feature on artists and their tools and talismans, a color-by-number paper tablecloth (big project), and colorful cutouts to make your very own hot air balloon paper garland. 

An amusement on every page. 

On its website you can preview its gorgeousness. There are photos and features and DIY crafts. There is a store locator so you can check to see if it's available anywhere near you. Its website tells me that there are four international editions in English each year. It is also available in German and French and of course Dutch.

I will warn you that the issues are a bit pricey — $25. But if you break that down to the number of hours of entertainment you will enjoy, it's a mere pittance. In the long run, FLOW is an inexpensive way to fill your life with beauty.

Let me know if you are already familiar with FLOW or if you have any luck finding copies in your neighborhood.

Here are a couple of photos from the magazine that is way more than a magazine:

Three notebooks are included in issue #20

This article contains pages of small illustrations
 that can be used in my art journal

From Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium 

An article on stepping away from technology

A funny look at people merging with book cover images

Suitable for framing - words to live by


  1. Oh my! How did I not know of this magazine - and thank you for this lovely introduction. Is this a monthly magazine, Belle? I think I'll find some time to visit the local B&N and see if they have it.

    1. Penny, I am so glad to be able to introduce this magazine to you! My photos don't do it justice. The website notes that it comes out in an English version four times a year but maybe B&N would know more about that. You could call and have them hold a copy for you as it flies off the shelves! Thanks for your comment.

  2. I've never seen this magazine, but it looks like a real find. I always use the movie comparison to justify slightly expensive purchases: a movie ticket where I live is about $9 for two hours of entertainment. When you buy a book or magazine, especially one like Flow, you may pay more, but it entertains you for far more than two hours. Good buy!

    1. Joan, I have spent $25 on a book that just sat on my shelf, (unread, sigh), so the cost of this magazine with its hours of enjoyment plus the decorative papers and notebooks and other treats — not to mention all the inspiration — well, it's well worth the money. I like its European different. And it's not filled with a bunch of glitzy fashion or makeup ads! A definite plus.

  3. Thank you, Belle. While $25 is a bit steep for a magazine, it isn't all that bad for a quarterly publication, especially once which has so much to offer. I hope to dig in a little deeper with B&N. Thanks again for the introduction to Flow.

  4. I hope you can get your hands on a copy, Penny. Let me know if you do and how you like it. (Hope it lives up to my glowing assessment.) Good luck!