3 minutes read July 5, 2016

Once, before Joran and I started dating, I sent him a message written with invisible ink, which I discretely delivered to his mailbox. With the help of an A4-paper sheet, lemon juice and a thin brush, I basically asked him when and where we were going to meet to create a scavenger hunt (something we had talked about organising together as part of a sailing weekend with friends) and signed it with my name. Only in the bottom corner I wrote a tiny hint to hold the paper above fire, which would make the ink change colour so it would become visible.

Now, I could have simply sent him a text message or email. That would have saved me a lot of time and effort. But it wouldn’t have been as fun.

I hadn’t heard from him for a couple of days, and wondered if he would have figured out the hidden message on the seemingly blanco sheet of paper. What if he accidently burned it? Or maybe he simply threw it away not knowing what to do with it.

Then, I received a text message.

It was from Joran.

It read: ‘check your balcony’.

I curiously opened my balcony door, and found an empty beer bottle awaiting me. Or in fact, it wasn’t empty. It contained a scrap of paper.

Carefully and excited, I took it out. The paper contained an url. When I typed the url into my browser, an image appeared. The image had a bunch of printed numbers, letter and scribbles. Once you used the green glass of the bottle as a colour filter, a date and time became clear. Joran had climbed my balcony to deliver an equally cryptic answer to my earlier message.

It was one of those moments, when you realize: ‘Yep, this guy is the real deal.’

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With countless communication technologies at our feet, there are also countless ways to connect to our loved ones. Social media, email and WhatsApp enable us to share meaningful messages in a matter of seconds.

However, even with all these opportunities, creating a real connection can still be challenging. Because digital communication is so easy, frequent and accessible, it has a risk of watering down the quality of contact.

It doesn’t need to be that way though. With a little bit of creativity even the most common communication platforms can enable us to connect in a meaningful and fun way with the people we care about.

That’s what I hoped to show with my latest project.

I created a paper flower photo booth, and invited people who passed by to write down a chalkboard message for someone they loved. They could take a picture with their phone and send it to that person.

My flower photo booth was part of the ‘Geluksroute’ (translation: happiness route) and was located at the Hub; the expat center in Eindhoven. I also created some example pictures for inspiration (below). Because of the opening of the international boulevard on the same day, many people who passed by were dressed in beautiful national traditional attire.

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Remember how you used to communicate in fun and creative ways as a kid? You developed secret sign alphabets, wired tin can telephones, wrote in the sand at the beach, pointed directions with chalk arrows on the sidewalk and sent snail mail to pen pals.

Maybe you still do.

Why not channel those happy memories into inspiration for showing the important people in your life that you care about them?

It could be as simple as taking a picture of something personal you created…

Watch the paper flower photo booth video below (or click here to watch it).

PS. For more on fun ideas to show people you care about them, I’ve written on creative communication before here, and for more ideas; my ‘instant inspiration kit’ (with 1001 ideas) includes a poster titled ’40 romantic, happy and creative ways to surprise your partner’.

PPS. Oh and an unrelated question: do you want me to create a separate post with a tutorial on how to make big paper flowers, like the ones in the paper flower photo booth? Because I could… Please let me know in the comments if you do.


  • Reply

    Bernie DeKoven

    July 5, 2016 at 16:25

    Brilliant. Lovely. Elegant. Sweet. Loving. I like it. And you.

  • Reply


    July 5, 2016 at 18:39

    Me encanta lo que haces! Saludos desde Chile… ❤

    • Reply


      July 5, 2016 at 22:09

      Muchas Gracias! Did you know I once did an internship in Santiago de Chile? Such a beautiful country!

    • Reply


      August 2, 2016 at 01:35

      YES!! I knew it, you told that in a conference :)… I want to tell you that, inspired by you, Im doing the 1000 origami cranes project :D

      • Reply


        August 2, 2016 at 07:31

        Wow, that’s amazing! I would love to hear about your progress and experience!

  • Reply


    July 5, 2016 at 20:41

    OMG!!! SO CUTE!!!! I love your projects! And yes, please show how to make the photo booth. I’ve been thinking I want to make a photo backdrop and I don’t know where to start. I don’t have a wall in my house to use. I have to build it and be able to use it outside. Thank you!

    • Reply


      July 5, 2016 at 22:11

      Thank you! Would you be more interested in knowing how the structure is constructed, or how the paper flowers are made, or both? Would be good to know that if I create content it’s as valuable as it can be ;)

  • Reply


    July 5, 2016 at 22:07

    I’d like to know how to make the paper flowers please, if it is not too much trouble! This is such a lovely video and what a sweet thing you did!!

    • Reply


      July 5, 2016 at 22:38

      Thanks for letting me know! With the whole focus lately on doing magical mission only, I’m trying to figure out if there is still room for some DIY posts, if they are at least related to the missions I do. I’ll see what I can do ;)

  • Reply

    Brenda Jackson

    July 6, 2016 at 00:56

    Weird, I woke up this morning thinking I hadn’t seen one of your posts in a long time, and there you were, in my inbox. Lovely flowers. Please do post the instructions for the flowers and the photo booth.

    • Reply


      July 6, 2016 at 09:57

      What a fun coincidence! It’s like when you think of a friend and suddenly she calls. And thanks for the feedback.

  • Reply


    July 6, 2016 at 13:39

    Love it! Inspires me to surprise someone as well in a creative way :)


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