Soaking

20080929 (Small)

I love it when I find a vintage tablecloth for a reasonable price. I saw one like this in France for 30 euro, but I paid 2 euro at our local thriftshop.

If I had paid 30 euro (we have a saying in dutch: it costs what the fools will pay – and yes there were fools), I don’t think I would ever use it.

At least not when anyone would be eating anything that could stain on it. And when you think of it, everything could stain. Bread and water would be the only diner that I could serve on it, but I don’t think my family would appreciate that.

So there you have it: that’s why I don’t pay that much for a tablecloth.
I do try to put other tablecloths on the table when we eat anything with tomatosauce, but I forgot last week.
So now I’m hoping to soak those stains out…

Matching

20080926 (Small)

I bought this beautiful homespun yarn at the fair a few weeks ago, but I only realized just now that it matches the color of my car exactly. The same beautiful gray/lilac shade.
Ha! Now I can make myself a hat to wear in the car!
Um, not that I need a hat in the car, or not that I need another hat. But I really, really want to start making something of that yarn!

Orange

20080925 (Small)

Pepperplant in my kitchen. Not edible, but I love the color.

If the shoebox fits...

20080924 (Small)

... have a nap in it.

Quilttop, finally finished

I seem to have lost my creative flow lately. Maybe I need to reconsider where my stuff goes. It’s kind of hidden now and I seem to forget about the things I’m making. But maybe it just this phase of “not feeling very well” I am going through (this too will pass, this too will pass…).
Anyway, today I finally got my act together and made something. Remember the quiltsquares? They were fun to make and I even made some more, but the squares didn’t look right to me. The pillowcases just didn’t have the right combinations of colors and prints.  So I decided to use the vintage pillowcases for a simpler design and wait with the stars and other fun designs until I can buy better quilting fabrics.
I cut the squares during my summerbreak and I even managed to sew them into pairs. And than I forgot about them for a month.

20080923 (1) (Small)

Today I remembered and I finished the quilttop. I did all the sewing on my vintage sewingmachine and I am finally getting the hang of that too. I am quite pleased with how it looks. I am going to back and bind it with a vintage sheet I have (yay! more stash busting!).

20080923 (2) (Small)

Now I need to get myself some batting and finish the quilt. I think I’ll leave it on top of the closet to remind myself…

20080923 (Small)

Happy Equinox!

20080922 (1) (Small)

20080922 (Small)

A good life

I remember being fascinated by rural life at a very young age.  I fantasized about owning a farm and growing my own veggies and fruit, having chickens for eggs, a cow for milk and sheep for wool.  And a horse to ride on, of course (that has nothing to do with being self-sufficient, but don’t all girls fantasize about that for a while?).
Growing up, I kind of forgot about those dreams. But looking back, there were always some things related to that.  I have always felt a need to see things grow. Even if it was only house plants. I bought them small and enjoyed seeing them get bigger in time.

20080921aardbei (Small)

I have been through a phase of paganism and witchcraft a few years ago. The religious parts were never my thing, the rituals have faded, but the part of feeling closer to nature stayed. That must have been what got me interested in it in the first place. Keeping track of the changing of the seasons is part of my normal life now.

We bought this house four years ago. It’s in a rather rural spot, just outside the big city of Rotterdam. A small house but with a relatively big garden on three sides of it. I have been imagining starting to live The Good Life  (love that show!) since we moved in.

20080921kruiden (Small)

I started crying last friday, reading this post by SouleMama. It really touched that soft spot. I really want to be part of a life like that. Growing stuff, harvesting, preparing for winter. But I just don’t know how. It’s not something that can easily be incorporated in our life.

Why not? Well, there are big slabs of concrete under the backgarden. Making it fit for a real garden would take weeks, maybe even months of grinding the concrete (we know, we watched our neighbours do it). Also it is not big enough to sustain a family of five. We would have to rent an allotment to start a real vegetable garden. The nearest we can rent one is about four kilometers from here. We almost did in June, but decided to wait until we had a bit more time on our hands and were a little less tired. Three months later it’s starting to sink in: we’ll never have enough time and energy to do all the things we do now and have to visit that garden daily. I like to think I will be able to soon, after I have rested some more, but “feeling exhausted” is not new to me. In fact I have been struggling with periods of being very tired my whole life. I don’t think it’s realistic to think this will be the last time…

So, I have been feeling disconnected and obsessed lately. Willing to grow stuff, harvest, prepare and knowing it would never happen.

20080921kruiden1 (Small)

But today I started reluctantly weeding our front garden. Reluctantly, yes, because I was still mourning not being able to live the Good Life I was longing for. But, as soon as my fingers touched the earth, I felt better. As I always do. And when I kept working my mind came to rest. The earth started speaking to me.

It’s great that so many people can have a life like that and it’s inspiring to read their blogs. But I should realize that we all have our own little place in this world. Mine is “in between”. We are so lucky to be outside of the city and the village, in a little rural area. Our house is semi-detached, something most people here can only dream of. But we are also in the most heavily populated area of our country (and The Netherlands is one of the most heavy populated areas of Europe). Moving is not an option, at least not yet (most of Theo’s clients are in Rotterdam and the girls are to old to pull out off school now).

So no farm for us, not even a bigger garden close to home. No big harvest, no preserving food. No good life.

Or? “A Good Life” is of course a phrase used for selfsufficiently. But for me, it more about a simple life, feeling connected to nature, to the earth. And than it hit me. If I stop being obsessed about the things we can’t have, I do have my own kind of good life.

20080921pruimen (Small)

Our garden is small, but big enough to get my hands dirty and connect to the earth. Our harvest will never be big, but being able to eat plums from our own little tree (we had 24 this year!)and grapes from our vine (I picked 3 small bunches today and there are about 5 more), knowing that next year there will be strawberries from the three plants in my herbgarden and tomatoes from the few plants that will fit in the very back of the backgarden (a small bit has no concrete) is symbolic for the harvest that I would have on that dreamfarm of ours.
Being able to cut some herbs from that herbgarden (that sounds pretentious, it’s only 1 feet by 4 feet), watch flowers and plants come up , even on spots I didn’t plant them, all those things remind me how nature is all over the planet, not just in the obvious places, but even in the middle of a big city.

It is reminding me how we are part of nature.

That should be enough. And now that the earth had helped me to figure this out, it is.

It really is.

Hat and neckwarmer

A present for my mother. Soulemama's pattern again. Yarn was leftover from my cardigan.

20080920hatneckw (Small)

Autumn flower

20080919 (Small)

I have been denying it, but autumn is really coming.

I was glad when I just checked the exact time of the equinox and found out that will be Monday. I hope I will be able to do a little more to welcome this new season than just putting these flowers up (I asked for the orange ones, but the flower man said they are brown)

Today I’m so exhausted that I fell asleep just now, working on a story. That does happen to me late in the evening sometimes, but it’s only four p.m…
I think I will be trying to catch some extra sleep the next few days.

Wishing you all a good weekend!

Letting off some steam

20080918 (Small)

He is not allowed to go outside, so he has no other cats to fight over territories, no birds or mice to catch and no fields to roam. But he will be save from cars hitting him like they did the three cats we had before him.

This is his way to let off some steam. Now if I could only find a way to let off some steam too. It has been a tough week. No big events, but still some stuff happening, some late night worrying and a lot of feeling eshausted. I really need to unload, but I don’t know how.

Fighting with dh, like that cat of ours, will not be the right way…

(poor husband, he needs to unload even more, same stuff happening + a very heavy workload. Maybe we should plan a short vacation or something like that…)

Ready for harvesting

20080917 (Small)

We planted this vine on the roof to cover the ugly blue walls the neighbours installed.
But it is an added bonus that we have been able to watch these grapes grow over summer. I have discovered that I like growing food. I think next year I will try to rent a plot and start a real vegetable/fruit garden…

Reading

 20080916a (Small)

Music

20080915 (Small)

Details

I had to visit an old building for the newspaper, but I also took some pictures for fun. I like details ;-)

20080913 (1) (Small)

20080913 (2) (Small)

20080913 (3) (Small)

20080913 (4) (Small)

20080913 (5) (Small)

20080913 (Small)

In the garden

20080912 (Small)

Farm quilt

During my break I cleaned out my fabric stash. In my refound enthousiasm for sewing I had accumulated an awful lot this past two years. I looked at every thing and didn't just ask myself if I liked it (because I did - or else I would have bought it), but if I was really going to use it (not my own wisdom, I read that Amanda cleaned up her stash like that).
A lot went (back) to the thriftstore.
There were two fabrics that were bugging me. Children's print, farms. Was I going to use those? But I liked them too much to let go of them. When I saw them together I figured they would be perfect for a quilt. So that's what I made. I cut around the holes in the vintage fabric and combined it with some terry that I had no other use for.
Now it's a quilt, but I still don't know what to do with it. I did have fun making it though and that's what counts.

20080911b (Small)

20080911c (Small)

20080911a (Small)

In the garden

20080910 (Small)

In the garden

20080909 (Small)

Another bag

20080908bag (2) (Small)

20080908bag (1) (Small) 

20080908bag (Small)

A present for my mother. I wish I could take credit for the embellishment, but that was already on the fabric.

Knitting and crochet update

I did a lot of knitting and crochet during my break.

This blanket was not really my idea of fun. I still don't like the colors. But it is nice and warm and a great stashbuster.

20080908blanket(small)


20080908blanketcloseup(small)


When that was finished I moved on to something fun. I tried knittig a hat on two needles.


 20080908hat1 (small)


And when that worked out allright I decided to try soulemama's pattern.


 20080908hat2a (small)


And then I made it again. I like to knit that pattern, not too complicated, but not boring either..


20080908hatneck (1) (Small)


20080908hatneck (2) (Small)


I made a matching neck warmer. I panicked first because I forgot to make button holes (it was going to be a scarf and then I changed my mind) but um... holes? Yes, we have those. Duh!


20080908hatneck (3) (Small)


20080908hatneck (Small)


The last scarf was a stashbuster too. The light yarn I already used when I knit all those scarves for Sinterklaas, the dark blue was in my stash for years. It's funny stuff, but the result is really soft.


 20080908scarf(small)

Teenage rooms

We did a bit of work on the twin's rooms last month.

20080905kamer1 (Small)

20080905kamer2 (Small)

20080905kamer3 (Small)

I'm really proud of those shelves. I don't really like working with drills, but I hung them myself.

You've already seen D'.s room, but that changed too.

20080905kamer4 (Small)

M’s room? Still a work in progress...

Creative mess

20080903 (Small)

Some creativity in their vacation.
I got them books to use for drawing and journaling. They decided to decorate them, which let to the mess above. But that's okay. Creative messes are good.

France 2008

Actually there isn't much to talk about. We've been doing nothing mostly. I hardly took any pictures and some of those you've already seen.

Here's the rest.

:: Paris

20080902 (3) (Small)

 20080902 (4) (Small)

 20080902 (5) (Small)

:: Cantecor

20080902 (6) (Small)

20080902 (Small)

20080904 (Small)

:: Milau bridge

20080902 (2) (Small)

 20080902 (1) (Small)