Friday, May 31, 2013

Right now

:: we just came in from our very first bbq this year (so much later than usual). It was still a bit cold, but oh so good to be able to sit and eat and enjoy outside again

A full basket

I sometimes feel like I'm hardly ever knitting anymore. It's always the spare moments, in the morning, late at night. Not hours and hours like I used to. My hands still don't allow that and I'm trying not to multitask when I relax.
Still, I did, finally, finish my very last scraps last week. A few minutes before my birthday started that is. And then my wonderful husband said that he was taking me to the yarn shop (a real one, also a first for me - I usually buy my yarn at thrift shops or in cheap textile shops) to buy some yarn for my birthday. Isn't he great? The only condition was that I choose yarn to make myself something. So I went for this wonderful yarn, to knit myself a cardigan. You can see what I choose here (fourth picture), it's a combination of wool, silk and viscose in a nice neutral color (so I can wear it with lots of things).

One of the reasons he wanted me to make something for me, was that I have been knitting for Knit-a-Square for months and months now. When I decided that I wouldn't allow myself to buy any new yarn until I finished everything I had, I knew most of it would be hats and squares. Cause that's what scraps can be used best for (and because I like knitting hats). I just threw everything I finished into a basket in my bedroom, so I didn't have the faintest idea how much I really knit. Until I took stock last Friday.

Oh. Well. Seems like I have been knitting after all.  There were fourteen hats (four of which you've already seen), fourteen squares and a cuddle. In all kinds of strange color combinations, since that's what you get when you buy scraps from the thriftshop.

My next project for KAS will be in bright colors. I already saw some affordable great colored yarn in the yarn shop. But that will have to wait. Since I'm trying to slow down, I want to work on one project at a time, instead of buying lots and lots of yarn for all the projects wandering around in my mind.
Guess I'll have to visit that yarn shop next time with only a limited amount of cash and leave my cards home. Cause I've never seen so much beautiful yarn in my life...

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

In my (vegetable) garden

I seriously considered skipping the vegetable garden all together this year. I have been ill, busy and exhausted and my garden looked like this:

 Yeah, I know. It's embarrassing. But I got my act together. I decided to go work outside in the garden despite the cold and the rain for fifteen minutes a day. Not much, but at least I would be trying to get something done.
Well, that worked. I started Wednesday, doubled my time (since it felt good and it wasn't raining) and after half an hour I already emptied the two front beds.

On Tuesday I did the back bed and on Friday I started working on pulling weeds by the shed (but I was a bad blogger and forgot to take pictures).

On Saturday Theo got into the game. Together we finished the raised beds (pulling the smaller weeds and adding soil) and weeded out a big chunk of the rest of the garden. We decided to dig up the part at the stairs (bottom right in the pictures)  and fill it with fresh gravel. And now  our garden looks like this:

How's that for a good before-and-after? Well, actually it's not really an after yet. We've still got lots to do in the garden. But at least it was ready for sowing and planting.
I sowed spinach, endives, broccoli, cauliflower, sweetcorn, radish, lettuce, carrots and kale. Since I can't start seedlings inside the house, I have to wait until I can sow outside, so there is nothing to see yet. But I got myself a kickstart and bought four little lettuce seedlings.

I usually buy tomato plants and got some big ones this year (hoping those tomatoes will grow and get red sooner than last year). Since the raised bed I want to put them in is not finished yet, I planted them in a container.

The chives came back all by themselves, like they do each year (even though they are in a container)

But I never expected the strawberries to start growing again too. They're even blooming already!

Now if only I can find the ripe berries before the birds do...

Friday, May 24, 2013

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. ~ soulemama

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Right now

Right now I am...

:: trying so very hard to accept these days (weeks?) of rain
:: thinking how much fun it would be to open doors and windows and to just walk outside and hang laundry and... oh well
:: drying up - again - from a quick trip outside to the mailbox
:: hoping we do get that nice, hot summer I keep telling myself and my family we will get (that would be only fair, wouldn't it?
:: telling my self to stop going on and on about this rain ;-)
:: almost ready redesigning my Dutch blog and website and anxious to start spicing up this new place of mine
:: challenging myself to get out into the garden at least fifteen minutes each day and just pull weeds (stay tuned for that, I even took some very shame inducing before photos)

Friday, May 17, 2013

A good one

I'm usually not too keen on celebrating my birthday. But I have to say this one was a good one.

A good one

I'm usually not too keen on celebrating my birthday. But I have to say this one was a good one.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Plan B

I was trying to write a deep and meaningful blogpost. I even took pictures to go with it. But then I realized I was trying too hard. I was uninspired and what I wrote was just not something people would like to read.
So I deleted it and decided to leave you with a picture of our cat showing his latest preferred sleeping position (when he does this we yell: play death! goooooood cat!).

Friday, May 10, 2013

The ride

Yep, I did it. I split the blog. I really tried to stick with it, but that bilingual thing was not working for me at all. I seem to have a split personality, blogging in English is definitely different for me than blogging in Dutch. I felt limited in my choice of subjects to post about (since my Dutch blog is associated with me being a writer) and the layout, having to put pictures between the two languages instead of where ever I wanted them, didn't work for me either. Anyway, I finally picked up the pieces, found myself a new blog name and went for it. Don't worry, nothing got lost, I copied the bilingual posts and the comments and cut off the Dutch part. I'm also trying to recover some of my older posts on deleted English blogs, but that will take some time. For now I'm just glad to be here.

Lately I have been thinking about progress and result a lot. I seem to be stuck in deadlines and goals.

Of course deadlines come with the territory when you're a published author, but where's the fun when the only thing you can think about is when the story needs to be finished? I used to be eager to reconnect with my characters when I started up my laptop in the morning, but now the only thing I can think about now is finishing it on time. Not a good thing and seriously causing writer's block.
And when I finally finish one book, there's always another waiting to be written finished.

I'm currently knitting through my stash, promising myself a bit of yarn shopping when the last scraps are gone. Should be fun. But I find myself trying to get it done before a set date. That date keeps changing, since I just don't have that much time to knit anymore. Or maybe I don't make that much time anymore, since having a deadline takes all the fun out of it. Wasn't knitting supposed to be fun? And what will happen when I buy new yarn? Will it be all about finishing the new stash too? I guess it will.

I set dates for lots of things. Cleaning the house, get the garden back into shape, paint, reorganize. It's all about the result, so the process is wearing me out. Often the result - if when I finally reach my goals - is less than satisfying and when it is, it's not for very long. You know, because a house that's lived in doesn't stay clean and weeds keep growing. The list of things to be done or redone is endless and it's always in the back of my mind.

I don't want to spent my life trying to catch up with my ever changing goals.
So, I'm going to stop deadlining myself (I know that's not a verb, but I like the sound of it) and I'm trying to get serious about enjoying the ride. Hence the name of this blog.

p.s. one of the things that inspired me to think this through is this post 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A little bit about my new book

So here I’m staring at my screen, feeling sick (I have the flu, and really got it this time, as opposed to my usual ‘not feeling well for a few weeks’) and trying to find the words to tell people about my new book. I did manage the dutch part of this post, but now for the rest of you...

I have said it before, these posts make this bilingual blogging thing kind of hard. Because, how interesting is it to have to go through a whole post about a book you will not be able to read? A post that ends with giving away one of said books, so my non-dutch readers will have nothing to participate in? I know... Well, I can promise that there will be another giveaway soon(ish). One that doesn’t involve language. So stay tuned for that. (oh my, this was actually just a brainwave, and now suddenly it’s a promise? Oh well...)


I already told you that this book is the last part of a trilogy. Each book tells the story of a different person and they are perfectly readable on their own, but they also connect in a nice way. The first book is about Sofie, a famous model that decides to go undercover after she had some bad encounters with the tabloids. When writing that first book I already knew I wanted to give her younger sister, her own book. So the next one is about Renske, who - four years later - has to make a lot of hard decisions on relations, her career and caring for her little girl. I always toyed with the idea of making it into a trilogy, but when I found out that almost all my readers didn’t understand one of the male characters in that second book, I decided to give him a chance to redeem himself. But since I use a single point of view and my books are written for women, I had to introduce a female character too. So I made up an au pair that would work for Sofie and Renske and get to know Diederik there (because he’s the birthfather of Renske’s daughter). Bonus for me: I got another peek into the lives of Sofie and Renske while writing this story (Sofie just had twin boys and yes, I sometimes feel like my characters are real).

Real stories?

It is kind of hard for me to tell people about the background of this sixth book of mine. Readers so often assume that the stories I tell are based on things that really happened. But they’re not. Inspired by real life, yes. But also completely made up.
So, although this book is partly about the problems of being a genius (the male main character) and being dyslectic (the female main character) and I do know how hard this can be from people that are very close to me, those stories are not mine to tell. The stories of Diederik and Nina are not those stories, just inspired by them.

Geniality and dyslexia

That said, it was an emotional story for me to write, since so many of the problems those two run into, were things I had (more or less - not exactly) witnessed in my own surroundings, or could imagine happening to people I love. And then I had to make sure that those conflicts were not only things I could relate to, but they needed to be recognizable for other people to. I did a lot of research* and I found out my thoughts about things were quite right. I do hope my book will help a little bit in understanding both geniuses and dyslectici.

*Most of my research was through the internet, but I have decided not to share any url’s since so many of the websites I found sell ‘solutions’ and I don’t have the time to really dig in and determine if those are real or not and if I want to connect my name to any of them.

Maybe someday

Anyway, before you think this book is very different from my normal writing; it isn’t. It’s still a nice and simple easy-reading love story, with some family troubles and a tiny bit of suspense added in the mix like all my books.  In Dutch only. So sorry for that. I really, really tried to write in English, but if I keep it real I have to admit I can hardly manage blogposts (I sometimes cringe when I read them back). But who knows... maybe someday my books will be translated...