Friday, December 29, 2017

Bad hat blogger

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The bookkeeper in me likes to keep track of things, but apparently she's been sleeping on the job when it comes to keeping track of my knitting.  Well, not completely, I do have these scribbly notes in my knitting notebook. But I'd also like to keep some visual reminders and I have been slacking on that, it seems.

I was going to post about some hats that found new owners on Christmas Day. I didn't really gift them, but when one of the girls mentioned she needed a new hat, I let her (and her boyfriend and the other girls) pick from my stash. So I've been browsing back to last year's pictures to link to a (grey/black slouchy) hat my future son-in-law chose only to find out that I didn't have any pictures of it. I also forgot to take pictures of the lilac hat I finished the day before Christmas. My youngest daughter took that one. I did remember to sneak a few pictures of the other two hats they took though.

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My future son-in-law liked this one too. A very simple hat from bulky black yarn with colored parts in it. He actually can wear any hat and still look good. So funny. And good to fuel my hat knitting...

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My middle daughter took this one. I made that last week too (told you I was on a roll). I didn't have enough of that light green yarn left (see below for the other two hats I made with it) to make a hat anymore, but I found that darker green in the thrift store and thought it was a good match. I combined a simple k2, p2 brim with a fancy stitch I found in my grandmother's knitting book. She also loved the cabled hat I made last year (phew, glad I did document that one!)

And just so I don't forget these (they're still in my stash, but we now know I can't be trusted to take pictures before I get rid of them):

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A Soulemama hat (my favorite pattern - that bookkeeper in me would love to know how many I made, but I lost track) and a spiral one (my own "pattern"). I had four little skeins of that green yarn and used up every last bit of it.

So... off to knit more hats...
You can see the beginnings of one in the top picture. There was enough of that dark green yarn to make another hat. Or at least I think so. I weighed it and it was a few grams less than the finished hat, so it will be a close call. I guess like living on the edge ;-)    

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

So this was Christmas

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It was nothing special. Just a simple combination of family meals and a peaceful, quiet home. My favorite way of celebrating Christmas.
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas too.  

Friday, December 22, 2017


I'm going to try to stay away from the computer until after Christmas, looking forward to a relaxed and simple Christmas.


Wishing you all the best. merry  

year-end review {bohoberry challenge}

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Okay, this will be a long one (feel free to skip this post), since I just want to get it over with. I worked on answering these questions throughout the week, so I did think them through.

15 GOOD HABITS FORMED – Did you form any new good habits? How did you do it? Hmn, I don't think I formed good habits this year. Well, maybe my daily cleaning routine. That's going quite well (though not every single day). Knowing what I should do each day helps me to pick up the pieces when I fall of the band wagon. The same thing goes for the weekly cleaning.

16 BAD HABITS BROKEN – Were you able to kick any of your bad habits this year? How did you do it? I mentioned it before, but it was a big one: eating when I feel emotional. I keep telling myself that I don't need food to make me feel better. And that I never want to be fat again, because it had some huge implications on my health and my mind. That usually helps.

17 UNFINISHED BUSINESS – What unfinished business do you need to take care of in order to start the new year strong? Is there anything you can tackle before the month is over? Ha! Nope, not going to list all that. There's so much I planned to do this year, but I never got to it. I just try to relax about it and do what I really need to do, nothing more. I have a bit of a deadline (um, a huge one!) for a lot things on January 10th though (I'll blog about that later).

18 THEME/WORD FOR 2018 – What is your theme or word of the year for 2018? What does it mean to you? Relax. Last year's was Rest and I did. Sort of anyway. I think now I need to relax. Not necessarily meaning I want to spent my time doing nothing on a beach or something like that (though that can be fun!), but more like a state of mind. I tend to overthink things. I am a perfectionist and a control freak. I need to relax. If things don't go as I plan, change plans. Make lists, but be prepared to toss them. Be prepared for what might happen but stop worrying.

19 START DOING – Is there anything you want to START doing in 2018? Relax ;-) I also want to go for walks more often, even when the weather isn't really inviting.

20 KEEP DOING – What would you like to KEEP doing next year? Blogging! This will be the year I won't quit. Or at least, that's my plan. I also want to keep knitting.

21 STOP DOING – Is there anything you want to STOP doing in 2018? Worrying. I don't think I have to explain. My children, my parents, my siblings, the world. So much to worry about. But since worrying doesn't help anyone, I'd really like to stop doing it and relax (there's that word again).

22 OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE – We all have those things that are uncomfortable but could be SO good for us. How are you going to step out of your comfort zone in 2018? Well, inline with being more relaxed, I'd like to be more creative. I have so many things I love to do (knitting, sewing, writing, photography), but I tend to stick to what I know people expect of me. Next year I want to create for the joy of creating and share what I make without worrying about what people may think about it.

23 SETTING INTENTIONS – What intentions do you want to set for the new year? Do you have a plan for how you will carry them out? Be more mindful online - I'm working on creating folders in my bookmarks that will help me to make a distinction between connections (blogs I read and comment on regularly), interesting/inspiring (blogs or articles I want to read intentional) and well, mindless clicking (sometimes that can be fun).
Embrace change - I always thought life would become calmer and steadier after the kids grew up, but that was a mistake. Things change faster than I can keep up with and more change is coming. I really want to embrace that, but I'm not sure how besides just going with the flow.
Be kind - to myself, and to others. - I find myself being cynical and negative a lot and that has to stop. I try to be mindful about my reactions and work through the reasons behind them.

24 SOMETHING NEW – What is something new you would like to try/learn/create next year? I can't really think of something really new. I think I have a lot of things going on already (knitting, sewing, writing, photography) and I want to be better (and more creative) at all of them.

25 SELF-CARE – You can’t pour from an empty cup. How will you make time for self-care in 2018? I think being more relaxed about everything will give me time for self-care. Right now I don't feel I can go for a walk until my house is clean and everything on my to-do list is crossed off. I hope that will change.

26 CONTRIBUTION – We all want to make a meaningful contribution in this world. What are some ways that you can contribute to your friends, family, community, or the world in general? Help when needed, listen when people need to talk, give them my full attention when we're together. I also want to be mindful about being part of a community. Online and in real life. I've been quite the hermit for a few years now.

27 EDUCATION – Education doesn’t stop when you’re done with school. How will you educate and grow yourself mentally in 2018? I found some interesting blogs about photography and I'd love to try some of the techniques they're showing, especially on editing photo's, since that's my weak spot.

28 CAREER – Do you have any major career goals next year? Well, since we're empty nesters now, my husband is already thinking about (partly) retiring. So my "career goals" are mostly aimed at finding ways to make a bit of passive income. I'm already doing some commercial blogging in Dutch and I want to try and expand on that by translating one those blogs (it's about cleaning and organzing) to English and see how that goes.

29 2018 WILL FEEL SUCCESSFUL IF… – Imagine it’s December 2018. Complete this sentence and write about what a successful year would look like for you. 2018 will feel succesful if I look back at the inevatable challenges we faced and I can honestly say I handled them in a relaxed way.

30 TOP THREE 2018 GOALS – What are your top three goals for 2018? Start an English commercial blog Write/complete a book I know that's only two (big) goals, but I think it's enough ;-)  I do have a lot of smaller goals but listing those would make this an even longer blogpost, so let's not do that.

31 LESSONS LEARNED – What lessons have you learned through this year-end review? I'm not really comfortable with questions like this. I needed to commit to blogging about it to actually answer them. But in the end it was helpful to try to put things into words.

::  ::  :: Want to join in? You can find all about the BohoBerryChallenge here.

If you decide to follow my lead and blog about it, let me know. I’d love to read your answers to the prompts

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The hat madness continues

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I finished the hat I started on Tuesday. It's a combination of small mohair scraps and some yellow wool.

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It's rather slouchy on my head and I'm not sure about the colors. Still, it's incredibly warm and soft and it was fun to make. It will probably end up in the package I'm preparing for KAS.

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I'm still not sick of making hats, so moments after I finished weaving in all those ends I cast on for the next one...

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

{crafting on} on and off the needles

After I finished the hat yesterday, I made myself finish the dishcloth.

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(pictured with the one I knit before I started blogging again

) I wrote "made myself" because I really was itching to make another hat. Let's face it, I like making hats. I love making hats. I'd be very happy just knitting hats and nothing else.

Maybe I'd better rename my blog to "hatmad" or "she knits hats" or something like that. Seriously, constantly thinking about that. I'm also considering a "52 hats challenge" next year. If only I could count on my hands to keep up with all that knitting...

I promised myself a yarn shopping spree in January, but for now I'm working with the scraps I have, so I'm not sure where this is going color wise. So far I like it.

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linking up with Frontier Dreams' Crafting On

Monday, December 18, 2017

about those socks (or: I made a hat)

Those socks. Hmn. I started out feeling pretty confident. But when I got to the legs, I tried to incorporate a bit of a pattern in knit and purl stitches. I went for diamonds, but I kept loosing track. Then I considered Karen's suggestion to do a simple checkerboard, but I noticed the knit was very loose. I would have to change to thinner needles (that I don't have) or knit with two strands. Either way, I had to frog them.

And while I was doing that, I decided I'd rather make a hat (this is probably not a surprise to you if you've been hanging around on my blog for a longer time). Since winging it without a pattern didn't really work out for the socks I grabbed an old favorite: Soulemama's Rosa hat.

Ah! (sigh of relief) I knit with four strands, cast on 80 stitches (child size), but made the height adult size. I guess I have a small head. Or maybe I just like my hats to sit tight.

Gosh I look old and tired. But maybe that's just because I am. I'd better get used to that face, it won't get any younger ;-) Anyway, I love this hat (can you tell I like green?)

Linking up with Jeannie Gray knits' Makers' Monday

Thursday, December 14, 2017

year-end review {bohoberry challenge}

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I'm following Bohoberry's journaling prompts to review my year. You can read the first part here.

9 COULD HAVE GONE BETTER – What could have gone better this year? Were there any mistakes that you can avoid in the future? I'm not happy about the amount of time - and the quality of it - I spent online. I have tried to get offline completely for a while, but found myself mindlessly browsing pinterest or blogs that I'm not really interested in. I think quitting completely was a mistake. Next year I want to be mindful about my time online and use this time to connect (I really missed that when I quit blogging and social media) and to be inspired. I do want to stay informed about what's going on in the world, but I think moderation is key.

10 MONEY WELL SPENT – What was money well spent this year? We spent a big amount of money on something I can't talk about (not my story). But it was worth every cent. And then there was the money we spent on upgrading our house. We're still far from done with this renovation, but it was money well spent since it will either mean having a better house or - eventually - selling it for a higher price.

11 PROGRESS TOWARDS GOALS – Did you make any progress towards your big goals? Were you able to check any off your list? I'm not sure if I had big goals for 2017. I had some writing career plans that fell short because of my burnout (I've had writer's block the whole year), so that didn't work out. But I also decided to rest and take better care of myself and I did make progress in that. I didn't gain weight and I am working through some mental issues. It's just going very slow.

12 NEW SKILLS LEARNED – What new skills did you learn this year? These could be business skills, something in your education, or even new creative techniques. Oh, that's a hard one. I don't feel like I learned anything new. I tried to learn about website monetizing and marketing, but I didn't have time to focus, so I don't think I could call that learning new skills. Wait! I know something! I learned to read crochet patterns. Or at least I learned enough to understand the one that I made the wavy scarf from. Branching out from granny squares is a big thing for me ;-)

13 BREAK-THROUGH MOMENT – Was there a moment this year where you felt like you broke through a barrier or mental block? I'm close to a break-through. Or at least it feels like I am. Since I started answering these questions and even putting it all out there (that is scary), I'm noticing a shift in the way I think about things that have been stuck in my mind for a while. Examples? Well, I just realized recently that even though I had good reasons to quit personal blogging (I did quit and start a few times, more than ever since 2014), I also need the connections, the friendships, the opportunity to talk about simple things like knitting and home-making and things like that. I'm feeling lonely if I don't have that. So now I'm trying to find a way to make it work.

::  ::  :: Want to join in? You can find all about the BohoBerryChallenge here.

If you decide to follow my lead and blog about it, let me know. I’d love to read your answers to the prompts.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

{crafting on} knitting up a storm

Well, actually it's more like a light breeze. But it's going rather well compared to the rest of the year. I finished the dishcloth. I could have made it bigger, but I feared I would run out of the brown cotton. And then I found I did have enough to crochet a border and still had some scraps left. Oh well, it is about the right size now. I did the border about three times until I realized I was putting way too much thought into something I will use to wipe my counters. Anyway, I think I like what I did.

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So I started another one in different colors (these are all scraps from the thrift store).

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I also finished the hat. I had to add some other yarn and it still was barely enough to make the hat big enough to fit over my ears.  It's warm and soft though. And since we're having a snowstorm again I might even actually need to wear it.

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Since I loved making a hat so much I now feel like I should start another one. But I'm also still  working on those socks and maybe two projects at once is enough... I'm having a hard time to decide how to proceed with those socks though. I would love to move on from plain socks and add some fancy knitting. But I don't want to make it too complicated either.  Hmn. Sometimes choosing a pattern beforehand is easier than winging it... Then again this is more fun ;-)

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visit more crafty people via Nicole’s (Frontier Dreams) Crafting On

Monday, December 11, 2017

This weekend :: decorating, cards, snow and knitting

This weekend ...

:: we got the tree down from the attic to set it up

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:: and decorated it too (nver mind that leaning top - it always does that, but it's straight(er) now)

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:: I put out some other decorations (I love that Santa Claus. He's been with us for over 20 years now)

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:: I wrote some Christmas cards. I have to admit I just sign our names under the preprinted text. Each year I tell myself to up my game, but it just never happens. I know it's strange, being a writer, but I'm really bad at writing best wishes and things like that.

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:: we got a snow storm

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and that's really rare around here, especially this early in winter (technically still autumn even)

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so our whole little country is a big mess right now (we're not really prepared for snowfall)

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but I had nowhere to go, so I just sat inside near our (fake) fireplace with my knitting.

I cast on for socks. So exciting. Though I don't know why I find that exciting, I've knit several socks before. Still, it feels like "real knitting" every time I knit them. In case you're wondering about the jumble of needles in this picture, I usually try to avoid the second sock syndrom by knitting two at the same time. I keep switching between them at every sock-knitting-phase (cast on, border, leg, heel, etc.). Works for me.

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It was a good weekend. How was yours?

(linking up with Jeannie Gray Knits' Makers' Monday)

Friday, December 8, 2017

year-end review {boho berry challenge}

1. Introductions I'm late to start this, but I scrolled past this challenge again (I visit her site often) and suddenly thought it might be good to force myself to think through the past year and look ahead to the new year I can't really join though, since I don't do facebook or instagram anymore (you don't want to hear my reasons, it would be a long rant), but I can put it here on my blog. I don't think I'll post daily when I'm done catching up, that feels like too much of a commitment, but we'll see what happens. I'll skip the rest of the introductions, if you don't know me from the rest of my blog, my about page is right here.

2. 2017 in three words - What 3 words best describe your year so far? tired - helping - fear Hmn. Really? So negative. But it's true. The first word that came to me when I thought about this prompt is tired. Cause I am. And I have been most of the year. The year started with a real burn-out (I had pains in the chest, panic attacks etc.) and when I finally started to feel better, that second word came about. I helped one of my girls move to an apartment that she will be sharing with her boyfriend, I helped my parents move into a (much) smaller apartment and sort through their belongings to make it all fit, I'm currently helping someone to get grip on her household again, after being sick for quite a while. And I helped lots of other people lots of other times with lots of other things. It's all done out of free will and with love. But I am tired. Both physically and mentally. And fear... I don't want to get into details too much, but yes. Constant fear. Finances, health problems of loved ones, world problems. I try to shake it off and sometimes I succeed. But it does impact my life.

3. Favorite memory - What was your favorite memory of 2017 so far? Oh, there have been good times this year, really. My favorite memory must be sitting in an Irish bar on Gran Canaria (we always seem to end up at Irish bars when we're on vacation) and singing my heart (and lungs) out with the live music. What kind of music, you ask? Rock, mostly hard rock even. I know. But it was just what I needed. (here's a link to the performer. If you ignore his accent and focus on the guitar, he's really good. And okay, everything sounds better if you're on a sunny vacation island.)

4. Biggest accomplishment - What was your biggest accomplishment this year? How did you achieve it? I kept the weight off! I have to explain that, I guess. In 2016 I lost a lot of weight. I was really happy about that. But I'm an emotional eater, I binge when I'm having a hard time and all the other times I lost that much weight (I'm also a yo-yo dieter) it came back on when things went wrong in my life. But this year I didn't. It has been a really hard year in so many ways, but I kept telling myself I didn't need food, I needed to work through it. And I did. In fact I lost even more weight along the way.

5. Biggest challenge - What was your biggest challenge or obstacle this year? How did you overcome it? Well, apart from and related to no. 4, I guess my biggest challenge was to work through burn-out, depression and anxiety. I'm still not there, but I think I am doing better now. For me the best way to do this is to analyze what's going on in my mind. Why am I thinking this? Is this realistic thinking? Where does it come from? What can I do to stop thinking like this? It's hard work, but it does help.

6. This year I ... - There are so many ways to interpret today’s prompt. Complete the sentence with whatever is in your heart about this past year. This year I tried to pick up the pieces of things that have gone bad in past years. I realize that is actually what living is about most of the time, but there were a lot of pieces this year in so many ways. Anyway, it had to be done.

7. Time spent well - What was time well spent this year? Helping my parents. Even though the downsizing was not an easy job to do, we've spent so much precious time together. Talking about what really matters in life, curating the mountain of stuff they couldn't fit into the new apartment into a beautiful selection of their most precious memories.

8. Successes - What felt successful about 2017? Again? I guess I'm not good in these things. It feels like I'm constantly repeating myself. The weight, helping my parents. Really, I don't think there was more. That sounds so negative, I know.  I don't mean to. It's just the way it is. I had plans, ideas, things I worked on. I don't feel they were failures, but none of those were a success. Yet. Maybe next year.

::  ::  :: Want to join in? You can find all about the BohoBerryChallenge here.

If you decide to follow my lead and blog about it, let me know. I'd love to read your answers to the prompts. I don't have (don't want) an Instagram account or the app, but I sometimes view/read from my computer. I can't see stories or private accounts and I can't comment, but I can see pictures and read captures and comments, so I can follow along if you decide to join the challenge there (yes, it is kind of hypocrit not to avoid all that is Instagram, I know that. It's complicated..) Facebook won't let me view without an account though.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

{crafting on} knitting again

I guess knitting is like blogging for me. So many reasons to quit (for knitting the main reason is my arthritis), but I'm always coming back to it. Last week I started knitting a dishcloth, thinking a small project that I actually would use was more fun than dragging along on a sweater I didn't even like (I frogged the lilac sweater I was working on). It's coming along nicely (I'm sooo slow these days), but it's a bit boring.

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Yesterday I couldn't take it anymore: I just had to knit a hat. I love knitting hats. Not sure why, but I do.
Problem is that I hardly ever wear hats (it just doesn't get that cold around here) and I have lots of them already. But then again, it's a hobby. People who paint don't really need another thing to hang on their walls, do they? It's all about having fun, being creative.

So I just grabbed some yarn and started. I'm not even sure if I have enough of this (it was a thriftshop find) to make a hat, I may have to get creative with some other yarn. But I am having fun.

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visit more crafty people via Nicole's (Frontier Dreams) Crafting On

Monday, December 4, 2017

it was good

(it always is)

I'ts not about the presents (we do really low-budget gifts), but about the rhymes, the fun. About being together as a family. Saturday Extended family (my parents, my sister and her family and the six* of us.

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Sunday Just the six* of us.

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*One of the girls has a serious (as in: moved in together) relationship now, so we added a son-in-law to the mix. He was a good sport and actually enjoyed his first taste of our noisy, busy, chaotic Sinterklaas festivities.

Friday, December 1, 2017

at it again

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Gearing up for our annual Sinterklaas festivities. So much fun!