Friday, September 20, 2019

A hat that makes me happy


After weeks of not knitting one stitch, I suddenly got an itch to pick up my knitting last Monday. So I dug out the hat I started almost two months ago. I worked on it during the day and I had a nice window of uninterrupted knitting time at night when some mysterious orange lights in the distance inspired my husband to listen to Jeff Wayne's War of the World. Yes, we're nerds like that ;-)
But it was nice. Just half an hour on Tuesday to finish it and then I was done.
It's just a simple hat, actually, and it doesn't even really fit me (it's kind of big), but it makes me so happy.

When life is hard and stressful, knitting helps me to relax, but when I slip into a real depression (you know, the chemical imbalance in your head), I usually stop knitting. Being back at it definitely is a sign that I'm getting better.
And that's why I love this simple, oversized hat.


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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Progress report :: the small bathroom


I thought it would be fun to update you on the few rooms in the house that are more or less done. I'm not going to call posts 'reveals' since that would imply a lot more than we actually did. We're on a very tight budget and have a very long list of things we need to do, so there's no gutting, no design, no excessive shopping.
We're trying to make do if we can (and this bathroom was nicely tiled and probably hardly ever used) and buy the things we need at La Curaçao and Home Plus (cheap shops comparable to the Dollar Store).
But we did come a long way from where we started.


I spent hours to clean it all thoroughly and then started adding some storage and some color. Green, of course. The most expensive part was the medicine cupboard with the mirror, but we really needed some space to put our medicines and toiletries, so a simple mirror wouldn't do. The towels are stored in the rolling cart under the sink.


We still need to install a ceiling and a real light (there's just a bulb now), connect the lights in the cupboard and do some painting. One day I'd like to replace that concrete air grate with in a real window and put in a vanity, but for now, I am quite happy with it.


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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Hot lunches


Since I found out I have some foodallergies, I've been struggling with lunches. I used to love my simple sandwiches (just bread and some sliced meat), but I can't eat bread anymore, since gluten is one of the things I have to avoid. Glutenfree bread is not an option though, since I also have to stay clear from soy, sugar, milk and some nuts (I'm sure about cashews and walnuts, and probably almonds too).
T. eats ricecakes as a substitute for bread, but those affect my bloodsugar too much (I have hypoglycemia).
I need something with a lot of fibres, fat and protein and not too many carbs. I can't eat eggs for lunch, since I already have two for breakfast. So it's really been a struggle.
I do eat a green salad with chicken or beef every once in a while, but I don't like it enough to eat it daily.
What I do like, as silly as it may sound for someone living in the tropics (and we're in the hottest period of the year right now), is chili con carne. Or something similar to that, because the batch I made last week has very few beans compared to other ingredients (bell peppers and tomatoes). It's more like a very thick tomato soup, or maybe a stew. But I love eating it and my body reacts very well to it.
So now I'm contemplating making other stews and thick soups for lunch. Jeannie shares some good soup recipes every Sunday, so I'm sure I'll turn to her blog first. And maybe it's time to revive my pinterest account and start pinning recipes...

What's your favorite stew or soup recipe?



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Monday, September 16, 2019

Since we last talked









... we moved to the new old house!
... we made some (but not a lot of) progress renovating the house (still no ceilings)
... I didn't knit one stitch. But I got a bit of an itch to dig up my knitting this morning, so there's hope. I don't think my 20 hats before 2020 goal will be met though.
... I didn't take a lot of pictures either, but I picked up my camera last week and now I can't stop trying to capture sunsets, birds and moments.
... I've felt happy, depressed, motivated, frustrated, energetic, tired, healthy, sick, calm, stressed out, optimistic and pessimistic. You know, life happening. I have to admit that the negative outweighed the positive, but I'm slowly digging myself out of that dark tunnel.
... I realised that I really, really miss blogging, so I guess I'm back at it again.
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Thursday, August 8, 2019

Reset

I don't feel like blogging (or being on Instagram) lately. I thought it would be good for me to keep it up, but it feels more and more like one more thing to check off the list, instead of doing something fun, so I think I'll take a little break.

If you've been reading my blog for a longer time, you know it happens every once in a while. Nothing to worry about. Just too much on my mind. I need a little mental reset and being offline (as much as possible) usually does the trick.
I'll be back ;-)


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Friday, August 2, 2019

Snapshot


When all other ideas fail, take pictures of plants...
Wishing you all a relaxing weekend!
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Thursday, August 1, 2019

Three on Thursday :: August intentions

 

I'm not really sure where July went. Well, actually I do know, I spent most of the month worrying about my parents and T. Since the reason for that won't go away, I need to learn to live with it.
I don't want to spend the rest of this year feeling as lost as I have felt this month. And I guess setting goals (or rather, intentions) for the month will help to focus on other things.

So here I three things I will be working on this month:

1. self-care
I actually wrote a long blog post about that, but I decided to just leave it at this: no matter how counterintuitive it feels, I really need to take better care of myself. Not despite everything happening with people around me, but because of it. I don't help them by ignoring my own needs and I really can't help them when I'm tired, sick and depressed.

2. homemaking
I think it will help to counteract the lingering homesickness and my frustrations about not having a lot of paid work these days if I'm more mindful of my home here. We hope to be able to finally move this month, but there will still be so much renovating to do, that it sometimes feels overwhelming. So I want to focus on the normal homemaking too. Cleaning, taking care of my plants, cooking healthy and/or delicious meals, rearranging things for the joy of making it look pretty. Just being (mostly) a homemaker for a while.

3. having fun
My husband told me to stop feeling guilty when I'm doing something just for fun and he's right. Life is too short to be busy just because society expects you to be.

Linking up with Carole's Three on Thursday

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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Knitting & reading




Knitting: 
still working on the sweater, didn't make a lot of progress yesterday. I am thinking about knitting a lot though. I miss knitting hats and think I'd like to challenge myself to knit 20 before 2020 (next week there are 20 weeks left in the year). I probably won't make it, but it's fun to try.

Reading: 
finished the book I told you about last week and moved on to another book by Maria Schneider. I love this one too. Under Witch Moon is a paranormal mystery. The main character is a witch, there are were wolfs, vampires and shapeshifters and a few murders that need to be solved. Good fun. I also like that the magic is thought through really well. Not the cliche 'everything is possible with magic' way to make the impossible happen and solve the problems in the story, but digging deeper in how spells could work and what is needed to use a magical talent.

Linking up with Kat's Unraveled Wednesday
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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Sweater progress



I've been knitting a lot in the past few days. And watching youtube videos... Ahem. I don't think that's really the best thing to do, the perfection of those girls I'm watching starts out inspiring, but is always getting me down in the end. It's great for knitting endless stockinette though. (I know... audiobooks. I really need to look into that)
I tried on my sweater on Sunday morning, but I added quite a bit of length after that. I love that it fits perfectly, while I just winged the measurements.
It's long enough to be a sweater now, but I still have enough yarn to make a tunic. I'm not sure though. I do like it as a sweater, but I think I will wear it more often when it's longer (covering my hips and my butt). Since this is real wool, I'll only wear it when we visit the Netherlands anyway. But I'm going to use the basics of this pattern and cotton yarn to make tops and maybe even dresses that I can wear here.
Anyway, I'm enjoying the simple mindless knitting, so I don't mind making it longer.

Linking up with Nicole's Crafting on
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Monday, July 29, 2019

A relaxing weekend




We had the most relaxing weekend we've had since ages. It was so good.
We spent most of our Saturday on the beach with some friends and on Sunday we just stayed at the apartment, hanging out, doing nothing. I 've been reading and watched a bit of youtube (well, actually quite a lot) while I was knitting. And then we went to beach bar to watch the sunset.

I wish I could say I feel up to the coming week, but to be honest, I don't. Still a bit tired, still struggling with anxiety and stress. But I'm going to take it one day at a time. Today will still be nice and easy. Just a lot of grocery shopping to do and a bit of cleaning. I'm also experimenting with Instagram stories, so maybe I'll take you along with me while I do that (if I feel up to it, I have to keep telling myself it's supposed to be fun).

Wishing you all a great start to your week!
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Friday, July 26, 2019

Snapshot


Oh, those birds... I'll have to learn not to leave my food out in the kitchen unattended. Not that I usually do (I'm very aware that it will also attract cockroaches and ants). There wasn't any food to be found when I took this picture but they're constantly coming in to check.
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Thursday, July 25, 2019

Three on Thursday - kitchen progress

Last week we added three things to the kitchen in the new house:

1. a stove.
Still to be connected to a gas bottle that we haven't bought yet. Baby steps...

2. our dining room table.
One of the two pieces of furniture we moved with us from The Netherlands. It used to be my parents' and though I try to keep myself from attaching emotional meaning to inanimate objects, it makes me so happy to see it here.

3. a kitchen cupboard.
We were browsing furniture, not really planning on buying something yet, but we both fell in love with this cupboard. It was marked down to under half it's original price, so we decided to buy it immediately. I love how the tone of the wood and the style matches our table perfectly.

Bonus list:
Three things still on the need-to-buy list for the kitchen: chairs for the table, fridge, a ceiling.

Linking up with Carole's Three on Thursday
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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Knitting & reading


Knitting: well, there isn't much more to share since yesterday. Did a few rows, but nothing much. Wish I could be knitting and reading at the same time, but somehow I can't manage that right now.

Reading: not as much as I'd like to, but I found a new funny author to binge read and luckily my e-book subscription is cooperating again. Maria Schneider writes cozy novels in chicklit style. Love those (remember the Matchmaker's Mysteries I told you about last year?). The first two books by Maria Schneider I read were Executive Lunch and Executive Retention, about Sedona, who works as a tester for an IT-company, but gets involved in undercover work. They were fun, but the one I'm readking now (One good Eclair) is way better. Ivy is a nutritionist, but also from a mafia family, so she gets into trouble a lot. It sounds weird, but it's really a great read.

Linking up with Kat's Unraveled Wednesday
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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

A tiny bit of knitting



I haven't been knitting much lately. You'd think I would have, because I do believe it helps calm my nerves, but I just couldn't get to it. It's a shame airlines don't allow knitting, otherwise, I would have finished my top by now and probably the scarf too. But I couldn't even bring my knitting since I traveled with hand luggage only. When I ran into a few stores to buy my mother some nightgowns, I thought about picking up some yarn (they sell that in the same -cheap textile- stores) but they didn't have the right needles. Oh well.
So it's been a few rows here and there, and some more rows yesterday evening when we finally had a few hours to relax and to listen to some music.
It's a lot of mindless stockinette, but that's just what I need right now.

Linking up with Nicole's Crafting On
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Monday, July 22, 2019

Right now






Right now I am...

:: listening to the birds singing
:: a bit sleepy because we had to rise early to be in the new house in time for the loader that will straighten out the holes that had to be made to build the cess pit
:: trying to focus on the house and finishing it far enough to be able to move in (still waiting for Aqualectra though - we have water, but we need electricity too)
:: looking forward to our stove arriving this afternoon and a kitchen cupboard tomorrow
:: feeling weird because the first days since I arrived back here my mother was doing very well, but I had a hard time being happy about it. I kept thinking that could not last, since she was so very ill before. I hate to be right. She now has an other infection and we were told that could cause another crisis. We'll have to wait and see what happens next
:: still trying to focus on the house and my normal life
:: smiling a bit cynical, because I haven't had a normal life since we first came back to the island in January 2018.
:: but determined to keep going on the few things I have. Like blogging. And taking pictures of sunsets.
:: hoping to finish cleaning the kitchen today and maybe do some knitting
:: wishing you all a great week
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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Back


Thank you for the reactions on my last post. It's heartwarming when people connect like this through a basically very silly thing like blogging. It makes me feel even more then before like I'm talking to some really dear friends here. So I thought it was only fair to give you an update.

I'm back on Curaçao after one hell of a week. I spent most of my time in the hospital.
The good news is that my mother survived this crisis. Barely, but she did.
The bad news is that treatments are not an option anymore. She has only a few months to go, maybe more if her body restores really well (but I doubt it will). So I will be flying back again soon, I guess. She says she will make it to Christmas, when we were supposed to visit, but that's five months...

Meanwhile my father, who was already chronically ill (but his prognosis was still a few years) is trying to cope with it all, but his health is also deteriorating fast now.

Right now I'm trying to rest and to let things sink in, but I'm on edge and I'm constantly expecting an alarming message. I also  feel a bit torn between wanting to be there for my parents and being here for T., who also needs me (as most of you know, his health isn't that great too).
I want to start regular blogging (and maybe instagram too) again, because putting my life on hold for months is not a good idea, but I guess it will be a bit on and off for a while.We'll see how it goes...
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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

...

I will be offline a little bit longer. This afternoon I'm flying to the Netherlands. My mother is not doing well and I'm going to see her before... well, let's hope I'm wrong, but I'm afraid we're losing her.


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Monday, July 1, 2019

A little break

 

Dropping in to tell you that we've decided to take a little, much needed, break this week. Aside from a few little things that we really need to do, we're going to rest, rest, rest. No work on the house, no more computer work than is really necessary. We're both exhausted and stressed out, so we thought we might as well take it easy while we're waiting for Aqualectra to hook us up. 

See you all next week!
Oh, and happy Dia di Bandera (Flag day - July 2nd) to all on the island and a happy 4th of July to my American readers!
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Friday, June 28, 2019

Water





Though our visit to Aqualectra to apply to be connected to water and electricity went smoothly, we expect that it will take a few weeks to actually get connected. But in the meanwhile, we needed water. There was a big container on the porch when we bought the place, but it was slowly getting drained when I was cleaning, but the guy who is building the new cess pit needs water for the concrete and the cement, and now we were nearing the end of our supply.
So, this morning we drove up to the house with a barrel containing about 100 gallons of water. And then we moved all that water to the big container by hauling buckets twenty meters up the hill and then eight steps up to the porch. Times eight.
And then once again when we filled up another barrel at the apartment. So I guess I had plenty of exercise today...

We were catching our breath after the last bucket when our neighbors came over. Two ladies who just speak Spanish and Papiamentu, while we only speak Dutch and English. But with google translate we managed to find out that they were coming over because T. asked the builders next door to ask her to contact us when she came (she's the sister of the owner and the one that cleans the apartments they rent out) and then we were also able to communicate that we wanted to ask if we could fill up our water supply by buying some water from them (and using the tap and a hose instead of buckets). She had to ask the owner, but it seems we will get water a little easier now.
And we also heard Aqualectra tends to be very quick with water connections, so maybe we'll have our own tap shortly.

This makes me realize more than ever how blessed we are to have running water available. In Africa, there are still lots of villages without water pumps. Women have to walk for hours to haul buckets and jerrycans of water to their homes and they have to do that every day. And we just turn a knob and there it is...
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Thursday, June 27, 2019

Three things on Thursday - to do/doing/done



Three things I had to do today before I could sit down and write a blog post (apart from giving the cat his morning dose of attention):

- go to the Aqualectra office and apply for water and electricity to be connected to the new house. Done!
That went rather smoothly, though we don't know when we actually will be connected. But we are in the system now, so that's a start.
And yes, we had to go there physically. That's how things work here. You go to the office, take a number, wait for at least half an hour (sometimes a few hours, depending on how busy it is) and when it's your turn they get things done. It takes some time, but I like it better than how things were in the Netherlands, where in most cases it's really hard to talk to a real person if you need to take care of things.

- computer work. Partly done
Sent out a press release, answer some e-mails (my publisher needed my permission to make one of my books into an audiobook. Yes!), write a column, promote this week's column. Still have to write the column and this week's column isn't online yet.

- grocery shopping. Decided to postpone that to Saturday.
That is making me nervous because I like to have things prepared and we have a barbecue to go to on Saturday where I'm supposed to bring some food and drinks. But it's probably better to buy the meat fresh and I'm not going to fuss about making something special. They all know we're busy with the house. Maybe I'll just make some chicken/veggie skewers, those are really easy to put together.

Linking up with Carole's Three on Thursday
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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Knitting and Reading :: all over the place




Knitting: 
I'm all over the place, but there's not much progress. Oh well, sometimes it's like that.
Working on:
- a topdown sweater/tunic, depending on how much yarn I need. I'm knitting it topdown, to make sure I end up with something usable (I'm pretty sure I have enough to knit a sleeveless sweater)
- a scarf
- potholders (still the same pair I was working on last week)

Reading:
Hmn, all over the place too.
I finished the novel about the girl from Curaçao. I loved reading it, got me thinking about a lot of things. It's set in the late sixties, early seventies, which was quite a turbulent period here.
Then I found a few simple novels 'for older girls' in the free library and brought a few of them home. I'm actually sad that I didn't bring the other ones too, because I really loved reading them. It was just what I needed. Simple, mindless reading about simpler times and simpler problems. One of them is a keeper though, it's an autobiographic story about a couple moving back from Indonesia to Holland in the fifties. Loved that one! The others will probably go back to the free library. I'm not sure yet.
This morning I started the Sue Grafton novel. I'm not sure if I read this one before, but I reread the older ones often anyway. I love her books! It is the first time I'm reading one in English though, so I'm curious to see if that makes a different experience.
After that, I have two classics lined up. The Hobbit, well, no explanation needed, and De Aanslag, a novel set in WWII. I can't remember if I read it for literature in school, but I do know most of my classmates did. We'll see if I can work up the mood to start reading these. I'm tempted to dig through my boxes and find more simple novels...

Linking up with Kat's Unraveled Wednesday
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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Crafting on :: simply knitting


The last few days I didn't really feel like picking up my knitting. It happens, but I wondered what the reason was.
I had three projects going, but none of them called out to me. This morning, trying to decide which one to take with me to the house, I realized why. None of them were simple. Even the dishcloths require a lot of thinking and deciding, since I'm using scraps, and I'm a bit OCD about matching colors and identical pairs.
I'm also working on a topdown shirt, but I'm making it up as I go and I'm right at the point where I'm working out the sleeves. Not simple at all.
And then there was the scarf I started. Sounds simple enough, but I was planning on making it into a sampler scarf, using my grandmother's patternbook to learn some new stitch patterns. So I got stuck at deciding how big to make the blocks (or rows) and which pattern to use next.
I'm very good at making things hard for myself...
I took the scarf with me and I think it will just be a plain patent stitch scarf. I never did patent stitch before, but I love how easy it is, once you get the hang of it. It's just interesting enough to keep my mind from wandering too far.
(I've been googling it, I think it's the same as brioche, or fisherman's rib - but I don't do purls or yarnovers, just single and double k's.)

I still have a long way to go, but I think this will be perfect for these last weeks of going back and forth to the house.

Linking up with Nicole's Crafting on
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Monday, June 24, 2019

Snapshots from the weekend




Our Saturday was spent working on the house, but on Sunday we took a day off and went to the beach. Just the two of us, swimming, talking, resting. It was good. When we came home we napped (yes, really) and then we went to a friend's house for a bbq. 
It was a good, relaxing weekend and I actually feel, more or less, up to facing a new, busy and difficult (my mother is starting treatments) week.
Wishing you all a great week!
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Friday, June 21, 2019

The poncho (cowl?)


I finished the poncho two weeks ago but never got around to taking pictures of it. Time keeps slipping away these days. Anyway, here it is. I just love, love, love the color changes.  So glad I decided to use both skeins on one simple project, instead of splitting them up for hats.



(Um, ignore the face, I was very tired when I took these pictures).
I started with a cowl and then proceeded with 4 increases every two rounds like in this pattern. If I make a poncho like this again, I'll do a round of many increases right after the cowl part, to have more room around the shoulders.

Since I had only the two skeins it's actually a rather small poncho. Or maybe it's not a poncho, but just a cowl? Or a shrug? A shawl cowl? I don't know. I do know it's soft and warm and really comfortable. It won't get much wear here (cause it looks quite silly with a t-shirt and shorts), but it is perfect for when I travel back to the Netherlands.

 

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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Three on Thursday :: on my mind


Three things I've been thinking about a lot these days.

1.
This. I'm not a feminist at all, but I can't understand why there must be a difference between men and women in the workplace. Yes, men and women are different and sometimes that makes one of them better for the job, but caring men can be great nurses and strong-minded women can be wonderful CEO's. On the other hand, I also don't think we should place women in higher positions, just because they're women (I don't know about the US, but this happens in the Netherlands). Each job should be done by the best person available, regardless if it's a woman or a man.
I hope that someday gender will not be such an issue anymore. The same goes for race and sexual orientation, by the way.

2.
Aging. Not the physical part, though of course, I feel that too. I'm talking about being well past half your life. Looking back at almost half a century of life and knowing that you still have a lot of time ahead, but not as many years as you've already had. I try not to have regrets (and I don't), but I sometimes feel I'm late to the game, wish I had started something earlier. I guess my mother's condition makes me realize that our time is limited.
On the other hand, it does feel great to decide that I'm too old to change some of my ways (the things that don't harm me or anyone else, like never using patterns or recipes). One thing I've learned over the years is that you can't really change who you are, you can just correct some of your habits. I'm still the girl I was when I was eighteen, I just have a bit more experience. The real goal is to put that experience to good use.

3.
Food. I wrote about this before, but I'm trying to find out what my body needs and what it doesn't cope with very well. Staying away from gluten has proved to be a good idea, but combined with not eating sugar, cheese and soy it's sometimes hard to deal with, especially when eating out. My girls have been through this too, so now I try to do what I've always told them.
Be prepared. Always have something you can actually eat with you, even if it's just potato chips. Have a (small) meal before you go to barbecues or food-related parties, to make sure you're not so hungry that you'll cave and eat the wrong things.
For real and/or formal 'at the table' dinner parties you talk to the hosts - timely, not at the last moment -, explain the problem and ask if you should bring some of your own food.
This works, but it sometimes feels like I'm just making things hard for everybody. And then I eat what is provided to find out a few hours later (or the next days) that I shouldn't have. I really have to train myself to be more mindful of my own needs...

Linking up with Carole's Three on Thursday
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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Knitting & reading


This is what happens when you leave your knitting outside during the night. It got wet. We were so tired last night that I left my knitting bag on the porch and there was a big shower early this morning. Oh well, luckily it was the cotton project I'm working on (potholders again), not the wool one. This will dry a lot sooner, I think.
I finished reading four books by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee and I think that is enough for now. It's fun to read them, but the idea of stash building (or actually not being able to do that) started to haunt me and that's not fun at all (not her fault, I'm just susceptible to worrying right now.
The book in the picture I found in the free library at the supermarket. It's an older book (1970's) by a Curaçaoan woman about a girl moving to the Netherlands and then back to the island and how she copes with all things related to that. I hope it's a bit more uplifting than the cover suggests, but I really want to learn more about the people on this island.
This morning I'm also driving into town to pick up my order from Amazon. It took a month to arrive here and I have to pay taxes before I get it, but then I will be the owner of Elizabeth Zimmerman's 'The Opinionated Knitter'.
It's been on my wishlist ever since Amanda wrote about it, so I'm really happy about this. Can't wait to start reading it!

Linking up with Kat's Unraveled Wednesday
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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Keep calm and craft on



It really feels like that, right now.
Yesterday and today we had to be at the new house early because we were awaiting deliveries (material to repair the cesspit). That meant getting up even earlier than normal, getting ready faster than usual. Not the best way to start the day.
But once we're at the house, I can relax. Well, yes, there is a lot to do. But I'm still not feeling great, so I'm taking it kind of easy. I'm so grateful to be able to sit on the porch, watch that view and knit. We have internet here now, so we can work and blog from here too. It's starting to feel like home more and more, even though we can't really move in yet (no running water, no electricity, no cesspit).

I'm working on a few things at once right now. Potholders from cotton scraps, a sweater/shirt/tunic from light gray wool and (not pictured) a scarf from dark gray wool. Not the most exciting projects, but just what I need to stay calm.

linking up with Nicole's Crafting On
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