Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The last two hats

... of 2019, that is. Although I want to try to knit more things that I can actually use throughout the year, I don't think I will ever not knit hats. I just love them too much.

The first one I made for my father to match the beret I made for my mother. Just a very simple hat, using up every last bit of that skein.

After that, I was still itching to knit, but not feeling capable of anything remotely complicated, so I cast on for another hat in the yarn I made that green cowl with.

Simple, but warm and soft. I think I'll keep this one, to wear with the cowl when we're in The Netherlands for the holidays. It doesn't get that cold there (usually no snow, just lots and lots of rain), but to me, it felt very cold. And they sure can use some extra green in winter...

Monday, December 30, 2019


(reusing an old picture because I'm too lazy/busy to take a new one)

Last year I was thinking about what word to focus on for 2019 and all that came to me was 'home'.
I resisted at first. Strongly. Because it made me sad to even think about it.
At that moment we were still in our house in the Netherlands, but it didn't feel like home anymore because it was staged for selling and already under contract. We had been searching for a house on Curaçao, but every time we thought we found a good one, something went wrong (sellers deciding not to sell, after all, other buyers cutting in, etc.). We were planning to really move to the island, but I still had a lot of mixed feelings about it.
I thought it would make things even harder for me if I focused on 'home' as my one word.

Well, it turned out it was the perfect word for this year. I didn't focus on it, but it sort of worked its way into my thoughts a lot.

I learned that home isn't only about walls or things. I love, love, love the house we ended up buying and renovating. I'm excited about all the things we plan to do and yes, it helps to live in a house I like so much, but in the first few months, I suffered a lot from homesickness.

Home also isn't only about being with your loved one(s), because that was part of the problem for me. I felt torn between my husband on Curaçao and our daughters and my parents in The Netherlands and I knew that would never really change.

But...I felt so much better when I allowed myself to do and enjoy the things I did before we moved. Knitting, (dreaming of) sewing, thrifting, reading, blogging, gardening and even cleaning.
Of course, our lives are different now and it's not the same, but these things are part of me and I needed to get back to them. Incorporating them into our new life was exactly what I needed.

I guess feeling at home is also about identity, about being able to be who you are, to do what you love.

Last Friday we returned from our trip to The Netherlands. Although I have felt sad for not being closer to my family, I haven't felt sad for not living there anymore one second when we were there.

And yes, it feels so good to be home again!

Monday, December 23, 2019

Right now I am...

... looking back at some really great family gatherings
... so happy that we've managed to take some family pictures
... even happier with the pictures I got of my parents.
... feeling under the weather today
... looking forward to more family gatherings
... but also looking forward to going home
... trying to enjoy our time here as much as I can
... thinking about the things I'd like to do next year
... loving that picture of my sister's dog

... wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 20, 2019

I feel like Goldilocks

Not that I'm house crashing with three bears, though. That would be... weird. To say the least.
But the hats I've been making for my mother did get me thinking about that fairy tale.
Remember? The first beret I made for her was too small. The second one was better, but actually a bit too big.
But now... I think I've got it. This one is juuuuust right ;-)

(not posting pictures with my face showing today. Goodness, I'm suddenly all wrinkled up. Must be the cold or something.)

What I did:

CO 72 st., join in the round, k2,p2 - 6 rounds
Increase: K b&f 3 times, k1, repeat till last four stitches, K b&f 2 times, k2 (132 st)
K 15 rounds (stockinette stitch)

start decrease: 
(the decrease is done in 6 sections, knitting less stitches before ssk each time)

K 20, ssk - repeat till end of round
K entire round
K19, ssk - repeat till end of round
K entire round

keep alternating decrease rows and K rows until you did K10, ssk
Then stop the K rows and keep decreasing (k9, ssk; K8, ssk etc.) until you have 12 stitches left.
Use a darning needle to pull thread through remaining stitches and pull to close. Sew in ends.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Christmas on the island

The people of Curaçao love parties, decorating, colors and glitter. So yes, Christmas decorating is a big thing here. I thought it would be fun to show you, so I took pictures whenever I saw something.

at the insurance company's office


My favorite: at the DIY store

Near Riffort


Punda (hard to see, but there's a giant - fake- tree behind that red umbrella)


Renaissance Mall
Renaissance Mall
Adding today to a post I prepared two weeks ago: 
Gosh, I miss Curaçao! I feel "torn between two lovers" right now. Enjoying my time with family here, part of me settling right back into The Netherlands and not wanting to leave them again, but also counting down the days until we can go back. I miss... everything. The sun, the heat, the smells, the sounds, the people, the house...
Since Curaçao is where we live and we are going back (we have to - we are not Dutch citizens anymore), that's actually a good thing, isn't it?

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Warm feet

(writing this from the Netherlands, but the pictures were - obviously - taken on Curaçao)

I finished these just in time to take them with me. I have to admit that the color really, really isn't me. I bought this on the island, and there wasn't a lot of choices. I do like the color as is, but it doesn't go with any of my clothes. Still, I'm wearing these almost 24 hours a day (yes, I wear them in bed). We do have heated floors in our Airbnb, but I still get cold feet.

I used a pattern that I had written down in my knitting notebook. I thought Ravelry said it was offline, but I found it here.
I love how simple, yet effective it is. I did make one change though. I found previous versions were very slippery, so I decided to knit the whole sole (1/3 of the stitches) in garter stitch, instead of all stockinette after joining in the round. I do feel it works (or maybe I'm just walking more careful these days).

Monday, December 16, 2019

Right now I am...

... so, so cold
... wearing two sweaters and two pairs of socks
... considering adding another layer
... drinking hot tea
... wondering when the day will start (it's nine-thirty, but still so dark)
... knowing this is pretty much it, it won't get lighter
... feeling weird because I'm not used to this anymore after only one year
... tired of a week of driving around visiting our girls and my parents
... but very happy to have seen them all (twice already)
... also tired of yesterday's birthday (our youngest girl turned 27!). Her tiny living room was packed with people, but it was fun.
... trying not to think about how my parents are doing too much (they just keep going, but I know they are both running on reserves)
... looking forward to spending more time with them, because... well, this might be the last time I can
... also trying to ignore T.'s coughing (and his not so healthy-sounding breathing). At least now I'm really sure that for his health it was the right decision to move to Curaçao.
... remembering the really wonderful afternoon I spent with an old friend. A few years ago she lost both her parents in a very short time under similar conditions as mine are in (dad chronically ill, mom losing the fight with cancer). She also lost her husband last year and I felt really sorry for her. I was actually geared up to comfort her but instead, she managed to comfort me. She inspired me to get a grip on the things that will happen inevitably, both with my parents and T.
...  trying to come up with a plan for the day. I know there is some work I need to do, but I can't remember what
... considering to take it easy and curl up with a book, some knitting, and more hot tea
... wishing you all a great week

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Making it work (decorating for Christmas)

When we moved to the island I got rid of most of our Christmas things (well, I handed the boxes to the girls and asked them to get rid of what they didn't want). We planned to be in The Netherlands for both Sinterklaas and Christmas, so it wouldn't make sense to ship it to Curaçao, where we would never use it. It also didn't make sense to keep it in storage in Holland when we would be staying in Airbnb's or hotel rooms. Of course, I was sad to let it all go, but knowing I would be there for the holidays was enough.

But life got in the way. Or maybe it would be more accurate to state that money got in the way. The lack thereof to be precise. We just can't afford to rent a place to stay for a month or longer. Also, T. didn't want to be in the cold for so long and I know his health would suffer too much. So I actually did find myself on the island well into the season, skipping Sinterklaas and not feeling festive at all.

Since we would still be away for Christmas and leave two weeks before I wasn't sure about decorating for Christmas in our Curaçao house. But it also didn't feel right not to. After all, this is our home now.

So I decided to compromise: I bought a tiny, tiny tree and some decoration (the baubles with holes in them are actually battery-operated lights) and brought out the very few Christmas things we brought with us.

This Santa has been with our family for 24 years now, I couldn't part with him...

I also - of course - brought our Christmas books (and I bought a few extra here), that tin (also around for 24 years) and my favorite Christmas album.
That album has special meaning to me because my parents always played it (still do actually) on Christmas Eve. It was the very first Christmas album they bought after they got married, over 50 years ago. Mine is thrifted, theirs actually got lost when they moved to a smaller home, but I found another one for them in a thrift store. It's about the memories, not about the object itself.

I also brought our first Christmas tablecloth. We used to have a lot of them, but this was the very first one, so it had to come with me. We've actually been using it since December 1st.

And then there's this little Christmas towel. Thrifted here, on the island.

Writing this post and going through the pictures I realized that even though it's very minimal, it's also actually a nice mix of displaying cherished memories and the making of new ones. Which is good. These past few weeks have not been easy on me, but it's only the first December since we moved here. I'm sure we will find a way to make it all work and enjoy the season as much as we used to do.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

For under our tree

Remember that Christmas yarn? (I made T. a hat with it). I used up the last of it (not enough to make a matching hat for me), to make a little circle. I was going to crochet, but I decided to try knitting a circle for the first time. The middle part (where you start knitting) was a bit fiddly, but the rest was actually rather easy.
That's really all there is to say about it. But I do like how it looks under our tiny tree. I used the very last bit of it to crochet a little garland, but I'll show that tomorrow when I'm posting our Christmas decorations (ha! don't get too excited).

Monday, December 9, 2019

Off we go!

So tonight we fly to The Netherlands. I just checked in (online)and I got an email from our Airbnb hostess about the check-in there, making it all very real. I still have some packing to do, but we've got almost a full day ahead.

It's been almost five months since I was last there (but I spent those seven days in the hospital with my mom) and over nine months since T. left.
It will be weird not to have a home there anymore. To stay in an Airbnb apartment. To be visitors only and to be there for only seventeen days. But all that doesn't matter, really.
I'm really looking forward to being with my family again.

Last week I was thinking about this blog and sort of planning content for the weeks to follow. And then I realized that this is not my job (though how wonderful would that be?). I don't need to post, and I can take some time off if that's what I need to do.
And I think I'd like to spend as much time as I can soaking up this time with the girls and my parents.
So my blog, answering comments and my reading and commenting on your blogs will probably be sparse these weeks. I've got some posts prepared and scheduled for the following week, but I have no clue at all if I'll post the weeks after. I think I'll pop in to wish you all a Merry Christmas, and maybe I'll share some pictures, but I just don't know how things will work out. We'll see.

I hope you're having a wonderful December too!

Friday, December 6, 2019

Crafty goals

So, that thing I learned about me not having a clue about how much time things take? Also applicable for crafting. I thought those slippers were a quick knit. Turns out they weren't really (I think it has something to do with having to use dpn's) and of course I needed two of them. But I did finish them this morning. Something about checking off that list that makes me want to keep going ;-)

Last week's list:
(I'll just repost the knitting, since there wasn't any sewing again - that thing about time, you know)

✔ finish the slippers (the pattern is no longer online, but I have it written down in my notebook) to keep my feet warm when we're in Holland - done!
✔decide if I'm doing handmade gifts and if so, what I need to knit (or sew?) - decided not to. But it's still in the back of my mind.
/ knit a hat (or more slippers) - cast on for a hat yesterday
X start knitting another cowl? (I have this great pattern that I can't wait to try) - decided to wait until I can buy some really nice yarn for it

I also rewrote the "patterns" on the berets (so if you saved them, please go back and get the right version). Now I remember why I decided not to do patterns anymore... I forgot to write out the first rows before the decreases, so I added that and had to renumber all the other rows. I think I'll stick to wordy instructions next time, that's how my mind works anyway. I usually "translate" patterns for myself to "just do this and then that for a while, and decrease along the way".
That's also why my knitting is still really basic. I rarely work up the energy to knit row by row patterns.

This week's list:

We have a busy weekend ahead and on Monday we'll fly to the Netherlands. I will take some needles and yarn with me, but I have no idea how much time I will have to knit. I usually don't knit with company (feels like I'm not giving them my full attention) and there will be a lot of that. Not that I mind ;-)
Sewing is not an option since I won't bring my machine. Well, hand sewing maybe, but no, don't think so.

- knit a hat, because that's what I like to do
- shop for yarn, fabric and embroidery material

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Knowing Thyself's Power

Three things I learned about myself this week:

1. I have a really, really hard time relaxing. On Monday morning I found myself without any big deadlines. I did a bit of reading and a bit of knitting, but after fifteen minutes I was already making lists of things I could do now that I had more time: start blogging in Dutch again (on all three blogs), write some short stories for my website, start writing a book, revisit social media, etc., etc.
Ahem. Wasn't I supposed to rest? (the black circles around my eyes tell me so...)

2. I also have the worst sense of how much time things actually take. That's probably also because I'm a bit (ha!) slower than I used to be. But as the week progressed I found that I don't have that much extra time anyway. This is a big house to clean (and it was a big mess too) and the "little" computer tasks that I knew I had to do took me much longer than I thought they would. I should probably make a list to remind me how long things actually take, but I fear that will also take me much longer than I think.

3. I can actually wear flipflops daily -trying to insert a lighter note- and yes, that's notable for me. I always thought I had an issue with "something between my toes" and only wore them occasionally. But two weeks ago I put them on them for a night out (because they sort of matched my dress) and I just realized I've been wearing them daily and all day long ever since. I even wore them yesterday for a whole afternoon of shopping. That's at least one part of my integration on this island to check off the list ;-)

Linking up with Carole's Three on Thursday

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

A beret for my mom - part 2

As you can see this beret is a lot bigger than the one I showed you yesterday. I think this will be a much better size, though now I worry it's too big.
But I've actually got photos of my mom (the girls sent me pictures of them celebrating Sinterklaas with my parents) wearing one of her store-bought berets and I think the size of this one is similar. I hope so.

Sidenote: yes, I cried when I saw those pictures. In public (we were at a beach bar with friends). Because - as you probably know if you've been reading here for a while - Sinterklaas used to be a big thing in our family and I loved hosting and preparing for these loud and chaotic gatherings. And now I wasn't even there. And I also cried because I hardly recognized my mom in those pictures. She aged so much!
But she's still there. And I know now that I have some real friends here on the island. Because they sat next to me and hugged me and comforted me, without even once saying how silly (and selfish) it is to cry when my family (and most important, my mom!) obviously had a lot of fun.

What I did

CO 78 stitches (5 mm needle, worsted weight yarn), join in the round
1-10 garter stitch
11. Kf&b of every stitch (156 stitches)

12-16 K entire round
17 P entire round
18-22 K entire round
23 P entire round
24-28 K entire round
29 P entire round

30. K24, ssk, repeat till end of round
31. K entire round
32. K23, ssk, repeat till end of round
33. K entire round
34. K22, ssk, repeat till end of round
35. P entire round
36. K21, ssk, repeat till end of round
37. K entire round
38. K20, ssk, repeat till end of round
39. K entire round
40. K19, ssk, repeat till end of round
41. P entire round
42. K18, ssk, repeat till end of round
43. K entire round
44. K17, ssk, repeat till end of round
45. K entire round
46. K16, ssk, repeat till end of round
47. P entire round
48. K15, ssk, repeat till end of round
49. K entire round
50. K14, ssk, repeat till end of round
51.K entire round
52. K13, ssk, repeat till end of round
53. P entire round
54. K12, ssk, repeat till end of round
55. K11, ssk, repeat till end of round
56. K10, ssk, repeat till end of round
57. K9, ssk, repeat till end of round
58. K8, ssk, repeat till end of round
59. K7, ssk, repeat till end of round
60. K6, ssk, repeat till end of round
61. K5, ssk, repeat till end of round
62. K4, ssk, repeat till end of round
63. K3, ssk, repeat till end of round
64. K2 ssk, repeat till end of round
65. K1, ssk, repeat till end of round
66.  ssk, repeat till end of round

Cut yarn and use darning needle to thread through remain stitches and pull to close top.
Weave in ends.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

A beret for my mom

It's kind of silly to realize that over the years I've been knitting so many hats, but only one beret (over 12 years ago). 
It may have something to do with the fact that this style of hat went out of fashion. I'd never know that for sure though since fashion has never been my thing. But it's a fact that I only knit one beret (and probably about 100 hats) in all those years.

I guess that I used a pattern for that very first one, I don't remember.
These days I usually wing my knitting. So, when I dediced I wanted to knit a beret for my mother, I did just that. And that's probably the reason that it turned out a bit small. As in 'you can hardly see it's a beret"-small.

I do have a big head. Most hats that are smallish on my head are perfectly good on other people. But if I remember correctly (from trying on her church hat when I was a girl), my mother's head is even slightly bigger than mine. So I decided to cast on another hat and try again.

To be continued...

 What I did

CO 78 stitches (5 mm needle, worsted weight yarn), join in the round

1. K till end of round
2-9 K1 (twisted), P1 -  repeat till end of round
10. K1, K1f&b - repeat till end of row ( 117 st.)
11-15 K entire round
16 P entire round

17-21 K entire round
22 P entire round

23. K18,  k2tog, K19, repeat till end of round
24. K entire round
25. K17, k2tog, repeat till end of round
26. K entire round
27. K16, k2tog, repeat till end of round
28. K entire round
29. K15, k2tog, repeat till end of round
30. K entire round
31. K14, k2tog, repeat till end of round
32. K entire round
33. K13, k2tog, repeat till end of round
34.P entire round
35. K12, k2tog, repeat till end of round
36. K entire round
37. K11, k2tog, repeat till end of round
38. K entire round
39. K10, k2tog, repeat till end of round
40. P entire round
41. K9, k2tog, repeat till end of round
42. K entire round
43. K8, k2tog, repeat till end of round
44. K entire round
45. K7, k2tog, repeat till end of round
46. P entire round
47. K6, k2tog, repeat till end of round
48. K5, k2tog, repeat till end of round
49. K4, k2tog, repeat till end of round
50. K3, k2tog, repeat till end of round
51. K2, k2tog, repeat till end of round
52. K1, k2tog, repeat till end of round

Cut yarn and use darning needle to thread through remain stitches and pull to close top.
Weave in ends.

Monday, December 2, 2019


And now it's December.

The last month of a year that was... well, hard. On so many levels. I deleted a lot of words about this because I don't want to pour negativity, sadness and fear into a world that needs just the opposite, both online and offline.

So, let's just forget about that. Focus on the good stuff. I want to remember 2019 as the year we made our dream of moving to Curaçao come true, the year we found and bought and renovated and moved into that wonderful house with the amazing view, the year we met so many great new friends.

And now it's December and it's going to be a great month.
I'm going to allow myself to take it easy this week. Just a little bit of work to do and a lot of happy homemaking and gardening and packing.
Next week we'll travel to Europe and I'll see my family for the first time since July.
My mother is still alive and reasonably fit and that fact alone is worth being very happy about.
I have a date with some old friends that I haven't seen in years.
We'll celebrate our youngest 27th (!) birthday and meet her boyfriend for the first time.
We're going to do a belated Sinterklaas and a lot of Christmas celebrating with family.
Oh, and I get to do a lot of shopping. Most of the practical kind (cotton sheets, vitamines, things we can't get here), but there will be some thrifting, yarn shopping and fabric buying involved too. Fun!
And when we return we'll be just in time to welcome a fresh new year here on the island we love so much.
Yes, it's going to be a good month.

Wishing you all a happy December!