A good weekend

make puzzle, read, knit, repeat

a little roadtrip, diner with T, a short look at the sea, a visit to my parents

A little confession and a note to myself: I was so busy taking pictures that I kind of forgot to just be there and breathe for a while. That's silly and I promise (to myself) I won't let that happen again. I am savoring the short moment I did look at the sea without the camera though...


Rambling and some garden pictures

Well, it has been quite a while again, hasn't it? What can I say... I actually have been really busy. I don't know what I was thinking, I really like my summers to be quite lazy, but it happened.

It started with that last post about photography. I was hatching some plans to do more with it (yes I know, I said I wouldn't, but it seems inevitable to go there everytime I really try to reconnect with my camera), so I set up a blog just for photography, explored how to sell prints, did a lot of shooting and editing. And then... well, I got overwhelmed (and disappointed in my abilities, but that's another story).

I came to a place were I realized that maybe I should choose between writing and photography, because both take a lot of time and I also have my family, my house, my garden and my bookkeeping to take care of. But I couldn't choose. While I love photography, writing is also very important to me. And that set me off on a whole lot of ideas to do more than just write a book and then wait for my publisher to send me a (tiny) cheque.

To grow my public I decided I needed to connect with readers, build a "tribe", give something back. I wrote a story that will be published in short episodes, I designed and wrote a newsletter that will have extras for my subscribers and I wrote a list of ideas to revive my Dutch blog, focussing on writing, not my personal life.
And of course I thought it would be fun to start all that on September 1st. You know, since I like a good deadline.

Anyway, my summer was busy. So maybe it was a good thing that we hardly had a real summer until now. We've had an amazing amount of cold, wet days. There were also good days, but always just one or two, before it started raining again..
Right now I am (almost) done preparing for those September ideas (all in Dutch, sorry - I am contemplating translating some of my short stories, but that will take time). And somehow nature decided to give us a bit of summer after all. Forecasts are actually good for the next two weeks.

So... here's to the rest of summer. And to taking pictures that won't sell, but that will remind me of the good times.

Oh wait, that's what I actually set out to put into words (I got sidetracked obviously). While I was working on my Dutch blog, I was also thinking about this one, it's very few readers and what to do with it. And I realized (again) I really want to continue it to be what it always has been. some knitting, some sewing, some gardening, some family fun, some rambling about being too busy and about me trying to savor summer...

Well, so now I wrote all these words and I guess all I really want to say is: here are some garden pictures ;-)


playing with my camera ~ Gouda

I guess most of my long-time readers know by now that I love to take pictures. In fact I think if things had been different when I was young (I was the responsable oldest who wouldn't dare choosing an "artsy" career) I would have gone to a school of photography.

Oh well, it's no use thinking about what could have been. I would have missed out on other great stuff if I had chosen that path (like meeting my husband). I'm lucky to have two good (though older) cameras and some time on my hands to play with it. (Let's call it playing, cause everytime I state I want to do "something more" with my photograpy it ends up being no fun at all).

Today I purposely took the big camera with me when I went grocery shopping and I made a detour to visit the antiques market in Gouda to take some pictures there. You know, because I tend to stick to the flowers in my own garden and I needed a bit of a challenge.
Well, a challenge it was. I learned a lot by viewing my pictures and discarding almost all of them.

Buildings. I can do those, I know that. But I think in a city that is so well known it's hard to take a picture that isn't already been sold as a postcard. I keep trying to find interesting angles.

But people? Oh man... I need to practice. Both my skills at the camera and my skills at just being there and doing it. I always feel like an intruder when I see people's faces -... okay, when I see any people at all - in my viewer, but I have to admit that the ones that have faces are actually the best of them all.

Also? Lighting. I really need to study lighting. There were some pictures that had a good composition, but the lighting was way off (the interesting parts were in the dark). I know there is a way to make the camera choose a different point to measure, but I never used that setting before.

The one below is one of the outtakes, to dark and taken too hastily. I tried to rescue it, but the colors were way off (my photoshop skills aren't that great either). I think it's kind of nice in black and white, but it would never pass as a professional photo. It does have something that speaks to me though...

So, let's try that again soon ;-)


In my garden

It's summer!
Never mind the raindrops on some of these pictures. That's summer rain.


Right now I am...

... thinking about the lovely fabrics I bought lately and what I want to make with them

... sitting in a bedroom that needs a thorough dusting and cleaning

... telling myself to get to that first

... looking back on a wonderful weekend

... looking forward to a wonderful summer

... planning to fully enjoy every bit of sunshine we get (today? raining again, but they say by the end of the week we'll get good weather)

... also planning to have fun inside (sewing!) when it's raining (after getting rid of all that dust, that is)

... wishing you all a wonderful start of your week


Rainy days...

... are perfect for making.

I have no idea what these squares will be (there's not enough of these fabrics left to make a quilt), but I really wanted to try the technique Amanda uses so very often. It's fun! 

Of course there was knitting too (though I don't reserve that to rainy days).
And yes, I was in leggings and a wool cardigan in June. It was cold this week!

But today, the sun is shining and it feels like summer. So I'm off to do some work in the garden.


In the garden

You may remember we've been building our garden for years now (oh, I really need to restore those archives, I'd love to link back to that work in progress).
This year, I promised myself, will be the year we finish it. Completely.

A few months ago T. and I were talking about the garden and what to do with it. I was not sure I was up to growing vegetables again and all winter I had been feeling a longing for a garden that was alive and interesting (as opposed to empty - or overgrown with weeds - as it was). T. felt the same way. "Wintergreens and texture" was what he wanted. And I added "flowers, lots of flowers" to the wishlist (since we can't have flowers inside due to severe hayfever suffering family members, I really want flowers outside). So that's what we went for.

Over the past months I have had so much fun buying shrubs and plants that met our qualifications. I know, it's a wild mess, so many different plants, so many different colors and textures. But we love it. It's exactly what we wanted.
I love going out into the garden now, there's always so much going on, so much to see and enjoy. 

So, no edibles at all? Hmnn, couldn't let that happen, now could I? Well, there are a few herbs hiding between those other plants (thyme, rosemary, borage, laurel). And we still have the roof terrace so I planted some herbs, tomatoes, peppers and lettuce there.

I may or may not be planning to find more containers and plant more vegetables...


ten good things

- a weekend full of sunshine
- the door my father made for us (and it being warm enough to leave it open)
- hours and hours spent outside
- having enough energy to take a little walk together
- fun ideas to make the house just a bit more livable
- a visit from one of the girls (we're down to only one living here, the other two have moved out)
- watching a good movie
- listening to nostalgic music
- a garden that is nearly "done"
- a rainy day ahead which is a good excuse to do more sewing


Garden therapy

Yesterday was a bit of an off-day for me.  No particular reason, just one of those days. Luckily I had this gift card for the garden centre (a birthday gift from people who know me well), so I decided it was a good day to use it.
Of course I spent twice the amount of money that was on the card, but I did feel a whole lot better when I returned home with my treasures. That's my kind of retail therapy.
I topped it off by a bit of hands-in-the-dirt-therapy to plant them all and then all was right with the world again ;-)


A little bit of sewing

So, last Monday I finally did some sewing. I can hardly remember how long it's been since I simply sat down and actually made something like that.
Oh, there were some curtains to be shortened and I made some pillow covers, but that was it for a long, long time.
I have to admit I felt a bit nervous when I laid out the fabrics and tried to remember how exactly I used to wing making something as simple as a tea-cozy. But then I just started (ha! that's the trick, you know) and everything clicked.
I made this cozy just like the one I made before, years ago (that one got burnt on the stove by one of the girls, ahem - no personal accidents, luckily), quilting cotton batting (an old molton) to all pieces and stitching a lined "bag" with it, that can be used both sides.

As simple as that. No more cold tea. This has been on my to do list for years and it was so simple...

Then I turned to another thing that had been on my mind for a while. I found myself looking at all kinds of little pouches to replace the very ugly ones I had in my purse, but I kept thinking I could easily make those myself. So I finally did.

The tiny one holds my medicines and some first aid stuff, the green one holds sanitary pads and the big one holds those and everything else on the picture (sometimes even more). Why? Because it's so much easier to find stuff if you keep the small things together. And because I like an organized purse ;-)