April 26, 2017

30 days of everyday life (part 1)

One of the things I'd like to be better at in photography, is taking pictures of everyday life. In fact, one of my very first blog-reboots was inspired by a series at Soulemama's. Funny, I still think her pictures are way more beautiful then mine, but looking back eight years (!) is actually making me feel better about my pictures too. They do bring back memories of everyday life and that was what I was aiming for. They make me feel nostalgic too. Those teenagers... And that cat... I do miss that cat (he died of old age two years ago).

This month I've tried to take a picture of everyday life each day again and I'm slowly getting back into the groove. I may even try to keep it up next month, because I really want to be more mindful about my everyday life.
Anyway, here are the first 15 days.

1. ironing is not my favorite chore, but I try to keep up and do it once a week

2. first bbq this year!

3. dusting.

4. hanging laundry outside. sign of spring!

5. coffee. much needed around here (though i'm down to two cups a day and dh is trying to cut down too)

6. finished the last of the yearly taxes. good times.

7. tea, yes please. can one drink too much tea? (actually, one can. trying to cut down)

8. working in the garden. feels good to be outside again

9. we have a ceiling! and lamps! (in our bathroom that has been  under construction for over two years now)

10. vacuuming away a weekend of construction dust

11. sorted through my summer cloths. had to ditch a lot (that's a good thing, it was all way too wide)

12. grocery shopping is always more fun with the addition of unexpected, good conversations with strangers
"i do forget a lot, but I choose to forget the negative. that feels much better."

13. i actually like doing windows. i don't like that they get filthy again so quickly.

14. cooking dinner for six (us, the girls + one boyfriend). good times.

15. growing a tiny bit of veggies is all I can do. but it is enough to  make me feel connected to the seasons and the earth's cycles

April 25, 2017

Crafting on - startitis

Joining Nicole at Frontier Dreams today

Since everybody seems to agree that it's better for my hands to have more than one project going, I allowed myself a bit of startitis this weekend.

This is the yarn I wanted to add to the blanket, but now it will be a sweater. I like the ribbing and the pattern on the body of this one, but I think I'd like smaller sleeves and a deeper neck.
 I think (hope) I have enough (I have seven skeins - it was another thrift find), but I think this sweater will look great sleeveless too (worn over a blouse), so I'll make it that way if I need to.

This will be an assymetric shawl, simply in stockinette stitch, since the colors make it interesting enough. I am curious though how the stripes will look when I have more stitches in a row.

Switching off knitting and chrochet feels good on my hands too, so I had to start a new crochet project after finishing the cowls-that-were-supposed-to-be-a-blanket. This is the first project I've ever made beyond granny squares (or stripes). Well, the second actually. My very first project involved single crochet, but after that I just grannied along.
But, no more. I'm actually following a (simple) pattern here and it's coming along nicely. I hope to have enough of this yarn (four more skeins) to make a scarf.

The summer sweater is still growing nice and steady.

So there you have it. I'm working on four bigger projects now (and to be honest I have some plans for more).
Part of me finds this scary. I'm usually a deadline kind of girl (finish this first by... then start...) and my recovering-from-burnout brain had some difficulties adapting to this. But this morning I reached into my basket and realized I don't have to worry about what to make next for a while. I can just keep on knitting (and crocheting) without thinking too much about it and start new projects when I feel like it, not when the timing is exactly right.
That actually feels relaxing. And that's what this crafting thing is supposed to be, isn't it?

April 24, 2017

Granny stripes

Wel, I had such grand plans. It really was supposed to be a blanket.
But it didn't work out so well. Too little yarn (it was a bag of scraps). I intended to add some other yarn from my stash, but it didn't feel right. It was the wrong color to go with the rest and not the color I'd like in a blanket. Also I couldn't stop thinking about how it was enough to make a sweater and how I would love a sweater in that color (lilac - I'll show you tomorrow).

While I was making the first part of the intended blanket (I planned to make two striped strips and add squares between them), my husband kept commenting that those would make nice scarfs. And I said: "No, they're too short."
But when my first plan backfired, I reconsidered his idea and made cowls.

That was a good call. I actually love the colors with my black coat and it feels so soft and light. So I think I'll be using one of them myself and put one aside as a gift.

The squares? Those won't be wasted too. On the pile for KAS they go. There's still some of that yarn left, but I'm thinking there might be enough for a hat and I haven't made a hat for hmn... a few months, so it's time ;-)

April 21, 2017

the magic of outside

I come from a culture that has "normal is weird enough" (that's a rough translation of a Dutch saying) as a norm. We don't really do emotions and sentiments (except about soccer). I don't like soccer and I do get emotional, but I'm not normal at all ;-)
One of my main problems with blogging has been that I've always tried to maintain a Dutch blog in synch with this one, but sometimes things that made perfect sense in English just didn't feel right in Dutch. The fact that my blog and its contents kept showing up as sidenotes in reviews of my books didn't help either, but that's another story for another day.
Anyway, it feels freeing to focus on this blog only. Because I do like to share good things, moments that I want to savour.

Yesterday I felt cranky and sad and, well, just off. It had been building up the whole week for no good reason at all and I was done with it. I know the answer is to get outside, especially when the sun is shining, but it took me a few hours (really!) to get myself off the couch and outside. But when I finally did, it worked its magic. I did a bit of light weeding (at this point most of the beds are actually sort of kept up- a first for me) and some half-hearted pruning, but I was too tired to start one of the bigger chores that are still waiting for me out there. I didn't want to go inside already though, so I sat myself down on a bench in the sunshine with tea and knitting. Bliss!

April 19, 2017

photography - 30 in April (part 1)

I've been talking about my love for photography before. Actually it wasn't the crafting, but taking pictures that brought me back to blogging first after this particular blogbreak. I even started a new blog, especially for my photography, but that just didn't feel right.
So I think I'm going back to sharing my pictures here, as just another part of my blog. It's a craft too after all and a big part of my life, so totally in synch with the (in reality non-existent) theme of my blog.

I've been working on two photography projects this month, both involving daily pictures. The series I'm sharing today (well, the first half of it, since april isn't over yet) was meant to get my somewhat rusty skills up to par again. In my mind known as "trying to take good pictures", though that sounds pretentious. Also I'm aware of the fact that it's impossible to take 365 good pictures in a year. That said, I've tried to commit to 365 challenges before and never made it through a full year. At this point I'm just trying to do 30 in April and I'll take it from there.

Anyway, I'm actually quite pleased with most of them, but I have to admit that I am disappointed that it's mostly close-ups of flowers again. I would love to branch out a bit (actually I am working on that, stay tuned), but it has been fun to take pictures on a regular basis again.





April 18, 2017

Crafting on - sort of

I was typing something about being back, not sure where to go with it etc. but then I realized I'm a bit of a broken record about this. It's not the first time this happened and I don't think it will be the last time either. Maybe it's time for me to just accept that I sometimes don't feel like blogging for a while, without making excuses? Yes, I think it is. So I'll skip explanations and just pick up where I left off.

Joining Nicole's Crafting On today. Here's what I'm working on:

:: a granny stripe blanket. But I already know it won't be just stripes, since I simply don't have enough of that yarn. This was a bag of scraps (mostly angora) that I found at the thrift shop. I have some lilac mohair that I plan to add, hoping it will be enough to make this at least a baby blanket.

:: a summer sweater. Knitting has been hard for me lately (arthritis), but right now it seems to be less painful. I hope to keep it that way. I have so many plans...

:: during my blogging hiatus there wasn't much crafting (yes, there is a connection- no crafting, no blogging, or maybe 'not feeling like crafting' is the same thing as 'not feeling like blogging'. I don't know, but I always come back to both). A few weeks ago though, I itched to just make something, so I made some granny squares for KAS.

It's good to be back ;-)

December 7, 2016

yarn along

 joining Ginny's yarn along

Knitting: I cast on a hat last Monday, but this morning I frogged it. Too small. Oh well, it was the distraction I needed at that point and I'll cast on another hat with that soft grey yarn soon. But first I'll start something with that lovely green yarn my sister gave me.

Reading: The girls got me that magazine. I love looking at cozy pictures like that, though I learned the hard way that it doesn't translate too well into my own home and life. I'm also reading another Nora Roberts trilogy and when I finish that I look forward to read some Christmas stories.

So what are you knitting/making and reading?

December 6, 2016

On Tuesday

I know, I'm a day late. But yesterday was hectic and I still wanted to join the fun. so here's my Happy Homemaker's Tuesday.

As I look outside my window:::
sunshine! It's cold and frosty. I love that. So much better than our usual rainy days.
Right now I am:::
At my desk and my bigger screen since we discovered that my laptops screen is giving me headaches. Also, it's better for me to work from a set place, not from the couch.

Thinking and pondering:::
Hmn, I'm not sure if I should elaborate on this, but I'm partly thinking about family, what to accept lovingly  and where to draw lines. And partly about how much priority writing should have in my life. That has been a struggle ever since my first book came out. Balancing ambition (sell more books, make a living writing), reality (I do make money with it, but very little. I do have a publisher and readers, but I'm not at the top of any list) and other important life goals (my marriage, my family, my home) is really hard for me.

On my bedside table:::
Just my alarmclock, but it's running slow (right now it's 17 minutes behind - oops), so I never really use it. My husband has an alarm at his side of the bed and we get up when it goes. It's one of those alarms that starts with a light that keeps getting brighter. It doesn't beep, but plays birds singing louder and louder when it goes off. I have a love/hate relationship with that thing.

On my tv:::
Nothing. I don't even feel like watching youtube.

Playing on the radio:::
Radio 10. They have the Top 4000 right now, running from Nov. 30th till Christmas Eve. The higher numbers are fun to listen to, because a lot of them are forgotten songs that somebody decided to vote for. And getting closer to the top, it's more and more great songs that I love to hear.

On the menu for this week:::
I really don't know. I have some onion stew left over from yesterday, so I guess today I'll add some veggies and have an easy meal. I'm craving simple meals, just mash or something like that, so I guess that's what we'll eat for a few days. We have some great plans for the weekend and will be eating out a lot.

On my to do list:::
- Clean up after Sinterklaas festivities (Saturday we had my extended family over -11 people- and yesterday our own little family -5 people-, fun but messy)
- Some bookkeeping tasks (taxes)
- Deciding on and finishing the last posts for the year on my writer's website

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::
I started a hat yesterday to help me through a difficult group conversation (knitting helps me to focus on what's being said, and protects me from channeling other people's feelings). I also want to start working on a cowl from the lovely skein my sister gave me.

My simple pleasure:::
cleaning up after holidays. I love remembering how much fun we had with every piece of paper I pick up.

Lesson learned the past week:::
That I need to be honest to myself. Even if that means that I can't please everyone.

Looking around the house:::
I think it's good that I already decided to make cleaning and decorating it a priority these weeks. Ahem ;-)

From the camera:::


You know that pain and guilt can't be taken away with a wave of a magic wand. They're the things we carry with us. The things that make us who we are. If we lose them, we lose ourselves. I don't want my pain taken away. I need my pain. (Captain Kirk - Star Trek The final frontier)

November 25, 2016