maandag 29 juni 2009


I had such a nice week, last week. Visiting old and new friends and sitting in the sun a lot, in nice gardens, eating and drinking in good company. Reconnecting and reminiscing.
And the mailman brough some knits along, which I ordered in the States. So there are quite some T-shirts-to-be at hand. Oh, that boy of mine gets spoiled!

zaterdag 27 juni 2009

The colours of my home

I have a dryer, but I only use it when the weather is bad. Hanging up the clothes takes a bit more time, but saves a lot of energy and the fibers of the fabric. And I can enjoy watching the brightness of it all.
Like my dishes.

dinsdag 23 juni 2009

Zen and the art of sewing

Recently, I read such an interesting article on procrastination (in "Vorm en Leegte") it really helps me to keep going with my challenge. Deadlines work for a lot of people, because they force you to do things you otherwise won't do, or postpone. But the downside is, that deadlines create a lot of stress. There are other ways to handle your longing to put things off, like really facing what keeps you back. It might be that you need help, our more information, or you're not commited to the outcome of your labour.

So I researched my own feeling about my pile of unfinished garments. Mostly, I have a hard time finishing stuff because I like something else even more or I feel that Pelle really needs something warm (or cool, or long, or short, or that perfectly maching T) right now! and I can't afford to go on with sewing a piece which isn't immediately necessary.

And there are other reasons, like things being difficult, technically, or I already feel a slight disappointment coming up. Or I simply don't like what I make, e.g. for Mark, who likes grey, dark colours. And sometimes there's no reason to hold me back but simply a plain lack of wanting to sew.
Now that I am unraveling my motives, I feel more diciplined to go along. Just to go along and focus on reducing my UFO's to one.
The picture presents one of the results of the last week:

My winterskirt, finished but in the bin, because
a. I didn't do a good job at sewing it nicely (there was a lot of gathering and I didn't do that evenly)
b. The pattern doesn't suit me
c. The fabric didn't suit the pattern.
So there's the downside. On the other hand: I'm learning to read the patterns in the magazines, knowing better what suits me (emphasis on my small waist and good legs). And I rediscovered a carton case of old magazines, I forgot I had but now present themselves as true treasures.

There's such a variety of skirts and one shirt I want to try.
But first, ending up all the other garments. I'm starting to like it!

zondag 21 juni 2009


Pelle made a lovely penholder at the toddlersplaygroup.

I made Mark a bookmark.I used a colourplate (? drawing) I found at the website of a Buddhist Centre which made me smile. It symbolises the way I see Mark as a father. He is so gentle and caring and has a real Buddhist spirit. Pelle could not wish a better guide to accompany him along the road of life. And you can see how they enjoy that journey.

donderdag 18 juni 2009

Small pleasures

One of the things I enjoy doing is making puzzles. Our daily newspaper offers quite a rich variety, and I particularly like the one on Friday, where the questions are quiz-like according to a theme (e.g. 3, or Russia, or black). The one on Monday is also nice, because you have to create your own crossword while only nummers are given. The nummers correspond with letters. Everyday there are sudoku’s. I usualy make one or two of them a week.
On saterday, there’s a cryptogram, which I sometimes try, but is quite challenging for me. I should do them more often to learn the way the author thinks and to strech and bend my mind. Whenever I find a word, it feels so satisfying, like a creative a-ha Erlebnis. Everything fall into place and I am proud the anwser popped up.
On our holiday, this April, I discovered a small magazine in the hotel offering numberpuzzles. So there I was frantiquely calculating for some time (not my strongest point).
My love for puzzles even went so far that I sometimes copied them from a magazine, when we were still living in Nieuwegein and the library was on our weekly route to the grocery. Jelmer Steenhuis made such a nice mix of clues and questions that it was a delight to solve them. Unfortionately, the puzzle didn’t survive the restyling of the magazine. A pity.

zondag 14 juni 2009


Remember my challenge? Well, I didn't make it. I finished 2 pants, but am disappointed. Not because I didn't live up to my self-imposed deadline, but because of the pants themselves. They don't have a good fit. And I'm very grumpy about that.

The stripy one is to tight on my hips and doesn't fould over my bottom nicely.

I so love the fabric, it's a thin ikat-like cotton and I envisioned wearing it during the summers, with all kinds of colourful T's. It's such a pity the pattern (a Burda one from 2008) didn't work out.
The brown one is also to tight on the hips and I have a huge belly in it. It's made of a
beautiful dark chocolate linen and I will probably wear it with some kind of tunic or other garment that will mask its errors, but again, not a good pattern (from an old Knip) for me.

I go on with sewing all the unfinished pieces, but it won't be with much joy since I fear the winterskirt has the same problem. It makes my hips stand out. So the lesson learned the hard way: I have to carefully think about what pattern suits my figure best, before making something. Because with the right combinations I can look really good, if I say so myself.

vrijdag 12 juni 2009


Last tuesday my mother celebrated her birthday. I made this little flowerarrangement for her.
She's still going stong. We had our ups and down in our relationship, but eversince I am a mother myself our bond is growing stronger. I so love to see her being a grandmother. Pelle is such a great gift in her live, and I so enjoy seeing the two of them interact. And I came to realise that I can give Pelle so much love and tenderness because she gave that to me and my brother when we were little, too. And I'm so thankful for that.
Mam, nog vele jaren!

donderdag 11 juni 2009

Learning to drive

I guess everybody has his own fears and anxieties. One of mine was not daring to drive.
When I finished my study, I took driverslessons and after six times, I passed the exam. And that was it. I did not drive for more 10 years, because I never bought a car.
Some six years ago, when Mark and I were still living in Nieuwegein, a friend offered us her old car, because she bought a new one. This was our chance. The stationcar was from a solid brand (Audi) and not to expensive, so we decided to go for it. And that was it, again. Mark drove every now and then, but I did not touch the steeringwheel.
I dreaded the hectic trafic, and dividing my concentration between shifting gears and the road was just to much. I felt tense in the driversseat and that tension narrowed my mind, made me lose my ability to see the over-all trafic picture. So I managed with public transport. And that went very well.
Still, I felt incomplete. Everybody I knew drove without any reservations. I wasn’t the grown-up independent woman I wanted to be.

When we moved to Drenthe the car came along. And I decided that I wanted to overcome my fears. Because public transport is good, but sometimes very inconvenient. Because I wanted to broaden my horizon. Because I wanted to step out of my comfortzone just for the sake of it. But most off all because I realised that yes, I felt tense, but it was a feeling I could handle. I did not have to avoid it.
So no I’m driving again. Short trips along familiair roads and slowly going further away. I feel like I can handle it all, the car, the trafic and my concentration. I feel that I’m in controle.
I’m proud of myself. And it’s such a good insentive. If I master this, why not other problems? At least with one fear I’ve proven I can see it in the face and act.

vrijdag 5 juni 2009

A simple Buddhist monk

“I’m just a simple Buddhist monk”, I heard him say, the past few days, on the television. But he’s so much more than that. He’s a winner of the Noble peace price and one of the most famous spiritual leaders in the world. He’s Tenzin Gyatso. He’s the Dalai Lama.
Can you imagine hearing him give a lecture and leading a meditation for 10.000 Dutch people? Since yesterday, I can. I was one of them. He spoke about compassion, a core element in the Buddhist teachings. His talk was serious and funny, mingled with anecdotes and an occasional exchange with his sidekick alias translator.
He turned down the request of chanting the mantra “Ohmani Phadmi Hum”, because if you don’t do that proper enough it will sound too much like “Mani, Mani, Mani” and that in turn sounds too much like “money, money, money”, a thing we have to avoid in times of economical crisis, he giggled.
So we did a meditation on compassion. Making a resolution to be more compassionate.

I think it’s liberating, feeling compassion to others but also to yourself. It’s so non-judgemental. And it opens up the gates to love. I frees you and gives you the opportunity to laugh at yourself and to acknowledge that you are just like everybody else, a human being with flawes, doing the best she can.

It was also a special day because I was invited by a old schoolfriend. It’s funny to see how the teenagers we were so many years ago are now grown-up and so much more mature. I feel compassion for the girls we were, with all our insecurities and struggles to find a place in this world. I came a long way, and feel grateful to pick up the thread of life with her again. Thank you for that, Tineke!

dinsdag 2 juni 2009


Last year, Mirre from KissKus callenged herself by making one garment for her kids, each day, during a week. I really liked that idea of giving yourself a clear task. I'm not going to sew one item a day, because I simply am not that fast. But there's something else I want to achieve: finishing all the half-sewn clothes that are scattered around in the house.

They are:
- a brown pant for myself
- a striped pant pour moi aussi
- a blue fleece sweater for Mark (supposed to be a Sinterklaas present last December)
- a striped shirt for Pelle
- a T-shirt for Pelle
- a skirt I have to adjust
- a top I have to adjust
- a winterskirt for the only woman in this house
- a purple pant for the later, too.

In the next 2 weeks I'm going to finish it all, so the house is less cluttered, we all can wear some nice new clothes, and I have a clean slate to practice some Zen in my sewing: concentrating on one piece each time.
I'm looking forward to do it all and being rewarded with a feeling of fulfilment, like after the ironing of a ton off landry, yesterday.