donderdag 29 december 2011


I love to sew, but it isn’t always easy. Technically, I’ve learned bit by bit these past years, but I still have mishaps. Appliqués that don’t work out, combinations that are over the top, finished garments that are too plain for my liking. They usually do not find their way to Flickr or this blog. And although I have many fabrics, I am now encountering another problem: the leftovers I have from former projects are too small for yet another round. I had this idea about an orange sweater to match the brown pants I sewed. I traced a pattern and had it all worked out in my mind. I envisioned a hood with a striped knit lining. And pockets with a small binding on the edges made from the same stripy fabric. Green stitches and a green cord.

The plan.

And then I discovered I simply did not have enough orange sweater fabric. So I ordered another piece online. It arrived yesterday, but it simply doesn’t match. (It doesn’t have to be exactly the same, because I can easily split up the front and back, but the two colors really don’t go together, although it’s hard to see on the photo).

The mismatch, although hard to see.

It’s so frustrating. I looked forward to making this and now I have to put in on hold and wait till I can go into town on a Tuesday when there’s a fabric market.

I guess the only thing I can do now is turn my head around and choose between two other options: using the pattern and make the sweater from different fabrics or start with another winter pant.

Alternative 1: the original pattern, different fabrics.

Alternative 2: Warm red fabric (2 coats) for a pant.

Well, compared to all the problems in the world I won’t complain and make a start with either one. You'll find out soon.

zaterdag 24 december 2011

My guy.

My guy turned 50 yesterday. Hooray! I love to live with him as he's a great husband and father. We had a wonderful day and celebrated this landmark with friends and family.
Up for another 30 or so years.


Sweater. by oddwise
Sweater., a photo by oddwise on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
This sweater is made using a Dutch pattern (Roos 3000 A). I had my doubts about using a zipper so close to his face, but I am glad I persisted since the neckline is wide enough and the edges don't bother him. The instructions told me to cut of the corners of the zipper, but next time I will fold them back, since now I was left with two pointy pieces. Fortunatly I was able to Icover them with the wooly fabric so it still feels soft.
The elbowpieces are not in line with his elbows, although I used the pattern : - ( . Maybe I will replace them, but I'm not sure, because it's so much work.

I like the way the sweater turned out. Because it's a dark pink colourscheme , I used some denim accents to make it look more boyish. The fabric is a gift from a friend and funny enough I used a yellow variety of it a few years ago when it was on sale in a German webshop.

donderdag 22 december 2011


After the summer holidays, the serious work has begun: Pelle is learning to read, write and calculate. He's still in the school he started out when he was a toddler, but has a different teacher. And although she has more than 40 years of experience, she told us that Pelle is the first autistic kid she has in her class. In former years, he would have gone to a special education institution, but now policies are changed here in the Netherlands and the aim is to let kids with special needs stay in school in there own community, for as long as it’s possible.
She told me she seriously had her doubts, those first weeks. Pelle was so overactive, she didn’t now how to handle him. She quickly called in aid and a woman of the special education organization came and observed him a few times in the classroom. She gave his teacher advice, like working with a time-timer to help him concentrate and letting him go if things become to overwhelming, like raking leaves in courtyard. (I myself had my doubts, especcialy on the time-timer, because it's not focussing on his intrinsic motivation. But as it seems to be off real support for him I changed my mind). And now his teacher is very enthusiastic. “It’s a difference between night and day”, she told us a few weeks ago. She feels empowered now and her efforts are effective: Pelle's concentration is improving and he is more able to do an assignment now. And as he likes to learn, she feels she can let go if he needs time on his own. I’m so glad she dared to ask for help and respect her a lot for that. And besides that, she’s very nice and warm to the children and loves to hug them and give them affection.

Pelle's really enjoying school. Every day, he tells me if they have learned a new word, and if so, what it is. Of course he’s a strange duck in the class, but his classmates don’t make a problem out of that. They are used to him and tell new classmates that he’s a bit different. The teacher told me that last week it was his turn to read the words on the digital board and he was so fast, the other children spontaniously applauded for him. He has a ‘personal assistant’, a girl who is doing this third grade for the second year and she’s so very lovely and supportive. She helps him to organize his table and pick up the stuff he needs. He started out with special booklets for processing the language, where the pictures and instructions are very clear. But as he is doing so well, he’s now entering the mainstream method.

Easier and early version for processing: connecting the picture to the word. Looking for the right spelling of the word icecream.

More complicated (mainstream and later on in the curriculum): encircling the word 'huis' (= home) ánd connecting sentences to drawings 'een huis met een hek ervoor' means 'a home with a fence in front'.

Calculating (math). It says: 'draw the balls'. You can see he has a hard time drawing and his fine motorskills need some more practice.
The remedial teacher found out a great way to motivate him: he's allowed to draw on the digital board in front of the classroom and he loves it!

Now a new goal in our Dutch Son-Rise program is arising, and that’s to learn Pelle how to interact with other children, because he hardly does that. In January we are going to work out a plan for that, like inviting playmates. I’m very optimistic. It will be another step and I’m looking forward to a new dimension in our program. But for now, the holidays are on our doorstep and we are up for a special birthday and Christmastime. I look forward to that.

zondag 18 december 2011

Chrismas decorations.

Come on in, I'll show you some things.

Yesterday, we put up the tree and decorated the house. Every year I do it differently, according to my mood and energy. Some years I make green decorations, and I might do that this week, but until now the only thing I did myself was putting thing together.
Here are some pics.

The quilt is made by my mother. I bought the hyacint, because Pelle wanted to watch how an onion grows :-)

On top of our desk.

The small pine was made by a local craftsman, the hedgehog is made by Pelle at school, some years ago. The angel on the right is from felt and made in a former Russian Republic. I bought it through a charity foundation.

Next to our fireplace is a plastic tree from the bookstore for Pelle and an angle ornament from Germany. It used to have petals but they were to attractive for an inquisitive toddler. It stands on an embroided table runner from Poland.

Small detail of the runner I bought through a Dutch second-hand website..

And finally a simple tablepiece of candles, regular and South American balls (charity, again, a zilion years ago).

So that's it for now. I hope you're enjoying your home, too.

donderdag 15 december 2011

In between.

Not much to tell at the moment. We’re in between Sinterklaas en Christmas. Already bought a tree, but it’s still standing outside. We’ll probably be decorating on Sunday and then the tree will stay till the 6th of January (three kings’ day).
My eagerness to sew comes in waves and when it’s wintertime I often rather read at night. But the boy really needs some warm clothes and once I start again, I love to continue. It’s the swinging on the momentum, if you know what I mean, that’s the hardest. So here are some pictures of this afternoon, while Pelle was at school. Will show the result soon.

donderdag 8 december 2011

About presents and playing

Pelle dressed as little black Pete with gran.

Last Monday we celebrated Sinterklaas and it was cozy. My mother came, my mother-in-law and an aunt of Mark. So here we were: 4 woman, 1 man and a child sitting together, unwrapping presents and reading rhymes. Afterwards we had diner together, to top it of. It was an old-fashion family experience and it felt good.

It used to be hard to select presents for Pelle, because he hardly played with toys, except for cars, trains and busses. I think the biggest challenge for him and us is not communication. We always had good eye-contact and although he learned to speak a little late, it came reasonably fluently. I even think Pelle has a natural feeling for language. Since he learned to speak he asked a lot of questions and was very repetitious. He could ask “Is the door of the mill open or closed?” twenty or even forty times a day. As I, thanks to Son-Rise, though he needed this in some way I could deal with it and take his questions seriously. And it has faded away; we now really, truly have interactive communication. He has opened up.
He’s now at school learning to read and he loves it. I’m glad. Finally, there’s an aria in which he can come along with his classmates and I think that’s very good for his self-esteem.
But playing with his classmates is still something he’s not able to do, yet.
This last year, in our Dutch equivalent of the SonRise-program the players and I focused on enticing him to do pretend-play. We played roles, introduced puppets, imitated animals and did all kinds of other things. I also read a lot of books to him. And now our efforts are paying of. He’s starting to fantasize! In a small way, like a Sinterklaaspuppet he placed in a hoop and saying: “Sinterklaas is imprisoned now” and in a larger way: last week he was pretending there was a lion in the bookstore who wanted to eat us. We escaped on our bike and the lion was hit by a car. But then someone kissed him alive again (the echo of the tale of Snow-white I read him) and we had to escape again by climbing up the largest tower in the land. I was elated and think this growing ability will help him to interact with children more easily.
I also recon next year will be fun to give him toys, because they will speak to him much more.
For now, he had some books, a puzzle to make into a highway, a game with cards where he has to imitate actions and animals and this bag I made him. The fabric says: "Be A Hero" and I ordered it long ago at Spoonflower, I think. As you can see he already used it, because it's stained and will go in the laundry now.

When he’s older, I enlarge the straps. Now the corners curl up, but otherwise the bag would hang on his bum, and I don’t like that. So there’s room to grow for my hero!

donderdag 1 december 2011

He's in town again!

Coming Monday we celebrate the birthday of Saint Nicolaas and hopefully he will bring some presents to our home.
The Saint already arrived in Holland some weeks ago and of course we were there to watch him step ashore. Pelle placed his shoe by the chimney, with a carrot for the horse of Nicolaas and the following morning the little Black Pete had placed a small present there.
Now we anxiously await his arrival at school on Monday. Last year he came by in his camper and wasn’t even dressed because he overslept! And two years ago he arrived steering a tractor. Who knows what he will do this year? Well, as long as he doesn’t forget us, I’m in for a surprise. (Sshh, I already know that his assistant made a nice bag for the little boy to host his sportswear, but don’t tell anyone).