Bon Siman!

I was going to post about goals and plans for this week and things accomplished last week. I had a lot to do (writing, editing, bookkeeping, cleaning) and I opened my laptop at seven o’clock in the morning to have an early start on a productive day.
But then one of my girls called and we talked for 90 minutes.
So now I’m behind on everything.
But you know what? I don’t care.
Her phonecall made me realize that this part of my life – being a mom, a wife, a daughter –  is way more important than anything else. And if I get to spend most of my days talking to people I love, I’m just very lucky. Unproductive, yes. But lucky.
So this week I’m going to try to do the things that have to be done. And then some other things I’d like to get done. But I’ll savor those 90 minutes and I hope the other girls will call too. Because that’s what counts.

Wishing you all a great week!

Three things I need to get back to sewing

I may have (ha!) mentioned it here and in some comments on your blogs, that I really, really want to get back to sewing. So much that I shipped my sewing machine all the way to Curaçao.

It arrived safely and I did take it out of its bag once, to do some mending (I ripped a curtain in our rental, so I had to repair that), but that was it. But I still was thinking about sewing.
But there were some things I needed to buy before I could actually start (and I’m determined to count three things to be able to link up with Carole’s Three on Thursday)

1. Fabric

Two weeks ago I found myself alone in Punda (city center), waiting for my husband, so I decided to pop into a fabric store I knew. I have been thinking about sewing myself some dresses because I have only a few that I can wear in this heat, so I asked for 100% cotton. They didn’t have much choice in that (“only African prints”, they love their polyester cloths here), but I found two options I liked.

Step one taken. But then the fabric just sat there, waiting patiently for me to actually do something with it.

2. Pattern
Last week I was in one of the bookstores (we sadly only have two on the island) and decided to see if they had any pattern magazines. Of course, I was late to the game: they only have Dutch magazines and those have fall and winter clothes now, but I did find myself a magazine with patterns that can be adapted to summer clothes.

This pattern looks a lot like one of the (store-bought) dresses I’m wearing a lot here. I just need to make it sleeveless and I would like something like a drawstring in my waist, to make it less baggy (that other dress has one).
Here it is again, different fabric, different model. (By the way, I do like that these girls have normal sizes, but I happen to be a lot thinner, so I’d love to see it on a skinny model too. The pattern is for all sizes, so why not show it on all sizes?)

I’m also thinking I could just make simple skirts. Not too hard to do if I get the measurements for the panels right. And then I would have enough fabric left to make bags or pouches or other fun stuff.

3. More stuff I need
So, a happy ending? Show and tell?

Not yet. I still can’t start sewing, since I don’t have pattern paper or anything that I could use for that. Didn’t bring that with me from the Netherlands. So now I hope that the little craft store I have found on Instagram has some. I am excited that I actually have a reason to pop in there, so I guess I’ll do that the next time I go grocery shopping (the supermarket is really close to that store). If they don’t have it, I’ll have to try the bigger fabric store, but that’s in a part of town we don’t visit often. If I go there I’d have to buy some more fabric and maybe even some yarn (they have a small collection) just to make the trip worth it. Just kidding. Sort of.
Also, I realized when I was writing this, that I don’t have an iron and I need to buy some interfacing. I did bring some zippers and buttons, but I’ll have to look if those are the right size and/or color too.

Need to go shopping. While I’m at it, I think I’ll try to find a nice knit to make this pattern too. I love this design (But why is this one shown on a skinny model only? Somehow these magazines still don’t get it).

To be continued…

Planting roots

Remember this little palm tree we grew from a coconut?
Well, it just kept growing and started to outgrow the container we had it in, so we decided it was time to actually plant it.
And last weekend we did.

I was so happy to plant our very first tree at the house. It felt really symbolic like we were not only planting a tree, but also planting our roots, making this house into our home just one little step at a time.

T. has been working very hard on this part of our lot. It’s directly in front of the house and the porch where we spent most of our time, so he really wanted it to be nice to look at. Which meant we had to somehow cover the concrete slab that’s over the cesspit.
He had this vision in his head. It took me a while to actually see it, but now I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. We still need to get more gravel for the path, but it’s close to done.
We have a second little palm tree, that will be planted when it’s big enough to leave its container.

And I got carte blanche to buy some more pots and plants to fill that flat space (that’s the concrete slab I was talking about). That will be fun!

It’s all artificial grass, by the way. Partly because it had to cover the concrete, partly because we wanted this to be low maintenance, but mostly because we can’t afford the water bills to keep real grass alive. Water is very expensive here and you need a lot to keep the grass green. I heard people with green gardens easily pay 400 USD each month on water alone. Also, it would be a waste of drinking water. One day we want to have a deep well, but until then, artificial grass it is. Collecting greywater and rainwater to water the rest of the garden is a lot higher on our list of things to do though.

How to plant a palm tree (or any plant or tree)

1. dig a hole that is larger than the container the tree used to live in
2. pour water into the hole
3. fill the hole partly with potting soil and put the tree in. Press the soil down gently.
4. water carefully if the soil was really dry, but don’t make overdo it. You watered the hole and you want to roots to find there way there. That will help to really root the tree.

How to root yourself into a new home

1. remember why you moved; bigger house, better location, closer to job, cheaper – there’s usually a benefit and you got to remind yourself of that.
2. Move your stuff. Don’t just unpack the essentials. Fill the house with books, knitting, photos, sentimental items.
3. Work, relax, cook your favorite meals. grow plants. Do the things you love to do.
4.  Be aware of the fact that this is your home now, but don’t make too big a deal of it. It has to become part of your “normal” to really root in this space.

Bon siman!

(I was keeping an eye on the iguana to see how he would get off that cactus, but I missed it. I went into the house to get something and then he was gone.) 

In my quest to simplify my life and my blogging, I thought it would be better not to post on Mondays. I like my weekends to be computer-free and a Monday post would mean the first thing I have to do in a new week would be thinking about what to write. Too much stress on a Monday morning. Preparing on Friday wouldn’t work either, since I’m usually rushing to get things done. One day I’ll have enough blog posts prepared in advance, but for now skipping Mondays felt like the best solution.

But this morning I felt I really wanted to start the week the right way. One of the customs I like very much here is that people tend to wish you a good week if you meet them Sunday after noon or on Monday.
So I thought I’d just pop in with one picture and wish you all a great week!

A hat that makes me happy

After weeks of not knitting one stitch, I suddenly got an itch to pick up my knitting last Monday. So I dug out the hat I started almost two months ago. I worked on it during the day and I had a nice window of uninterrupted knitting time at night when some mysterious orange lights in the distance inspired my husband to listen to Jeff Wayne’s War of the World. Yes, we’re nerds like that 😉
But it was nice. Just half an hour on Tuesday to finish it and then I was done.
It’s just a simple hat, actually, and it doesn’t even really fit me (it’s kind of big), but it makes me so happy.

When life is hard and stressful, knitting helps me to relax, but when I slip into a real depression (you know, the chemical imbalance in your head), I usually stop knitting. Being back at it definitely is a sign that I’m getting better.
And that’s why I love this simple, oversized hat.

Progress report :: the small bathroom

I thought it would be fun to update you on the few rooms in the house that are more or less done. I’m not going to call posts ‘reveals’ since that would imply a lot more than we actually did. We’re on a very tight budget and have a very long list of things we need to do, so there’s no gutting, no design, no excessive shopping.
We’re trying to make do if we can (and this bathroom was nicely tiled and probably hardly ever used) and buy the things we need at La Curaçao and Home Plus (cheap shops comparable to the Dollar Store).
But we did come a long way from where we started.

I spent hours to clean it all thoroughly and then started adding some storage and some color. Green, of course. The most expensive part was the medicine cupboard with the mirror, but we really needed some space to put our medicines and toiletries, so a simple mirror wouldn’t do. The towels are stored in the rolling cart under the sink.

We still need to install a ceiling and a real light (there’s just a bulb now), connect the lights in the cupboard and do some painting. One day I’d like to replace that concrete air grate with in a real window and put in a vanity, but for now, I am quite happy with it.

Hot lunches

Since I found out I have some foodallergies, I’ve been struggling with lunches. I used to love my simple sandwiches (just bread and some sliced meat), but I can’t eat bread anymore, since gluten is one of the things I have to avoid. Glutenfree bread is not an option though, since I also have to stay clear from soy, sugar, milk and some nuts (I’m sure about cashews and walnuts, and probably almonds too).
T. eats ricecakes as a substitute for bread, but those affect my bloodsugar too much (I have hypoglycemia).
I need something with a lot of fibres, fat and protein and not too many carbs. I can’t eat eggs for lunch, since I already have two for breakfast. So it’s really been a struggle.
I do eat a green salad with chicken or beef every once in a while, but I don’t like it enough to eat it daily.
What I do like, as silly as it may sound for someone living in the tropics (and we’re in the hottest period of the year right now), is chili con carne. Or something similar to that, because the batch I made last week has very few beans compared to other ingredients (bell peppers and tomatoes). It’s more like a very thick tomato soup, or maybe a stew. But I love eating it and my body reacts very well to it.
So now I’m contemplating making other stews and thick soups for lunch. Jeannie shares some good soup recipes every Sunday, so I’m sure I’ll turn to her blog first. And maybe it’s time to revive my pinterest account and start pinning recipes…

What’s your favorite stew or soup recipe?

Since we last talked

… we moved to the new old house!
… we made some (but not a lot of) progress renovating the house (still no ceilings)
… I didn’t knit one stitch. But I got a bit of an itch to dig up my knitting this morning, so there’s hope. I don’t think my 20 hats before 2020 goal will be met though.
… I didn’t take a lot of pictures either, but I picked up my camera last week and now I can’t stop trying to capture sunsets, birds and moments.
… I’ve felt happy, depressed, motivated, frustrated, energetic, tired, healthy, sick, calm, stressed out, optimistic and pessimistic. You know, life happening. I have to admit that the negative outweighed the positive, but I’m slowly digging myself out of that dark tunnel.
… I realised that I really, really miss blogging, so I guess I’m back at it again.