Father and son hats

I couldn’t help myself… I just thought it would be too cute, even it was just for a picture to satisfy this crazy knitting granny. I made a hat for the father to be and a much smaller one for the baby to match. There’s not much else to tell about them, just simple stripes and a bit slouchy, because I know J. likes that.

A bit of decorating

What? Oh! No, not for Christmas. We’ll be away from home at Christmas, so I’m not going to decorate here at all. I know people start earlier and earlier, but that’s not my thing. Also, I think it’s getting worse each year, because of the influencers trying to stay ahead of everyone and then everyone else being influenced to start that early too, so that the influencers have to start even earlier the next year. I hope it stops somewhere, or we’ll have to decorate for Christmas in July…

Anyway, I decided my home needed a bit of extra love and a bit of “me”. I don’t know if that makes sense, but I’m the kind of person that tends to hold back on things because I figure other people won’t like it. Even here, with hardly any visitors, I tend to discard ideas because I assume T. won’t like it. And that is really silly, because he doesn’t care about details too much. Often he doesn’t even see them, it was all in my own head. And when I finally realized that, I wondered if doing little things like that would make me feel less overwhelmed (I love my garden and my home, but the list of bigger tasks is endless).

So one day, when I wasn’t feeling up to gardening or cleaning, but also felt a bit too restless to sit down and read, knit or sew, I hauled that little table down from the office (where it was a catch-all for things we need to go through) and arranged some stuff on it. Plants, of course. That’s my granite morter underneath that vintage little cloth (a gift from a dear blogging friend) to keep the dust off. And I bought that book a year ago for the beautiful pictures. So happy to finally see them every day.

I also hung some herbs. I don’t think it’s the best way to dry this herb (holy basil). I already found leaves that have fallen off on the ground and they’re far from dry. But I do love how it looks and smells, so for now, I’m leaving them right there.

It’s silly, but I feel happier and lighter every time I see these little decorations…

Thrift store treasures

The most fun about going thrift store shopping is that you never never know what you’ll find. I do have a list of things I’m looking for in the back of my head, but I learned to keep an open mind for anything else. If I just look for the things on my list, it will be frustrating if I can’t find them and that takes all the fun away.

So, while I went searching for a butcher’s block or a side table or something else at counter height that I can use as a cutting table for sewing and a work table for herbal crafting, I was acutally quite pleased to come home with some completely different things.

I’ve always loved copper and iron things for decorating in the kitchen, but in our former houses we didn’t really have the wall space for that. Here, we do, but these objects are really hard to find. So yay for both an iron plate that I love and a beautiful copper bowl. I bought them in a shop that has the better stuff, but they are rather expensive, so they were quite pricy (42 guilders, about 27 dollars). I decided it was worth it.

The other thrift store I went to is the one where you really have to dig deep to find treasures hidden under all the rubbish they sell there. Yet, when the lady said; “I’m happy to see you found something”, I could sincerely answer that I always do.

How fun is that fabric? I don’t have a clue what to do with it, but I love it. The white napkin on top is linen, the other one cotton (I think – I’m not an expert in determining these things). The little spoon has some really nice decoration (but you can’t reall see that in this picture) and the vase is pretty too. I paid 5 guilders (about 3 dollars) for that little haul.

You know what’s the best thing about not being able to find what I was looking for? I get to go again soon!

Hat #3

By now I’m pretty sure that I’m going to try and make six hats for Christmas. That should be doable, especially since the sixth one is going to be tiny (three daughters, two sons-in-law and a grandson who will probably be born by then). This is the third, so I think I’ll have them all finished in time.

Although… I may decide to replace this one. I tried color work, in a very simple way. The only other time I did this, my tension was very tight, so I made sure I kept it loose this time. But now I am kind of disappointed with the irregularity of my tension. Then again, seeing these pictures, I think it actually adds to the charm. Maybe. Well, let’s stick to that story for now.

Getting there

Thanks for all the well-wishes on my last post. I’m getting there. Still not feeling completely up to writing comprehensive sentences (and probably overthinking my posts way too much because I’m a bit off emotionally) , but defintely better than last week.
I’m sorry for posting a non-post again, but don’t worry, I am working on real posts for the rest of the week, so I hope to be back with something a bit more interesting on Wednesday.

Hope you’re having a good start of the week!

Giving up

No, not on blogging. I’m still trying to keep going. That’s actually why I’m writing this post to announce that I don’t really have something to post today. I have been sick most of the week, to be honest, but I had some posts prepared and decided to publish those. But if you’re wondering why I’m slow with answering your comments and not commenting on your blogs at all, this is why. And now I’m just giving up.

So today I’m calling in sick. I’m going to sit on the couch, drink some tea and read a book. I hope to be back on my feet on Monday. Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

A house dress

Isn’t that what they called it in the old days? The kind of dress you wear when you’re doing chores at home (and in my case in the garden)? That’s exactly what this is. Not exactly meant to go out for diner in, but comfortable in any way and more or less “nice” enough for when company arrives unexpectedly. Also, very important, long enough to be able to bend over without worrying about people watching from the neighbor’s balcony.

I drew a pattern myself, based on bits of store bought dresses I liked. This one is different from the ones I made two and a half years ago in two important ways: a draw string in my waist instead of elastic, and pockets. I also dropped the waist a bit below my natural waist. I think it looks better with my aging body (i.e. belly fat).

I love it very much. And now I’m off to make myself some more!

(experimenting with taking self portraits lately … I’m not really at ease in front of the camera)

Kitchen doings

(after uploading the pictures for this post, I realized there were a lot of pictures of processing herbs and not too much cooking. Oh well, I’m going to post it anyway)

The chef from a restaurant we visit often gave me some fresh thyme he wasn’t going to use. He knows I like to make herbal remedies, so he thought I could use it. Well, I could. I needed to make some new coughing syrup. So I did just that.

The mint cuttings I planted a few weeks ago all died on me, so I started a new round (and that’s how I clean those vases, with a small piece of a scouring pad and a skewer)

Of course I saved the leaves for tea.

Oh, look, I made soup and actually took a picture! This one turned out really nice. It was just eggplant, mushrooms, a red pepper and a yellow pepper, chicken stock and a big scoop of Korean chili sauce.

Dry Oregano di Korsou and dry Passionflower. I don’t think I’m going to dry the passion flower leaves on the vines again. It was a lot of work to get the dried leaves off. Or maybe it was just because they were all tangled up? I meant to hang those vines, but I never got to it.

I need more jars… Yes, I use pickle jars for my herbs. Last year I invested in cuter jars, but all the herbs I stored in those have gone bad over the summer (when we weren’t home), so I’m back to reusing pickle jars.

Breakfast! T.’s eggs came out of the pan real easy this morning. Small victories… (the trick is to get the pan real hot before adding the bacon and the eggs, but I don’t always have the patience for that).

Tea again. I’m trying berbena this week, mostly because, among other things, it’s supposed to help with obstipation (though now I can’t find an online source for that anymore. I guess I need to put a hold on it until I do.)

And preparing soup again (these images are from a longer period). Really, I do cook diner too (soups are lunch in our house). I made the most perfect meatballs last night, but I forgot to take a picture. This is one of my favorite soups: chorizo, onion, leek, sweet potato, corn and chicken stock. I had some cauliflower left over from the day before (ate it with those delicious meatballs), so I added that too.

(Do you want real recipes for meals I mention here? I never use recipes myself, so for me it’s perfectly natural to just list what’s in it, but I could do recipes if you’d be interested. I think I did for a while a long time ago).

Last picture. Processing berbena leaves. This one is funny to me. I was using a blue plastic dishpan to rinse these leaves and I was thinking how some of the people I admire on Youtube always use such beautiful bowls. At first I was like: “yeah, but this is much more practical”. But then I gave it a try and switched to my largest glass bowl. I actually do think I enjoyed that, even though I had to split the batch in two. It seems esthetics are important too…

These rainy days

The cat is not amused and wants me to end it. My husband’s mood is more or less the same.

My philosophy is that it’s best to just take things as they come and I strive to find beauty in everything.
Today I couldn’t really find the words to express that beauty, but luckily there are some very talented ladies who have done that for me (I couldn’t chose just one poem – they both speak to me in different ways).

Last Night the Rain Spoke to Me by Mary Oliver
Last night
the rain
spoke to me
slowly, saying,
what joy
to come falling
out of the brisk cloud,
to be happy again
in a new way
on the earth!
That’s what it said
as it dropped,
smelling of iron,
and vanished
like a dream of the ocean
into the branches
and the grass below.
Then it was over.
The sky cleared.
I was standing
under a tree.
The tree was a tree
with happy leaves,
and I was myself,
and there were stars in the sky
that were also themselves
at the moment
at which moment
my right hand
was holding my left hand
which was holding the tree
which was filled with stars
and the soft rain –
imagine! imagine!
the long and wondrous journeys
still to be ours.

Summer Shower by Emily Dickinson
A Drop fell on the Apple Tree –
Another – on the Roof –
A Half a Dozen kissed the Eaves –
And made the Gables laugh –

A few went out to help the Brook,
That went to help the Sea –
Myself Conjectured were they Pearls –
What Necklaces could be –

The Dust replaced, in Hoisted Roads –
The Birds jocoser sung –
The Sunshine threw his Hat away –
The Bushes – spangles hung –

The Breezes brought dejected Lutes –
And bathed them in the Glee –
The Orient put out a single Flag,
And signed the Fete away –

(poems found here and here)

In my garden

Still very much a work in progress… Some days I’m slowly cutting back useful herbs and trees to process later, other days I’m just pulling grass and other unwanted plants and filling up my wheelbarrow. But I’m getting there. And, more important, I’m enjoying every minute I spend out there.

Working in the garden has always (even in our small garden in the Netherlands) been a way for me to ground, to reconnect with myself. I know that sounds woo-woo, but it’s true.

Anyway, it’s quite rainy these days, and a bit cooler than usual, so everything is growing really fast and blooming like crazy. So beautiful!

(Do you want names with the plants? I always wonder if people prefer that or not. I do want to mention that the orange flowers are from a shrub called tuturutu. Got to love that name.)