Tuesday, 1 April 2014

The last day of March

Good morning! I'm finally back, time flies when you're busy ... I do hope you enjoy a wonderful Spring. In Holland it's almost summer, unbelievable. So I live outdoors when possible, tralala ...
Couldn't find those red wooden shoes with polka dots, by the way, so I finally bought me the traditional ones, the same ones as I  had before. I was pottering around in my boots, but I missed my wooden shoes too much. So when I had my birthday and my purse was filled more than usual ;), I ran off to buy a new pair! So I'm the 'normal me' now, sigh.
It's such a luxury to drink a coffee outside in the morning. Laundry drying, birds singing, falling over Fietje who's trying to impress me with strange spurts in the garden ...
Meowing from her wooden pedestal, how typical!
And yesterday, the last day of March had a surprise for me: the first passion flower. In the morning the petals opened shyly.
In the evening it was party time! This variety is named 'Amethyst' and it was a present from the girls on Mother's Day two years ago. I took the plant with me to Zevenaar and it's covering our back wall near the kitchen. Lovely!
Remember those winter pansies? They're flowering their socks off. They are a very grateful bunch of plants :)
The daffodils are trumpeting loudly and even the double ones are in full bloom now. They always remind me of my mother. Daffodils were her favourite flowers.
The pedestal is dismantled. I made a little corner on the terrace. Not that it will keep Fietje from sitting on a wood block or from drinking from the bird bath ...
André gave me two flower containers on my birthday. He knew I got depressed (joke!) when seeing that yellowy and not too nice and bare wall when passing it. And now it looks so nice, with the colourful pansies! The coming summer we will paint the front door and wow, we're getting somewhere! ;)
These ladies are greeting the postman every morning, plus the neighbours, plus the visitors ... I have a daily chat with them too.
Since I was busy with the garden and other things, not many stitches were made. I'm still working on my little project ...
In the evening I often make rows for Sofia's quilt. Half of a quilt left, so steadily going on ...
And there's a new one to make: a colleague of mine and his partner asked me to make a quilt for them. They gave us their old television (still a very good one!) and when I suggested to pay them for the television they pointed out that they would love to have a quilt from my hand. Yvette is a very creative lady (crochet etc.) and would like to have a quilt. Now that's a nice challenge! A nice form of fair trade. The fabrics above (too thick to use in the quilt though) give an indication of 'what they would like'. Black, silver, white and YELLOW! A warm, bright yellow. I never worked with black before and the yellow they showed me is not in my stash ... so I will have to surf and look ... no punishment at all! To be continued.
I hope you're all doing well. Thank you for all your good wishes, letters and cards on my birthday! That was a great start of a new year.
Have a nice day, happy stitching and till next time!
Dutch greetings, Carolien

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Last Sunday

Good morning! A cloudy Tuesday here in Zevenaar, after a wonderful warm weekend. I catched a cold and I guess that means no gardening today ... Tomorrow I'll be back to work, so my next attempt will be in the weekend, I hope. Well, I already had my fun! Yesterday I planted my first four rows of onions. Such fun to do!!! What's better than dig into the soil, rake, plant and water the newly planted seeds, bulbs and plants, listen to the song of the birds, feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin ...
Making good pictures of the garden with my iPhone isn't easy. I wanted to show you how the crocuses and daffodils are showing off. This is a part of our front garden, it's on the northside of the house.  There's a lot of colour in the garden right now, but I can't catch it!!! This is the best one I could make lately.
Last Sunday I went to the chapel of Loo (a small village) with André. I never managed to attend a service there before; this community mostly has a service on Saturday evening - when I'm still at work or at best driving home. Well, I have visited all of them now, eleven former parishes who are now united in two parishes.
After opening a fresh painted door, a nice chapel came into view. It's the chapel of St. Antonius Abt.
As we are always early in church because André wants to prepare before the service, I can make a little tour before the people start coming in. I love to stroll a little in a church before mass, vespers or whatever kind of service ...
I wondered where St. Antonius Abt would be in this church. He was a recluse (I could have known) and hid in the left side chapel of the chapel. Mmmm, nice, in the chapel of the chapel ... ;)
Here he is, flanked by a pig. Why a pig? There are two explanations. First: a pig stands for the devil. St. Antonius Abt (Abbot) had to fight the devil many times in the desert (he was a so called desert saint) and of course conquered that bloody pig!
The second explanation is, that the monks of his order were allowed to let their pigs roam freely in the places where they lived or passed. Privilige of this order ... different times I guess :)
Another little side chapel. They bravely protected Mary with a sturdy fence ...
Detail (yes, crossstitches): the altar cloth. Some women (I bet) have been working patiently, working on several 'titles of Mary': rosa mystica, mystic rose, sedes sapientiae, seat of wisdom ... Old hymns pop into my mind ... a world and culture quickly disappearing.
An empty 'cupboard' in one of the walls of the church. I wonder what treasures were kept there ... Utterly worldly I imagine this cupboard in my kitchen. Would be nice to put your eggs etc. on those shelves, some nice china ... o never mind ;)
Just love this view: the old and worn tiles, the pews, the big cabinet with stained glass ...
The stoup (had to look that up!) next to the entrance door ...
The bell and the 'other' St. Antonius (St. Anthony).
The sacrifice of Isaac, an altar part.
The final ending of that story, the sacrifice of a lamb ... oh no! It's another story, the accepted sacrifice of Abel and the jealous Kaïn, who's offer wasn't accepted by God.
I love the light streaming in from the windows ...
I think it's magic!
Candles are lit near Mary ...
After the service the big candles are blown out. Love to see the lingering 'smoke' ... Time to go home and warm up my feet ;)
I hoped you enjoyed the little tour in Loo. Anyway, have a nice day!
Dutch greetings, Carolien

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Okay, back to Utrecht

So here he is, Jenny: a broodje Mario. It's an Italian kind of bread with cheese, salami, chorizo, a mixture of bell pepper, carrot and celery and a few (mild) green peppers on top. This may not sound too spectacular, but what if it is served on a slightly crispy and warm Italian round bread? Yummie ... The picture isn't great, the bread is also quite big actually - one broodje Mario and you have a big lunch, but you have an idea. The bread is so delicious! They bring it over to the market stall in big baskets with some cloth on top. Warm from the oven, the bakery is nearby, they just cross the bridge over the Old Canal, de Oudegracht
As I told you in my last post: before leaving Utrecht we visited the quiltshop, Carol Cox. We couldn't stay long, but I managed to buy quilting pins and ... ahum ... three pincushions. I don't know who made them, but my, I loved them! A little variation on the magpie and jewelry theme ;)
Sofia said to me in a 'dry voice': "Mom, can't you make them yourself?" A very practical and true remark. Yes, I could make them. And I know I already have some nice pincushions. I have! But look at this ...
Aren't they beautiful? They make me so happy. It's a totally unnecessary purchase, but wait!
I can use them, I have a pincushion for every type of pin now. Quite sensible! LOL And the one with the little birds, well you wouldn't want me to torture those birds, would you?!
Let's simply state that I sponsored the shop with these purchases. I managed to stay strong on the 'buying fabrics front'. I told myself I didn't need any fabrics right now. Strong or what?! ;)
Yesterday the fine weather broke the records. Since the start of the Dutch registration of the weather (in 1901) we didn't have this warmth on March 8th before. I managed to dry my laundry outside yesterday, tralala ... and this evening we had our first dinner outside. How lovely that was!
Fleur and I started on our herb-garden-to-be. It doesn't look impressive now, we're working on it ... We planted rosemary, thyme and lavender. We transplanted the lavas, chives, parsley and celery (they survived the winter, never had that before).
The winter pansies are busy with their come-back too. I tended them a little and they are doing their very best indeed!
I did buy some seeds and small onions to plant. These onions will be the next ones when having cleared another part of the garden ... It's quite a project to transform the garden, but bit by bit ...  I look forward to it.
I started another small stitching project. It's a freebie from Ria Lanser. I'll adapt it a little. After an afternoon of digging etc., it's great to pick up that needle again!
Have a nice evening, happy stitching and gardening and whatever other nice things you can do ...
Dutch greetings, Carolien

Saturday, 8 March 2014

A wonderful day

Yesterday we had our day out in this crocus holiday! At coffee time we arrived at uncle Daan's home, in the nice little farm in Wageningen. We had a little present for him: a cookie jar with cookies, homemade by Fleur. 'Heavenly cookies' mix and yes they were great, Fleur! The cookie jar matches the other Boerenbont pottery, plates etc. that has always been used in my grandparents house.
When entering the living room, I spotted a familiar quilt. Dear uncle Daan has put it on his couch, how nice! And even the pillow with the crossstitched sheep was still there.
It's always wonderful to be back in Wageningen. So many fond memories, it feels like coming home.
The interior of the house has changed a little over the years. See the black wood and coal stove? In the 'old days' it was standing in the kitchen. The first thing my grandfather did in the morning was to start a fire in the stove. Wood and coal, the warmth was unbeatable, so lovely ... Of course they had a furnace, but the stove was used for cooking too.
Since the lambing has started we soon headed to the stables to see the first lambs of 2014. Here you can see the ones who were born the day before yesterday. When we saw them they were just one day old. So small, so cute!
The little ones were fast asleep and the mom's could rest a little too. Chewing hay, lying down, patiently watching the visit of human beings ...
They were really fast asleep! Tiring job, entering a new world ...
These lovely ladies were 'in' already, they will be in labour soon. It's all registered in the computer, not many surprises nowadays ;)
My uncle, who used to be a family doctor, is having the best time of year now. He has a camera installed in the kitchen, from where he can see what's going on in the 'labouring stable'. During the night every two hours he sets his alarm to check on the sheep. Is he a dedicated doctor or what?!
In the distance (click on the picture to enlarge) you can see the lambs who were born earlier. Since we have such a mild Spring, they are already dancing outside. The sign for the neighbourhood to come over and have a look at the lambs in the pasture. Even complete kindergarten classes visit the farm. Uncle Daan is a great host and welcomes them with chocolate to drink and (yup, chocolate) Easter eggs :)
After our visit to uncle Daan, we went to Utrecht. André drove us the beautiful way, the old way from Arnhem to Utrecht, not the motorway. Love it! Many memories. As a child I used to go to my grandparents by bike, from Bunnik to Wageningen and that's exactly that old way to Arnhem that we drove yesterday. Tralala ...
In Utrecht we parked our car in the neighbourhood where we lived as students. We passed the house where André lived for some years. A lovely old arbeiderswoning.
Today there is living een heer van stand in the same street, how nice! ;)
We always love to go to Utrecht. We have lived there for many years and it's just a charming town ... See the Dom? It's the highest church tower of the country, 112 meters high. You did learn that at primary school. No permission to build a church tower that was higher!!!
De Drift, near some university buildings. This is typical for Utrecht: bikes everywhere. Bikes and everyone knows: the older the better, unless you want your bike to be stolen. It only happened to me once and yes, my bike was too shiny and new :)
It's lovely to walk in Utrecht. This is the Janskerkhof (the Cemetery of St. John, weird but true: it's the square near the Church of St. John, so I bet this will have been a cemetery once).
At the left you can see the statue of St. Willibrord, patron of the Dutch Catholic Church Province. He was the missionary who came by boat from Ireland in the 8th century and brought Christianity to the 'Low Lands', the Netherlands. He died in 739, November 7th. This day still is the Festive Day of the Dutch Catholic Church Province. Utrecht is the town of the apostolic residence, it's the only Archdiocese in the country and therefore the centre of the Church province. 
On the same Janskerkhof there is the famous statue of Anne Frank. The girls didn't remember it from earlier times, so we visited it again shortly. It's well known in Utrecht.
Most days there are flowers lying at Anne's feet. On Saturday there is always a flower market on this square too ...
Since it was lunchtime we went to the Oudegracht (the Old Canal) to buy a 'broodje Mario'. Another tradition of Utrecht. Everbody knows what a 'broodje Mario' is and where you can get it.
Tadaah! De Dom.
The Oudegracht again, a nice statue and yep, bikes. You can't avoid them on pictures ;)
See? You want to make a picture of a lovely tiny house of 1651 and here's the bike again ...
We even managed to go to the lovely quiltshop, Carol Cox. More about that later. It was time to go to Amersfoort after that ... and half the evening we drove home to Zevenaar. A little tired from walking. Rosy. But happy, happy, happy! It was such a lovely, gezellige day together!
Till next time, happy stitching and many Dutch greetings,