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.)

Another hat

Yes, it is happening again. I can’t stop knitting hats (remember my 52 hat challenge in 2018?). I just love how simple it is to “design” something on the go, how fast it goes and how every hat is just slightly different. So here’s another one.

The ribbing is K3 p2, the top of the hat is a simple stitch pattern I found in my grandmother’s knitting book (actually T. picked it, because I was overwhelmed with the amount of choice). It’s just repeating a K1, P1 round and then a full K round, but I love how it turned out.

Right now…

Right now I am…

… struggling with today’s post. I had something prepared, but I wasn’t happy with it, so I decided not to post that. But then it started to nag me that I needed to stick to my Monday – Wednesday – Friday schedule, so here I am, ignoring the breakfast dishes and trying to write something, before it’s too late too post (by rules that exist only in my mind).

… thinking the blog is always a bit of a struggle for me, but this time I’m rather determined to keep it going. I always miss it when I quit.

… feeling a bit groggy. We went out for diner yesterday to celebrate something. I was a good girl and didn’t order a smoothie or ice cream, but I did eat a lot of bread.

… wondering about the human mind and how it processes live happenings. Or is it just mine? I’m kinda weird, I know.
This thing we celebrated has been weighing on me way too long. In my mind it grew into something much bigger than it actually was. I guess it eventually turned into an obsession and I’ve spent nights lying awake because of it (not trying to be mysterious here, but it’s a very personal, complicated and long story that isn’t just my own, so I can’t really share it).
I expected that I would feel relieved, happy, free… now that it’s over. But it’s like my mind is confused. This big thing is gone and now what? Where do we go from here? I am happy, but still not convinced it’s all good (it is). And I can actually feel those obsessive thoughts in my head circling around and trying to find something to return to. So weird! I guess I need a bit of rest.Maybe a few nights of good sleep? That would be great!

… listening to the birds singing outside. I love them so much.

… looking at the trees outside our office window. I think the garden is calling me.

… promising myself some sewing time too

… hoping for a nice and peaceful weekend, with lots of sewing, gardening, knitting and reading. Oh, and sleeping!

…wishing you all a great weekend too

… going to do those dishes now… 😉