Monday, April 30, 2012

Signs of Spring, Week 9...

Wow, everything is just exploding with color these days. Especially the greens are popping like crazy!
Here are some of the colors you can find in our yard at the moment...










I'm having a bit of an off-day today. It is Queen's Day in Holland and I can see on the web how much fun and nice weather everybody is having over there at the moment. This is the day where Holland is at its best and I feel very very far away from it all... 

A beautiful Tulip, reminding me of home...
In the mean time I'm designing a new banner and some new sidebar buttons for tomorrow since today's banner is only good for, well, today!  <wink> Almost done!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Another One?!


OK, I might be done for a bit now. Yes, I made another dress and all in one day even! The original pattern was a fairly short top, but I wanted something with a bit more drape so I added 11 inches to the length.

This one actually fits me better than the mannequin (I couldn't fit it over the top of it since there is no zipper in it) and flows lovely in the wind. It does look a bit like a negligee doesn't it?

It is made (very likely) of a vintage curtain as it is rather polyester-ish, but it will be very comfy for the summer months.

Oh yes, it has ties on the sides that tie to the back which gives it a nice empire-waist look. (think Jane Austen) And I added another lace detail at the bottom: love that stuff!  {smile}

The bottom part of the 'V' in front didn't come out quite right so I might add something to cover that area. Also that decolletage is a bit deep, if you know what I mean...  <wink>

Tonight Master C. will give another performance with 'his' Jazz Band at school so off we go!

New Look Dress...

Et voila, another dress finished! I'm on a roll.  {smile} What do you think? It looks a bit like a Bavarian Dirndl doesn't it? I'm quite pleased I must say. Every time I sew a new garment I learn something new and things are looking (and fitting!) better and better!
My closet is definitely filling up though (I've even had to buy some extra hangers) but it so much fun to do. Now what shall I sew next I wonder...

I think I'd better clean up first. Just look at all the mess left behind after such intense sewing...  <wink>

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Queen's Day...


Queen Beatrix
(picture borrowed from net)
Next week Monday, April 30th, is the Dutch National Holiday, celebrating the Queen's birthday. It also happens to be Miss M.'s birthday that day so double the party!  

Unfortunately, because of the distance (10 hours of flying or more), the last time I had the pleasure of actually celebrating this day was in 1990!

Oh well, such is life. Anyway, to get into the spirit of things I created the above banner, which of course will only stay up for the next week or so. I thought it sums up the fun and happy atmosphere that hangs around The Netherlands this time of year!  {smile}

I found the following explanation somewhere on line:

Queen's Birthday in Netherlands
The Queen's official birthday (Queen's Day, koninginnedag) in the Netherlands is celebrated each year with parties, street markets, concerts and special events for the royal family on April 30 or on April 29 if the 30th is a Sunday.

What do people do?
In many towns and cities, particularly Amsterdam, Arnhem, Utrecht and The Hague, the Queen's Day celebrations begin on the evening of April 29. There are public music performances and street parties. Some events continue until daybreak when the actual Queen's Day events begin.
Many people in the Netherlands have a day off work and schools are closed on April 30. It is the only day in the year that people without licences to trade can sell things on the street. Some people set up stalls to sell second-hand goods and Queen's Day themed products in many city and town centers.
There is a lot of busking and official musical performances on Queen's Day. Many people spontaneously sing "Het Wilhelmus". This is a poem written in 1574 and describes the life of William of Orange (William the Silent) and his fight for the Dutch people. It is written as if William of Orange is introducing himself to the Dutch people. Versions are also played by bands performing at Queen's Day events and on radio stations.
Each year, the royal family visits one or a few places on April 30. There they are entertained with displays and performances around local historic events. The members of the royal family generally join in with the games in a good natured way and greet thousands of people who turn out to see them.
Public life
On April 30, banks, post offices and many businesses are closed. Opening hours in stores vary. Some stores are open as usual, some are open for part of the day, and some are closed all day. Public transport runs to a normal or special timetable and there are extra train services to take people home from large celebrations. However, buses and trams in the center of large cities may have different or shortened routes to avoid the crowds. Restaurants may be shut, open as usual or only serving special "Queen's Day" meals. Cafes and restaurants may close earlier than usual.
Due to mass celebration, it is difficult to reach many addresses in the center of large cities, especially Amsterdam by most forms of transport. Apart from minor criminal acts such as pick pocketing and urinating in public, Queen's Day events are usually very peaceful. If April 30 falls on a Sunday, the celebrations take place on Saturday April 29.
Background
On August 31, 1880, Princess Wilhelmina was born in The Hague. She was the last child of King William III and the only child to outlive him. On August 31, 1885, and on the same date each year after that public birthday celebrations were held for her. The occasion was originally known as Princesses Day (Prinsessedag) and became known as Queen's Day in 1890 after Wilhelmina became Queen following the death of her father. On August 31, 1902, people in the Netherlands heard that Queen Wilhelmina had recovered from typhus and Queen's Day became a true public celebration.
On September 6, 1948, Wilhelmina's daughter, Juliana became queen and from 1949, the Queen's Day celebrations were moved to April 30, her birthday. On April 30, 1980, Beatrix, Juliana's daughter, became queen. Her birthday is on January 31, but the date of Queen's Day remained the same as a way of honoring Juliana. Hence, Queen's Day is the Queen's official birthday and the anniversary of her coronation.
Symbols
The national flag of the Netherlands is a horizontal tricolor with red at the top, white in the middle and blue at the bottom. On some feast days, an orange strip of cloth, known as a wimpel, is hung above the national flag. This is a symbol for the Dutch royal family, which uses the name "House of Orange-Nassau". The national flag and the colors red, white, blue and orange are widely displayed on Queen's Day. Many people make a special effort to wear an orange item of clothing, to dye their hair orange or to color their faces orange. Accessories that combine the color orange with some symbol of the royal family, such as a crown or a lion, are especially popular and sought after.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Signs of Spring, Week 8...

Wow, week 8 of the Signs of Spring already! 

I think this weekend we could have called it Signs of Summer, since the weather has been absolutely fabulous!  {smile}  Bright blue skies, a slight breeze and 75 F/ 23 C: yippiya-yayyay!








And some local 'wildlife'...
11 year old Olive

At the bird feeder. The lower bird is a Towhee.

Today is the last day of all this warmth. The rest of the week will be much cooler and wet again but the memories will linger with us for quite some time to come... I hope the nicer weather will be with you all soon as well, if it isn't there already...

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Earthquake!

Wow! A 2.9 earthquake just hit underneath us, I mean right underneath us! 

I know, that is not very big but we definitely felt it. I immediately said it was an earthquake (I was sitting at the computer with Miss M.) but then funnily enough we didn't do anything! I guess you're supposed to run outside but of course it always takes you by surprise and this one was a small one so by the time you're thinking all that it is gone again.

Oh boy, am I rambling or what???!  <wink> I think it is time for my morning coffee...

PS They had been writing about all the micro quakes that have been going on in Western Washington this week and I think this was one of the bigger ones in that series. Hopefully no more...

Here is a little excerpt from King 5: "Western Washington has experienced dozens of earthquakes so far this week, seismographic measurements show.

But nearly all of them have been too small for most people to notice. But the swarm of quakes, coupled with a series of large earthquakes throughout the Pacific rim's "Ring of Fire," has scientists wondering if the Pacific Northwest is in store for a large one of its own.

As of 5 p.m. PT Thursday, eight quakes were recorded in Washington state, ranging from less than a magnitude one to a 2.6 (big enough for that some people could have felt it)."

Friday, April 20, 2012

Finished Blouse... (yes, another one)


Last week I started sewing  another blouse and yesterday I finished it!  I quite like it but there are some things that I would change for the next time. In no particular order: longer length, smaller collar, smaller overall. I'm wearing it today with a red cardigan (it is still a bit cold outside) on top of skinny jeans. I love the colorful and somewhat vintage looking fabric!  {smile}

So now that I've finished that one I have already started with something new this morning! I'm really trying to get the sizing right this time so I'm taking my time before cutting into the actual fabric.
This is the pattern and I'm making view E, the yellow dress. I will be adding some elements of either piping, lace and ric-rac or all of the above...  <wink> You can see the inspiration dress from Modcloth "Breath of Fresh Prairie"   (click!) below it.



And this is the fabric I will be using. (it looks a little bit more faded and not so intense in real life) It is called 'Deer Valley' by Joel Dewberry.


Wish me luck! Oh and by the way, Happy Weekend everyone!  {smile}


PS: Listening to 'Mirror in the Bathroom' by The English Beat!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Lovely Light & Lacrosse...

Yesterday I wasn't feeling my blogging mojo much. Just as I had decided to maybe not blog for a few days I just saw so many pictures! <wink>
It had been cloudy most of the day but by late afternoon the sun came out and it was just plain gorgeousness! Look at all these plants and flowers in our yard right now:




I tried out 'Picmonkey' for the photos themselves and was quite pleased with the results. The collages I made in Photoshop.

I had just finished all these collages when the other half of the family came home and announced that the boys' Varsity Lacrosse team was playing at Mount Si that evening. Since the weather was so fine and I hadn't seen this particular sport in over 5 years I thought, why not join him? So off we went and these were the views along the way...

Sorry, a bit blurry, but we were driving as I took this picture...
It looks almost like fall colors but this was the sun shining on that particular section of trees!



Mount Si is between Snoqualmie and North Bend (for those of you who would like to look that up) and so just on the edge of the Cascades' foothills.

Here are some impressions of the game...




The boys wear lots of gear (helmet, goggles, mouth piece and arm padding as far as I could tell) since they are allowed (and encouraged) to whack at each other with those sticks! I remember the first time I saw this game I was appalled by all the aggressiveness, but now I could take it just fine, most of the time that is... <wink>

All in all that was an evening well spent. A nice change-up in the middle of the week. Miss M. has an Ultimate Frisbee game this afternoon and the forecast is rain, blegh. We will go anyway of course...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Belated Elvis Costello Pics...

Oh yes, there was the Elvis Costello concert last week, wasn't there?! 
To be honest, it was a bit of a let-down. I couldn't really pinpoint it on anything in particular (his voice was still absolutely amazing!), but maybe it was because this was the 4th time for me and the 5th time for Mr. G. to see him perform, I don't know...

Anyway, I took some pictures of us entering Seattle under beautiful light so we'll start with those... 





And then there was the Paramount Theater, built in the 1920's if memory serves me correctly. Look at that! It looks Ab Fab!  {smile}




I love these old buildings, they so remind me of home...

Here is a view of the Grand Foyer:


Our seats were about 15 rows away from the stage all the way on the left. This was  our view...



And then finally, there was the man himself:



Every once in a while they had people from the audience (I ducked for cover!) come on stage to spin the wheel and choose which song they would play next. This was an impressive feat because there were a ton of songs on there, but it also meant that not all our favorites were played...

So, that was it. I forgot to mention that the theater was situated one block up from Pike Street, which of course happens to be the name of my sister's blog so I had to take pictures of some of the street signs we came across.



I'm almost done sewing a new blouse so I guess that will come tomorrow, or whenever I actually finish it... Cheerio!



Monday, April 16, 2012

Signs of Spring, Week 7...





























Oh boy oh boy, just look at all the color in our back yard at the moment! 

We've had two perfect Spring weekends in a row and the garden is so thankful. (and so was I!) The vegetable patch has been turned and most of our veggies have been planted. Some as starts (red cabbage, beets, leeks, onions, garlic) and some as seeds. (corn, radishes, beans)

The grass was cut twice this week because it was growing like crazy. I did some edging with a shovel and some weeding of course. In between all that I sat on our patio and did some actual sunbathing! Perfect Spring Break weather!  {smile!}

Today is Monday again and guess who's back? Mr. Rain of course, but that's ok. Now I actually feel like cleaning up the house a bit and do some more sewing etc. (those things always get left by the curbside when the sun comes out)

Oh, and a short note on yesterday's post: yes, that was indeed a 'colibri' Monica. We have them here year around to my big surprise. They do sound like a tiny jet plane and I always duck for cover when I hear their sound. I don't think I've ever seen one in Holland before...

PS Have you guys discovered PicMonkey yet???? It is the new Picnic photo program it has very many fabulous features: so much fun!!!
(I think I may be a bit late on the bandwagon here, but I've been busy with all that Photoshop stuff of course...)  <wink>

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hummm...








Taken through the screen door so not as sharp as I would have liked it...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

So Sad...



Another beautiful person taken by that monstrous disease...

My thoughts are with my long time high school friend and her family. It was her sister who passed away, only in her early 50's...

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A Day On The Town...

That would be Seattle:


Beautiful weather once again. I wore my new dress (the one that I made earlier this week) and we strolled around first the Ballard Market and then the Fremont Market. We drove to the huge Value Village (but didn't buy anything) and then back down the hill to the Fremont Brewery for a pint of wheat beer.






At home I spent some time in the back yard with my feet bare and touching the grass...



Another wonderful day and a great start to our Spring Break!  {smile}

Rainy Days...

... don't get me down! (the Carpenters) Yep, still lots of rain here, but much higher temperatures and we've even enjoyed ...