30 november 2010

Last minute crafting for Sinterklaas

Just a few days till 'pakjesavond', the night Zwarte Piet might drop off a big bag of presents. In the meantime our sons are having other concerns. Valentijn is measuring the thickness of the ice (in a forgotten vase)  in order to be prepared when it comes to skating. The Friesian genes are strong ones, apparently. When the temperature outside gets below zero (Celsius), we're getting  feverish! We all love to skate. It's such a typical Dutch thing to do (social historian again...), that I have no words in English to describe this ice fever. As much as I love blogging, if the frost is here to stay, there's just one thing for me: the 'schaatsforum', to check the spots for reliable ice to skate on.

For all of you who might be less dedicated to all the goodness winter is bringing us, I show you some -very bad- pictures of the paperdoll we made last week, Valentijn did the purple and green one. I used old magazines for the pink one. The sleeves and trousers are in fact buildings. We totally forgot to add feathers on the hat, so we let  Picnik do it for us. We used this template and laminated it afterwards. We'll always have Paris, to show you how it works.

28 november 2010

First advent

And in the middle of all excitement which Sinterklaas arouses, it's suddenly the first sunday of advent. And what a great day it was. We are living near the dunes, and we did some deerspotting today. We saw stags with huge antlers and a lot of other deer. I don't want to walk around with this huge and heavy camera all the time, so the pictures are taken with my phone. Despite the poor quality I love the silhouette of my three musketeers!

After the long walk and a rewarding pancake afterwards, we were invited to a birthdayparty. I made two more pillows for the two brothers, a soccer player and a baseball player. Again this turned out to be the perfect gift...
Though we'll wait until the 6th of december to open the first doors on the adventcalendar, we do lit one candle on advent's wreath. We decorated it with a blue ribbon, which is actually the colour that belongs to this period. Usually my father makes them, but because it's the second advent before we see one another again I did it myself this year.

I felt like a real editor, changing my blog's lay-out for Christmas. If it wasn't the biggest cliche of all times, I'd say it's the most wonderful time of the year. December 6th I grab my Frank Sinatra Christmas album, and off we go. Time for "Kerst met Linus" (a Swedish televion series), The Polar Express, playing christmas carrols on our terrible out of tone piano, the whole shebang. I love it. More is more. But decorationswise I like to keep it simple. White, green and a little red, it's christmas after all.

24 november 2010


Yesterdat the boys spent their afternoon making 'sinterklaas-surprises'. I feel like a social historian or something, explaining our traditions all the time, but on the other hand; I like reading about someone elses too. When you stop believing in Sinterklaas, that's when the real thing starts. Making surprises (pronounced in a sort of French way) and writing poems that are meant to tease the receiver.  A surprise is a crafted funny package to put your present in. For instance, a paper mache horse for a classmate who's all over poneys. Not seldom made of paper mache.Off course that's all I can say about it now, though I've no illusions whatsoever about nine- to twelve-year-olds reading this blog. 

I was asked quite a few times whether I make this drawings myself, well indeed I do. The blue one is in my favourite style. But I also did a charcoal drawing. Quite bishoplike don't you think?  (Sinterklaas, or St. Nicolaas, was in fact a bishop).  

22 november 2010

Origami Christmas

Ever since we've been camping next to a Japanese group who wanted to climb the Eiger Nordwand in Grindelwald, I love origami. The friendly lady in the tent next to ours made me an origami boy for my poetry album, obviously because she thought I was one... Well, I was about eight years old and my hair was conviently rather than fashionably short. My mother bought an origamibook and a lifelong love started.

At West Elm in New York I saw this little porcelain origami reindeer. Mine now! Off course I had to try this at home. It took me a lot of awful coloured origamipapersheets, which I tend to use for such purposes,  but I succeeded in the end. The trick is to get a sheet that's a little big bigger (at least 20x20cm). The diagram I used is from this book . I used an A4 sheet made square. Although it's a bit thick, the result is quite sturdy. So happy together, I think I make some more.

Note: Since all three of my children wondered how the picture was taken, let me tell you: it was in our yard. We definitely don't have a christmas tree yet!

18 november 2010

Zwarte Piet

Maybe I should have been writing this post  in Dutch, readers from abroad might think we've gone crazy overhere. Whereas Santa has his elfs, Sinterklaas has his  Zwarte Pieten (Black Petes). In the weeks previous to December 5th, children place their shoe at the fireplace and in the night, when Sinterklaas rides his horse over the rooftops ("trippel-trappel"), Zwarte Piet goes down the chimney to put a little present in their shoes. The fact that he's black, is not because of the chimney, but because of his Morish origine. There was a lot of discussion whether this might be insulting for coloured people living in Holland. In Amsterdam they experimented with all colours for the Pieten, but honestly a Red Piet or a blue one, it just not the same.

For all of you who love this politically incorrect but yet adorable tradition, here's my Zwarte Piet as a doll. If you''re interested in making one too, please let me know.

16 november 2010

Good times

Just back from a wonderful trip to New York.  But since sjoe sjoe and noeksblogt recently lured us with their posts about this incredible city, I'll leave it to that. (Although I've never read about Kiteya Soho, a great japanese shop, go visit it when in NY). We had a great time, that's for sure. In the meantime, all things exciting were happening overhere. Sinterklaas made it through terrible weather, and it was heartwarming to hear our daughter tell about the diary that was in her shoe the other morning (which off course I picked out for her before we left). So let the good times come, I'm totally ready now! Just another two drawings to warm you op as well.

7 november 2010

Paper lanterns

We had a blast last night! Thanks to everyone who made it a wonderful 12,5 years anniversary. The paper lanterns were beautiful, but my hand was not so firm when I took the pictures. I used the repper pro to  design the paper for some of the lanterns, based on the invitation for the party. This little lanterns are so easy to make, but if you really want a tutorial you can find it here ore via one pretty thing.

5 november 2010

Crafting for boys

This year I made all of Valentijn's friends a pillow. This is the last one, it's for his best friend who's having his birthday party. I think I gave it a kind of tough touch, at least that was what I was aiming at. I made a lot of soccer players, but also goalies and a sailboat.

And now I'm heading back to what I should do. Making paper lanterns. We're having a party this saturday and because it's almost St. Maarten it's paper lantern themed. It seemed such a nice idea at the time, I hope it works out to be that way. I'll try to make some pictures.

3 november 2010

Yes, we can!

When I was younger I was notoriously known for not finishing anything. All this beatiful portraits, all one-eyed... Deadlines seemed to be a problem too. Discipline that's what I need. And although the town's library still can build a wing with my name on it because of all the fees I paid for turning my books in, way passed the due date, I'm making some progress on this subject. Yes we can; I finished a quilt which I started four years ago. Just like children and boats, you're supposed to give your quilts a name. This one is called "Holland Amerika Lijn". American stars on the front, and some 'boerenbontje' (typical dutch) on the back. Geeke, it's for you. I'm pretty sure you're not aware of this blog, so I guess I'm safe here. It's a thank you for her hospitality (we'll be staying with her in New York) and friendship. I hope she likes it. By the way, how do you like my 'vervlogen dagen' button on it?
Note: I finally nailed the photography-issue I was struggling with! For all you fellow bloggers: I discovered Blogger draft and that does more justice to my pics than the format I was posting in before.

1 november 2010

St. Maarten

There was a lot of talk about Halloween on the blogs I've been reading. And now I read a lot of posts about Sinterklaas, the Dutch version of Santa Claus, which brings presents to children (and grown ups as well) on December 5th. To me Sinterklaas belongs to the winterperiod. I'm still in this autumny mood. Our children are longing for Sint Maarten, November 11th. They all make paper lanterns in school and sing songs door to door for which they get rewarded with loads of candy. After that I'm ready for Sinterklaas. It inspired me for various drawings, I liked this one best.