Sunday, April 30, 2006

The winds of change...

... are blowing through my little work room. I've sharpened my pencils, dusted up my battered copy of Betty Edwards' book, and chosen some wonderful illustrations to practice on (upside down of course). Time will tell where this shiplet strands... I'm excited.

Inspiration: Leef!

A movie about a woman named Anna (as are all heroines in my book...) who learns, through writing, to unravel the secrets of her past, and as a result changes the course of life. Marc and I were both deeply moved. Incidentally, it confirms that Monic Hendrickx is truly a brilliant actress.

Inspiration: Pauline Croze

She stole my heart last night (thank you Michael!). You can listen to her songs here. My favourite so far (ahem,... I mean the only one I've listened to so far) is 'T'es beau'...

Inspiration: The Black Apple

Unfortunately, I do not (as yet) own this amazing painting. The main reason being that I'm still trying to figure out whether I most desperately need this one, or the one with the girl flying on the bird's back, or the one with the 'Milk Girl', or any other one of the fantastic works of art by Emily Martin. I discovered her thanks to SouleMama, who apparently couldn't resist the girl with the apple balloons. Can we blame her?

Shoebox Sunday

A Series within the Series: Reasons why I love my husband (II)

Summer 1999
Because he patiently waits for me underneath whatever tree I climb into... Shoebox Sunday_

Thursday, April 27, 2006


The one spot in our house that never seems to improve, no matter what we do with it (though admittedly we have done very little so far) is the downstairs hall. To this day, it proudly sports its horrendous dark red paint, which peels off in large chunks to cover the filthy stone floor, from which a large slab is missing from when the water-pipe burst, and it's cluttered with a variety of silly useless things, as well as a number of really useful things that have been mislaid. Anyway, to make a long (and sad) story short, it's a mess.

Luckily, Isabelle came on the scene, armed with little but her tremendous courage and inspiration, as well as a box of street chalk, and there you go: ugly hall metamorphoses into original exhibition space for upcoming young artist. The magic!

Wild Hyacinth

If only I could post smells, I'd let you all have a whiff of this beauty, it's rose-petals dipped in sugar, with a bit of honey and jasmine, and then a drop of mother-milk and some sunrays thrown in. Oh, and some seaweed, and a little cup of butterfly wing powder. But then not quite...

(Or, as Marc said, 'it smells like something's gone off')

Aniko very kindly gave it to me (it was one of a threesome), she says she got them from a field, which is why I called them 'wild' hyacinths, though I have to confess I didn't ask her what kind of field it was, so it might be they were not so much 'wild' as 'stolen', which brings us to the interesting question of what the exact difference is between the two ... and the interesting answer seems to be: the difference lies in the nature of the field.

(it's really late out here, can you tell?)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Shoebox Sunday

A Series within the Series: Reasons why I love my husband (I)

Summer 2000
Because the little boy inside, him of the twinkling eyes, lives so very close to the surface...Shoebox Sunday_

Saturday, April 22, 2006

To Draft or not to Draft: A tragedy in five acts (so far...)

It all started out quite nicely: a beautiful Saturday morning, a free day ahead, and a plan in mind. I'd found this tutorial while surfing last night, on how to make a pretty A-line skirt. Since I'd never made a skirt, however, I figured it would be smarter to first make a draft version with some ugly thrift fabric, to see how it works, and then I could do it again, this time using pretty fabric. However, the prototype, just as all the other prototypes I ever made following this line of thought, has one major disadvantage: it looks pretty good (even the zipper, which I dreaded oh so much, caused very little trouble in the end).

It turned out so good, in fact, that now I'm stuck wearing the thing. Which is made of fabric that is a) scratchy wooly (the worst kind in my book) b) unwashed and reeking of thriftstore and c) of a colour that does not match anything I have ever owned, or, for that matter, the colour of my skin/hair.

What is the advantage of making your own if you still have to buy an entire wardrobe (not to mention a bottle of hair-dye) to match it?

Pink Quatuor

I had to ask for help on this one, as it is quite impossible to hold one's legs up in the air, restrain the little gigoteuse AND wield a heavy camera. Still, my lovely idea...

Room 101

This is my 101st post. Happy 100! Thank you for sticking with me ...

Friday, April 21, 2006

La terre est bleue comme une orange

To be honest I am finding this week increasingly difficult. I think it's the pressure of having to post daily, or maybe the competitive spirit sneaking into me despite my best efforts. I don't know. In any case, I'll be ashamedly glad when it's over... (should one confess to these weaknesses here? Ah, too late).

To me orange is the brightest of all colours. That's why I love this out-of-proportion vase which stands in what used to be a fireplace in our living-room. It reflects the light and brings the sun inside, even on gray rainy days.

Isabelle, however, is not too fond of orange. Her favourite drinking straws are red and blue, then green, then yellow. So that often our straw-cup looks like so:

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Browns, Blacks and Whites

On my way to work today, I came across this fluffy white tree wearing its black striped dress of gate.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Isabelle had a bad day today: she lost her teeth and was hit on the head by a cheese.

These are the kinds of statements one can often truthfully make concerning one's two-year old. She did lose her teeth, albeit not the ones in her mouth but the little plastic dentition keyholder that she got from the friendly lady-dentist on her first visit yesterday. She was also, unfortunately, standing right underneath my arm, at the bottom of the stairs in our house when I dropped the pound of organic cheese that I was carrying (in my defense I was also carrying bananas, two packs of butter, yoghurt, toilet paper, raspberries and a couple of other things). It was a comic (though not so funny for her, she cried a lot) rendition of the old Le Corbeau et le Renard tale.

More green...

Amazing coincidence or stroke of fate, my very green retro fabrics arrived in the mail today.

And finally, because green is such a nice colour, one more thing to show you:
This is taken from a book I got out of the library: Le secret de Theodore (obviously, Theodora in our version). About a little monkey who finds a huge orange, and nobody gives a damn, except the old giraffe, Sarah, who thinks it's wonderful, and together they imagine all kinds of things that the orange could be... I love it... the drawings are just... ah...

Green Wednesday

If I think about it, Isabelle and I always have Green Wednesdays, because Wednesday is the day we go to the organic farmer's market in the centre of town.

We love it there.

It's so small, maybe six or seven stalls, arranged in a circle underneath a bunch of funny looking trees. Everybody knows each other, and more importantly everybody knows us. Isabelle gets so spoiled every week that I never even bother feeding her lunch before we go (bad, bad mother!). Just to give you an idea, today she got a slice of dried mango and a piece of dried apple from the nut people, a piece of cheesecake from the bread-man, TWO slices of sausage from the butcher, a banana from the vegetable and fruit girls and a piece of cheese from the dairy stall. How can I compete with that?

The best thing about the organic market though, is the food!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Blue Tuesday

The blue depths of my tea-mug at work: deep enough to drown all worries and stresses ... blue enough to forget why I'm sitting here ...

Monday, April 17, 2006

Shlightly Belated Shoebox Shunday

Incredible but true: I managed to forget all about the Shoebox Sunday series within a week of its inception. And I'm having a hard time finding someone to blame... So let's say it was Easter, with all its distractions: Eva and Geoffrey (or, as Isabelle would say, Zufi) visiting, the egg painting business, and even more important, the competition for best painted egg (which Isabelle won hands down with her Kandinsky egg), the sun (finally out), Isabelle's cold (worth two more sleepless nights), the home-made fried calamari (How to improve on the batter? How to avoid entire kitchen being covered in olive oil sizzles? Any tips, please in the comments section...) and many many other things...

Anyway, with only 24 hours delay, the second episode. It was my brother Michael's birthday this weekend. He turned 26. This picture was taken at my grand-parents' Moscow appartment in 1981, when he was 1 and I was 7, before the jealousies, the martyrdoms, the misunderstandings, the fights and the murder attempts, at a time when we really liked each other a bit more than a lot. Sort of like now.Shoebox Sunday_

Yellow Easter Monday

Sammy, Marc and I decided to belatedly jump on the bandwagon (... which left two weeks ago, aren't you impressed at how far we can jump...), and join in the Colours Week. As a result, instead of editing "Finding a work placement: A Careers Centre Manual", I've been walking around the house all morning, with Marc's camera slinging around my neck.

Hunting the Yellow (Egg).

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Preview Michael's Birthday Present II

Mysterious or what?

Preview Michael's Birthday Present I

It's not "quite" ready to be handed over, but the hardest bit (the idea and the right materials) is done. The rest is a fluitje van een cent as they say locally... (she says with the confidence of the survivor of yet another sleepless night...)Crafting_

Friday, April 14, 2006

Thursday, April 13, 2006


Garden of Eden (local version)

Cast: A caterpillar, an apple, a snail and a small man.

Plot: Hungry caterpillar finds apple. Snail arrives on the scene. Snail attempts to abduct apple. Caterpillar gets mad. Small man appears. Caterpillar calls in help of small man. Small man says: 'Dat mag niet, slak! Dat mag niet!'. All is well that ends well.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

With Easter just around the corner...

... and my Easter project Penelope-style (crochet, unravel, crochet, unravel, crochet, unravel...) still far from completion (that’s a euphemism),

... and my other secret project (so secret it cannot be mentioned), which I haven’t even started on yet,

I decided to try out some of the cute purse frames that I’d ordered at Tall Poppy Craft and which arrived in the mail a couple of days ago. The result is my loveliest failure to date.

It would be absolutely perfect (I am quite proud of the wee bird) were it not for the fact that I gambled wrong on the ‘does this pattern include seam allowances?’ question, and the luverly purse does not fit the luverly frame. In fact, despite my attempts to stretch the fabric, bend the frame, etc., it keeps coming loose somewhere. I've given up on it. What is one to do with a frameless purse?Crafting_

Sunday, April 09, 2006


Since you people are too shy to post your comments on the blog (instead, most of you use e-mail), I shall be so bold as to rephrase some of your best finds and upload them myself.

Aniko said about this post that the picture of Michael and the glacier made her think of the gnome in Amelie. Because of the way he leans in (... the self-assured bewilderness on his face... and the hat of course, again the hat!). I tend to agree. What do you think?

On Hold

I started on this embroidery project long (much too long) ago, but it seems to have somehow stranded. Part of the problem is that it was meant to be a recipe-book cover, and I'm completely stuck as to how the rest of the cover should look. Any ideas? Please to help.Crafting_

Shoebox Sundays

I got this fabulous idea from Stephanie, who sometimes posts old family photographs (even though hers usually appear as part of her Self-Portrait Tuesday series, so they inevitably tend to include her, but still, that's where I got the idea from).

A year ago, as part of a massive (still unfinished) spring-cleaning spree, I finally went through the two large crammed cupboards that contained all the photographs amassed over the years, and threw away anything not deemed worthy of keeping. I now have one small-size shoebox. It was an exhilarating feeling, to have distilled the essence of life past in this manner, and the nicest thing was that I started looking at old photographs again, on a regular basis, which I hadn't done in ages, due to feeling terribly daunted by the two crammed cupboards.

I think the time has come to share, so as of today, Sundays will be 'Shoebox' Days.

If anyone who knew me at anytime has any objections, they may voice them. Voicing is good. Voicing is really good.

For the first instalment, one of my personal classics: this must be 1986-1987?, the place is some B&B in England (you can tell, can't you!), so it must be one of the summers we spent driving around the UK, the three of us, my mum (the nose), Michael (those of you who claim Isabelle does not resemble her uncle, please take a moment to reconsider) and I. In our dark-blue Golf, with my imaginary horse, Cocotte, running alongside the car. I took this picture early in the morning (well, before 10 am...), always a very frustrating time for me, because of waking up early and being much to shy to go out on my own. I usually ended up staring them down until they woke up (Marc says I still do that) (you know, Bridget Jones style...), which was not appreciated... Or I read books (no wonder I'd read so many by the time I hit secondary school...). Anyway, on this day, I took a picture. Quite a good picture, retrospectively.Shoebox Sunday_

Early Sunday Morning

An apple blossom, a splash of sun, an ancient orange monkey who sings a song nobody else knows and Virginia Woolf's Street Haunting: some achingly hmmm things in life...

(soundtrack: Inessa Galante's rendition of Caccini's Ave Maria)

Friday, April 07, 2006


Marc’s camera was having a blue day today... either I didn’t get the settings right, or the camera is sad because Marc hasn’t been taking too many pictures lately, and it’s missing its master...

Still, I hope you will not let this minor inconvenience distract you from the following goodies:


Isabelle’s today’s drawing

Isabelle’s new poster (poster not so new, but framed and hanging as of today)

Isabelle’s new rabbit blanket (part of evil ploy to get her out of our bed) (incidentally, ploy has failed utterly so far, she was perfectly happy playing on her new bed all day, but when it came to sleeping, she was adamant, her place was WITH mama and IN mama’s bed) (note that her NEW bed is Marc’s EX-bed, and since he can clearly not claim it back at such a delicate stage of the negotiations, we are now sleeping all together in one bed with an empty side-car on our left) (cosy but presumably quite uncomfortable, I’ll tell you all about it in the morning...)

PS: the hair is mine

Isabelle’s future bench (as soon as I decide which of my lovely new fabrics to use for the upholstering)

And last but not least, the bathroom tiles of Isabelle’s future doll-house (as soon as I develop a passion for interior design in miniature)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Monday, April 03, 2006


Isabelle can only count to eight. For most people that means being able to count to one, to two, to three, to four, to five, to six, to seven AND to eight. But not for Isabelle. She can ONLY count to eight.

If you ask her, 'how many fingers on my hand?',
she says 'ééntweedrieviervijfzeszevenacht'.

If you ask, 'how many eyes does Bambi have?',
she says 'ééntweedrieviervijfzeszevenacht'.

There is a nursery rhyme in Dutch, that goes like this,

'Één twee drie vier, hoedje van... hoedje van...
Één twee drie vier, hoedje van papier...'

Or, in our local rendition,

'Ééntweedrieviervijfzeszevenacht, hoedje van... hoedje van...
Ééntweedrieviervijfzeszevenacht hoedje van papier...'

Bathtime (by Marc)

Sunday, April 02, 2006


... is hiking at the ends of the world, among the glaciers of South South South America. He is sending us fantastic travel reports to which Marc and I are already completely addicted, together with breath-taking pictures.

Isabelle's comment when she saw it:

Kijk! Tonton! Mooie muts! Mooie jas!
(Look! There's Tonton! Beautiful hat! Beautiful coat!)

(Small pause to give you time to wipe the tears from your eyes...) Seriously though, look at this...

I've never seen anything like it...