Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Kissing the old year out, Kissing the new year in

Just a thought at the end of the year: “From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that we are here for the sake of each other - above all for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.” ~ Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

 

One minute to midnight, one minute to go
One minute to say good-bye before we say hello

Happy New Year!!!

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

‘I better inspect ….’

While I was quilting, the phone went and as I was talking, Teddy thought ‘I better inspect … ’ this quilt while she is not looking.

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Sunday, 28 December 2008

SSCS 2008

I would like to thank Santa’s elf for sending me this gift. Sadly, there was no creative self made gift like the others SSCS- participants have received.

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I received the parcel around the 10th of December, and as I didn't recognize it being a parcel from my secret swap partner (no identification about the SSCS), I opened the box. The box was full of pieces of fabric (scraps) and a template to make a friendship quilt.  Not much effort has gone into this gift I'm afraid. I’m a little disappointed (an understatement), my expectations were maybe too high, after seeing the beautiful works made for the SSCS in 2007.  I guess not everyone who joins a swap, plays by the rules........…

If you really want to join a swap please visit this site first, and read up on Swap etiquette:  And remember, If You Don't Have The Time - Don't Do The Swap. A fair swap should be equal in value if not time. 

I’m afraid I won’t be joining a secret swap again soon. However don’t let me discourage you too much as I’m really impressed with the organizational skills of Chookyblue and her efforts for making this an other successful SSCS. 2008_SSCS_logoI’m also pretty impressed with the creativity of most of the elves who participated. Please go to her blog to see what the others have received on Christmas day.

I really enjoyed making my gift for my swap partner. The stitchery took me some time to do. This is what I sent: A Christmas Garland.

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Some close-ups

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The other contents in the box

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Today I received a thank you e-mail from my swap partner. This is what she said: ‘Thank you so much for the beautiful Christmas swag.  I love it.  I held  out until Christmas to open it.  I am really sorry now that I did. Now I have to pack it away until next year.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Christmas meme

Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot Chocolate. I have never had egg nog. I would love to get a recipe. I don’t think we can get it here Holland.

Does Santa wrap presents or set them under the tree? The pressies are set out under the tree until Christmas day and then they somehow get to my mums place. Santa drops by and delivers them to the right address.

Colored lights on tree or white? We have white lights

When do you put your decorations up? Usually after 5th of December, after the Dutch ‘Sinterklaas’ has left for Spain. This year we couldn’t contain ourselves and put up the decorations on the 30th of November. They come down on January the 1st (always).

What is your favourite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? I love stuffed turkey, baked potatoes, pumpkin and cranberries. I can’t choose.

When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? In first grade, when I was 4. I was really scared of ‘Sinterklaas & zwarte piet’, especially of ‘zwarte piet’. My mum decided to tell me the truth. Life was a lot easier after that. I had to promise not to tell the other children. I kept my promise for a long time!!  Why I was so scared, I don’t remember. I do however remember the feeling of anxiety. Sometimes when I’m alone driving on a secluded road, I get that feeling again, as if someone is watching me, brrrr.

Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? We unpack our pressies usually late in the afternoon, between Christmas diner breaks.

How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Lots of red and silver Christmas balls, some silver icicles, some candy canes, lots of wooden and woollen Santa, Rudolf and heart ornaments.

Snow! Love it or Dread it? I love snow but we don’t get any in Holland, or at least not during Christmas.

Can you ice skate? Yes, of course. I think you will never guess where I learned. I learned to figure skate in Sydney (Australia) when I was about 16. Loved it! I loved travelling into town on the train to the ice skating rink. Once we moved back to Holland I tried the real stuff, skating on natural ice and I must say all those cracking noises underneath you scares the … out of me. Haven’t skated since I was 20!! By the way skating Dutch style is completely different to figure skating.

Do you remember your favourite gift? Sorry, can’t remember.

What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Going home to mum’s place. Mum would love to go to a place (hotel) where there is plenty of snow, but my sister and I convince her every year to celebrate Christmas at her place.

What is your favourite Holiday Dessert? Pavlova!

What is your favourite tradition? Preparing traditional Christmas dinner on Boxing Day. Being in my own kitchen doing my thing is my little tradition. Hubby loves the dessert, the Pavlova.

Which do you prefer, Giving or Receiving? Giving of course! Searching for the right presents is so much fun.

What is your favourite Christmas Song? - Last Christmas;   Please come home for Christmas; - Christmas Just Ain’t Christmas, without the one I love; - Driving home for Christmas; - We Wish You a Merry Christmas; - Santa Claus is Coming to Town; - Jingle bells; shall I go on?

Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? I love candy canes for in the Christmas tree. But I don’t eat them. Too sweet.

Ever recycled a Christmas present? No, not really. Some however disappear to the attic or closet never to be seen again.

I would like to thank Anne Marie and Jan for posting this meme. Please join in if you would like to. I would love to read your answers. Let me know if you post your Christmas meme.

Merry Christmas

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas. Where ever you are. Thanks for your friendship, kindness and inspirational support, sharing your quilt projects and for swapping stitching tales throughout the year.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Art Cellar = Kunstkelder

Guess where I went to this afternoon? I went to a small quilt exposition in Putten, Gelderland.

To see some of the quilts, look at the slide show..

I even saw someone's works, who I know well, although I have never seen these works before. This was a nice surprise. I'm so impressed.

Red Corner

Things are not always as they appear! That is true when you see this movie. REDCORNR-box_full_dvd Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Is it true?

2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?

3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?

4. Who would you be without the thought?

For thousands of years we’ve been told not to judge, but we still do it all the time.  In ‘The Work’, rather than suppress these judgments, we use them as starting points for self-realization. By letting the judging mind have its life on paper, we discover through the mirror of those around us what we haven't yet realized about ourselves.

The Work is a process of inquiry that teaches you to identify and question thoughts.  Byron Katie, who is the founder of ‘The Work’ will keep me busy these holidays.

Feathered star block

Yesterday evening I nearly completed my first block! I was so happy, until I saw….

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The row underneath is upside down. I undid it and started again this morning. Now it looks like this….

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This is my first block completed. I won’t mention how many I still have to do icon_biggrin

Monday, 22 December 2008

Winter solstice

The winter solstice occurs some time between December 20 and December 23 each year in the northern hemisphere, during the longest night of the year. This year the Solstice was on the 21st at 12.04. Next year it will be at 5.47 pm. From this moment the days will gradually lengthen!! But it also marks the beginning of a our winter.

The winter solstice occurs at the instant when the sun's position in the sky is at its greatest angular distance on the other side of the equatorial plane from the observers hemisphere.

Worldwide, interpretation of this moment has varied from culture to culture, but most cultures have held a recognition of rebirth, involving holidays, gatherings, or rituals. In Europe the solar calendar midwinter celebrations still centre upon the night of December 24 leading into the December 25, which was considered to be the winter solstice upon the establishment of the Christian calendar Julian. Some facts: The Julian calendar, a reform of the Roman calendar, was introduced by Julius Caesar in 46 BC. The Julian calendar remained in use until Pope Gregory XIII decided to opt for the Gregorian calendar (around 1582).  The Gregorian calendar is the most widely used calendar in the world today. It is an arithmetical calendar. But basically it is a reform of the Julian calendar counting the years from the incarnation of Jesus.

This is why we celebrate Christmas on the 25th.

It is nearly Christmas!

We are ready and waiting!! Can’t wait to find out what Santa has brought for me.

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Teddy, is being a little curious. He is balancing on a log, inspecting the wood we just had carried in from outside. It doesn’t seem to bother him that Santa is sitting there too.

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This picture was taken some weeks ago, I then was still hoping we would have a ‘white Christmas’. Yes, we have also decorated both our Christmas trees outside. We have one in the back and front yard.

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Before & after

Hubby has been saving up for this for some time. He designed (with a little help from me) his own audio storage cabinet. It was specially made by a craftsman (it took about 2 months) and it was delivered last Saturday.

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Between

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After

It definitely looks a whole lot better. We have even gained some extra room! The living room looks a lot bigger. Look at the dust in the ‘between’ picture. I can tell you that I cleaned that up right quickly.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Latte macchiato or caffè latte??

I have a Fully Automatic Bean to Cup Coffee Machine. I love my Gaggia Titanium. Once in a while I experiment and try to make something different. This time I tried to make myself a latte macchiato.

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Haven’t quite perfected my technique, but it looks great and it tasted divine.

What makes the latte macchiato different to a caffè latte? In a latte macchiato the steamed "pure" white milk gets "stained" by the addition of espresso. It differs significantly from caffè latte in that only ½ (or less) of an espresso shot is being used.

The macchia is the little 'spot' of crèma being left on top of the milk to clearly distinguish that it is a latte macchiato and not a caffè latte, where the espresso traditionally has been added before the milk, hence having no "mark."

I guess I made a caffè latte! Will have to try again.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Work related gifts

My employer has been very generous. I got a Blackberry Bold smart phone and a new laptop (a small HP Elite notebook 2530p).

To be able to receive and call while driving, I bought myself a Jabra bluetooth headset (BT250v).

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I’m especially happy with my little notebook. It will lighten my load while travelling. The little laptop weights only  1.47 kg (3.7 pounds). Compared to my old laptop which weighed nearly 4 kilos this is one light laptop. The other thing I like about it, I can take advantage of the ultra-slim battery accessory that offers up to 12 combined hours of battery life. I can work anywhere!!

I’m a real professional icon_biggrin

I do hope that my RSI will stay away now I don’t have to carry such a load with me.

This weekend, Hubby has helped me add a new background image and ringtone to my Blackberry. I now have got myself a nifty new ringtone till Christmas!! I found ‘Aussie Jingle Bells’ , by COLIN BUCHANAN & GREG CHAMPION (bucko & champs), thanks to Catherine’s help.

After Christmas I will have to find me a new ringtone.

Last Bee for this year!

Yesterday we had our last Bee for this year! It was also the first time since 3 weeks that I did some sewing. It was good to see the others, I missed quilting and I missed my quilting friends.

The bee was at Marja’s place and she has put a lot of effort into making this one great day.

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We had a English tea, that Marja’s daughters had prepared for us.

It was all very yummy, as you can see.

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How much stuff can you take with you? This is only the stuff for three quilters!

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