Friday, 31 December 2010

Ready for 2011


Happy New Year

“The new year is a time to boldly take the first steps toward
your best future.” -  Oprah

The last time I went, I was 16! Had my first kiss on New Year’s Eve, watching the fireworks from the Botanical Gardens.

This New Year’s Eve marks the start of a new decade.  Let’s celebrate & ‘Make your Mark’!




May 2011 bring

you all that you wish for.

I’ll be making my mark in 2011!!


Thursday, 30 December 2010

New Years resolutions

For me, the "holiday season" begins on the four weeks of Advent, then the 12 days of Christmas, with New Year's Day thrown into the mix. This 34-day period is marked with distinct moods, rituals and spiritualities: the spirituality of gratitude, waiting in anticipation for something new and exciting in my life and giving hope  to resolutions for the new calendar year.

My resolutions for 2011 are:



- continue my fitness routine at home. Use the cross trainer & rowing machine.

- arrange more time for quilting and work away those WIPS. Hopefully finish Zoë’s quilt, the Medallion quilt & log-cabin quilt in 2011. However, I won’t let myself be frustrated by focussing on these goals too much. I want to cherish the process & let the joy of quilting be the real intention for 2011. 

- practice YOGA, and checking-in my sanctuary regularly for those meditative  moments and asking myself this question: WHAT WOULD I REALLY LOVE TO DO?

- not focusing on flaws, but on potential

- making a change, setting things in motion, realizing a new dream, making a mark

- listen to my intuition. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Say no

- post weekly on what I’m thankful for

- make ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas stitchery quilt & maybe organize a monthly Christmas Bee to achieve it.

- focus on me. Do what I like & be less dependent on the opinions of others for my happiness. This however does mean I need to answer the question ‘what would I really love to do’ and do it, apposed to just going with the flow.

- cut down on my expenditures by asking myself the following questions:

  • do I need it?
  • will I use it?
  • can I afford it?
  • is it worth it?
  • have I checked if it’s cheaper anywhere else?

If my answer is no – I’m not going to buy it!! Yes, I can do this! If I can apply the above for another year, my piggybank image

will grow & grow.

- have Hope, to fill my mind of all the possibilities; and have Faith knowing that everything will turn out perfectly in 2011.

- Live with integrity, respect the rights of other people, and follow my own bliss (= supreme happiness; utter joy or contentment).


‘Cheers to a new year and

another chance for us to get it right’. 

Oprah Winfrey




May 2011 bring all you wish for.


PS, I’ll let you know in 365 days if I achieved this!

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

A note from the Universe

Everyday I get a note from the Universe. If you want your own note, sign up here

Mike Dooley is the creator of the notes from the Universe! I love getting a note and what is funny they usually reflect my mood or enforce my insight.

Got this message today after posting ‘Glancing back at 2010 – part two’:  

Oh, shoot, Helen! I don't think I ever told you that whilst in the pursuit of a grand and wonderful dream, should you all of a sudden round a bend and see before you an enormous uncharted mountain with towering cliffs, jagged rocks, and seemingly impenetrable walls, just consider it a sign that your dream is considerably more worthwhile than you had previously imagined, and that you are exactly where you're supposed to be.
Kudos -
    The Universe

Remember, thoughts become things…. choose the good ones!

And, last week I got this one, after posting ‘Glancing back at 2010’ on the 22nd of December:

Have you noticed, Helen, that sadness in your life has never, ever, not even once, lasted?
It's impossible.

    The Universe

I think Mike reads my blog!! How is it possible that someone is able to guess my mood, when I only entered 4 words when signing up for the note from the Universe.

Thanks Mike for putting my life in perspective.


One's destination is never a place but rather

a new way of looking at things.

Henry Miller

Glancing back at 2010 – part two

The intensity of my grief during the past year has humbled and frightened me. It bowled me over. I was not prepared for the excruciating sense of fear of losing my job. It has impacted every aspect of my life, broke down old structures, churned up unresolved issues, and brought everything into question. How can the fear of losing your job have so much impact? Because part of my identity is the job.

In the past months grief and loss has activated primal forces that surged through me in waves, filling me with anguish, longing,  anger, depression, numbness, despair, relief. After hearing the news in February that our company was going bankrupt, I slowly got caught up in a momentum that I could not slow down or stop. Its peak was last September. These forces were not rational, reasonable, or predictable; I was frightened to feel so out of control.

I tried to suppress, truncate, postpone, and ignore it. I was afraid of being overwhelmed, of becoming nonfunctional: "If I let go now, I'll never be able to stop:" Since we live in a culture that expects quick fixes and avoids pain, there is a tendency to pull oneself out of grief. There can in fact be considerable pressure from the outside world to "pull yourself together and get on with your life". What was most difficult is that my colleagues & management expects me to do as if nothing has happened. Get real!

But grief is more powerful than our resistance. In grief, it is natural, though uncomfortable, to feel raw, vulnerable, alone, overwhelmed. Alexandra Kennedy, helped me express my feelings of grief into words. If you want to know more about her, click here.

Even if we manage to suppress it, we compromise our living. Well I compromised for a while and then I shut down.

How can we surrender to the tides of grief? How can we deepen into it without feeling overwhelmed? How can we heal our regrets?

I’m trying to create a sanctuary and face my grief. To understand it. I know I need to make time to explore the intense feelings and thoughts that go with my grief. I’ve been advised to write, cry, sing, meditate, pray, or just sit.

If you wonder whether I’m avoiding or suppressing my grief, let me clear this up for you. I’m avoiding it. It has been suggested to me to use my sanctuary for at least fifteen minutes a day -- to spend that time to listen, slow down, check in.

Guess who is avoiding those 15 minutes? According to my therapist, if I’m feeling good and nothing much comes up during those 15 minutes, that's fine, but I need to keep checking in.

2009_11_07_ektorp stoel

creating my sanctuary

I haven’t been checking in, since getting this assignment. But what is Christmas Break for? To glance backwards, to reflect and ponder. I’m going to be honest with myself and change.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence;

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –’

Robert Frost

I’m pondering which road to take

I want to take the one that makes all the difference!

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Monthly Christmas Bee, to be or not to be. That’s the question.

Look what the postman delivered!


Every 3 months an issue will be delivered, after travelling over the big ocean! A couple of months ago I subscribed to Mark Lipinski’s new magazine. His writing style is awesome.

Because I like Christmas sooooooooooo much, I’ve decided to make a Christmas Stitchery Quilt. I e-mailed a quilter friend and asked if she wanted to join me. I told her I wanted to make the one from Crab-apple Hill. She said yes! I’m finally, with some encouragement from a fellow quilter, going to start on Twas the Night Before Christmas’.


I might even organize a little monthly Stitchery Christmas Bee. The more the merrier!

I bought the pattern some two years ago.  All that time it has just been gathering dust!  I’ll be going to my local quilt shop between Christmas & New Year. Riek is having a clearance sale  during the last two weeks of 2010. She is giving 25% reduction on all quilt fabrics. Hopefully there will still be some white fabric left for me  smiley_3  , as the sale  has been on since last Tuesday!

I’ll post a picture of what I bought.

PS. It is only in about 365 days!!!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

wishing you …..


This is the card we send this year. To those I wasn’t able to send one, I hope for you that you have a wonderful day with those you love and those who love you.

May yours be filled with twinkling lights, delicious food, merry music, lots of presents and happy memories.

My present to you!

may you have …

JOY and let it fill your heart;

 Hope, to fill your mind of all the possibilities;

 Faith, so that you know everything will turn out perfectly.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Glancing back at 2010

Christmastime gives one a chance to look backward and forward to reset oneself by an inner compass (May Sarton).

On hind site this has been a very turbulent year. A year that hopefully won’t be repeated again quickly.

2010 has been a year of uncertainty, fear, anger, and disillusionment.  I’ve lost my trust and connectivity! And I’ve definitely lost some of my business innocence.

It seems that my personal values don’t always match up with those people around me.

Here is a list of the values that are important to me.

accomplishment leadership
accountability loyalty
challenge money
collaboration openness
commitment personal growth
connection punctuality
continuous improvement quality of work
democracy reliability
discovery security
diversity stability
fairness succeed (a will to ..)
faithfulness teamwork
family tolerance
hard work trust
honesty unity

I haven’t put an order on these values, that is why they are alphabetized, but I’ve summed up the most important ones for me. You might not see your personal values in this list. Just Google and you will be able to find more. Would love to know which values apply to you.   

I’m sure 2011 will be different. I can’t help reading my yearly astrology forecast, according to one, the next 14 years will be the best yet. I’ll let you know in 2025 if they were right! I’ll be 60, I can’t believe it. I hope when looking back in 2025 that I’ve learned not to let my work control me. But that I controlled the direction that I wanted to go to. This means I need to create a work environment that is inspirational to me. I need to learn to be more honest to my superiors about what I want, apposed to doing what they want. I also need to learn to take an emotional risk once a while. Be more open and authentic in my communication, especially to my peers when giving them feedback.

I learned – that being creative & understanding things (insight) is important to me. Both in my personal as working life. Personal growth is another important value.  I’ve learned that I don’t handle insecurity well. I’ve learned that my view of things are very insightful for others. My diagnostic skill aren’t half bad.

I created –  lots of PhD’s (=projects  half done). To name a few; Zoë’s Quilt, Star Quilt and The Medallion quilt. I’ve even created more WiP’s (= works in progress); the logcabin quilt, the kaleidoscope quilt, the feathered star quilt, and Jordbærstedet’s Advent wall hanging. Did I forget one?

I found – that I’m a natural achiever. However, I’m  cautious, stable and determined. I’m task orientated and care for people on an individual basis. I don’t like speaking in front of crowds. I like to get the job done and do it right through small groups, as opposed to large teams. I don’t need to be in the limelight.

I cried – a lot this year.

I laughed – at practically nothing. I lost my MOJO.

I celebrated – finding myself again, fulfilling my needs apposed fulfilling the needs of others, and being able to dream again.

I travelled – only once this year and that was to England. But I made a long journey mentally.

I spent – hours, days, weeks pondering about what I really want out of my working life.

I watched – with amazement the seasons changing from winter, to spring, to summer, to autumn and winter again. February 2011 2010 seems so far away.

I remember – my grandmothers passing and that of others.

Remembrance is like a candle, burns brightest at Christmastime.

Charles Dickens.

I put – myself in therapy and am learning yoga. Putting my thoughts into words is very therapeutic and insightful.

I made  - a decision

I dream – of making my mark & being less dependent on the opinions of others for my happiness.

In 2011 I’m going to step outside my box and live my best life yet!

Happiness lies in the joy of achievement

and the thrill of creative effort.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Christmas countdown

No holiday has the power to captivate our senses or dominate quite like Christmas. The sights, smells and sounds of Christmas are burned into our consciousness in childhood, and with each passing year; another layer of joyous memories is added.

My view from my window


I’m making a shopping list for our Christmas meal. It is the second one I’ve made this year. The first one was for my sister, this one is for us. Will do the shopping early in the morning, hopefully most people will still be in bed, contemplating on what they will make this Christmas.

You don’t have to guess what I’ll be making. If you have been a regular reader of my blog, you know I’ll be serving as starter a prawn salad. For the main course I’ll be making a roast turkey with all the trimmings. As desert, my famous Pavlova.

It might not sound like much, but I’m sure we will be stuffed and eating turkey for many days to come.

It will look something like this

IMG_4364IMG_4366  IMG_4373

These are pictures of our meal last year. Will post some new ones after Christmas.

Got my list finished: lemon, prawns, lettuce, bread, mayonnaise, potatoes, pumpkin, onions, bacon, butter, apricots, pistachio nuts, celery, Italian herbs, peas, red cabbage, turkey, eggs, vanilla essence, castor sugar, cream, strawberries, passionfruit.

Did I forget anything?

Monday, 20 December 2010

Light is life

I’m stumped, like Kate Braestrup, by the few days' gap between Christmas and winter solstice.  

For thousands of years people of all religions and no religion have come together in mid-December to celebrate the sun. It turns out that by the Julian calendar, which Julius Caesar introduced in 45 B.C., the shortest day of the year was December 25, the turning point when the light began to increase. Centuries later, after the Gregorian calendar came along to reflect a 16th-century understanding of astronomy, December 25 would be permanently separated from the solstice. But though the connection is now hidden, it endures: Christmas is deeply linked to the human desire to mark the return of light.

The winter solstice—when, after a long autumn of increasing darkness, the Earth tilts into the blessed cone of sunlight, and the days begin to lengthen once more.

In ancient times the solstice was celebrated as the "birth day" of various pagan sun gods. Christians in the Roman Empire specifically chose December 25 to celebrate Christ's birth in order to compete with the Roman celebration of the solstice, known as the birthday of Sol Invictus, the Invincible Sun. Over time, the rituals of sun worship were gradually reconfigured and renamed as Christian, the solstice celebration becoming Christ's Mass, or Christmas, and the Roman weeklong Saturnalia festivals, which involved feasting, dancing, and the giving of gifts, eventually becoming the Twelve Days of Christmas.

I would like to thank Kate Braestrup for this insight.

The winter solstice lasts only a moment in time. It seems that direct observation of the solstice by amateurs like me, is difficult because the sun moves too slowly to determine its instant.

According to the professionals, this year winter solstice is on the 21st of December at 23:38 UTC.  This means for me, that Wednesday morning, on the 22nd of December at 0.38 am, the days will slowly lengthen once more. Just this knowledge makes me happy. Light is life.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Christmas Stitchery

Making some progress on the Jordbærstedet’s Advent wall hanging.


Saturday, 18 December 2010

Got a New Year’s lottery ticket!!

Got a lottery ticket from the boss!


At the moment it is hanging in our Christmas tree.


If luck is on my side I’ll have a chance off winning 27,5 million euro’s on the 31st of December. What would I change if I don’t have to worry about spending too much & getting into debt. 

Well first I would buy a farm. With a drive-way looking like this:


Than I would renovate it so that we have a large live-in kitchen. Something like this. Naturally it will have a large range. Will have to look into that. Don’t know what I would really want at the moment.  All those chooses.


It will, naturally have a large table, fitting at least six. It will have chairs that when I sit, my feet can reach the ground.

I would also want a large quilting room. Thankfully, there is lots of information on the web to find-out  ‘How to Set up a Quilting Space’. Will have to look in to this. In the quilting room, you will find a large quilting frame, a spinning wheel, a design wall, large table for cutting & a large table for sewing, and a quilting chair. Is there a picture starting to appear in your mind? Oooo, I will have a separate study.

Getting this ticket has definitely got me dreaming.

Instead of getting 4 alpaca’s, I will get 20.



To take care of them I will have to hire a carer for the alpaca’s. Before I forget, I will also get some new knitting needles, so that I can knit things from the hand spinned alpaca wool. Can’t wait to see my alpacas grazing on our own fields.

Isn’t he cute?


To have an excuse to transport them, I will have to buy a Range Rover, with bull bar & tow hook.


It is the most expensive car in the range of Land Rover’s, but who cares, I have 27 million euro’s to spend.

I will also need to hire a gardener. Naturally I will help, but I will also keep on working, even though I will bring that back to three days! I do want to leave my mark on health care. Can’t forget that I also need to have some spare time to quilt. I think I can manage everything if I work for 3 days, farm for 2 and be able to be creative in the remaining 2.

Some practical things, that remain necessary. Will get the lounge & sitting chairs upholstered.  Will get a replacement for the guest bed. Will also get a large jacuzzi for outside and build a big BBQ area for all those family & friends gatherings I will organize.

I think I will have some money left, after this spending spree. I will buy hubby 3 porsches of his liking. When I proposed this, he had to think real hard to decide on which ones he wanted. I was completely flabbergasted. After some thinking he came up with four!!

image image

The Carrera GT

the 997 GT3 RS

image porsche 964rs

The 993 Turbo-S

the 964 RS

picture from Hubby’s collection


I’ll let him choose, but I decide on the colors! Naturally they will all be in black biggrin

I guess I will also have to spend a little more and build a big garage to fit these cars.  I don’t think it will look like this:


I will than buy my mum a new home & car. Unless she prefers her home to be renovated. Can’t forget my sister’s family, they will also get a new home, if they want it. I’m not sure if my in-laws want to move,  but if they do I will buy them a new home too.

When adding this all up in my head, I think I still have some money to spare. At least 15 million!!! Will put that in the bank although it is hard to find a bank with morals these days. After all it is my money and not theirs.

I think life will get a little better when I win the 27,5 million, but I have to conclude; I’m on my way to fulfilling my dreams without the 27,5 million! Still it would be nice if I win a small amount and be able to fulfil my dreams quicker. 

Friday, 17 December 2010

I can relate!

‘I'm thankful for my years spent with this family; for everything we shared, every chance we had to grow. I'll take the best of them and lead by their example; where ever I go. A friend told me to be honest with you, so here it goes. This isn't what I want, but I'll take the high road. Maybe it's because I look at everything as a lesson, or I don't want to walk around angry. Or maybe it's because I finally understand. There are things we don't want to happen, but have to accept; things we don't want to know, but have to learn, and people we can't live without, but have to let go’ JJ from Criminal Minds.


I’m a little sad that A.J. Cook is leaving the show. Touching departure speech. I can relate to this!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Christmas Bee 2010

Tis that time of the year again! Last Saturday we had our annual Christmas Bee. It is becoming a tradition.

2010_12_11_Christmas Bee-1

We are missing some people. One of us was sick and the other quilter was busy with the instalment of a new kitchen. This project had priority, for it is nearly Christmas and we can’t have Christmas without a kitchen. Imagine not being able to cook. I would go mad. I myself really would love a bigger kitchen. If hubby reads this, I can wait a little longer smiley_3   . I can still be creative in this kitchen. Look what I made the night before. I was busy making Erwtensoep (translation Pea Soup).

2010_12_10_erwtensoep eggnog-1 

I also made eggnog.

2010_12_10_erwtensoep eggnog1-1

And, Chocolate cake

2010_12_11_Christmas Bee3-1 

Some of us are making Jordbærstedet’s Advent calendar this year. It is a stitchery & appliqué design from Jordbærstedet. Sadly, the Norwegian shop doesn’t exist anymore. Otherwise, I would have certainly directed you to where it can be ordered. It is a beautiful pattern. Others are finishing previous Christmas projects and some are busy with their UFO’s.

2010_12_11_Christmas Bee1

Naturally, we also had some ‘show & tell’. These quilts have just been sandwiched. For those who are curious, these are Mirjam’s projects. She is going to start quilting them soon.

2010_12_11_Christmas Bee4 

It wouldn’t be a Bee, if we didn’t look through some magazines. Temptation! There are so many things I would still like to make. But as many of my readers know I take forever to finish a quilt. It is tedious work but I love this handicraft.

2010_12_11_Christmas Bee5-1

I think everyone enjoyed themselves. Looking forward to our next Bee.

Did you know

 Kopie van i_believe_in_santa