Friday, October 31, 2014

A Day in the West

Yesterday my hub and I traveled from east to west here to have lunch with friends he has known for 45 years. (And I have known for 35+!!)

We spent a lovely couple of hours enjoying the hospitality of the hosting couple in their charming old Dutch farmhouse, eating a super lunch of pumpkin soup (pumpkins home-grown), haring ( herring) on white bread, warm breads topped with delicious cheese, pate, and salads, a yummy apple/apricot crumble, and sharing tales of our life experiences as world citizen Baby Boomers.

I made a few snaps of the "boerderij" (farmhouse) that I thought you might enjoy:

The side entrance.

The front entrance.
The street where they live.

The side garden.

Looks like the secret garden entrance.

Late fall garden.

My favorite place inside--the pink kitchen. (And she has my china pattern--well at least the Villeroy en Boch version of my Franciscan Desert Rose)

A better shot of the copper funnel lamp. And Delft blue and white tiles as backsplash.

View from just inside the front door.

Cozy fireplace in the living  room.
Beautiful seed wreath. (Lunaria or Monkey Plant)

What about this sunflower seed head wreath?

Artichoke sprayed gray? Maybe. (Update: this beauty is made from a bike innertube!)

As appetizer, a fresh nasturtium bloom with a dab of cream cheese. 

A lunch to remember!

Thanks, Dutch friends!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Have Your Cardinals Disappeared?

Last night some of my Master Gardener friends and I had an e-mail chat concerning the lack of cardinals (those lovely red birds!) in our gardens/yards. 

As I am presently at our "other home" where I have never seen anything but huge crows or huge sparrows, I can only surmise that my friends in Beauregard Parish are just being a tad impatient about seeing masses of those red beauties. 

When the weather gets colder, they will come looking for "gourmet restaurants" out in the yards. I have no fear!

Have you seen cardinals in your "neck of the woods" lately?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Vintage Kohler Hand Crank Sewing Machine

She looks her age, but she's still moving.

I guess that best describes me, as well as my new (old) Kohler hand crank sewing machine.

This rusty and crusty and extremely dusty old machine was my latest vintage find ($7.50) at the "boeldag" in Bathmen. I have yet to find a legible serial number so I can find out more info about it, but I will share my photos.

The wooden "coffin" cover polished up nicely. Unfortunately, someone must have lost the key and had to break the lock to open the lid. Now you can't pick up the heavy "portable" machine except by the base.

TaaDaa!! I am pretty certain this is at least a mid-1940's model. Maybe even older!
She has been well-worn and unfortunately abused. But with a little ( tooth) brushing, q-tipping, and oiling, my hub got her running. She was frozen in time! Now she works! And I have almost gotten all her pressure points adjusted. 
She sews!!

This may be the clue to her age.

And it took a snapshot to show this sphinx.

Even a ruler.

I found the bobbin holder "bobbling" around in the bottom of the case. It has seen better days, but it works. And the round shape shows this machine is not from the early 20th century.

Not a bad idea to make close-up shots. She still needs some dusting!

And polishing. And rust treatment. Not the most expensive sewing machine model.

But all the important parts are now oiled and functioning.

Hub says rusty parts could use some vaseline.

Attachment box lid is missing, but there are some bobbins and pressure feet.

View of her rear.

A Very Good purchase.


Solo Shopper

I like it when my hub goes shopping with me, but he hates that I stop, ponder, and then walk away without a purchase. That is why I walked to the city centrum solo yesterday. He was busy waiting for our car to be repaired, and the sun and temps were perfect for a 20 minute walk to town.

With my passport, bank card, and house key in my travel pouch and my cell phone and camera in my jacket pocket, I was off. No real shopping plans, but I just wanted to stop and ponder and then walk away (with or without a purchase).

On a Tuesday afternoon, the foot traffic is reasonably light. From the apartment to the train station (10 minutes or so), I saw two people. Both were attached to bikes (one riding and one balancing the bike while chatting on her phone). While walking through the station, there were more folks, but not especially busy. Crossing the streets into the city was a cinch. Not much auto traffic, and I had the sidewalk to myself.

The first shop I entered was Xenos. Lots of cheap "eye candy" in this store. Not anything we actually need here at the Beltway, but it is always fun to get ideas. Even if I never do anything with those ideas ;). I did find plastic placemats with Delft tile designs that we can use and a few silicone baking products that I like to give as gifts.

And as a real thrifter, I could not resist the colorful cakepop display towers for 25 cents each. In fact, I picked up several in different colors. I have never (and will probably never) made cakepops, but they would make cute gifts or even displays for lollipops for kiddies in our family. 

When I went to check out, the super friendly young cashier had some difficulty with the reduced price towers. She called over the manager to "override" the price coming up on the register (5.95 Euros!!!). Then the young cashier looked up at me and said in Dutch, " You know you can not return sale items." I then said with a laugh, "For that price I won't be bringing these back." Then we both laughed! Guess that was store policy to inform me, and, of course, the manager was still within hearing distance.

With the largest plastic bag I could find (15 cents), I trudged on down to the Hema. The smell of worst smacks you in the face as soon as you open the door. I looked around downstairs but never went upstairs to check out the same kind of merchandise that I had already found in Xenos.

Next on my shopping spree was the Walstraat. This street is well-known for their Dickens Festival in December. We will probably never experience this grand crowd fest, since Christmas time in The Netherlands is not on our agenda anytime soon.

But I did visit a nice vintage shop and picked up a few holiday votive candle lights that remind me of Scandinavian lights we had years ago.

Then I spent a good half hour in my favorite shop Mevius looking for inexpensive new books (mostly best-sellers) and other thrifty bits. 

By this time, my bags were loaded. And even the quilt fabric shop on the way home could not pull me inside.

Next time I think I will take a shopping cart or my backpack carrying hubby. ;)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Thriftier than the Thrifty

When you live in the land of bakeries, you don't bake. (My MIL's oven was a storage place for pots and pans.)

When you live in the land of flower shops/stalls, you grow your own in your garden or you visit the shop.

While living here for these five weeks, I bake in our oven and "sample" from the overgrown weeds on the old demolished hospital lot across the street.

Photos of cookies I do not have to show, but here are my "free" flower arrangements:

I have no idea what these plants are called. But I love the fish bowl display, fuzzy seeds and all.

Another shot after I opened the windowshades.

The old cobwebby buffet looks royal with fresh cuttings.

Can't even tell this is a plastic vase!

Something to complement my ASCP table and tray. And, yes, I know that is English ivy and holly!

In the dark foyer, a small stainless creamer does a nice job as vase.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

That is a "Boel"

For the last week I had seen an ad in the local newspaper for a special "Boeldag" at a local horse riding stable. A Dutch "boeldag" is almost always interesting, since there is surely a "heleboel boel" ( lots of junk/someone else's treasures ). 

Yesterday the "boeldag" was to begin at 10:00 a.m. and culminate with an auction at 1:00 p.m. Knowing my hub likes to sleep late, I suggested we go there around 12 noon. We could shop the stalls (I pictured neat little covered stands) and then take a peek at the auction. 

We arrived around 11:30 and to our utter amazement a neighboring mowed cornfield was packed with hundreds of automobiles. We luckily found a parking place near the entrance. 

Many ( and I mean MANY/a "boel") people had finished their shopping and were heading home with paintings, shelves, lampshades, chairs, and plastic bags crammed full of "boel."  First, we walked through a huge indoor arena, and then there it was. More junk and stuff than you could ever imagine!!! And the shoppers were packed in so closely that you could have walked on top of them.

All I could do was laugh. Laugh at myself for even thinking that there would be only a few people here and that there would be neat little stalls.

This wire "caged" in the electronics. Not sure why, since it all looked worthless.

And the furniture left a lot to be desired. But we did buy two white plastic lawn chairs that looked brand new (or at least they were clean!).

Looking back on the junk as I wait for my hub to drive our car around to the back door to pick up his $10 Gazelle bike, our $1 chairs, my 50 cent British Pyrex casserole dish, and my $7.50 vintage Kohler handcrank sewing machine. 

More about the sewing machine later.

Friday, October 24, 2014

What Doesn't Fit in this Profile?

Yesterday I showed two versions of our street on the Beltway. A Before and an After. Hope you were able to see the differences ;)

This morning while browsing a few blogs, I ran across an interesting profile of a blogger who shares her needlework with the World Wide Web. These are some of her favorite things:"scent of lavender, ladybugs, bumblebees, handguns, cats, Border collies, birds, traditional Scottish music."  

Can you find what doesn't fit here?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

On Solid Ground

You know that game where you have to find the differences in two almost identical photos? Well, try this one:

Situation 1

Situation 2

Actually this is what is happening down on the Beltway below our apartment. Notice the changes in the 2nd photo? By the time we leave here in mid-November, our street should look like this.

Now for the clincher: When reconstruction of the street began this summer, it was discovered that the sewage system needed replacing. That was to have been expected (we watch too many Mike Holmes's Homes and This Old House shows!!). 

But today we received an update flyer that stated that before they could asphalt our side of the street, there would be an inspection for possible WWII explosives. And to top that, archeologists would dig trenches to examine what might be in the ground. The different layers of earth always provide information about a city's history. 

Don't think they expect to find "pots and pans" from the past from this Dutch city that has been in existence since the 9th century!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Room With a View

Remember. This is the apartment we had on the market for three years with only 6 viewers.

Most said they did not like it, since there was no view.

I beg to differ. We have great cloud formations in southwest Louisiana, but this blanket cloud here in The Netherlands is amazing.

Are Your Windows Clean, Madam?

Clean windows are a sign of good housekeeping in this "kleine kikkerland" (small frog land). As a born and bred American, that cleaning didn't keep me awake until I moved to The Netherlands in 1979. Since then I can say that on the average I have kept our windows cleaner than most Americans. 

Well, today the window washer guys were due to do their cleaning wonders here at the Beltway Apartment. As we are situated on the extreme top floor of this 1912 Dutch high school building (over three stories), I made sure to awake early enough to witness the "cherry picker washer" action.

And I saw the handsome dude, but by the time I picked up my camera, he was gone!

Spray, swish, and on to the next apartment.

Maybe not the best wash job!

Maybe not the safest wash job!

But better than the dude a couple of years ago who did a "highwire" act walk in the gutter from one window to the next. (Without a safety cord!!!)

The outside is cleaner!

Now who is doing the inside? 
Glad we rescued our tall ladder from the "sticky fingers" painters!!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Shelfie #11

5,000 miles away from HOME we have another home. 

This shelfie is on the vintage (1990's) coffee table in that other home. 

Friends dropped by yesterday and brought this autumn beauty for us to enjoy. 

Doesn't it make you want to go out into your "fallish" garden and decorate your old fish bowl?