Cycling along the dike

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What lovely spring weather these past few weeks! The dog and I are thoroughly enjoying the sun – and all the little suns in the grass! It’s dandelion time, one of my favorite parts of the year. And just look at how lush that grass is getting… Working from home definitely has its perks. Eventually Kim and I couldn’t resist the lure of the sunshine any longer. I grabbed my bike and we raced along the dike.

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The willows are slowly but surely filling in. And everything is starting to smell again! I mean that in a good way. You only realise when spring comes round again, that nothing smells like anything in winter. Suddenly the air is filled with fragrant scents (which may or may not make you sneeze).

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Of course we had to park the bike and just sit for a while in the grass, because, y’know, grass. Kim immediately ran off to the shade, since all that cycling had gotten her quite hot. I tried to lure her back to me for a picture in the sun and in the middle of the dandelions.

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Gotcha! Or at least, so I thought.

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The moment I told her she could go, she grabbed my stick and ran off with it back to the shade. There she started chewing on it, quite pleased with herself.

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Okay fine, dog,the bosswoman will stick to her own toy then. Just look at all the bright greens!

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The cuckoo-flowers are hot on the heels of the dandelions, this year.

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Okay, fine, because she’s so very photogenic:

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Isn’t she the most gorgeous dog you’ve ever laid eyes on?

Okay, shut up, I’m her bossmom, I’m allowed to think that.

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There are some very cute lambs leaping about in the field close to our home. Just look at that bunch. They’re not at all afraid of Kim, either. She’s totally bummed by that. Sheep are there to chase after. You’re not supposed to be followed around by them!

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I don’t mind, though. Look at that face! I wonder if I can fit it underneath my coat and sneak it off?

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Light up the magic

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So I had a plan. Quite a while ago, my best friend told me she liked the lampshade that I crocheted for our bedroom. So I decided I should at some point crochet one for her as well. But that took a while longer than I anticipated. When her birthday was coming up, I vouched to myself I’d get on it this time. So off I went, to the thrift shop, to find myself a couple of old lamps with lampshades I could thoroughly disect – I only needed the frame, obviously.

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Then I had to pick out colors. Not so easy, because my friend is quite picky and although I have a lot of yarn to choose from, a lot of it is bright bright – which, I knew, is rather a no go for her. So eventually I settled on this color combination, which in these first pictures isn’t coming out quite as realistically as in the next ones. It has a slightly hippie seventies vibe, I fear, though I was going for ‘meshes well with plants’ and ‘nice warm colors’. I wasn’t displeased with it though and the husband also gave it a thumbs up, so off we went.
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I didn’t use a particular pattern, it was more of a make it up as you go along. For the first lampshade I made (the one in our bedroom), I crocheted directly onto the frame. However, this didn’t work out completely well as I couldn’t crochet as tight as was needed. This time I changed it up and crocheted it free from the lampshade, constantly measuring it.

It took some tweaking, but eventually I managed to fit it all around the lampshade and finish it off! So then I took pictures in our garden. Because, er, natural light? Also a green background, seemed to fit.

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I like how the yellow pops. Although the dark green almost seems black in this picture. Maybe I should invest in a proper camera. Then again, that will probably end up with no blog updates at all.

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Does it look neat or what? I’m still not completely happy with this second try at a lamp shade – I feel the yarn is a bit too thick for the size of the lampshade. But I do like the colors and the pattern, and I did manage to get it tightly around the frame this time around. And my friend liked it! (Okay, she might’ve picked different colors herself considering this doesn’t completely fit their interior decor, but at least she liked it 😉 And she can pick the colors for the next try, if she wants.)

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Unnatural light!

I think my next try is going to be in the white cotton yarn, though, seeing as I have a ton of it left. I think it’ll end up very fine looking, though. I’ll keep you up to date on the progress!

Sneakpeek at a current project

This project is shrouded in mystery, so I’m going to refrain from saying anything else about this. Couldn’t resist sharing a tiny part of it though. The yarn is so lovely – bright colors and very soft cotton.

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What are you working on right now?

Belmonte

Every tuesday I meet up with my “language buddy”; a young man from Zimbabwe. He’s learning Dutch and I’m practicing with him. The weather was so nice this tuesday that we decided to meet up in the Arboretum Belmonte in Wageningen. It’s one of the biggest botanic gardens of the Netherlands and houses a beautiful collection of trees, plants and shrubbery. Because of its sheltered location, the onset of spring always seems to happen a tad earlier than in the rest of the region. Anyway, right now it is the place to be if you want to check out trees and bushes in full bloom. wpid-20150414_142810.jpg Yellow! wpid-20150414_142948.jpg Pink! wpid-20150414_143003.jpg There used to be a time when I considered the magnolia a pompous, overgrown prunus-wannabe. No more. The above picture just says it all. wpid-20150414_143201.jpg I’m in love with this tree! I think it might be a magnolia variation, but honestly I don’t know. The flowers are absolutely gorgeous, though. wpid-20150414_143047.jpg Yellow, white, pink! But oh, just look at that next picture. I want to get married again somewhere with this tree. No really, I mean – to this tree. Have its little tree babies all over my garden or something. wpid-20150414_143128.jpg Of course I couldn’t forget the prunus, my first love. Though we were rather late for that tree; most of them are almost done with blooming already. They’re so beautiful though. wpid-20150414_143519.jpg wpid-20150414_143228.jpg I love how the magnolia peeps through the prunus flowers in the next picture. wpid-20150414_143533.jpg Yeah…this just needs to be, I don’t know, wallpaper maybe. In fact I will make it that, on my laptop, at least. wpid-20150414_143600.jpg wpid-20150414_143656.jpg Some trees are a bit more subtle about this whole ‘spring thing’. Can’t blame them – with such neighbours you have to try something different to stand out. wpid-20150414_150758.jpg Okay, fine, one more of my true tree love… sorry, subtle yellow flower tree. Your understated beauty pales next to his abundance. I’m just greedy for visuals, what can I say. wpid-20150414_155124.jpg Oh, and I shouldn’t forget to mention the awesomest part of our walk: we saw two snakes! This is the coolest animal sighting in Europe that I’ve had so far. I know there’s snakes in the Netherlands, but I’ve only seen one once before and it slithered away so quickly that I only ever saw the tail. But these two were awesome. I managed to take a picture of the first one, though it also slithered off way too quickly and the picture is very sucky. You can see its tail, if you look hard enough. wpid-20150414_144456.jpg Can you see it? Dark brown/grey and shiny, on its way to hide in the bushes. It was around 100 cm long, which is a big ass snake by the way! They are not dangerous though, and obviously a lot more afraid of us than we are of them.

My language buddy, slightly nervous look on his face: “…I thought there weren’t any snakes here in the Netherlands? That’s what I like about this place.”

The second one I didn’t manage to take a picture of. It was about half the size of the first, but we could follow it a lot longer than the other one, since the undergrowth it was trying to disappear into, wasn’t really growing much yet. Definitely a European grass snake; we could check its head and distinct ‘ring’ markings easily. We really hadn’t expected to see a second one, since it’s so rare to see one in the first place! So this was by far the coolest walk of the last month. Awesome spring snake time yeah B-)