Orange and Lilac

ImageWith three children (who have been sick on and off in the past few weeks – what am I saying? months!), housekeeping, loads of home repairs in arrears and work, I haven’t had much time or energy to work on my garden. I still have loads of plants to pot (from the garden centre) and a variety of seeds to plant if I want to be able to eat from the garden at all this year.


Last year the snails got my fledgling beans, the mini maize never materialised and the edamame soy made a valiant effort and produced exactly 2 beans. Making for a meager meal. Ah well, we have a saying in Holland, ‘Alle begin is moeilijk’ or beginnings are always hard and I am sure I will get the hang of it.

In the mean time, I just wanted to share these images from the few flowers that did appear without any help, If you know what the orange beauties are, let me know because I lost the name tag a long time ago. The pink/purple ones are lilacs, of course. If I pick some tomorrow I’ll be able to make lilac sugar…




Pollard willow in a wig


When the pollard willow was sadly shorn of its luscious leafy hair (a biennial event), it asked some neighbouring weeds if they could not cover its chilly head.

Welcomed to a fertile environment, the seeds soon flourished. This is how the pollard willow acquired its rather eccentric weedy wig…

Have a lovely day!

And I have been knitting, of course


This pretty little thing is currently on my needles. I love the combination of slinky soft bamboo with wild tussah silk, which has an extremely dry hand feel. It makes for a sensuous contrast, which is reinforced by the colours my son helped me pick: a vintage rose for the bamboo set off by the rich Merlot grape of the silk. Both came from Weldraad, an eco yarn shop in Amsterdam.

The bamboo is from Fonty, a French yarn brand. It is extremely soft and has lovely stitch definition. The label suggests 3-3.5mm needles but I went with 5mm and would knit this with even larger needles to create a lovely open-textured fabric. It has wonderful drape, too.

The Tussah Tweed, what can I say? I am in love with the Tussah Tweed. BC Garn is a Danish manufacturer of natural and ecologically sound yarns. They created a wonderfully matt, very light, tweedy yarn, almost linen-like in its apparent simplicity. At around 250 meters in each 50-gram skein, I would say this is a fingering weight yarn. Because the bamboo is a heavier (sport) weight, I decided to knit the silk holding a double strand but I think this would knit up beautifully for a light summer cardigan or top on smaller needles, for instance. The earthy colour palette makes for an almost Medieval feeling. I would definitely absolutely recommend this if you are allergic to wool (oh, such a terrible affliction) or are looking for a light summer yarn. Like I said, I am in love.


I am leo, hear me roar


I bet you are thinking that this is going to be one of those blog posts in which I lament my neglect of A Gilded Yarn and my lack of time. Consider it done.

That is indeed where my thoughts started out but then I realised we are all busy (well, most of us anyway). Most of us have too many things they need and want to do and too many things they do not want but feel they have to do. Let’s face it, most of us have a lot of Duty and a lot less ‘Do as thou wilt’ time than they would like.

In this I am blessed. I do not have to work two or three jobs to survive. I do not have to watch my children starve or waste away of an illness that would be easy to cure if only they had been born in the Western world. I do not have to spend my days sewing and growing old in a dark and dank workshop, locked away from light and the world, fearing every day that I will burn to death only because that same Western world wants to wear a different T shirt every day.

I am blessed. I have three beautiful, healthy children and a spacious, warm roof over my head. I have a job that brings in money and is fairly intellectually challenging yet allows me to be a stay-at-home mother at the same time. While I do complain sometimes (too often!), I love being able to take my children to school and pick them up for lunch. I love when their school day ends and I get to take them home, or to the park for a picnic or the museum. I love being able to visit events and farmer’s markets and watch my children explore new things or play in the sun. Truly, I am blessed.

My house isn’t as clean or well organised as I would like it to be (I admit, it is far from that). While there is a lot I would like to improve, I now also accept that in the choice between a spic and span house and an actual LIFE, the latter easily wins out. My children don’t (usually) eat from the floor so why should they be able to? I’d rather take them to discover what life is really about and learn to live it to the fullest.

When they grow up, I don’t want them to say that they could eat from the floor, that their ears were washed every day and they learned about being dutiful and following the rules.

No – when my children grow up, I want them to say that they were encouraged to explore the world and their interests. That they were allowed to try new things and play and enjoy life. That they were taught that doing your duty is important but they should also think about how much sense that duty actually makes. That their freedom ends where the freedom of others starts and this means respecting other cultures, beliefs and ideas, however foreign they might seem. I want them to know that following the rules is right, but only if those rules are fair. And to have the courage to stand up and rebel against the rules if they are not.

Above all, I hope that they will know that they are beautiful, good people who are allowed to make mistakes. I hope I will have helped them develop the resilience to get up and try again or move on when they fall. And know that they don’t have to live their lives the way others expect them to live. They decide what is important to them and no one else.

And yes, I have to ‘lead by example’. I believe this is one of the main lessons I have learned in the past years. If I want my children to be free, I must be free myself. And if I want them to be the beautiful people they are, to the fullest, then they must see me be as I am. Not as others want me to be. Not as duty tells me I should be. Not even as I think I should be.

Just simply, purely me.

It may seem the simplest thing in the world. To me it proved one of the hardest. I hope I can make it easier for my children.