Time Keeps Flying…

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…but that’s okay because I’m not wasting it. My days are filled, sometimes to overflowing, but that’s okay too because it all belongs. And there is so much joy in my life, it fills my heart and my soul. And that, my friends, is the stuff happiness is made of.

My soul is firmly seated in my body once again, no longer trying to flee reality. Am I sounding like a mystic? Too bad, there’s nothing I can do about that. Be it shamanism, witchcraft, giftedness or new ageism – I am coming alive and feel like i’m more or less consistently in control for the first time in my life, regardless of external circumstances. Which is great, but also the tiniest bit scary because if I screw up, there is no one I can blame.

Apart from all this metaphysical wonderfulness, I have been knitting (a little), dyeing (a lot) and enjoying life with my children, family and friends. (Yes, and working, cleaning, ranging, running after children, doing the administration, dropping into bed exhausted and much more not so fun stuff – but that is part of life, too.)

Too much to share in a single post, of course, so I’ll conclude with a couple of pictures of roses, rose leaves, achillea, hydrangea, buddleia, maple and a sprinkling of iron on tussah silk wrapped around a copper pipe.

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Fall weekend at De Uelenspieghel

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With fall coming to a windy end, I thought I should share these pictures with you now or forever hold my peace. I always have so many things I want to post here but somehow too rarely get around to it. My current obsession being textile dyeing, most of my free time is spent doing witchy things with pots and pans, plants and flowers. And knitting, painting (still planning to post those photos, too), writing letters (more photos I owe you), and so on and so forth.

The pictures above show the last borage flowers fallen from the plant, which caught my eye last Ocrober when we spent a weekend volunteering at the beautiful Uelenpieghel. The old farm was converted to a cultural and spiritual centre and welcomes visitors throughout the year. In summer I spent an elfish art weekend there with the children and we had the most wonderful time. This weekend in October, however, was spent collecting apples…

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And more apples…

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After which we had the privilege of sipping freshly made apple and elderberry juice, still warm, tasting like a divine gift from the earth.

We also went mushroom gathering in the beautiful woods surrounding the farm’s grounds. My girls call it the fairy forest, with the pines rising from mossy soil, so soft and springy you wish you could lie down and have a nap. All of it studded with jewel-like mushrooms in so many colours, a light shroud of mist, and such peaceful quiet… 

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Although the picture is not sharp, unfortunately, I still wanted to show you these ‘dead man’s fingers’ looking like bits of charred bone sticking out of the forest floor. Pretty creepy, aren’t they?

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A beautiful little fairy circle or, as the Dutch call it, heksenkring (witches’ circle).

In front of our house there is a small field of grass, a fairly steep slope that runs up towards the road. It is lined with beautiful big trees that have lulled me to sleep with their swishing wind dance many a night. Every fall and sometimes in spring, too, a wonderful witches’ circle arises magically from the grass. As if this earth already knew what took me so many years to figure out and issued a standing invitation…

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This pretty little thing occupied a mossy old tree stump all on its own, while those below seem to cluster together in a fairy village…

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Catching the light and drawing attention in her beautiful autumn frock…

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These, apparently, make a wonderful dye bath for textiles. I wish I’d known earlier although I’m not sure I could have torn them from their perch on this lovely silvery tree trunk… 

Below is a pretty yellow stagshorn (Calocera viscosa), which the Dutch call ‘sticky coral mushroom’. Doesn’t it make you smile just looking at it?

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In the evening the girls were exhausted from their day outside and fell asleep within minutes, giving me leave to join the tango workshop downstairs. I took some lessons years ago and amazingly much of it was dredged up from my body’s memory banks very quickly. It was lovely to dance, I’d forgotten how much I love it. Even better to hear the teacher say I should to take up dance again because I have a dancer’s body (underneath those childbearing pounds I never managed to shift, at least…). It was one of the loveliest compliments I’ve received these many years.

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The place is permanent residence to a changing group of sculptors, healers, seekers and finders, all gathered here by the lovely Annette whose parents believed in self sufficiency and walking lightly upon this beautiful earth, raising their children here. Annette lives in the original farm and has turned it into a welcoming sanctuary for the weary of heart and soul as well as a gathering and replenishing well for those who have already found their natural place in this world.

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This beautiful apple tree looks like it would up and walk away if it ever got bored in its current sunny spot.

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It was a magical weekend. There are places like this that make your heart peaceful and your head quiet, that heal your aching heart with every moment you spend there. The Uelenspieghel is such a sacred place to me and I already know that I will return there again and again…

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http://www.uelenspieghel.nl/

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.

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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…

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I’ve done and gone hooking

The Buddha and hyperbolic space

The Buddha and hyperbolic space

Now that does sound rather awful, doesn’t it? Rest assured, it isn’t as weird as it sounds. I have not been around my blog much lately because I have been busy with work, my children (14-year-old requiring serious homework drilling, girls ill on and off), knitting, and so on and so forth.

I went to a symposium associated with the new Hand Made exhibition in collaboration with Etsy at Boijmans van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam last Friday. It was interesting to be reminded how the crafts are seen by people generally involved in ‘high art’ (whatever that may be – not as much as it is made out to be by the ‘experts’ in my not-so-humble opinion). I’ll tell you more about the symposium and exhibition in another post.

And yes, I took up crochet. Initially for a project that has now been sidelined because I could not bring myself to get started on it (but I will!) and then… well… I got hooked. Seriously. Fortunately my daughters are crazy about the crochet flowers I am churning out because I’m not sure I would wear them myself. Just a tad too granny for my taste, but who knows, that might change because I am discovering that things look quite differently when you make them yourself! As in, less ‘For God’s sake, I would never ever be caught dead in that!’ and more ‘Hmmm… if I changed this, and added that, and picked a really chic yarn… I might actually get to like it!’

I am also fascinated by the fact that there are many scientist knitters and crocheters (is that a word?). Just Google ‘knitted geometric shapes’ or ‘crochet hyperbolic space’ and see what turns up. So the other day I started on a crochet pattern for a dahlia, which at one point somehow seemed to turn into something looking a lot like hyperbolic space. See here, for instance. And here, where I found out that crochet actually intersects with my sister’s work as a marine biologist. She’ll just love that, ahem.DSC08195

It does seem curious that a tangible representation of hyperbolic forms seemed impossible until crochet stepped in, doesn’t it? I would expect to be more aware by now of how everything is connected. I am not as easily surprised as I used to be in that respect but this one threw me!

The most wonderful thing about crafts, however professional or amateur your creations, is that one idea engenders another, and another, and another. And every individual person will come up with something different. I think this is amply illustrated by the Friday Fictioneers, each of whom comes up with something entirely different when looking at the images proposed by Rochelle. Of course there are parallels between stories sometimes but they are never the same. And in the same way, I believe that crafts are a celebration of individual expression. In a world increasingly obsessed with mass production and consumption and utter ‘sameness’, more and more people feel the need to remind themselves that they are not the same, that they are unique creatures capable of unique achievements.

This last little fluffy bit is no mathematical mystery, of course. Just a little present for one of the lovely people I will be meeting at the Breidag in Nieuwegein tomorrow. And yes, that’s my face reflected in the background. I did done and seen it but didn’t feel like taking a new picture. I’ll just be the lady in the mirror, isn’t that lovely and mysterious?DSC08188DSC08222

Pixie Dust

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She checked the camera one last time. She’d missed the other ones but surely this time…

Too bad she had to work but at least she would finally get to see – and get proof, to boot! With a last hopeful look she walked out, closing the door firmly behind her.

At the witching hour, the last lily bud started to stir. Very gently the petals peeled apart. A tiny face peeked around the edge. With a hum and a tinkle, the baby fairy zoomed away, sweet laughter drifting behind.

Come morning, she screamed in frustration. She’d forgotten her neighbour’s heavy metal band practice last night. As always the entire floor had shuddered to the beat, causing the tripod with its hinky leg to fall over. All she got was an endless shot of vibrating floor, and some pixie dust.

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This is my imagining for this week’s Friday Fictioneers. The picture was made by Lora Mitchell, the challenge issued by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (see her blog and the other Fictioneers’ stories (or parts thereof) here).