One of the things I love about early summer (especially as we pretty much skipped spring this year) is being outside at all times of day and hanging out with friends.
The boys must always have meat of course. Me, not so much. I feast on pasta salads, grilled feta cheese with dried tomatoes and lots of garlic butters, tuna spreads and guacamole.
It turned quite chilly as the sun went down, but I’m already loving this summer.
Soo, I found a way to have that giveaway after all! It’s all happening over at my photo blog, so take a look and participate to win a print of my succulent photo!
More on my weekend tomorrow, we’re having the nicest weather over here and are busy scrubbing the balcony to have everything nice and ready for a barbecue with friends this evening!
If you read my Giveaway post this morning and are wondering why it’s gone…I had to delete due to legal reasons which a lovely Etsy friend told me about. Silly me, I thought it was fine to give stuff away :( You live and learn I guess. If I find another way to do a print giveaway I’ll let you guys know.
A mish-mash of topics today…
I discovered my love of succulents a few years ago (RosaMaria may have been responsible because she always posts beautiful succulent shots). I’ve a small collection at home which is thriving and I’m always busy propagating little cuttings. They grow slowly but steadily and really are the easiest plants ever.
I don’t seem to be alone in this either, since this print of a blooming succulent, taken in Italy during a summer visit to friends of ours, is by far the most popular in my Etsy shop:
In other news, the strawberries on my balcony are putting out fruit like mad this year and I’m looking forward to harvesting. Nothing compares to the taste of a homegrown strawberry. Mine are just past the flowering stage but the farmer’s market carried some strawberries already so we made the first smoothie of the year.
We also did a thrift store round again recently and while also picking up some practical stuff like vases and sports clothes for hiking, I indulged in several vintage square scarves.
These silk scarves are hard to find new (old is so much cooler anyway) and I’ve wanted to try this 1940’s headscarf tutorial for ages.
Love this hairstyle, it’s just so “artsy” . I’m wearing my scarves all the time. I’ll just have to find a way to better secure them on my head…my hair is fine and very slippery so they just want to slip right off.
I got so many scarves that I almost have one for every outfit.
More random things I loved this week:
I saw The Great Gatsby yesterday (really liked it) so I’m now considering getting even more scarves to wear them like lovely Carey does
April from Blacksburg Belle always has great tipps for small business owners, I follow her blog religiously. This video post on time management particularly hit home and has some awesome tipps I will incorporate in my work schedule from now on!
Sherrie wrote a very inspiring post about the concept of enough, which reminded me why I strive for minimalism in my life (ahem, thrift store shopping and compulsive accumulation of plants excluded)
To start off I need to get a bit sentimental about camera bags for you:
I’ve had my camera bag for nearly 10 years. It’s a hand-me-down LowePro shoulder bag that has traveled with me all over the world. It has seen beaches and forests and ranches, from scorching hot summers to freezing cold winters. It’s not pretty anymore but still sturdy. It’s held all sorts of cameras, from high-end DSLRs to vintage cameras to a plastic Holga. Naturally I feel quite attached to it but as I have accumulated heavier camera gear and have gotten a few years older it became apparent recently that my beloved shoulder bag and I weren’t the best fit anymore.
I’m a small person and the strain on neck, shoulders and back from lugging around all that heavy equipment for hours on just one shoulder is getting too much. So I decided to get a backpack for my gear to distribute the weight more evenly. I’m not fond of the average camera backpack though. I even have one (another hand-me-down) but with camera backpacks you always have to take them off and place them flat on the ground to take anything out. I wanted a normal backpack that I can swing over my shoulder and grab something out of quickly when I need another lens etc. and one that I could take on day trips when we go hiking.
I found the ideal candidate in a hiking store: A small daypack with a thickly padded back to make it easier on the shoulders and it was on sale for 30€. The material is quite thin though and I can’t just throw my camera things in there. I needed a padded insert so I looked around for things I could use. I found a rigid foam mat and some leftover footstep sound insulation from back when we moved and installed the laminate flooring. So I grabbed some fabric and went to work from there.
I traced the contours of the backpacks’s bottom onto the foam mat and made a fabric cover. Then I measured the circumference of that piece and made a long strip of fabric covered insulation to go around it. Sewn together by hand and voilà – a padded insert that fits my backpack perfectly!
I also made another piece of fabric covered insulation to act as a separation piece for the lenses etc.
Sewing wise a complete hack job but quick, practical and functional and I’m using it all the time. And let me tell you… that little backpack feels heavenly on my neck and shoulders!
For a few much, much better tutorials check out this, this and this site.
I’ve taken up hiking with a few friends. Being outdoors and in motion feels cleansing after spending day after day, week after week in front of a computer screen.
We’re only taking little, easy trips right now, breaking in our boots and getting in the flow of walking regularly.
The more I work, the more I realize how important physical exercise is for my well-being. It’s always hard to balance my office job, my business (I guess you could call it two businesses now with the shop), my other hobbies and my need for rest. I could work all the time really, because I know my goals and am ambitious. If I didn’t force myself to listen to my body, rest frequently and get outside to exercise I’d get ill from exhaustion within a month. Hiking is a bit like yoga, it has its own rhythm and works wonders to calm and focus the mind.
On this trip we were in the woods for about three hours. We set out quite late and the air was cool and fresh, lovely golden evening light streaming through the trees. I got worried we wouldn’t be out of the woods until the sun set but we made it, happy and hungry. I did nearly fall asleep over my pizza in the restaurant we stopped in on the way home. Guess I have a way to go before I’m up to a full day or week trip!
this spring and sunshine. So, so much!
Maybe it was the long winter and cold this year, but I’m still soaking up every ray of sunshine I can get and watching my balcony and the world around me come to life feels invigorating.
Hello, italian mint!
The ponies are happy too, finally it’s time for freedom and green grass again after spending winter in their stalls.
Love these little flowers! My mom gave me a few from her garden last year but they never bloomed. I kept them all the same and this year they’re blooming in lovely colours from pale rosey to bright orange to lush dark red!
And finally, I’m feeling creative again after a late winter lurch and look forward to getting back to my sewing machine soon. The dress above is from Zara, it was so gorgeous I had to have it even though it’s polyester. Oh, all the Downton Abbey inspired prettiness of Zara’s spring collection! I love how TV inspires fashion. I spent all weekend trying to wrap my head around how it is made so I can make my own copy in a cotton silk or even (imagine!) some luxurious washed silk.
It’s finally open, my brand new print shop on Etsy!
Ever since I registered my photography business over a year ago I dreamed of being able to sell my travel photography as prints. I got quite busy last year and the shop idea took a back seat.
During the long winter months I was able work on it again and I have been very hard at work since christmas. Opening a shop is so much more time consuming than the shop front suggests, but I’m super proud to announce today that it’s open for business! I am still in the process of stocking it, but I didn’t want to wait another week or two with the announcement.
So hop over to my Etsy Print Shop to check out some stunning Travel and Landscape Photography, including some much loved prints I shared on this blog!
Also, to keep up with the shop and promo deals (and who knows, maybe even an opening discount…) sign up for my newsletter.
If you’re on Etsy too, let’s connect! I’ve been on Etsy with another username but decided to start afresh for this shop, so unfortunately I lost all of my feedback and connections and I’d love to get in touch with other Etsy users and seller.
So, my mood has increased exponentially in the last few days because it is actually, finally, spring around here! Warm wind, sunshine and the earthy smell of nature waking up.
All the better because I had a day off today and spent a wonderfully relaxing morning on the balcony, soaking up sunshine and the “Call the midwife” series by Jennifer Worth (SO good). I literally feel like a new person, and this even though I spent all day Sunday scratching old wallpaper off the walls of a friend’s new house and should logically feel tired and sore today.
The balcony is coming to life with a few flowers I picked up at the nursery and the sight of them cheers me up no end. Some tomato and pepper seedlings are thriving indoors in my trusty light box. I can’t wait for nature to really take off this year!
Ok, here’s something I meant to blog about last year but never got around to: Ever since coming across vermicomposting on a stay in Canada four years ago I had been meaning to try it. So well over a year ago, despite all funny looks of our friends and relatives (vermicomposting is virtually unknown here) we set up a worm bin and bought a few small red worms at a nearby fishing shop, crossing our fingers they’d be the right type of worm.
I started off well, feeding them reguarly with heaps of kitchen scraps and wet newspaper. And then…I kind of forgot about them. I guess there is no excuse for neglecting animals in your care, even if they are only worms but there you go. The bin was in a hard to reach area and out of sight and the worms didn’t exactly complain about being hungry. The box never started to smell and it just sat there, through summer and fall and winter until I mustered up the courage to open it this weekend and take a peek.
Well, you can all breathe a sigh of relief if you were feeling sorry for the worms because I am happy to report they are alive and well and in the course of a year have reduced a full box of kitchen scraps to this:
Wonderful, rich compost which my tomatoes and peppers will love (and they’re still working on the egg shells apparently)! Awesome job, wormies, and I promise to feed you again and not forget you for another year!
So sorry for disappearing for weeks and not even managing an Easter post! I have no idea where the time went, I meant for this post to go up right after Easter but then work and stuff got in the way and now it’s the middle of April already! I’ll try and be a better blogger, promise. And I can tease and tell you there’s a big announcement coming up pretty soon photography-wise.
But first, Easter weekend! I spent the long weekend on the beautiful dutch island Ameland with friends (yep, just like last year).
We were looking forward to a few days of rest and outdoor time and enjoyed every minute of it.
Even though the weather didn’t always cooperate (no, it still isn’t spring yet over here, yes, that is snow on the beach), we spent hours every day just walking the island, resting at the beach café’s every now and then for a nice slice of cake or some fries. Working inside most of the time makes me forget just how hungry some outdoor time makes.
Or how good it is for body and soul. Walking is a bit like yoga, you move your body while completely resting the mind with the added advantage of fresh air.
In the evenings we ate delicious home cooked dinners, mostly fish we had picked up fresh from the day’s fishing in the village, and settled down for some creative time. Somehow, between us four women, we worked on two sweaters, a pompom-rug and I knitted a tiny baby vest for my friend who is four months pregnant. To be shown here on the blog as soon as it’s washed and blocked and has some cute buttons added.
We even colored some eggs on Easter sunday before setting out again.
I have some more images from our beach trails up on my photoblog.
The rest and workout was much needed after the long winter and I’ve decided I really enjoy walking and hiking so I will try and find some nice trails in our surrounding areas to keep it up on weekends.
Now, wishing you a resting weekend!