Lately and Hoppipolla Indeed….

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What happened here lately? Well the winter so far is unusual mild. Last week a balmy 22C…that is crazy! However from time to time a few cold nights kick in and the world is so beautiful at sunrise then. 

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And of course busy times with getting ready for the festive Season and entertaining a few lovely parties. Charley made it clear what her opinion was on that…

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And I have been also doing a lot of reading. Somehow, reading and Christmas is connected to me, I enjoy it even more in the coziness of December.

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My knitting at the moment consists of many projects and none finished. Shame on me!!

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But I did knit these sweet premi hats. A project for the Children’s hospital. I try to make something special of every little hat and hope to bring a little smile in worrying times for new parents. (awful photo from cell phone, had to the deliver them to the volunteer group..more will be knit and better photos next time!) 

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And I went to this fabulous High Style: Twentieth-Century Masterworks from the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at the Cincinnati Art museum with a group of like minded fashionistas. It was wonderful and of course I bought the accompanying book and I enjoy it so much!!!

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And then I will leave you with a little personal note. A while ago I told you, I had troubles with my neck and without the boring details: I am now allowed to start swimming. A lovely BFF is joining me once a week, while I float on my back in warm water, carefully moving my arms and try to slowly strengthen my muscles. And I must say the first time, my usually positive frame of mind left me the moment I got wet. There I struggled in the water trying to find balance whilst this group of senior ladies were laughing and chatting, doing water aerobics and then this man of at least 110 years of age, jumped in the water and started his laps like an Olympic swimmer.
I sighed and felt older than all of them…oh what silly self pity!!!
So I slapped myself on the fingers, grinned at my lovely supportive friend and sang that song in my head that I was taught at Sunday school when I was a wee lass, about counting your blessings.
That brought back my common sense. So in case you feel too old to be happy today, I share another song with you (‘count your blessings’ was not on YouTube ;o)) Sigur Ros is an Icelandic band and you probably heard of them. Hoppipolla means so much as hopping in puddles. That’s what I plan to do, the rest of my life ;0) ( and please for you knitters out there , look at all the marvelous Icelandic knitwear in this clip)

Love and Liefs, Johanna

Last Week…A Pain In The Neck And Artists In The House

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I have not finished any drawing because of a neck injury, which drives me nuts is a little annoying.
But thank goodness, enough distractions. The Oldest Young Mr. Walker was here for a visit and he too brought a friend.

Both of them are very hard working young people and I loved giving them a well deserved mollycoddling. They were happy with just catching up with sleep, reading, walking and finally do some drawing. It was so peaceful in the house!

DSC_8051This is a project the Oldest Walker Boy is working on, every time he comes here. I love it, seeing it grow slowly and discovering new things in it. Very detailed.

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And this is the second art work, his friend made. Isn’t this the best portrait of Charley??? Looking at her Catlike creature too…her work has the flavor of Dr. Seuss, right? And than the lovely young lady said: ” Would you like to have these drawings?”
I was speechless with joy…

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And more presents: these two LOVELY Heager vases from the fifties I got from the Oldest Walker Boy as a “Thank You”…he knows his mom very well. They look splendid on the fifties side board in the dining room. This room is still a bit bare since it is newly renovated. Mr. Walker said, they might grow on him…

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Talking about artists again: Mr. Walker is doing witchcraft on the computer with our photos and he came up with this!!! Would that not be perfect in the dining room as well??I love it!

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Well I may not be able to draw but I still can knit…Charley and I keep Mr. Walker company in the home office.

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DSC_8047And finished a shawl, knitted from merino and yak. I love blocking, the smell of wet wool (almost as good as wet dog;0)) and than gently laying out the garment, carefully stretching it, weaving in the blocking wires and pinning it down. Now it has to dry…I always keep it safe and let it dry for two days. A good use of the spare bedroom now the ‘kids’ have left again (sigh…)

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And the Oldest Young Mr. Walker requested stylish fingerless gloves…all ready on it! (After those vases…)

DSC_8052-001I will leave you with this photo: I met these lovely people in the park and they did not mind having their photo taken. The little brown dog was just adopted three days before and he kept giving his mom kisses, as if he still could not believe his luck. The world can be a good place…

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Een gezellige week, ondanks een pijnlijke nek! De oudste Jonge Meneer Walker was hier voor een week met een gezellige vriendin. Ze waren allebei erg artistiek bezig terwijl ze bijkwamen van hard werken in hun banen. De prachtige tekeningen heb ik cadeau gekregen van de vriendin! En de vazen van de Jonge Meneer Walker, die heel goed weet wat zijn moeder mooi vind…Meneer Walker zei, dat hij ze ‘best leuk’ vond;0)  
Meneer Walker is ook artistiek bezig, op de computer met onze foto’s. Ik vind t heel erg mooi worden!! En gelukkig kan ik nog wel breien met die zere nek…
De aardige mensen met lieve hondjes, kwam ik tegen in t park. De hondjes komen uit een asiel en zijn wel heel gelukkig terecht gekomen. Ook een cadeautje…om zulke fijne mensen tegen te komen!

Love and Liefs, Johanna















Photo Shoot at Smale Riverfront Park

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Bliss at the Walker Residence because the Youngest Mr. Walker was here for a visit, after a summer of very hard working. And double bliss this time, because he brought along a great friend and co-worker. And before the study year starts again, I had a chance to spoil these to two!

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Now it is clear that these two could not be more different from the outside: very tall Dutch boy and a ‘somewhat shorter’ Hong Kong girl. But believe me, it was like having twins in the house! No wonder they are such good friends.

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Since we all love making photos, we went on a lovely summer night to Smale Riverfront Park here in Cincinnati and enjoyed how so many people love this place. To me, a great lover of city parks, it has everything! Artful waterworks, great sceneries, creative playgrounds.

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We spent hours here and enjoyed the Blue Moon as well.

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Gezellig, de Jongste Meneer Walker was hier voor een bezoek, en dubbelgezellig want hij bracht een goede vriendin en collega mee. Qua uiterlijk konden ze niet meer verschillend zijn, maar qua persoonlijkheid was het alsof er een tweeling in t huis was;0) We houden allemaal van fotograferen en deze foto’s zijn gemaakt in t prachtige Smale Riverfront Park hier in Cincinnati op een prachtige zomeravond.

Love and Liefs, Johanna

This week…All Important Nothings!

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How much fun that give away was! Although I was a bit sad for the ‘non-winners’, I really enjoyed the enthusiasm of the winners and the nice emails that followed. For the non-winners: Laurie has a fun give-away on her blog!

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The weather is hot, …even the eggs are sweating ;0) That is all I will whine say about it.

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It just means indoor fun with new knitting projects. I am still knitting away left over yarn. This Fair Isle project is perfect for that.

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I bought new yarn too. This glorious yarn is a mix of merino and yak. I had never seen that before. A little research learned me that Yaks provide excellent wool suitable for all kind of fabrics, used already for thousands of years by the people in the Himalayas. Louis Vuitton discovered the fine quality of it a couple of years ago and made it popular.
This name is so suitable, Tenzing Norgay was Sir Hillary’s sherpa and friend and they were the first to reach the top of the Everest. The yarn is delightful, soft and smooth and incredibly strong. And while I am knitting I think of Yaks,( and I love cattle of any kind) and mountain climbers..bliss indeed.

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I read these two delightful books about the fabulous illustrators Dr. Seuss ( one of the wisest men ever) and Virginia Lee Burton.

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Than on a summer midday this little fellow walked in our garden. It is a box turtle not often seen during the day and their numbers are sadly declining fast. I had never seen one before. I quickly took a photo because he was walking really fast. I think he was disturbed by landscapers next door and he was heading for the next garden. Not a good idea with dogs every were. I quickly grabbed the snow shovel and gently scoped him on it ( I respect the jaws of any turtle!) and brought him to the fenced of ‘wilderness’ in the back of our garden where he quickly dug him self safely away in the compost heap. I hope, he found a good new home there! That compost heap is their for the animals so he will be safe..I love that idea!

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I also love oatmeal and to my delight I see oatmeal recipes popping up left, right and centre.
This bread is fun to bake and delicious! With this hot weather I am good with a salad, some cheese and cold cuts and this bread. I did use sweet potato instead of pumpkin since the pumpkin has not really started yet (snif)

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And a few of my friends came over for a knitting circle and I baked a salmon quiche for lunch to share with them. This is my own recipe where I mix a small tin of salmon with three eggs, 1/4 cup of sour cream and 1/4 cup of shredded cheese,  add mustard, garlic,chives, thyme and oregano, pepper and salt. Use any kind of non-sweet pie crust you like and bake in the oven at 400F for 30 minutes and than 15 minutes more covered loosely with foil. This quiche is best served cold. My friends loved it.

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And I will leave you all again with a funny story. I was at supermarket and the store-manager said:”Boo” in a funny way to try to startle one of the employees. That girl was cool as a cucumber but I, who was deep in thought and studying a label, almost jumped through the roof. That alarmed the store manager again and we ended up laughing our heads of and hugging each other and many customers laughed with us. To quote my dear friend Jane Austen: “…able to make a spectacle of herself where ever she goes.” Anyhue, when I left the store, she gave me this bunch of flowers as a ‘Thank You’..well no need for that but I loved the flowers nevertheless and it resulted in other hug.

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Ondanks de wamte (de eieren zweten zelfs) toch een leuke week met nieuwe breiwerkjes, fraaie boeken, lekker bakken en delen met vrienden die gezellig langs komen, een schildpad die de tuin in kwam wandelen en een bos bloemen die ik kreeg van de manager van de supermarkt omdat ze me per ongeluk aan t schrikken maakte. Ach, dat hoefde natuurlijk helemaal niet want ik vond t wel grappig maar de bloemen zijn wel erg mooi.

Have a great weekend,

Love and Liefs Johanna.

Taking Care of Charley

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We had quite a scare here. A few weeks ago, Rickey discovered a black spot in Charley’s right eye that worried him. The vet confirmed is was indeed a tumor but thank goodness a benign one. She predicted, the tumor would grow slowly and in about a year, the eye would have to be removed to prevent acute and very painful complications.

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However, we noticed the tumor was growing quite fast. Charley’s eye started bulging a little and she slept restless. We decided not to wait any longer and have the sugery done immediately.

Removing an eye is complicated surgery and we are so fortunate to have a vet nearby who is specialized in eye care with small pets. She did a wonderful job!!!
But especially for the first few days, Charley needed a lot of care and attention. She needed lots of medication, we had to make sure she ate properly (thanks goodness our darling girl loves cooked chicken more than anything else in the world!)

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She was out of balance when walking and clearly quite anxious and not understanding what had happened to her. But as always our Brave Darling Girl trusted us completely and we could pamper, and encourage and protect her as she needed. She is healing remarkably fast. I was so grateful to be home with her. (Whilst Charley sits in one of her favorite spots, Mr. Walker reads the news to her.)

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You can see why I was not able to work on anything. After the weekend, I expect things to go back to ‘normal’. But for now I am happy to look after my dear friend, who when I am sick, will lay all day on my bed with her paw on my hand and does more for me than any pills will ever do!

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Charley is geopereerd! Ze had een goedaardige tumor in haar oog en t oog moest verwijderd worden om nare complicaties te voorkomen. Geen kleinigheid maar de dierenarts heeft t bijzonder goed gedaan en Charley vertrouwde ons volkomen en laat zich goed verzorgen. T herstel gaat dan ook verrassend voorspoedig! Ik slaak een zucht van verlichting en was blij haar te kunnen verzorgen want mijn lieve vriendin zorgt ook altijd goed voor mij wanneer ik ziek ben…

Love and Liefs, Johanna

This Week…

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Total Bliss at the Walker Home now the Youngest Mr. Walker is here for two whole weeks!!! Proud mom here lets you all know, he passed his second year of college with flying colors. Some serious mollycoddling is in order and Charley is just very happy to have her friend at her side…

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And how about this? A lovely, unexpected and funny gift from a very lovely, funny friend!!! Truly, I was speechless by this act of random kindness. And those of you who know me a little better…know I did have a secret little fluttering handkerchief moment…

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I want to finish this drawing. I have a hundred ideas on how to but none of them seems plausible so far…

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But I do have a new (to me) little friend in the studio!

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Love this book: knitting and brilliant illustrations in one!

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Kelly remarked the other day that I had Ninja Knitting Needles..it made me smile to think of a super hero who’s super power is knitting! I love knitting so much and I always have more than one project in progress…socks for long drives, socks with patterns for quiet moments, complicated patterns for challenge and this scarf pattern is just a joy!! I knitted a purple one but gave that away to a dear friend and forgot to take a picture. Now I am knitting it again in this delightful yarn…it will make a nice Christmas present.

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Christmas…what am I talking about??? It is Spring!!!

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Have a lovely weekend!

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Een week van hoera-de-jongste-is-thuis, nogal wat gezellige breiwerkjes, een lief en grappig cadeautje dat een kopje thee nog lekkerder doet smaken,een tekening die maar maar niet af wil en heerlijke Lente!!!

Love and Liefs, Johanna

Spring Valley Wildlife Area Revistited

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Mr. Walker and I took advantage of glorious Spring weather and went back to our favorite birding spot Spring Valley Wildlife Area. It was midwinter when we last went there.

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We were not disappointed. Look at this Osprey…as if he surfing the air on a fish.

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The beautiful but ever so shy Sora. You have to look closely, so well camouflaged!

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Ahw, sweet little frog, basking in the sunshine

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This is a mystery…what animal did this?

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Mr. Walker’s favorite bird, the swallow.

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And look at these geese landing…after this we scurried along, they were pretty clear and loud in what they thought about us…

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Love and Liefs, Johanna

This week…

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A week full of Spring surprises..have a cup of tea and I will tell you all about it. First of course, this pair of ears peeped from underneath the deck at the end of a nice Spring day…I wondered who they belonged to.

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Ah yes, a little raccoon…hungry awoken from hibernation.

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OK..it started raining, I let the little fellow have a good meal.

The garden was full of daffodils..but alas a few violent rain storms made daffodil season very short this year. Blue grape hyacinths proved to be of sturdier material. This little jug is just perfect for a little bunch, it makes me very happy.

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The vultures are back and every day there is a group of five ‘floating’ over our neighborhood,in the morning and in the evening. I wish to make a photo that shows all five gliding in circles majestically. They are an acquired taste but I think they are beautiful!

Of a totally different beauty are these tree swallows…Spring has not really begun without them.

Mr & Mrs Squirrel have properly settled down and are very territorial. So they actually prevent more squirrels from coming into the garden which is a good thing for the bird feeders. And I just love the idea that the adorable couple snuggled up cozily in their new home, lined comfortably with dry leaves and lots a hair from a shedding Charley.

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Talking about Charley…I was very surprised to find my darling girl nicely snuggled up too. She was very surprised that I did not approve.

Now she is waiting for the company of dear friends who will come and stay for the weekend.

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Ha, de lente brengt zoveel nieuw leven en verrassingen: kleine wasbeertjes, grote  gieren en snelle zwaluwen en veel regen ook. (vind ik niet zo erg) De eekhoorns hebben zich helemaal gesetteld en houden andere eekhoorns uit de tuin. In Amerika hebben we erg veel eekhoorn! Charley had zich ook comfortabel gesetteld..maar dat mocht natuurlijk niet ;0) Nu wacht ze op lieve vrienden die hier gezellig een weekend komen door brengen!

Love and Liefs, Johanna

About Happy Times and the Mystery of Facebook…

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Although I am very critical towards my own drawings, I was really happy with this one.

Not yet tired of all those winter scene photos?  With all the grey and white, I am enjoying Spring and Fall photos from other parts of the worlds. These birds in the snow are mainly to show of that I finally mastered the trick of making a collage.

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The Youngest Mr. Walker was here for a whole week, such bliss!!! Aaaand he is also my webmaster and IT consultant. So we spruced up the the pages for My Work and Sketches. And I decided to change the title a little…what do you think? Good decisions?

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The Youngest Mr. Walker also created a Facebook Page for me. It is supposed to be a good thing and in view of more plans for the future too. Hmmm, it all seems a bit of witchcraft there to me. The Facebook button on my blog doesn’t always show up, I still have a hard time figuring out how to like or to respond via Facebook, let alone how to become friends!! Bare with me, dear friends and any advise is welcome….

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Also Mr. Walker and I went to the yearly Mid Century Modern Show here in Cincinnati. Beautiful things there but my Dutch frugal heart went wild from the prices. Remember my yodeling about my dining room chairs? We saw exactly the same dining room set for…$4000.-!! Mr. Walker patted me on the shoulder but I just gasped. But we did buy this vase, ‘The Serpentine’ made by Haeger. I fell in love with it right away and Mr. Walker thought it was an excellent buy to celebrate the fact that we had our first date 30 years ago…you see why I fell in love with him right away too ;0)

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But earlier, I found in a local store this piece of glass for Mr. Walker’s Collection  and this absolutely marvelous dog..not by Royal Copley this time but it’s cousin pottery, UPCO USA. Mr. Walker was very happy with the glass and nodded thoughtfully at the dog…the prices were very good of course.

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It is still cold and nasty…so I follow the lovely Cathe’s example and bake and eat scones.

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Ach, de winter gaat maar door hier, de vogeltjes blijven komen voor meer voer. En ik heb eindelijk geleerd hoe ik een foto collage kan maken…De Jongste Meneer Walker was hier en hij is ook mijn IT deskundige ;0) We hebben mijn blog wat opgepoetst en hij heeft een Facebook page gemaakt…dat laatste vind ik erg ingewikkeld. Maar Meneer Walker en ik zijn naar een Mid Century Modern beurs geweest: mooie spullen hoor maar ik kreeg appelflauwtes van alle prijzen daar. Meneer Walker was erg tevreden over mijn aankopen van garagesales ed van de afgelopen jaren. Wel hebben we de prachtige Haeger vaas gekocht, ter herinnering van t feit dat t 30 jaar geleden was dat we ons eerste afspraakje hadden…
T kunstig glaswerkje en de beeldschone hond vond ik eerder in een lokale ‘antiek’ winkel en waren natuurlijk voor de juiste prijs…je kan vast raden welke voor mij en welke voor Meneer Walker was ;0)

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Love and Liefs, Johanna

Seven days of Mindful Happiness

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What nicer homework than journaling one happy event a day, for seven days. In January, I started my course in Mindfulness.My intention was learning more about ‘living in the moment’ and let it contribute to my positive life style. And I am happy to say, it really is interesting and contributing to more than I had expected.
Intentionally breaking out of the automatic pilot, makes me calmer, I take more time in enjoying what I do. With a clearer head, I address problems. And funny enough, this creates so much time and it helps to plan my day better.
Also, it has a good effect on my health. I mentioned before that my health is a little poor but I choose not to pay much attention to it. But I am so happy to tell you, my sleep is soo much better now. Learning to make myself comfortable, prepare for sleep, even when pain and discomfort is bothering me. It makes a real difference. Waking up after 6 hours of deep sleep is a luxurious and joyful feeling.

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Day two: Knitting is my yoga and I am a yarn snob. Oh, the colors, the texture, the names ” Peruvian Highland”, “Malabrigo Finito”…Finding a new-to-me yarn store and the most beautiful yarns is a joy in itself…but sharing it with a friend makes it into something really special.

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Day three: I took the time and gathered courage to start and finish the beautiful scrapbook project the generous Kelly had send me. My first paper project since kindergarden ( just a little exaggeration here;o)) I laid all treasures out and started with cutting nine neat squares.

DSC_6077I wanted to email Kelly right away about this success..but could wait until I finished it a few delightful hours later. Kelly patted me on the shoulder for job well done, and my ears started flapping with happiness.

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Day four: well…who does not enjoy freshly baked muffins on a favorite serving plate?

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Day five: Yes knitting again…this is a new technique for me. This nice ruffle is created with the so-called ‘Three Needle Joining’. I use the three-needle-bind-of a lot but I never knew that the same technique could be used for such nice projects. These are going to be boot liners. For a knitter at heart, quite a thrill to learn a new skill.

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Day six: not the best photo. I have a new phone and the camera is supposed to be quite brilliant. But anyhue…look at Mr. Walker and Charley watching the big bird box in the garden this weekend. The weather was so cold but watching birds from the comfort of warm blankets in a cozy bedroom is an excellent substitute for a hike. We had a good laugh too..not the owls we hear chitchatting all the time, not the gorgeous Merlin or Falcon who hunt in our garden too, were checking out the bird box as we hoped. Of course, any body in America can guess..Mr. Squirrel was checking out the property. But you can see why this photo is dear to me!

Day seven: I stumbled on this lovely, sweet song, it is so beautiful…I keep on listening to it over and over again. It is stuck in my head, and I humm it all day. It makes me very happy.


I sure hope, you had many small and big happy events to be mindful of?

Ha, leuk huiswerk voor mijn cursus Mindfulness. Een verslag van elke dag iets feestelijks! 1:Oh, zo lekker ik al heb leren slapen. 2: Een nieuwe breiwinkel ontdekt met de mooiste garens, nog leuker omdat ik met een lieve vriendin was. 3: Dit papier project was toegestuurd door de gulle Kelly en t is voor t eerst sinds kleuterschool (nouja…) dat ik weer bezig was met knippen en plakken en t nog leuk vond ook. 4: Ach..gewoon lekker knus, warme muffins. 5: Een nieuwe brei techniek geleerd! 6: Charley and Meneer Walker, samen observeren ze de eekhoorn die de uilenkast denkt te gaan bewonen. Symbool van een knusse zaterdagochtend op een koude winterdag. 7:Een heel lief liedje waar ik maar naar blijf luisteren.

Love and Liefs, Johanna