Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Knitting and Reading

Funny how writing down things reveals a pattern. From time to time I have talked about the books I love and  now I notice that most of then have one thing in common - the story takes place in the writer's childhood environment. That is true for Lucy Maud Montgomery and Anne of Green Gables (my favourite book ever!),  Rudyard Kipling's Kim and to my latest discovery Willa Cather and the two books I have read from her, O Pioneers! and My Ántonia. I suspect that there is something special in the way you are able to describe the surroundings where you spend your first years.

I get a serious travel fever when reading these books and after My Ántonia I have been a bit obsessed with Nebraska. Few years back I visited Jane Austins house in England and it was fun to see where she lived and how the world looked liked when she lived. Would love to make a trip like that to Willa Cather's home.

I have been reading so much the last year and that is all thanks to the e-reader I bought. It makes reading so easy. I don't like to buy books because I don't know what to do with them after I have read them and since I live in the Netherlands I can only borrow books in Dutch and I prefer reading in English. Also Dutch libraries are not free!

One other advantage of e-reder is that you can't really see how big a book is. So I read Anna Karenina (downloaded for free) by Tolstoy. If I had seen how big it is I probably would have thought that I have no time for it. It was so good! And for everyone who thinks it is only about the love story - it really isn't. There are other, in my opinion, more interesting stories and characters in the book. And then there are whole chapters about mowing. I can see how some people dislike that but I loved it and I think I will be rereading just those chapters.There is a review on goodreads that perfectly describes how I felt about this book.

Moving on to knitting. It is has been so cold here that it really feels like autumn (13 °C, 55 °F!) so I guess the best thing to do is to make a cup of tea, crawl under a blanket and knit. I started knitting socks to my husband that I promise to make him along time ago. Nothing too exiting but still fun to make.

Officially started...
Joining Yarn Along

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Lately I have been painting again and looked for knowledge and inspiration on Internet entering the scary land of art. I really enjoy the crafting community. It is so upbeat and positive and you can say what ever positive thing comes to your mind (oh! That reminds me of my grandma's scarf! I want to make that quilt!). Every encounter I have had with the art side however (and this has been outside Internet) has been much more focused on what is not cool and what is not art and all that negativity. I guess most of you are familiar with that? I have taken few painting classes in my time and I did enjoy most of them, but there where always this pressure to be on the right side of the "cool" (well, at least in my head), and very little focus on technique. 

I love to work with oil paint, but it is just not something I can do with little kids running around. Watercolours I can pick up any time and put away again in seconds. I did play with watercolours last year but that experiment was short lived. This time around I really want to focus on learning the technique. I used this tutorial for drawing the face and for the watercolour part I used this one.

I'm still working on it, but here you go. My first ever attempt to make a realistic watercolour portrait.


I already destroyed the paper around the mouth. It has been really fun to make, feels like making a puzzle. Now I just have to find the courage to continue. My goal is not necessarily to become a portrait painter, but I want to learn the techniques to do what ever I wish. When I was googleing for instructions I found this incredible Italian artist called Agnes Cecile working with watercolour. Her paintings are amazing but oh so sad!