Going home, twice

Even when you’re sure you don’t want to fold yourself into an airplane to burn some additional fossil fuels, apparently you can find yourself back home in Europe before you know it. What followed was an action-packed rollercoaster of sleeplessness. Oh jet-lag, how I’ve missed you!

Being back in the Netherlands felt very weird for the first 30 minutes. But with my OV-chipknip still activated, the transition was quite seamless. Although I did notice the people were taller than I’m used to. I might have even felt short here and there…. And also, cycling on actual bicycle lanes, with loads of other cyclists, and motorists who behave. Such a delight! But my fears of annoyed people everywhere, getting angry about the smallest of things was quite mistaken. Queenslanders might be known to be very relaxed, but the Dutch aren’t so bad either ;).

Work was non-stop chatting with colleagues, catching up on all things work you don’t hear about via email (pro-tip: that’s a lot). Family and friends time was filled with hugs, chatting, musea, Vegetarian Butcher nomnoms and Christmas dinner. And birthdays, both belated birthday presents as well as an actual birthday cake. And sewing, there’s always time for sewing :).

After a wonderful two weeks, the plane back to Brizzy felt like a trip back home as well. I made it back just in time for the New Years Eve fireworks and the sweltering summer heat. And also the reunion with Jaap wasn’t too bad :). There’s no place like home, I’m fortunate enough to count two places as my home.

Below follows a recap in pictures. A picture says more than a thousand words. so a lot of pictures tell a long story. You’d better get comfortable first :). #LookBeforeYouLeap #BezintEerGijBegint

 

The central thread of the trip was the TimTam challenge. This typical Australian treat should be used briefly as a tea-straw, making the inside a delicious warm chocolatety goo, which will be a party in your mouth. People were skeptical at first, but try they all did. Afterwards all but one were convinced this is truly the best way to eat a TimTam.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

End of the year means performances by both niece and nephew and a dance class of sis where I could join in. Funfun.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Enjoying the nomnoms from the Vegetarian Butcher while I can!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Teylers museum, the oldest museum of the Netherlands located in Haarlem, got visited twice. Once on the day they were expecting the 100.000th visitor and once for a tour in the library together with the in-laws.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Mum took me to the very impressive Feathers exhibition in Volkenkundig museum in Leiden. So much I did now know about the traditions of feathers, and the cultures who use them to signal position and status. To know about the past, puts current day haute couture in a different light.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This year I could join the office Christmas Carolers, without being able to participate in any of the rehearsals. Good thing I remembered most songs from previous years :). The only disappointing bit was that in my absence they removed the hand gestures and little dance moves. That didn’t stop me from having some fun though! #WhereIsTheParty? #HereIsTheParty! #DontJustLookAtYourPaper

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I spent most of my time in Haarlem and Delft, but couldn’t resist checking out our neighborhood in The Hague, and to admire the new metro station at Den Haag Centraal.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Birthday time. Some present where seriously overdue, others where exactly on time.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The birthday girl wanted to visit the Store Wars exhibition in Hoorn, good for some old fashioned fun.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The two fish of the family enjoyed a morning in the pool

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And the rest of the time was filled with family and friends. And of course lots of food and matching beanies.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Speed record – dress in one day

I’m in the market for another wedding dress, but this time it has to be on the cheap. So yesterday arvo I ventured out to the salvos in Red Hill. This is a massive op shop, with separate “boutique” section with a high end selection and a well organised and huge “normal” section. It seemed to be my lucky day, with a wonderful wedding dress at display in my size! However, its price tag of a 1000 dollars didn’t really fit my budget. So I had to rely on my ingenuity and went to work. Alas, the Australians are simply too short, so it was though going. After a good hour of  deliberations with tops and skirts, I wandered into the section with fabrics and saw this perfect off-white tablecloth with silk embroidery, complete with 8 serviettes. Finally something I could work with to create a full-length wedding dress that fits!

The plan was to make a “square skirt” from the table cloth, which is a simple as cutting a hole that fits over your hips and finish said hole with a (elastic) waistband. The serviettes would have to be assembled in a top in some fashion. After an evening of plotting and scheming I had the rough outline of a plan.

This morning Linecraft proved to have the perfect ribbons and other haberdashery to make this vision a reality, so I ended up spending more on this than on the fabric itself.

Next step: cut a big hole in the table cloth. No guts, no glories! After that first big step, the rest was rather smooth sailing and before afternoon tea I had transformed a table cloth in a proper dress. I’m not showing the whole dress for now, since it will be a few weeks before I get to wear it. Don’t want to spoil the surprise, that would be bad luck *grin*.

I’m actually quite pleased with the end result, having a bit of a twenties vibe about it. Now all that is left is to trash it a bit, but why that’s necessary is another story.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

 

16 years togetherness

Selfie time for this old couple in West End.

Last week we renewed the lease on our West End unit and tonight we celebrated the 16th anniversary our first kiss in some of the local establishments. Seems like we’re here to stay a while longer 😉

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I work out

I’m in need of external motivation to work out, so I’ll be counting my buttons in public in this post.

Big button equals 25-30 minutes on the cross trainer at level L, followed by a mini circuit of 3 x B repetitions of weight lifting , with stretching as an active break in between.

Small buttons equals a mini circuit of 3 x S repetitions elbow planking for x seconds, body weight squats and push-ups or  backwards push-ups, with stretching as an active break in between.

2016-08-01/07 – Mon/Wed Canberra Fri/Sun Charrette, aka workworkwork
2016-07-25/31 – Sat boat and jet ski license, Sun Mnt Glorious bike ride
2016-07-18/24
2016-07-18/24 – Thu radio exam, Fri Urban climb + Northbrook gorges, Sat Straddie snorkel
2016-07-11/17 – 3 x Urban climb
2016-07-04/10 – Thu Habitat drinks, Fri whiskey tasting, Sun Cherub dive
2016-06-27/03
2016-06-27/03 – Wed/Thu trip to Sydney
2016-06-20/27 – Botanica gym, pool night, urban climb, mooloolaba reef
2016-06-13/19
2016-06-13/19 (3kg, L10, B10x. S10x, 40s) Visit to Canberra messed up my schedule, but I made it up in the weekend.
2016-06-06/12
2016-06-06/12 (2kg, L9, B10x, S10x. 30s). First full week
2016-05-30/5
2016-05-30/5 (1kg, L8, B10x. S10x. 30s)
DSC_0707
2016-05-23/29 (1kg, L8, B10x, S10x)

6 months

According to some random blog (by the New Zealand government), 6 months in is about the time when you enter the “fright state” and should be preparing for the low moods to come. According to a trusted friend, this is when you enter a limbo state where you’re done settling in in the practical sense, but are still months away from building a network of friends and acquaintances.

I’ll formulate my own opinion on this in a few months time, but for now the 6 month milestone seemed reason for a celebration. So we baked cookies :).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This weekends rainfall had a much more sensible timing, so we enjoyed a walk in the rain at dusk. When it rains it pours!

I do hope that this concludes the very wet weekends for now. It’s the second weekend in a row we had to cancel our scuba diving plans, while the weekdays remain familiarly sunny. But I guess there are worse things, like damaged houses, flash floods and power outages.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And then there was one

We came to Oz for me to replace my colleague Alex, but there was a comfortable overlap of almost 6 months. This has now come to an end, as Alex and his family have boarded the plane that will bring them back to Europe. There have been plenty of good-bye-lunches, drinks and barbies this last week, one of the benefits of having multiple offices.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

One of the things I was not looking forward to coming out here was to have no direct colleagues around in the same room, or even the same time zone. I’ve really enjoyed the company of Alex in this starting up period. Always good to have someone to talk shop with and complain to and have fun with. Monday is the start of a new era, where I still have plenty of friendly people around, but will fly solo on all company matters. Hey ho, here we go!

I hope Alex and family have a safe journey back home and find it easy to settle in again. They weren’t looking forward to leaving Brisbane, but are happy to be closer to their family again. Jaap and me both are happy it’s not us yet that are moving back, so I guess we like it here :).

In unrelated news, I’ve been plenty active these last few weeks with some sewing. You can find more details on my sewing blog: purr-purse  and you-say-mens-shirt-i-say-my-shirt/

The photo at the top is to show it’s not -always- sunny in the sunshine state. (By the time I found my way to the roof on this lazy Saturday morning the worst had already passed.) Today we saw quite some rain in South-East Queensland, although from the comfort of our apartment it was less impressive than I had expected. There was enough excitement elsewhere though: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/qld-authorities-happy-with-rain-response-20160604-gpbmmb.html

 

You say mens shirt, I say my shirt

Another method to turn a formless shirt into a fitted shirt. Some would call the original a mens shirt, all I see is a shirt that is long enough to cover my upper body, but lacks any shape or form. The latter is more easily fixed than adding length after the fact!

I found a nice red shirt, not quite as large as I would like, but half price at Vinnies, so who can complain. This time I used a black tailor made shirt I had ordered with Bivolino as my inspiration. The end result is a fitted shirt, that’s comfortable enough to move around in. I think I might use this method more often, so I’ve described the process below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I used the iron board as a pin cushion, when copying the pattern pieces from the Bivolino shirt. This works very well, as long as the pattern pieces fit on the board.

I matched the two front panel pieces at the arm hole (overlapping so that the seam lines match). The center front piece follows the center front of the shirt (button strip) off course. For the second panel I matched the bottom corner with the shirt. Of course there was some excess fabric to trim at the sides.

There was not enough room to actually cut the princess seam, but the since the overlap of the pattern pieces was something of 1-2 cm short, I decided to replace this seam with a small dart. (The picture below is from after I already put the dart in, so it’s less clear.)  The dart starts where the pattern pieces lose their comfortable overlap (fortunately below the breast pocket), ending straight at the hem of the shirt.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

You can see why the original shirt should ideally be XX-L or XXX-L. It is because arm holes in a straight cut are pretty wide, whilst in a fitted shirt they are much smaller, therefore you need more width in the fabric higher up. Since was only a L, I had to get creative.

For the back panel, I simply put the Bivolino shirt straight on top of the red shirt, marked the size and trimmed the excess fabric at the sides. Here I did not need to use the entire width of the shirt at the bottom. I did add up to 2 cm by eye, over the length of the back darts, to have enough fabric to add those. I drew each side separately by hand, hoping the front panels would still match (i.e. be the same length as the back panel). This worked better on one side that the other, but the end result is not bad enough to necessarily do it more precise next time (although I should).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Because the arm holes ended up larger than the Bivolino shirt, I had to cut the sleeves a bit wider as well. Instead of measuring as I should have done, I made a lucky guess which was close enough. But next time I should definitely spend the extra 5 minutes to do it properly.

I kept most of the original shape of the sleeve head (which I separated carefully of the original, allowing me to use the complete length), which worked out well. Using a wider arm also allowed me to keep the original cuffs (at the smallest position), which is a necessity I think. That’s a benefit of a smaller shirt, the cuffs are less wide.

 

By the by, here is a photo of the end result of the project I mentioned previously, but forgot to put online.

DSC_0727