zaterdag 26 december 2009

Holiday...Time to unwind

It is holiday now.. 1 week is gone and another 1 to go. No train-rides early in the morning to work and the days (till now) are passing by in a pleasant way.. Snow came .. and snow went (actually it is really sunny here now) and so did those alternative "snowmen" in our street. I couldn't resist to put secretly a little candle in one of them...My flu is luckily gone now (have been really sick for almost 2 weeks) and because of that I missed the "Charity Day in my School". I would have presented with my colleague Annemiek the X-factor and we would have been dressed as old English couple and as a Toreador with a beautiful woman with lots of cleavage..We got the costumes from De Nationale Reisopera in Enschede were usually students of us do their training. It was great fun to search for the costumes.. I am knitting the socks for the publication in the sockpattern-book. They need to be ready and send to London in the beginning of January. Jon from Easyknits dyed 2 special colours for me and they come out really nice. My plan first was to do a sock in 3 colours but 2 made a stronger design I did found out at last. They are done in Fair-Isle technique. I can't publish a picture right now.. but I promise I come back to this subject. It is my first design for a woman's sock and that is slightly different from male socks.. But I am pleased with the design and so is the publisher and writer of the book. So.. that goes well and so does my other knitting- project. "On the Needles": a pair of sturdy gloves with tiny little cables in 100% Scottish hand dyed yarn which I bought in Glasgow.. One is already finished and the other one will be finished when my socks are done.. They fit really good and I heared on the Tele that winter will come back next week.. Amazing things are happening too.. As you could have read in a previous post. I was on Dutch Television. Now Teleac (they made the program: Stars in front of the Class) did send me an e-mail asking me if I would be interested to be study-leader in a program about making clothes..Last week I went there for a meeting and if they like my idea I probably say yes.. Who knows what happens and they will let me know in the beginning of January. Very exiting in a way.. My idea was to make a really funky and hip program with easy to follow, simple designs and not something for older ladies only. The meeting was really nice and inspirational for the both of us..(and.. it pays really well) Next to that I am in the English Knitting magazine Yarn Forward (thanks to knitting friend Jon) and they put my picture and pictures from my projects in the article. It felt almost like a 2nd Coming out ;-). Don't know what it is , but I have the feeling that I become more visible in a way. Christmas doesn't mean so much to me. At least not in the way it is done now... I get irritated by all the luxury arriving in shops and by all those full trolleys in the supermarket (I always wonder: do they eat everything in 2 days??). For me Christmas has more to do with: simplicity and no fuss at all. So the days go by in a pleasant and calm way. Of course I like a glass of wine but I don't want to go into this "wonderful Christmas Mood" (mind you: I passed a Retirement Home and there was a silly singer singing: "walking in a winter-wonderland" and loads of old people there where sitting in a wheelchair or have difficulties with walking...). For the last year my Husband Bram is having a hard time sometimes. Walking is very difficult for him which sometimes is not easy for the both of us. I have had 3 talks with my former psychotherapist and now I am in the state of accepting life as it is and I try to look at the things we can do. The start of the day is always difficult. Our house is not very practical but he and I don't want to go somewhere else. It could be easier to live in an apartment but this house really suits us. It is built in Medieval times and fragments of that can be seen at the back of the house. And after all .. he is for almost 27 years my
"Greatest Love of my Life"
So we talked yesterday about our summer holiday and perhaps we return to Shetland and we also hope to stay for a week on the North-coast of Scotland to meet up with a friend. Sometimes we hear: but isn't that too difficult for Bram and than our reply is: we try and of-course he gets tired of travelling but when we don't do those things any more we end up staring at each other and wondering why we didn't do the thing we like. And.. it is always nice to have something to look forward too. Next week we will visit hopefully grandson Jim and he brings so much joy into our life. It is really special to have a grandson and it changes everything in a way. Everything gets softer in a way. He is 1,5 year now and is so cheerful and he looks so open into the world. So here he is: What's left is another week to go with loads of knitting, visiting friends and family..Time to unwind.. P.S. In a way I think this blogpost is a bit messy....but it is still Made with Love..

woensdag 9 december 2009

Schooltrip To Antwerp..

This monday and tuesday my Collegue Annemiek and myself made trip with our class (22 students) to Antwerpen. They are in their 2nd year and Antwerp really is a city with a lot of Fashion to have a look at. We arrived at Central Station Antwerpen round 1 o'clock (I took the train from 9.45 from Deventer). The railway-station has just been renovated and now everything was in X-mas mood with X-mas trees everywhere. I always wonder why in Holland you can't put on trees like this in railway stations because the will be broken down in a hour by vandals. A few months ago I watched this video and I always hope something as this would happen to me.. Have a look here. The hostel was only a 5 minutes walk from there and was a basic accommodation (so totally the opposite of my design hotel in Copenhagen). Most of the students were expecting a more "posh" hotel and one even said that a Prison looks even better. ( I than immediately replied: didn't know you were a criminal.....). For me this kind of accommodation is fine too. But some of my students are really the wrong way in my opinion. I was used to camping in my youth and even camped till 15 years ago in very loneley places in Norway were there was hardly a shower). A good bed and a shower is everything one need I always think when I get older.. Students immediately went on a shopping -hunt....and so did we in a way. I spend some wonderful time at Julija's, a yarn store in the Nationalestraat. Could resist this thick alapca.. but couldn't resist to buy some thinner alpaca for a scarf. The sell all patterns from La Droguerie, Japanse patternbooks, haberdashery, Liberty-fabrics (nicely presented in embroidery rings) and much more.. Really a place to visit when you are in Antwerpen. The "Nationalestraat' is in the fashion area of Antwerpen. You find the shops from Dries van Noten, Walter van Beirendock, The Momu (the fashion museum) and the Antwerp fashion academy , the shop from the just went bankrupt Yohji Yamamoto were this coat was partly felted on a black fabric and many more little shops from young designers.. Always wonderful to walk around there but I notice myself that fashion is no longer the most important topic for me.. Happiness has nothing to do with wearing a designer-outfit.. Antwerpen is also the city from eating and drinking and I always love rice pudding cake's as this one.. They taste a bit like the "Budino di Riso" which is my favourite when I am in Italy(and than with a strong espresso..heaven!!), After dinner in a pizzeria we made a little stroll in the festive lighted city and saw more X-mas trees on various squares..More info about Antwerpen can be found here. And just before I was planning to finish this blog-post and post it last week ... I got the Mexican Flu.. so for days I was in and out of bed. Today I feel slightly a little better, but still tired. It seems that this will take a few more days and than I will be fine... But let's continue with the trip to Antwerpen. After a good sleep and a simple breakfast we went with our students to the Momu to see the exhibition about Delvaux who are famous for handbags and suitcases. A very luxury brand (Logo really looks similar to Hermes!!)who's bags usually are bought by very bourgeois women. Nice in a way but also for me not modern enough. We had a very nice guide who was also very critical. The nice thing was that you could see the whole process from design till product and all steps in between as can be seen on this picture. The most common bag is this one. Usually in plain leather but changed by Walter van Beirendonck in yellow- lack leather or with a text about Belgium... The exhibitions in the Momu are always a joy to look and I loved this "Red Room". After visiting the museum we made a "Fashion walk with a Guide" and before we went on (it was raining dreadfully!!!) we had a look at work from students from the famous Fashion Design Academy which is also in the same building as the museum. The project was about "Shape and Moulage:"The guide (lovely person!!)showed us some fashion shops (my favourite Dries van Noten!!) and I especially liked the "gloves- shop" which looked like nothing has done with it since the Fifties. In the afternoon we took the train home packed with "Pralines and Speculoos"... and than...

zaterdag 5 december 2009

Jeg elsker Kobenhavn......

Warning:This blog post will contain loads of pictures..... Last week I was for 3 days in Copenhagen to visit 4 of my students who are doing their intern ship at 3 different fashion firms...I always love to go to Copenhagen and have been there many times in the past (counting it all up it must have been more than 50 times) and I know very good the way round there. The flight on Tuesday was round 10 and I arrived at Kastrup airport a bit more than 1 hour later. It is very easy to go by train to the Central station which will take you there in less than 15 minutes. I had booked a room at Wake Up Copenhagen which is situated right behind the station and it is a very small stroll to go there. The hotel is brand new and around it is a building site but that didn't matter me. The rooms are practical and functional and all rooms have a double bed and a simple bathroom. And they have the Scandinavian , simple touch as the curtains show with a simple design and the clean bedsheets.For me the perfect place to stay.Copenhagen was very into the upcoming Climate Change Conference which will be held from Dec. 7 till 18 Dec. Because of this conference Copenhagen is now called: "HOPENHAGEN" and big posters were hanged everywhere as this on on Radhuspladsen, the Central square in town. Because I know the way round so one of the first things I do when in Copenahagen is go to my favourite (already for many years) Konditori "La Glace" to have a coffee and a Wienerbrod. Unfortunately for you reader I took a picture when the Wienerbrod had disappeared. It is a place not many tourists come and usually it is a place where young and old mingle together and they all have a "sweet taste". So I went there first and at the end I finished my trip there too (which can be seen at the end of this post) Before meeting up with my students for dinner at 7, I more or less walked my way around. Visited my favourite shops as Illum's Bolighus, Royal Copenhagen and Georg Jensen, where all Danish Design can be found. Every year in the Christmas period the "tables at Royal Copenhagen" are worth a visit. This year the Royal Ballet from Denmark was asked to make the designs for the tables after famous ballets as the Nutcracker etc. The tables are set out on a few places in the shop and decorated with all things from Royal Copenhagen. My favourite one was the Mirror table with ballet shoes hanging on the ceiling. Nostalgic feelings came up at the Snowprincess 's table. and because Red is one of my favourite colours I loved the Chinese table. Copenhagen is now really into X-mas mood and it is shown everywhere. Either at the beautiful window stills at the already mentioned shops or at little shops where windows are hanged full with coloured balls.I still love the Wooden Monkies from Kaj Boysen (they were hanging in the window of Illum's Bolighus), one of the famous Danish designers off the past. We have his cutlery already for years at home. For me the Blue design of Mega Mussel -it is based on a traditional old design for Danish china- still works and I would love to have some of it.. but the problem would be where to leave it and where can I find some money to buy it..There is a lot of attention to window design as can be seen on this photo from a still at Georg Jensen. The simple figures do add something to the candle holder from Arne Jacobsen.I always wonder why we don't have that much attention here in Holland. Everything here seemed so cheaply done and not very exiting. Yes.. The Danes have it!!! The smell of warm sugared almond is all over and the colour red is everywhere. At Radhuspladsen a big "Juletrae" is filled with lights and hearts and adds a real festive mood to the city. The Danes are in a way conservative, but I don't mind that... Maybe because I am getting older I feel a sense of nostalgia within myself when I walk around in streets like this. "Jule aften" is celebrated with dancing round the X-mas tree and on the television loads of Nostalgic programs can be seen weeks before. In Holland X-mas doesn't do much to me, but when in Denmark I always get into a kind of mood. But on the other hand sometimes when I see too much beautiful Danish Design I get fed up with it and I always think to myself: do I really need this and usually the answer is NO! I can understand Danish quite well and order my coffee always in Danish. The weather was very cold and I was happy that I wore my winter-coat and my newly finished gloves in hand dyed cashmere/ merino yarn I bought in Glasgow a few weeks ago. I wanted to picture them somewhere in Copenhagen and for me the best place was in the book from the famous writer H.C. Andersen. His statue is opposite Tivoli. To my big surprise H.C. Andersen was wearing a knitted hat from the Danish Save the Children project. On thursday I also discovered that the "Fiskekone at Gammel Strand" was also wearing a warm hat. Walking around also means that you see all the new and old architecture of the town. The newly built Operaen and Skuespilhuset are both built at the waterfront and opposite of each other and are in my opinion really beautiful esspecially on a clear and very cold evening with all the lights on. I also saw this simple idea for adding balconies to an old house so you can sit outside in the summer..When in Denmark you always will find buildings from Arne Jacobsen as the Raddison Sas Hotel with the clear architecture and the lobby and dinner rooms are all filled with his designed chairs as: the Egg and the Swan. If I would live in Copenhagen I definitely would like to live here. I had a great meal with my students on Tuesday evening and we talked everything through before on Wednesday I would visit them at the firms for a talk. 2 of them are doing a training at Barbara Igongini and having a very good time over there. It is very avant-garde with a good atmosphere and some of the garments Bas and Ovan designed will be in the coming collection. Marit has just finished here training at Kiilerich and we had a good final talk and she has passed well. Linda had worked for 10 weeks at Moonspoon Saloon and is now working at Weiz. All 4 are doing very well and I am really proud of them and at those moments I really love my job. And than of course.....being a yarn-junkie I had to visit some of my favourite yarn shops.. because...... in wintertime you really can't have enough stash for warm socks, mittens and sweaters. My first visit was to Sommerfuglen and I bought some really nice Shibui Knits sockyarn and not in the colour I had planned to buy.. It is a hand dyed sock yarn in a kind of honey colour. Not something I would normally buy but I have a pattern which is perfect for this colour. When I came in the owner did recognize me from the visit in December 2008 and the shop assistant gave me her Ravelry name. Sommerfuglen is really yarn-heaven and has very interesting yarns which can't be bought in Holland. Next stop: Bette Design. A great shop with loads of yarns but unfortunately I couldn't find a right yarn for my Wonky cowl. Unfortunately there was no Aftenstrik so I couldn't meet up there with some knitters from the Cph group on Ravelry. But on wednesday evening I went for an 'Aftenstrik" to Wilfert's and I had a great few hours knitting, drinking tea with great marzipan/chocolate and talking and having fun. I bought 2 different coloured Firenze skeins for my Wonky and cast on. The yarn is really beautiful and soft and I am sure it will keep my neck warm this winter. The shop is really nice to be in and I liked the wall with little sweaters and the big Golden W above it. Next to that they have done a knitted sweater project to support a small village in the cold mountains of Nepal and there are more than 150 in different sizes and colours. After the meeting at Wilfert's I met with my Danish knitting friend Merete at Kafe Kys . It is my favourite kafe which Bram and myself always visited from the beginning of the opening ongoing when we were in Copenhagen and were nothing has changed all over the years. Because it it X-mas time there is nothing better to warm yourself than a glass of Glögg and I had several which brought me in a real good mood and Merete and myself had a really good time together. Recipe in Swedish can be found here but I am sure with the translation program of Google the translation is not a problem. On Tuesday I had a few hours in the morning to walk round so I decided to go and have a look again at the "Sorte Diamant" which contains the Royal Library. It is a black building on the waterfront attached to a very old building and the result is great. Inside it is also beautiful with curved lines and beautiful Kjaerholm chairs and a painting from Per Kirkeby on the ceiling.and a painting from Per Kirkeby on the ceiling.I ended my morning again at la Glace and finished it off with a piece of Appelsinkage (yes, now I have taken a picture before it was gone). Tasted really like HEAVEN!!!! In the recipe book I found this beautiful text:And I think that really is true.... I came home in the evening round 7 after 3 great days and I am sure I always will say: "Jeg Elsker Kobenhavn".