Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorial Day (already)

Despite some really lousy weather, Memorial Day has come along and now is over.  We survived, keeping dry in our patched and resealed RV.  Rain is a challenge for any RV, but in the northwest, it is a major reality.  We picked up Saskia at the service locale, attached the car and headed to Mossyrock.  For those who are unfamiliar,  Mossyrock is approximately 2 1/2 hours south of Seattle.  Along the way, someone drove past honking their horn and pointing.  We immediately pulled over, realizing that two of the bin doors were unlocked and flapping as we hurried down the road (all within the legal speed limit).  Unfortunately, we also discovered that apparently we had not hooked the car correctly to the RV and the emergency cables were what was holding the car behind the RV.  Phew! and Thank Goodness.  So we unhitched the car and drove it separately from the RV to our campground.  We had a really fun week-end with some of this and some of that, lots of games, learning "Hand and Foot" and "Chicken Foot".  We played Five Crowns and Mexican Train.  It was a delightful time.  It proved to be an excellent test for our newly sealed roof cap - as we had rain and rain and then some more rain.  If it was dry as we walked to the clubhouse, it was raining when it was time to come out.  We learned to "never leave home without it" - that being your umbrella!  All of this to say, that there were very few photos, as the lovely scenery wasn't so nice in the wet.  I did get two photos of the view out our front window,
There's a lake behind the first row of trees

It really is a very nice park.

We decided to avoid as much of the traffic as we could, coming home, so didn't leave until today.  As we couldn't re-hook the car to the RV (apparently we bent a piece of the hitch) so drove separately to the Service locale and had them fix the attachment, as well as repair the electrical connection that puts the steps out when you open the RV door.  We couldn't avoid a piece of tire that was on the roadway (some truck had a blow out) and apparently it managed to catch the wiring under the stairs and broke that.  Ah the joy of owning an RV.  [I hear that boats are the same or even worse!]

She is now parked, happily, in her storage lot until the next trip out in a couple of weeks.  Meanwhile, I can show you a couple of things I have managed to get finished or close to finishing.

Here's a dolly blanket for Brennan - practicing a really nice stitch.
I have managed to finish up the top of my Spakenburger wall hanging
and have finished my little flag hanging, that Caro and I each made, just like Yvonne,
[it's my photography, not the work - it's really very cute.]

We have been enjoying one of our souvenirs,

Gouda cheese.

And there you have it.  Now to press hard and get a 1600 quilt made before the RV group auction in August.  I watched Caro make one while we were there, so it should sure be do-able even with some distractions between now and then.  Lots of dirty laundry from 6 days on the road.  :-)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A bit behind - jet lag, and all

Well, we made it home.  And while my sleeping habits are not quite adjusted, we're getting there and I'm managing to stay awake until at least 10pm.  Mostly it's just the early morning.  Oh well.  It does mean that I can quietly work on "shoveling out" my quilt room, which became the storage place for all our extra things while traveling.  So, go back a number of days,

On the next to last day of my extended stay in the Netherlands, Dieuwke and Diana and I went to Amsterdam, specifically to visit Den Haan and Wagenmakers - a most incredible quilt fabric store.  You could imagine our distress when we learned that it will likely to closing in the not too distant future or at least altering considerably.  The two men who founded the store with reproductions of old fabric patterns, many (most?) from the Dutch East Indies company, sold the store a few years ago to Petra Prinz, who also has a marvelous shop in Zutphen.  However, those two men have decided, apparently, to no longer be making the repoduction fabrics for which they are known world-wide.  And so the shop will be changing.  The fabrics are exquisite and colorful and unique.  So sad, so sad.  We each managed to find a few things that we couldn't live without.  After our lunch, it was fun to wander a bit in A'dam to notice the architecture for which it is known.  Great memories.

Caro and I worked on finishing up our American flag mini quilts and then decided to make little bags to hold dice.  Caro printed fabric which included the scoring of the dice game, Farkle, for the front of the bags.  Fun!  See her blog: Caro-en-rob.blogspot.com

Lucky for me, I arrived on a lovely, partly cloudy day.  So nice.  And we have had a number of pleasant days since.

I do love the spring.  Today, alas, rain and gray.  Good weather for:
but I will still need to go outdoors with my "babysitting" duty:
Ariza is a lovely, good dog and really not trouble at all.  Happy week before Memorial Day.  We're headed off camping.  I'll report in next week.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Monday reporting

Elaine got off and Caro and I headed to Delft.  We have been trying to find a replacement for the earrings Susan bought two years ago and has lost one of.  No such luck.  once again there was no art market, as promised by the VVV (tourist office).  Oh well, it is such a fabulous town and I love to be there.  There even was some sunshine on our arrival but we left as the rain was beginning (again).  I forgot to mention the small concert in the Catholic Church.  Very nice.

Caro and I have doing lots and lots of sewing.  Some photos below.  The cute little flag piece is just like the one we saw at Yvonne's last week.  I will take it home and finish it.  I have taken the antique fabrics from Spakenburg and made the 3D squares.  It is such a "happy" little piece, again likely finished at home.

On Sunday Caro and I visited Palais Soesdijk, the former home of Queen Juliana.  Her daughter, the former Queen Beatrix, grew up there.  It is such a lovely, lovely home and fabulous grounds.  It is interesting that there is quite a bit of conversation going on around if or how it will be maintained.  There doesn't seem to be the "will" to keep it as a memorial to that queen, and of course, how will it be paid for?  Of course, we did have to stop for coffee at the Orangery (sp?) on the grounds.  On our return we had a short soup making lesson and a bit more sewing.

This morning Caro and I adjourned to Emma's home, nearby, along with Diana, for a sewing morning.  They do this somewhat often.  Emma then served Caro and me a delicious lunch, filled with French taste treats. (Photos below). Of course, we sewed some more.  Tomorrow is breakfast out and then a pretty quiet day.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Early Saturday morning

Later today this little adventure will change a bit.  Elaine flies back to Seattle and I will move from our little apartment to Caro and Rob's home.  So first, more of this weeks happenings.

Thursday was Hemelfaart.  This is technically a church holiday - on which Christ ascended to heaven - this rather non-churched country celebrates it with holiday from most work, no school, some stores closed, etc.  But after an effort begun several years ago, we were able to take a tour of The Peace Palace, the Vredepalais.  You probably would enjoy googling this and reading about the peace efforts that have continued for a hundred years here in The Hague.  Lucky for us, we managed to get into an English tour so that we could indeed understand more fully.  We were not allowed to take photos inside the building.  So these are from out front.  Our visit followed closely on the heels of the national day of remembering - the Dutch Memorial Day, in appreciation and thanks for all the efforts made to end the Second World War.  The sincerity of the Dutch people is impressive, up to and including the maintenance of American cemeteries.

We have spent some time in "downtown" The Hague, doing some shopping and a bit of wandering around.  We were able to walk around the Nieuw Kerk.  Like many churches in the Netherlands, this is a gorgeous old building used for exhibitions or other community events, but not church.  The Hague is a city which is busily reinventing itself, so there is no end of building going on.  It has a very iconistic skyline.

Caro and I had a fun evening in Katwijk.  Some months ago I started writing to a dutch woman, online, as she and her husband were on a cross-USA trip in an RV.  We were able to visit her home on the evening of their weekly "quilt bee".  It is such fun to meet in person, folks who had previously been modern-day pen pals.  Oh the worlds that quilting has opened up for us.  Such a fun adventure.

Last evening we had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Bij Mauce, with our friends Dieuwke and Willem, as well as Caro and Rob and dog Mies.  Non-service dogs in restaurants are fairly common.  This morning will likely be our last breakfast with CNN International.  Interesting the things that will be different in a week, including no more cats.  

Caro and I have planned sewing adventures for the next six days, before I fly home.  You will likely hear from me again before then.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

before too much happens and I forget

Monday was just lovely, so we caught Bus 24 and rode to the end of the line at Kijkduin.  We had a bit of a wander around, although many shops are closed on Monday.  had one of our favorite lunches:
Pannenkoeken met spek, kaas en ananas.  (That translates to Dutch pancakes with bacon -although we had ham, cheese and pineapple). Oh yum!  Monday we had dinner with Rob and Caro and their friend Tale came as well.  Rob made his "famous" macaroni with tomato sauce and vegetables.  IT was very nice.  Strawberry shortcake (somewhat improvised) for dessert.

Tuesday was our scheduled visit to Keukenhof and my blankety blank camera decided not to work.  (Of course it would happen at one of the photographic hi lights of the whole trip.). So check it out online.  It was amazing.  Caro came over for some supper and a visit.  She also brought some fabrics for a project we will work on next week. 

This morning (Wednesday) guess what resurrected itself?  We used the last of our discount train passes and went to Amsterdam again.  Today we had an appointment to visit Het Grachtenhuis Museum.  This was a really worthwhile adventure to a really high tech museum about the building of the city of Amsterdam and the multiple canals (grachten) which the city is built around.  It is housed in a lovely old double building on Herengracht, dating from (we can't exactly remember) but likely in the 1600s.  Check out their websites for more photos inside the exhibit.  Sound and movies and holographic s - it was great.  Lunch outside at Spui and a walk back to Central Station.  As we arrived in The Hague we ran into our first rain.  Alas.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The week-End's report

Friday was pretty good (weather wise) and we had a lovely, lazy morning. Got some laundry going and headed to my favorite store Albert Heijn (the grocery store). Got some provisions and Rob came to pick us up about half past two. We drove approx. 90 minutes to their summer house (zomerhuisje). It was warm enough that we could enjoy a little sit in the garden. After supper we went to see the annual Sand Sculpture exhibition. It was a bit unusual to be open in the evening and we were the only visitors there. Saturday after a breakfast of freshly baked and delivered bread, Caro, Elaine and I visited the picturesque village of Spakenburg. This used to be a fishing village and there is a lovely, little harbor right in the middle of town. We returned for lunch and got Rob and visited Mariahoeve. Maria and her two sisters lived on a rather prosperous farm, with few if any, modernization s - for example, they had a telephone as one sister was in poor health, but they did not use electricity until around 1990's. They continued to bake bread in a wood fired oven and wash clothes in a boiling tub until Maria's death in approx. 1997. Sunday again was lovely - although it gets doggone cold during the night. Rob and Elaine dropped Caro and I at Bep's for a sewing day. You know I loved that. She had About 25 of us learning to make a little red and grey pleated bag. Thank goodness for my friends willing to translate for me. My dutch skills aren't nearly good enough. Another grand adventure!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Weds and Thurs

Grass is not growing under these feet, for sure. (It is such fun!)

Wednesday morning we got up pronto and got the train to Amsterdam. We passed a few fields with flowers that are just beginning to blossom. That is on next weeks agenda. We got the tram at. Central station and headed to the Rijksmuseum. (Check it out online). it has been closed for ten (!) years for an upgrade, some modernization, etc. What a fabulous museum, with art that even we know-nothing's have seen or heard of. Patty Anne we were thinking of you a lot. Like most, we began with art from the 1600's with paintings from Vermeer, Hals and Rembrandt. Even arriving very soon after opening, it was quite busy. But you are allowed to get within (less than) two feet of the paintings. WOW!

We adjourned to tHe museum cafe and ended up sitting next to a couple from Edmonds, WA. After a tasty salad, we returned to our cultural immersion. When we finally left the museum, they were not letting any more people inside and were lined up, four across, for about fifty yards. Lots of folks. We had hoped to visit the Nieuwe Kerk, where Willem Alexander was "crowned" the day before. Unfortunately there were HUNDREDS lined up for that. (It was only open that afternoon and the next day). So we passed on that idea and wandered throu some of the city. We did stop for a drink (pop) and Appel gebaakt before heading to the train. Did I say, that one of the blessings of all this walking, has been NO weight gain, despite all our taste treats.

Thursday morning we started some laundry (packing light means fewer clothes) and got that on a drying rack (didnt want to leave the dryer on while we were gone) and headed to our "home away from home" Delft. WONDERFUL. We managed to find our way despite work on the tram which necessitated a bus ride for the last part of the trip. Oh so tasty lunch at Leonides cafe (known for their Belgian chocolates) and then a leisurely walk with the weekly market. Found a few things and just delighted in the ambiance. In the late afternoon we purchased the requisite bunch of flowers and headed to the home we had enjoyed two years ago and had a glass of wine with Wim and Marieke. They are charming people and it was great to reconnect.

oh we are so lucky, to get to enjoy all of this.