eigen kweek / tulips from the garden

With so many Dutch beauties blooming away, showing a field of pinks, purples and reds, I couldn’t keep from cutting some for a bouquet… I have to tell you, the garden has me in its grasp! It makes me do things I haven’t really done in years, since I was a kid, like picking flowers and the cheer joy it brings… And like back then, this bouquet I gave to my mother.

The more delicate tulips like the white/pink ones with the frizzed edges (tulipa Huis ten Bosch) or the red parrot tulip on the right (with the curly petals) seemed a little lost amidst the rest, so I thought it would be nice to admire them up close in a vase. Yes, it’s that latticino vase from the March calendar! There are still plenty in the front garden though, charming neighbours and passers-by and it almost seems they are somewhat complementary to the rampant dandelions on the driveway, lol (I still have to deal with those). Can’t wait to fill up the rest of the front garden at the end of the summer (so far it’s been “tulip’d” about halfway)…

Tulipa Huis ten Bosch, Purple and Candy Prince
Tulipa Huis ten Bosch, Purple and Candy Prince, and muscari and forget-me-nots in the back
lily of the valley
Lily of the Valley getting ready for May

Tulipomania or Tulip mania was a short period in the 17th Century in the Netherlands during which tulips became immensely wanted; prices rocketed and then plummeted again. Combined with the popularity of the Vanitas theme, this also led to many wonderful still lives of flower bouquets and botanical paintings…

Hello surface!

tulip bulbs!
the tulip bulbs are eager to go underground again…

//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js It almost seems to have become a yearly ritual, returning to this virtual home of a blog in October. I like the term “resurfacing”, as if life takes part under the surface of the earth for a period, seemingly inexistent…until it suddenly pops up again, showing its face. Springtime in autumn, hehe.

Well, most of my invisible, underground work in the previous months consisted of dealing with Dad’s Alzheimer’s and the changes it brought to his and our lives, and working on my Master’s thesis for art history (which I finished in August). It has been a turbulent period but we’re all in a better place now than we were before. And in the mean time I’ve also been adjusting to a new town, to this new (old) house and a neglected garden that I’ve been tending to.

Creatively I haven’t been as prolific this past year as I wanted, as I needed to focus on other issues. So even my creativity went underground. Luckily the garden has been a great teacher. Getting my hands dirty, learning about the soil, the plants, doing garden archeology, finding “treasures” (well… mostly just rusty beer bottle caps really, lol) and learning about the people who lived here before and how they treated the garden… And the best thing about a neglected garden, is that your imagination can take it anywhere!

Off you grow! Have a look at the garden journal on flickr and the inspiration for it on Pinterest.



patterns on the wall

An old house comes with many treasures… like old wallpaper!

2014-06-19 11.27.40
these big 70’s flowers and geometric design are in a walk-in cupboard.
They’re a bit over the top. But I like them! They can stay…

2014-06-19 11.27.21
These cosy flowers decorated the toilet…
they got painted over except for the back wall,
so the beige toilet doesn’t look so very beige against all the white… :-p

2014-06-19 11.26.48
This one I adore! it was under the stairs, going down to the cellar,
but most of it got removed for the renovations (luckily I took this photo).
It has such a wonderful folksy 70’s vibe! I love those colors!

2014-08-04 10.12.17
Japanese textile pattern in the stairway to the 1st floor.
I loved it but looked fairly degraded, and a bit dark and busy
for the narrow space it was in…so this became white too.

2014-06-19 11.26.32
a random snapshot during the renovations.
The previous owners had taken such care of the decoration of this piece of multiplex
 that possibly covered the wood stove (or perhaps part of a cupboard).
2014-10-14 17.35.58
Oh, and before I moved in there had been squatters too.
The back door didn’t have a lock… They left this smiley among other things that weren’t so cute. :-p
Smiley can stay for now.

2014-10-14 17.35.46
I love what the runny spray paint did with the textured wallpaper…

2014-09-12 12.16.34
…and like that I’m turning the house into a blank canvas, ready for a new life!
 I love how everyone who lived here has left some sort of mark, I don’t need to erase it all.
Now it’s my turn to make my own…

It’s been a while since my last post so it’s about time I give you an update! The summer has passed like a storm, and meanwhile I’m back at college finishing my master’s degree this semester, while continuing with my liberal arts degree at Sint Lucas in the 2nd semester.

So I’m a bit late with my Master’s but I hope I can get it done now. I have to redo a couple of courses and finish writing that thesis… That wasn’t the plan, mind you; I was hoping to be finished by September. But the summer proved to be quite much.

Perhaps it was to be expected: moving to my new house, renovating it, working on a lecture on my thesis and all the little and big things that come with moving into a new place didn’t give me much of a break (although I had help on many levels from some truly awesome people! 🙂 ). And hardly had I moved in or we heard about my dad’s accident and hospital stay, so mom and I dropped everything and took care of things in Antwerp. He’s fine now although some things have changed (I’ll talk about that some other time).

And so I’ve been catapulted into a new school year, a little exhausted but equally positive that everything will work out this year. If I stay mindful of the traps of burnout, things will be alright. I was in worse shape last year, after three years of intense studying and having combined two studies the year before. I’ve been doing pretty well in my studies, but I’m an idiot for not seeing that it would become too much. Or at least I knew I was playing with fire, having had energy issues before, but this was such a wonderful chance and I wouldn’t want to miss it for the world. So I took that chance, and I’m not looking back.

Still I tumbled into an episode of burnout a year ago. Exhaustion, inertia and big emotions: it’s a mess. Literally and figuratively! But it helped me realise I had to change the way I handled things (thanks to a wonderful therapist) and have been working on them since, one of which was the place I lived in. As much as I had loved living in the cute little house in Ghent, I had grown too big for it over the years (a bit like Alice!). So the hunt for a new place was on, and with mom’s help we found it the day before my birthday! I wasn’t planning at all to move to a small town like Ronse (my mom lives here), but when we visited it we knew it was “the one”.  I’ll gush about it next time, with all the proper pictures and renovation stories! No worries. So I scheduled to move after the exams in June and that’s how that roller coaster of a summer started…

And now you know what I’ve been up to.

I long to get back on the blogging horse properly, sharing some hopefully inspiring things, books and people, and keeping you updated on my projects and adventures… But I’m learning to take it a day at a time, so I won’t make any promises I can’t keep. I’ll do what I can and thank you for understanding!

fur & whiskers

the Spanish lady: one of my neighbour’s cats who’s decided to live at my place – this is a
temporary solution because she doesn’t play well with other cats and I don’t have enough space.
She deserves a good home! Do you know someone who wants a feline companion?

Assepoes is just fur and whiskers…

Yin grooms herself

Isaura’s ear – I may have posted a similar photo once but she has such photogenic ears! 😀

So with the exams and deadlines of papers approaching again, things are getting pretty stressful. I really don’t like it. But my cats do -I’m spending more time at home, and studying in the sleeping room means they can just make a big kitty pile on the bed while I lecture them about -well, this semester it’s Eastern cultural history (topics from Islam, Buddhist art, China’s Great Walls, the Tower of Babel and Japanese swordmaking), Ritual aspects of Theatre (Ancient Greek roots of theatre and remnants of ritual elements in contemporary theatre), Art & psychoanalysis

Well, at least my cats are getting a pretty great education! 😉

ETA: this is the kittypile.