25 June, 2012


Because I had to finish work early before giving birth, I discovered that I had some time on my hands.  After finishin Red Dead Redemption in about a week I found myself looking around wondering what next.  Obviously I could have scrubbed the house, but that particular nesting need was yet to kick in.  I started spending a lot of time on the internet, doing nothing much at all.  Actually, I spent most of the day on Pinterest (you can follow me here, btw) lusting over baby products.  Days were slipping through my fingers and I had nothing to show for it except a great relationship with the TNT delivery dude.

I needed to find something to do, and fast.  I waddled over to visit a new (also pregnant) friend one rainy day and she showed me a baby blanket that she was half way through crocheting.  At that moment a light came on in my head and I knew what I would be doing for the next few weeks; making a baby blanket!

Off to the craft store I lumbered and managed to spend the equivalent of a small African nation’s GDP on yarn, then started looking for cool patterns online.  I’ve never been much of a Youtube user in the past, but a whole new world opened up to me in the form of tutorials and patterns.  Before I knew it I was busy making blankets and beanies and booties faster than I could give them away!

All the while, my house was not cleaning itself and I was still waiting for the nesting instinct to kick in.  I decided to leave the mess, as I didn’t want to do a job I so loathed twice and kept crocheting.  I was creating flowers, joining craft sites like Ravelry, and subscribing to awesome crochet channels on Youtube.

My mum arrived from Australia and I was still going strong with the crochet.  Usually I have short bursts of obsessive behaviour and then it peters out after a couple of weeks.  This new phase was showing no signs of subsiding, no matter how empty my bank account was becoming!  Luckily mum was happy (although happy is probably not the right word) to take up my housekeeping slack as my due date came and went with nary a hint of obsessive cleaning/nesting.  I was in a world of crochet.

All of a sudden Raina was born (I was still crocheting through contractions, that's how obsessed I became).  It was then that everybody was certain I would put down the hook and look after my baby, but I couldn’t; I was hooked (see what I did there?).  I was using the precious moments that I should have been resting madly working on a blanket.  I would be banished to my bedroom by my kraamverzorgster (more on that in a later post) for my 12pm nap and I would sneak balls of yarn upstairs to hide under my pillow in case I was caught when I should have been napping!

Then something happened which kicked an already compulsive habit into overdrive.  The Boobie Beanie.  Maarten found an article on geenstijl.nl about a breastfeeding baby hat that was about to go viral and I had to get me a slice of that action!  I looked at the pictures posted and thought that even with my limited newbie skills I would be able to make one easily.  Then the plotting to buy even more yarn began!  I stocked up on pink and cream yarn and figured out my own pattern and it turned out great!  But then of course, I couldn’t just stop at one, so I was obsessively crocheting them one after the other and proceeding to send them all over the place to people with babies.

Here's my first Boobie Beanie (excuse the boob, by that stage I was past discretion!)

So, you’d think that the obsession would have just about worked its way out of my system by then, but no!  I had a photoshoot with Raina and Maarten booked in and I wanted a gorgeous hat for her to wear (not that she needed it as she was born with a head of hair that Stone Cold Steve Austin would die for).  This was the result:

Photo by Rudi Wells

Once I realised that there is only a certain amount of baby hats that one can make, I started looking for new projects.  I started on baby booties, which proved to be a bit of a waste of time as we all know socks and booties do not stay on babies’ feet. So I moved on.  To adult booties!

That’s where I am right now.  I’ve been working on my own pattern to make some Mary Jane slippers out of a couple of enormous balls of yarn that I bought on Queen’s Day and Maarten was so impressed that he put in an order for a pair.  So I’m also trying to make a manlier pair especially for him; ensuring that they match mine.  We are Dutch, after all.

My aweseome Mary Janes

Do you have an obsession?  Ladies with babies, what consumed you in the last weeks of pregnancy? 

More importantly, what should I make next?  I’d love to hear your suggestions and pattern ideas, I really love crochet.  It’s like my meditation...

06 June, 2012

A Return to Regular Programming....

So you may have noticed that I have been absent for a while.  Almost six months it turns out!  For a while I thought that this blog might have been dead in the water, but pestering from my husband has seen me pull my finger out and try to write something again.

In February I gave birth to a gorgeous little girl who is the light and the bane of my life.  The first few weeks were probably the hardest of my life.  Giving birth was a piece of cake in comparison.  But now we have found our rhythm and are getting along famously.  I’m back at work and a new normalcy is fast becoming established.

And as for my adventures in integration?  Well I think I’m nearly there.  I conquered one of my final frontiers a few weeks ago – going to the doctor and speaking only in Dutch.  Only the hairdresser to go now!  My life is almost completely dutchified.  I look out the window and it’s pouring with rain (in June, of course it is.  Summer is O.V.E.R.) but I didn’t even consider taking the bus.  Not an option.  I even take the baby on the bike in a carrier.  You should have seen me last Friday:  Baby, shopping, flowers and lunch; all on the bike.  Too easy.

I think I’ve moved through to the final stage of culture shock – mastery – and am happier and happier every day.  That’s not to say that I don’t encounter my share of idiots on a daily basis, because I do.  I’ve started an ‘idiot count’ which keeps me entertained on my way to and from work each day on the bike.  The big difference between now and a year ago is that now it entertains me instead of making me want to shoot people!

Before the baby appeared I started to become more involved in the Almere English speaking community International Almere.  In fact, I’m now the organisation’s secretary.  Having said that, in the last few months I have been so wrapped up in my own world that I haven’t had time to do much – not even attend any of the events that happen every single week!  I’m hoping that now I’m back out in the big wide world I can be more involved again as it’s such a fun organisation to be a part of!  So (shameless plug alert!) if you live in Almere, come join us.  You don’t have to be from abroad, almost half our members are dutchies!

Another invaluable resource has been the ABCDE Playgroup.  Not that I’ve had a chance to attend any of their popular Wednesday or Thursday get togethers, but the Facebook group is very lively and it’s wonderful to just know that the support is there whenever I need it.  The fabulous Becky who runs it is also a childbirth educator and helped me no end build my confidence before I went into labour.  I really, truthfully could not have done it without her. But, more about Becky in a later post about the best and worst choices I made while pregnant and after the wee one was born.

So, coming up in the near future:

The best (and worst) buys I made for my baby.
The choices I made and the far reaching effects,
Going back to work; good or bad?
And let’s not forget a Weekendje Weg post (well, a “weekje” weg in this case).

It’s great to be back.  I’ve missed you.

Here she is - she's too big for that outfit now!

What we are talking about

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