May 30, 2010

The Thirtieth

This photo was taken the other day when I was out and about in Brussels. I have guests in town until next Sunday, so I am taking a little break to be with them and doing some sight seeing of my own.

May 22, 2010

Strawberry Fields Forever

Eigen teelt, Dutch for home-grown.

I have a guilty pleasure every week,

And every morning.

Well, almost every morning. 

May 19, 2010

Today, I...

Went for a walk.

The woods in Heverlee, 6 p.m.

May 16, 2010

Knokke, Knokke...

Who's there?
Belgians open their beach sheds when the weather gets nice. From what I observed, they don't particularly care to face the sea. 

My friend Kerrie and I decided to take a day trip since our significant others were nose deep in research, thesis writing, or whatever. We decided to head to the coastal town of Knokke, right on the Belgium/Netherlands border. As it turns out, I had been to this town before, I just didn't recognize it in the sunlight. (Yes, I just wrote the word sunlight!) The weather is also inching back up ever so slightly, but it was still cold enough to wear my warmest piece of clothing - my new owl sweater! HOOT!

The town of Knokke is a posh place full of shops, art galleries, high rise beach apartments. Some say it's the poshest place in Belgium, except they don't put it so nicely. It's a lovely place to stroll or cycle, dip your toes in the North Sea, and people watch.
Tomorrow's Man by Catherine François
More about this sculpture here.

Het Zwin is a nature reserve just north of Knokke and exactly on the Netherlands/Belgium border. The Zwin is a gorgeous place known for its marshes, rising tide, forest and sea lavender which is in bloom in the late summer.

We interrupt this post to bring you this special photo from this week's Belgium beer...
Zoeteke - a low alcohol, delicious, cherry beer. Brewed for Zoete Polder a cherry farm near Knokke. We now return to regularly scheduled photos.

We walked to the Netherlands without knowing it, which is very easy to do. In the four hours that we walked the Zwin, the tide had risen along the shore.

A view of the Catherine François' sculpture on the way back.

I'll be back tomorrow with a few more pictures.

May 14, 2010

I Like


More specifically gingham.

But I do also like check$

Made out to:


To pursue silly endeavors.

Like graduate school... 


May 13, 2010


Before the day is done...


Last month I picked up two beautiful books on embroidery, but they are in French. I can't read or speak French at all, so I wasn't sure if I was going to buy them. After about 10 minutes of self-debate, at the last minute I took them to the counter before I changed my mind. When I got home that evening I searched for the titles in English on Amazon, just in case they were translated titles. I didn't find them. Whew! That made me feel a LOT better about my purchase.

The title of the first book is Paris Vintage by Hélène Le Berre. I first saw this book at Creativa and fell in love at first sight. I couldn't find much on the author, but I did discover Fifi Mandirac who happened to do the styling on this book. (Click on her name to check out her gorgeous and inspiring blog, some of which is in English.)

Here is a sample of the projects from the table of contents. 

The designs are very Parisian and vintage inspired. There are lots of architectural designs with Parisian details.   

Isn't this a gorgeous idea? 
This project is the last one in the book, but it's also what sold me. The frame is made of cardboard, which makes me reminisce about some gifts that I made for friends in high school. 

The title of the second book is Ma vie à broder : Des centaines de motifs à broder by Sylvie Blondeau. This book is so cute! It had me at hello.

This is the page that appeared when I first opened the book.
Eeeeek! It's sew adorable!

All of the designs are charming, simple and totally me (as in my style). Some are in French...

And some are as American as...

All of the text may be in French, but the illustrations and photographs are very informative and so inspiring.

That's the beauty of art - it  transcends language. But I would still like to learn more French.

May 12, 2010


My first jumper, ahem - sweater, is FINALLY finished!

This weekend, I found the perfect buttons at 't Wolwinkeltje, my local yarn shop. I needed 36, and they had exactly 36 at .50€ a pop, bringing  the grand total of this sweater to 102€. Sheesh!  I don't know if I will be making another one of these anytime soon. It's definitely the most expensive sweater I have, and actually the warmest. I guess it's great that it's still 4°C in the mornings because I get to wear this sweater, but it's May already! Mid-May! (4°C = 38°F.) C'mon Belgium! Warm up already!

Here's a close up of the little guys.

Front view:

And a view of the back:
I am pleased with this sweater and it's soft and warm coziness, but I am a little self-conscious in it. There is a bit too much volume in the upper back area. It's really just a little bit, no one notices but me. Also, I am not sure how to style this sweater. It's very fitted in the front (stomach area), and the owls may be a little young for me. Oh well...


This sweater makes me smile, which is why I made it in the first place.

Something else that makes me smile:

My artwork sold! I just sold my first piece!

May 11, 2010


I really used to dislike wisteria as a child. It was so fragrant and used to hang in the backyard of my friend Mark's house, right by the trampoline.  It was a bummer when it would bloom. It's powerful fragrance would instantly knock me over, make me nauseous and give me the worst headache ever - totally knocking me out for my afternoon trampoline session, and I love the trampoline! I have such a strong association with this tree, that whenever I see it I hold my breath as I walk by.
Some Belgium neighborhoods are full of wisteria, making it very difficult to hold my breath. As it turns out, these plants aren't as bad as I remember and are actually quite lovely.

I've been listening to this lately. It's pretty f%$#*@ hilarious and makes me want to revisit and write of my own childhood memories.

May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

This pretty pink flower is from the Leuven Botanic Gardens, which is free and open to the public. I discovered it on my walk the other day. 

P.S. I miss my mom. I really, really do.

May 7, 2010

Walk to Happy

I was in a negative mood this afternoon, so I went for a walk.

Negative mood cancelled out.

May 6, 2010

Almost Famous II

My friend from high school emailed me this picture this morning.

I am the face of arts and culture for kids in Dallas, Texas.  That's a big picture of me on the corner of Ross Avenue and Leonard Street!

I'm also famous here and here.

May 5, 2010

Cinco de Mayo

Today, I present 5 photos of my favorite Mexican blouse and its gorgeous handiwork in honor of my Mexican heritage and the Battle of Puebla.

This is one of the most beautiful pieces of clothing I own. 

It's just as beautiful on the inside.

It was made entirely by hand.

Learn how to make your own here.

View more pics of this blouse in 2008 here.

May 4, 2010

Variation on a Theme

A few weeks ago I received an e-mail invitation to participate in a community art show. It's been a long time since I participated in an art exhibition, so I thought I would give it a go and try to produce something. Based on my last project, I was really excited about the prospect of embroidering a new sheet of paper.

Unfortunately, or fortunately (depends on how you look at it), the show has a theme: water.

Water doesn't really go with embroidery, and didn't fit any of my current ideas. I knew that I wanted my next project to be based on an A4 ruled sheet, typical of what students use here in Belgium, but I had no idea how to make it work under the "theme."

Then one night it came to me. 


Embroidered paper is hardly a new idea. 

Check out this link that Steph sent this morning. 

I think it's more fun to make your own. 

May 3, 2010

Dear Belgium,

This morning I woke up to November. At least that is what it felt like it at 39 °F, or 4 °C. Please bring back the warm spring weather that we enjoyed so much last week As Soon As Possible. You know, the kind of weather where we were able to enjoy cool glasses of delicious Belgian beer and people watch on a terrace. The kind of weather that made for a lovely European evening and made me appreciate my life.


May 2, 2010


Remember when I wanted to make this sweater? Well, I started it in March after I went to Creativa,  and it's been a slow process. When I started the sweater I only knew how to purl and knit. Admittedly, I bit off more than I could chew, but how else does one learn?

And boy, have I learned! I have learned to knit using circular needles, learned to rib, cable, increase, decrease, and knit using the magic loop method.

I spent most of yesterday working on the owls and finished within 12 inches of running out of yarn.

Last month I popped over to check the blog of the creator of this pattern, Kate Davies. I was shocked to learn that on her way to work last February she had a stroke at the age of 36! She has spent the last two months recounting her recovery and triumphs as she works to gain movement and strength of her left arm, leg, and hand. These days she is climbing hills, walking cities and she has even started to knit again!

Dr. Davies is such an inspiration to me as she perseveres and recounts her journey. (Dr. because she has her PhD and teaches at a university.)  I guess in a way this sweater is a tribute to her, because I feel that she is one of my knitting teachers. She has been a great motivator to complete this sweater, to try something new, and to not fear new things. What's more, I don't even know her! And she definitely has no idea who I am, I've never even written her! Maybe I should change that?

Another motivation was this beautiful yarn that Mr. Wonderful bought me for my birthday.

It was pricey at 14€ a pop. I have used 5 to date, but this sweater will need six. Ouch.

Oh well, it's worth it. I just hope this sweater fits when I'm finished!