bits and pieces

Summer Rhythm…

It has been a little quiet around here in the last few months… I can only blame the weather for that. It has been summer. And it has been a real summer this year meaning warm days with lots of sunshine. Yes, we had a heatwave. Multiple ones according to the weather people, but it felt like one big heatwave. Which was nice for a change, since the usual summers here in the Netherlands tend to be rather wet and mild. The higher temperatures do however put me in an immediate summer rhythm and that means that activity levels go down and everything is more easy-going. Let’s catch up!

Yarn Stuff and Sewing

Let’s start with the fibre section! Multiple projects have had my attention and I even finished some of them (almost). First up is a lovely shawl that I have been making. It’s the Sea Glass shawl by Eline (of Emmy+Lien). I actually wrote about it earlier and I have shown you the finished piece. I did want to show it here too because it really belongs to this summer (even though I didn’t need it to keep me warm).

I started this shawl just before we left for holidays in May and (as expected) I didn’t finish it while away. It was a perfect feet-up crochet thing to work on in the shade of the garden umbrella!

Here is one of the photos that my husband took of me and the finished shawl…

The Sea Glass Shawl was part of a CAL (crochet-a-long) that I joined. I don’t join in on ‘alongs’ a lot, but after finishing this one I immediately stumbled into the next one. A mystery version this time, which means that you have no idea what the finished piece of crochet (in this case) is going to look like!

So this is the yarn that I bought (on holiday in the UK) for the Skimming Stones Mystery CAL which was designed and hosted by The Crochet Project. Their patterns are usually stunning and very well designed.

I had a lot of fun making it and along the way, I noticed some similarities to another work-in-progress that I have been neglecting: the Birds of a Feather shawl. The construction of both shawls is rather similar: the central spine, the way it is shaped and the ripple pattern that is alternated with stripes. There is, however, one major difference: one of them is knitted and the other is a crochet shawl. And that’s a huge difference.

The funny thing is that I did pick up the knitting WIP again after a long time and started to work on it after finishing the weekly homework of the crochet mystery CAL. So that’s a win-win situation!

I finished the Skimming Stones shawl a little while ago now and there were just some ends left to weave in. That’s a perfect job to do with your feet in a cooling pond! I will very soon do a separate post on the shawl to show you more!

At the beginning of the year, I wrote a blog post and listed the unfinished projects that I had at that time… some of them are completed. But my Hygge (yes, also a CAL) still is not finished. I did finish one more embroidery part and I have crocheted the base for the final bit of embroidery. And I want to finish it this year… but that’s it.

Something that is not on the unfinished items list, is this lovely shawl. It’s called Olivia’s shawl and it is designed by the lovely Annette of My Rose Valley. I have made a few of her patterns, for instance, the Pine Tree hat and wrist warmers. I am not in a rush with the shawl. It’s the perfect project to pick up if I like to or to give some attention to in-between other things. I’m using a 100% merino yarn for it and it is going to be so cosy!

Besides playing around with yarn, I have also been sewing! Yes, I made a dress! Well, two actually. The pink one is a very simple pattern that I wanted to give a go. It is not perfect, but I’m very happy with it.

I have managed to attach a binding along the neckline, which I have never done before. The fabric was gifted to me a while ago and the colours and pattern would not be my first choice. So figured that this was the perfect piece of fabric to experiment with. No problem if I would mess it up, haha!

I have actually been wearing it a lot. It is a perfect heatwave dress!

The second one is a stripey dress for which I bought the fabric over a year ago. I didn’t have a pattern, I just knew that I wanted something sleeveless. Together with a friend, we adjusted a pattern and this is the outcome. Very pleased with it!

Summer Food

I love to have to breakfast outside and luckily there were plenty of alfresco breakfasts this summer!

A bowl of yoghurt with some fresh fruits, walnuts and seeds accompanied by a large mug of earl grey tea usually does the job for me.

It really was a great summer for fresh fruits and vegetables! There were so many strawberries, raspberries and blueberries… In the glasses are a scoop of vanilla ice cream, some yoghurt, fresh berries and some almonds. Yum!

And when it’s warm, fluid levels should be kept up. I usually do drink a lot of water during warm days, but sometimes you just like to have something else. I made this ice tea using my beloved earl grey tea by Brew Tea Company. They are a small UK based company selling various high-quality, loose leaf teas. I stocked up on them when on holiday there!

To make the tea: put 1 litre of cold water in a jug and add 4-5 scoops of loose leaf earl grey tea (I’ve used a tea filter). Throw in a large chunk of lemon and store in the fridge for about 12 hours. Remove the tea leaves, but leave in the lemon. Serve with ice and a bit of maple syrup if you like it sweet.

A summer rhythm in our household usually also means that mealtimes shifted towards a Mediterranean schedule. In short: dinner is served rather late. And it shouldn’t be too difficult. Let me share some of the meals we had with you…

This is my perfect type of meal: some veggies and fresh bread with homemade Arabian style dips, olives and cheese. Yum!

Another one that only needs a glass of wine with it: healthy(er) homemade chicken tikka masala nuggets with mushy peas, a yoghurt and mint dip and chutney.

And, of course, the BBQ was on regularly. I try to cook the entire meal on the grill which means that we will have some grilled vegetables and a piece of meat or fish. Here we had sea bream with tomatoes and greens. So simple and so delicious!

On the left plate are grilled aubergines (or eggplant) with tahini yoghurt, pine nuts and fresh parsley. On the right plate are grilled mixed vegetables (bell peppers or paprika, mushrooms and courgette or zucchini) dressed with some crumbled feta and fresh parsley. I love these vegetable dishes!

Besides yarn, I also brought home a few cookbooks from the UK holiday. I immediately fell for the cover of the one in the photo above! So far I have made one of the tagine recipes that’s in the book. It was delicious! And it has beautiful recipes for sweets and desserts as well…

When the first signs of autumn are there chanterelles make their entry as well. We both really love the earthy taste of mushrooms so when we saw them, we had to buy them. I’ve created a very easy recipe for them which is here on the blog!

The Garden

We decided to let the grass grow in our garden and it is great to see the diversity in the lawn. Imagine sitting outside in the morning with your breakfast and little bees and bumblebees are zooming around…

Bono liked it too!

On one of the many walks (sometimes really early or late at night because of the temperature) we found this interesting creature! Look at those colours!

And another more bumblebee. I really like to watch them hopping from one flower to the next.

As much as a lot of people like the hot weather, the garden definitely does not. This summer has been one of the driest ones we have had since a very long time. I have been watering the flowers that I have in tubs on the terrace, but everything else got kind of brown… (and is green already again now that temperatures have dropped and we’ve had some rain). The flowers are still beautiful and the plants have not been so big before! Luckily I can enjoy them a little longer…

Well, that’s a bit of a recap of our my summer… that is what I have been doing and enjoying during my absence here. How was your summer (or winter when you’re on the other side of the globe)? Did the heatwave reach you and how did you cope with it?

I am going to do my best and post again more frequently, promised! There’s a long list of subjects (and a pile of finished items) waiting for words. But first, we’re off to the in-laws in Germany for a week. Keep you posted!

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