Tuesday, 27 December 2016

DIY. Creative with pinecones.

I got a box containing two pots of birdseeds for my birthday. There were some pinecones added to the package too. Maybe to challenge me a bit! The idea is to put the birdseeds on the pinecones, so the birds can feast of this tasty meal. I can already visualize it.

But where to put these cones? Preferably at a spot close to the house like, for instance, in front of the kitchen window. Unfortunately, there is no tree to hang the pinecones in at this spot.

But I have a solution. The other day I cut a branch from the walnut tree. Because of lack of time I have not yet cleared it. That comes in handy now. I put the big branch against the yew hedge and tie it with some wire to the hedge. Perfect!

Having solved that issue, I start to work on the birdfeed. It is a rather fiddly job to get the greasy paste out of the pot with a knife and smear it between the pinecones. Impatient as I am I wonder cannot this be done quicker?

That is why I try to do it with my hands. I grab the greasy paste out of the pot and squeeze it into the pinecone right away. That works a lot better. After having fixed one cone, I go outside to hang the pinecone in the branch to see how it looks. However, to get outside I have to open two doors ....... with my greasy hands and next I take some pictures ……again with my greasy hands .........

It's a great job for the Christmas holidays. But think twice before you are going to do this with your (grand) children .....

Because if you do it the same way I did you can immediately start with the spring-cleaning!

First I tie the walnut branch to the hedge.

It is a fiddly job to smear the paste into the pinecone.

It looks really nice.

I hope the birds will like it too.

The final result.

The next day......

........Blue Tits come and go!

They are so pretty.

Monday, 19 December 2016


There is not much going on in the garden these days. That is why I will tell you about the exhibition of Jordan Wolfson at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam I visited last week. It moved me a lot, so I have to get it off my chest ....

As I arrive at the Stedelijk climbing up the stairs I hear a horrible noise. I walk into the gallery with some anxiety. I see a big doll on chains hanging from a frame. These chains are connected to a mechanism, which can move the doll around. To my astonishment the doll is first lifted up by the chains and then, with a lot of noise, brutally thrown to the ground. Over and over again. The chains lash the doll while it is tossed around.

I wonder, "Can someone please do something nice with this doll?" I find it too horrible to watch and walk away from it.

I continue my visit to the museum and get into the next gallery. A long white bench is placed over the full width of the room. I sit down on the bench and wonder why does this doll touch me so much. Why do I look upon the doll as a human being? After all it is only made of plastic.

Looking up again, on the wall next to the bench I see a notice. It says: “Shoes are not allowed in the next gallery. Please take out your shoes and place them underneath the bench. Thank you for your cooperation.”

I hesitate and return on the bench. I simply do not want to enter the next room on my socks. I look under the bench. No shoes there. Ugh, hardly 15 minutes in the museum and I already feel so much conflict within myself.

I return to the gallery with the doll. The doll is now being drawn in varying poses by the chains. The doll’s eyes blink and look at me quizzically. Meanwhile, I think about my shoe dilemma. What a “bitch” I am, I want to go inside but I do not.

As the doll has to undergo his scourging again and the chains fall on it with a deafening noise, I walk away. I could cry.

I make up my mind. I walk to the other room, sit on the bench, take off my shoes and place them underneath the bench. Next I open the white door ......

The exhibition runs until April 23, 2017 (stedelijk)

The doll is bashed.

Or in more likeable poses.

The chains draw unusual patterns.

What is the doll saying: help?

In the next gallery, the bench. I see no shoes underneath it.

The note on the wall.

I open the door......

Monday, 12 December 2016

DIY gilding Amaryllis.

Occasionally I buy something that is waiting for inspiration. Like the package of “gold-leaf” I bought at Sostrene Grenes. I think it has nothing to do with gold, because the package "gold-leaf" costs just over one euro.

It starts spinning in my head immediately.... What can I do with it? The solution comes quickly. I have bought three Amaryllis bulbs for Christmas. Gilding Amaryllis bulbs, why not?

First I remove the brown outsides of the Amaryllis bulbs. Gently I brush the gold-leaf on the bulb. The material is thin and does not want to cooperate. After wetting the bulb with water, I try again. Now the gold sticks a little better, but it remains a hassle. (Next time I will use wallpaper paste on the bulb).

I make a ring from aluminium foil in order to place the bulb on preventing it from falling over. Finally I put each bulb in a glass jar and place it in front of the windowsill on the attic.

I expected the Amaryllis to grow quickly, but two weeks later, NOTHING has happened! Instantly the scene from the Bond movie ‘Goldfinger’ comes to my mind. Perhaps the bulb is choking in all that gold! Carefully I remove the gold layer from the top ends.

Within two weeks’ time, it will be Christmas. For that reason I decorate the kitchen window with the gilded Amaryllis bulbs and pine branches. The Amaryllis has grown only 1 mm and I realize:

This Christmas we will most certainly be without blooming Amaryllis!

The brown outside of the bulb is removed.

Starting to decorate the bulb with gold-leaf.

It is a hassle.

Finally finished!

Two weeks later.....

.... no flower is emerging.

But it looks.....

rather cute.

The Amaryllis has grown 1 mm.

This Christmas we will most certainly be without blooming Amaryllis!

Monday, 5 December 2016

December 5th, will there be leaves on the trees?

Today, December 5th, it is the birthday of Sinterklaas. On this day it is a Dutch tradition to give the children presents. On this “Sinterklaas party” our living room is filled with large -fake- packages, silly surprises and idiotic rhymes! My daughters always have been very fond of this party. And I think, they still do! But we as elders love this day too.

"How long will it take before Sinterklaas arrives?" they used to asked me, when they were little. I always told them: "When all the leaves have fallen from the trees, Sinterklaas is coming." And indeed, every year, on December 5th all the leaves were fallen from the trees.

But this year ............

It is late November, and some of the trees still have plenty of leaves. The apple tree in my garden for instance: still full of leaves. Even a forgotten apple is hanging on the tree. Then suddenly there is a night with frost. Next morning the garden looks like as if it was sprinkled with granulated sugar. As soon as the sun shines on the leaves however the layer of ice melts. Will this frost be on time to make the leaves fall from the trees?

I follow the developments in the garden, with some anxiety. Will the trees be bare at December 5th or do we indeed have a change of climate?

It will not bother Sinterklaas though.

He will come
He will come
That dear old Saint )*

)* lyric from a Sinterklaas song

A forgotten apple.


........the garden looks covered with sugar 


My apple tree at the end of November.