Christmas Shopping

Today I went grocery shopping for Christmas…

I tried to do it online, but the grocery stores won’t deliver in our town. So off I went. I knew it would be madness, but I didn’t expect it to be this bad…

I was glad to find a parking spot relatively close to the stores, parked my car and headed for the first grocery store. Only to find they ran out of carts…

So I waited until someone returned a cart. The handle was warm and sticky. Too late I realised there’d been a kid sitting in it who may or may not have been drooling all over it.

I had worked out a route beforehand and thought I could walk through the store without any major problems. Boy oh boy, was I wrong.

Upon entering I was hit by the blast of the heater, slamming millions of germs in my face. Only inches from the door there was a stepladder. I still have no idea why, but it might have been there to trip me up. Then I heard a buzz, as if thousands of bees were swarming around. It was worse, much worse. Lots of people, most of them complete families with the average 2.4 kids. Very little parents actually looked out for their kids. I got rammed by several carts, slammed into several people myself because they were walking backwards and got rammed by more carts.

But I made my way out of the chaos and went to Aldi. Now the Aldi in our town has just moved into a new building. It’s light and most of all big. Upon entering the store I found just a handful of carts at the entrance. So I expected the worst. But oh boy, what a peace. Yes, there were a lot of people, but in contrast to the other store Aldi was at peace. The shelves, the fridges and freezers, all were full with stock. I could even get my hands on a ham on the bone. Which has been sold out in the other store for several weeks now.
There were a few kids running around, but they got told off by the staff, something I much appreciate!

I managed to cross the road back to my car after a few minutes of waiting. I was packing everything in the car when I noticed something behind me. Two cars, one on each side, were waiting for me to get out of my parking spot. And I couldn’t help it, I packed slower and slower. I than brought my cart back to the store and walked off. I had more shopping to do…

Narrowly avoiding disaster

Todays prompt asks:

Share a time when you narrowly avoided disaster.

Have you ever been on the road? There nutfucks all over the place. Really, it’s dangerous out there.

First there’s moms. They are dangerous I tell you. They’re either looking at their kids or at their phone. I’ve seen them park strollers on the street without even looking around to see if there’s traffic coming. I’ve even cycled over a stroller, knocking the kid out cold. Why? Not because I wanted to, but because the bloody idiot mom turned the stroller onto the road within inches of my wheel. I had no time to stop. I’ve had moms yelling at their kids in the car whilst driving. swerving all over the road, almost knocking me over in the process. I’ve even rescued a kid from cycling right in the path of a lorry. Kid couldn’t help it. His mom cycled a few meters in front of him. She crossed the road right in front of the truck, kid just tried to follow his mom. I literally grabbed him off his bike. I yelled at the mom, she didn’t understand. I told her: “If you don’t want kids, you should’ve used protection, you bloody idiot.”

Than we have professional drivers. I’ve seen so many professional drivers more involved in their phone, GPS, newspaper or even making food than the traffic they’re driving in. They swerve from left to right without ever paying attention. The times that I’ve managed to escape an accident waiting to happen are countless.

Further onto youngsters driving cars. Seriously, they don’t see the dangers of their driving. Fast cars, no seatbelts, way too many friends piled up inside. And now we are letting 17 year olds onto the roads. Why? If an 18-year-old isn’t listening to all the advice he’s gotten in his driving lessons, why would a 17 year listen? They think they’re alone on the roads, making it dangerous for everyone. I’m known for having a heavy right foot, but the times I’ve been taken over by youngsters whilst it snowed or rained very heavily are, again, uncountable.

Than there’s male drivers. Yes, many of them are driving perfectly fine, but some of them have “small penis syndrome“. As I said, I’m known for having a heavy right foot. But when males are taken over by females, especially in a Ford Ka (and other small cars), they get aggressive. They are taking over the female driver again, even breaking right in front of their car. Just because they’re annoyed. Usually I take over again and immediately in front of them turn on and off my foglights. I would never break in front of anybody on a motorway and the foglights are often mistaken for breaklights. It throws them off their game more often than not.

What to think of female drivers? Seriously, “Oh God, the maximum speed is 130KM/H, so let’s not go over 90…” Most fun is to watch female drivers park their car. They can’t park, almost none of them can. I know someone who s hilariously bad at parking. When she thinks the gap is too small (usually her car could fit in their at least twice) she honks til her husband comes out the door. He takes over and parks the car for her. I can’t stop laughing every time I see it.

Lastly there’s older people driving. I drive by a hospital on my way to work almost every day. And some older people are driving really dangerous. I’ve seen people driving the wrong way on roundabouts. I’ve seen people driving up the bike lane, Not looking out for other cars or pedestrians. I’ve seen someone hit the side of a bus because he couldn’t find the breaks on the car. The times I’ve called the police with license plate numbers can’t be counted on two hands. Not even on 4. I just hope they get off the road before they’re involved in a serious accident…

And here’s a nice clip for you to illustrate what I’ve been saying:

In which category I fall, you ask? I think I’m more of a male driver. If I can take over an expensive car I’ll do it no matter what. Even if it means I have to drive quicker than I should. This doesn’t mean I’m driving too fast in hazardous conditions. I’d never do that.

Memories of Holidays Past

When I was a child, Boxing day, or the second Christmas day, as it is known in The Netherlands, was spend at my grandparents house. My grandfather celebrated his birthday on December 26 and the whole family gathered around coffeetime to celebrate.

I remember clearly everyone bringing food and drinks, to put less strain on my grandparents. We started with coffee and cake, quicly turning into a lager for my dad and my uncle. Which my grnadfather loathed. He was teetotal. I don’t really know if he simply disliked alcohol (like me) or if he disliked the things alcohol does to you.

My uncle always cooked dinner, every year the exact same thing. I think my brother and I were to blame for this. We absolutely loved endives with ham and cheese.

Endives

recipe for two

Ingredients:

  • 750 gr of endives
  • 10 slices of ham
  • 150 gr of grated cheese
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

Chop the endives in quarters and remove the heart. Cook the endives for 10 minutes. Drain it off. Roll the endives into the slices of ham and place them in an oven dish. Remove excess liquid with a clean towel or kitchen paper. Put the grated cheese on top and season with salt and pepper. Bake in a hot oven (225 °C) for 20 minutes.

 

Enjoy!

This post is written for the Daily Post.

Thanks to Sunday Driver for the photo.

 

Christmas Wreath

Ever since I got my own place I’ve had a Christmas wreath on the front door. It’s been the same one for well over ten years and it’s become very tatty in those years. Ornaments kept falling off and the whole whing changed colour. So last year I decided it was time for a new one.
But apparently it’s hard to find a nice Christmas wreath which can go outside. I haven’t been able to find a nice one at a reasonable price.

A few days ago I was scouring the internet again and found a nice one made from ornaments, mainly balls. I thought I could make something like that myself.
Today, I had a go at it. And I think it looks really good.

Lights on

What you need:

  • Straw wreath (mine was 30 cm diameter)
  • Ribbon
  • lots of ornaments, both mini and midi (I used about 140)
  • String of beads (about 6 meters)
  • Battery powered LED lights (20 a string)
  • Glue gun
  • Glue sticks

Begin with placing the ribbon around the wreath and glue it in place.  Place some ornaments on the outside, spaced at regular intervals. Then, begin filling it up. Place the lights in where you want as you are placing the ornaments. I kept turning the lights on to see if I liked the placing of them. Try to fill most of the holes with balls or other ornaments you like. Don’t worry about the smaller holes. The can be filled with beads.
Glue the beads to the ornaments to prevent them from dropping off when you hang your wreath. The last thing you do is glue the batteries to the back of the wreath.

It’s really that simple. I love how my wreath has turned out and I’m amazed that I can make such a lovely thing as I’ve never been this creative before…

lights off

You can also use this as a table decoration. You can make it as big as you want, simply by using a bigger wreath. But make sure you’ve bought enough ornaments. I’ve ended up driving back to the shop a second time, as I didn’t even buy enough for half of the wreath…

What has been heard cannot be unheard…

Last week I was at the gym when I overheard a conversation between 3 women. Woman 1 told her friends how her (other) friends’ husband had died in a nursing home. He fell down the stairs and broke both of his hips, an arm and both of his ankles.
He was brought to hospital where he was discharged after 3 weeks. He was brought to a nursing home where he stayed 2 weeks. He then got transferred to the second nursing home where he stayed 3 weeks. The last nursing home didn’t seem to care much for him. He had bed sores, was in a lot of pain and laid in his own feces for hours before somebody came in to help him.

Already this story shocked me. I work in a nursing home and can’t believe there are nursing homes that can do this to people. Thankfully this was on the other side of the country, so not close to us.

But the next bit of the story shocked me even more.

She told her friends how the friends’ husband died suddenly. Yes, he was sick, he was in pain and had been in traction for weeks. But he wasn’t dying. At least, that’s what they thought.
When he died, the friend called in the police to investigate, as she wasn’t convinced of a natural death. I’m unsure of what she told the police, but the mans death is under investigation. They did an autopsy and found 20 thumbtacks and 3 needles in his stomach and intestines…

thumbtack

How did he got hold of those? Did he take them deliberately? Did someone give the thumbtacks to him? I have no idea. Will we hear more of this story? We might, in the news. Or we might not. I don’t know.
But the story has grabbed me. And I find it horrible to think of that poor man. He must have been in so much pain…

photo by Theilr.
this post has been written for the DailyPrompt.

What I’ve learned sewing.

I’m not an advanced sewer just yet. I’ve only bought a sewing machine last year. I’ve done sewing before, but I always had help. Preventing me from making silly mistakes.
So when I bought my first machine I made some mistakes, some silly, some not that silly.
What have a learned?

 Buying fabric

Make sure you buy enough fabric. Nothing is more frustrating than finding out you bought too little fabric and have to go back.
This goes for scraps as well. Make sure you got enough for what you are making. Many stores sell the last few centimeters/inches of their rolls as scraps and won’t get new rolls of the same fabric. If they have more than one roll, make sure they’re the same batch. Otherwise you can end up with slightly different colouring.
Buy more than you need. I always find myself going back for more. So now, when I need one meter, I buy two, just to be sure!

Ironing your fabric

So you’ve made sure you’ve got enough fabric? Wash and iron it. As soon as you get home. Of course you can choose to not wash it before, but the fabric might shrink a bit. And your project can get wonky if that happens.
Ironing is necessary too. For my first project I thought ironing was stupid. You won’t believe how wonky that sewing machine cosy is…
Make sure your fabric can be ironed. I’ve made this mistake twice and ended up having to clean the iron with nailpolish remover and a piece of wood…

Patterns

Make sure you look at the pattern before cutting. I didn’t with the sewing machine cosy and ended up with one piece wrong side up and one piece on it’s side…
If you use stripes, make sure they line up.

Cutting fabric

Map out the pieces you need for your project on paper first. Then decide how they can best be cut out of the fabric. Trust me, you won’t end up with weird scraps…
I didn’t do this with the first bag. And while the piece of fabric would have been big enough for two bags, I ended up with a weirdly shpaed piece of fabric which has almost no use.
On the up side, I got to buy new fabric!

fabric scraps

I think that’s what I’ve found out so far. I’m sure there are many more great tips out there. But these are the ones I wanted to share.

photo by heatherknitz.

Toyota SPB15

I bought an old sewing machine last year. I really wanted to try my hand at sewing and thought I wouldn’t buy an expensive machine without knowing if it really was for me. I’ve sewed before using my moms machine, but I’ve always felt the sewing machine controlled me instead of the other way around. In school (many, many years ago) I’ve made one pillow. I didn’t like it. We couldn’t choose our own colours or our own design. It had to be Mondrianesque.
This resulted in a very wonky pillow, as I didn’t want to make it. I’d much rather tried my hand at woodworking, which the boys got to do.

So last year I bought this old machine for € 25,00. It worked perfectly, but there were only two stitches it could do. Straight and zig-zag. I couldn’t do button holes, I couldn’t do any nice stitches. And the extension table was missing. Presumably it had been missing for years, but it began to annoy me when sewing, as I had to hold the fabric up to the needle instead of resting it under my hands.

It clearly was time for a new sewing machine. But which one? There are so many different brands, so many different series. And one brand can have both bad and good series. But who can you trust? Which reviews are good? Which are bad? When the reviews told me the machine was good, people on forums said they couldn’t sew thicker pieces of fabric. When I thought a machine looked nice, people said it was too light and ‘walked’ across the table when sewing. I thought it would be best to wait for a while and see what came up.

toyota spb15

A few weeks back I wanted to go shopping (which almost never happens, as I don’t like shopping all that much) and we went to a nearby town that’s slightly larger than the one we live in. On our way back from the shops I wanted to go to a DIY store to check if they sell a certain item. While we were in there I saw the Toyota SPB15. On sale, for a little under € 65,00. Which sounded quite cheap. But, as I like to search online for reviews and pricing before buying anything, we went home without buying it.

That evening I’ve spent ages reading reviews, all of them very praiseful. I asked around on Twitter and got one reply from someone I know in real life and I know I can trust her. She, too, was praiseful about the machine. I’ve also looked at prices and the price was great. So the next day we went back to the DIY store and bought the sewing machine.

The next week I went to buy a few fabric scraps and began sewing. I’ve made a phone pouch, a few other bits and bobs and two messenger bags. Which I love!

The machine is quite easy to handle. Where I always had trouble threading the upper thread in the old machine, it’s very easy with the Toyota. Even threading the lower thread is so much more easy. With the old machine I had to get down on my knees and use a torch to see what I was doing. The Toyota has the bobbin case only inches away from the presser foot. This makes it so much easier as the light shines directly on it.

The machine is quite sturdy and doesn’t move whilst sewing. Well, only if you don’t place in on the fabric… (yes, I did that…)
The presser foot lever is in a much more reachable location in the Toyota than in the old machine. With the old machine I had to reach over the machine to get to the lever. Here I only have to get to the side of the face cover.

I’ve read one review that said the machine is quite bulky. I guess that depends on what you’re used to. I find it quite a bit smaller than my old machine. And it’s a lot lighter to carry. This is especially important for me as I don t have a place for it. I sew on the dining room table when I sew. And I put it in the attic when I’m done.

What I like about the Toyota SPB15:

  • easy to use
  • great manual
  • threading is very easy
  • lightweight
  • sturdy

What I would like the Toyota SPB15 to have:

  • Automatic threader
  • better hollow for carrying

What I mean by this? Well, I find it very hard to get the thread through the needle. I have those little helper things, but they break quite often and it’s hard to get hold of those things.
And the hollow for carrying the machine hurts my fingers. It also tips the machine a bit. This makes the foot controller fall off the machine. Which is a shame, as I now have to hold the machine with two hands when I carry it. It’s light enough to carry around in one hand, but that’s only if you hold the foot controller in the other hand. Which makes it hard to open a door.

As you can see, there’s not much wrong with this machine, as far as I’m concerned. If you want a good sewing machine that’s easy to use and doesn’t cost the world, try to get hold of the Toyota SPB15!

Another Messenger Bag

Blue messenger bag

I wanted to do another messenger bag by the same tutorial as the one I did a few days ago. I loved making it and there are a few things that I wanted to try with a new bag.

Now I’ve been looking for a bigger bag for my work clothes and stuff for ages, but couldn’t find anything suitable. Making this second bag solved that problem.

Messenger bag front pockets

The first bag has a front pocket without any lining. I did cut it out, but forgot to add it. Also I stitched it right through the middle, creating two pockets. For this bag I really wanted three pockets. I also added a small pocket to the back lining.

Messenger bag back pocket

The back pocket closes with a bit of velcro. Jay chose the fabric. I wanted something similar to my sporting bag, but he wanted me to have something totally different. And I have to say, I may like this dark blue fabric even better than the pink fabric.