Monday, 31 March 2014


Here are some pattern shots I took this week. I took them on one of my lunch time walks around campus. Now with the temperatures rising and the warm sun on my face, those little walks are very enjoyable.
pattern of wooden wall of a bar
Pattern of wooden wall of a bar
pattern of a bicycle basket
Pattern of a bicycle basket
pattern of a truck's iron grid
Pattern of a truck's iron grid
orange pattern on sidewalk
Orange pattern on sidewalk

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Early blossoms

As we all know by now Spring has started early this year. The trees are bursting and the blossoms are already coming out. Their stages go by so fast.
budding tree and blue sky
The first picture is taken on the 9th of March. A very different day than the pictures below as the sky is of a very intense kind of blue.
The other two pictures are taken earlier this week. We have three trees in front of our house and the middle one is blooming right now, that is the one you see in the images. The color of the sky is more lavender.
blossoms and blue sky
Standing underneath them feels exotic. As I was taken these two photos a passerby commented: "It's like being in Japan." And that felt right. I' ve never been to Japan, but I can imagine the feeling.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Walk around the block: some pretty colors

I notice that I take very many pictures, but I don't always have time to post them. What happens is that I take new photos and I am so excited about them that I post them first and then I forget about older pictures.
So here are a few photos from a photo walk I took earlier this month. I love to go out for a photo walk, just in my neighbourhood. No matter how many times I've walked in my street, there is always something new to see.
blue sky and cables
blue sky and cables 
colourful chairs
colourful chairs
colourful shoes
colourful shoes
drying plants in the window
drying plants in the window
hand painted narcissus
hand painted narcissus 
red paint on a patterned pot
red paint on a patterned pot
little red vase and reflection
little red vase and reflection
colourful reflection in a car
colourful reflection in a car 
tulips in the window
tulips in the window

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Around here

Yesterday was, again, my day off. And again I was a busy bee, but unlike last week I hadn't planned my day completely full. All I really needed to do was to finish my tax return sheet and go to the osteopath, right? That's all I really had to do. 
shelf with photography books
But, I decided the night before that I would clean up another shelf in my bookcase so I checked my shelf with photography books and took the ones out that I never looked into or were too outdated. That gave some space! I brought the books all to the local thrift store and I came home with nothing. That made me feel really good.
Amsterdam sky
Amsterdam sky
Going to and from the osteopath was no problem, there was so much to see! Every time I am aware of my surroundings I notice how much there is to see. There is an infinite number of observations, really.
swimming duck
I saw these blossoms while riding my bike. We've all noticed that Spring had arrived really early this year and these blossoms should be blooming in May and not in March. It feels kind of weird seeing them so early in the year. Anyways, I got off my bike to have a good look.
coffee and tea of Simon Lévelt
van den Burgh chocolaad, chocolate
After the osteopath (she relaxed my very tensed shoulders and neck) I decided I needed to buy the gift for my friend H. who has his birthday tomorrow. He loved good quality coffee and tea, so that was easy.
By the time I got back home it was about four in the afternoon. With a cup of tea and a sandwich I set about filling in my tax return sheet. That was done before dinner, so I was as happy as a bird. What a fruitful day it was!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Beet & grapefruit juice and smoothie

I made a juice from some leftovers this morning:
beet and grapefruit juice
4 cooked beets
2 selery stalks
1 grapefruit
handful of wild spinach
2 large carrots
It sounds like a strange combination and I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out, but the grapefruit gives a little bitterness to the sweet beets and carrots. I loved it!
beet and grapefruit smoothie
With the leftover pulp I made a beet and grapefruit smoothie, I just added some juice that I had left over from the recipe above and added fresh yoghurt to smooth it all out. Yummie, what a great way to start the day.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

A pair of storks

Every morning I ride my bike through the Vondelpark, one of the most popular parks in Amsterdam. Hundreds of other cyclists do the same thing every day. And every time I go through the park, I pass the storks nest. High up a pole they do their thing, not bothered by us humans.
A pair of storks in the Vondelpark, Amsterdam
As you can see, the female stork has come back and is now laying eggs or perhaps brooding. In a while the eggs will become young storks and eventually they will leave the nest when they are strong enough to fly long distances.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Healthy green juice

Since Spring begun so early and eagerly, I am totally back into the mood of making juices and smoothies on my days off. This week I tried a green juice, this was inspired by the recipe on Vegadutchie, except that I used more greens.
ingredients green juice
The ingredients:
2 apples
1 orange
2 large carrots
2 celery stalks
handful of fresh spinach
handful of fresh chopped broccoli
green juice
Put all the fruit and vegetables in the juicer, mix, pour and enjoy. Gives you lots of energy!
With the left over pulp I made a smoothie, adding: a banana, maca powder, chia seed, a bit of agave sirup and some rice milk. Lovely!

Friday, 21 March 2014

A swap: vintage buttons, part II

Sadly, there is no winner to last week's swap. There is no winner because no one responded. I don't know whether that was because the prize was vintage buttons, or that I don't attract much of a crowd yet. Anyways, I am much about trial and error in this blogging business and that is just fine.
I gave my cards of vintage buttons to a very dear friend of mine who was very happy to receive them. She showed me her vintage buttons: I do remember we bought these cards together at the same occasion, I just couldn't remember when and where. She informed me that we bought them a couple of years ago at one of the Queen's Days here in Amsterdam.

Below are her cards:
vintage buttons: gentleman's shirt

vintage buttons: gentleman's shirt
As her buttons are a lot smaller than mine, we think that they were meant for gentleman's shirts. Numbers are scribbled on the front and back of the cards, but their meaning is lost to us.
My friend is going to hang them up the wall together with my cards in her vintage styled working room. She makes the most fantastic costumes and these buttons on the wall might inspire her even more!

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Street numbers of the Overtoom

I was walking up and down the Overtoom, Amsterdam yesterday doing some errands. That was not a horrible job to do as it was sunny and warm. The Overtoom is a long street close to my home and it is as of old an important road to and from the city. It used to have a canal where ships could enter the city, but that was covered somewhere in the 18th century.
Anyways, I noticed some of the street numbers and captured a few.
street number 232
Street number 232 was the first one I noticed. I simply love the style of lettering, the spacious, sturdy and yet elegant numbers. I can't put a date to them, maybe the thirties of last century?
street number 318
This has a totally different style and I couldn't resist it, because someone took the trouble to paint this in between different colored and glazed bricks. Why was this done, no money for a proper plate? Was it done in the WO II when there were no supplies?
street number 322
This is quite a regular street number, I've seen it around quite a lot. 
street number 340
Now this is something out of the ordinary, I would also date it around the 1930's, but maybe I am mistaken. Is there an expert in the audience?
street number 406
This looks more like a replica based on old lettering, simple and clear. 
street number 442
And this was painted by hand, I wonder whether that was done by a professional or by a resident of the house on number 442.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Around here

Wednesdays are my days off, usually I am quite busy on that day. Every week I have the intention to rest on that day, but so much stuff has to be done or I think of something that I really want to do that day.
So, what happened today?
I started the day with a short yoga routine, breakfast, coffee and made a beginning on my tax return. I had to pick up my passport and since the district office of Amsterdam West is close to the community thrift store, I wanted to combine the two and started clearing out my messy book shelves to make more room.
messy book shelves
This picture just one half of my book shelves, the other half is located on the left of these and they are just as messy. I cleared out my travel shelf, it now looks like this:
shelf with travel books
much better, don't you think? It has more space and is tidier. I could still do something with the order of the books, but that is step 2. I want to go through all the other shelves in a similar way and get rid of all the clutter.
So I went to the thrift store, delivered my books and some more stuff, bought a stylish glass tray and the head of a Buddha. It felt good, because I still got rid of more stuff than I brought home. I also like the idea that someone else might enjoy my books.
After that I got my new passport, this is valid now for 10 years.
What else did I do? I went to vote for the city council, went to the apothecary for a renewal of my subscription, walked up the Overtoom to get a Chinese massage (lovely), picked up my bucket of Ben and Jerry's ice-cream that I won in the lottery (hurray), had a late lunch, cleaned up some storage jars (a little blog project), worked on my photos for this and the upcoming blogposts and had dinner. All the while I had a camera on me to capture some moments or impressions.
Reading this again, I realize I was quite a busy bee today. I need to do something to enjoy my days off, to relax and recharge. Then again, photography gives me the energy and joy to face another working day tomorrow.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Stork on its nest

I've postponed posting this article because last week it was such a beautiful week and it looked like Spring had definitely begun. It was warm, sunny and all the flowers and bushes started budding and blooming. Way too early for the time of year, but hey, last year it was too cold for a very long time....
These pictures were taken on Saturday, the 1st of March. As you can see it was a bit of a depressing day with an overcast sky.
male stork on his nest
H. and I went to a farm to get fresh cheese and yoghurt, they make it themselves on the farm, and we spotted a stork on its nest. The farmers wife told us that it was the male stork that had already returned from warmer climates and that he would clean out the nest and make it ready for the female. He was waiting patiently for her return.
male stork
Fascinating how that works in nature. Imagine if it would be like that in the human world: the man cleaning house and waiting for his wife to return. Somehow I can't picture that.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Mobile phone photography workshop

Today I participated in a mobile phone photography workshop by Marianne Hope, a Norwegian lady living in the Netherlands. It was hosted by Hééérlijk, a cooking school and caterer located at the Fort van Penningsveer, Haarlemmerliede. This fort is part of the Stelling van Amsterdam, a military defense wall built in the 1800's. A beautiful location for a workshop.
Fort Penningsveer
Marianne talked about photography in general and mobile phone photography in particular. Explained a few apps she frequently uses and after lunch we were sent outside to try for ourselves. The weather was lovely and there was enough material to shoot.
Flowers in vases
Pink rose
A few of the apps she uses are: Snapseed, VSCOcam, Retouch, and Rhonna Designs.
At work with iPhoneography
One of the participant at work. I didn't count how many people were involved, but I guess some 20 women had signed up for the workshop. One of my fellow participants was Martine, she just started her own printing business Via Martine. On her website you can order prints from your iPhone photos. Something I will definitely try soon!
A typical Dutch landscape
Empty coffee glasses
Hééérlijk provided us with coffee, tea and a lovely lunch. All in all a very instructive and enjoyable day.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Portrait shoot

A friend of mine asked me if I could take her portrait for her LinkedIn profile and of course I said YES. I love taking pictures, especially from people, but the both of us found this rather difficult yesterday.
gas poles and crocuses
Anyways, to start off my journey to meet her, I rode my bike to the train / metro station. On the way I say these beautiful crocuses. They were on a lawn sided by two rows of trees that threw lovely shadows on the ground.
shadows on crocuses
trees and crocuses
Then I took the metro to a stop near her house. When I looked up I saw some graffiti from the platform and I couldn't resist pulling out my camera.
A newspaper was hanging from the handrail, and there was a beam of light shining on the yellow wall.
newspaper on handrail
My friend picked me up from the metro stop and together we went to her house to chat a bit and then we went to a park nearby to take some photos.
tree pose
This is my friend in the 'tree pose' or vrksana. Like me, she is a yoga teacher. In between taking pictures of her, I couldn't resist taking pictures of the park. It was such a lovely day.
branch reflected in water
three ducks in a row
two swimming swans
I won't show any more pictures of my friend yet, maybe later. We found it both difficult to do this: she found it difficult to pose and to be relaxed in front of a camera. I found it difficult to find the right light and angle and to make her feel at ease. Maybe we have to practice this a few more times before we find the right picture for her profile. 
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