Live and learn

candy cone gifts candy cone gifts candy cone giftsThe first week at university has gone by, and I am utterly overwhelmed. This is also the reason for my scarce visits here and long overdue updates.

It’s not that I wasn’t prepared. Besides a lot of wonderful stationary gifts, books and energy kicks to get me through the day, I received so many well wishes and support from every direction. It felt a little like the first day at school, complete with candy cones and all (thank you! ❤). So from that angle it was the best decision ever to go back to university at my age.

I knew it was going to be a lot to take in, so I connected with fellow students from higher semesters and tried to stay updated on all the important meetings and introductory events. Yet still – starting to create my own schedule for the very first time was a huge challenge and reminded me of playing Tetris at level 10. There’s a lot of bureaucracy to conquer, and it’s easy to lose your head during the first few days. It helps to remind oneself that there have been many others going through all this (and made it in one piece!). Learning by doing.

As a prospective school music teacher I am doing the dance between a very thorough musical education at a conservatoire, and an academic training at another university. I haven’t had this much structure and a strict timetable for so many years, that I even forgot how to sit down and concentrate on a subject for 90 minutes straight (which is the length of most seminars and lectures).

There are moments late at night where I wonder, if I’ll be okay. If the major age gap between me and my fellow students will eventually blend. If I’ll be able to manage my schedule confidently and relaxed. If getting up so early in the morning every single day is going to be easier with time.

But as soon as I visit another class, choir or instrumental course, I’m all in again. There’s something so reassuringly soothing to be amongst people who live and breathe a passion for the same thing you do. It reminds me of old school days.

 

Between all the hassle I still managed to fill the shop with a few new wrist warmers, which I really hope you will enjoy. Autumn is upon us, and so are sniffle noses and cold fingers. I can do something about the latter, so come by and take a peek!

By the sea – camping holidays at the Ijsselmeer

holiday1 holiday2 holiday3 holiday4 holiday5 holiday6 holiday7 holiday8 holiday9 holiday10 holiday11 holiday12 holiday13 holiday14It’s already been a couple of weeks since we returned from our holidays, but I only got the chance now to sort through our pictures. We opted for a short and quiet camping trip at the Ijsselmeer in Holland, and even though it took a bit longer to find a suitable campsite, it was well worth the search. Close to Hindeloopen we found the perfect camping ground. There was a bit for each of us – D had enough wind to enjoy some surfing, I had enough sun to chill on the beach or build a sandcastle.

We also took a trip to the small fishing village Workum, an absolute must-see if you’re ever in the area. I was lucky to discover a thrift store hidden in a backyard and bought an adorable small side table for plants. We’ll probably be back with some more time on our hands, and hopefully even more sun. I don’t want to complain, since we really had sunshine most of the 4 days we spent there. But in general it seems that summer is gone early this year, which tends to bring some moodswings as soon as grey blankets of clouds emerge.

A good thing about the autumnal ambiance is that it inspires me to get back on my sewing machines. They have been standing still during my application process. But after a very successful shopping trip at the German/Dutch fabric market I am more than ready to prepare for autumn and the holiday season.

How are you making the most of cloudy days?

Illustration for Muskat

Muskat1Muskat2Muskat3Oh hello there, here I am again. It’s been a while, have you all been well? Enjoying the summer?

Stressful times regarding my application process to become a music teacher are finally over. And before I tell you about the amazing experience and the enormous positive feedback I’ve gotten on all institutes I applied at, I’d like to slowly return to the blogging world with a lovely project, that deserves your attention.

A while ago Livi contacted me to illustrate something for her band Muskat. Her and Miri, the two front singers of the band, are planning a little acoustic summer solo tour on bikes, and as I heard more details of their adorable idea, pictures instantly came up in my head. A rough sketch developed step by step into a watercolored illustration for their Facebook profile. You know I am such a lover of detail, so we went back and forth discussing all the significant parts, getting the colors right and making sure the two girls and their instruments are pictured as close to illustrated reality as possible.

I’m so grateful for the opportunity, as spontaneous projects like these remind me how much fun it is to draw and watercolor! That paintbox wasted away in my drawer for ages, and finally got its moment.

Be sure to check out their catchy songs on soundcloud – they are oozing with summery wit and lightness, the right amount of melancholy and yearning, and just enough folky intimacy to soothe the waters.

Maybe you’re in the area for their upcoming musical bike tour, the dates and locations will be released soon!

On Hiatus until July

It’s been rather quiet again, and it will be for a few more weeks. If you know me on Instagram, you may have a rough idea why.

During the past months and especially last year I mentioned time and time again, that decisions are being made and new horizons needed to be discovered, as I’ve been increasingly dissatisfied with my life concept. It may be a blessing to many, but the talents I’ve always had for various creative things since I was very little, have often overwhelmed me when it came to form a decision, which one to pursue further. Until today I have not found one thing, that reconciles them all, and once I focused on one of them only, it didn’t take long until another came forward and seemed so much more interesting.

When my focus shifts, I tend to get passionate about the new ideas easily, but have a hard time staying optimistic while tackling those new plans. Maybe you know all those doubtful thoughts shooting through your head on unfamiliar terrain – what if it doesn’t work, if it all falls apart, if I make a fool of myself, if I can’t go back?

This time I did tackle a direction, though, and now I feel confident enough to let you know why I’ll be absent for a little while longer. Most of my free time these days is spent on preparations for entrance exams to universities, as I’ve decided last year to go study again. Compared to my fellow applicants it is a rather late decision, but I would not have chosen this field ten years ago and am glad it took all this time. I am applying on various universities to become a music teacher for primary school. And even though I’ve had a very musical education at the boarding school I went to as a teenager, a lot of the theory classes had been half forgotten and a little rusty.

The first exam took place last week and it was an overall great experience, much to my surprise. I’ve had a very positive feeling throughout the audition and until today. Usually I mingle with the past, wonder what I could have done better, what I should have said instead, how I totally made the wrong impression. This time I am very focused on what’s coming ahead, and it was a great opening for this exam period to come. It feels like my mind has realized, that it does not matter what I could have done differently, since it’s done now. The more important thing is, that I went through with it, and did not wimp out because of all my fears and worries of what comes after.

During June I will audition for a few more universities in various cities, and only at the end of the month will I know my results and if I made it to one of them. So whenever you think of it, I’d be very grateful if you crossed your fingers and toes for me every now and then.  I will of course return the favor!

searching for a recipe

The accompanying song is from the latest album release of my boyfriend’s band any of both, and it’s a wonderfully vibrant video that lets you discover something new every time you watch it. It’s about all those choices we have and the trouble to use our intuition to form a decision, when everything and everyone around you has great suggestions and intentions. I’m not excluded from this well-meant habit – I tend to advise my friends on many matters, but when it comes to myself, I am often blinded by the various possibilities to live a life.

You can’t do it all at once. But making a decision instead of staying in the desperate state of wondering about the could’ves and should’ves feels like the better choice.

Do you remember the last time you tackled something despite of your fears, and it all worked out the way you imagined (or even better)? Let’s hear it and share some positive vibes for all of us who are still undecided!

Sunday tune – Ólafur Arnalds

It’s been a while since I posted a tune, so here it goes. I discovered Ólafur Arnalds and am quite mesmerized. Here’s the song that made me find him. Be patient, wait for 2:08, when all those tender sounds dissolve and prepare for gentle goosebumps.

(If you’re living outside of Germany, you can follow his link and watch the original video to this song.)

The Birthday Party

partydecoration2partydecorationbarbiebikewideeyedprintapronantonpieckantonpieck2Thank you all so much for your kind birthday wishes. As announced I also held a proper party – and what a bash it was! When it comes to throwing a party, I can become quite fussy about the decor, color scheme and food, even though – as D. rightly mentioned – first and foremost friends are coming to celebrate with me, not for a perfect decor or feast. But an appealing party atmosphere does bring you in the right mood easily, and I was very glad it all worked out the way I imagined.

There were so many lovely people who also brought such thoughtful presents. I got a waffle iron for my oatmeal pancakes, which is in use every morning now and makes preparing those pancakes easy as pie! There was also this divinely patterned cooking apron. I’ve been wearing it the first half of my party even, cause with these joyful colors it’s just as good as a birthday dress.

Dear I. found a huge book on Anton Pieck’s life and work in an antiquarian bookstore in Amsterdam. He’s one of my favourite painters! I could drown in his dreamy pictures for hours. There are so many details, and it always looks like he’s telling a great tale of old times. Don’t you just want to squeeze into this scene and press your nose against those old dusty store windows?

A while back I also gifted myself something I’ve had my eyes on as soon as Claudia posted it – one of her amazing prints featuring a dreamy castle. I instantly fell in love with these colors. As usual it arrived so lovingly wrapped and felt like an early birthday present. She’s busy as a bee making these prints, and you should definitely browse through her store to see all those amazing patterns she creates.

One of the biggest presents was a collective one from all my dear friends. They collected for a new bike, and this is something I’ve been longing for for quite some time now, since my good old Hollandbike, which I bought on the fleamarket 4 years ago, is banging and screeching like an old rusty door. I never know if it will make the next corner. Now I only need to find the perfect bike! And in the meantime, I might cruise around the table with this small version in fluoresced pink.

Even though, as a host, I’ve been maneuvering my flat like a satellite to make sure everyone has enough food, drinks and space to enjoy the music, it’s been the greatest joy to have all those new and old friends from different times in my life come together at one table. I’m hoping to have many more of such gatherings, as they always bring the focus to what’s right now and present. Worrying too much about the future or melancholically sighing about old times is easily put into perspective, when a bunch of peeps close to your heart are joyfully singing a birthday tune for you.

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