Monday, November 28, 2011

A kind of huge update

I know I haven't been blogging much lately. I just feel so swamped and then I stress out so much I do almost nothing in the end en feel even more stressed out the next day... I still have to organize my internship (which is already starting in February!), final exams are coming up (less then a month left...) and the Dutch version of Christmas, Sinterklaas is next monday! I have all the gifts ready, but traditionally we also make a "surprise" (Dutch pronunciation: sur-PREE-seh) which is an elaborate way of gift wrapping, often in a specific shape, which has to relate to the gift inside ├índ the (also traditional) poem. So... lots of work to do ^_^
It's always so much fun though, and very much worth all the hard work. It's just my parents and me, sitting around the fireplace with our enormous pile of gifts and eating ridiculous amounts of kruidnoten and speculaas.

This makes me realise how much typically Dutch things are associated with Sinterklaas! I think I'll have to do a Mythology Monday post about him next week! And I'll take pictures of all the exotic food :)

Some other news: I've been going to a bookbinding course for the past three weeks! I'm the only one below fifty (and therefore the only one not complaining about bad eyes and menopause related issues) but it's a lot of fun and I'm learning all kinds of things I had no idea about. I'll show some things I made there some time soonish, but in the meantime, you can see some notebooks I previously made here, here, here and here.

And last but not least: my mom and I finished a polar bear hooded scarf to go with this bag! Pictures will follow soon, but I can already promise you it's very, very cute :)

I'll be back soon!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Living in a cloud

This dense fog has been hanging over the Netherlands since Saturday evening... It gives everything a very gloomy feel, but that means I can take some nice and gloomy pictures as well :)

 So now you all know what the view from my bedroom window looks like...

Here are some pictures of trees, because I like trees.

 And at this point my camera started to fog up. I think it has a nice effect though, kind of like snow. This fog has pretty much the same effect as snow too: it's white, cold, everything sounds muffled and can't see much further than five metres in front of you...
Cycling to the neighbouring village for my piano lessons was like cycling into a huge cloud of nothingness.

According to the weather forecast it isn't clearing up anytime soon, so I'm keeping my camera close for the next few days :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Oh Land & Cat Bag

I went to the concert of Oh Land tonight. I also went to see her the last time she was in Amsterdam (you can read my ramblings about Nanna and her band and listen to their music here and here). I'll have a full post ready next week, but for now I just want to share something really cool.
The last time I went I wore my catbag and Nanna said she really liked it, so I made her one (together with my mom, because I'm not that great with a sewing machine) and gave it to her tonight...
And she already put a picture of her wearing it on facebook!

I hope she'll wear it a lot :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mythology Monday: Pandora's Pithos

Did you know that the "Pandora's box" was not a box, but some kind of large storage jar? The word "pithos" was mistranslated! (I learned this from Percy Jackson) So actually it looked liked this:

So now you all know this you are ready for the story of Pandora (and her pithos).

Prometheus had stolen fire from the gods, which made Zeus very angry. Therefore he send an "evil thing" which would cause their selfdestruction. This was Pandora. Her name means "All-gifted", because all the gods worked together to create this plague for men.
Hephaistos mixed earth and water to create a figure that resembled the godesses. He also gave her a voice and the strenght of human kind. Athena tought her the useful things, such as needlework and weaving, while Aphrodite gave her grace, and the power to make men long for her and forget all about themselves. Last, Zeus ordered Hermes to give her a shameless mind and a deceitful nature.
With these final "gifts" Pandora was released on earth with her pithos. In this pithos all the evils for mankind were held, but Pandora did not know any of this. The only thing the gods told her was that there were very powerful things inside it and that she should not open it under any circumstance. But of course she became too curious and thus she released death, disease and all other evil things into the world. Only hope remained within the jar, and remains with mankind to this day.

{Pandora by John William Waterhouse}

All women descend from Pandora and have inherited her evil traits. Zeus also made sure women would be an unending burden to men. If a man chooses to live without a woman, he will die alone and childless, but if he chooses one he will have a life filled with endless strife.

I do hope my boyfriend doesn't share his opions about women with Hesiod...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Mythology Monday: the Beginning and the End of the World

I'm very sorry for this very belated Mythology Monday post. I was swallowed whole by the Midterm Monster and after emerging from its maw I had some serious demonstering en relaxing to do.
I think the waiting will pay off though, because this is one of my largest paintings yet and one of the most interesting stories: the creation and destruction of the world according to Norse mythology.

In the beginning there was only Muspell in the south, Niflheim in the north and Ginnungagap in between. Then, layer by layer, ice began to grow in Ginnungagap and Ymir, the first frost giant, appeared. Next the ice formed the shape of the cow called Audhumla. Four rivers of milk streamed out of her udder, and on this the giant Ymir fed himself. She licked the salty ice for nourishment, and with every lick she created the likeness of a man. This man was called Buri, and from him all the gods descend.
A grandson of Buri slayed the giant Ymir and together with the other gods he made from him the world in the middle of Ginnungagap. From his blood they made the sea and lakes, and from his flesh the land. His bones they build into mountains and from his teeth, molars and broken bones they made stones and gravel.
They raised his skull over the earth to make the sky and placed a dwarf to hold it up at every corner. These dwarf are called East, West, North and South.
Trees were made of Ymir's hair and from his eyelashes the gods formed Midgard, which would be the dwelling of man. Last, they threw his brains up in the air and these formed the clouds.
The stars, the moon and the sun were created from sparks that flew in from Muspellheim. They fixed places for the stars among the heavens, but the sun and moon were placed in chariots. Both the chariots are chased by a hungry wolf, and to avoid them they move across the sky.

Three grandsons of Buri were walking on the beach one day, when they found two trees. From these they created people. The first gave them breath and life, the second gave them intelligence and movement and the third provided them with form, speech, hearing and sight. They were given a home in Midgard.

The gods made a stronghold for themselves and called it Asgard and between this place and Midgard they build a rainbow bridge called Bifrost.
The ash tree Yggdrasil is in the middle of everything. The gods hold their court at it each day, and it's branches spread over the whole world. The root of Yggdrasil reaches down all the way to Niflheim, where Nidhogg gnaws at it.
All this will end, however, at Ragnarok. The wolfes will catch the sun and the moon.The Midgard Serpent will awaken, and with the help of the Giants and other monsters, it will bring the world to an end. Two people and a few gods will survive though, and their descendants will rebuild and inhabit the world.
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