24 December 2008

Prettige Feestdagen

Yesterday we received boxes from the Mather family, and look what we now have hanging on our Christmas Tree:

Hyland's dad, Jim, has been passionate about wood carving for some time now. His carvings are very beautiful and detailed with a great deal of character.

Here is our humble little Kerstboom. It is really typical to get a huge tree in the US, but here, where people frequently have flats instead of houses and bikes instead of cars, there are far more smallish Christmas Trees.

We swore a few years ago that we would never buy a cut tree again. Two years ago, Hyland's nutty crunchy side kicked in and we got a big, fake white Christmas tree and happily decked the halls with it for two Christmasses running.

This year, Hyland got into the Christmas Spirit early and went out on the town op fiets in search of a tree and came home with this guy. Now we are sweeping evergreen needles from the floor daily, and swearing we're never going to get a cut tree again. Still, it is nice and it smells all piney.

This is another kerstboom ornament that was given to us. Click the photo for the full story.

Prettige Feestdagen is the equivalent of Happy Holidays in the US. Kind of incorporates all of the Feestdagen (literally translated: party days) that are celebrated. The Dutch generally keep Christmas for Christ, and have Sinterklaas (Dec. 5) for all the secular gift-giving. Boxing Day is celebrated here too - that is the day after Christmas. I have been told that there has been a rise in Santa Claus appearances at homes in the Netherlands, but that it is not the overwhelming commercialized event that is typical in the US.

Addison has been wrapping his toys in whatever kind of wrapping paper he can find and deciding who to give them to. It is really a sweet gesture. All he has are his toys, so that is what he has been wrapping to give people. It's the most genuine kind of gift giving. Remember that story about the wife who sold her hair to buy her husband a watch band and the husband sold his watch to buy is wife a comb for her hair? It's selfless like that.

Prettige Feestdagen, Fijne Kerstmis, much love,


17 December 2008

Tiny Christmas Jumpers!

Ok, this is a double post, but not everyone here checks out my Diary of a Craft Fiend blog.

Here are my latest crafting exploits. Christmas jumper ornaments. (For all you Americans, jumper=sweater)

Happy Holidays

10 December 2008

Rossetti Wins!

Not that we announced a competition or anything, but the first Christmas Card sent to us from abroad came from my former employer, Rossetti!

Here it is nestled in between a Faile Bunny Boy sculpture and an OG Jarrod Stuhlsatz sculpture.

Rossetti is an Architecture firm in the States with several offices. The best thing about working with Rossetti was that, even though they are involved in some really high-level work, they still always felt very much like a family firm. Matt Rossetti, the President, always sends out Christmas cards that are designed by his sister, Miga Rossetti, and personally signs them.

I left the company 8 months ago, but I still got a Christmas Card from them, sent across the sea. Thanks everyone at Rossetti - you know who you are.


02 December 2008

Home Sweet Home

Warning: This one is personal.

Ok, so I'm an Army Brat. Army Brats, and other types of Brats (military, political, corporate) spend their young, developing years being carted around from place to place as their mother or father's job dictates. This means new schools, new friends, new houses every several years. This kind of constant re-establishing of my life has given me some basic personality traits that I personally find useful. I am generally outgoing, make friends easily, accept different kinds of people readily, etc. On the other hand, it has made me a little insecure about my roots, where I come from, and my lack of a close extended family. I am a little bit worldly, a little bit vagabond.

So this past weekend we took a trip to Heerlen in the south of Holland to attend the opening of the Evan Hecox show that Hyland installed at the Glaspaleis, an extraordinary center for culture.

Well, as it happens, I lived just outside of Heerlen as a child when my dad was stationed at AFCENT. Just two train stops past the center lies the sleepy little town of Schaesberg where I was fortunate enough to live for 6 years between the ages of 6 and 12. This is the longest I lived anywhere at one time before I moved to Colorado at the age of 17 and living here had a great and lasting effect on me. So, we took a little trip to my childhood home and I have the photos to prove it.

Here is my street: Brikkebekkerstraat. Isn't that the cutest name ever?!

Here is the street. I learned to ride a bike on this street. I kissed the boy that lived in the first house on the right and thought it was yucky. I played Barbies with the girl who lived there after that boy moved away. My best friend Diana and I kicked around the neighborhood playing, fighting and being girls.

This is me and Addison in front of my old house. One year for Christmas my mom decorated the window to look like an old curiosity shop and hung a bunch of candy canes and such in the window. The kids in the neighborhood asked us if the candy canes were for sale and my brothers and I sold them to them. I think we got a Guilder each, which was a lot of money for a candy cane.

I even remember that my mom threw my dad a 30th birthday party in the garage. I'm almost 4 years older than that now.

So, this was really nice for me. Many of you probably cringe when you think of your high school reunion, or delight in seeing all your friends that you have known since elementary school when you go home for holidays. This is about the closest I'll ever get to that, but it is nice nonetheless.

Thanks for walking down memory lane with me!