I found this photo of Rogue that captures one of my favorite expressions of hers. I would say it was crying out to be translated into watercolor, but that wouldn’t be completely accurate. 
It was more like it was looking at me, head cocked to one side, with a quizzical look in its big green eyes. “Why don’t you paint me?” it seemed to be saying. So I did. 

You know what they say about cats and curiosity. What they don’t say is that curiosity can be irresistibly adorable. 

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Paint it black

Spring is finally here, and my own personal travel “season” is about to start. Since I’m going to be away often over the next two months, I didn’t want to start a new watercolor project (which normally takes a few weeks). So the objective of my last class was to finish something fast. 
My subject of choice: a certain black cat named Rogue. 

Her proportions are a bit wonky, but you’ll have to forgive me as I didn’t even do a sketch for this one. I pretty much started splashing around with a big brush, as my teacher wishes I would do more often. But I think this captures her cranky/evil look pretty well; it’s the one she pulls when she’s sleepy and I’m trying to play with her.

It’s an interesting exercise to paint black without actually having black in my palette: I used indigo, brown, and a touch of red. I plan to use it as a study for a bigger, more carefully considered portrait of my pet (cat-rait? Pet-rait?). But in the meantime, I have some traveling to do! #excited

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Who wore it better?

After knitting a very long scarf that I didn’t like very much, I finally completed a knitting project that I actually like. I found a pattern for this knit headband/neck warmer on Pinterest and thought it would be a nice way to learn new techniques, like increasing and decreasing stitches. It’s not perfect, but it’s been getting a lot of use, and I’m happy with the color.

Now, my question is: who wore it better? Me or Rogue?

P.S. I’m frowning because I attempted to take this in a narrow cobblestoned alley that suddenly turned into a wind tunnel. Narrow alleys here have a way of doing that in the winter.

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Farewell to spring

Surprise! Spring is over, and in its place is some kind of… weird autumnal hybrid. Did I miss something? Did we just skip summer altogether?
The weather for the past two weeks has been positively dismal: bleak, gray and rainy for days on end. While Holland is spared from the thundering torrents that we’re used to in our tropical corner of the world, this light rain just seems so… endless. So I guess this is the famous Dutch weather they all complain about. I’m straining my neck looking ahead, and there is not a single sunny day in sight. Here’s hoping July and August will be better.
I didn’t even notice that spring ended. When the flowers started popping up in April, I thought they’d be around for at least a few months. Silly me. I guess I’ve gotten used to things being around pretty much all year, as they are in Manila or Singapore. Now the rampant blooming has ceased, and though the surroundings are still alive and green, I wish I took more notice of the flowers. Still, I rounded up enough photos to mount a decent farewell to spring.
Practically everywhere in the Jordaan
I never had to go far to get my fill of flowers. Sometimes I just had to look out my window.
Just across the street, my neighbors grow the most gorgeous roses over their front doors. My mom became a huge fan of those while she was here in May.
I miss the easy abundance of spring flowers. I even picked some on my afternoon walks and runs around the neighborhood. (I never picked any of the neighbors’ flowers, of course!)
Free flowers!

 Picked along the river and at the Beatrixpark
I was horrified at the prices of fresh flowers in Paris: €30, €40, even as much as €60 for blooms that would cost €8-10 at the most here in Amsterdam. Thankfully, this is Holland and we can bring in a little bit of spring practically all-year round.  Sunflowers arrived on the scene a week or two ago…
… while my new favorite, peonies, made their first appearance in the market in late April. I’m glad that peonies are still in season. And it appears I’m not the only one.

Product photography = FAIL.

As you can tell, Rogue likes peonies too! Luckily for her, there will always be a little corner of spring to nibble on here at home.
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Gone sledding

Did I mention that we have a sled at home?

On our very first furniture hunting trip to Spoor 38, Marlon saw this battered old sled outside in the cold and mist. His Superman complex immediately kicked in and he just had to rescue it. Or maybe it was a third world/tropical aspirational thing, I don’t know. Anyway, we threw an Ikea cheapskin sheepskin over it, and it magically went from odd purchase to cute seating for the living room. 
The ultimate sign that the sled was truly meant for our home was the Rogue stamp of approval.
It’s perfectly Rogue-sized, furry, soft, and right next to the radiator, which makes it perfect for catnaps.

On a particularly cold evening, Marlon draped a hand towel over her during one of her catnaps. She just looked like she needed to be tucked in.

Of course that meant waking her up accidentally, which she was none too happy about. But in general I think she’s very happy about the sled, which means crazy cat lady and crazy cat man-in-training are happy about it too.
So what if we’re too close to the ocean for actual snow and live in the most slope-less, hill-less country in Europe. Who says you can’t enjoy a sled? 
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