I Have the Prettiest Screens

One of those small differences between the Netherlands and the US — or at least the parts of the US I lived in — is the lack of window screens. Maybe it’s a result of growing up in the South, where there are some seriously scary bugs and other creatures, but I like screens. I want some sort of protection against flies, spiders and other creepy crawlies. However, I also want to be able to open my windows and get some fresh air into the house.

Downstairs, we only have two transom windows in the kitchen, but when I open them, we inevitably get flies who drive me mental with their buzzing. We probably could have purchased some screen material and tacked it up, but since we rarely head out to the big-box hardware stores, we’ve never investigated our options.

I like to come up with easy, MacGyverish solutions, though, so today, while walking through the lapjesmarkt (fabric market), I spotted a stall with a pretty mesh-like fabric in a colour that goes quite well with our kitchen. Best of all, the fabric was only €1 per meter, so I quickly bought a meter of the fabric, sequined flowers and all! Who said window screens have to be boring old wire mesh?

A year or so ago, I had made use of a similar scrap of material for one of the windows, but I didn’t have enough for both windows. Now I’ve got enough fabric for both windows, and it’s even the right colour. How many typical window screens have sequined flowers on them? I’m pretty sure I have the prettiest screens in the city. Even if they are held up by thumbtacks.
Prettiest Screens

Of course, I couldn’t resist having a bit of fun with the leftover fabric. After veiling myself with it, I could resist torturinghaving a quick bit of fun with Pippo and Lola. Luna wisely kept out of sight.
Taking the Veil

Lola Wrapped Up

Op De Tafel

One of my favorite color combinations is blue and green, particularly light blues with apple greens. In decorating the house, I’ve been using those basic color combinations quite a bit, as well. Our bedroom is decorating in shades of blue and green, as is our bathroom, and I’ve brought it into the dining room, as well.

I’ve been looking for just the right fabric in those colors to either recover or embellish our currently white dining room chairs. No luck yet, but I found a way to bring a bit more of that color combination into our dining room by making a table runner with some fabrics I’ve had on hand for a while. I bought the floral print a few years ago in North Carolina, simply because I liked it, without any real plan for what to do with it. The blue is a cotton canvas I bought at the lapjesmarkt here in Utrecht. The bottom of all the circles is a light purple fleece-type fabric that I bought ages ago in New York City to make cat toys. Quite the cosmopolitan table runner, I guess!

Fabric and Flowers

This morning, despite the drizzling rain, Pippo and I went out to explore the stoffenmarkt (fabric market) on Broodstraat and the flower market at Janskerkhof. Both are Saturday institutions that I’ve been wanting to see since we’ve been here, but somehow have missed until now.

First we headed over to Broodstraat (the other house we came close to buying is located there) to check out the fabric. It’s really quite impressive! The whole street was filled on both sides with stall after stall selling all sorts of fabrics, as well as buttons, patches, thread and I’m sure many other sewing-related bits and pieces. It was almost overwhelming with the sheer volume of fabric. We didn’t even see all of it, because Pippo seemed a bit overwhelmed, as well.

I should point out that I used the Halti on Pippo to avoid the constant pulling we usually have to deal with. We’d originally bought it when we were living in Manhattan and it made an immediate difference. It hasn’t lost its power. Pippo was incredibly well-behaved and didn’t jump or pull or perform any of his usual antics. We eventually left the fabric market, because he truly seemed overwhelmed. Despite the rain, there were large crowds of people. Perhaps between the sheer volume of people, as well as the inhibition of the Halti, he seemed almost hesitant to move on any further. That, or he really liked a particular fabric and was trying to get me to buy it. 😉 As a result of Pippo not wanting to move, I did find a fabric that I’ll probably go back for next week. It’s a great upholstery fabric that I think will make perfect pillows for our sofa.

Not wanting to make Pippo suffer after he’d been such a good boy, we headed out to begin our walk back home. Along the way, we passed a street leading to Janskerkhof, so we decided to take a quick walk through the flower market. Hippie that he is, Pippo would have loved to have stopped and sniffed all of the flowers, but with the rain coming down harder, I figured it should just be a quick walkthrough. It was quite inspiring, though, and I’m tempted to maybe start a bit of gardening on the terrace. The inside is pointless, unfortunately, because both cats will immediately begin to chew on any flowers. Such a shame, because there are a number of flower stands around the city with some beautiful blooms.

Once I do decide to buy something — be it flowers or fabric — I now know how to ask for what I want. We met up with the usual crowd last night and I worked on my Dutch a bit, and have managed to remember some of it! If I want to buy some fabric, I should say “Mag ik twee meters van deze stof” or “Ik wil graag twee meters.” I also worked on the pronunciation of ij, but that still seems to be more a matter of luck when I get it right.