Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Street Art in São Paulo

Every where I go in São Paulo, and I haven't been around a lot yet, I come across graffiti: beautiful paintings of airbrush, spray paint, paintbrush, marker, chalk and sometimes even with parts of magazines. They are made by famous local artists and amateurs alike.

Today DD and I went to Vila Madalena, a hip neighbourhood of São Paulo with some lovely eateries, shops and galleries. We walked around for a little while looking around and soaking up the bohemian atmosphere. Unfortunately many shops were closed due to the Holiday Season.
When we wanted to take a taxi back home, we had to walk a bit further down the road and stumbled upon a street full with amazing graffiti. I want to go back and spend more time looking at all these colourful street art.

Back home I looked for more information about this kind of urban art on the internet and found that "the Pixadores, as graffiti artists are called in São Paulo, find room for their art alongside city freeways, on the walls of abandoned warehouses, and even atop high-rise apartment buildings. While it's still common for police to prosecute pixadores for illegal graffiti writing, many artists now receive government commissions to display their work in public spaces."


Saturday, 25 December 2010

My first Christmas in Brazil

These pictures are taken outside a restaurant near our apartment. I thought these Christmas figures were very funny, unfortunately the quality of the picture is not so good as it was already getting dark.
Outside temperature today is 32 Celsius and the streets are very quit. Usually there is a lot of traffic on the roads and noisy Harley motorbikes are speeding around the corners. But today families are enjoying themselves in the park playing ball games, walking or having a lazy picnic on the grass.

We enjoyed a peaceful morning with fresh breads from the bakery on the corner, yes, this one is open today! Sun on the terrace and music from the kids' itunes collections and coffee with panettone. My DD and DS have to warm up a bit after escaping the cold weather from London/Holland and New York.

People often wonder what language we speak at home when we live abroad, outside of the Netherlands. Well, I can assure you we speak Dutch and our daily life does not make any difference from the way we live in Holland! It is basically the same as anywhere else, except being in a different location.

Fresh products @ the grocery, the gas is finally installed and a funny face on the broom

What does chances are the products in the shop, the climate you have to adjust to, setting up your social life and the language you speak outside your home.
At home we always speak Dutch, although the kids are more comfortable in English. They have learned the Dutch grammar during their secondary and high school years (lagere en middelbare school) and that is something I always found very important. It is simply a way of installing their Dutch roots while living overseas.

This Christmas quilt is still in the container with all my other stuff, but I found the picture on my computer. I made it while living in Singapore, about 7 years ago. Hopefully the container will be released in about 2 weeks time by the custom officials. Too late for this quilt to be put up on the wall, but I will hang it out just to give it some fresh air after being stored for more than 18 months...
Until that time we explore our new city and do all the washings by hand ;-)

Enjoy your weekend! Hilde

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

My first week in Brazil

Today it's exactly a week ago that I arrived in my new city Sao Paulo.
It has been a week of very mixed emotions, culture shock and good vibrations! For the first 3 days we stayed in the hotel where my DH has been living for the past 6 months. Friday we got the key to the apartment and a bed, table with chairs and two fauteuils were delivered by a rental company. It will be all very basic until our container with our own furniture will be released by the customs authorities in Santos. When this will happen, nobody knows.... Our first impression of Brazil is of a very bureaucratic country where setting up life is very hard, but when you have taken that enormous hurdle, life will be great.

There is so much to tell but maybe I should tell you a little bit about my first Sunday in this city. That morning we went to the Ibirapuera park which is only a 10 minutes walk away from the apartment. On Sundays one lane of the main street, going along the park, is cordoned of for bicycles only. In the park many joggers in fancy outfits are running by, dogs are walking their owners and kids want to buy a fancy coloured toy. I simply love to watch the beautiful trees and flowers in the nursery.

Later that day we went to a street market and bought some delicious fruits and fresh vegetables, it feels so good to have this so close to the house. People are all so very kind and helpful although I can hardly explain what I want as I do not speak Portuguese yet. With my Italian and Spanish I can somehow survive, but the Brazilian Portuguese is a bit different...

This week the kids will join us here for their holidays and hopefully the gas in the kitchen will be working so we can cook a decent Christmas meal! A new friend borrowed us some plates, cups, pots and pans, and mattresses for the kids, so Christmas time will be celebrated in a kind of camping style!

As we do not have our TV yet, amongst so many other things (!), I want to get out my scissors, needles and fabrics that I stuffed in my suitcases. Hopefully I will find a quilt shop and meet like minded people soon! Hilde

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

We made the move!

With 2 dogs, 2 kennels and 2 suitcases I made it safe and sound to Sao Paulo!
We arrived last night and all three of us were tired of all the stress that comes with planning a trip like this.

I was lucky my parents could help me during the last days in Holland with all small errands I had to do. Here they are standing in line before the check-in at the airport of Amsterdam.

It is always hard to see the dogs in their kennels being transport to the no-go area, from where they will be taken to the airplane. They are in a special part of the plane where the air is at room temperature but without television...

My DH, who was already here for the last 6 months, and I are  are staying in a hotel, waiting for the keys to the apartment. We will rent some furniture like a bed and a table until our furniture will arrive.

I am prepared: I have enough fabrics with me, Japanese and K. Fassett, to make a few projects by hand in case the container with our furniture will be delayed.  The first-aid sewing kit is in my suitcase too!

While I am having a cappuccino at Fran's Cafe, outside people are lining up for tickets. It is so crowded and I have no idea for which event tickets are being sold, because I don't speak Portuguese yet. Later I found out it is for a U2 concert in April '11. Well, I prefer going to Brazilian concerts first! But not for now, I first want to 'make my bed' before anything else! Hilde

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Java express quilt

Yes, I did it in the fastest mode ever! The quilt is done and I hope DD will like it. She better does! Washing instructions are visible on the quilt so she cannot go wrong, unless the colours will bleed as Xue mentioned earlier on...
I will leave it in The Hague so she can take it with her to London on her way back from Brazil after Christmas.

Isn't this cute! There is a big group of wild parakeets in The Hague and some other cities in Holland surviving the winters after having escaped captivity 6 years ago. Every year there are more and more of these green exotic birds.

My suitcases are almost packed, I have to do some more cleaning up and in the evening I relax with quilting the project visible on the sofa. Don't know if I will finish it before I leave next Tuesday. Never mind, there is no rush as I will be back in the apartment in a couple of months when I visit my family and friends and stock up on Dutch goodies. Hilde

Monday, 6 December 2010

Snow sew sew

All blocks, 90 in total, sewn together and spread out on the floor. Well, because the table and carpet has to move out of the way to make space for this action, Mr. Bickel takes the chance. I was hesitating if I would make the quilt smaller to make the quilting by machine go easier, or do it in 2 pieces, but I just left it as it was.

Outside the first snowstorm passed and left a thick white carpet on the streets. Freshly fallen snow, I love it and so does Mr. Bickel! Outside my window  birds are coming and going to the feeding station on the small balcony.
Inside my old Bernina, about 18 years already, is doing a great job with quilting in the ditch and diagonal lines over this huge quilt. The quilt seems to be growing while pushing it through the small opening next to the needle. It is a hurdle I do not like and I am afraid to pucker the quilt.

Quilting is finished, what a relief! Now only the binding and I will concentrate on my flight to Brazil next week: dogs health check, official stamps for customs, 2 kennels, 2 suitcases to pack, cleaning the flat, lunch with friends, one more quilt bee with my new friends and many other things... Hilde