Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Since I took many of my ACEOs to display at the Dordrecht Central Library last week, I'm trying to rebuild some stock so I have something to sell at the Connecting Women holiday bazaar on Monday. I was also gifted some new materials to play with, in particular a couple rolls of that glittery plastic stuff you can stick to book covers. This is what I came up with, and I'm pretty pleased with the portrait. Let me introduce you to Isabelle, #14 in my series of Glamour Girls portraits.
Find this on Etsy

Monday, December 9, 2013


The Dutch Sinterklaas was last week. It is a very popular holiday for kids here in the Netherlands. I wrote a description for the Etsy Expat blog, which you can read here.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving, Netherlands Edition

Pieterskerk, Leiden

The sky is an overcast gray and a chill breeze tosses orange and brown leaves across brick walkways. The Pieterskerk, while not the tallest church in Leiden, offers warm invitation to the festive Americans flocking through the red doors. This is Thanksgiving in Holland, in the city, as I learned, where the Pilgrims lived for 11 years before boarding the Mayflower for the New World. The Pieterskerk was their church where they worshipped, married, and mourned from 1609 to 1620. The church even goes so far as to suggest the inspiration for the Thanksgiving feast came from the celebrations held there in honor of Dutch freedom after the Eighty Years War with Spain--it's up to you if you agree with that.

Friday, November 22, 2013

DAFT: The IND Appointment

Dutch Immigration Part VI

After going over your checklist of paperwork a couple dozen times, you may finally feel like you are all set to submit your application. Time to make an appointment with the IND! Call the IND number at 0900-1234561 if you are in the Netherlands, or use this number from abroad: + 31 20 8893045. Make sure you have some time to wait on hold.

Rotterdam IND. Photo from
You can look up desk locations and hours here since you will be asked if you have a preference. My closest IND desk was Rotterdam so that was my first choice. However, I was told that Rijswijk was less busy than the others, so if you are flexible you can always ask where the earliest opening is. Still, my experience was to count on at least 2 weeks before you can get an appointment.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Etsy Expats Gift Guide

One of my favorite things as we head into the holidays is visiting craft fairs. It is a fun way to see the creativity and skill of the craftsmen, and I can usually find some pretty unusual gifts. Plus, I am not only buying a gift for the recipient, I am supporting small independent sellers. Why buy the same thing everyone else is buying from Wal*Mart when you can find something special and make a difference for the person who made it? Germany is known for its holiday markets and I am really hoping to make it across the border to one this year. I will also be participating in a market myself in the Hague next month.

In the meantime, those of you who like to buy handmade should check out Etsy (if you haven't already). I follow a team of Etsy sellers who, like me, are expats living around the globe, and we have put together a gift guide showing a few of the items our team offers. Take a look for some unique ideas!

Friday, November 8, 2013

The '30s Live Again!

Blouse from Two-Piece Dress In Velvet Boucle Style No. 880
There are some great vintage knitting patterns to be found online. With all of the travelling I do, I don't know why I didn't get in to knitting sooner. Knitting needles sure beat hauling around a sewing machine. I tackled the Style No. 880 Blouse from 1935, which I found on the A Rarer Borealis blog.

Friday, November 1, 2013


--1 1/8 c warm milk
--3/4 tsp yeast
--2 c flour
--2 eggs
--dash of salt
--olive oil (or frying oil of choice)
--poffertje pan (a mold with small dimples, or possibly use a large frying pan)

1. Combine the yeast and warm milk.

2. Combine flour and salt, then add eggs and milk. Beat until the mixture is smooth.

3. Rise about 45 minutes.

4. Heat the poffertje pan and coat with olive oil. Using a squeeze bottle or frosting bag, fill each well with batter, or if you are using a regular pan, squirt teaspoon amounts. If the batter is too thick, add more milk.

5. Once the top gets bubbly and the bottom side is golden brown, flip each poffertje over and bake the other side.

5. Pile on a plate and top with butter and powdered sugar. I have an electrical poffertje pan so I like to cook them right at the table and serve them when they are hot. If you have a small pan it can take a while to cook them all up so it's more fun to munch as you go!

Thursday, October 24, 2013


I got more paper in Rotterdam, this time with a much lighter pattern. The woman is based on a photo of Joan Crawford taken in the 1920s, though this is not her hair/eye color. She is a nice companion to the previous 1920s portrait I did--whereas the other one is looking down, this one looks more upwards. Done in acrylic.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

DAFT: IND Application Form

Dutch Immigration Part V

Now that you have run around half the Netherlands gathering what you need, you can finally start working on the IND form! You can download the paperwork (in English) from their website. The form you need is this one: Application for a residence permite with the purpose of residence 'to work on a self-employed basis' (7524)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Work in Progress: 1920s Gal

Last time I was shopping in Rotterdam, I found this beautiful paper. The photo doesn't do justice to the gold shine on it. I wasn't sure if it reminded me more of Art Deco or an illuminated manuscript, so I just squashed bits of both together and this is what happened. I'm pretty close to calling this done since it's best to stop before you go one brush stroke too far. This is the first time I've used acrylic since high-school, I think, and experimenting with different media is always fun! The outlining is done with a big fat permanent marker. I'm looking forward to seeing how it looks in a frame.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument

Tour the US: Texas

Canadian River Breaks. NPS Photo
 The Texas panhandle is not known for its interesting and varied scenery. In fact, "flat" and "dry" pretty well sums it up. However, the Canadian River is a distinct contrast, and stumbling upon the lush vegetation and red, iron-rich banks it has carved a path through is a real treat. The best place to appreciate the unique landscape it has shaped is Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument, just outside of Fritch, or about 30 miles north of Amarillo. Here, you can climb up on top of a mesa that not only gives a great view, it is also an expansive archeological site, covered with colorful stone left behind long ago.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


I've noticed that, as far as classic American cars, the Dutch prefer Cadillacs. Sure, there may be an odd Ford or two (Chevrolet seems to be completely ignored), but it all comes down to the Caddy. In honor of this, here is a 1951 Cadillac, obviously not cruising through the Netherlands.
Prismacolor on black paper.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

DAFT: Opening a Bank Account

Dutch Immigration Part IV

The Dutch-American Friendship Treaty requires applicants to invest €4500 in their business. You will have to demonstrate to the IND that you posses this amount in cash or assets. Plopping a bag full of €4500 worth of coins on the agent's desk is not the best option. Instead, you can open an account (rekening) with a Dutch bank.

ABN-AMRO Den Haag offices. Photo Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

This turned out to be a bit more of a hassle than expected. I contacted ABN-AMRO, which is one of the largest banks and also provides some information in English. What many of their staff do not know is that, as an American, there are special requirements for opening an account for you due to the policies of the US government. Before opening a personal or business account, you must contact the "US Persons" department. I made a

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Blue and the Gray

Two Portraits

I've been looking through some vintage photos, which are always a good source of inspiration.
The first portrait is based on a photo of Jeanne Eagels from the 1920s. I just

Thursday, July 25, 2013

DAFT: KVK Registration

Dutch Immigration Part III

Photo from the KVK website showing how enoyable filling out forms can be.


The business you are starting under the Friendship treaty must be registered with Kamer van Koophandel, or KVK for short, which fills the role of the Chamber of Commerce. There is an English version of their website which explains how to register and provides the necessary forms. While there is an English form which is useful for your own records, only the Dutch form can be officially submitted. Since my company is a sole proprietorship, I filled out the 2 page form in English, and then my boyfriend helped me translate my answers into Dutch.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Dom Tower

Another city view in black marker. The Dom Tower is the highest church tower in the Netherlands and features intricate gothic style architecture. In this view it is recessed in the background while we look upwards from a canal. The canals are fun to explore since many of the old passages that connected the water front to the houses up above have been converted into cozy restaurants and other shops. You never know what you will find tucked away!

Monday, July 8, 2013

America...Dutch Style

USA Day, Voorburg

Psst...your Stars and Stripes are showing...
Every culture has stereotypes it is known for. Some are things they are proud of, some are things they would rather ignore. Some make for a good party (I'm looking at you, St. Patrick's Day). Seeing your culture from the outside can give you a new perspective when the mundane back home becomes exotic somewhere else.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


You never know what wandering down ordinary city streets will lead you to. I found this classic GMC van parked in front of some of the old houses tucked behind the Pieterskerk in Leiden. The scene came together so beautifully I recorded it in simple black marker.

Monday, June 24, 2013

DAFT: Municipality Registration

Dutch Immigration Part II

It's not as ominous as it looks here...

When I moved to the Netherlands, I was also moving in with my boyfriend so I was lucky enough to be able to skip the hunt for housing. If you intend to reside in the Netherlands, you must, like any Dutch resident, register with your city (gemeente). The guideline is to do this within 3 business days of moving.

To accomplish this I made sure to have my passport, birth certificate,

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Shades of Gray

 Two New Pencil Drawings

Light Study

I haven't played with graphite for a long time, but I suddenly remembered how great it is to make different lighting effects. I came across a photo of a 1940s industrial scene in the Library of Congress collection which begged to be depicted in pencil.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Introduction to the Dutch-American Friendship Treaty (DAFT)

Dutch Immigration Part I

Image courtesy Wikipedia

 When I embarked on the pursuit of a Dutch residence permit, I had no idea what to expect. I read a few accounts of other people's experiences to get the general gist of what the process entails, but I think each application is a personal experience depending on the timing, the current laws, where you are moving, what kind of work you will be doing, and the type of permit required. Nevertheless, my experience may be helpful, particularly to Americans wishing to immigrate under the Dutch-American Friendship Treaty.

The Dutch-American Friendship Treaty was enacted in the 1950s as a way to allow Americans to start businesses in the Netherlands. It has several basic requirements to qualify. First of all, applicants must be American citizens.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Great Basin National Park

Tour the US: Nevada

Wheeler Peak is one of the hikes in the park.
Vast stretches of open sage brush desert bordered by steep, pine covered mountains. This is the landscape that spans before anyone who ventures out of Las Vegas to explore the northern and eastern parts of Nevada. This area is part of the Great Basin, a region of the United States named for the fact that precipitation stays in the Great Basin rather than flowing to the ocean. Great Basin National Park was established to preserve several notable features of the region and to introduce visitors to some of its wonders.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Tiptoe Through the Tulpen...Part II

I used a previous post to show off my latest Postmarked Holland postcard (could I fit anymore "posts" in this sentence?), and subsequently was inspired to create several posters (yep!) based on the tulip design.

Monday, May 20, 2013

On a Roll With Classic Cars: 1950s Edition

I have a bit of a love affair with old cars. On the simplest level, I appreciate their classy retro style, but I also like what they represent in a more abstract sense. Each mile (or kilometer!) on that odometer is a journey. Maybe it's a trip to the store, or maybe it's a cross country trek on Route 66. They have a romanticism that conjures up an image of travel...adventure...freedom.

I'm excited to have a couple more additions to my Classic Car ACEO series. I've done my best to catch the shine of the chrome and the flowing lines within a trading card sized space. The small format is a fun challenge because cars have so much detail but there is only limited space to capture the essential form! As tempting as it is to try to add each glint, each reflection, each color shift, the small format forces me to focus and simplify.
1950 Mercury. Available on Etsy

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tip-toe Through the Tulpen

This postcard is available on Etsy.
My postmarked Holland series now includes the signature Dutch tulips--or tulpen around these parts. I'm saying my inspiration was our visit to the famous Keukenhof gardens near Lisse, but really, the whole countryside is covered in blooming flowers like one continuous garden.

I must say, I really enjoyed making this one. I love how the light and dark came together. There is something very satisfying about laying down such bold, thick lines with the marker. I am very tempted to make another version as a poster and throw in a splash of red. The black and white is very elegant, but red could be quite dramatic, no?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Basic Dutch Pancakes

--200g flour
--400 mL milk
--2 eggs
--dash of salt
--olive oil (or frying oil of choice)

1. Combine all ingredients with a mixer until smooth.

2. Heat oil in a frying pan over Med/High heat. Pan should be hot enough to solidify batter very quickly.

3. Add just enough batter to coat bottom of frying pan with a thin layer. Tilt pan as needed to cover the bottom evenly.

4. Flip once top is dry, or check that underside is golden.

5. Serve with sweet toppings. (Some Dutch favorites are syrup, chocolate sprinkles, anise powder, apple syrup)

Variations: Add slices of fruit or bacon to the pancakes while frying.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Going Orange

Queen's Day, Netherlands

Today, the blaring of horns is not a traffic jam. Drivers are celebrating the Dutch national holiday, Queen's Day.

“We celebrate the birthday of the Queen,” explains an Alblasserdam resident. “Actually, it's the birthday of her mother. She kept the 30th of April as Queen's Day as a remembrance of her mother. 

Big rigs parade around the city of Ridderkerk, their horns echoing through the neighborhoods.