About Me

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Antwerp, Belgium
Welcome to the new, and improved version of Heaven in Belgium. I am Jientje. "Jientje", like the boys name Gene, followed by "chu"? "Gene-chu", that's how you pronounce my name. Yes!!!!That's it!! So now you know huh? I am an addicted blogger. I was born and raised and am still living in Belgium. Yeah, the "this-is- Tuesday-so-this-must-be-Brussels" kind of Belgium .. There, you see? Maybe you couldn't find it on the map, but at least I'm trying to change that a little by sharing lots of pictures. I really love to cook and create new things, like this blog for instance. I am a mother, not a grandmother,I don't know if I'll ever be, but I'll let you know in due time! Oh and um ... I am a wife too! They say I'm a traveler, and a photographer. Well that's just what they say, I love to make pictures, but I am far from professional ... If my English is not perfect, that would be because it's my second language. I do hope you'll forgive me any possible misspellings or strange vocabulary ... Now, as a result of all of the above, I get way too little sleep and my days are always much too short!

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Heaven is in Belgium

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Monthly Theme: the Marina

We're finally getting a little bit of Winter here in Belgium. It's very cold and it snowed yesterday.
I know readers in Canada (and other countries with a cold climate) will probably laugh out loud when they see the amount of snow we had. I know, it's just a little sprinkling, a transparent layer, and it would have melted in two hours had it not been so cold. I went down to the marina this morning to take some pictures to use for my monthly theme and my fingers nearly froze off! My fingers were so numb I could not even push the shutter anymore!



View from the bridge


Even the seagulls look like they're cold!



I was busy taking pictures when suddenly this lady walked up from behind me. "This is going to be perfect for my monthly theme" I thought instantly, and quickly pushed the shutter.
So there ... my photo of the day, my new entry for Project 366 # 31



These photos were taken with my bridge camera, the Canon SX1 IS.
I'm planning on making this a monthly theme. I know it's not February yet, but hey... You can see my first post here.

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Very Relaxed Weekend



This fun meme helps you to remember what you did during the weekend and it's hosted by Gattina. We had a nice and very relaxing weekend. Because I wanted to toy with my new baby camera, I took a lot of photos, and I thought it would be a great idea to share them through this meme. So here we go ...




Introducing ... my latest toy, the brandnew Ixus 115 HS! I had a lot of fun playing around with it and getting to know this little baby camera. I'm going to make this my new entry for photo 366, not because it's such a great photo, but because I will want to remember when this little baby came into my life. Project 366 #30


I was up early on Saturday morning, had my morning coffee, ate some cereal and played with both my cameras.


When I went out to get a newspaper, the shopping street in my village still looked quite empty.

I usually buy a paper on weekends because I love the weekend edition of this paper. Lots of interesting subjects like recipes, restaurant reviews, travel ... etc.

By then my hubby was awake too, and we went to the weekly market together. I bought cheese and shrimp croquettes and we had them for lunch. Not exactly Weight Watchers style, but hey, after all, we're celebrating the weekend here, aren't we?

In the afternoon I baked a cake. It's a 365 recipe from Weight Watchers. I try to make it a little different each time I bake it. The original recipe is apples and raspberries, but I made apple and cinnamon this time.
In the evening we watched a little bit of television. We saw " the Bucket List" with Jack Nicholson. I had never seen it before and I enjoyed it!


I usually try to make Sunday breakfast a little feast.


After breakfast I made red onion soup. We were going to have leftovers for supper and I thought a nice bowl of onion soup would make the meal complete.

In the afternoon we visited the arboretum in Kalmthout. I wanted to make some winter pictures while practicing the manual settings of my other camera. We made a long walk, my hands were frozen, but it was good to be outside. When we came back inside to have coffee, my camera dropped to the floor. It scared the living daylights out of me, but fortunately, no harm was done. Phewww!
When we got home, we spent some time behind the computer editing the photos and blogging.


The onion soup was very tasty and comforting, and we ended up not eating all of the leftovers. I still have some stew left for today.
So, how was your weekend? I hope it was as good as mine!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Walk in the Park


We visited the arboretum in Kalmthout today where the witch hazel shrubs AKA Hammamelis are now in full bloom. I had no idea Winter could be this beautiful!




It sure added a little bit of color to this very gray day.




It almost looks like Spring, doesn't it?


I love this photo, I'll make this my new entry for Project 366, # 29



I hope your Sunday was as great as mine ...


Weekly Winners is hosted by Lotus at I am Lotus.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Weekend Reflections, Light Ornament

This light ornament hangs in the hallway of a butcher store in Antwerp. I was fascinated by the beautiful reflections and I took several pictures with my Big Guy, trying to get the lighting right. When I was done, I stepped back and turned around still looking at my camera. That's when I bumped full impact into a man who was entering the store. "OMG! I stepped on your toes, did I hurt you?" I said. "No ma'am", he replied, "the pleasure was all mine! "

Friday, January 27, 2012

Camera Issues, Part Two

Happiness is ... a teeny tiny little baby camera ...



Photo taken with the Canon Ixus 115 HS



I'm still having trouble with my Big Guy, the Canon D40. I took it to the shop for repair this morning and I'm going to have to miss it three to four weeks. There is a problem with the shutter release button, now and again it gets stuck making it impossible to take pictures.
Let's hope it's just a mechanical problem and that there will be no major costs involved?

I will use my compact camera in photography class, it's going to take a little getting used to I suppose, but I should be okay.

I did need a little something to get over the heartache about my Big Guy today, so I went ahead and finally bought myself that little tiny baby camera I have wanted for months now. It's so tiny I can just slip it in my pocket and have handy at all times. I've been toying around with it a little this afternoon, and I'm really amazed at what this little guy has up it's sleeve! I can even make movies with it! Woohoo! For those of you interested, the Little Guy is a Canon Ixus 115 HS and there is a review here.


So there, that's the latest news from me. Me, I'm going to have fun playing with my new toy, and I hope you'll all have a great weekend too!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Street view in Antwerp

There is a little hidden place in the heart of the city of Antwerp where it looks like time has stood still. It's the beguinage, and I love to come here and enjoy it's peace ...



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pretty in Pink

I photographed a lot of bikes in Antwerp yesterday. Pimped up bikes are really in fashion around here. I saw so many I'm thinking maybe I want to make it a weekly theme. How about this one, doesn't it make you smile?



Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lots of Coffee ...

I have a breakfast date with my friend Nana in Antwerp this morning.
This will involve lots of coffee, and lots of talking ...


Monday, January 23, 2012

Camera Issues


If I knew how to take a good photograph, I'd do it every time. - Robert Doisneau



I've been having some issues with my camera this past week. I do hope we can get the problem solved and that we don't have to send it off to the factory for repair. If so, I would have to miss it 3 to 4 weeks or more!
What about Project 366? How about my photography class? I really don't want to think about that right now! Keep your fingers crossed for me, will you?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

At the Museum

Project 366 #21


Project 366 #22

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Photo a Day ... Photography Class


I got the results for my photography class exam today: I got 95%! WOOT!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Rainy Day


It's been a very wet day today. Temperatures are up, we're at 8 °C today, so I guess that's the good news, but the bad news is it's raining again.
Nothing very interesting to photograph today, except maybe these raindrops?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Still Blooming ...

This plant has been blooming up until now. Temperatures have been below zero the last couple of days, so I hope it's not going to die now.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dignified ...


This statue of Anthony Van Dijck is at the corner of Leysstraat and Jezusstraat In Antwerp.
He usually looks so elegant and dignified... but not today ...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sleeping in ...

Project 366 #16



The bed is a bundle of paradoxes: we go to it with reluctance, yet we quit it with regret; we make up our minds every night to leave it early, but we make up our bodies every morning to keep it late. ~Charles Caleb Colton





Today is a bright and sunny day, and we enjoyed sleeping in this morning. I love how our pillows snuggle up to each other, just like we have been ...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Happy Birthday!

Today we're celebrating my husband's birthday! We had a little dinner party last night with our daughter Patsy and her husband.


#14

#15 for Project 366

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Friday's Fave Five, The Little Things ...




It's Friday the thirteenth today!!! Awwww, I do hope nothing bad happens today eh? Nah, I don't think so, I'm meeting two friends for breakfast this morning.
Anyway, it's time to look back and share the good things of the week that has passed. That's why I'm joining my favorite meme, it's Friday's Fave Five and it's hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story.




1. Bread pudding. I really love to bake, and I hate having to throw away food, so last Sunday I made bread pudding with a loaf of white bread that would have gone stale. It was a Weight Watcher's recipe, so on top of that, it was low calorie as well!

2. My new non stick wok. I bought it in the sales at half price, and again, it's a perfect kitchen tool if like me you're trying to loose weight!

3. The new tripod replacing the old one that used to belong to my hubby. It's light weight and super easy to use, I love it!

4. First signs of Spring. It's still only January, but new buds are appearing everywhere. The white plant on the bottom right has not stopped flowering yet, I've never seen this before in my life!

5. This quote : " Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever... it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything - Aaron Siskind."
This is in a nutshell why I'm doing Project 366 and why I love this meme so much, they both make me take lots of photos to remember the little things!


UPDATE: This is my photo for today, #13 for Project 366

Broken ...

Project 366, photo #12



Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever... it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything - Aaron Siskind.



Date: 12/01/2012 10:43
Model: Canon EOS D40
ISO: 320
Exposure time: 1/20 sec
Aperture: f/5
Exposure Bias: - 0.00 EV
Focal Length: 35.0 mm
Metering Mode: matrix
Flash Used: no
Exposure: manual
Exposure mode: manual
White balance: manual


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Withering Blues ...

This is what I said about Project 366 two weeks ago:

"I know (from last time I gave this a try) how much you learn if you pick up that camera each and every day. I also learned I should not make my own rules too hard this time. I know there will also be days where I won't have the time or the inspiration to take a new photo.
Therefor, I'm not going to take a new picture each day, all I'm saying is I'm going (try to) POST a picture each day. Some of them might be from my archives, and I even might skip a day or two and post three pictures the next day."


I think today is the day. I'm not going to pick up that camera today, or if I do, I'm not going to spend all afternoon editing photos. I have to attend cooking class in the morning, and in the afternoon I really NEED to do some household chores! I want the house to be neat and tidy when our daughter Patsy is coming over on Saturday to celebrate her dad's birthday. I took a lot of photos yesterday, (learned a lot too, that's a bonus), so I'm going to post one of those.
Now, Rebecca - at the Dusty Cellar - is hosting Midweek Blues today, and I think I have just the right picture for this meme. While I was on my patio looking for signs of Spring, I noticed that the flowers on my Gentiana - which blooms early November - had not completely withered yet.
The flowers are closed and have dried up a little, but the blue color is still visible. Maybe it is because of the mild Winter we've been having around here, I don't know, and I don't know how long the color will last should it start to freeze?




So there, my entry for today, #11 for Project 366, ... enjoy!

Cat Nap ...

I woke up worrying about my Project 366 this morning. I was wondering if I was going to be able to make the right picture to post on my blog today, or not? Project 366 has only just started, and it's quite a time consuming challenge!
It's been a very gloomy day today, and the light inside the house was very poor, so I stepped outside on my patio to see if anything interesting was happening there. I played with my camera a little, took various shots of dewdrops and some fresh green buds that seem to be appearing everywhere, then came inside to start dinner. I kind of liked my freshly cut veggies on my cutting board, and tried to make an artsy composition with that as well.
My tripod was still in the living room, and while my hubs and the cat were taking a nap after dinner, I experimented with a longer shutter speed and a higher ISO to get a properly exposed photo. I moved the tripod closer and closer to the cat, and did a photo shoot with her as well.

So here we are, at four in the afternoon, not knowing which photo to choose today!



Okay, ... so how about this one then? It's not the most artistic one I took today, but it's a photo I could not have made a couple of months ago. My photo skills have definitely improved since I have been taking class. I'm hoping to develop them even more by playing with that camera as much as I can for my Project 366!

Date: 10/01/2012 13:12
Model: Canon EOS D40
ISO: 800
Exposure time: 0.800 sec
Aperture: 11
Exposure Bias: - 0.00 EV
Focal Length: 44.0 mm
Metering Mode: matrix
Flash Used: no
Exposure: manual
Exposure mode: manual
White balance: auto

Monday, January 9, 2012

A world of difference!




I took this photo today, but I'm not very happy with it . I'm always very busy on Mondays, so there was not much time to experiment today. I took a couple of pictures with my other camera this morning, the compact Canon Powershot SX1IS. I used to take pictures with that one all the time until about two years ago when I started using the D40. This compact has a super macro function, which means I can get closer to my subject than with the D40. I thought it would be a good idea to snap a close up from my Phalaenopsis. I've been trying to photograph it for a couple of days in a row now, because these are the last flowers on it. I got this phalaenopsis as a little present from my husband, and it has been flowering for months now.


Like I said, I'm not very happy with it, so instead I'm going to submit the photo below for my Project 366. I took this one with the D40, obviously there's a world of difference between these two cameras!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The making of ... Bread Pudding

This is entry #8 of my Project 366. In case you're wondering, this was not just another snapshot, oh no!


Date: 08/01/2012 15:59
Model: Canon EOS D40
ISO: 200
Exposure time: 1/4 sec
Aperture: 11
Exposure Bias: - 0.00 EV
Focal Length: 44.0 mm
Metering Mode: center weight
Flash Used: no
Exposure: manual
Exposure mode: manual
White balance: auto

I baked bread pudding this morning. When it came out of the oven, I knew I wanted to use it to make my photo of the day. I tried a couple of compositions, but none of it seemed to really work. So I ate a piece for breakfast, then noticed it had become a lot more interesting with the missing piece, so I got to work again. I took about twenty photos of it (handheld, using manual settings and auto focus) and showed them to my husband, who advised me to use a piece of white cardboard to reflect the light and eliminate the shadows.

This photo shows how it was made.
Then we took it one step further, by using the tripod. I changed the settings, changed the composition over and over again ...


To make a long story short, I took about 90 photos before I was satisfied with what I got!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Jingle, Jangle and Joe ...

My husband bought me a new tripod today, I'm as happy as a clam!
I know I still need to practice with it, so I used it for this photo, which is entry #7 for my Project 366. This photo was made using manual focus instead of auto focus.


Date: 07/01/2012 15:59
Model: Canon EOS D40
ISO: 500
Exposure time: 1/30 sec
Aperture: 6.3
Exposure Bias: - 0.00 EV
Focal Length: 35.0 mm
Metering Mode: center weight
Flash Used: no
Exposure: manual
Exposure mode: manual
White balance: auto


This is Santa Bear with Jingle, Jangle and Joe, they're part of my Boyds Bearstone Collection, and I use it as a piece of my Boyds nativity set. Soon, they're going to be put away again together with the rest of my Christmas decoration ...

The quote at the bottom of it says: " the balance between work and play should always be tipped toward play" I think that's right, I had my fun this afternoon with my new tripod!

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