Monday, March 26, 2012

In Between Photo Hunts

In case you thought we never did anything else....

Remember that "A" is for Astrid of All Trades post I did awhile back? Just when you didn't think there was anything left for her to (know how to) do, Voilà.

As a mater of fact, this was one of the very first things I found out she could do when I met her in 2007. And I wanted one: a "monkey's fist" knotted key chain! It wasn't till a week ago that I watched her make one, from beginning to end, for a co-worker.

At the same table where we do our jigsaw puzzles, Astrid set up shop.
(click any collage to enlarge)

First, the loopty-loops. Four sides of them!
In and out, in and out, always paying attention where she had to go...
before putting the marble stabilizer inside.

Once the marble was inside the loopy mess, the tightening began.
Battening down the hatches! Round and round and round with her nifty tool,
till the knot was compact and hard as a rock, ready for the key chain.

See?! Voilà
The green one above is what Astrid made for me 4+ years ago.
The yellowish one is hers, as are those baseball-sized ones at top-right.
In the bottom-right image (above) is the splicing tool Astrid uses, next to the wooden one her sailor-captain grandfather used in his Merchant Navy days. And the knot on top of hers? Yup, she made that one, too.

So, now you know how a Monkey's Fist knotted keychain is made...more or less!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Now, go back to that same table a week earlier when Astrid was working another Jan van Haasteren jigsaw puzzle, all by herself:

Deep Sea Fun, 1000 pieces (image from van Haasteren's site)

While I was busy with other things, Astrid had a hankering to work this puzzle alone.
Who knew it was just what the doctor ordered!
All I asked was that she take pictures of the details when she was done, which she did.
(All following images are Astrid's, processed and collaged by me.)

Remember how I've told you there are his "signatures" in every puzzle?
Sinterklaas came to Holland aboard a ship from España.
His Black Pete is always with him, as are his gifts and scepter, now strewn on the sea's floor.
The American Indian, his arrow, the burglar, the cat and mouse, shark's tail, periscope...
as well as his own self-portrait and initials....

The ghost, the "free" hands and feet, the police, the whimsy.
Always the whimsy, the laugh, the ha-ha-ha.
Who would think of diving into a kiddie swimming pool...under water in the sea!

Notice the top middle image and it's nod to the big diamond from the Titanic movie.
See what I mean? That artist deserves every penny he gets!

Lucky for me, I get to work this puzzle myself this late-shift week for Astrid. She'll also have some overtime hours because of the Easter holiday coming up.

And of course, we did do another photo hunt this past Saturday in nearby Tiel. That'll keep me very busy, too. While the cat is gone the mouse will play....


  1. Never a dull moment in our life. Making the knots and the Jigsaw, was what the doctor ordered. Sometimes I have to do something totally different.
    The jigsaw has so much humor, our kind of humor. I know you will have fun with this puzzle. Wonderful post again, Kleine Muis van me......

  2. Astrid: Never a dull moment, indeed. So much for which to be thankful! Hartstikke bedankt, MLMA.

  3. I just love the way you compose the photos!

  4. Renny: THANK YOU. You're a sweetheart! :)

  5. Of course, Astrid knows how to make a monkey's fist. Please note my lack of surprise. That is a gorgeous shade of red.

    I remember trying to make a monkey's fist back in junior high at the height of the macrame craze. I tied the knot okay, but I was completely discombobulated when it came to tightening it, plus I didn't know to place a marble in the center. Duh!

  6. A sister boldly says: I want one.


    Maybe we can make them together in August!

  7. DB: That Astrid is a bundle of creative surprise more than you'll ever know. What a woman! :) The tightening part is definitely part of the intrigue of this knot because you really have to know which piece crosses over to the other side! Amazing.

    Ruth: Your sister will surely ask you "What color?!" :) In fact she'll want to bring it to you since we'll be too busy with the wedding stuff. But I can definitely picture the kids, especially Lesley, wanting to give it a try. :)

  8. I haven't heard of the term monkey fist before this post, but i love the knot and the key chain. Astrid is outstanding, she's so talented and artistic.

    I love the collage of the puzzle details.

  9. So fascinating! I love how you have documented both the process of making the keychain, and the details of the puzzle. It just goes to show, life at home is as entertaining as travel.

  10. PC: That Astrid is something else, Maria, isn't she! I marvel at her almost every day. Thanks, as always, for your comment. And yes, those puzzles still blow my mind!

    Karen: If it's not one thing, it's another, always keeping us entertained. :) Life is good!

  11. You have a very talented partner in Astrid. But from what I observed over the years from your blog, you're a very talented woman yourself. :)

  12. She's got a real talent with those monkey fist knots!

  13. Tim: Ohhhhhh. You sure know how to make my day. Thank you, dear Tim!

    Mad: Yes, she does. :)

  14. Oh now that's one thing I love, those key chains!!! Seems like a busy time.. I definitely need to get going on posting photos soon!

  15. ET: Spring is everywhere in the air these days, Jen, so I hope you find time to go out and enjoy it. Your little girl is growing up like a weed before our very eyes!

  16. Yet more impressive talent! that knotting looks really intricate.

    The jigsaws look so much fun! will keep a look out for them.

  17. Anne: There's no end to her talent, Anne. I really think she could do anything! :)

    And yes, those jigsaws are definitely worth the cost. We're always on the lookout for finding them on sale at our stores...which doesn't happen often. He's worth every penny.

  18. THAT is a woman of many talents. She really is impressive. What a patience she must have to carry out with all those things. Obviously she think it's fun, but nevertheless, it's impressive!

    ...and those marvelous puzzles! I love those details. Only thing is that now I'm really sad that I don't have any of those picture cards left, that I had in the 80's, because I'm getting more and more convinced that it must be the same artist - or anyone copying him. It would have been fun to know.

    Sorry that it has taking me some time to come over and comment, I've been too darn busy lately. Phew. We always appreciate your comments very much though!

    I'll email you later on, as soon as we have decided our Europe route a little bit more :-)

  19. LCT: Now you've really got me curious about Jan van Haasteren! Postcards from the 80s. Hmmm. If you ever figure it out, please let me know!

    And please do not ever worry about when you stop by. We all have our busy times, so never fear. I appreciate it when you DO comment, so thank you.

  20. These monkey fist knots look simple but I bet they are quite difficult to make unless you are talented like Astrid – they look like the type of things you can’t resist touching, too. Your puzzles have rather elaborate designs – something easy would not keep your attention though I bet.

    I also enjoyed your last post on Monnickendam. You know what really got my attention? It is the way the cars are parked so close to the edge – I’d be so afraid to get my car to fall into the water. These cars are really inches from the edges like the black car on the left – I absolutely would not try to park there. I get shivers just to look at it.

  21. Vagabonde: Those knots really require concentration, to make sure you follow the string/rope from one side to another. If you can do that, it's easy. HA!

    And yes, I have told Astrid many times that in America it would not be allowed to have canals with no guard rails! I know exactly what you mean. She laughs and says we'd be surprised how many cars end up in the canals every years. Bikes, too, of course!

  22. I did a little internet search for those jigsaws but I don't think they are available in Canada, but there were a few internet stores that would ship from USA. But I might find one in UK< however with space and weight restrictions.... it may not be something I want to carry when I'm travelling.

  23. Sham: I know the puzzles are available but you're right...about weight restrictions, etc. Maybe one day you'll find one and be pleasantly surprised! :)

  24. I must show this to my oldest daughter who is a Visual Arts student. Never know when it will come in handy... she just created a sculptured "lunch box" by knitting it... but it WAS a sandwich with lettuce tomatoes, etc with a lipstick water container ... I will have to post it on my blog as it was amazing... and entirely knitted.

    The squirrel commercial was hysterical (before the how to video)

  25. Margaret: Anything visual is what Astrid is all about, so I bet your daughter will love it, too. I have seen underwater sealife knitted and crochetted. It's amazing stuff. WOW. Yes, please show it on your blog!

  26. A very enjoyable post... love the detail images of making the monkey fist know and seeing Astrid at work to do this! (I will take mine in burnt orange... ;-) )

    And of course, as always, I enjoy the skill with which you photograph the images and assemble the collages to tell a story! :-)

  27. Victoria: You always know how to make my THANK YOU!