Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dinner For One

When I first moved to Germany over three years ago, the one thing that was really surprising to me was the overwhelming presence of the English language in the culture. I would see signs everywhere written in what I call "Denglish" (Deutsch/English) and I could not believe how many songs were on the radio that I had just heard having left the States. I consider myself quite lucky that so many Germans are fluent in English, although the majority immediately apologize for their "bad English" when most really have no need to.

But one such "English" tradition that has worked it's way into the hearts of the Germans as a New Year's Eve staple is a funny little British production from 1963 that is run each year like one would see "It's a Wonderful Life" in the States at Christmas time. The great thing is that one does not really have to understand too much English to enjoy this physical comedy that keeps my husband laughing quite heartily like it was the first time he had seen it that year and not the 34th year.

If you have never seen "Dinner For One", might I strongly suggest that you pull up a chair, maybe a glass of champagne, and make it part of your New Year's Eve tradition... "the same procedure as every year."

Monday, December 28, 2009


For me having grown up in the mountains of West Virginia, nothing defined Christmas more to me than a thick, white blanket covering the ground to announce the winter holiday. The song "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" could not define my feelings more perfectly. I love the silence and the stillness that seems to accompany the pure, sparkling flakes and to soak in that moment that one experiences, when things are so quiet that you can literally hear each one fall. I have so many childhood memories of sleigh riding, snow ball fights, and angels in the snow...

This season we awoke to such a powdery delight... I felt that same childlike gasp of wonderment escape my lips as I pulled the curtains back... SNOW! Wide-eyed, trying to drink in the breathtaking landscape that no lo
nger looked the same as the day before... only a smile could cover my face.

While our winter wonderland came early, I fully basked in the beauty of this act of nature that can calm and still one to the very core of one's soul.

Monday, December 21, 2009

One Thing off the List...

Somehow it seems no matter how hard I try to keep Christmas simple, I always end up with too many things on my list to keep me busier than I had planned. This year I am proud to say that the majority of the Christmas presents that I am giving I either made or purchased handmade... which put the time crunch on me in the first place. It feels really good to me to support others who are in the "handcrafting business"... almost as if they are colleagues of mine. One quick little project that I finished for my niece was to add a little "umph" to an outfit that we purchased at H&M.

... A sweet pin
k shirt with an added ruffle and decorative stitching paired up perfectly with a fun matching ribbon trim.

So have you been busy crafting or have you kept the shopping centers in business this year? Only a few more days to finish up... no pressure, right?

Monday, December 14, 2009

First Frost

It was really cold today... cold enough to put on that extra layer. It seems as if the weather has finally shifted from a mild gray to cold and crisp, which I much prefer. This past week we had our first frost and I have always been fascinated with the transition into a white, pure, sparkling, and deep cold.

What is it about being able to see water up so close... to really be able to examine it in a completely different form, somehow capturing it's purity in a crystallized and unique form.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Thankful Heart

So last Friday morning, before our "at home party", one would think that relaxing or last minute preparations would be on the list... but not at our home. I was already up early that morning preparing for the following day for our third annual "Thanksgiving in Germany" meal. We have several friends that lived in the States for some time and came to know and love that wonderful "day of eating", so we decided to carry on the tradition... that and my friend "C" really loves to cook. (she worked at a cooking magazine here in Germany writing recipes before the kiddies came along, so you know it was yum-deli-icious!)

I guess I have come to miss some of the conveniences and products that are offered in the U.S. to the just downright lazy folks.... such as ready made pie crusts where you just prepare the filling and pour it into the crust. And let's not forget about canned pumpkin... besides, who ever heard of cooking the pumpkin yourself for the filling?!? (I hope the sarcasm is obvious) But oh, no... that just wouldn't do for our meal (not to mention that these things are not available here). Nope, homemade pie crust with fresh pumpkin puree, provided by "C" as a Christmas present to me.

I love using fresh ingredients when cooking, especially herbs, and this years stuffing was quite tasty. It is an interesting transition to go from being a "partaker" of the best meal of the year to becoming a "preparer"of. These past three years, I have presented a few "flops" to the dinner table, but have learned what I want to do differently for the next year. And while this year's offerings were quite tasty, I cannot boast and say that I have arrived at the level of "taste's just like grandma's" yet. (Big shoes to fill, you know)

But I think that this year we really captured what the Thanksgiving meal is all about. Sure, we got to enjoy a meal that is so yummy that you ask yourself, "how does the rest of the world make it having never tasted a meal that is so divine?" (ignorance is bliss, I guess)...

But beyond all that, for me, Thanksgiving is about family. Even though mine feels like a million miles away, the people that we chose to surround ourselves with for the evening have become my family here. You know the kind of people you can completely be yourself around, no masks or surface faces worn here. Which leaves one not having to look too far to come up with the reasons why one is thankful in the first place.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Busy as a Bee

I'm sure everyone has those weeks where you feel like as soon as you finish one task, you have to quickly move onto the next task, knowing that there are even more tasks on the "things to do" list as soon as you finish that one... that was my week last week. Many of my preparations were for a joint effort between Anja and I for an "at home party" featuring handmade items made with American patchwork fabric. What I really like about doing a "show" in a home is that the atmosphere seems to be more personal, friendly, and cozy than a public event... you get more of a chance to really have a relaxed kind of interaction with people. Anja had organized a variety of other artists to participate in the evening and delectable cookies and sweets with a cup of hot tea or coffee was enough to bring everyone into the holiday mood.

I just thought I would share a few photos from our "event" before this week starts to pick up. With the list that is on my desk right now, I have the feeling that I might have two consecutive weeks of pure busyness... but isn't is always that way this time of year?

So are you pretty relaxed this time of year or is your list of "things to do" as long as a childs Christmas wish list?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ausstellung in Hamburg

Anja Steinhaus ist eine Künstlerin aus Hamburg, die in diesem Winter zum ersten Mal zu einer Hausausstellung einlädt. Wir freuen uns sehr, an dieser Veranstaltung teilnehmen zu dürfen und werden eine feine Auswahl unserer Handtaschenkollektion, unseres Schmucks, sowie unserer modischen Accessoires ausstellen.

Herzliche Einladung, am 04.12.2009, ab 16:00 Uhr im Klöpperstieg 7, 22359 Hamburg-Volksdorf.

Den Einladungsflyer können Sie hier herunterladen.

Our last "market" for the year... really more of a "Purse Party" at the home Anja Steinhaus in Hamburg. You may remeber her from here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Featured Projects

Last year we did a Christmas market in a beautiful old estate castle. The grounds were beautifully decorated with a warmth and coziness that just put one in the Christmas mood. It was there that I met Beate... the first person to ever comment on on my blog! Quite the talented lady, Beate is constantly sharing creative sewing projects and ideas from purses and holiday decorating to beautiful garden and floral arrangements on her blog. One such purse that she posted about she used fabric from this week's featured designer and I love the soft yellow palette combination... just the right bag for shopping, don't you think?

Be sure to check out Beate's Dawanda shop with all kinds of goodies... perfect for the holiday season.

So how far are you on your Christmas shopping?
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