Thursday, April 28, 2011

Slow

I really love slow, don't you? This weekend was an extended weekend spent with my husband's family for Easter. I so much enjoy the slowed pace of things in Germany when it is a holiday. People aren't thinking about much of anything, but simply enjoying the time off. Vacation time in Germany is drastically different than in the States, where vacations and holidays are few and far between. In Germany one is off for Easter Sunday, and then "Easter Monday", which I had never heard of before... not only that, but there's not just one Christmas day, but two! How great is that?!?

So what does a spring holiday look like here?... kids playing outside the whole entire day until they can run no longer, lounging lazily on a spread out picnic blanket, coffee and cake time in the garden in the shade of that perfect tree, time to read when one would normally be too busy to read, and quality chat time with family... and what better way to top it off than my favorite German meal of fresh Niedersächsischer Spargel. Yeah, I'd have to say that it was a great weekend... and you?

Ich liebe Ferienzeit in Deutschland... irgendwie lauft alles ein bisschen langsamer, und man hat das Gefühl, dass nichts anderes so wichtig ist, als eine schöne Zeit mit der Familie zu verbringen. In Amerika haben wir nur einen Ostertag anstatt zwei... genau so zu Weihnachten. Aber natürlich ist es besser mit mehreren Tagen für eine kleine Reise... Kinder spielen den ganzen Tag draußen miteinander, Kaffee und leckeren Kuchen, etwas lesen, wofür man normalerweise keine Zeit hat, ein bisschen mit der Familie quatschen... Tja, es war ein sehr schönes Osterwochenende... und bei Euch?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tischdeko

For my husband's "birthday table" I wanted to do something really special. For the table decorations I made a small, simple wreath from birch twigs, added a sprig of forget-me-not's and a delicate white flower, wrapped them in moss, added a petite speckled bird's egg, and perched it atop a cognac glass... and done. It doesn't get any easier than that! Each person had their own personal flower arrangement... sweet, don't you think? What do you do for spring or Easter decoration... fresh flowers? Lots colors or muted and soft?

So, für den Geburtstagstisch für meiner Mann, habe ich gedacht dass es unbedingt schön sein muss. Einen einfachen kleinen Kranz aus Birkenzweigen, Vergissmeinnicht, eine süße Wiesenblume, eingewickelt in Moos, zierliche gesprenkelte Vogeleier, auf einem Congnac-Glas und fertig... einfacher geht es nicht! Jeder hatte seine eigene Tischdeko... süß, nicht? Was macht Ihr für Frühling oder Osterdeko... frische Blumen? Viele Farben oder gedeckt und sanft?
Did you know that in Germany, even at age 80, the person is still called the "birthday child". Usually a "Geburtstagstisch" (birthday table) is set up and decorated where all the birthday presents are displayed. In my husband's family the birthday child is to stay in their room in the morning until everyone gathers outside their door to sing a birthday song. It is also a tradition that the birthday child has a small "kranz" (wreath) of evergreen, ivy, or other greenery around their place setting... birthdays are really special here and I love that about living in Germany. Do you have any special birthday traditions?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Köln Hobby & Handarbeit

Speaking of fabrics... this past weekend I traveled to Köln (Cologne) and met Juliette for the annual Hobby & Handarbeit convention where companies within the trade gather to introduce new fabrics, patterns, ribbons, yarns, wools, buttons, zippers, sewing machines, and everything that a crafter could ever dream of. "Oh" and "Ah" are common phrases that one would use for such an event and I left totally inspired by what I saw.

... even though knitting, crocheting, and wool crafts are not usually my medium of choice, these projects inspired me to reconsider adding one more hobby to my list.

... it's hard to say if I'm more of a ribbon girl or a button girl... I think more of a ribbon girl. Who wouldn't be with these beautiful jacquard ribbons?

... no, no, wait, I'm definitely more of a button girl... or at least until I stumble on more fabulous ribbons that cause me to teeter on the verge of fair-weatheredness.

But for me the thing that excited me more than fantastic fabric, colorful wools, beautiful ribbons, or detailed buttons, was meeting someone in person that I really admire.
Do you have anyone that you really look up to, hold in high regard, and really inspires you? You've heard me talk endlessly about the brilliantly designed fabrics from Amy Butler... I would probably even consider her the benchmark for quilting fabric designers, but after having met her in person, it became clear to me that there is a reason she is so successful... I guess I believe that a good part of who a person is often shows up in ones work.

It's been rumored by others that have met Amy, that she is authentic, real, and down-to-earth, but as I was chatting with her at the show I found that I could not agree more. What I expected to be quick in and out talk with maybe an autograph, actually turned out to be a lengthy and interesting conversation. I got the feeling that she was truly interested in meeting the people that are a part of the dream that she is living out. She had talked about balance... working really hard at what you do and enjoying it, but taking the time to enjoy "the fruits of your labor". So true... and as Amy said herself, "Beauty is in the way you live. Enjoy your surroundings. Let them inspire you. Follow your own path, and approach everything you do with love in your heart".

In addition, it was really great to hear first hand about a few projects that Amy has in the works... which only leaves me eagerly anticipating the next brilliant thing she puts her hand to. Want to hear more about the show? Check out Juliette's post..

Monday, April 11, 2011

Moda on the Move

I wanted to introduce two new fabric collections from Moda. I have been waiting patiently to get my hands on both of these. The first collection is from Designer Kate Spain. Kate is relatively new to the fabric designer scene, but not in the graphic design world... and it seems as though Kate is a quite the busy lady. Not only does she design fabrics, but writes a really nice blog and her work can be found on everything from gift wrap to stationary, dishes to kitchen textiles... really fun!

Also designing for Moda fabrics is Sanae, with her fourth fabric collection that leaves lots of room for creativity. Originally from Japan, Sanae finds much of her inspiration from her native country.

So what is inspiring you these days? Pretty flowers, walks in the park, butterflies, and trees, various shades of spring colors?

Both Moda collections can be found here.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

All Measured Up

I remember in grade school first being introduced to the metric system. I thought to myself... why do we have to learn two different ways to measure things? So for tests and quizzes I could rattle off whatever the teacher wanted to know about liter, meter, gram, and so on and then how many milli-somethings, centi-somethings, and kilo-somethings were in each one.

... but as you very well know "use it, or loose it" applies to just about anything. (maybe except riding a bike... does anyone forget that?)
So when I first moved to Germany, I had to dust off the corners of my memory where I had stored, what at the time seemed like "useless information". But even as much as I hate to admit it, the metric system really is the way to go. Everything is divisible by 10, no cheat charts needed to tell you how many cups are in a pint, how many ounces in a pound, no need to work with fractions, or rattle off silly measurements like 7/16th of an inch! (crazy as is may seem, I've even seen 32nds of an inch too!)

With all that said, that is why I love bake using German recipes... it's so easy! Zitoronkuchen (lemon cake), a recipe from my mother-in-law, has become one of my favorites... it's even become my "birthday cake"! I just have to pull out my kitchen scale and a bowl... 200 g of this, 200 g of that, 200 g of something else, mix and your done! No dry measuring cups, no wet measuring cups, no converting this or that... just the way baking should be.

But despite the fact that I have "converted" to the metric system in almost everything that I do now... I still use inches to sew! I guess some silly habits are sometimes too hard to break.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Pinned for Easter

So, a special "thanks" goes out this week to Juliette, who introduced me to the time-consuming ecstacy and joy of Pinterest. As they define themselves on their own website, Pinterest "a place where you can create collections of things you love and "follow" collections created by people with great taste."... and oh, is there some serious eye candy to distract you from the things that you should be working on instead. Since I seem to be on the subject of Easter these days, I wanted to pass along a few D-I-Y Crafts I found that would brighten up any Easter table, mantle, or other empty corner in your house... wouldn't these be great for gifts too?

1. Simple & Pretty Spoon Egg Holder 2. Flower Arrangements in Eggshells 3. Bird's Nest Cookies 4. Bunny Topiary 5. Fanciful Favor Bags 6. Crepe Paper Carrots 7. Feather Your Nest papier-mâché 8. Osternest aus Spanschachteln

So many ideas... too little time. Happy creating!
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