Friday, November 21, 2008

First Snow!

There is nothing like a first snow! It's like it almost brings out the kid in me.. reminiscing about waiting to see if it had snowed so much that school would be canceled, snow ball fights, winter boots and scarves. Despite all the exciting things that snow brings, there is something so pure and still about a first snow.

It was thrilling to wake up and peer out the window at the cold, white blanket that covered the even brought out a few friends. I think only Leo showed up today, but a busy little squirrel was running here and there, evidently just as excited as I was.

As much as I love snow, I always hate to see it go. Snow doesn't last long here, but that was OK for today because I had lots of outside work to do. Planting tulips and daffodils, looking forward to the joy they will bring in spring, announcing that summer will soon follow. Of course if one must work, it is better to do it in style.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Have you ever felt like your day was like trying to drive a wagon that was stuck in the mud? Well, I had one of those days today. Even though I got several things accomplished, I just don't feel like I can see the results. So my stack has been somewhat transformed and I am on the verge of finishing several purses, but managing several different projects today took up quite a bit of my time.

I did a little sewing, some e-mailing, cleaning, jewelry inventory, ...and oh yeah, I placed a fabric order today. Joel Dewberry and Anna Maria Horner. Two really great designers from Free Spirit Fabrics. Just a little sneaky peak of what's to come from Anna Maria.....

Monday, November 17, 2008

2:05 on the Nose

While in the middle of working, my husband announced to me today that he was headed to the Baumarkt (that's the home improvement store) He had then further explained that he just needed to get out and have a little distraction from his current project. No big deal, right? Well, yes except...he never takes a break from work like that. Once he is focused, he is really focused. To pull him away from work is almost like a little kid being pulled away from his favorite toy to take a takes a little effort and coercing. But I thought nothing more of it and kissed him upon return as he headed back to his desk. Thirty minutes or so later, he shows up at my door with a big bouquet of flowers. (this action is the very same thing that made me say I would marry him someday)
He asked me if I knew what today was. Sometimes we wish each other happy anniversary on the 4th of the month, but today is not the 4th. Then it dawned on me that today is also my grandmothers birthday and that I should call her, but that was no grounds to give me flowers. Then it hit I have been in Germany now for two years. My husband further informed me that I landed two years ago exactly at 2:05...and there he was again, right on the nose.

So I guess a lot can happen in two years. It hasn't always been easy, but it has been fun. Who would have ever language, new culture, new people, new business. I don't have to get up every morning and drag myself to a job that where I am underpaid and almost completely unnoticed (for those of you who don't know what job....why, teaching, of course) But now I am living my dream...working with beautiful things and creating something every day. But of course, it would be no fun at all if my "partner in crime" had missed his 2:05 appointment.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday Afternoon Musings

Aren't Sundays great?!? I can't really say that today provided anything that was particularly spectacular or anything that will get filed away in my highly cherished memories section, but it was everything that a Sunday should be. We started out our morning slow with what has seemed to become our Sunday morning tradition...fresh croissants, eggs, and BACON! It truly is the highlight meal of the week. We piddled around a little bit here and there and then decided to go for a walk.

Where we live is great. If we turn to the right and drive for two minutes, we are at the mall. Close to bakeries, butcher shops, and home improvement markets. If we turn to the left and walk about two minutes we are in the middle of the county. Norderstedt, the city we live in, has been named the horse capital of Hamburg. All the city folks that crave "country living", but don't want to give up city life, have their beloved horses kept here. Our favorite walking path is highly trafficked by horse and bike riders, Sunday afternoon strollers, and the occasional dog.

The air was so crisp and clear today...very refreshing. The first opening we came to boasted a field with several horses, apparently also our enjoying the fresh air. I imagine if they could talk would also say that nothing beats a fresh, crisp Sunday morning grass. Nevertheless, our pinned up friends seemed just as interested in us as we were in them. One horse seemed to have moved in a little closer as if he knew we were taking pictures of them and he didn't want to be left out.

Our journey wandered on with old wagons abandoned in fields, many passerby-ers, and a short chat with a gentleman that had been one of the first to settle in what was then, just some nice fields. He seemed eager to talk and so we let him.

My favorite part of any walk that I take in Germany, is taking notice of all the wonderful buildings. For me, houses that have been around for a while almost seem to whisper their secrets, things they have taken notice of over the years. This particular house boasts several architectural elements that I love about German construction....things like the wooden horse header, a thatched roof, and the notorious "fachwerk" brickwork (thick wooden beam construction, with bricks in between.) Nestled deep in the woods only adds to its natural charm.

While winter is just setting in, Christmas is looming in the background, and sweaters, jackets, and scarves are now strewn everywhere, it was nice to capture the last effort of summer to produce her fruit. Tempting red berries were waiting to nourish before their efforts to sustain fell again to the earth. There is something about seasons coming and seasons going. So it is with life. Just a simple walk in the woods can inspire so much and make one reflect upon life. Just like these delectable little berries, I want my efforts to have been worthwhile, without them falling back to the earth having never nourished.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Zippers Shouldn't Be So Hard!

At recent selling events I have had many customers ask if it would be possible to make purses with zippers inside to make them feel a little more secure about credit cards, ID's, and such. So on my fall/winter collections, I have started adding zippers and pockets to the inside. It took me some time to find "how to sew a zipper" instructions that were clear and easy to follow. But I did eventually find something, which I decided to pass along. (hopefully easier to understand than what I found)

Step1.) Cut your purse interfacing as you would normally (or whatever project you are working on)

Step 2.) Cut two rectangles larger than the size zipper you are planning to use. For example: I sew with a 6 inch zipper (ca . 15 cm) So I need to allow enough fabric on either side of the zipper. My measurements end up being 9 inches wide (ca. 29 cm) by 7 inches high (ca. 18 cm)

Step 3.) Draw a rectangle on the pocket fabric measuring the length of the zipper. My rectangle is 6 inches in length (ca . 15 cm) by 3/8 inch wide(ca. 1 cm). This leaves about 1 1/2 inches (ca. 4 cm) on either side of the zipper. Next draw a line in the center of the rectangle with a triangle on each end as shown.

Step 4.) Pin pocket to interfacing, making sure to center.

Step 5.) Sew completely around drawn rectangle. DO NOT sew drawn center line or end triangles.

Step 6.) Using sharp scissors, cut down the center line and follow the markings for the triangles cutting towards the corners of the rectangle. Be careful to not cut through stitching.

Step 7.) Pull the fabric square pocket through the opening cut that was made towards the back.

Step 8.) Roll seams out until the pocket opening lays flat. Iron out seams. Rectangle will now be on the back side of the interfacing.

Step 9.) Place the interfacing over the zipper and align zipper into position. Pin into place.

Step 10.) Change the presser foot to the zipper foot. Be sure to adjust the needle position so that the needle will be completely to the left. This will allow you to so closely to the zipper without going over the zipper.

Step 11.) Stitch completely around the zipper, basically sewing a rectangle around the zipper. Sew as closely as possible, without crossing over the zipper.

Step 12:) Zipper is complete (yeah! you made it through the hard part!)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Leo, Eddie, Harry, and Lucy

So who says that you have to venture out deep into the forest to experience nature? Why not let nature come to you?

Just a few days after we had gotten back from the States, we noticed that we have a few "new" guests in our back yard. Even though they were never invited, they are more than welcome guests. What a delight and pleasure to discover that a whole family of pheasants have decided to make their "turf" within view from our living room and my work room. For the last two weeks, our guest family have wondered across our back yard looking for food and exploring the grounds.

The thing is...we don't really live in the country. We are not directly in the city, but we are definitely in a built up area with lots of houses around and a rather busy street on the front side of our house. So naturally, much to our surprise, nature has decided to venture out to us.

To encourage our "friends" to return and visit us often
, Christof had asked his Dad for some of the corn from this years harvest. He sprinkled our lawn a few times so far and I love that we are part of the cycle of giving back. It all starts with just a small seed, then the land reaps a harvest, and we give back to the land....consider the birds of the air...they never toil or work, but yet they are taken care of.

It has been great to be in the middle of breakfast or working and be able to look out and see them. I suppose since yesterday was Saturday Leo, Eddie, Harry, and Lucy decided to sleep in. (that's what we named them...short for Leonard, Edward, Harrison, and, well...Lucy) I looked for them all day and went to bed sad that they never came. But they are back today, and hopefully the next day, and maybe the day after that. I will enjoy this season while they are here, and when the trees are green again in spring, summer takes us here and there while the sun is warm, it will give me something to look forward to when the leaves fall again.

Friday, November 7, 2008

I Made the Front Page!

OK, so I'm really excited! I have been listing some of my products, mostly my fabric, since July of this year on a site called Dawanda. Basically the site sells handcrafted items and supplies in Europe. I think the site started in Germany and now England and France are launching "sister" sites that are connected with the main site. You can literally find items from all over the world who are trying to reach European buyers. I've had some good luck with selling fabric.

They have opportunity for members to create what are called pinboards to post on the main site. This is a collection of items that a member puts together of other sellers items based on a theme, color, or whatever floats your boat. Well, mine was featured on the main page! This could really increase my hits on my shop! I just had to share. Tula Pink fabric featured on my "Walk in the Forest" pinboard.

Superwoman Power Potion

Have you ever seen fabric so beautiful that the only words you can use to describe them are words that normally pertain to food? ...Words like delicious, scrumptious, and tasty. Colors and patterns that leave you drooling and gives your fingers an "itch" that just won't leave until you get your scissors out and your hands on them.

I am absolutely in awe at some of the fabric designers out there right now. When I read on their blogs that they are moms, introducing new paper and stationary lines, writing their own books, and such, it kind of leaves me asking... how do they do it all? I do have to admit that I often have my hands in many different pots, but I don't have kids or deadlines for manufacturers that I have to meet. All I have to say is... hats off to you ladies that leave Wonderwoman in the dust all while making it look so effortless.

So when we were in the States i
n October, I ordered a whole bunch of fabric from the fabulous Anna Maria Horner. I have been a fan of Anna's since the Chocolate Lollipop line. (which I have a purse made from this fabric line on my website entrance page) One cannot imagine the torture to have such delectable fabrics in one's hand with no cutting mat, sewing machine, or threads in sight. To wait three weeks to come home and create was almost unbearable. But now that we are home and I've torn into my new fabrics like mad woman, I ended up with this stack. My stack of projects. I normally cut several patterns and work on them at once. This stack is growing and my deadline is drawing closer. Two Christmas markets this year and only two weeks to! I have so many designs and ideas floating in my head, I need a little bit of the Superwoman power potion that these women must take daily just to get it all done.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

So Let's See What the Hype is All About

I can't really say that I know why, but I decided to jump on the blogging merri-go-round. That's right, just like I have gotten "lemming" fever or something.

So what have I done all day...that's right, sat at my computer for way longer than I should have trying to think of a name for my blog. My husband and I have gone back and forth, almost each time, topping the others list with the most ridiculous name that could be thought of. I dare say that there are others out there who have come up with more ridiculous names, and even worse, have decided to use them. (don't tell anyone, but I think my husband won tonight's contest)

I finally decided that instead of spending the second half of my evening brainstorming, I would pick campbell soup diary(at least for now). For most of my life that is who I was... a Campbell. The last several years before I got married, every telephone call I made, when asked who was calling, I would say my name and for spelling clarification explain, "Campbell, you know, like the soup". It became my standard phrase and partially my identity.

But all that has changed. I have a new name (that I can't pronounce). I don't make so many phone calls anymore for scheduling a cable hook up, calling about an extra fee on a bill, or inquiring about the starting time for an event, but I do use my new name every time I answer the phone.

This is my diary of my life in a new country, with a new name, and what things move and inspire me.
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