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?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Quilt Market Sale - Final Week

Well, we made it to the final week of the Quilt Market Sale and I couldn't be more excited about this week's featured fabric designer. I have ranted and raved about Joel Dewberry before, but when looking at all of his collections as a whole, I am super impressed with the consistency of his work, which is not always the case for every designer. Nature and garden settings often seem to be the inspiration for much of Joel's work and I love how each collection has it's own personality.

Aviary, is the collection that I first fell in love with from Joel Dewberry. It might have something to do with my love of bird-watching with a hot cup of tea at the breakfast table.

Inspired by the Tuscan countryside, chestnut branches and architectural details dominate the soft palette of the Chestnut Hill collection.

The latest collection, Deer Valley, combines rustic prints and nature elements to create a fabric line that has both a feminine and masculine side.

But if fabric is not your thing... we decided to include purses in our sale this week, in addition to jewelry that is already on sale... isn't tomorrow the 1st of December? Which leaves how many days until Christmas?

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Day Late, and A Dollar Short

I started a post yesterday wanting to express something life realizing or communicate the importance of being thankful in the tradition of Thanksgiving, and what the holiday means to an American, but as you may have noticed, I fell quite short. In my rambling I realized that perhaps writing about being thankful when I am already so emotional from pregnancy hormones, missing my family and the simple things of the life that I once knew, not to mention the soup catastrophe that had brought me to tears earlier (brings the phrase to mind, "don't cry over spilled milk"), that maybe I should just leave the post in the drafts section. Sometimes there is a bittersweet thankfulness that one finds in the middle of embracing something new and totally foreign, while letting go of that part of you that makes you who you are... something that has been a struggle for me recently. Talk about a redefinition of self!

Diana put it so beautifully in her Thanksgiving post yesterday and I can identify with where she was, where she is, and the emotions that she is feeling. In my head I know that I have been blessed beyond anything that I can ever imagine, now it is working on those missing places so it can sink and settle deeper in my heart.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Quilt Market Sale - Week 4

Wheh!... we made it! We just got back from our weekend show in Verden, which is why I am a little late with this week's post. Hauling displays and shelving, tables, and boxes filled with purses and jewelry is lots of work, but somehow seems doubled when one is "under the weather" with a cold and pregnant at the same time. I was excited to see a lady walking around in a skirt made with Jane Sassaman fabric, and immediately figured out that she was a customer of ours... it looked so great!

It's nice to be home to recover and I am ready to settle in for a few holiday projects before Christmas is here... that's right folks, we only have a month to go! So if you are planning to get creative for the holidays, you better get cracking! I have a few fabrics that could inspire you... especially for creative presents for kids. O.K., O.K., I know, my brain might be slightly one-sided right now with baby ideas floating through my head, but don't you think that this week's sale fabrics would make just the most adorable things for little girls?

For me Heather Bailey's Pop Garden collection, it was love at first sight. Oh the possiblities...

Light aquas and lime greens, from the Flights of Fancy collection from Paula Prass... fresh and fun for that springtime feeling...

Darker tones mixed with reds from Patty Young's Andalucia collection. I can envision a sweet Christmas jumper dress for the holidays. (ribbons not included in sale)

So one show down, one more to go. My last show for the season will be a combined effort with Anja (you may remember me talking about her here) December 4th, focusing on handcrafted items with fabric. If you are in the Hamburg area, put it on your calendar to come by and be inspired.

Friday, November 20, 2009


There must have been several of you that had your fingers crossed since this post. In case you may have missed it, or have just started popping in, we are expecting our first child in March. Wanting to sew many things for the baby's room, I feel like it is kind of important to know what we are having. But since we don't know that, for me it makes no sense to decorate the baby's room in yellow or green, only to trade it in a year or so later for blues and tractors or pinks and flowers... what is the point? That is why we are waiting until the "baby cookie" (our nickname) is here and then add the "personality" to the room. We'll have the crib and the changing table and everything else that one needs for baby's first days, but all the frills and doilies will just have to wait.

BUT... how could I let our little one come into the world with nothing from Mom

This is actually my very first quilt... my aunt Cathy would be proud, I think. She has been quilting for years and has talent beyond belief... I plan to share with you one of these days. But can't you just imagine snuggling up with brand new baby in this? I made the quilt just heavy enough to provide a little warmth, but light enough to be just the right weight for the upcoming spring and summer weather... and neutral so I can, as Alli suggests, find entertainment as people "stumble around" because they don't know if you have a boy or girl.

I decided to use fabrics from Tula Pink's Hushabye collection (just happens to be on sale until Saturday) because I instantly feel in love with the colorways and designs. I don't want to make too many promises about future quilting projects, but this was quite enjoyable, especially considering who I was making it for.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Featured Projects

I had mentioned the shop from Simone some time back, but am finding that every time I visit her site that I am totally impressed with all the new creations that she has whipped up. Based in Düsseldorf, Germany, the trained tailor and manufacturing director for a fashion company, finds that she needs an outlet for her creativity. Simone offers a wide range of accessories in her Dawanda shop from sweet change purses, cosmetic bags, makeup bags, to self made cards and even camera straps.

For all you photographers out there that are tired of the boring black camera straps that accompany your top quality camera, why not spice it up a bit?

Simone uses several fabrics from Tula Pink's Neptune collection, this week's featured sale designer.

... from mussels to hidden turtles and other sea creatures, the Neptune collection is the perfect fabric for any nautical fan or those eager for warmer weather to come. Are you dreaming of the beach already?
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