Saturday, February 28, 2009


On a small brick ledge in the dining room of my mother-in-laws home, are the sweetest little figurines made by German artisans. Every time I am there I have to admire her absolutely adorable collection. These precious little "blumenkinder", translated means "flower children", have been made since the 17th century by skilled crafters living in the Erzebirge region (a mining area bordering the Czech Republic). These traditional wooden toys and folk art often reflect the lives of the people in the area, and with the exception of a few modern production machines, this is a tradition has remained relatively unchanged for hundreds of years. This is just one of the many reasons why I am totally infatuated with this tradition rich country full of histories for me to discover every day.

Friday, February 27, 2009

On My Desk...

In addition to translating my website, preparing for three spring shows, and adding new items to my shops, I've decided to add one more thing to my plate. We are preparing a Still Water Designs update letter for the first of March to introduce new fabric lines, announce show dates, and a blog giveaway (details coming very soon). We have prepared a fabric sample to go out with each update letter to show the colors, prints, and quality of the new fabrics. For this month, we are introducing Jane Sassaman fabrics.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

When Spoons & Fingers Just Won't Do

So, I am quite curious to know if I am the only one who has fabrics that actually talk.

Strangely, I woke up last night in the middle of the night and could not get back to sleep because I was thinking about a project that I wanted to make with the fabrics I just got in from Jane Sassaman. (found here) Before I even set foot in my studio, I knew what fabrics I would use and how my end project would turn out.

Before a huge "hhhuh?!?" escapes your lips, maybe I should explain what this is. I had seen this several years ago and thought it was a really interesting idea... a teething blanket. I attached sweet little ribbons on the edges of my colorful and eye-catching fabric and filled the inside with a quilting bating. Just the kind of soft and bright objects that babies are drawn to, which usually ends up immediately going in their mouth.

The fact that I met with two of my friends yesterday who have babies at the age where they are eating my napkins, my spoons, my fingers, and let's not forget my hair... this "glorious" (and I use the word lightly) slobber shower may have actually been my inspiration. Our new little niece will probably be the lucky recipient of my latest project, which was a little out of the ordinary for me, but still "sew" much fun.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Spring Is In The Air

How can spring not make one happy? It has been an absolutely gorgeous day today, and much to my delight, I discovered a sweet little patch of crocuses that had decided they could wait not longer to display their beauty.

My windowsill proudly displays a stunning fuchsia orchid that has been bringing vibrant and cheerful color to my workroom these last few weeks.

I got part of the new fabrics from Jane Sassaman's "Prairie Gothic" line yesterday and the spring colors of my blossoms remind me of this collection. Spring just cannot get here fast enough.

Jane Sassaman fabrics found here.

Monday, February 23, 2009

One Down... One Million To Go

After having pushed my creativity to the side for two long, I couldn't take it anymore. So what better place to start than to search out something from my unfinished projects pile. I would dare say that any one who creates has one of these piles. I fear that my stack is much larger that what I would like to admit, but having this project finished leaves me with a greater sense of accomplishment.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Just a Quick Little Break...

Despite being highly occupied with translating my website, I have stopped occasionally here and there to do a few creative things. We have a show coming up in March, and I would like to get as many jewelry pieces ready as I can.

Last October when we were in the States, I picked up a really fabulous mixed media book with some great techniques. Here is my first piece using a technique with Fimo clay and a metallic powder pigment to bring some shine.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing

One can only form impressions of how things really are through experiences that life affords... everything else is just an assumption.

I remember asking one of my best friends, who worked for the airlines for many years, why she had been all over the world, traveled Europe extensiv
ely, and had never been to Germany. Her reply was that she didn't drink beer and never really like bratwurst and sauerkraut.

I too had my own assumptions of how things were in Germany before I ever came here, deriving those assumptions from things I had read in books or
seen on TV. One impression that I had about Germany was that all the houses were Fachwerk (the large wooden beam framework filled with stucco) I always thought the the old houses and crooked cobble stone streets looked so charming and romantic.

It wasn't until I moved to Northern Germany that I realized that these assumptions did not necessarily fall in line with what I actually saw. Sure there are plenty of Fachwerk houses around, but much to my disappointment, there are far too many simple brick houses for what my imagination might wish for. It is mostly the old city centers that boast the centuries old homes.

I still am so inspired by all the beautiful old architecture and quaint city parts that have been around longer than my own country. I can remember one of the first times that I flew home after being in Germany for some time. It was somewhat of a strange dream like feeling, noticing that my surroundings were not the same as the day before, and I couldn't help getting over the feeling that yeah, this was nice, but everything looked too new.

The really interesting thing is that the house that I bought in the States before I met my husband was a cute little "vintage" brick home with a faux Fachwerk look. In my back yard I even planted climbing vines to grow up the sides of my buildings, and it would almost appear that I was unconsciously attempting to create the environment that my heart was secretly longing for. But here I am, sometimes much to my own astonishment... experiencing the real thing.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Croissants For Vanletine's Day?

Note to Self: (and to other wives) When you suspect your husband is up to something... he probably is.

So yesterday I just had to ask the question... Schatz (the German pet name for sweetheart, but translated means "my treasure") ... do you know what tomorrow is? There was a long pause with a perplexed and puzzled face, "uuuhhhh, no, should I"? Of course it was the answer that I expected, followed with my reply that it was Valentine's Day. Then immediatley followed the question of the century... "and what exactly is Valentine's Day again"? Needless to say I did not encourage his claimed ignorance with a response. But I did find it interesting that my husband announced later that evening that we should at least have croissants the next morning for Valentine's Day.... sure.

My second tip off should have been that as my husband headed out the door to the nearest bakery this morning, and as I started the tea and eggs, that he suggested that maybe I might want to wait with my preparations because there could be a big line up at the bakery.... yeah, right. We all know that most couples flood the bakeries for croissants for Valentine's morning, right.?

But of course, much to my delight, my husband did fall victim to the pressure of the the now retail driven day and brought back a beautiful bouquet of flowers. With this kind of offering, I think I would like croissants every year for Valentine's day.

Friday, February 13, 2009

... Wait A Minute, Mr. Postman

One may not necessarily think so, but packing/post office days can be fun days too. Somehow it doesn't matter if I am cutting fabric for an order or using it for on of my own projects. Just the fact that I get to have beautiful fabric running through my fingers everyday, either way for me is equally as thrilling.

The two orders that go out today are from the collections from Heather Bailey (the blue and red flowers) and Anna Maria Horner (turquoise flowers). Gorgeous fabrics from two of my favorite designers... oh such talent! Both found here or here.

The post office boxes here are always yellow... what color are they where you are?

The Way To A Man's Heart...

As the daughter of a home economics teacher, (Hauswirtschaftsleiterin) cooking has always been a part of my life. My mother would always narrate every meal that she would fix. Much to her dismay, by the time I left home, she thought that I had not learned to cook despite all her efforts. I did listen to her instructions, but felt no need to experiment, fearing that it would be added to my list of chores. But this secret grew into a passion and I find that I very much enjoy cooking.

I find it sometimes challenging and sometimes exciting to cook in a whole other country. Germany, as I like to call it "the land of bread and potatoes", while it may hold some similarities to the States, offers products quite different than I am used to and leaves behind m
any with which I am familiar. This has forced me to abandon many of my favorite recipes and caused me to create whole new concoctions. For me it has almost been a reinventing of sorts.

My other big challenge in Germany is to simply find water without bubbles and with ice cubes. Most Americans would find this absence absurd, while most Germans find the presence of it equally so. I love these sweet water glasses that I brought with me from the States. I knew that my newly formed acquaintance, who later became one of my best friends, was truly a kindred spirit when she offered me water out of the same glasses that I had at home in my own cabinets. She gave me her remaining 5 glasses to match my set when she got married, which often makes me think of her.

...But my husband has been the lucky recipient of all my "Americanized" experiments (including the ice), and despite his slender built, he makes sure that all that I fix is sampled to the full. My mother quite amusingly says that keeping my husband well feed is like "job security"... let's just say that his thorough enjoyment of my cooking has already revealed the way to his heart.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Have you ever seen fabric that was so beautiful that it literally took your breath away? I would say that would pretty much be the case when I first saw the new collection from fabuolus fabric and quilt designer Jane Sassaman. Not only are her fabrics great, but her quilts are so unique and original they look like pieces of art. Every collection she has done has been a brilliant combination of stong designs and bold colors... of course that is why I am completely sold on them. I will be adding her newest fabrics from the Prairie Gothic collection in March. Thought you might enjoy a quick little "sneaky peak".

Monday, February 9, 2009

What Comes Around, Goes Around

This weekend has been everything that a weekend should be... relaxing. Since my husband and I have both been working so hard these last few weeks, we decided to spend Saturday afternoon and evening together and take it easy. So we quickly changed into our sweats and hit the couch, and to my surprise, my husband actually suggested a game day. The reason this was a surprise is that he doesn't like to play games. We played a few rounds of Connect Four before we pulled out Scrabble. Seeing as how he doesn't really like games, one can hardly be surprised that I had to finish the game by myself while he baked a cake for the following day.

A Sunday afternoon visit from the in-laws was the perfect time to embrace the traditional German coffee and cake time. I can remember the first time I partook of this ritual and was so excited by the little sugar cubes that were on the table. This of course sent my mind racing, reminiscing about old British films where the most proper hostess would always ask her guest if she would like "one lump or two" with her tea.

Much to my excitement, Sunday was the perfect time to get out my favorite tea set. This is such a fun and playful pattern and I was delighted by the matching platter that my mother-in-law purchased as a Christmas present after the pattern was re-released here.

Amazingly I had purchased my tea set about 12 or so years ago and had never really used it until I met my husband. The Villeroy and Boch set, which was made in Luxembourg, purchased at a flea market in the States, and brought back to Europe when I moved to Germany, is quite glad to finally be getting the use that it should. I guess what they say is true... what comes around, goes around.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Number Two... WOW!

Now this I just had to write about... I can hardly believe it myself.

So, I log on to Dawanda today to see if any more sales have come in, in addition to the 3 that came in one after the other last night, and wouldn't you know... I made it to "Trends and Bestsellers" a.k.a. "Top 5 in the Community" page as the #2 most popular members in the last 7 days... how cool is that?!?!?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Heute kann es regnen (today it can rain)

There is nothing like the need for a birthday present to pull one out of a creative slump. Today I met with a good friend of mine for coffee and cake to celebrate her birthday. She very much likes muted and quiet colors and I knew I had just the fabric to make this sweet little wallet for her.

Once again, I used fabrics from Amy Butler's Midwest Modern collection. For some reason I have always been drawn to stronger and more vibrant colors, so the subtle tones were somewhat of a switch for me. But I found that I very much enjoyed working with the soft sage and green hues.

Don't you think this will look great with the earrings she already has?

On another note... literally, one of the first birthdays that I celebrated in Germany, I was a little disappointed because people were singing the standard "Happy Birthday" song, which leaves this American with a... "hey wait a minute" feeling! But that has since been remedied and I just wanted to share a few lines from my favorite German Happy Birthday song, which sounds better in German because it rhymes, but I love the message... (translated of course.)

Today it can rain, storm, or snow

Because you radiate like the sunshine

Today is your birthday, and that's why we celebrate

All your friends are celebrating with you

How good it is that you were born

Otherwise we would have really missed you

It's nice that we are together

We congratulate you, birthday child!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Lost in Translation

I knew from the onset that moving to another county would not be without it's fair share of challenges. But I am finding that one of my biggest obstacles is to maneuver around in my daily life and in business in another language. Creating is the easy part, but it's the business part that provides its own little complications... things like calling my fabric suppliers about orders, communicating with customers over the telephone, and maintaining an online shop.

This explains my partial absence these past few days and even weeks. Although I have posted here and there, my creative time has been pushed to the side for other "maintenance" issues like translating my website.
So in the meantime, I will drop in every now and then just to announce that I am not completely... lost in translation.

...und jetzt auf Deutsch.

Related Posts with Thumbnails