Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"Corner View" Best Kept Secrets

It is no secret that being sick is just no fun... and even more so, no secret that I am not the best patient. Being on the sofa these past few days has been the hardest thing for me since I hate to sit still. So I will have to join the next "corner view" topic after "summer break". Perhaps this post will shed a little light on a few things about me... but, isn't that what makes it a secret when it is kept?

...wanting to eavesdrop on other people's best kept secrets? Visit Jane at Spain Daily for more juicy details.

Monday, July 27, 2009

On My Desk...

It has been absolutely no fun to be without internet for the whole weekend... you just don't know what you have 'til it's gone. But... a quick little sneaky peak of my newest project... it's not a purse, but bright colors and fun shapes are making this project that I have had on my desk for quite some time now, really fun to work on. What are you working on these days?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fresh From the Garden

Ever since I had a small spot of green where I lived, I have always had a fascination with growning herbs. They have so many uses... culinary, household, comsmetic, medicinal, and the list of benefits and uses goes on and on. One of the best books about herbs, The Complete Book of Herbs, is filled with growing tips, typical uses, and recipies. I have drooled over these for years, but have only pushed those thoughts to the side because I either didn't have the garden space or the time, but now I have both.

So this past weekend was my all out cook marathon... red current jelly, lavendar cookies, rosemary cheese fingers, zucchini bread, not to mention lunch and dinner.... wheh! I found the rosemary cheese fingers to be a particularly tasty, and perfect for an afternoon snack.

2 oz. Butter
2 Cups Oat Flakes
1 1/2 Cups of grated Cheddar Cheese
1 Egg, beaten
1 Tbsp. Chopped Rosemary
Pinch of Cayenne & Salt

Just simply melt the butter and mix it with the remaining ingredients, press it into a greased 8 inch square pan, bake it for 30 - 40 minutes at 350 degrees (F)... and enjoy.

For metric conversions check out this website. Lasst es Euch schmecken. (let it taste good)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"Corner View" Friday, Saturday, Sunday 7:45

Although it is not an everyday thing for me, this past Friday I decided to have an all out "cook-until-you-drop" fest. Just after breakfast I picked juicy, ripe, berries from our overloaded red current bush (Johannesbeeren) that we had discovered last year when we purchased the house. I let them sit in sugar all day, made a storm of other recipes in between with fresh herbs from the garden, only to finish my very first batch of jam just about the 7:45 mark. While washing the berries, I stumbled upon a little friend who I can only assume wanted to help... no worries, I found a better home for my slow moving friend (other than the cooking pot).

Of course my jelly-loving German husband has already put a pretty good dent in the first jar.

Saturday evening was a time-at-home-together evening for my husband and I... and what better way to enjoy the evening than with a real, original "American Steak".

One of my favorite side dishes for a big, thick, juicy steak are sweet potatoes. Even though I live in the "land of potatoes", I am always dumbfounded when the cashier has to ask her colleague a number for the strange, orange vegetable that she has not idea what it is... I always have to reveal the mystery.

Sundays are our slow days, and since our church services are held in the evenings, we usually... sleep in, start the morning with bacon, eggs, and croissants... and just relax. But there is just something about going to church... it somehow makes my week feel complete.

One of my favorite after church activities is watching a weekly series by "Rosemunde Pilcher"... for those of you who are not German, this is one of those series for women where there is usually some drama, a couple falls madly in love in the first week, perhaps only even a day, and then dramatically declare their love for another in an over-the-top and exaggerated nonsense kind of way. The story lines are usually pretty predictable and the acting is a far cry from and Oscar award... so why do I watch, you might ask? Because it is one of the few things that that I can watch on T.V. and just relax without having to focus and concentrate just to understand what is being said.

Curious about other "Corner View" weekends? Visit Jane at Spain Daily for more weekend fun.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

When You Just Can't Find the Words

I've been a little short on words these days... can't really say why. So I thought I would share a photo that I have been saving for some time. They say that a picture says a thousand words... perhaps I am just curious to hear someone else's other than my own.

Photo courtesy of my sister-in-law (official associated mama-razzi press)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dear...

Last Thursday was a very special day for my mother-in-law... it was her 60th birthday. The day was filled with excitement and one could almost see an extra spring in her step the whole day. Usually the tradition in my husband's family is that the birthday child (this term is used even if one is 60 years old) stays in their room until the whole family gathers outside the door in the morning to sing a birthday "wake up" song. Everyone then piles in the room to greet and congratulate the birthday child. A special birthday table is set up with brightly decorated presents and cards from friends and family. Birthdays are really considered something special here, much more so that what is my experience from the States. Family and friends were of course invited for an afternoon "coffee and cake time" followed by the most beautiful spread of food that I have seen in a long time... I just couldn't resist sharing.

With such a momentous occasion, my mother-in-law decided to have the event catered by "The Landfrauen Service" (Country lady service), which is basically combining the down-to-earth, hands-on-experience of a trained farming home manager with high quality catering... surprisingly such caterers are found in small, rural towns, but are in this case much better than most big city caterers. My mom always says that pretty food just tastes better, and in this case she was spot on.

The next day was a lazy day just relaxing with the family... playing with my two nieces, recapping the conversations and events from the day before, and just being. I think my brother-in-law and my niece enjoyed relaxing the most... what a sweet bonding time.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"Corner View" The Unveiling

From the time I was a little girl, I was constantly being reminded by my parents the meaning of my name... "truth", they would tell me, which is why they further explained that I was not allowed to lie to them. I would say that my name fits. I am not one of those overbearing, blurt out the first thing that comes to mind, but I do feel like am a "what you see is what you get" kind of girl.

To further "unveil" some things about myself... while I love to take various shots of the flowers in my garden, it is not as majestic as one might think. Weeds in every corner reveal that it's owner is often gone, too busy, or just too unmotivated to do something about it. And while my parents-in-law believe that purple is my favorite color, it is actually green... I just haven't had the heart to correct them.

Even though it is not obvious from my blog, I try to be brief, but somehow I just can't seem to say exactly what I mean unless I include every detail. I often wander down what our family calls "bunny trails" which just means that I start with one story, tell so many details that I end up on a completely different subject, only to eventually end up back where I started. Sometimes I feel as if there just are not enough words.

But for me, more important than words are pictures... lovely things to look at, to be inspired by, and to spark my imagination. In fact I much prefer pictures to words, it seems to hold my attention longer because I don't get bogged down in all the details. And as they say... a picture really is worth a thousand words...

Did you know that Jane really doesn't look like a coffee cup? Then visit Spain Daily for other "corner view" reveals.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Good Folks

Anna Maria Horner, American fabric designer and mother of six, described what was her inspiration for her most recent fabric collection, "Good Folks" ...

"Old European linens. Family. Hand-loomed wool bedspreads. Meals. Fields. Embroidery. Needlepoint kits that I spent summers in Greece as a child occupied with. The icons of the village churches. Layer upon layer of mismatched bed linens piled on top of my floor palette in the upper room of my Yiayia's house to keep me warm even though it was the middle of the summer. Tablecloths drying in the sun. Memories of what my cousin's dowry of linens looked like. All the details. All the work. All the warmth. All the good wishes. Weddings. Wine. Love. Goodness."

Right now it's hard for me to think about working on fall and winter purses when all I want to do is grab the brightest and loudest fabric from the stack. I am planning to sew a few purses out of these last two fabrics. The deeper plum tones mixed with purples would work great with browns and muted tones of the season.

What inspires you to create?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Werkstatt der Schmetterlinge

I am beginning to think that "busy" is becoming the "norm" these days... We only dropped my parents off at the airport this last Monday, and by Wednesday we were back on the road again. We celebrated my mother-in-laws 60th birthday and then attended a Familientag (family reunion) on Saturday. Sunday was our leisure day and we decided to visit "Werkstatt der Schmetterlinge" (Workshop of Butterflies), a garden and lifestyle market. Held on the grounds of Schloss Eutin, which is surrounded by a beautiful lake, tents lined the grounds filled with eye candy and flowers to make make any gardener drool. To complete the theme, a tent was set up with tropical butterflies from Costa Rica that had been sent as cocoons and later hatched.

Later we took a stroll on a path that lead us around the lake and the grounds of the estate and we captured a short glimpse of a father and his sons, leaping back and forth across a gap by the lake... It definitely reminds one that you don't have to spend money to bond as a family and create lasting memories.

What do you do with your family to have fun and spend time together without spending money?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

"Corner View" Places of Reflection

I am a social butterfly. I like people. And while at times I enjoy being alone, I am not the type of person that must have that special place far away to retreat to. Many times, it is just a few simple corners in my home where I take the time to reflect, contemplate, and refresh.

Often in the mornings I drink my second cup of tea in my favorite chair and take time to ponder. It is in the corner of my living room at just the right angle to enjoy the room and with a view into the garden. When I first moved to Germany, my husband wanted me to bring things that would make me feel at home... and I find that those familiar things around me do just that.

For me the garden is also that special place of reflection... hands deep in the dirt feeling the fresh cool earth between my fingers, enjoying the silence of being outside with birds hopping back and forth singing their sweet melodies, being inspired by the colors, shapes, and variety of nature, and marveling at the resiliency of flowers and plants.

But I would have to say that my deepest and most reflective times are when I am creating. I feel alive when I create. Whether it is the repetitive hum of the sewing machine to make purses, placemats, or other special projects or the tedious and steady work of shaping metals and combining them with natural stones... this is how I find my therapy, my solace, my quiet, and while often that place might be just in my work room, outside in the garden, or even on the sofa, it is that one place that I go to just be.

Visit Jane at Spain Daily for more places of meditation and reflection.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Red, White, and Blue

My Mom is what they call a "firecracker baby"... which means that she was born on the 4th of July, or what every American knows as Independence Day. In the States, this has become a much beloved friends and familiy day with grilling and fireworks... and what better way to make her feel at home than to have a barbecue in Germany... American style.

A few years ago my husband traveled to the States on a business trip without me. He returned, quite excited about all his Wal-Mart finds including 2 meters of American flag fabric. I mused inwardly thinking, "what in the heck am I going to do with that?!?" A few snips and couple staples later, and we ended up with great red, white, and blue holiday decorations.

One of the essential "must-haves" for an American barbecue are big, fat, juicy burgers... and lots of them. Top them any way that you like, but stack 'em high and make them almost too big to hold, and you've arrived.

My parents got to meet all of our friends and enjoyed exchanging stories and impressions with many of our friends that have either traveled to or lived in the States. Kids ran back and forth, played games, jumped on our trampoline, until they just couldn't run or jump any longer.

So how could one top a barbeque in the backyard, with lots of laughter, second helpings, and weather that could have been custom made... fireworks. But I guess I'll have to wait until next year.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Christmas in July

Even though the weather is hot enough to have every fan running in every room of the house, it still feels like Christmas. I have recently gotten several shipments in with fabrics, ribbons, and patterns that are more delicious than a candy cane... I think Santa's sled is still full because more is on the way.

From Patty Young's Andalucia collection... with fantastic coordinating ribbons found here or here. Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

"Corner View" Staple Foods

Legend has it that one of Germany's early Kaisers enjoyed potatoes so much that he wanted to also offer them to his people. Many commoners, influenced by mystical thinking, believed that those things growing below the earth were evil, and would not eat the strange vegetable. In reaction to their superstitions the Kaiser planted a potato field and required that it be heavily guarded. The people assumed that whatever was in that field must be of great worth, and they would sneak in and steal the potatoes... it is thus said that this is how the potato came to the common man in Germany.

What many non-Germans may not know about Germany is that "Bratwurst" and "Sauerkraut" is not your average, everyday kind of meal. Of course they are served here, but more as a cookout kind of food like hamburgers in the US for picnics and barbeque's. German cuisine would be what I consider a no fuss, no frills kind of food, no heavy seasonings or flavors, no explosion of colors on the plate, a basic meat and potatoes kind of meal, and it will always, ALWAYS, ... ALWAYS be served with potatoes in numerous varaiations.

I realize that my assumptions about German cuisine might be just that when you compare them to Southern Germany. I suppose one could say it is like comparing Texas and New York, you just can't. But from here in the North, a summer meal of asparagus, a winter meal with wild game, and all those meals in between, I know that it will usually be served with potatoes... just basic... just German.

Are you still hungry? Then you should visit Jane at Spain Daily for a second helping.
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