Friday, April 30, 2010

From Floor to Ceiling

I've always thought that I would like to be an interior designer, but for some reason or another I never pursued it. I would always go in homes, restaurants, or buildings and was fascinated by all the intricate details of the place... in my head admiring what I liked or trying to figure out what in the world would possess someone to combine such things together.

I could imagine that having to decorate over 600 rooms would be quite a fantastic challenge. On our day trip to Schloss Schwerin, I was blown away by the splendor at which the castle was decorated... literally from floor to ceiling, not one room was left without fine and intricate details to boast of and yet each room was completely unique.

I'm not sure which one is more mind boggling... the thought of living in a place like this or creating all the lovely details in a day and age where hand tools and technology were unheard of.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Day Trip

Last weekend, while sitting at the breakfast table, my husband and I decided to take a spontaneous trip to celebrate his birthday. The weather was beautiful and sunny and we just had to be outside for the day. Schloss Schwerin, once home to dukes and grand dukes for centuries, is only about an hour and a half from us. Since the grounds boast of a wonderful walking path and outside scenery, it was the perfect place for us to end up for the day... just the three of us.

Cafe tables and chairs lined the outside of what used to be the orangery, similar to a greenhouse, where the nobles would keep their tropical plants like oranges and other citrus trees during the winter season.

Inside had been beautifully restored and was the perfect place to enjoy a fresh fish and white wine meal. Exotic flowers adorned the tables and the wall of windows provided a bright and warm natural light.

After lunch we took advantage of the walking paths that followed along the lake that surrounded the castle. I grew up near a lake, and there is just something about the smell of the air... somehow so fresh.

It was easy to be swept away by all the splendor of the castle... truly breathtaking.

What a truly pleasant and relaxing day... just the way a birthday should be.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

What the Stork Brought

It's no secret that I am a big fan of handmade. In fact, this year for Christmas the majority of my presents that I gave, I either made or I purchased handmade. I hope that my crafted items have advanced past the colorful scribbles and scratches that my mom used to hang on her refrigerator.

But this time I have been on the receiving end of the handmade gifts and I must say... I am blown away! Look at this super sweet and soft blanket that my friend made me. I was floored when I opened the package and could only think about the time that it took to make this. Jennifer and I go way back... we were in diapers together. And now, we were pregnant at the same time... she still has a few months to go, but it's interesting that we started our family in the same year. I think she is keeping her fingers crossed that her stripes in her baby's blanket will be pink. (I'll cross my fingers with you, Jen!)

How about this sweet card from Kathrin?!? I must admit, I'll never know how people came up with the story that storks bring babies... it is even suggested that the tall tale originated in the Netherlands or Northern Germany... hmmm. (read more about it here)

Many, many thanks to the both of you! You really made me smile.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Boy and His Tractor - Part II

Once I had finally made it through the "morning sickness" phase with our little one, my thoughts immediately turned to how I would decorate the baby's room. I found the task quite difficult because I wanted something pretty, feminine, and flowery should it be a girl OR as you may have guessed... tractors should it be a boy, instead of gender neutral yellows and greens. But since we didn't know what we were having I couldn't start until our "bundle of joy" showed up...

So, I guess I've had my eye on one particular fabric collection for quite some time, "Oh, Boy" by David Walker... so super for boys! (and trust me, sometimes cute things for boys are hard to find) So I purchased just about every fabric in the collection after we got home from the hospital.

.... and boy did my sewing machine start to hum... thanks to my Mom!
I love this bright orange fabric as curtains. I can really see the "personality" of the room starting to come together.

In addition to the thousands of outfits that my Mom brought with her, she also brought these adorable knobs that I had ordered in the States with tractors and fire trucks and everything that is "boy". Don't you think they really spruce up our diaper changing table?

I never thought that decorating a boy's room could be so much fun! I can't seem to keep up with all the ideas that I have to create... what a dilemma!

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Boy and His Tractor

There are some stories that just seem to stick with you, even from early childhood. You know, the kind of embarrassing tales that parents like to tell your teenage friends or future son-in-laws... mine are of a sassy little girl in ruffles and frills stomping her foot, with hands on her hips scolding and informing the passerby that "sweetie" was NOT her name.

I particularly love hearing stories of when my husband was a little boy. My husband grew up on a family farm, where his grandparents also lived on the old family farm estate... several generations living together. From the time he could barely walk, my husband always wanted to ride the tractor with his grandfather and was not silent or satisfied until he was right beside him for all the plowing and harvesting action. Since tractors at that time did not have seat belts, they literally had to strap him in to keep him from falling off the tractor when he would fall asleep for his morning or afternoon nap.
I can just imagine the sweet, little boy tilted over deep in sleep, too tired to stay awake any longer, but too determined to not miss a thing.

It is interesting how the things that are so a part of our lives as children can overflow into adulthood. My husband met recently with schoolmates from middle school, and the one thing that everyone remembered about him was that he was always drawing tractors. It was to no surprise to any of them when he explained what his profession is today.

This is one of my favorite pictures of my husband. Put him in a field of grain with just about the biggest tractor one can find, and he lights up like that little boy that I imagine falling asleep on the tractor all those years ago...

Well, I guess what they say... "like father, like son". We most certainly cannot let our little "tractor driver" be deprived of being introduced to the joys of tractor driving. Last week's visit from my parents, we were flooded with clothes and presents, which of course included the latest fashions for even the smallest of tractor drivers. (planned to be purchased in every size available!) But "all things tractor" does not stop there.

Don't you think that daddy will love feeding the little guy with this great spoon?!? I was so excited to have won it
just before our little one was born from a blog giveaway by Baroque Babies. Laura and Kim, also American expats living in Germany, have a really great blog where they write about everything from life in Germany to super cute to super cool products for everyone from baby to grown ups. I often shake my head in agreement when I read about their experiences in Germany, thinking... "that so hits the nail on the head!"

... somehow, I have the feeling that the tractor story will not end here. I look forward to seeing if my husband's passion will be passed on... only time will tell.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Time, Time, Time

Now is the time of year where it seems that I am always torn over where to spend my time. On one side I look at all the beautiful spring flowers that are just starting to come up, dried plants that need to be trimmed, and then suddenly visions of what flowers to plant here and there come to mind... I'm drawn to the garden and the fresh air. But then I walk into my office to send a few e-mails, complete invoices and shipments, and then just one glance at my fabric wall with bright and cheerful new spring colors and patterns and I suddenly feel my fingers starting to itch... again I see visions of all the things I can create. What is a girl to do?

But right now, I will just have to leave you with a few photos of the beautiful, bright, and perky tulips that I purchased to cheer our dining room table.

I know the inner deliberation of the upcoming season all too well... I guess a lot will depend on if the baby prefers the fresh air and chirping of birds or the gentle hum of the sewing machine and steam of the iron. What will be fighting for your time this spring?

Monday, April 5, 2010

For the Dogs

Before we welcomed our "little one" to the world, not only did I go through an extreme nesting phase (even the basement had to be in order), but I went through a big sewing project phase. Finding a new project almost daily to distract me from the current project that I was working on. I ran across this free pattern from fabric and quilt designer, Denyse Schmidt, and I knew I just couldn't resist... my scrap pile was calling my name to transform their tiny remains into yet another something for our upcoming arrival.

One of my all time favorite collections, still to this day, is Garden Party from fabric designer Anna Maria Horner. I mixed it with leftover scraps from Heather Bailey, Amy Butler, and Tula Pink. I love the mix-match patchwork squares and the variety of patterns and hope that our little guy will love cuddling and slobbering all over his colorful "Scottie" friend.

To finish "little Scottie" off, I mixed it with a deep olive wool and vintage buttons from a collection that my Mom had passed on to me. It's like this button was just made for this project... I love it when that happens!

I have to admit though, after working with so many little squares, I have a new found respect for quilters. How do they manage without pulling out their hair... I simply do not know.
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