Sunday, December 29, 2013


The swans are finished. Well, at least the top is finished ...
The pattern is from from 'Burda Patchwork - Quilts & Applizieren Sommer 2013'. The swans are paper pieced, while the water and the rest is all free form patchwork.
In order to make the wall hanging a  little smaller than the original design, I took out some of the water, moving the swans closer together and taking out some stuff on the top and bottom as well. It still comes out almost at 100 x 100 cm (original is about 20cm bigger)
I used up a ton of my blue scraps for this.
Some detail of the left swan's head:

Saturday, December 21, 2013

This and That

I got a new pillow for my sofa. I saw a picture of one like this on a blog and reverse engineered the cable pattern.
Yesterday I made some last minute x-mas presents: strawberry-cranberry jam (from strawberries I froze in June and fresh cranberries - it's very yummy)
For the entree at Christmas day's dinner I prepared a terrine with rabbit (we used to make this in my familie many, many years ago, and luckily we managed to dig up the recipe once again. It smells great)
 My swans are making progress, though I haven't had much time to work on them lately, being busy with about a million other things to finish before christmas.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Christmas Cookies 2013

This year I told anybody who asked I wouldn't make any Christmas cookies. Last year I made more than 4 1/5 kilos and even though they were very nice, this was really over the top.
Hence my decision not to make any.
But then I came across this adorable little cookie stamp and as I had to buy it, I also had to make cookies with it.
I used the recipe for Heidesand for this (one of my all time favoriete recipes) and am very pleased how they turned out. They look super cute, have a nice, crispy texture and taste sweet and buttery.
Last week my mom asked if I could get some marzipan as their store had run out. I bought more than I thought she might need and took the rest home with me and made Bethmännchen (a speciality from around Frankfurt)
 So much for not making any cookies this year ...

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Design Wall

Yeah, I'm going all fancy with my quilting. Not only has it taken over the spare room / guest room in my apartment, no, I now also have a design wall.
And I have to say, this is very useful for the whole quilting process.
Case in point, a quilt, which would have driven my mad if I hadn't had the wall (which is just two boards of styropor glued together on one side and then covered with white fabric)
Thanks to the wall, I managed to catch a couple of mistakes before they would have been a real problem. I'm sure I've made much less mistakes to begin with.
 The current project is a paper pieced pair of swans from 'Burda Patchwork - Quilts & Applizieren Sommer 2013'.
So far, there's only the left swan. But the wall helps with keeping track (and can be used to store some of the scrap stripes I'm using)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Doctor Who 50th Anniversery

Yesterday was the 50th anniversery of the british TV SciFi show 'Doctor Who'. Being a bit of a SciFi geek, and having friends who are in the same boat as I am, I knew of course about Doctor Who for quite a while, even though it had not been on German TV until a few years ago.
To celebrate the anniversery, the BBC did something I've never heard of before, which is they showed the 3D anniversery special ('The Day Of The Doctor') in cinemas all over the world simultaniously (the largest simulcast of a TV drama ever).
So yesterday, at the same time the UK got ready to watch the show, I was gathering with a whole bunch of fans in a movie theater in Frankfurt, waiting for the show to begin.
This is a large room and it was practically sold out.
Some came in costumes, so that was pretty cool too.
And the anniversary episode was really great and the only 'complaint' I've heard was that somebody said it was too short.
I do agree very much.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Jute Statt Plastik

We are living in a plastic world. Wherever we go, whatever we do, we are surounded by plastic. And, for quite a few things this is okay. But sometimes, not using plastic is maybe a very good idea. Like when going shopping. Why take a plastic bag in the shop, which ends up in the trash, when you can bring in your own re-usable shopping bag? It's really not a very difficult thing.

A friend of mine recently bought a couple of old coffee bags. And last weekend we went and made chic, ecological, unique shopping bags.
I called dips on the top one (Tata Coffee)
The last one we made is huge (24 x 20 inches - 60 x 50 cm), big enough to transport several large board games to our weekly gaming night.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Happy Birthday, Big Sister

Okay, my sister's birthday was in September so it's a little late, but I was in Canada that time and so her birthday present was a bit delayed. Even though I finished said birthday present already in June.
Pattern is the Quilt & Cable Blanket from Cascade Yarn and I used the in the pattern recommended yarn (Cascade Eco + in the color 0515 Navy)
It loved knitting this blanket. The yarn feels really nice and the knitting was 17 rows of relaxed zen, interrupted by 3 rows of full concentration.

The foto shoot in park Schönbusch by Aschaffenburg was great fun and I gathered quite a few confused looks by people passing by. This was already back in July, so don't be surprised by the nice weather I have in the pictures.
Sister got the present last weekend and she seemed to like it well enough (statements like 'this is mine!' when her husband took a closer look, are pretty good indicators).

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Storing Stripes

When cutting fabrics for patchwork, it's pretty much inevitable that you end up at some point with leftover stripes of various width and length.
The big question now is how to store them.
A quick and cheap solution is to make large bobbins from cardboard. Mine are about 10 x 8 inches and hold 8 ~ 10 stripes.
I do try to color coordinate them, but that's not always possible.
At least now then don't fly around all over the place and when I search for stripes and know what I have.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Quilting through the Yukon and British Columbia

... with a detour to Alaska.

I happened to stop by a few quilting stores on my way through Canada.
The first one I found is actually in Skagway, Alaska. The name is Quilt Alaska and holds a great selection of unique fabrics dedicated to the life up north. If you're ever on an Alaska cruise go there (I'm pretty sure all the cruise ships stop in Skagway ...) bring a fat wallet or a well covered credit card. I've seen many, many fabrics there I've never seen before.
In the end I narrowed it down to two kits, though, for sure I could have found a couple more.
Psssst, they do ship world wide ...
When we went through Whitehorse the second time, we stopped at Bear Claw Quilts on 2nd Avenue. It's in the basement of a fairly plain builting, so we almost missed it. They did have a couple of lovely stained glass style quilt kits, but I didn't get any. I only picked up some gradient sets and a fat quarter or two, but nothing special.

Next one up is Kathy's Quilt Shop in Prince George. This was more the standard fair, but super nice people there and I spent a happy half hour digging through the scrap bin filling a little plastic bag with scraps.
 (btw, the fabric photos are from all over the place ... for some I don't even know anymore where I got them from)

The smallest shop we found in Quesnel - Amelia's Cottons for Quilts. I know I picked up some black and white fabrics there (though not all of them)
 Vancouver, of course, also has a quilt store (and probably more than one). The one we went to was the Cloth Shop on Granville Island. Fairly standard fair, but a pretty good selection of it.
 Last, but not least was Satin Moon in Victoria on Vancouver Island. They, again went more Northern style and had also a selection of great original pattern and kits.

All in all, I could have spent much more money in any of those shops, but due to luggage limits I did hold back (and the fact that I already have too much stash already at home, which I should use up first)

Back home, I made this quick pillow from strippy scraps I had lying around. I didn't use a pattern, but pretty much copied from memory a pillow I saw in Kathy's Quilt Shop.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Canada - Random Stuff

Just a couple of random pictures from the trip to Canada.
First one is the RV we had for the trip. This pic pretty much sums up the way most of our vacation was - some clouds, but also some sun; fall foliage, though not in the vivid reds of the East Coast; and, of course our home for the first two weeks.
 This is the bridge at Teslin, the longest bridge on the Alaska Highway.
 One of several pictures I took at the Sign Post Forest at Watson Lake. With over 70.000 signs, one could look around for hours.
 Hyder in Alaska. When we went out there after spending a night across the border in Steward, we actually hoped to see some bears. Instead we saw an absolute calm ocean shrouded in fog and with sureal reflections on the water.
 One drawback of clear nights is that - even though it was just September - we had temperatures well below freezing some nights. Ah well, perfect sunny days more than made up for this.
 A gas station on the water - not something you see every day. That is, unless you live in Vancouver. Then you simply might pull your seaplane over to fill up there.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Canada - Landscapes

First one on the way from Haines to Haines Junction at the edge of the Kluane Natinal Park
 As we got fantastic weather in Hanies Junction we decided to splurge and took a flightseeing tour. Worth every effing cent!!!
 We did have quite a bit of rain on our trip, but we also had quite a few fantastic rainbows. This one I photographed in Watson Lake.
 We DID have nice weather on occations, and no wind sometimes, and if we happened to drive by a lake, something like this was taken a picture of.
 Close to Smithers (in British Columbia), early morning sun rise.
 And on Vancouver Island, a look over to the Olympic Peninsula over on the US side.

Canada - Fauna

So, I'm back from vacation. I've been running around (first with an RV than with car) in Western Canada, taking a trip from Whitehorse in the Yukon Territories down to Vancouver and Vancouver Island.

We didn't see much animals this time round, only a pair of bears (a mother with her cub), some eagles (in the wild and in a captivity (due to injury) but no moose or elk.
We spotted the grizzly with her cub and the eagle in Haines, Alaska (which is accessible by road from Whitehorse)

We saw this fellow in the Bloedel Conservatory in Vancouver, where he and some friends of his were flying around in a plexiglass triodetic dome consists of 1,490 acriylic glass bubbles.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Bookcover of the Modern Age

I like reading books.
I like reading real books. Like books with read paper.
Still, I also love my Kindle, as it saves me lugging around loads of real books made with real paper.
And because I love my kindle, I made a really nice cover for it.

Not only do I love how it looks (and I could practice my braiding), it's also super practical, as I now never forget to bring my charging cable along.
Then, because I have friends who also have a kindle (and - I presume - love it) I made a second book cover for G.

And, of course S. needed one too.

And there will be more ....

Sunday, September 08, 2013

The Big Sandwich

My 'Oh My Stars!' quilt has reached the actually quilting stage.
For connecting the three layers (backing, wadding and quilt top) I used a adhisive spray, but to be on the save side I also stitched the three layers loosely together.
Now, for the actual quilting bit, I plan on sewing along all the star outlines. As this is not very practical to do on the machine, I will quilt by hand. I started with the star in the middle and will make my way outward in spirals (more or less).
The first star was pretty painful to make, as all this fabric is constantly getting in the way, so I'm thinking on some more optimal ways to make it a bit easier. Thanks to the internet I found some cheap options that might work, so I'll give you an update as soon as I tested those.

I also made a new shopping bag. I always have a bag or two in my car. Most of the bags I have were some freebies I got at one point or another, which means I'm currently advertising for a beauty shop and for a national energy company. The first one I don't mind, but the second one is about to be replaced with this:
No pattern, simply making two rectangles and connecting them to a stripe of fabric on three of the sides. Repeat that step for the lining (which also got a simple pocket on one side). Sew those two bits together on the top and adding the shoulder strap in the process.
The bag is about 13 x 15 inches (39 x 33 cm) big.

Sunday, September 01, 2013


Steffi, a member of our little group here - and a very good friend to boot - is moving away. Which we all think is very sad.
In order for her to remember us (and to keep her warm in winter - for, well, she is one easy to get cold) we pooled together and knitted her a blanket.
The five of us who took part in the project, each knitted a strip 30cm wide and 130cm long. Then we had a sewing together party (which was actually pretty fun - 4 or us sitting around a table and trying to put the whole thing together without getting in each others way). Then we added a crochet border and yesterday we presented the blanket to her.

While we knitted the stripes we left a space were each of us stitched her name.
Out came a nice blanket, which I hope will remind Steffi of us, far away from us.
BTW, S.A.D. stands for Steffis AbschiedesDecke (Steffi's Goodbye Blanket)

Sunday, August 25, 2013


Dresden opened this weekend the Waldschlößchenbrücke for the public (and on Monday for traffic) and they had a big party to go with the grand opening.
There had been a lot of controvery, with a public vote if the bridge should be built or not (the vote was 67.9% pro); discussions on how to protect the hoseshoe bat, which may of may not be disturbed by the traffic on the bridge, and finally did cost the Dresden Elbevalley the world heritage title (Dresden was de-listed 2007 because of this project).
I decided to stay for the weekend to join the party and watch the fireworks. It seems that Dresden just can't celebrate something without having a big firework and according to the interweb one was planned for 10pm on Saturday. As I live closeby, a friend that had come to visit and I decided to wait until 9:45pm and then go to watch the show.
But at 9:30 we already heard some explosions in the distance and saw colorful lights (basically we could see that some kind of fireworks was going on, but not the fireworks itself). We grabbed our stuff and saw maybe the last three minutes of it. Very disappointing *sigh*
When we checked out the bridge, all was quite. Very quite.
At least the next morning, the picture was very different. There were tousands of people who took a change to walk across the Elbe and back.
And, of course, so did we. On the other side, there was food and displays by the fire brigade, the public transportation system in Dresden, Newspapers and so on. Bands were playing and a group was walking around on stilts.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Backsides and Butterflies

For the backside of my 'Oh My Stars!" blanket I've had bought about 3.2m of blue fabric in the assumption that this would be enough. Well, as I turned out, it wasn't, so I had to improvise a little and added some stripes of white at one side.
As I also wasn't super happy with the shade of blue, I decided to dye the backside, binding of some bits of the fabric with rubber bands beforehand. I threw it into the washing machine with a pack of blue color and hoped for the best.
Though I got some pretty circles, the difference in color is not that big (rubber bands worked quite well, but the bits where I used some string didn't work out at all). I knew this would happen from the start, and already bought a second, darker shade op blue for the second round. So there will be a second dying cycle next week when I have a bit of time.

I also did a bit of decoration in my living room where I always had an empty area of sky blue wall. I found the butterflies at Ikea and knew that this was it. I really love my swarm of butterflies.