Thursday, January 28, 2010

Where is the Milk?

Good Morning!

I sit here on a cold and snowy morning with a cup of tea contemplating what to wrrite about in this latest blog entry.  Although I usually drink coffee in the morning ( we have this nifty coffee press/thermos thingy we bought at Ikea here), someone used most of the milk this morning for their cereal without considering that I might want more that 3 drops of milk in my coffee!  I could bundle up in the 15 layers in requires me to keep my thin Texas blood from freezing while I slip & slide down the hill to the Toker ( a produce store) and pick up some milk, but the view has convinced me that tea will be a fine substitute!

On a side note:  you can barely see that empty insane asylum ( as I like to think of it) toward the upper left  - even creepier now as it blends in with all the white....  There is plenty more snow in the forecast ... about 14 inches over the next 2 days - good sledding fun for the kiddos.

Back to milk.  We have found a farmer that sells his milk to the public.  You bring your spill proof containers ( ask me sometime about spilling 5 gallons of raw milk in my van....), drive up to the farm, and go into this little building where a large silver milk tank sits.  It is hooked up to a little dispensing machine.  You put the little fill-up hose into your container, take your 60 Euro Cent & throw it into the the machine and voila, it pumps out 1 liter of fresh milk from that morning.  At 7 p.m. the milk truck picks up the remaining milk, so you always get fresh milk.  It is a win/win for all - the farmer gets about double the money for his milk from his customers than what he gets from the milk cooperative, and we get fresh, raw milk for 2/3 of the price we pay at the store.  I know that some a creeped out by raw milk, but we have been drinking it for years and love it.

So, what have I been doing creatively?  Well, I am taking some sewing classes at the army base - they have an outstanding fabric/craft store there.  The first thing we made was a pillowcase - tadaaaa

Ok, the seam is actutally not crooked in the second picture - it must have just been the way I took the photo.  I still need to wash it before I use it.  These were super simple to make, and all the seams are hidden.  Of course I want to make one now for everybody I know....

My socks are done, but are in the laundry & I am too lazy to climb down two stories to retrieve them out of the cellar. They will have to wait for another post.  I also finished up the little baby gift - here it is in all its glory.

The reason it looks a bit bumpy in the photo ( it always amazes me how every flaw is picked up by the camera..)  is that I filled it with French Lavender.  Instead of the planned ribbon I used beads for the hanger & the bottom fringe.  Little Grace made her appearance last week a bit early, so my gift will be a tad late.

I also started stitching on my secret stitcher project  - sorry for the slight blur.  It is time to consult the instruction manual for better close-up photos.

I was making good progress, but managed to miscount and had to frog two days worth of stitching - which is what you get when you are watching one of the best series ever made:  Firefly!  I usually end this particular enjoyment with the movie Serenity and then go into deep mourning that there aren't and won't be anymore.  I do this once a year, and enjoy it thoroughly!  I have also watched some good movies such as the HBO version of Elizabeth the First with Helen Mirrin, Jeremy Irons & tasty Hugh Dancy.  Speaking of that particular eye candy I watched him in Daniel Deronda - also very enjoyable and his character was much more to my liking.  My DH are now watching Coldnitz which is an excellent WWII movie.  We have watched Part 1 and are trying to find some time for Part 2.

I started two new projects:

It is that Baktus scarf everybody is knitting.  Those round little balls are called Mozart Kugeln and are a delightful concoction of Marzipan, Pistachio Creme and Nougat surrounded by a delicate layer of dark chocolate.  Yumm.

I also started a pair of socks for my younger DS.  I decided I would try the toe up method, and although the start was a bit of a pain I persevered and got it going.  Lets see how the heel will work on this one.

That wraps it up for today - I am definitely staying in, although tomorrow or Saturday I will have gather up my layers and venture to the store.  I wonder if the dogs will insist on their walk today....

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Lovely Ladies

Yesterday I was invited to join a group of stitching/knitting ladies, and I had a wonderful afternoon.  It happened like this:

My DH Rob ( if you know him, you know he has never met a stranger) had an appointment at the Housing Office in Heidelberg to look for off-post housing.  He was assigned to a lady named Margit.  Well, while they were talking he noticed that her name sign on her desk was stitched, so he asked if she was a stitcher.  Now, having been to her sweet little apartment yesterday I can attest that she is a wonderful & prolific stitcher!  So, the connection was made between Margit & I.

Yesterday they had their monthly get together with an outing planned to a Quilt Exhibition.  Margit asked me to join them - incidentally she lives in the same little town that I live in - just on the other end.  It is an 8 minute bus ride over there ( unless the bus driver stops at a bus stop where his buddies are standing and has a 5 minute conversation with them & then gets stuck in the very old part of town because the weekly farmers market is going on & someone has not parked properly & the street is so narrow that we have to inch by and the bus driver has to stop the bus every 2 seconds (really!) to see if he still has room between the bus & the unfortunately parked car), and the bus literally dropped me at her door step.

Meeting the ladies was quite fun and I really like everyone. They are a talented, lively group and everyone was quite welcoming.  I did not get to take pictures because a child of mine ( we shall let that person remain anonymous) took my camera.  But the other ladies did take pictures and Margit has some wonderful ones on her blog here.  You can enlarge them & look around Margit's apartment and see some of her fabulous stitching.

The quilt exhibition was interesting, although the name quilt is a bit misleading. It was really an exhibition of art done with mostly fabric using some quilting.  Some of the "quilts" were wonderful, some just left you wondering.  It would have been really nice to find out what the artist was thinking and what some of the things incorporated into the quilt meant.  Overall, it was just so nice to get out and spend time with women who share my passion.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Trash, Stash & other Tales

I sit here, enjoying my Marzipan yogurt ( yes, you read correctly) with Mia growling at me because she wants me to hurry up - she is waiting for the container so she can lick it completely clean before it goes into the recycling container... This brings me to my first subject - trash.  It is another "Whaaaat??" moment for me.  A couple a weeks ago the trash company delivered our trash containers - one for general trash and one for recycling.  They are about same size....tiny!

The trash can on the left is a normal American sized trash can ( we can't use that one), the next one is the German regular trash trash can and the one on the right is the recycle trash can (it is larger than the the grey one).  Remember, we are a family of 6.  Trash pick-up is once every 2 weeks... Whaaaat??  After my hysterical laughter died down I discovered a new sport - trash jumping.  That is when you jump on your six-man , two-week trash pile to compact it as much as possible so that all of it will fit into the itsy-bitsy can.  You can see that we are expected to have more recycled trash than regular trash.  I have to jump on that stuff too to make it all fit.  Now, I must say that my hat is off to the Germans - almost everything gets recycled.  I am amazed that most packages & plastic wrapping has a recycle sign on it,  even the wrapper around little, scrumptious chocolate bars get put in the recycle bin - we generate a lot of those!!

Enough of trash talk.... on to the very fun stash - yesterday was a really good stash day!  From Knitpicks I got the following:

Wheee - I was so happy.  Ok, lets see from left to right.  Oh, first I want to mention the wonderful scarf that was gifted to me by my talented and generous friend Kim.  Kim, I want you to know I wear this scarf all the time - I just love it.  Thank you so much for giving it to me.

First skein is for a hat for my DH, poor man does not have one.  I knitted him a scarf for Christmas & this color will match somewhat.  He cannot wear the hat when he is uniform, but for our other outings it will come in handy.  The second one is for Olivia who really wants an Emse hat and I will make her matching socks ( 3rd skein) as well.  The next skein will go another pair of socks - Artichoke Socks - I saw these on a blog somewhere & they looked fantastic.  I have to have a pair!  The next skeins I took a close-up of because the color does not really show up on this pic.

The color is Lava Heather - yummmm.   I have more than 3 skeins, mind you.  I plan to knit this wrap.  I should have it done for next winter.  I think it is so very elegant.  The other two skeins will be socks for the boys.

Yesterday the postman rang our door and delivered this from the Sampler Guild in the UK.

These are all from Brenda Keyes.  The patterns are " A Contented Mind Sampler", "Over the Hills Sampler", and "A Sailor's Wife Sampler".  The book is what I am particularly thrilled about - it is almost virtually impossible to get in the States, but the Sampler Guild seems to have them on hand.  It is chock full of sampler motifs:

In case you are thinking:" Ok, she buying stash, but is she doing anything...??"  Yes, I have been steadily working on those Cornrow Socks.

Almost there with sock #1 - I only have to do the toe decrease.  Those blasted cornrows actually do take some time.  I hope that next week I can finish up sock #2.  I also finished a little over-one baby sampler for our neighbor who is expecting a little baby girl after having 3 boys.

 I just need to find a cute button and get it stuffed with French Lavender, rusch some ribbon & voila I am done.....ok, I am being totally sarcastic here.  I might just as well out myself right here - I am the world's slowest stitcher & not such a great finisher either.  We will see what the finished product looks like.

My other tales include pictures of my daily walk with the two pups.  I go up the hill toward the woods

It is all very pretty, and I love this little walk I take except for this:

See that building in the upper left corner... this is what it looks like from our house.   I wondered about this building which is really large & L shaped - you can only see a tiny bit of it here.  There are never any lights on at night....  It is a large vacant complex that has had a number of different uses during its life.  Right after WWII it was an extended care facility for German soldiers injured in the war.  For a while it was a corporate training camp for a major retail chain.  Its last use was a senior home which closed about 6 years ago.  The neighbors said that they were always on senior patrol since some of them with memory problems were prone to wandering off...

Nowhere did I read that it was ever an insane asylum...but that is what I think of every time I go up there -  I know, I know, too many horror movies.  It does creep me out completely!

Here are Mia & Max merrily & unsuspectingly running towards the property which is behind that large tree in the middle of the picture.

No doggies, come back, come back!!

If one day I don't return from my walk.... well, you will know where to look.