31 Oct

Happy Halloween

Yup, Germans are not afraid to celebrate Halloween. It seems each year there are more kids Trick or Treating, and more decorations to be put up. Not that I have a problem with this. I remember LOVING Halloween as a kid. My sister and I would belabor over our costumes the entire month of October (I really hope my mom enjoyed it as much as I do now). I’ve been a bat, a fly (same hat), a frog (ots of papier mache and flipper feet if I remember correctly), a carrot, numerous rabbits, and many others I can’t even begin to remember.

With all of the hullabaloo about safety I have put less emphasis on the whole Halloween thing, but I still love making the costumes. When we lived on post, it was easy to Trick or Treat only at the houses where we knew people. Then I didn’t feel so hypocritical about the whole “taking candy from strangers” thing. Now that we live off post, there’s just not a big Trick or Treating crowd — at least not like I remember in the States. We do the costumes for Fasching though and I love it when I can get double duty. I wasn’t about to add costumes to my list this year, so Zavi happily wore Sonic the Hedgehog again and Katja donned the witch costume her aunties wore for many years.

Sonic the Hedgehog

Witch

Nonnie, we do still have the cute black hat with attached orange yarn hair, but Katja wasn’t convinced that witches should have pumpkins on their hats, and besides, her hair was ALREADY witchy colored. :-)

So, this brings us to the next PARTY. Yup, if I’m not posting about fests, then it’s about parties. (Or so it seems to me.) Zavi and his bestest buddy wanted to have a Halloween party. How could I say no if it was going to save me from having to schlep the kids onto post for Trick or Treating when we don’t even know anyone living there? A couple of other moms helped out by bringing food and drinks. I supplied the house and entertainment. Yesterday, the kids and I took advantage of procrastination and scooped up a tissue paper ghost garlans, paper lanterns and Jack o Lantern plates at 50% off. We cut bats out of paper (very inspired by Little Birds: Handmade). Add last year’s black net with silver ghosts pinned up as a drop ceiling in our entry and a vallance in the living room, and the kids deemed it in the spirit.

So, here’s a not-terribly artistic picture of some of the bats which infested our entry and living/dining room:

Gone batty

The food was mostly sweets and chips. The kids gobbled the mini pizzas with olive-slice eyes and bell pepper mouths, but the real winners were the mini-Dickmann spiders and layered Jello “potion” with gummi worms inside.

Icky food

Keeping nine 8-year-old boys and three girls from tearing apart the house and each other was a bit of a challenge., but I managed to entertain them with the usual party games. I’ve noticed that the kids have gotten very sly with Pin the Tail on the Donkey (and variations thereof) and feel for where the previous tails have been placed. We pinned the features on the Jack o Lantern hoping for a Picasso type look.

We certainly got it! I noticed that after the blindfolds came off the kids periodically re-arranged the pumpkin throughout the party. Now it has twiggy chicken legs and laughing “eyebrow” eyes.

Of course we bobbed for apples. You can never go wrong with kids and water!

The best game however, was wrapping each other up like mummies! They finally had to slow down a bit, and actually worked hard on their wrapping technique.

When we were done, they continued to entertain themselves throwing the equivalent of 12 rolls of TP around my living room. It looked horrible, but was actually pretty easy to clean up, and was definitely worth the distraction.

Now that it’s all over and cleaned up, and the gouls and cowboys have left my house, and I’ve had a beer, I’m feeling pretty good about allowing a party in the midst of an already too busy time of my life. Too much sugar not withstanding, I think we will all sleep happy tonight.

30 Oct

Sneak Peek

Here’s a picture of “Fliegenpilz II.” It’s the last of the quilts I planned on making for my show.

Fliegenpilz II
Of course, I have a ton more ideas, but given the time, and the size of the gallery, this is where I’m stopping for now. I’ve got a bunch of postcards in the works –I hope that having a variety of “quilts” in a variety of sizes and price points will encourage more sales. Not that sales are my primary focus, but we do have to be realistic, and the gallery does have rent, advertising, and insurance to pay for. Anyways, here’s a sneak peek at what will be hanging on the walls at Bourgeois Pig come December 2nd:

Sneak Peek

26 Oct

I did it!

No quilt content today, even though I finished two quilts this week. I should be able to post pretty pictures after Sunday, so you’ll just have to wait.

On to the business at hand: voting. As an American living overseas I vote by Absentee Ballot. I received my materials weeks ago, but as I can be a major procrastinator, and I hate reading all the horrible legalese about why a certain candidate or measure is worse than another, I naturally put it off. When I finally looked at my ballot a few days ago, I saw that it was for the 2004 presidential election, NOT the 2006 mid-term election. (Conspiracy to keep me out of the voting process?) With an average of 10 days needed to mail something through the military postal system to my PO box here, and another 10 days to return my ballot to my home state, I figured I wouldn’t be able to rectify the problem in time.

TS&WGH to the rescue! — he informed me of the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot. I had registered in a timely fashion, so I could just print out the form, cast my vote and the envelope will go to the post office later today. It should reach the proper authorities before the deadline, although I have my doubts that Absentee Ballots are actually counted anyways.

Now the fun part. I’m going to lay it all on the line. TS&WGH and I had a conversation last night about bringing balance back into the US government. He made the point that there can’t be balance if the parties are essentially the same. Case in point: if the Democrats are so gung-ho about stoping Republican hawkism, then why didn’t the Senate Democrats rally together in 2003, when the think-tanks were predicting that war in Iraq would only stir the hornet’s nest not quell it, and vote NO on the invasion? (I suspect they didn’t want to rock the boat just before the ’04 elections. See how well that worked?) As usual, my husband is right. As long as I have been a voter I have been frustrated. I think that politicans in general are slimeballs, and I hate that I have to choose between the lesser of two evils.

When I regstered to vote in 2004 I declined to choose a party affiliation. I was impressed by the Green Party’s platform synopsis in the voting materials that were sent with my ballot back then. Of the information submitted, it was the most well-formed, susinct, and addressed the issues that were important to me. I didn’t want to “waste” a protest vote then, but I’m willing to do it now. I voted Green across the board. There, I said it. I don’t care if you respect me in the morning or not. I’m going to affect a regime change (at least in my little voting record). So, these people are grassroots, they are not polished public speakers, they have little experience in big politics, and they don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of getting elected. But, if we want change, we’re going to have to think outside of the box. I want to send the message that I’m tired of business as usual and all the arguments over who’s lies are worse than who’s. I’m ready for someone who’s fired up and ready to try a different tactic. Hey, since my voting Democratic for so many years hasn’t changed much in Washington, I’m ready to try something different.

21 Oct

Progress at Last

First off, Quiltstadt is back at home after it’s weekend in Michelstadt. I layed it out on the bed just to see what it looked like. It’s very busy next to our  painted dressers and under Traumwald. It would look better with  Fliegenpilz I I think, and with white dressers (yeah, I’ll get right on that).

Quiltstadt on the bed

Here’s Fliegenpilz I, FYI:

Fliegenpilz I

In the meantime, it’s activities like this that make art-making possible:

Reading in a fort

Katja made the Höhle all by herself and then she and Grama snuggled up inside to read. While they were doing that, I put together a fused quilt in the same genre as Foggy Morning in Czesky Krumlov, and Staufen Vineyards. OK, it wasn’t JUST while they were reading, but having grandparents here to distract the kids has given me the extra time I needed to work on this, and others.

Heidelberg Schloß

For comparison, and so you don’t have to search my archives, here’s Foggy Morning:

Foggy Morning in Czesky Krumlov

And here’s Staufen Vineyards. This has to be one of my all-time favorite little quilts:

Staufen Vineyard

Today, my hero is neighbor G, who spent the second-to-last-day of his two weeks R&R from duty in Iraq playing not only with his kids, but mine as well. He had them all day long, so I had a chance to finish designing/fusing this one:

Heidelberg Tor

Although my pictures of the older quilts doesn’t show them quilted, they are. In fact, they are in the German city of Halle this month celebrating the city’s 12,000 year-old existence. The two Heidelberg quilts need to be quilted though. It will be by machine, so I hope to sit down and do that when my mom and step-dad return from their weekend exploring Brugge and Amsterdam. I have one more quilt, Fliegenpilz II which is so close to done, I’m not showing it yet. I also managed to get 25 fabric postcards fused to Timtex. They’re not close to done yet, though, because I need to do some machine and hand stitching on them before adding their backs and “binding” them. Whew, what a lot of work. I can finally see the rug on my sewing room floor, and I think there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I do still need to gather supplies for AQT and get them mailedso I don’t have to take scary looking paints on the airplane with me.

15 Oct

Sticheleien 2006

My mom and step-dad are here — yippee! The reinforcements have arrived! On Saturday, I gave them a break from baby-sitting duties and took them to Michelstadt in the Odenwald for the Sticheleien, a market themed around fiber and needle arts.

The exhibits and vendors are based in and around the historic town hall. Our first task, however, was to find food. We went to the courtyard in front of the local history/toy museum and library. There is always a tent there with delicious organic food.

We sampled pumpkin soup, green pumpkin seed patties with a pickled veg salad, and leek “pizza” with the same salad. This was of course, all served on real plates because plastic or paper would not only be environmentally unfriendly, but it would be terribly un-couth as well. They had coffee and cakes as well, but we opted to go to a conditorei later in the day.

Inside the museum, artists showed their wares and worked on projects nestled amongst the wood framing of the hundreds-of-years-old buildings.

This woman crocheted the most wonderful concoctions of wire, yarn and beads. It was all so delicately made, and perfectly realized.

I wanted to learn how to make lace with “Klöppel” just so I could buy hand-turned spools from this man. They are made from beautiful woods and some even have ceramic or metal inlays. He was pretty cute to look at too — in an “I spend my days in my tiny workshop on a hillside surrounded by sheep and drink a good hefe-weisen at the local pub every night” kind of way.

What’s this in another building? Yup, that’s my Quiltstadt commanding an entire end of the hall!

I can’t believe how incredibly huge this is. No wonder it took me so long to finish it! I had about two feet of binding, plus a sleeve to sew on on Wednesday, so I decided to take it to our Guild meeting anyways. Gudrun, who owns the local quilt shop and is a local institution herself, asked if she could please display my quilt at her booth at the Sticheleien. Of course! I finished off the sewing Thursday morning, and Gudrun took it to Michelstadt on Friday.

I was very restrained in my purchases. I came home with two little snowflake baby ornaments for my friend who watched the kids, 6 hanks of hand dyed cotton and silk floss (at an irresistable sale price), and a Fliegenpilz sock darner (I had the ladies at that table in a tizzy looking for the Strickpilz they were sure they had but never did find — I sooooo would have bought it from them) plus 3 little Fliegenpilz buttons.

14 Oct

One got finished, one got a pretty!

Ta-da! I finished quilting the borders on Quiltstadt and added it’s binding and sleeve! That was a BIG one cross off my list :-)

Quiltstadt Detail

And, my MIL sent me pictures from the World Quilt Competition now showing at PIQF. I think my quilt looks very nice with that pretty red ribbon next to it!

Am Rand des Omas Weizenfeld at PIQF

11 Oct

All Hail TS&WGH

My blog (and then whole web site) was abducted by aliens. That’s the only explanation I have for it’s sudden disapearance yesterday. However, thanks to my husband’s dedication to his role as Tech Support, I awoke this morning to a fully functioning blog with nothing lost!!! The reason why he’s the World’s Greatest? He’s not even in the same country as I am and he fixed it. Oh yeah, and maybe his work with our government has something to do with how he got my blog back from the aliens. Don’t ask him to tell you about it though, he might have to kill you 😉

07 Oct

Happy Birthday, Princess

Today was Katja’s turn to celebrate. She wanted something princessy, so we chose pink decorations and a castle cake (and each girl got to take home a plush flower).

After a royal meal of hot dogs and fries, washed down with “Kinder Sekt” (bubbly fruit juice) in champagne flutes, of course, I cleared the table and each girl decorated her own crown.

As one might expect, they used up no less than six glitter pens!

While the crowns didn’t dry due to the thickness of the glitter glue, we played a few games, like “Fischer-Fischer Wie Tief ist das Wasser.”

and the favorite, “Topfschlage.”

Then they opened presents and spent the next hour playing with ponies and dressing up.

Happy Birthday, Princess!