06 Oct

Gratuitous Kid Pictures 2

First I want to say thanks to everyone who has participated in our discusion of MORE. I can’t believe how many responses you have had to this post. Everyone is so insightful, and so appreciative of heartfelt creativity — prize winning or not. I look forward to many more spirited conversations in the future.

Now, on to something with cute pictures! Katja’s Kindergarten had their first “Singkreis” of the year today. Quarterly, all the classes get together and sing songs for the parents. The theme for the first one is “Erntendank” or, giving thanks for the harvest. Each kid brings a basket of fruits and veggies and they sing songs about harvest and autumn, and the pastor blesses the food. The kids have also been learning about growing and preparing food. Each class had cooked something yummy today to present. Katja’s class has been all about the potatoes this week. They made French Fries, boiled potatoes, boiled sweet potatoes, and potato dumplings. They drew pictures of potato plants, collaged pictures of “Potato K├Ânigen,” and made a potato family with fabric and toothpicks (and potatoes). No potato prints though. Anyways, it’s been tooooooo cute. The girl knows her potatoes.

That’s my girl in the striped “Strumpfhosen” singing about the flour mill and wearing a leafy headband. Notice all the filled baskets in the center of the room.

Schulanfanger Tanz

The girls who will be starting first grade next fall got to do a special dance for us (hence the headbands).

06 Oct

Gratuitous Kid Pictures


Meet Troy. I think she is a cousin to Tray, an “Ugly Doll” my son likes. With appologies to Kate who’s trying to pay her rent by selling these in the Bourgois Pig boutique, I told Zavi that we could make one if he’d design it. So he did.

Here, he’s tracing his pattern pieces onto flourescent orange fabric (you have no idea what wonders lie in my fabric stash!).

Now it’s time to sew. He was in control of the accelerator, I helped with the steering.

Zavi free motioned the pupils, and then switched to a satin stitch for the mouth. Not much help from mom here.

Katja got in on the stuffing. We used chopped up batting scraps from one of my projects. The kids were pleased with our resourcefulness.

Partly turned inside out. I had to do this. Between Troy’s spikey brains and the canvas fabric, I couldn’t get the top of her head to invert, so we had to rethink and do a little surgery. Not to worry, It all turned out fine:

Meet Troy!

I’m going to insist Zavi bring Troy on our next camping/hiking trip — you can’t miss that orange fabric!

05 Oct


I’m posting because I am not in the mood to do any creative work, and I sure don’t want to clean house. OK, I dusted the living/dining room and cleaned downstairs windows (most of them). Now I just want to sulk. We had yet another homework war today. I tried to give him his space and go at his own pace, but after an hour and very little progress I had to step in. I guess it didn’t help. Crazy thing is, he did his writing first, which is the least liked subject. He slogged through it, then we read together, which went fine for some reason. Then we got to the page of math (which he is best at). He can do the arithmetic, but hit a brick wall when it came to transcribing the problems in his notebook. He just got overwhelmed and even though he could give me the correct answer in a second, he just wouldn’t write it down (takes too long and he’ll never finish he says). Last night he was too tired to finish the math and he attacked it with a fresh head this morning. It seemed to work, but I really don’t want to get in the habit of putting off the work until the last minute. Anyways, a week of homework battles great and small has me in a funk.

Perhaps it is this funk that made me irked at a few quilting-related things I’ve seen recently. The toppper was a blurb in the Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine I got today. In the “Quilting Bee” section, one quilter described her beautiful crazy quilt, made for a friend with kimono fabrics and other wonders, as being appraised at over $3,000. Is that what’s most important about the work? I thought it was about creative expression, using cherished fabrics, pleasing a friend or ourselves, challenging our percieved limits, creating something beautiful, not about the final monetary value.

This reminded me of a quilt I saw at the Main-Quiltfestival in the APQS booth. The quilt was gorgeously machine quilted and had sparkly crystals in the feathers. The APQS rep informed me that the same quilter had made another quilt with something like $5,000 worth of crystals on it. Yes, she won $10,000 for the quilt, but that’s an awefully big gamble, and in my opinion, not really the point of creating. I got to thinking about the quilts I’ve seen in magazines touting how many thousands of 1″ squares, or hexagons thay are made of, and the art-to-wear fashion shows where the announcer tells us how many spools or yards of thread were used in the embellishment.

Are we doing this just to one-up each other? Is our work valued not on it’s use of color, dramatic composition, interpretation of a theme or cherished block, or acurate workmanship, but rather on the huge numbers which can be assigned to it? The girl with the most wins? If this is the name of the game, I don’t want to play.

If there is one thing that both growing up in LA, and being a military wife have taught me it’s that someone else will always have more than me: more money to buy that house you want, more contacts to further their career, more time to to what they want, more letters after their name, more war stories, more tears shed, more mold in their crappy apartment, more medical problems, and on and on. I know there’s always going to be someone else out there who can quilt more stitches to the inch, will add more crystals to their quilt, will make one with more tiny pieces, will embellish with more thread, so why should I bother at all? I’m going to tell myself that I’m not in this for the competitions (though I am admittedly competitive) and that I am going to create anyways. I’m going to tell myself therefore, that it doesn’t matter what others are doing. And I’m going to hope that I’m not really seeing a pattern here — I’m just grouchy today.

04 Oct

A small request

I’m looking for ways to say good night to one’s children in languages other than English. I know I could go to Babelfish and get litteral translations, but then I’d miss out on cute idioms (such as the term of affection, “Mon petit chou,” or “My little cabbage”). So, I’m asking my multilingual and multinational readers to leave a comment with their favorite wishes for sweet dreams. Thanks!

03 Oct


See, it’s got “fest” in the title — I had to go! I’m also calling the trip “professional development!” So, Sunday, Silke and I dragged the kids to the Main-Quiltfestival held in and around the Schloss Johannisburg in Aschaffenberg.

Schloss Johannisburg

First thing we did was to go look for the competition quilts. They were displayed in a lovely hall in the Schloss. I really liked the combination of the modern and ancient. Up near the ceiling are original carvings saved from the ruined palace.

Exhibit hall

The competition theme was Fairytale World. Looks like I won’t be winning the much coveted steam iron station with Hansel und Gretel — the quilts were all waaaaaaay to creative and wonderful. I had to cast my vote for this one, called “Der Wolf und die Zicklein” with terry cloth goats (sorry, I couldn’t read the maker’s name in my photo):

Der Wolf und die Zicklein

Here’s another one, entitled “Waiting for a Prince,” by Juliette Eckel:

Waiting for a Prince

And here’s “Spiegelein, Spiegelein” (Mirror, Mirror) by Uta Krell, I think:

Mirror, Mirror

The quilts were so varied and interesting. I really enjoyed seeing the show.

In the same hall was the exhibit, Zusammenspiel, by Jacqueline Heinz. I loved it all, but didn’t take many photos as I assumed she’d have a web site with many more fabulous pictures than I could take. Alas, it is under construction; but here’s a link to some of the work. She has a wonderful way with machine quilting and very focused surface embellishment with wool and other fibers.

Jacqueline Heinz

More Jacqueline Heinz

There was also a small exhibit of work by Russian quilter, Vera Sherbakowa, who’s work was also in Lyon. This palace was absolutely incredible, and I did not see it in Lyon:

Vera Sherbakowa

I also don’t remember this ornate St. George and the Dragon quilt:

vera Sherbakowa
In the commercial hall, were a pair of women who call their style of knitting “Kluge StrickArt.” They make patchwork-like knit panels and stretch them over canvas. They were quite wonderful. The ladies were also wearing their art in the form of chic sweaters and tanks. Here’s an “un-framed” group piece. Erin, this is for you.

Panels by Gruppe Strickrausch

At the second venue were three exhibits. I think there were more quilts from the Hans Christian Andersen exhibit by the Dutch group QuilteQustnerne than there were in Lyon. I still love the work by Bettina Andersen. Here’s her Schneek├Ânigin, or Snow Queen. I thought that I had previously taken a picture of her Princess and the Pea as well, which looked like a collage of mattress ticking, but I didn’t. You’ll just have to imagine it.
Bettina Andersen -- Schneekoenigin

Here’s a detail:

Bettina Andersen detail

I liked this rather traditional quilt called “Sudsee Impressionen” by Andreas Wolf. I don’t think it was part of the H.C. Anderson collection, so it, and it’s fellow quilts in the room may have been from the local guild or group.

I also ran into an aquaintance I know only from the creative quilting online group which I belong to, Texies. Edith was clever enough to have on a name tag, and I recognized her name. Here we are in front of a quilt which is part of an exhibit by another internet group, Network Quilters:

Me and Edith

The Network Quilters met in a Nancy Crow class and have stayed in touch, inspiring and encouraging each other and showing their work. Their exhibit, “Der Weg ist das Ziel” (The Journey is the Goal, sorry about the bad translation, but you get the point) was quite interesting as they showed the process along with the finished work. Here’s another quilt by the same maker as above, Katharine Clausen:

Katharine Clausen

I also really liked the work of member, Pia Welsch:

Sommertief by Pia Welsch

Lastly, in addition to the competition for “quilters,” there was a separate category for schools. There were apparently almost a dozen quilts which were displayed in store fronts in the pedestrian zone near the Schloss. We didn’t find teh addresses until the kids were burnt out and not in the mood for more walking. I did love the little plaid-shirted dwarves on this one by an adult education school.
by Berufschule