31 Dec

Auction Reminder

Kim Family Auction

Just a reminder that the auction starts on January 3rd and runs until the 7th. You can check out the “catalog” on the Kim Family Auction blog/site. The proceeds go to help the Kim family who recently lost their father. I’ve donated a wall quilt. As my hubby says, “To be honest, I have no idea if they are needing for money or not. The wife and I were both following the story as it unfolded (James Kim was a great geek, and his wife is in the same crafty world as my wife) and we both knew that something so tragic could easily happen to us, too. Our hearts were with the family — it is going to be hard to suddenly be a single mother of two girls.”

So, if you are looking for a good cause, and a place to spend any money you might have gotten for Christmas, there are some fantabulous things on the block!

30 Dec

Six Degrees of Fliegenpilze

I am not the only one who thinks toadstools are cool. I was just clicking from one blog to the next, not really looking for anything and I kept seeing Fliegenpilze.

Moonstitches (who’s posted her share of mushrooms) got an adorable dress from Sabine of Farbenmix, and look what I found when I clicked there — Fliegenpilz purses! Since the purses were “Nic’s fault,” I had to check out her blog, “Luziapimpinella.” She was gifted a Fliegenpilz purse and a felted Fliegenpilz ball from Simone, of the blog, Käptnstupsnase and found a wonderful “jeweled” hangy thing she had been gifted from Nic (replace the deer with a hedgehog and I’d almost be willing to drive across Germany to “liberate” it. And, if that wasn’t enough, Simone had her own cute “Dream Forest” outfit with mushrooms she embroidered. Back to Nic, there was more! I loved this package from another Sabine. Oh, and look at her obsession — she even talks about a Fliegenpilz lamp (which I think I saw in her Christmas collage). OK, now to the new Sabine, (because I think I could get lost for hours looking for cute Fliegenpilz stuff on Luziapimpinella!) she found Fliegenpilz ribbon! And because the name of that post was “and still more Fliegenpilze” I had to keep looking. Her wreath looks a lot like my tree, and the links are to other blogs with wreaths with toadstools. Because the title again referenced “more” mushrooms, I kept looking deeper. I was rewarded with another purse! “Overkill with polka dot ribbon and a Fimo mushroom,” — I love it! It was from Smila, who apparently has a bit of an obsession herself. It appears that I could go on forever linking just to red spotted mushrooms. I wonder how long it would take to find someone linked back to me? My head is spinning and I’m guessing yours is too, so maybe that’s a project for another day.

30 Dec

No Quilting; Knitting

I’ve been a bit mushroom mad here. My mom got me a cute mushroom book (by a woman named Katya) and both the knitting nancies I wanted. The first, a mushroom man, came with very Katja colored cotton yarn, so I’m going to make her a scarf:

Strickpilzzwerg and i-cords

Making i-cords with these has been great meditative fun while watching “Heroes” on my computer. I could stay inside all winter watching TV and “knitting” i-cords. I tried out the larger mushroom, but with my sock wool, it was a little too big and loose. Now the kids are using some chunkier wool and having a go at it. (And yes, I’ve gotten very tricky, adding beads to my i-cords. Unfortunately, the really cool ones don’t fit through the hole in the smaller mushroom man.)
Scale experiment with strickpilz

As long as I’m playing with wool, I decided to try to make a shrug of various brown yarns. I’ve limited myself to knitting only rectangles and using only simple stitches. I thought that I could make the shrug as a tube on my circular needles, but after a few false starts, I realized that the circulars were too big for the cuffs I had envisioned and I couldn’t bring enough stitches around to make a ring (if that makes any sense). Before resorting to making a rectangle and sewing up the ends for the sleeves, I took the plunge and got out my double pointed needles. (And why do I have dpns? I have no idea!) I’ve watched my neighbor M whip out many a sock on her miniscule dpns, so I figured I could at least try.

cuff WIP

I am knitting in the round with double pointed needles. I am making ribbing. I have not inadvertantly added or deleted stitches. I even plan to weigh the finished cuff so that I can be sure to reserve the same weight of yarn for the cuff on the other end (something I wouldn’t have even known to do if I hadn’t been reading blogs).  I am so proud of myself! I am even so proud that I will rip all this work out and start over with two ribs fewer so the cuff is a little tighter. (Swatches, we don’t need no stinkin’ swatches.)

29 Dec

It’s a Small Small World

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting a few bloggers in real-life. Textile artist and fellow lover of all things blue, Françoise and her husband, came all the way from Belgium to see the European Quilt Triennial and my show. Kate arranged for a friend to open the gallery just for us. My show got high praises from Françoise, and her husband as well; and we all agreed that if I’m still in Europe in three years, I could definitely enter a quilt into the next Triennial. (It blows me away, the male reaction to my quilts (or maybe it’s all art quilts — I don’t know). I expect women to like the work, but I’m surprised when men seem to like it even more.) Françoise promises to write an article on the two shows for the Belgian Patchwork Association Newsletter. International recognition — cool.

Out of pure, dumb luck, another blogger and her man dropped in as well. We chatted a bit (my conversational skills in German are quite limited) and I didn’t get around to asking if she’s Charlotte or Kerstin, the Kampfzwerg or the Hilfeelfe, but I do know we have a blogging friend in common — Mad Hatter Couch Pirate Katrin. BTW, you have to scroll down and check out the “Pimp my Manger” post on Elfenundkampfzwerge. Even if you can’t read German, the manger is gorgeous! (And if I had to guess, I’d say I met Charlotte who’s most likely the Kampfzwerg.)

It truly is a small world when technology (blogging) can bring people together regardless of geographic location and then even the geographic boundaries are broken down.

26 Dec

It was Fraulein Gloria in the Billiardszimmer with the Seil

Christmas was a basic affair here with the kids tearing through the presents first thing yesterday morning and then playing ALL DAY LONG. Two of the neighbor kids have practically lived here yesterday and today. Between our two families there was no shortage of things to build, games to play, and baby dolls to be fed and dressed.

Zavi's a

After a yummy dinner tonight of leftover turkey, green beans, mashed potatoes and rotkohl, our nuclear family played one of the many new board games. Zavi proclaimed it as the best game ever! We’re playing again tomorow 🙂 (probably before breakfast, if he has any say).

24 Dec

Christmas Projects that Grew

I’ve always liked the look of wreaths made of gingerbread men or leaves (Martha has made a few lovely ones over the years). Last year I decided that I should make one, but with fabric. Brown felt and white rick rack would look great, but I’ve been in a use-what-you-have frenzy for the last six months or more, and I’m all about the scrappy, lots-of-fabrics look. These guys have had a low priority, so they’ve spent most of December laying on my sewing room floor in various stages of disarray. I finally finished them last night and hung them on the door this morning (Christmas Eve). I guess I should have done a little measuring somewhere along the way because the wreath turned out pretty big! They’re stuffed with scraps too, so it’s a rather weighty wreath as well.
Big Gingerbread Wreath

TS&WGH likes the “Mr Bill” guy at the top. I love the fabric on the guy below. Note that I’ve used yet another scrap of my favorite Kaffe Fasset dotty fabric on the gal next to Mr Bill. I think it looks a little fruit-cakey.
My favorite

Another holiday inspiration came from Heather Bailey.  I made 100 red yo-yos about two years ago but lost interest in the project before I did anything with them. I’ve used a few over the years, so I estimated that I probably had about 80. That sounds like a lot, but a lot of yo-yos go a little way, so just to be safe, I decided that I needed off white yo-yos to flesh out my garland (again with the not measuring or counting). This has been my take-along project this month, and once the tree was decorated in glitz and mushrooms, the mellow color scheme looked pretty blah, so I wasn’t in a hurry to finish it. Half-way through sewing the garland I realized that 80 wasn’t such a small number after all, but now that I had a purpose for the yo-yos, I wasn’t going to quit. I don’t know how long the garland is now, but it will definitely cover our tree next year.

Mere fraction of the verrrrrry long yo-yo garland

And finally, astute bloggers find lovely vintage fabrics at thrift stores, or receive neat packages in the mail. Me, not so much. Now that I have stated that I’m not going to buy any new fabrics, only used or cast off ones, I get bags of left-overs from little old ladies. Not the vintage tea towel and linen kind of old ladies — noooooooo. The double knit house dress kind of old ladies. I gleaned a bit of jersey that may have Fasching costume potential, and some lining fabric from this batch, but I still have this colorful pile of stretchy knit fabric with a high synthetic content.

Ugly Fabric

I’d be more receptive to this pile if it had some natural fiber in it and wasn’t stretchy. I’d like the sheets I’m sometimes gifted, but usually they are the super cheap ones with a thread count of about 10 (that’s why they are being given away; duh!).

If anyone has any creative idea of what could be done with this pile I’d love to hear it. I’d even be willing to share some or all of this with any interested parties — if there are any interested parties. Splashy house dress anyone? Anyone?

22 Dec

Last Minute Gifts

This has been the “it’ll happen when it happens, if it happens” season. The boxes with gifts for the immediate family got to the post office one day after the “it’ll get there by Christmas” deadline. The cards weren’t so lucky. They went in the mailbox today. They should arrive in time to usher in the New Year though. Favorite decorations got put up, but after they spent three days blocking our entry hall, I admitted defeat and the two boxes with lights and garlands went back into the basement, unopened. We did, however, manage to bake some cookies in the last week and delivered plates of homemade goodness to our neighbors last night.

This afternoon I reserved a few hours with my kids (ages five and eight) to make a pair of last minute gifts for their friends. I like the idea of them creating something themselves instead of getting caught up in buy, buy, buy. I’m also fine with limiting the gift giving to just a few of their very closest friends. I don’t want to burn the kids out either. And I’m pretty sure these two friends will appreciate their handmade gifts.

I asked each kids to draw a picture to make into a softie. They chose the fabrics and embellishments, assembled all the bits, and stuffed the toys. I took care of the sewing. I’ve let the kids do the sewing in the past, but it is painfully slow and I had a raging headache his afternoon, so I took the shortcut of doing the actual sewing myself. My son beat me to the punch pointing out that a zig-zag stitch would be perfect for the teeth on his monster. My daughter chose the fancy stitches for the “heart girl’s” skirt.

Softie toys designed by my kids!

As we were able to “whip these up” in an afternoon, I’ve decided to include them in Whiplash’s December/January competition in the GIFT category. Merry Christmas!