One of the members of our American quilt group is moving and must reduce her stash. She suggested a sort of Barter Flea Market at our last meeting. I cleaned out my stash of Quilter’s Newsletter Magazines and some more traditional quilt-making books which no longer interest me, and returned home with a pretty respectable pile of new-to-me fabrics. Woo hoo! (Lots of polka dots hidden in there.)
We also got another pile of hand-me down clothes from the neighbor, which I whittled down. Katja is a dedicated skirt wearer and though she liked a little white denim number, I thought it was way too short for someone who loves to hang upside down on the playground. So, I’m going to add a patchwork ruffle with some of my stash and newly acquired fabrics — plus a cute little trim I bought in the trim-shopping spree of a few weeks ago.
BTW, here’s (most of) the rest of my purchases from the trim spree. I got half the ribbon from Seru-Kid, and the other half from Farbenmix. The adorable pom-poms are from a birthday gift certificate I finally cashed in at our local sewing store four months later. The kids picked out the patches which are probably destined for some T-shirts. You can sort-of see two more Fliegenpilz patches from My Wild Child. (Interesting how the internet makes the world so small; the website is primarily in German, so I assumed My Wild Child was in Germany — imagine my surprise when the postmark on the envelope was from New Zealand!)
Oh, at the quilt group meeting, my friend V (who makes everything into a handbag or backpack) gave me this little guy whom she found at another flea market:
The BRAND NEW OFF THE BOLT fabric he’s sitting on is the back of the Ladybug quilt. I’ve decided that babies NEED flannel backing on their quilts and old lumberjack shirts just won’t do. Rest assured though, I’m not working my way back up to buying new fabric whenever I want. In fact, since I vowed not to buy any brand-new fabric I’ve probably acquired more secondhand fabric than all the new fabric I purchased in the previous year. Cases in point: the lovely pile above, and the four (count ’em, four) twin sized cotton damask comforter covers I purchased for 5€ at a flea market this morning (that’s like 1.25€ per four yards of fabric!!!!!). They will dye up gorgeously!
Also purchased for 5€ is the glass cake stand for Kate’s gallery (which matches nicely a candy dish I already had, so I think we can work something out).
What does an Obsttorte have to do with any of this, you ask? Absolutely nothing, but it’s the first one I’ve made this “summer,” and I wanted to share. This has got to be the biggest-bang-for-the-smallest-effort-bring-to-a-BBQ-or-whip-up-when-the-ladies-stop-by kind of dessert EVER. And I will miss it terribly when we eventually leave Germany. I think Germans learn to make this (purists learn to make the components from scratch) when they are still suckling at the breast. The base is a purchased “Biscuitboden,” which bears no resemblance to an American biscuit (or a British cookie), but is more like a thin cake with an outer rim (perhaps this is what the Brits refer to as “sponge”). Anyways, top the “cake” with vanilla pudding made from a package (German brands work best, but American ones will suffice) and fresh strawberries (or plums, or cherries, or berries, or canned mandarin oranges, or all of the above — whatever is available). To keep it fresh and glossy looking, you then mix up some “Tortenguss” and pour it over the top. Tortenguss is something that I will be bringing back to the US in bulk since it’s small and light and I don’t know of an American equivalent. It’s sort of a mostly-flavorless Jell-O which you pour over the fruit and then it quickly jells and seals everything for a very “professional” look. You can get it in a red tint too, but that seems a bit over-the-top for me. OK, in looking for links, I found frag-mutti.de (translates to “ask mommy.de” :-)) which says you can boil gelling sugar (not sure that’s available in the US either) and water or juice to make a “guss.” A vegan link suggests water or juice, honey, and agar, which sounds pretty do-able. Sorry for all the parentheses and quotation marks.
Oh, and look who had to jump in when she saw that I was going to take a picture of the Torte! I guess she figured she needed to be part of the composition since she helped put the strawberries on the dessert.
I have absolutely no idea when I am going to emerge from this crafty zone I’m in and return to “serious” art-making. Without any deadlines, I’m feeling like I should turn my attention to all the little things that pop into my head. Why not? I’m having a deep need to make practical things. You know you’ve succeeded when they are used. I’m also thinking that maybe after the intensity of last year, and the introspection with which I started out this year, maybe my subconscious is telling me to take it easy for a while. Hence a deep desire to sit and knit on my Chevron Scarf all day. OK, that could also just be my conscious telling me that it really doesn’t want to clean the bathrooms.