18 Apr

Fabric Collage Class

I’ve realized it’s time for a little bit of self promotion. After the success of my Fabric Collage class in Halle, I’ve been able to line up a few more locations for the course closer to home.

Fabric Collage Class

Saturday 12 May at Heidelberg Arts & Crafts Center (on Patton Barracks) from 1000 until 1700-ish. Please call or stop in to the shop to sign up (Charlotte’s already signed up, so we need some more students to join her. Deborah in Heidelberg, I’m talking to you since I know you are reading this!) This class will be given in English, but I’m willing to translate if anyone needs it.
Saturday 9 June at Naehgalerie in Viernheim from 1000 until 1600-ish. Please call or visit Renate to sign up. She’s got a great classroom, so we’re hoping to get enough students interested to make this class happen. I’m going to attempt to do this class primarily in German, so expect a lot of charades!
S’Ladle in Wieblingen (date still to be determined). This cute little shop has a small classroom, so this class will probably fill up as soon as we choose a date.

Hopefully I haven’t saturated the market, but I figured the as long as the interest is there on the part of those willing to hire me to teach, I need to take advantage of it. We had a great time in Halle, so I expect these to be fun classes as well. I’m putting the dates on my home page as well so the info is handy.

17 Apr

I’m tagged? Really?

I was going to remove this post, but then I decided to just change it. Diane tagged me with this Thinking Blogger meme that’s going around. Then Kathy and Terry tagged me as well. You know when you’re having a conversation with someone and you finally think of a witty comeback, but now it’s three minutes later and the window of opportunity to use it is closed? That’s how I feel now. I’m very flattered that anyone would think of my blog as one to inspire thinking. And my knee-jerk reaction was to join the fun. So I jumped in and shared five blogs that make me “think.” I wish I could be all highbrow and rattle off a bunch of intellectual sites. But, no, my computer time is pretty escapist, and I haven’t been able to maintain enough concentration for things erudite since having kids. Mostly, I peruse crafty sites, and keep the conversation lite (lite spelling intended). So, I listed five sites that make me think a bit, and even tried to expand out of our usual Artful Quilter’s blog ring. But then I got to thinking (uh oh) and decided that no, I don’t read any “thinking blogs,” so I have none to share. Life doesn’t have to be all-inclusive and I don’t have to list or write anything if I don’t have anything appropriate to add. It would be nice to redefine or be broad about what makes me think, but really, I don’t think that’s what Ilker Yoldas had in mind when he (I’m assuming “he” here, sorry if I’ve assumed wrong due to my western european limited name knowledge base) tagged five blogs and started the meme. No, I think a true thinking blog should inspire us to go out and change our lives, or our politics, or simply walk the walk of the talk we talk, or even gaze introspectively at our navels and ponder the philosophical meaning of the world. Nope, there’s none of that here. And I’m OK with it. (Yes, I realize the irony of this post now being a “thinking” post.)

17 Apr

T-Shirt Skirt and Other Diversions

I tried to finish the red jacket, but after a very frustrating Sunday morning I realized that it wasn’t my error making the buttonholes, it was the machine’s. So, with that project out of the picture until I could get the machine fixed, what’s a girl to do?

The best friend of one of our neighbors manages the Thrift Shop on Post. Although there is rarely the kind of treasures we all see on so many hip blogs, she does supply my neighbor’s daughter with a never-ending stream of gently used clothes. Which, of course, means we get handed down the hand-me-downs when she’s done with them. The last batch had more T-shirts than one little girl could possibly wear. Since Katja loves stretchy, comfy clothes — and especially skirts — I cut gores from four T-shirts and made this skirt:

T-shirt skirt

I also have to admit to being sucked in by the Chevron Scarf love that’s going around (it’s all Kathy’s fault). I went to Anette’s for yummy yarn, and although she didn’t have Koigu, she did have the equally beautiful Noro Silk Garden and Print by the Italian Filatura di Crosa.

Chevron Scarf WIP

Although I wanted my scarf more stripey than not, I was a little concerned at first that the slow variegation of color in the Silk Garden was making the stripes too distinct. I soldiered on, and now that I’ve gone through a few color changes I’m liking what I see. In true Kristin style, the gauge is different, so my scarf is probably wider than the original, but it’s a scarf, so who cares! I’m totally loving my size 4 needles (smallest I’ve ever used) and thanks to the wonders of YouTube and Knittinghelp.com, I’m feeling more confident about my technique as well.

I made a quick trip this morning to see my favorite Bernina dealer, Renate, so the automatic buttonhole feature on my machine is functional again. Maybe I’ll be able to finish the jacket this afternoon.

13 Apr

Royalty for a Day

Wednesday was recovery day (from Legoland), but we (seven kids, four parents) hit the road again on Thursday. This time one of the neighbors took us to her home town of Ludwigsburg to the Baroque palace there and it’s fantabulous grounds.

Ludwigsburg Barock Residenz

It had the requisite manicured gardens and two glass-enclosed bistros. There was even a collection of functional amusement rides from the 1800s perfectly placed around a lovely fountain. The flowers were in their spring splendor, so I couldn’t resist taking a few pictures.

But the crowning glory was the Märchengarten and playground. Along a shaded walking path were cute little fachwerk buildings depicting favorite fairy tales. The animatronic figures were on the ugly side (I think there must have been one company which supplied all of Germany with creepy animatronic folk characters in the seventies, and no one’s been able to afford to get rid of them yet). But everything else was done so well that it overshadowed the somewhat cheesy dioramas. Even the hordes of screaming toddlers couldn’t tarnish the fairy tale. There was a babbling brook with a boat ride, goats to pet, shade and flowers, and these gorgeous metal cut-outs tucked into the landscaping.

The grounds had a castle tower as well, built in the Romantic period, in honor of a knight. Today, it is the setting for the Rapunzel story. Inside the tower you climbed the steps and took in the view from a window or two. Luckily, the romance was not spoiled by access to the top of the tower where one would undoubtedly discover that Rapunzel was actually just a winch (not a wench or witch).

Lest one worry that all this fairy tale sweetness was too much for the four boys in attendance, rest assured that they were perfectly happy running through the labyrinth, playing on the playground (with water pump, fountain and beached ship), and experiencing the wierdest swing EVER. Picture one of those swinging ship rides, but wider than it is long. Now, put it inside a cottage. Now imagine that while you are swinging back and forth in this big bench/swing thing, the room you are in is rotating around you, so it appears (and feels!) like you are making complete loops. It is the strangest experience I have ever had. The kids went three times in a row before they had to cry “uncle.” I’m glad I went on it before lunch and not after!

It never hurts to allow yourself a day of fantasy. 🙂

(Frog) Queen for a day

12 Apr

Turnbeutel

Also known as a gym bag. Zavi’s has been on it’s last leg for a while, so I decided to make a new one while we were on break. He chose the florescent fabric from my stash, and I chose to embroider one of his drawings on the bag. I love this drawing he did last year, especially since at the time, even Zavi couldn’t explain to me why there were spiders zip-lining from a bird (and yes, that is scissors to cut the spiders’ lines). Everything is fair game with kids. Zavi’s not wild about the drawing since he doesn’t even remember making it, but I wasn’t about to rip out the embroidery, especially for a boring old Pokémon drawing. I’m such a bad mom.

Turnbeutel (gym bag)

12 Apr

More Spring Break Fun

All the kids are on vacation this week — both those in the local German schools and those in American schools. So on Tuesday, the neighbors and I packed up our Germerican families and went to Legoland for the day. It was everything one would expect it to be, and since we are swimming pictures from no less than five visits to three Legolands in the last eight years, I don’t have much to show this time around.

The favorite attractions for our kids are driving-related. Zavi was extremely excited that this year he could go to the Fahrschule, where the kids learn and actually have to follow the rules of the road in their Lego cars. Katja went to the simpler Jr. Fahrschule. Also big this year was the Drome racing since Zavi is now tall enough to do that alone as well.

Lego Driving School

New this year is the pirate themed area (sorry Katrin, I didn’t get any foam swords for you). The best attraction had to be the boat ride where you and your shipmates can squirt water guns at the other boats or the onlookers. Of course, they can all squirt at you too. Great fun for a hot day.

Ahoy Mateys!

But watch out for Lego sharks!

Shark attack!

Oh, I couldn’t pass the bargain tent without checking what they had. As luck would have it, there were Schulränzen for about 75% off! I have a certain little girl who will be starting school in September and needs one of these. She needs to grow some over the summer so we can see her over the backpack though!

New school backpack

09 Apr

Seeing Red

Nope, no rants today, rather, a lot of happy red showing up in my projects. After the pants sucess yesterday, I dove into a (sort of) matching jacket today. It’s not done yet, as I need to sew the cuffs up, add buttons, and add patch pockets with a Fliegenpilz on one (waiting for the Fliegenpilz patch to arrive in the mail). The jacket is fully lined and started with a Burda pattern which I shortened and added the ruffles to. I have used an amazing amount of red top-stitch thread in the last two days, but it’s totally worth the extra effort. I’m really liking how these two projects are turning out.
Katja's Red Jacket WIP

And, speaking of red projects, I FINALLY painted and hung the shelf I’ve been wanting in my sewing room for about four months. (I’ve had the brackets for at least five years.) I painted my storage box (with a Fliegenpilz-inspired drawer), and covered a bulletin board with Terry’s great silk-screened fabric and a Fliegenpilz border, of course.

Sewing Room Shelf and Storage

In the name of “keeping it real,” I tried to refrain from cleaning up too much before taking these pictures. To be truthful though, I did move several piles of papers and works-in-progress to the bed on the other side of the room. I let the piles of blue and red fabrics stay since they matched. I’m not showing you the bed, but hopefully it will be cleaned off and have a coordinating quilt by the end of May when my MIL will claim this as her room for a while. Hmmm, May. Maybe not the quilt.
The pretty and tidy side of the Sewing Room

08 Apr

Everything Except Quilting

We’ve been keeping pretty busy here, Chez La Flamme. I had intended to blog stuff about three times, but I never got around to it, so here’s the (sort of) condensed version.

Thursday was the first day both kids were home for Osterferien (Spring Break), so we made homemade pretzels. Katja really enjoyed the “knetten” (kneading), although she wasn’t exactly efficient.

Poking, prodding....

She didn’t mind the sticky dough either.

Look, it's sticking to my fingers!

Friday we drove to Wiesbaden (where we used to live) to visit friends. Why is it that people HAVE to stop on overpasses and watch the cars?

Must. Watch. Cars.

The moms got a kid-free evening playing Bunco with other wives. I was the “ringer” from out of town and took home $90 in winnings! Somehow, I think I might not get invited back 😉

The next day we all dyed Easter eggs.

Not fancy, but the kids had fun.

Then we took a walk to see the baby sheep in the fields nearby.

Baby Sheep--awwww

Afterwards, we packed a lunch and took our friends to the Fasanerie on the other side of the city. It has a great playground I knew the kids would love, and lots of animals to see. Unfortunately, the playground is in the middle of renovations, so we couldn’t use it. It looks like it’s going to be even better than before, with water pumps, streams, bridges, chutes, lots of places to climb, lots of seating for parents and picnicking, etc. No problem, the kids were happy enough checking out the bunnies, sheep, deer, bears, wolves, martins, and buffalo. They loved feeding the sheep and deer.

There were lots of babies at the Fasanerie too. This little guy had just been born the night before:

Brand new baby

The boars had babies too. TS&WGH loved their racing stripes!

How could babies so cute grow up so ugly?

We came home Saturday night, and had an Easter feast for breakfast this morning. Then I retired to my sewing room and made a cute pair of pants from the red fabric I got at the Betty Barclay factory sale.

Cardiff Pants

I went a little mad last week and ordered trims, patches and patterns from a few German sources. I got this pattern (Cardiff) and the polka dotted trim at the knees (and hips) from Farbenmix. Hopefully, next week I’ll have a Farbenmix dress to show too (believe it or not, I may be able to work in some Oma fabric!). Now, I’m off to work on a jacket with the rest of the red fabric. Hopefully, I’ll get my Fliegenpilz patches and trim before I get too deep into that project.