09 Dec

Schneeflöckchen, Weissröckchen

Katja sang this song all the way home from school; but Friday, instead of just imagining Fantasia-style snowflakes dancing in their white skirts, I had a clear vision of how to make snowflake fairies a lá wooden-headed Jahreszeitkinder and Waldorf figures. I couldn’t wait for TS&WGH to take the kids out bowling so I’d have a few hours to make these little ladies.

Dancing snowflakes

09 Dec

Ancient Mariners

So what was in the box with the surprise house door-hanger?

Two Herzenart Vikings!! I have been admiring these (and the Dream Guardians and Mana too) for many, many months. A little Christmas-time special pricing was just the push I needed to actually buy one. I had to have the cute girl Viking (she’s got the greatest fuzzy stawberry-blonde braids), but of course, she needed a friend. I also decided that these were not for the kids (they have Ugly Dolls and monsters made by Judy Coates-Perez’s daughter, and their own creations we’ve made, and a slew of other stuffed animals, and…), so they would live on our bed and coordinate a bit with the Star/Compass quilt.

Pretty nice, I think:

Herzenart Vikings navigating with a Mariner's Lone Star Compass

Viking Pair

08 Dec

Mannheimer Weihnachtsmarkt

I’ll be completely screwed when we eventually return to the states. Every brewery here is a microbrewery, and Christmas is just not Christmas without the Weihnachtsmärkte. Looking back on my December posts from last year and the year before, it’s all about German markets. So, here we go: yet another post about what makes December worth looking forward to.
Although I had a list of possible things to buy (which we didn’t find) we really went for the atmosphere.

Typisch

And lunch.

bratwurst -- yummmm!

Oh, and the rides.

They rode ponies too.

Sometimes it’s the little touches — like Mercedes hubcaps and a MacGyvered sink on the roasted chestnut train.

The pack of (probably inebriated) guys randomly singing Christmas songs was pretty fun too.

07 Dec

All Presents, All the Time

It sure feels like that around here, and not in a bad way.

Yesterday, being Nikolas Tag, seems a fitting day for an avalanch of presents anyway. The kids were admittedly a bit disappointed. In trying not to get too wrapped up in gifts and sweets just for the sake of gifts and sweets, I may have taken it a bit too far. I only put one small-ish chocolate Nikolas in each kid’s boot. They preferred last year when they got Ugly Dolls with their chocolate. The day improved though when the boy I tutor in English brought candy-filled boots for each kid.

I spent the entire morning wrapping presents and boxing them up to mail to my mom’s house. My fingers are crossed that everything arrives in time for Christmas. Since we will be seeing both our immediate families there was just too much stuff to take in our luggage AND expect to fit winter clothes in too.

I got a little help with some of the wrapping. Katja illustrated this bag for me:

Santa and Chimney

Then I went to my favorite yarn shop for a knit night and our hostess bestowed handmade cookie scenery on each attendee. A chocolate Nikolas (not handmade) and a three dimensional cookie tree in sugar snow. Yummmm.

Today I opened a box from Susanne expecting to find her part of our sliced quilt project. Not only did I find that, but there was a surprise Fliegenpilz too! What a great gift. I immediately added it to my fantasy windowsill forest. Thank you Susanne!

Fliegenpilz

It goes perfectly with the candle holder from my hand sewing friends and the results of two of the kits I bought.

So, this morning the hand sewing group met at my house, and being our last get-together before Christmas, we had a bit of a mini-Christmas with hand-made pincushions, angel doll ornaments, bags with hexagon templates, Japanese quilt books we ordered, and home made Stollen for all. (Plus the birthday mushroom above.) Thank you Johnny, Ulla, Christine, Regine, and Laurel. The candle holder also reminds me of three packages that have arrived, but I can’t open them yet since they are for my birthday next week.

If all that wasn’t enough, a package arrived this afternoon with a special treat I ordered, PLUS an extra unexpected present! A house to hang somewhere. We decided it looked best on the door to Katja’s room which is very pink and red too. Thank you Sandra (and Friederike).
house door hanger

Not to brag (too much), but it does seem like all presents all the time around here. 🙂

07 Dec

More Henrika

I don’t think I ever posted the goodies I got at the Kreativ Welt (craft fair) in Wiesbaden at the beginning of November. The only thing on my shopping list that I found was wool stuffing. But, I also walked out with impulse purchases of a stuffed dragon kit for my son, a couple of little kits for me, and a few meters of super soft fabric for an outfit for my daughter.

The original plan was a shirt and pants out of purpley stretch velveteen and a smock out of turquoise paisley pinwale corduroy. Katja nixed the smock idea in favor of a jumper (the American dress-you-wear-something-under kind, not the British woolly-sweater kind). Then I wimped out on the shirt and pants and went the easy route of another Henrika dress. We love the dress. It’s holiday perfect. The jumper is cut — now all I have to do is sew.

Another Henrika Dress

03 Dec

No Humbug Here

As part of my “no bah humbug” vow this year, we decorated the house this weekend. No tree meant things went up pretty quick. We even had time to bake some cookies on Saturday.
Yo-Yo Garland

My husband says I have a pretty impressive collection of crêches for a heathen. Who can resist arranging dolls into little scenes? Certainly not Katja and I.

Five Natvity Sets

To balance the religious display on the credenza, I also set up a rather more germanic, pagan, seasonal forest of sorts on the windowsill. It’s a Fliegenpilz Christmas here! I loved tucking all my favorite little figures in too. It’s an eclectic mix of mushrooms and mushroom people, star babies, babies in walnut halves, Jahreszeit Kinder, Swedish horses, nutcrackers, and a Russian Santa Katja insisted we add.

Fantasy Forest

I noticed that Nic’s daughter is on the same wavelength as well. I think we need some deer too. Did you notice Nic’s Advent Calendar/Cups? So simple and yet so fabulous!

Back to us, our mix of traditions comes together on the table in this year’s Advent Wreath Plate. It’s got the candles AND the mushrooms (all on a plate made by my son).

Advent Plate with Fliegenpilz

Now I need to go put up some lights. Maybe I need to start in the windowsill forest…

02 Dec

Scarves

One can never have too many scarves.

Good with Glühwein too!

This yummy little one is from Emily, who decided to Pay it Back after I sent her a Pay it Forward postcard. It is soooooooooooooo soft! I have wanted a ruffly scarf like this for over a year now, but hadn’t gotten around to making one. Thanks Em! And thanks for the silk scraps and cutie-patootie gloves too (Katja took those).

Rubblework: The Man Scarf

And then there’s The Man Scarf. This year my sister and step-siblings and our significant others have drawn names (actually, Mom drew the names for us), so we each only give one gift. I got my step-sister’s boyfriend whom I have never met. I hear that he is a tree-hugging computer geek type who has recently discovered that scarves are not just fashion accessories for metrosexuals, but are actually capable of keeping a normal guy warm too. That was just the excuse I needed to try out Pink Chalk Studio’s Rubblework scarf pattern. Sure, I could make my own version of a Man Scarf, but I’ve been thinking that if I want anyone to support me as an artist, I could also do my part to support other indie artists and crafters too. Besides, with Kathy’s excellent design and perfect diagram, I was able to whip up a simple, yet attractive, scarf in no time at all. I have two comments about the scarf: 1. DO take the time to press the seams open as suggested when you sew the front to the back — I used a rolled-up towel as I don’t have a tailor’s ham like Kathy –it really does make a difference; 2: DON’T trim the corners as close as the pattern suggests when working with a loose weave like flannel — I blew out two corners (nothing top-stitching and a bit of Fray Check didn’t fix though).

CD size
And if, for some reason, the scarf is seen as the modern equivalent to a tie for Father’s Day, it is also the perfect width to wrap up the rest of the gift.