Samstag, 31. März 2012

"I have heard a mother bird singin' in the rain..."

Its been so warm and sunny outside the last week we sort of got used to it. Sweet, sweet promises...
But for now we are back to the winter coats, heaters, cosy pillows and blankets. Aaron doesn't understand the sudden change of weather though and demands to go outside every day right after breakfast and right after lunch... I wish I had some more time inside to do stuff instead of being the only parent on a deserted playground in the rain. Just to see the joy in my sons face makes up for my wet feet though. Oh how he loves the outdoors!

But instead of being too sad about the cold outside we brought somemore spring inside. The embroidered pilow saying "Frühling" (Spring) I found at a thrift store the other day. I only wish the lady who has once stitched it with so much love would know that someone really appreciates her work again today.
Also we now have some pretty birds in our living room. There is a great tutorial and free pattern for those birds here, which I found via my beloved Pinterest. The pattern is very simple, a great project for kids and can be done by hand or maschine ( I used the maschine) and you can use all your leftover fabric scrapes. It has been so much fun to do some sewing again and I dearly enjoy our birds and the spring feeling they spread at home. I think they would also make lovely gifts for easter...

Welcome Spring 

I have heard a mother bird
 singin' in the rain, 
Telling all her little ones
 Spring has come again!
 I have seen a wave of green 
Down a lovely lane, 
Making all the hedges glad 
Spring has come again! 
I have found a patch of ground 
Golden in the sun,
 Crocuses are calling out 
Spring has just begun!

 Irene Thompson 

Freitag, 30. März 2012

{this moment}

Some time back, Soulemama came up with this wonderful tradition:
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. - 

Mittwoch, 28. März 2012

Yarn along - Preparing for Easter

Knittin and reading. My favourite things to complete a perfect day. So I am joining Ginny on Wednesdays for Yarn Along to share my passions with you. Come and join in if you like!

There has not been very much knitting in the last week, but a whole lot of weekend outdoors at the river, with the first bbq of the year, bare feet and some reading. I finally started with this novel that I found at the flea market a few weeks back. First I thought I wouldn't like it but I really enjoy it now. Its a not very challenging, easy read for sitting in the sun with a cup of coffee. For those of you who have not read it yet: it's about a woman, divorced, who travels to Italy to find pleasure, to India to find devotion and to Indonesia to learn how to combine those two things. I am still in Italy and constantly hungry. She really knows how to write about food. On my way back from work I was reading on the train and had to pass by a grocery store just to get some spinach pasta, ricotta and sundried tomatos to satisfy my cravings... How come Americans are the most passionate people when it comes to writing about Italy. All the good books I have read about Italy or that take place in Italy are actually written by Americans. They really must like that country... 

Some wee bit of knitting has been done though: a chicken and an egg. The chicken pattern again from this book and the egg pattern from the wonderful purl bee. I want to do a few more of both since they are great little gifts for easter and fast knits, once you do it ;-)
The yarn for the chicken is some left over from Aarons T-shirt Vest. The egg yarn is some handspun wool from my mum, dyed, more or less by accident because I was batik dyeing a table cloth and used that yarn to tie the cloth. I wish I had tied/dyed some more...

Last Saturday there has also been some easter crafting at work with my clients (people with learning difficulties). We did some paper easter eggs and egg cups and I just love how they turned out so I asked if I could show you some:

The eggs I have dyed with natural dyes and then scraped some lines with a knife. It just takes forever if you don't want to risk to break the egg, so nothing to feed a whole family on :-)

Totally out of context but still worth mentioning: did you read Ariannes post on Mindful Parenting over at Rhythm of the Home? I love it so!

Happy Knitting!

Freitag, 23. März 2012

On the road again

I grew up in a small city called Oldenburg in the north of Germany, not far from the border to Holland. The people in Oldenburg love their bikes, just like the dutch people and they have the same bike style: old fashioned, solid, very beautiful "dutch bikes" Riding a bike in Oldenburg is not for fitness, its a mean of transportation. Its the second thing kids learn after walking. During my childhood I rode my bike everyday to school, 6 km in the morning, 6 km in the afternoon and some more to go shopping or visit friends. It made me very independed even before I had a driver's licence. 

When I moved to Cologne for my studies I didn't give up cycling, despite the greater distances and the big traffic. 
Until I got pregnant... At one point I just didn't feel safe on my bike anymore with that belly and later, with the baby, there was never the right time to start it again and my bike was broken, then stolen.
But, last year my grandfather gave up his bike and he past it on to me. Since then it has patiently waited in the basement, unfortunatly with flat tires.
The last days I felt it coming. I promised myself no more springs without cycling. Boldness hit me though and I wanted to fix those tires myself. I spend all morning (like 5 hours!) with that bike. And a solid bike it is, very strong! I had a hard time and in the end my boyfriend did have to help a little but I did it, and was very, very proud to cycle to work in the afternoon. 

Aaron thought I had put up a new toy for him... He loves his own small bike (with four wheels) so much already, I think he's got that "oldenburg-blood" in him :-)

I took some pictures before I acctually started to unscrew the whole thing so that I would get it all back together again in the end...

... only to find out the chain was too short when all screws were back in place, so, like with some bad knitting, I had to do some "frogging".

In the end my hands looked like this and they still do (under the nails, if you have any idea how to remove that crazy stuff from under my nails please let me know!)

I put Aaron in that basket just for fun, not for riding. I have a kids seat for the carrier acctually but I am not sure if I will fix it because I have no idea how I will get off that mens bike if there is a kids seat at the back. I hardly get on that bike on my own...

So, in the afternoon on my way to work, I celebrated my first bike ride in almost two years, with some flowers. Have you seen a flower vase for a bike before? A friend of mine gave it to me but I had never really used it before, now it was the right time! I just love that vase, such a great feeling to have some flowers whereever you go. There is a crazy potter in the north of Germany who came up with that idea. He likes "bike vases, the arctic, pottery and pencils", sounds like a great chap, right?! You can get the vases here. (German site) And there are some wonderful pictures of bike vases on his site as well.

Have a wild weekend!!!

{this moment}

Some time back, Soulemama came up with this wonderful tradition:
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. - 

Mittwoch, 21. März 2012

Yarn Along - Spring Blessings

Knittin and reading. My favourite things to complete a perfect day. So I am joining Ginny on Wednesdays for Yarn Along to share my passions with you. Come and join in if you like!

Despite having attended my grandmothers funeral last weekend there has still been enough time and peace for some knitting. Spending time with my mum always means there is time to knit, time to be creative. I found some funny things she has come up with over the last month, like this cosy knitted lamp shade. Made with her own handspun yarn of course... I did sign up for some privat spinning classes with her during the easter holidays, I can't wait! Especially since I have found this great spinning inspirations here (in German, but its worth it just checking out the images!)

How is my own knitting doing? Well, there are still some sheep to be sent off... and there are a few babies due this summer, so I started a kicking bag like this one with that handdyed organic yarn I showed you last time. 

And somehow blogging is bringing me back to my roots it seems. I started to rediscover all that Waldorf stuff from my childhood. I feel like I never really appreciated it enough when I was a child, it had always just been there, for granted. Now, having my own child and wanting to provide for him the best, I return to what my mum used to do for us. Being at her place I explore all her books and find lots of inspiration there. Like the seasonal corner. I really want to get into that and make some sweet little dolls so I can prepare a small corner in our house that features the season outside. Btw, Marta is showing a very sweet daffodil doll here this week. So thats what the book "Jahrenzeitentische" is all about. Here you can find an English version of that book.
In one of my mums magazins I also found an amazing articel about wool art (not felted). How do you like the shepherds mobile and that beautiful fairy? I am in love!

Our beautiful calender made it official, "Frühlingsanfang", yesterday spring has started!
And spring it was over here with lots of sun and flowers:

Yesterday I was fortunate to get paid for spending a day contemplating. (Being a protestant,) I work as a social worker for the Caritas, a catholic social service organisation. One of the benefits of working for Caritas is that we get some extra (paid) time off every year for contemplation, bible rounds and days in a monastery etc. I love to use that offer to find some peace within the rush of the week. And yesterday was one of those days that I spend with some co-workers talking about blessings. We read some old irish blessings, some bible quotes and we wrote our own blessing. Here is mine, translated into English as good as I could. I wrote it for you so I hope you can feel the blessing.

Montag, 19. März 2012

How to comfort?

Last weekend we have been up north ( a three hours drive) at my parents place. It was my grandmothers funeral, who had died February 3rd. It might sound strange to you to wait six weeks between the death and the funeral, but she was burned and there was no earlier appointment possible for the funeral. My grandparents had decided to be buried in a forest. A special forest where you can buy your own tree and be buried underneath it. I don't know if that is possible in other countries or even far more common than here in Germany.
It is a beautiful grave I believe. It would comfort me to know I will find rest under a tree one day. Is it ever too early to decided how you want to be buried? Unfortunatly not I guess.
A bit strange it was to see my grandfathers name at the tree already (there is only a small sign, saying who rests where) since he is still alive...
The forest is a very good place for my grandparents who disliked churches so much and still wanted to be close to God. A forest is full of God.

Six weeks have past since my grandma died. Weeks that I had time to get used to the feeling of her gone. I thought about her a lot, tried to find memories. Memories I found, but no good ones. And that really shocked me. She ment a lot to me, she was a very important person in my life, she lived in the house right next to ours, we spend very much time with her, almost every day of my childhood. They toke us on many holidays all over Germany. But all the good memories that I find are somehow more connected to my granddad, not  to her. She has been very demanding, dominating, strict. We were always a little or a lot scared of her. There was too much love from her side, but no effection. She wanted to make us hers, she never aproved of my mum. She let us know that. It makes me very sad to realize now that I can't find good memories. I am still looking...

They really loved each other, for over 60 years. They have shown me that life long love exists. They cared for each other all their  life, for good and for bad.

They have traveled the world together. Now my granddad is left. He was a quiet man, never talked much. She did all the talking, she did it all.
Now he can't stop talking, the words just run out of him. It is unbearable. I know, grieving people are never easy, that's not how it works, that's not what its all about. I know. But I can't be with him when he talks nonstop, for hours, only old stories that I have heared so many times before. It drives me crazy!!! I don't have that patience. I don't mind him crying (and he cries a lot, which I think is good), I can deal with sadness. I can hug. But listening, my, I am soooo bad at that, I never knew. My plans had been very different for that weekend. I had imagined to spend a lot of time with my granddad, to comfort him, to detract him from the pain, but after the first evening, lost in his memories, I got scared and avoided to spend any more time with him and felt soooo bad about it. I know grieve is never convenient. I am so sorry grandpa, I hope I can listen to you again when I come back next time, I am still trying.

Freitag, 16. März 2012

{this moment}

Some time back, Soulemama came up with this wonderful tradition:
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. - 

Mittwoch, 14. März 2012

Yarn along - rather sheepish

Knittin and reading. My favourite things to complete a perfect day. So I am joining Ginny on Wednesdays for Yarn Along to share my passions with you. Come and join in if you like!

Sometimes I could spend all day reading blog posts, getting lost in inspiration. I love the deep connection I feel to all you creativ people out there no matter how different we might be, we all know what it feels like when the creativ spark lights our hearts.
And sometimes one thing leads to the other. A few weeks ago I read Irens post about spinning and lent (in German). She also recommended a book, talking about the simplicities in life, perfect for a lent read, and only a few days later I found myself caught in the beautieful, yet simple life of Marie des Brebis, (only available in German and French, sorry!) A strong woman who spent her life as a shepherd in the french hills of the last century. It is a story that brought tears to my eyes and lifted my heart with joy.
I so wish someone would translate it into English for you!

I have always loved sheep and through reading that book I remembered an old diy book my mum had given to me from her stash when Aaron was born. It gives lots of examples on how to create natural toys for kids. I knew it had a pattern on how to knit sheep and thats what I did the last days, one or two sheep every day... so I will have a few for the spring table and some to give away for easter. I tried different yarns but I think I liked the very hard handspun wool best that my mum spun a while ago. Its a very rough. itchy yarn and not very good to use in projects for clothes but for these sheep it is perfect. I have some skeins in brown and in white.
I am thinking about giving away a mum and a baby sheep (and a copie of the pattern if you like) so if you are interested in a little easter package let me know :-) (if more than one of you are interested, I will choose randomly).

As you may remember I spend last sunday morning at the fleamarket and have shown you some of the treasures. I didn't show you one find yet though, my favourite one, because I thought it would fit best to my yarn along post. I found this maschine to spin yarn skeins into balls but I have no idea how to call that thing, neither in English nore in German, so if you do, please let me know! Such a great invention and so much fun. Aaron loves it too... I just wish I had more skeins to spin.

That yarn in the picture is some organic wool and after knitting with my last stash of (bought) handdyed yarn I was deperate to dye my own. I did some research and because I didn't have any ingredientes for a natural dye I used easter egg color as shown in this very great (German) tutorial. My first try in blue and green looked like this and I also did some in purple and pink. And now I want to try many, many different styles to dye yarn. I can't wait to get into that. Have you dyed any yarn yourself before, what is your favorite method?

Happy Knitting!

Sonntag, 11. März 2012

Small Things and Sundays

Porridge with dates and cardamom

Sunday is all about the small things for me. I take more time to enjoy the small beauties around me, a pretty set table, flowers, music, sleep, some knitting here and there. And even a bowl full of breakfast porridge can make me happy. This morning I broke the routine of porridge with raisins and substituted raisins with dates and added some cardomom seeds. So this sunday started somehow arabian style. To make porridge I boil 1/2 liter of milk and stir in a cup of oats. If you add Raisins or dates you don't even need to sweeten with honey or sugar (which comes in handy as I am still giving up sugar for lent)...

I like using dates from the turkish stores that come in packages like this. They are usually much fresher and more juicy than the dates you get at the grocery store (in Germany). When I use cardamom I prefer the seeds to the powder because pestled the flavour is much intense.

I am joining Julie at Mat & Mi for the Sonntagssüß collection today. The table (at Pinterest) is all set!

Talking about a set table and small things I found this beautiful article at "Rhythm of the Home" about the dignity of cloth napkins, including a very simple tutorial on how to sew them yourself. I instantly fell in love with all of it, pulled out some thrifted fabrics from the shelf and made my first four cloth napkins. I hope many more will join the basket in the next weeks.

Make sure to check out the latest issue of Rhythm of the Home, there is so much goodness to be found!

For me March is not only the beginning of spring but also the start of my very favourite season: fleamarket season! There is no better way to spend a Sunday morning!
I even love the word thrifting, there is no word in the German language that comes close to the meaning of it.  Today was my first real day of thrifting this year and I came home proudly with two full bags of treasury. Besides the usual kids clothing that I always pick up those are my special finds of the day:

A sweet little baby waldorf doll (for 2 Euro, less than 3 Dollar!!!)

This and some more rather exotic doll clothing
A vintage enamel jug
A very sweet childrens book from my favorite illustrat0r about a girl called Milli having a secret

I am showing you the secret though, because I just love that picture of the friendly sea monster Lolly...
I hope you have had a very beautiful sunday too with lots of small things...