Tuesday, 29 December 2009


Sonata :

I've always loved kaleidescopes . Even tiny ones are entrancing , though difficult to photograph !

This is maybe why making miniature quilts is so appealing . The geometric shapes and colour combinations and the unpredictability of a One Patch is a constant surprise .
It's very relaxing and definitely addictive . For those of you who don't quilt , there is a game on zefrank.com , where you can have hours of fun building an endless series of kaleidescopic images on screen , though vertigo might ensue .

This little quilt is now going up on Etsy . I't's taken a while to finish , this month's been rather busy . But I've enjoyed making it enormously . Each of the 400 hexagons changing the end result .

And yes , one of my New Year resolutions is to learn how to link properly !

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

A very merry you know what to all...

Smitonius and Sonata:

It must be Christmas, our respective households have built Bethlehem in a day (in Sonata's case, she built two - the one on the top and bottom left hand side!):

And this year 'Chez Smitonius', we opted for a black plastic tree, having had one organic tree - full of bugs - one year, and one live one - planted in the garden to never thrive again! Used and re-used, this one might be more eco than most...

We both hope you all have a very merry Xmas, wherever in the world you are!


A Grumbling Sonata :

It's still snowing sporadically but the warmth from the window seems to have liberated a couple of the pansies in the window box .

I , on the other hand , am not a hardy winter variety and must climb into everything wooly I possess to go off to the shops for Christmas treats . Well , I say treats ....food of any kind would do by this stage . Given that our larder seems to be stocked with Roasted Tomatoes , coffee and raisins , I need to get to the nearest supermarket ....walking through aforementioned snow , with a rucksack .

All this "We live in town , we don't need a car and the trains are so good ", rather fails when you can't even find the bike path , let alone cycle on it .

And the trains ? All the points are frozen ( from one side of Europe to the other , it seems ) . And a lot are still gas-warmed . Guess what ? The snow puts the little burst of flame out ! Who'd have thought it .

This was Saturday ....now the river is frozen over .

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Mild Moment Of Panic

Sonata :
A quick peek outside the door this morning , followed by a moment of panic .

Then pre-coffee brain remembered that we don't have two cats and , even when we did , we never put them out for the night .
But my winter pansy window box might want to come in to sit next to my mutant hyacinths .

Snow is now at 20 inches and growing .

Friday, 18 December 2009

What A Difference A Week Makes

Sonata :

This time last week I was getting off the bus in Bremen , a city in its full Christmas glory .

Stalls full of stars

Stalls full of shiny red apples , big as a baby's head

Red tree ornaments , like these displayed so beautifully in a wonderful three-storey , beamed shop in the oldest part of town . A shop solely devoted to Christmas in all its gold , silver and red glitter and gleam .

All manner of delicacies were sampled . Appel Strudel and wild boar , goose and Gluhwein , baked mushrooms under a bubbly cheese blanket , baked potatoes and sour cream ( so retro ! ) and spicy fried potatoes ( so fattening ! ) . A Sunday morning breakfast buffet in a little cafe , full of young families and ancient old ladies , all cheerfully eating their way through smoked salmon , cheeses , hams and sausage before moving onto scrambled eggs , rice pudding , yoghurts and plates of melon , pineapple or kiwi fruit . I counted seven different sorts of bread and apparently missed the "Kellogs ". All for 5 Euros 95. a head ....all at a Tchibo near you ....if you live in Germany , that is .
Not to mention medieval mulled fruit wines

though not , unfortunately , the beautifully named Dragonfire wine .
We all enjoyed every calorie-laden colourful moment .
But this week it's snowing

It's dark

and the only flash of colour to be seen is the occasional loony cyclist
Not me though ....I'm tucked up at home , eating a slightly less medieval pizza and happily contemplating two weeks off .

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Xmas spirit in Bremen


If anyone had told me that I would positively enjoy Christmas fairs on my birthday when I was younger, I would have looked horrified.... I used to refuse to do anything seasonal until the 14th of December. I appear to have mellowed, as Bremen is my fourth or fifth continental fair visited.

The destination was chosen because it meant that Smitonius and Sonata could meet up for a week-end (in person rather than virtually, for a change!), but we were all pleasently surprised by Bremen's Christmas fair. There are a few lovely quarters to visit, as well as two quite distinct fairs. One of them is a Medieval or folk inspired one, which is lit by flame light at night (admitedly, it is atmospheric but a lot easier to navigate through it by day).

The main square was full of seasonal goodies:

and lights and crowds drinking mulled wine and eating sausages (well, the most popular food item seemed to be Schweinebraten actually, cooked over logs).

Although Father Christmas and the entire cast and crew of the nativity are very evident, the real stars of the city in any season are the Bremen musicians: in ceramic, fluffy toys, t-shirts, postcards, and sculpted.
But the best souvenir of all had to be these huge loaves handmade in the Medieval market section (Sonata modelling her loaf straight from the oven):

Fortunately, we had had the foresight to pay for a bag to be checked in - that loaf alone would have tipped the scales!

Thursday, 10 December 2009

I'll Have Mine Without The Grapes , Please

Sonata :

Actually , whatever we eat this weekend .....Bratworst was mentioned , more than once , I believe ......I doubt this Dutch recipe for sauerkraut with grapes

will be on the menu . At least I hope not .

But Smitonius and her partner are winging their way to Bremen this weekend and I will be joining them . We're going for the Christmas Market and will , incidentally , be celebrating Smitonius' birthday .
We'll have 2 days to stuff our faces with Bratworst , delicious bread , lovely beer , loads of hefty winter stews and Gluhwijn . I'll give the hot wine a miss , but , unlike the others , will definitely eat some sauerkraut ... without fruit . All the weaving our way through the dazzling displays of Angels , gnomes and candles ....not to mention stalls of steaming Bratworst can make one peckish .

On Sunday we'll rush home , clutching loads of pretty wooden Christmas tree decorations , sock wool , more lovely bread and , I don't know about everyone else , the 8 year old inner me would love a big feathery hat with ribbons .

And lots and lots of photos , which we'll inflict on you next week .

Sunday, 6 December 2009



I'm tidying up for the builders . Yes , I know I tidied up for the builders a while ago , but the windows take 6-8 weeks to be made in Belgium . So now we're nearly at the top of the queue .
Meanwhile a few more things have been acquired . ( Whoever squawked at the back ... I've heard it before , with a Dutch accent ) . Acquisitions must be sorted out , put away , categorised ..... So you can see how things can begin to go wrong , can't you .

These must be introduced to the herd

And then there's things that have no obvious place , which is why I can buy them for 10 cents . I'd love to know who painstakingly filled the pages of this sketch book , over 50 years ago , with faint (traced ?) drawings and tiny pattern pieces . Did she ever upscale her patterns with this handy measuring tape , and make the clothes ? I'd love the blouse on the right at the bottom .

And then it seems great fun to photograph odd pages and make a collage of them .

Which would explain why , on my own this evening , I'm now scuttling about and planning a bacon butty* and rocket salad for supper .
* a butty is a sandwich , not the delicate kind without crusts and cut in triangles .

Friday, 4 December 2009

Ornament exchange 2009


I participated in this year's Christmas ornament exchange:

And, whilst I am hoping that Kirstin has received my package by now, I have just received hers. She is one half of Signs and Salvage which create funky wooden signs with salvaged wood, and look at what I received - thank you!:

Hopefully Santa will think I have been nice this year....