Saturday night ramblings

That was an epic fail, huh? I dropped out of the advent calendar challenge like the apple onto Newton's head. I'm sorry, but I got overwhelmed by life. As a matter of fact I still am overwhelmed by life, but it's getting a little better, let's say, every other day.

Today the gerbils moved to the new bunny room. I don't quite trust Ponder yet, he gets so excited when his favorite TV program moves that I decided to lock the door again.
My comics are on their shelves, so are my love stories, the Shakespeare collection, and the Patrick Star figure signed by Stephen Hillenburg. And I'm up-to-date with my laundry. Actually I'm feeling pretty good right now.

I also created one or the other thing. I made a few wire knit pendants with crystal trees of life ... lives ... crystal bonsais. I loomed, I told Ponder a lot to stop whatever he was doing (sometimes it involved claws, sometimes his act as the black screen of doom), I gave Esme her meds, kissed Meffi on the head and brushed Greebo (suspecting by now that he's really a Yeti with all that hair) and I watched loads of DVDs giving me more ideas ... if I only knew how to realize them yet ...

I ate too much around Christmas, I rarely check my mailbox (can you tell I'm not expecting a bead order?), and I just turned on the dishwasher.
I still need to pack up a swap piece and the giveaway prizes from the 1st of December (no, I wasn't lazy, but the first two winners I drew never got back to me, not even after several messages).
I fed my chai addiction with more chai.

And right now I'm staring at a bag full of shells, nope, update, I just picked a piece out ...

*elevator music*

.... two hours later ... 

Saturday night ramblings don't really have to make sense, do they? ;-)


Busy, busy, busy or The fifteenth door

WIPs, WIPs, WIPs. Busy, but in a good way. While there's paint getting splashed all over the walls in the bunny room, I sit and loom. Of course I have a hard time getting up afterwards. I'm an old lady and my back is still not 100 % ok after I threw it out. I should take more breaks and lie down in between, but I'm busy, you know *tearing at my hair*

The cats love it, they are taking turns in staying on my lap.
Wanna see one of my pieces? No, it's not a zombie with a dead stare in his eyes, you would have to see the whole piece to recognize it, but I can't take chances as it's a Christmas gift.

I just wanted to show that I'm alive, not kicking much, but not just slouching about, either ;-)


The fourteenth door

I just read about the shooting in an elementary school in Connecticut. I can't even start to think about something to write today.
It brings back memories of the shooting not that far from here a few years ago, memories of the feelings we all had, the speechlessness, the helplessness, the questions why someone would do that, and the incredible sadness.
My thoughts are with the families.


Last minute or The thirteenth door

It's the same each and every year. I find the first Christmas gift in August and it makes me feel safe. Suddenly it's December then, and all the great ideas I had during the last months are in that brain drawer which is stuck. Too late to grease it now or call a brain drawer expert. Time is running out, the moment to panic has come.
Slowly some of the ideas come back. Wait, let me turn on the Christmas radio, that should help the thought process.
It's not as if we make big gifts, but I do take a certain pride in trying to put thought into what I give. That takes time I don't have anymore now.
A list. Yes, I just need to make a list. Brother, sister, brother ... check ... sister, brother, Mom ... friend ... can't forget to take that stuff to work on Monday. Where did I put the bag? Oh, Ponder, please, not now. Get off my desk. No, we can snuggle in a minute. I should be done in a minute ... thinking of 4,089,578 gifts. Maybe slightly longer than a minute. Possibly three.
Oh, I love that song, I can totally get lost in it. Even if I might regret it those ten songs later that I can also get lost in. Or maybe not because it puts me in a good mood. I just love Christmas carols.

Come here, Ponder, snuggle time, and I'll sing to you, too.


Strange galaxies or The twelfth door

Any idea what you see in the following pictures?

Actually it's simply ice on my skylight. I had hoped for some nice icicles to take pictures of, but all the good icicles hang from the roof of the house in the back, and I would hate for them to think I'm trying to stalk them.
This looks kind of cool as well, however, don't you think?

For someone who dislikes winter as much as I do I do like the look of ice really a lot. If I don't have to walk around in it too much, that is. Now I feel the urge to make something with rock crystal!


Christmas decorations or The eleventh door

I still got time to decorate, right? I mean I never decorated much anyway since the feline monsters took over the house. This time not even the hallway decoration is set up properly, though.
The wire crochet ornaments and embroidered icicles are hanging, but that's it.

Shame on me. I'll keep you updated and hope to be able to post a picture of what little decoration I do soon.
Maybe it'll give you the kick or urge to decorate yourself. Please don't tell, people, you are all already done!! ;-)


Finds of the week - Angels or The tenth door

What's Christmas time or an advent calendar without angels? After all I couldn't resist myself, you remember the angel earrings I showed you the other day.

So I packed some food, put on a warm coat and went out into the cold to see if I could find some ... and guess what, there's a whole happy crowd of them hanging out on Zibbet.

Our first angel is crafted from wood and maybe not what you would have expected. It reminds me of what I've seen in modern churches. Sometimes an angel just isn't chubby and small.

Wood angel by Sawdusted

Now this is a real Christmas angel, ready to guard your tree. And you can even choose a color to make it match perfectly!

Crochet angel tree topper by NGB Lilsprout Boutique

And here we have the chubby kind you have been waiting for. What a happy little angel and so cute!

Blond angel ornament by Family Footprints

We already know that angels come in all kinds of shape, so how about this "skyhound". We also know dogs can be great guardian angels. This charm comes in silver or bronze.

Skyhound charm by Feathered Gems

This was just a very small selection of the angel community ... I hope you enjoyed meeting them.


Quote of the week or The ninth door

It's time for the first Christmas movie quote from my all-time favorite Christmas movie.

Actually it's not really a quote because no one says anything. It's a picture of the Christmas tree that Dudley, the angel who came to the bishop's house to help on so many levels, is decorating. For me it pretty much set the image of what a Christmas tree has to look like.

Now if only I had an angel to set up a cat-safe tree like this for me! It would probably have to be in a cage ...

The Bishop's Wife, USA, 1947


Christmas markets or The eighth door

Today a friend called and asked if I wanted to come downtown to the Christmas market. I hate crowds. Granted, our market is not exactly huge. Still too full, though. And it's cold out.

I remember the time we went to the Nuremberg Christmas market, about 30 years ago, a little field trip with our German-American club "Kontakt". I remember the walk to the market vividly, but I can't tell that story here, and I remember feeling as if I was about to drown in people, and back then I wasn't even that bad about crowds.
I was in Stuttgart where I work only once, as early as possible. A swift walk over the market, a cup of mulled wine and off I was again.

Am I missing some of the Christmas spirit by not going there? What's your opinion?


Gas cooking and baking recipe calendar or The seventh door

I introduced this calendar already in March, the 1952 edition in that case. Since the recipe for today was "roast saddle of venison" (on an ordinary Monday (back then, not today)??), I decided to check the 1958 edition instead.
Pineapple macaroons - now how does that sound?

The ingredients are:
3 egg whites
0.8 lb grated almonds
3 canned pineapple slices, cut up very small
0.5 lb sugar
1 tablespoon of pineapple juice
0.1 lb crystallized pineapple chunks

For the icing: 4 tablespoons of pineapple juice, 0.5 lb powdered sugar

Beat the egg whites until stiff. Add the almonds and the pineapple pieces, then the sugar and pineapple juice. Make macaroons from the dough and put on a baking tray powdered with flour to dry. After a few hours put the tray in your gas oven (after all this is what the calendar is about) and bake for 20 minutes on 2 (180° C or 356° F). Afterwards glaze the macaroons and decorate with the crystallized pineapple.

Ok, who's going to make these for me?

The 1958 calendar cover picture ;-)


A spaceman came travelling or The sixth door

Great. Now the GPS had broken down and he had not the faintest idea where he was. A strange looking planet for sure. Well, it didn't help to keep thinking about it. What he needed now was a place for the night, in the morning he would repair the GPS and be on his way back home. Over there was an opening.
Xylfiz put his spaceship into stealth mode and landed it inside. What was this? Huge things, was that a landscape or ... well, he would just have to get out and explore it. That's what he was, an explorer. And it did smell kind of nice, warm and spicy.
He climbed up one of the brown walls, there was something sparkly hanging down from it. He touched it cautiously, ready to pull back if it tried to bite him or something. Nope, it just kept ... well, hanging.

And what was this? A bowl with food? Ewww, no, that didn't taste like food at all! Quickly Xylfiz put the bowl back.

Hey, wait! There was someone he could ask. How funny, he was so small while everything else around was so big. The little fellow smiled at him which was encouraging, so Xylfiz lay down to better be able to talk to him. Unfortunately all he did was smiling. Couldn't he talk or didn't he want to?

Disappointedly he got up again and kept looking around when suddenly he heard someone laughing behind him.
He turned around and there was a skinny guy sitting on something fluffy, all dressed in red (didn't anyone believe in green here?). "Come over here and sit down with me. I can tell you are not from these parts, and you do look as if you have one or the other question. My name is Jack, by the way."

So Jack told Xylfiz about the planet Earth and about snowmen and sparkly ornaments and a thing called Christmas. About a baby being born, a star, kings, shepherds. About Sandy Claws and about gifts and shiny children's eyes, trees, tinsel, it was all very confusing for our poor space traveller. He did his best to store it all away in his brain, so he could tell his friends about it later.

Then when he really was ready for bed, Jack asked if he wanted to help pack up some gifts. That sounded like so much fun that he forgot how tired he was. Unfortunately he didn't seem to be the best gift wrapper, he ended up with the ribbon wrapped all around himself!

Still it had been fun, and images of everything he had been told about floated around in Xylfiz' head when he was finally snuggled up on the warm, fluffy seat. Jack was still wrapping things and sang along softly - Christmas carols he had called the melodies - and after a last look out of the window where he could see white stuff or "snow" coming down from the sky he fell asleep ....

It was Christmas Eve.

This is a variation of the little story I wrote two years ago for our "Handmade in Europe" blog.


Christmas carols or The fifth door

Back then - like in the late 16th century - when I still was a kid and started taking violin lessons, one of the first complete melodies I learned to play was a Christmas carol. I forgot which one, but I remember being very proud.
A big part of my life saw me singing in different choirs, school choirs, a gospel choir, in church, and again I have always been a sucker for Christmas carols.
Almost exactly two years ago I wrote a blog post about one of my favorites "God rest ye merry, gentlemen". Today I found a version I hadn't known yet, but that really rocks.

Maybe I should have given these little angels (promised you a picture of my latest earrings, didn't I?) flutes instead of making them sing?


Hibernation or The fourth door

Oh my, I'm cheating quite early in the game ... pre-dating this post to make it look like it has been posted yesterday. Forgive me, but I was dead last night.
I'm ready for hibernation, it seems. My system has slooooowed down, and if I don't watch it, I'll be moving in slow-motion very soon!

Once I'm in my chair it's hard to get myself out again. I haven't been all lazy, though. Another batch of bead loomed earrings is on the way, and one of them is even Christmassy, but I'll tell you about that later when I have really finished it.

I think I'm almost ... ready ... to fall .... asleep .... again *yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn*

Photo by Ansgar Walk


Finds of the week - Let it snow or The third door

I never was a big builder of snowmen myself. This little specimen saw the light of a cold Easter Monday a few years ago. We had a friend from India visiting and when we drove up to the "Schwäbische Alb", there was still snow there which she absolutely loved. We made snow angels and the others built this little snowman who caught lots of attention and even was photographed by a stranger. I hope he enjoyed his time up there, I almost wanted to pack him up to take him home ;-) Erm, the snowman, not Mr. Stranger.

That's the thing about snowmen, they are bound to leave you. How could I ever forget Snoopy crying when the sun took away his friend? And how could I forget Linus building a whole lot of snowmen, asking them "I guess you wonder why I summoned you here today" and giving them a speech?

The following snowmen are here to stay, they can't melt, but are just as much fun. Enjoy.

Aren't these cards adorable? I just can't decide on a favorite.

Uh oh ... snowman cards by Maddymoo Design

"Fantasy with a touch of whimsy and a hint of melancholy", that's how Best Art Studios describe their art. It's not hard to see what Mike and Jaime mean by that when you look at this print.

Frost Bitten by Best Art Studios

This snowman gives winter a welcome all dressed up and ready ... are you ready, too? ;-)

Winter welcome snowman by Creations by DJ

Two snowmen ice skating - now wouldn't that be a surprise at the ice rink? So cute.

Vintage enamel snowmen pin from the shop of The Brooch Maven

Last but not least meet Doug in his very chic felt jacket and scarf. Very posh!
Doug the Handy Dandy Gentleman Snowman by Linda Walsh Originals

You got own snowman pictures to share? I'd love to see them!!


The winner is ...... or The second door

I know, I know, you would expect a movie or TV quote here today, but my internet connection had left me - probably got buried in the snow I had to shovel this morning - and then I ended up in my armchair and then Ponder was all over me and I kept working on my new batch of bead loomed earrings and ... you know how things are, don't you?
And it's first advent and I can't even put up a candle and I just put on the water for the pasta *peeking up to see if you'll accept that as an excuse*

So I'll make it short today and just say congratulations to Donatella, our winner of the giveaway. Yay!!

Ok, you may now go back to whatever it was you were doing ;-)


Advent bloggalendar or The first door

Today I have the honor to be behind the first door of the "advent bloggalendar", a pre-Christmas blog calendar project by a bunch of talented German artisans.

For those who missed it two years ago and don't know what an advent calendar here in my part of the world is - here you can find something about the history of this tradition.
I'm going to try ... that's no promise because there are some time consuming private things coming up in my life ... to blog each day to make the holiday time a bit more interesting and fun for you, and it's going to start with a bang aka a giveaway. Yes, you understood that right. I will be giving away three hand knitted pieces for you to keep yourself or maybe to give to a loved person.
There are different ways to enter:

Are you following me on Facebook or Twitter yet?
Wanna share my pages with your own crowd there?
Do you want to blog about my giveaway?
You don't have FB, Twitter or a blog?

Comment on this post, either with the links to your plugs or, in the last case, with an e-mail address where I can reach you, should you be the winner.

Each one of these actions will count as an entry, that means you can have five entries at most.

You'll have today to leave your comments, then I'll draw the winner with random.org.

Are you curious now about what it IS that you can win?

First of all there's this sturdy key chain. From a silver tone key ring and chain dangles a large crystal rock in a safe wire knit setting which looks cool on the back as well. This is something for a lady or a man.

Then there is this beautiful "Pebbles in the stream" bracelet. It is knitted from a warm orange copper wire with stones, pearls and crystals on it, a real attention catcher.

Last but not least I really went all out with a lovely necklace. It features five bright blue (looks great against light!) glass beads, some shiny, some matte, inside a light golden twisted wire knit tube which is attached to a gold tone chain that you can close with a lobster clasp into each link to change the length if wanted. From the last link dangles a little rock crystal brio for some extra fun.

So what are you waiting for? Try your luck!