Friday, February 27, 2009

Vintage ... Friday

Just a week ago I came upon a beautyqueen in the Goodwill clearance section.
I saw her, checked her shape and decided instantly that I had to have her. I paid $5. Yep, you read it right, five dolores... I paid happily.

May I present the new Queen of the Fireplace!

The linen fabric is in great shape, just needed a good steam cleaning. Isn't she gorgeous?

Since Friday is also Vintage Photo Friday (thanks, Tracey) my choice of the day is another beautyqueen.

This is a picture of my Greataunt Kaethe (in English you'd say "Katie"). I was very close to her, even closer than to my Grandmother, her sister. What makes her even more special, is that she, too, was born and raised in Germany and lived in the USA later in life, just like me.

She looks so beautiful, and she was a beautiful person inside and out! She made almost all her clothes by herself and sewed a lot for the whole family, especially greatnieces and nephews. She lived in the USA when times were rough after WW II in Germany and she always sent goodies for the family. Just recently my Mom told me, that my Grandfather loved coffee and she would regularly send him some, when at that time no one else in that small town had any!

I don't know when the photo was taken or how old she was, but do so much wish I knew more or could talk to her now! I miss her!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Blankie

Three years ago I was lucky to make the aquaintance of a fellow knitter, Karen. To call her a fellow knitter is a slight understatement, since is not only a talented and creative woman, she actually has managed to make a living with her knitting and has worked as a professional knitter for various companies.

Shortly after we met she had a big yarn yardsale - that is big as in HUGE. She sold about 15 bins of yarn, good stuff. If you know me, you probably figured it out - I was one of her best customers, went home with bags full of yarn, among them this goodie stuff, Morehouse Merino, sweater pattern included.

For the longest time I wanted to make a sweater out of it, not necessarily the one on the pictures, but come on, these are so my colors!

- Then one day it finally clicked when I was cruising my Rowan Magazines and found the perfect pattern (Ravelers click here), a pattern for a picnic blanket. I launched myself to my crochet hooks and off I went to create the flowerpower blankie (again, Ravelers click there).

I worked on it for about 2 weeks, but if you are a smart reader you may have realized, that 'launching oneself' can be associated with 'not thinking'. Now how hard is it to figure out, that the amount of yarn, that is supposed to be enough for ONE sweater, will not in a million years be sufficient to create ONE blanket, hm?

And therefor, my dear readers, I do advise you to never launch yourself into any knitting or crochet project without using your precious brain first. - Unless you don't mind doing what I did: be satisfied with the miniature version, that is a blankIE instead of a blankET and make one girlie the happiest kiddo in town!

Friday, February 20, 2009

And Yellow - day 5

The yellow that I find in the kids' rooms is both amusing and sometimes saddening to me.

There is this vintage crewelwork, which made my daughter declare that she wants to collect "these" pictures, vintage embroidered animals.

The little purse is probably more special to me than to her, because it was one of the real early things I made for her.
I knitted and felted it, when she could barely walk... Did she use it? Not much. But still.
Special. And cute. Great colors, gotta love yellow and orange...!

Curious George. No child's bookshelf is complete without him.

Our huge Brio collection is still out to be played with, sad reminder of how fast the children grow. Our son was into trains, when he was somewhere between 2 and 3 years old.
He was especially fascinated with all the intersections and we (as in the parents and grandparents), went nuts (yes, I admit it, we were a very serious case of the first-child/grandchild-spoiler-disease) in getting him all possible variations of those, just because it made him happy.
Now the kids play with the set maybe once a month, covering the hallway with a complicated net of tracks. And "der Weg ist das Ziel", which means that they enjoy setting it up more than actually using it.
This particular piece belongs to a 5 track trainstation and was a very lucky cheap thrift store catch.

Drumroll for the grand finale, yellow week would in no way be complete without the New Mexican flag, plentyful found in my house, since I so fell in love with New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment, that truly enchanted me after we moved here in 2007!

This sticker on my car was given to my by a friend in Germany, Uwe, who traveled in New Mexico before I moved.
He really knew what I was getting into, while I was still in the dark...
Thanks again, Uwe!

This patch is still waiting for its perfect purpose.

Once I found this I gave my old Adidas keyband to my son. No regrets.

Naturally there is this on my car as well.

Have a great weekend.

Vintage Photo Friday

You've got to love Vintge Photo Friday, thank you, Tracey!

I have to begin today with where it all began... my parents of course! They were the most beautiful and cool couple ever and I think this photo looks like it's out of a movie - James Dean, Marlon Brando, that kind.
It was taken in the summer of 1961 in Germany.


And now go check out Tracey's blog and take a look at her great photos!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

YELLOW - day 4 - dirty and clean

I guess it is a typical thing that as a mother/cook you spend quite some time in the kitchen. And in YELLOW week that means for me that I am coming back to those YELLOW dishes.
I keep finding them and I really think you should see and enjoy them, too.
I find YELLOW, when I clean the table after breakfast.

And I find more, when I clear the dishwasher.

And in case you did not quite get the whole picture, it is another beautiful and sunny day in Albuquerque. I hope yours is bright and sunny, too, - and I mean in all regards!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

YELLOW - day 3

If you want to find YELLOW in my house, I mean lots of it, you need to go to my kitchen. Open any cupboard, it's there: plates, cups, bowls, teapot, you name it.

I don't care if it's a bright or a muted yellow, I love them all!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

More heart to heart and Yellow, too

I worked hard that evening of the 13th to finish a sweater for my daughter's bear as well and it was done about 30 minutes before Valentine's Day started. Here it is:

Both my children loved their gifts. I think those sweaters really made their day!
Valentine's Day also was the start into a three day weekend trip for our family - we headed South for three days, but that is another story.
In the meantime Erin started project yellow week. I missed day one, this is my yellow for Tuesday: The yarn for one woolen knitted sweater, which I am working on right now. Yellow, perfect to brighten up the short winter days!

Friday, February 13, 2009

The little dude

Last year my daughter made a very special present for her brother's 9th birthday, something, that she herself cherishes very much: a stuffed animal.

She worked very hard to get it done on time, she designed it, did a lot of the sewing and embroidery herself with only a little help from me and created "the little dude"/"den Kleinen".

But the little guy was hard enough to make by himself, so - no clothes. Yet.

--- And then Valentine's Day 2009 approached and I had a splendid idea and knitted/sewed this:

In the front I added a little pocket with a string, that has a little heart attached.

So much love in one present!

The little armysuit fits perfectly and I can not wait to see his face, when he opens his gift!

My Wednesday thrift store excursion brought me to this, which was kinda my Valentine's for myself, four small cookieplates from the 70s!

Check it out - with everlasting roses, too!

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you!

I'm off to finishing the little sweater for my daughter's stuffed animal - little red heart included!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Of throwing and picking

Most of my American knitting friends use a technique, which is called "throwing" the yarn. It refers to a movement, where - coming from your right hand - you lay the yarn around the right knitting needle to pull it through a stitch in order to create a new stitch.
Being German I use a knitting technique, which is commonly called "continental knitting" or "picking", where you carry your yarn through your left hand. Biggest difference? Continental is faster. And I think it's a good way to go, if you want to get your scarf/socks/sweater/cardigan etc. done faster.
Thanks to my dear friends Suzanne and Heather, who - together with their friend Jen - are the talented, proud and hardworking owners of Albuquerque's coolest fabricstore Hip Stitch, I just got the chance to "spread the word", that is to teach a continental knitting class at their store:

Suzanne, Heather, Sherry and Nancy felt up to the challenge of learning something new and worked hard for over an hour to get the hang of continental knitting.
This is what we did.

You start off by wrapping the yarn around your left hand like this:

This is what you need to look down at before you start:
Now you actually start knitting, you come into the stitch on the left needle from below with the right needle...

You go over the yarn with the right needle and pull the yarn through to make the new stitch, which is created on the right needle.

Then you pull the old stitch off the left needle - et voila, done!

My ladies did great, everyone mastered the technique by the time we were done and now all they need to do is practice, and in two weeks we will get together for a refresher.

For me this was the first class that I taught in ten years. Back then I held classes about marbling paper and bookbinding, and that seems centuries ago. Well, it kinda was, because it was before kids! Now thank you again, Suzanne and Heather, for giving me the chance for a comeback, that I totally enjoyed.

I certainly hope that it was a good class for the participants as well.

- After all I ran that morning before teaching :-)....

Friday, February 6, 2009

Running ABQ

As many of you may know Albuquerque spreads out on the foot of the Sandia Mountains, so if you choose to run in Albuquerque it is quite likely that it involves some kind of up and down at some point.

Since I live in the North East and I like to run on the trails in the foothills, we are talking about A LOT of up and down. Which brings me to my second favorite title choice for this post "Beating your inner Schweinehund", which, my non-German-speaking friends, means essentially "Kicking your own butt".

Yes, when you know your run will be tough and you'll end up panting like a steam engine and with a face like a tomatoe (not a green one..), there are days when you don't want to go out there, even less when it is near freezing cold and you'd much rather sit on your comfy sofa, work some on your favorite knitting project and watch the next episode of Weeds.

However, then there are the days - like yesterday - when you manage and go go out there and you just do it.

After a downhill warm-up comes the upwards heat-up...
The trail keeps winding up and up until you get to the turn. THE TURN is actually THE REWARD and the point during the run, where you are happy you are running, happy you are healthy and you feel like the luckiest person in the world to live in Albuquerque.

Because the trail finally swings around and you get to see this:

and a little bit later this:

Running here also reminds me of my father. "Of loss and of Gain" could have been another title for this post...

My father was a runner. Seriously. He ran marathons, several of them. 5 years ago we lost him to cancer and I still miss him so much for so many reasons.

I know he would have loved Albuquerque and he would have loved to run and bike on the trails, but when I am running and I'm out there, he is so much closer to me than anywhere else. And that is a good thing.

The last stretch just goes down our street and feels like a walk in the park compared to the previous 45 minutes.
Yesterday was a good day. Any run is a good run, any time you are out there is good and I swear, I am a better person for the rest of the day.

Now today, that's a different story.... :-)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Noble Quest

Not everything in our house involves GETTING STUFF. If you know me and my family you know that we also like to MAKE STUFF, so here's another day in our life.

While the majority of Americans most likely focus on the Superbowl today, our lazy Sunday started off not too nice with my sleepy son giving me THE LOOK,

because - among plentyful other reasons - I woke him up too late so he did not have any playtime before church...
The day improved gradually with a yummy lunch at Sandia Resort & Casino Buffet and reached it's high when we started some crafting.

I started an Internet search for Valentine's Crafts, specifically pop-up cards and we found, which led to action!

We gathered our supplies.

and got going.

We cut a solid colored sheet of cardstock for the outside of the card and a coordinating patterned one for the inside in size 6x9 in., then started working with the colored inside sheet, folded it with the pattern to the inside, marked 2 lines of about an inch coming from the fold and cut them:

Then we folded the outside sections over towards the open side and marked and cut the outside sections again, making these cuts approx. half the length of the others.

We folded again the most outside parts towards the opening of the card,

then reversed the folded sections towards the inside of the card, so it looked like this:

Now, when you combine solid colored cardstock and the cut piece you already have your card, tadah!:

You add stems and colorful flowers/hearts and get an adorable Valentine's card that will knock everyone out of his/her pants!

Note that the smaller your cuts/garden stairs are, the longer your flowerstems can be. With larger stairs you have to shorten the flowers, so they won't peek out over the top of the card when folded.

Now you probably still wonder why I'm publishing this under 'a noble quest'.. well, that's what this is since she/we will have to make at least 12 of these for my daughter's whole class...! Two done, ten to go....

So what are you doing right now? Come on, get going, gather your supplies and make someone happy on Valentine's day!