Saturday 31 October 2015

Halloween Blog Hop

Jo from Serendipitous Stitching is hosting a Halloween blog hop again this year, and I just couldn't resist joining! So welcome everyone, whether you come here on a regular basis or just skiped by for the letter.

So the Halloween stitching I want to share with you today is Halloween Town by the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery, which I finished this year but still need to finish-finish:

And the letter I have to share is I (uppercase I, not lowercase L).

Regular post tomorrow (hopefully), until then - happy hunting, hopping, trick-or-treating or whatever else you are up to this Halloween!

Sunday 25 October 2015

October TSAL, GiGi and other stuff

Please forgive me, as it's been an awefully long time since my last regular post - but then, I've also been awfully busy! First, we visited Felix' mum for her birthday (his dad couldn't be home as he was in rehab after hurting his knee and Felix' brother just moved out, and Felix' didn't want her to feel so alone), then we went to Berlin to visit my best friend Steffi - which was awesome (but also pretty exhausting because long drive). We went shopping (there's a Bahlsen store were they sell second-choice products of cookies and chips and choclate and lots and lots of delicious stuff pretty cheap), went to an awesome Ramen place for lunch, watched Inside Out at the cinema (AWESOME movie! Go watch it if you haven't already, but probably you have since it came to Germany really late), talked and laughed a lot and on Sunday we had tea/coffee and cake with two other friends of Steffi and me that I hadn't met in person before. Less awesome stuff that happend contains my grandma's second karpal tunnel surgery yesterday (went okay so far) and some problems at work, which I'm tired talking about so I won't.

On to pretty pictures stuff - through all this, I tried to keep up with my stitching, and was more or less successful. I'm still working on My Day Off, so the lady has now half a leg, a bottle of wine, and a gramophone. There's also some more background and I started working on the vines that form the upper border of the design.

I also worked on the Halloween SAL, although I am terribly behind - I did two more blocks, the W and the first E. On the bright side, as you can see, I can now work on the whole thing at once - Steffi was in Florida in September and brought me a set of the non-slip hoops Carla and the girls keep gushing about, and the big one just fits perfectls. They are really awesome, but I will still use my Q snaps as well, depending what I'm working on.

Sadly, this will have to pause for a bit, as there is another baby on the way and I have to make another BSJ. I just started knitting this week so there's not much to show yet, but I will try to finish quickly!

And since I also missed the TUSAL checkin, here's my jar for the month:

Now among all the stress, we still managed to watch some stff. At Steffi's she made us watch Hairspray, which both of us didn't know before, but really enjoyed (and we were suprised at how deep the story went). At home, Felix and I finished S1 of Elementary (E18-24). I really liked the ending, it was quite a suprise! Now before we watch Season 2, we want to catch up on some other things, so we went back to Fear the Walking Dead (S1, E3-6). A rather short season, but it has some interesting characters, so I'm curious what will happen next. Now we are back to Supernatural right where we left off (S7, E14-18). Some interesting stuff has happened already and somewhat made up for all the sad and depressing things that happened before, so I'm pretty into this again. And we also continued to watch Case Closed (E103-115).
There also was some gaming - I'm mostly playing The Witcher 3 these days, but I finished two short ones: Actual Sunlight, which is more of a short visual novel about a guy with severe depression, that mostly seems to aim to get you thinking, which I found quite interesting, and Super Explosding Zoo - probably the complete opposite, little story, more gameplay, and pretty crazy: You controll a herd of bomb-animals that have different skills and abilities and have to defeat some aliens that are attempting to eat their eggs by exploding on them.
I also finished reading a book I got myself in Berlin - The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin, and I highly enjoyed this one. It's about a woman who's dying from cancer and her last days in the hospice, and how she tries to make things right with her family, and her family with her. Sounds pretty depressing, I know, but the author manages to focus on the good parts, the laughter in dark times, and the good times that were and will be had. Still made my cry, but in a good way :)

Friday 16 October 2015

Strange German Holidays #8 - Erntedank

I still owe you guys a holiday post from two weeks ago - which is a shame because I used to love this one as a kid! Erntedank (which translates to Thanks-for-the-Harvest, roughly) is kind of the German thanksgiving - or rather, we are often told that Thanksgiving is the American version of Erntedank, but, while related, they are not quite the same I suppose. Erntedank is a Christian holiday celebrated on the first Sunday in October, and its purpose is to be thankful for the harvest - or, more broadly, for the food we have and eat. Some places celebrate with parades, but for the most part, the altars in the churches are decorated with fruit and vegetables and corn. Personally I find it really beautiful and love the sight of it :)

When I was in kindergarden, we used to get the decorations after the holiday and the whole class would make soup and fruit salat together. I always loved cutting fruit and vegetables and I have very found memories of that time :)

Today, I have to bring my own 'harvest' in, but those early autumn days are still among my favourite days of the year - and maybe that's why I love all things autmn-y when it come's to stitching! ;)

Thursday 8 October 2015

(Late) September WIPocalypse

I'm feeling a bit like Dory from 'Finding Nemo' these days...'Finally caught up with all of my check-ins', 'Hey look, another check-in!' Only that turning around takes me a few days instead of a few seconds, still feels like it, hehe. So before we go away on an other (hopefully amazing) long-weekend-trip (we're visiting my best friend in Berlin, took friday and monday off work), let me catch up with another missed check-in and some progress for September WIPocalypse!

This month's question was 'Where do you buy most of your stitching supplies?'  Now, since I still haven't found any good needlecraft suppliers locally (you can't even get DMC around here), I buy almost exclusively online. I try to support German webstores, however, like cross-stitch-corner, monika-arnold or stickteufelchen. For quite some stuff I also turn to sewandso, they just have the biggest selection (and are really quick to deliver as well), or other UK webstores. And in some cases I also had to turn the 123stitch in the US directly.
I used to buy DMC floss online in the US as well, mostly at crossstitchworld who have very reasonable shipping rates, but I recently discovered that there are some ebay sellers which really good prices and shipping rates (still original DMC) so I usually check there first. I also like to check ebay for rare items and the occasional bargain.
And for fabrics, when I want something special and handdyed (and I often do), I like to turn to polstitches, sparklies, jodyri designs and crafty kitten, all based in the UK. Oh and don't forget Nina's handdyed flosses, which I get from Jardin Privé in France...and digital patterns at etsy, Tilton Crafts, HAED, patternsonline and many others (often sold directly via the designer) - the possibilities are endless. Now if only my time and budget were, too!

Okay, but after this and my last wall of text post, it's time for pictures! I did promise you pictures, and I usually keep my promises, so pictures you shall have! Just a few more sentences and we are there. For real.
Last week, Felix and I were on a business trip to Oldenburg in the very North of Germany - which included a 7 hour train rides (well 8 on the way there because our train was late by an hour), some evenings in the hotel (even though we didn't have a lot of free time there) and four days of presentations ans lectures. So I did take some crafting with me - I worked on My Day Off mostly on the train, a bit in the hotel, and I got quite a bit done - the lady now has a wine glass and cake, there is a small flower pot and quite a bit more background. Also, it's time to move the hoop again!

For all these long lecture and presentation times, I brought some crochet work with me. Remember that crochet box from I showed a while back? Daniela added a few more, as well as some amazing yarn to her shop, and I recently treated myself to the crochet box 'Granny shawl in autumn colours' which was perfect for this journey! Basically, you just make a big half granny square (so, a triangle) using a lovely sock yarn in a stunning colourway - no counting involved, so perfect for lecture times! I took pictures of my progress every day, just for the fun of it:

So, I did that little start to get into the pattern before we went on the trip. On the first day, I used about half a ball of yarn, on the second most of the rest of it. Day three, I joined in the second ball, which is almost gone after day four now. I have a third ball to work with for a nice big and cozy shawl, so still a bit to go! But I am really really enjoying this project.

I didn't work on the Halloween Sampler last week since I didn't want to take two stitching projects, but we had another trip this monday where I took only the Halloween one instead so I'm almost caught up now, pics to follow next week (after the weekend in Berlin).

Now for watching, really quick: When my dad and his girlfriend were here, we turned to subtitled Disney movies since her German isn't very good yet. We watched Aristocats and Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, one of my altime favourites. 
Of course, Felix and I had some more shows to catch up on as well: Elementary (S1, E8-17) and Case Closed (E94-102). I also finished Volume 6 of the manga, and watched some more Once Upon a Time: Finished S1 (E18-22) and started S2(S1-5). So far I liked season 1 better, but probably the second one still has to get up to speed.

We also had a friend here for the weekend and went to a concert on Saturday night - the Rock Symphony Night by the local ORSO (orchestral society) with choir, band and singers. It was incredible! Just imagine this


and then three more of hours of even more awesome things! I'm still totally flashed and can't wait for next year ^_^

Tuesday 6 October 2015

Strange German Holidays #7 - German Unity Day

In the beginning of the year, I introduced a format here called Strage German Holidays. I didn't post under this title for a few months, so maybe you think I have all forgotten about it, but allas, I have not - we just don't have a single public holiday between June and October. Not sure why, but it's a bit annoying (of course it wasn't when I was still in school and hat 6 weeks of summer break). Anyway, last weekend, there were even two holidays, so I'm going to post about one now and the other one later.

October 3rd is German Unity Day, our national holiday. It's celebrated in honour of the German reunification in 1990. Or rather, it should be celebrated, but it is not - I've actually never heard of anyone actually doing something for the day. It's a day off work, and in years like this one where it falls on a Saturday, it's utterly useless for lots of people. There was even a notion to move it to a Sunday all together, but thankfully that didn't go through.

If you came here for a fun post and some facts, this is where you should stop reading. The next few paragraphs is just me ranting about politics, history and some things I meant to get off my cheast for quite some time.

I think it's a general problem of patriotism, or rather, a lack thereoff. Germans are not allowed to be proud of their country. A few years back, a politician was heavyly critizied (and I think he had to do a big apology in the end) for publicly announcing that he was proud to be a German. People would claim that nationality is only a a coincidence, not something you achieved, so there is no reason to be proud of it. Yet people all around the world are happyly claiming their pride to be American, French, Canadian or whatever, and everone thinks that's okay. And I think it is, national pride can and should be a part of our identity, of the values and traditions we were raised with. But Germany is deeply scarred, and the only time we are aloud to feel proud of who we are and to openly show our colours is during the football WM (which none of us achieved personally as well!)

But Germany is so much more than playing football and 12 years of gruesome war. We were a nation to be proud of long before that successless Austrian painter claimed our heritage, our values for himself. Yes, we had Göring and Goebbels and all the others that brought unspeakable pain over countless of human beings. But we also had Goethe and Schiller, Bach and Beethoven, Gutenberg and Luther, Einstein and Koch.

People say we must never forget what happened, what our people has done in that dark time of the thrd reich, or else it might happen again. I say we also must never forget those times we were great, so that they CAN happan again - if we remember both, the choice, the future, is in our hands. We must not forget the past, but we can't be crippled by it either. A while back, a book was published in Germany that became quite popular - it's the story of Hitler suddenly waking up in the middle of Berlin, right now in the 21st century. I've read it a few weeks back, and it really isn't that great - no hidden jewel of literature, but it is still a fun read. And I'm pretty sure that is why it got so popular in the first place: it's a book about Hitler, and it is FUN. What's more, it's only fun if you know your history - lot's of the jokes involve dates, places and persons you only know if you learned about the third reich in detail (which should be the case for all Germans as we cover the subject extensively in school, but of course there are always some who never pay attention). And I think that's the way one should deal with things - educate yourself, then laugh at them. Things that scare you controll you - and I don't want to be controlled by the Holocaust. I don't want to be controlled by Hitler. I want to laugh him in the face and yell 'You don't have any power here anymore' - because that's what happens in the book. He tries to win over people again, to gather followers (by means of some obscure TV show) - and everyone thinks he's just a joke, using his Hitler-act as a means to overact, over-draw certain opinions and actually say the opposite. And I believe - want to believe - that is true - that Germany today is in a state were most people wouldn't take these ideas serious anymore. Were even the thought of something like WWII, like the third reich happening again is so unbelievable, that people laugh at it. I hope we will reach that point some day.

A while back, there was a contest going on in the Stitching Pirate dA group with the topic of Countries and 'show your colours'. I actually had a few ideas myself, but in the end I caved, I was scared to be branded as a nazi. I am not a nazi. But I believe in Germany, I believe that this country is great and can be even greater - not by military power, but by brilliance, and kindness, and creativity. I also believe in the values our hymn announces: Unity, and Right, and Freedom. And even if noone dares to celebrate it yet, in my heart, that's what this day is about.

Thanks for your attention, and I hope I haven't scared anyone off now. Fun posts with pretty pictures and silly facts will resume soon, I promise :)

Saturday 3 October 2015

The Alphabet Club: Letter B

With how busy my life was those past few weeks, I have missed the checkins for quite a few of my SALs, and for the most part I'm okay with that - but The Alphabet Club is just a way too awesome idea to miss, so even if I'm a few days late, I'm still going to post my September-update (letter B) today, then hopefully be on time with C this month :)

Sadly, I didn't have any brilliant ideas this mont - I know some of you really like the swearing-idea, but that might be a special someday rather than the usual updates - and, for the worst part, I don't really have any stitching to show for the ideas I did have. So let's just split that - here's the stitching first:

~ Two bathtubs - or Badewanne in German. Quite a literal translation! ~

Now to be honest, bathtubs are pretty boring, so I'm going to talk about something else here, namely - bread! Now you might say, bread isn't any more interesting than bathtubs, but we Germans sure love our Brot. We eat a lot of it, mostly for breakfast and dinner, but there are also some warm meals that include it [this is assuming you eat a warm lunch and cold dinner, if you don't you might have to swap that around]. We don't really eat sandwiches (unless we're taking it somewhere, like children take their Vesperbrot to school (Vesper being another great German word - it describes a small snack or meal, usually bread, that is taken between breakfast and lunch. Kids will take a Vesper to school and eat it in the 'big break', usually around 10:30.) Usually, we just eat one piece of bread with something on top - Marmeladenbrot (bread with jelly or jam), Wurstbrot (breat with cold cuts - we do love our Wurstbrot!), Käsebrot (bread with cheese). Most people will also take butter on their bread, depending on what else they put on it. Personally I take butter with cheese and red jelly, and with some kinds of cold cut. I don't eat butter with yellow jelly, speading sausage, and Nutella. And sometimes I like to eat butter with peanut butter, with is a calorie fest, but so delicious! You can also eat a Butterbrot, so just bread with butter. Optionally, you can put some salt on it, or maybe chive or something...the Butterbrot is an old German favourite!

There are also many different kinds of bread. What I've seen of American bread (and I'm no expert on the subject, so I might be wrong too) is only used for toasting here. We have white bread, grey bread, black bread (also called by the lovable name of Pumpernickel), whole grain,  multiple grain, potato bread, carrot bread, sourdough bread...I just checked wikipedia and it says Germany is the country with the most kinds of bread worldwide. We even have a sweet fruitbread for christmas! In any case, a typical German bakery (Bäckerei - another B there!) looks much like this:

Late for something

As last weekend was pretty busy (but in the good, exciting way), I didn't get to update my blog. Then we were away on a business trip all week, and while I more or less kept up with my blog reading, my writing updates is terribly behind. I did take all the pictures to update last week though, so I'll just do two seperate posts, plus what ever else I missed. I hope I'll catch up this weekend :D

So, what did I do last week...of course, I did another square on the Halloween Spooky sampler, and a very delicious one too!

I also worked quite a bit more on My Day Off, finished the lady's upper body and did a lot more background.

And of course there was also some knitting involved - I did finish the Hitchhat with time to spare, so I finally have the complete set to show. I'm still not good with that knit-stitch, but it looks better than plainly sewing the parts together so I'm okay with that, and I'll practice more.

On the weekend dad and his girlfriend were here, so I could give her the set and she was thrilled.We had agreat time together, I really like her and it was so good to see my dad actually happy after such a long time ^_^

Now for the watching, I'm not sure what happend last week and what happened this week, so I'll do it all in the post for this week. Until then, have fun reading and happy weekend!