Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving in Munich

Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday. I love the excitement, the smells, the work. I love the food. I set this day aside to think if family and friends and count my blessings. I have lots to count!

This year we had a friend over, a friend who never experienced a "Traditional American Thanksgiving". He came not knowing much about it at all except that he had heard that turkey was a dried up big bird. It was a great joy telling him about all the traditions and things that happen in households throughout my country. Some things I just had to football and sweet potatoes and real corn on the cob, right from the farmer. Others he got to experience first hand....

Like a beautifully set table, homemade stuffing, a juicy and tasty turkey, pumpkin pie. He wasn't sure about what he was going to eat. And he isn't a dessert person....not at all.

But I did my thing and it was awesome! I did our Thanksgiving dinner proud and represented my country well! The stuffing was either going to be really good or very strange. It turned out very good. The mashed potatoes were heavenly....and yes, mashed potatoes can be heavenly! The turkey itself was incredible. I thought since I've learned so much about cooking this past year that I should use some of this new founded knowledge on my turkey. Please note...there aren't any pictures of the finished product....the turkey didn't have one of those strings on it and it actually fell right off the bones when I took it out of the pan!! It was that juicy! I did have corn on the cob but it's just no way near what fresh-from-the-farm is. I had a vegetable dish and the closest thing to dinner rolls I could find. No one ate the rolls....there just wasn't room!
I did sort of cheat on the cranberries....I had preiselbeere instead. This is sort of like cranberries but the berries are smaller. It translates to "lingonberry" or "foxberry" but I've never heard of those. Whatever it is, it is better than cranberries in my opinion. Our friend ate and ate....and ate. He couldn't get enough! But then, we all know what happens, after you stuff yourself with're stuffed! ha ha

I worked on the dishes while the guys walked around and around the couch, trying to work off some of that good food. I love my little kitchen but it really is not set up for doing a whole Thanksgiving dinner! Well, better said, it's not set up for doing the dishes after a whole Thanksgiving dinner! But I plugged away at it and did it sort of in shifts. As the last dish was rinsed, I ran completely out of hot water. I consider that successful...last year I had to heat water in the water cooker to finish!

Our friend made it very clear that he wasn't a dessert person and that he would only try a very small piece of whatever a pumpkin pie was, just to try it (and be polite) So after an appropriate wait, it was pumpkin pie time. I cut a small sliver for him. He ate it and then helped himself to more! This was really the "icing on the cake" .... Americans aren't all about microwaves and fast food! I won a heart that day.....all because of my pumpkin pie! Thanks Mom for bringing me the Libby's pumpkin....there's no way to make a pumpkin pie without it and we can't get it over here!
I hope you all made memories in your own traditional way. Whatever that is. I know that not everyone's holidays are the same. I've spent many Thanksgivings and even Christmas's in a Laundromat....and those were special too. Yes, it was pretty empty but it wasn't completely empty. There was always a few people milling around, doing laundry, trying not to feel lonely and far away from everyone you love. And we all ended up celebrating together, with conversation, laughter, cookies from the vending machine and smiles. The laundry sometimes forgotten and complete strangers becoming part of our personal history. However you spent your Thanksgiving, I hope that the memories are good and, even through some tears, they will bring a smile to your face in the years to come.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Blackwork and Stones in Progress

My Blackwork and Stones piece is coming along really nicely. In fact, this is exactly my "thing"... I love working on it! It's exciting and provides lots of variety and, yes, even wakes up a little creativity that is mostly buried deep inside!

Some of the 2 inch squares are dainty and very orderly. I think if you click to enlarge on the photos, you can see the detail a little better. You will be able to see that I am using all sorts of things.

Others are full and bold. I think I'm doing pretty good with the color matching so far. It's not as easy as it seems it would be. I've always said that I have no talent in imagining things. For example, don't ask me how my furniture would look in a completely empty room. I have no idea. I can't imagine it. The furniture has to be IN the room. Once it is in place, I never re-arrange because I have no idea how it would look positioned differently! So designing is a real challenge for me. But I like it! And the creative juices seem to flow. Of course, it helps that I love everything I am doing and everything I am using. I love the feel of the rocks. I love the tiny petite beads and I love threads. Yeah...this is definitely a good thing for me!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Blackwork and Stones

My sister Susan has told me for years that I need to try designing. I am hesitant because I don't think I'm good enough and that I don't have an imagination. But she's my mentor and my "handwork goddess" so if she says something, I'm going to at least attempt to do what she says!

So I've been planning and drawing and sorting through things. I've been color matching and rummaging through years of collected threads, beads and rocks. I've been counting...and counting and counting. I now have a base plan.

The piece will have everything I, beads, silk and metallic threads, couching, maybe a little canvas stitching. It will have stitches over 1 and stitches over 2. It will be orderly but with a touch of chaos since rocks aren't perfectly shaped. It will be full. I enlarged the above picture so you could see the details. Sorry it is one-sided but I don't know how to correct that! And thanks to Plays with Needles for how to do the enlarging!! In my opinion, Susan has one of the best blogs on the internet!

And I'll attempt to photograph it as I go, to show you how it is evolving. I've already noted, when looking at these first pictures of the first 2 inch square that the light blue thread doesn't show up too well. But there will be lots of pale colors as well as bold. I'm trying to keep a list of exactly what threads and beads I am using but some I just don't know. And I don't know that it really matters.

The weather in Munich has been unseasonably nice. Yesterday was over 60 degrees! Today looks like it is going to be a beautiful day as well. The motorcycle isn't put up for winter yet. There's still the possibility of a few hundred kilometers more. The ski pass is purchased but the skis aren't up from the basement yet. On today's schedule is planning out my Thanksgiving menu and making a list of all the things I need to get at the grocery store for Thanksgiving and for cookie-baking time! It's all coming up very quickly. I like having a schedule. I like having a plan. And I like where I am right a very good and safe and calm place. Filled with love and satisfaction. I hope you are too.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Something New

I've had this idea for a long time now. And the blank white wall really needed something but I didn't want anything right over the TV. When my sister Sonya was here this summer, she gave me a beautiful orchid. I've never had an orchid before but it seems to like it here. I had it sitting on the TV stand and it did really well. So I incorporated this orchid with my wall project...and this is what I came up with.....

I got a second orchid (the top one) this past weekend. And we got the kind of baskets that hang flat on the wall.

So, yes, even though I said I wasn't ever going to get another plant...well, I just had to to make it work!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Spirit of Vierlande Progress and Dinner

Hi Everyone! Yes...believe it or not, two posts in one week! I'm trying to be more attentive to my poor blog! I thought I'd show some "progress" pictures of my Long Dog Sampler, Spirit of Vierlande. I don't iron it before I take pictures...I think it would look better but I don't want to iron it too much. I don't know why. It just seems like it could be bad or something.

Next time I'll put an object beside it so you can see just how big this thing is. I didn't really want it this big, but I didn't have much choice in material so I took what I could get.

This one is side ways as to keep the original size but it looks alittle less wrinkled. Unfortunately, there isn't a place in my house that is large enough in the sun to get the whole thing in the sun. I do have a nice blank white wall but, when hanging there, it looks a little striped with the sun pattern so....I just do what I can!

Speaking of "doing what I can".... this past year I have really improved my cooking skills! This meal today was exceptional. It's a Tafelspitz with lots of veggies. The sauce was amazing. Let's face it..the whole thing was amazing, if I do say so myself!! It was definitely "Sunday Dinner" material!

Have a nice weekend!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Munich Rock Show

This weekend was the annual Munich Rock Show. It's held every year here in Munich and it is the biggest show in Europe. It was fantastic! There were new things to see and new booths and vendors sprinkled throughout the 4 gigantic halls in which it is held. One of the most amazing things this year was a smaller area of "nature meets nature" displays. Photographing was a little difficult because of the glass casings and spotlights everywhere but I think these pictures will give you an idea.

Someone combined collections I think. Or two people with different collections came together and created this awesome idea. Butterflies and moths from around the world displayed with rocks from around the world.

The color and pattern combinations were RIGHT ON! None of the butterflies were from the same place as the rocks but if they were, the creatures surely would have had the perfect camouflage.

I was fascinated with these combinations. In real life, they were even more perfectly matched than in the photos.

Another thing that is so fascinating about the rock show is the surreal look of nature.

These "puff balls" look soft and furry. But in reality, they are really rocks. To the touch, they are hard and prickly. It takes great skill to actually clean these things up as they are all covered in dirt and small stones when they are found.

Here you can actually see the crystal shapes. This is a larger "ball" but some of them were so small that you couldn't make out exactly what it was. And the crystals were so thin they were thread width.

This larger specimen is a great example that shows different crystal widths and lengths all on the same piece. Doesn't it look soft? Well, it isn't! It's rather sharp!

The surrealism continued throughout the show. I like the close ups because you can see the actual rock on which the crystals sit. And you can see that often there are many types of minerals all on the same piece.

This specimen was truly amazing. The longer piece of crystal is almost as long as my arm! Oh yes, this show isn't just for tiny little stones, there are huge pieces all over the place.

This is most definitely the largest Amethyst piece I have ever seen. It is as big as a single bed! And it is a beautiful piece as well.
Next time I'll have pictures of my stitching...I have been working on my Long Dog sampler but haven't taken progress photos yet.
If you would like to see more rock pictures, please check out The Camera Lenz where I've posted a slide show.