Wednesday, September 30, 2009

TAST...The Ones That Were Not

Hi everyone! I bet you thought I was gone. Well...no, not yet. I leave tomorrow for a two week trip to the States. I've had a storage unit there for over 20 years...it's time to clean it out. I have no idea what is even in it anymore. I'm sure it's all junk. So, it's work time in Slippery Rock. Oh, I'm sure it won't all be work....plenty of play as well!!! I've been enjoying the last few days of summer and the beginning of fall. I can never tell which is which so I just enjoy them all! I achieved my bicycle goal....I've ridden over 2000 kilometers this season. I am hoping for a few more good days of riding when I get back but will have to see how the weather is. I've also been very busy with TAST. Actually, the challenge is done. I think I heard that I get extra credit for finishing so early! ha ha I have to say though, I changed things around a bit. It took me awhile to catch on (like almost a year) but I finally realized that TAST (Take A Stitch Tuesday...a new stitch a week for a year for those of you who are not familiar with the program) is MY challenge. So I replaced some of the original challenge stitches with stitches that fit my style of embroidery. And I don't feel guilty!!! So....here's some examples of the TAST stitches that were NOT on the original list...


I enjoy couching alot. There are so many different couching stitches. This one can be done with so many different type threads! It's a neat look.


I couldn't get enough of this one!


Another really neat stitch and very easy to do. I worked it with several different threads including nylon ribbon.



OK...I think this is actually on the original TAST list but it is a great stitch! I love it! I learned through TAST that I really like the knotted stitches. And pretty much don't like the chain stitches.


This is just one example of canvas stitching. I like working on canvas and need to explore the possibilities further.

Probably my favorite from all the stitches I did. I've always wanted to do cutwork but never thought I was good enough. So where better to practice than by TAST?! This sample is wonderful....it shows what NOT to do as well as what to do. The count is very important. The correct fabric is very important too (I learned the hard way on this example!). I have wonderful books that are very good with cutwork explanations and I think that I really can do it!!

Another fun stitch. I think this one works best with yarns. This is a great one for flowers!
Well, there's a walk through of a few of my stitches that were not. I hope you enjoy them. My hubby came up with a great idea for a book for my TAST samples. I have one now but I don't like anything about it except that they are all together. So that's another project for fall and winter.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Day Trip

It's Oktoberfest time here in Munich. There's plenty of opportunity to see parades and have fun...and sit in traffic and be in crowds. What some people don't realize though is that there is a completely different way to do all those things these days and it is so much more fun!! It's Almabtrieb time!!! What is that, you ask? An Almabtrieb is when the cows come down from the high mountain alms for the winter. It's a festive, colorful, fun time.


With lots of traffic. Why is there traffic? Well let me explain....


The cows have been having a great summer, wandering around the mountains, eating grass and enjoying being outside. When it's time to go back to the barn, they are all gathered together....


And, if there hasn't been any accidents all summer long, they get to put on their "Sunday best" parade clothes......


...and if they are really lucky they get to make lots of noise with a big bell......


...and then they march in a big long parade......


....all the way home!!!! And that means going through any towns that may be in the way.


There's fest tents and music and beer. There's colors and smiling faces everywhere. Forget what I said earlier...this is even BETTER than Oktoberfest!


The scenery is pretty nice too...don't you agree?

There's a clip from the start of the almabtrieb. It does have sound but it starts after a couple of seconds of play time:

video

And just a note to those of you wondering.....I did NOT cry when the cows were paraded past, farmers all happy (I don't know how much of that "happiness" was due to the schnaps flasks sticking out of their back pockets) and the cows so proud. Well, not too much. And I was NOT afraid when one of the cows came in my direction and I was standing in a corner. Well, again, not too much. It was a GREAT day! Forget the Oktoberfest...there's so much to do other than that!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Dad's Visit and Finished Quilt

I've missed you all! I promise to get caught up with what you are doing soon. In the mean time, let me tell you about my week with Dad....

It was a whirlwind trip for him, just six nights. We packed a heck of a lot into the trip though and we had a wonderful time. After spending a day relaxing here in Munich, we headed north and east. We had some problems getting out of Munich...that dreaded word "STAU". That means traffic jam. And it took us almost two hours to get to the Munich Airport! It got better after that but we spent the whole day on congested autobahns and running into interesting situations...like trying to be back on the autobahn after tanking up and finding the on-ramp was just closed. No warning, no nothing. So we had to go 12 kilometers in the wrong direction just to get back on!

Our first stop was Cousin Elizabeth. She is 87 years old and lives in a senior home just south of Dresden. She is completely clear and shows no signs of slowing down!


Her apartment is tiny and there wasn't really a way to get a picture without shooting it directly into brightness of the window. Her sons and one of her daughter in-laws were there as well. We had a great visit and then headed on to Seifhennersdorf where the get together was.


Saturday morning we decided to go "country hopping". At this place in Germany, we could easily drive in the Czech Republic and in Poland. We had a blast...and we were only gone 3 hours! The above pictures is the Czech Republic. It pretty much all looked like this...as did Poland.

The get-together was incredible. The Hungarians made the gulasch and brought the wine. I guess that should go without saying! The gulasch was made in a huge kettle outside and took hours. The meat was deer, wild boar and who knows what else. I didn't ask.
This type of Hungarian gulasch is like a soup. Oh...did I mention that they use alot of spices? Like hot pepper paprika. In my youth, I was know to eat really hot things....mostly because I'd take a "dare" and eat the stuff to get out of doing the dishes or something. But at this point in my life, hot and spicy aren't really on my menu too much.

But THIS.....well, this is definitely to my liking! Family members...please click to enlarge....check out the sausage on the left-hand plate in the back!!!! Yes....we ALL know what that is!!!!! Oh, and note the little round red pepper sort of in the middle of the left-hand plate. There was an old Hungarian lady that popped those things in her mouth like they were popcorn!! And no....it isn't a little tomato....it's a red-hot pepper!!

I have lots of pictures of the get together that I won't show here. For those who want copies of them, Mom and Dad have a set or you can get a set from me. We had a great time. See how happy Dad is? He's sitting beside his cousin Heinrich. His cousin Mathias was also there. Yeah, I know...it's like they didn't have many names back then! ha ha This was a get-together of Hungarians in Udvari today and the Germans that were deported in 1946-1948. Yes, we have lots of stories but one I would like to share......
A 2nd cousin of Dad's came up to us and started talking about how Dad and he were deported in the same cattle train wagon. And it was an adventure and Dad was his hero for what he did. I was looking at the guy with sort of a blank expression, having no idea what Dad did. And this guy (yes, I think his name was Mathias) asked in astonishment if my Dad had never told him the story. The story was that this guy was about 3 years old and Dad, being 12 years old, lifted him up so he could get some fresh air from the little slit of a window in the cattle car! Dad doesn't remember it at all. The guy was 3....his memories are his own. Dad was 12 and has a completely different set of memories.
OK...on to the next exciting part....my QUILT. It is done! I got it back!! It is completely totally awesome and I can't believe it's mine!!

Peggy Sheehan, the lady who quilted it for me did an awesome job. The quilting is low key because the top has enough going on all by itself. The "Mrs. Foote Dirndl Material" for the back is absolutely perfect. The edges are awesome. (Sister Susan...you get what was left of it. In thanks for providing most of the top material!)
Isn't it great?!

And the size is perfect!! Yes, it's pretty heavy but I am not using it for a blanket but a bedspread. Even hubby was totally blown away with it.

And Abby? Well, it was always HER quilt and she is very happy to have it back. In fact...can you guess where her favorite place to sleep the day away is?? I've posted a slideshow on my photoblog The Camera Lenz showing more pictures of the finished product.
Thanks for bearing with me through this long post. It's an important post though for my family!



Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Westpark

Hi Everyone! No, I haven't stopped blogging. Sorry it's been so long since my last post. I'm doing great and keeping busy and having fun. I've been doing my TAST (Take A Stitch Tuesday) course although I don't necessarily do it on Tuesday and I don't necessarily do one a week. I'll probably be done with the year way ahead of time but that's okay too. I do want to photograph each sample stitch but haven't done it yet so...no pictures. Sorry.

After long last, I finally found the Westpark! I've been trying to get there for a long time now but never could find it....yeah yeah...I know..."Wanda and directions"! It was well worth it...very different from my neighboring park which is all woods. The Westpark is more gardens and grass and ponds.


The ponds are all man-made but they are so pretty. There's lots of birds, geese and ducks. And huge big fish.


There's also plenty of rocks in the ponds for these sunny, warm days!


There's a couple of Asian things, just like in the Englisch Garten. This one houses a Budda. The plants and foliage are beautiful and very appropriate for the Asian theme.

There are well marked bike paths from one end to the other with other paths shooting off to the sides. I rode the length of the park (it's not really all that big) and back on what seemed like the main left and right paths. I haven't explored the side paths yet but I will certainly be visiting again!
This first trip though was more picture taking than bike riding. I think that may be a problem with the Westpark. It is so beautiful and quiet that I think I'll be off the bike more than on! But that's okay too.
My Dad comes tomorrow and will stay for a week. We are going to a reunion festival in a little town in northern Germany which is the sister town to Dad's birthplace in Hungary. It's going to be really interesting. The people that were born in Hungary but are German have a very unique dialect and it takes all my brainpower to comprehend what is going on! The weather isn't supposed to be all that great but, hey, we can't change that! Hope you all have a good week.
I've posted two more slide shows on The Camera Lenz for those of you who are enjoying them.