Saturday, April 30, 2011

My Treehugger Giveaway on NK Team blog!

Don't miss out on this Giveaway that went up on my Etsy Team blog today! Go visit and leave a comment about what you do to keep the planet green.

If you do you will be entered in the drawing for one of my lovely Trademark Large Treehugger Pocketdresses!

Don't forget to hug a tree today! =)

Friday, April 29, 2011

A Royal Wedding or Whatever happened to Happily Ever After?

I can't help but feeling a bit down on the institution of marriage these days. Even on this day of the Royal Wedding...

You know in German we have a saying:

Vor der Hochzeit bekommst du Rosen.
Nach der Hochzeit stopfst du Hosen.

In translations: Before you marry you get roses.
                        After the wedding you mend pants...

Well, with me it's not so much the mending of pants. I guess what really gets me is that guys seem to forget how to do the laundry when you marry them. Has it really been 15 years since I got married? In that whole period of time I remember DH doing the laundry once. That was the time I had to leave for Germany because my mother had passed away.
Upon my return from the funeral in Germany, I found that he had washed every single piece of clothing. Good job! But when I entered our bedroom I saw huge stacks of folded shirts and pants, piles of underwear and socks. I mean, those stacks nearly reached the ceiling. I said: "Honey, it's so sweet that you did the laundry. But why didn't you put the clothes away?" Answer DH: "Oh, I didn't know where they go." What the h...! Where do you find your socks and undies when you need clean ones.
I guess that was the wrong reaction. I should have praised the man instead. It's been seven years since...

Does Kate Middleton know what she is in for? One wonders... Well, she most likely has people to do that sort of thing for her. I doubt that Royals do their own laundry. I sure hope she has a better experience than poor Diana.

I was 13 years old when I watched Diana Spencer's wedding. It was a real special occasion. I was supposed to go harvest asparagus with my sisters. My parents owned that huge field of white asparagus back then. We had to go twice a day to dig up the white treasures... I remember my sisters and I felt so bummed out that morning because we all wanted to stay home and watch the fairy tale wedding of Charles and Lady Di'.
Then, a miracle happened! I fell off my bike riding out to the field. I scraped one of my knees and elbows so badly that my parents sent me home. I got to sit propped up in my dad's chair and watch the whole ceremony while my sisters had to slave away in the field! Oh, you betcha they were mad. =)

I got up at 3 AM this morning to watch the Royal Wedding. Oh how beautiful Kate Middleton looked! That radiant smile! Sorry about the grainy pictures, but our TV is from 1987. Yet I think I managed to capture the essence of her smile. I sure hope that William does right by her! I hope he helps her with the friggin' laundry or whatever the heck she needs help with...

Off to continue with my drudgery... No asparagus these days. But lots of laundry and the kitchen floor could use a sweeping...

Good Luck, Kate!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hope you had Fun on Easter....

I hope you had a good Easter celebration. If you do celebrate it, that is. Have you seen these pictures on Huffington? Maybe it's a good thing my parents never took pictures of the family on Easter....

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter! Frohe Ostern!

I have always loved Easter. Maybe I loved it so much as a child because my birthday is around Easter. I remember years when my birthday actually fell on Easter. It was wonderful waking up and looking out the window upon waking up. The anticipation of hunting for Easter eggs and getting a special gift for my birthday. Unfortunately I have no pictures of that day. My parents never took pictures of us on our birthday. They didn't take many pictures period! So I have only one single Easter picture from my childhood.

In the picture you can my three older sisters and me after an Easter Egg Hunt at my aunt's house in Germany. The Photo was probably taken in 1973 or 1974. It had no date on it...But as in the other family photos, see the matching coats? My mom made them for us. I am sure I enjoyed that lovely red and white checkers pattern for quite a few years...We all had the same hairdo, too. Lovely, no?

Hope you are having a peaceful Easter and are still excited about hunting for chocolate eggs.

 After all Easter is about hope. Hope for new life and being reunited with our loved ones some day...

Friday, April 22, 2011

Win this EarthDay Treasury!

Happy Earthday!

 Looking for a load of awesome free gifts? You can enter into a drawing for a collection of NaturalKids team products by simply leaving a comment on Etsy.

The screenshot shown here shows only half of the loot you could possibly win. So go check out the link and leave your comment!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

About the Purpose of Blogs...

Maybe you didn't know. I am also the blog leader and editor in chief over at the NaturalKids Team blog. Sounds grand, nope? Well, it's not an easy job. But I love my team and Etsy, and Natural Toys. So it all makes sense.
I put many many hours into blogging. I often get complaints from my husband and family. Why are you doing this? Why do people blog?
It's hard to explain. What is a blog? Is it merely a diary of sorts where people share trivial information about themselves? Or is it a business tool to promote the stuff you sell? Or is it a chat room where you can visit with people all over the world who have similar interests.

I guess all of the above are true for Blogs. Blogs. They are a weird thing. But I love both blogs I'm involved in. They make me feel happy and connected. They make me feel heard. It's my own little newsroom where I can broadcast what is important to me. If people care and comment, fine! If they don't, that's all right, too.

Oops, and while you may find the contents of this particular post not interesting. Here is some good info for you. Please, go over to the NaturalKids Team and visit. There is even a cool Giveaway going on. Every Saturday we have an item up for grabs. This week's Giveaway is sponsored by the great doll artist Cynthia Toy. How cool a name is that, when you make toys?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Junges Gemuese/ Fresh Veggies

Today I shipped this doll in her cute Veggie Dress to her new home.
This little sweetheart is moving to Belgium. Hope she will pick up some French or Flamish quickly...

Monday, April 18, 2011

I have been playing with the etsymini feature. Never really knew what is was for. But for my birthday I thought it would look nice on my blog.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Easter Craft: How to make a Dress-up Easter Bunny

Maybe you can relate to the following problem: Having too many fabric scraps around. When you are doll maker you end up with lots of fabric scraps that are too small to make doll clothes with yet too precious to throw away...So they keep piling up in my house. I have to confess, when it comes to fabric, I am a terrible hoarder. Remember the frienship peg dolls from my February post? I am thrilled to have come up with yet another craft that will help me shrink my pile...

Make this cute Easter bunny craft!

A couple of years ago my sister sent me an Easter package. Besides yummy German chocolate, it held this darling bunny she made with her kids. Her bunny was made from construction paper and card stock only...

This weekend we created our own dress-up bunny. The kids and I had a blast making them!

All you need for this craft is:

1.Poster board or thick paper in white, black, brown, or bunny color
2.Fabric Scraps
3.Glue (we used Elmer's for the clothing, but had to resort to hot glue gun for the bunnies neck...)

I am not much on templates but I scanned in the basic shapes you need for your dress-up bunny. You can use your own free form drawings but don't fret to copy mine. You can make it as large or small as you feel right. Our finished bunnies measured around 7 inches from top of the ear to the feet.

Step 1: use your poster board or card stock to cut out one bunny body and one head with ears (white parts in the picture)

Step 2: cut from fabric scraps two sets of pants (making sure to flip the pattern over so they match), then cut one pocket, one Easter Egg to go in the pocket.

Variation: For a girl bunny you can just leave out the v-shape divot, and cut out a dress instead...

Step 3: glue the clothes onto the body. Pants or respective dress parts go on front and back. Then glue egg and pocket over the egg.

Step 4: Make a neck by braiding three pieces of yarn together. The little braided neck is about 1 inch long. Make a knot on each side. An adult (or authorized person) should now use a hot glue gun to glue the knots to the body and head part.

Step 5: Take a black marker or pen and add the bunnies face and color in the ear part.

Step 6: Poke a little hole in the top of the head, right above the eyes and pull a piece of thread or strong twine through, loop around and make knot in the back.

Done! You can hang your cute bunnies anywhere you like. They will look great hanging from an Easter bouquet or centerpiece on your table. We hung ours from the chandelier over the dining table. You could even make a cute Easter mobile with them. Or use them as a card?

Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

German Red Cabbage recipe

In German we say: Essen und Trinken haelt Leib und Seele together. In translation: Eating and drinking keeps the body and soul together. When I miss Germany I like to cook foods that remind me of home...

Maybe you are looking for a hardy side dish to impress your friends with? Searching for your long lost German roots? Or maybe you simply need a veggie to take to a family potluck?

I got just the thing for you: German Red Cabbage.

In order to make it you need:

medium sized head of red cabbage
4 Tsp butter
half of a large onion or small onion sliced
2 small apples, on the tart side, washed, cored, skin left on, chopped roughly
3 Tsp vinegar (I use cider or red wine vinegar)
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves or 4 whole cloves
1/2 cup chicken broth
red wine
pepper and salt to taste

1. Melt butter in a large pot and add chopped onion and apple pieces. Let them soften for a a few minutes over low to medium heat.

2. Add shredded cabbage with a bit of water. Put the lid on and wilt the cabbage, turning it a few times.

3. Add spices, vinegar, broth, sugar, and simmer cabbage until it becomes soft, about 20-30 minutes

4. add some raisins and a few splashes of red wine. The red wine helps the cabbage to maintain a nice red color... Simmer slowly for another 15 minutes.

This recipe makes a large serving that will feed 8-10 people. Germans serve it for festive occasions with poultry such as goose or a Sunday roast. But it makes a great side to any meat dish. Red cabbage tastes best if made a day ahead. You can also cook it in the morning and reheat it for dinner to make it perfect! It can be frozen in a container and used another day when you don't have time to cook...

Hope you try it and let me know how the family liked it!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Create or Die

I find that when I am really sad I must create. I got to do something to keep my hands and brain occupied. It's create or die.

Luckily I had some orders to think about. I had one for a little bald baby with a  bow instead of hair. It's been a long time since I made one. Since the first one looked so sweet I kept going and made a second one to list in my shop.

The children have been studying poetry at school. They talked about Haiku, a form of Japanese poetry, the other day. I didn't really know what it was. I often see Haiku writing contests in the paper. So I thought I'd check it out. I found a book at the library The Haiku Anthology by Cor Van Den Heuvel.

The book said that Haiku are short poems that talk about an image from nature and connect it to the human condition. They do that in 17 syllables. Most people seem to think that it's a three-liner with 5-7-5 syllables per line. That's what my daughter was told to do at school. The library book said it didn't matter, that anything under 17 syllables was okay.  I couldn't decide whether to write one in English or German. So this is what I came up with.

Kirschblueten vor dem Fenster
    Kinderlachen draussen vor der Tuer
           Wieso hast Du uns verlassen?

Cherry Blossoms in my window
Children's laughter at my door
       Why did you leave?
I know they are not quite right. Especially the German version is too long. But I just couldn't think of ways to shorten it. Any advice?

When I run out of prayers I turn to art. How about you?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Curse of the Modern Immigrant...

I was determined to make my blog a happy place this year. No more moping and whining. I wanted to write about the good things in life. But life just doesn't work that way, does it?

I often wonder whether it was easier for European immigrants from the last century. They said their 'Good Byes', got on the boat, and made a new life for themselves here. Going back to visit family just wasn't an option. They probably exchanged letters with the family, because of postal delays they probably din't know when tragedy struck at home. I wonder whether not knowing may have been easier...

In the age of telephone, Internet, and instant messaging we always know when things happen...

I am the only one from my family in my generation who has left Germany. Yesterday I got another one of those phone calls. I am sick of this kind of phonecall. The only good thing I can say about this particular one is, that it didn't come in the middle of the night. When my parents died, the callers did not consider what the time was over here. They called while everyone was sound asleep; the result being that whenever the phone rings late at night, I freak out. I am awake instantly thinking it could be another "Hiobsbotschaft" (bad news).

Well yesterday's bad news was about the passing of my cousin. Passing. He did not pass peacefully. He decided to jump off a rock cliff.

When we were kids in elemantary school we would take hiking trips to a place called Rotenfels. It's a beautiful rock formation by the Naheriver. People would always joke about "Suicide Rock". They whispered how many an unhappy loveaffair had ended in this place.

Well on March 27th, my cousin, Michael who had been diagnosed with cancer two years ago decided to end his life there. OMG, Michael! He was my age. Michael. A young successful manager. He had a beautiful wife and two beautiful children. He lived in a beautiful house in the town my mom grew up in. I guess we'll never know why he did this. I suspect being tired of the grueling cancer treatments and the hopelessness. Please pray for his little family and for him having found peace!

All I want to do is hug my aunt and uncle and tell them how sorry I am. But how can I -being thousands of miles away? The curse of the modern immigrant. Always knowing but not being able to do anything...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Have you seen those Radioactive Piggies?

How long does it take for radioactivity to go away? Apparently just about forever! Check out this link:

Have you ever eaten wild boar meat? It's considered a delicacy in the Vaterland. I think I have to send this article to my sister in Germany. She likes to serve boar stew or sausages for a special Sunday treat. Makes me wonder if she has a clue as to how contaminated her special treat may be...

Friday, April 1, 2011

this moment

{this moment}
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

here is my moment. got to love those tulips...