A Canadian gal in Stuttgart, Germany, who loves nothing better than crafting by the seat of her pants. See her snip, sew, knit, knot, glue, sculpt, splatter, spin, and of course, talk about herself.

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Monday, April 06, 2009
Quick Update!
Since my last post I was at a bit of a loss as to how to continue. I had a few days of...well, awful after my last chemo and then I was so excited when I finally felt better and so desperate to get out of the house I hardly had time to check my mail, let alone blog. But I'm determined to get in the habit of writing again, so here are at least a few pictures of my weekend....I was at the Slow Food Fair here in Stuttgart. For those of you not familiar with the slow food movement, it is basically meant to counteract the fast food culture that has become so prevalent with some of the main objectives being that people should take the time and take an interest in their food, that it should be fresh, regional, of good quality and be fairly and ethically produced. My honey and I are both working on doctorates in organic agriculture, so we take food very seriously :) We had a great time looking at all the great products, talking to lots of interesting people and above all, eating!

To give you an idea of what you're seeing here, one of the most important parts of the German diet is BREAD. In all parts of Germany you will find a bakery on what seems like every street corner and they are filled with breads made of many different grains and seeds.

No German food fair would be complete without sausage. I'm afraid it would take me a lot more time than I have right now to go into the incredible variety of sausages and other meat products which we saw over the weekend! But suffice it to say, the German farmer wastes nothing and my taste buds are definitely the better for it :)

Here are a variety of mustards, which is the usual sausage topping here (not ketchup!) and can be found in many variations. You might notice the sign that emphasizes that they are made without any artificial colour or flavour, or preservatives :)

I'll leave you with this picture of our snack when we finally took a little break. A glass of organic southern German bubbly and some delicious oysters! I know they're maybe not everyone's cup of tea, but really, they were delicious!
posted by tatjana @ 9:12 p.m.   0 comments
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Sometimes there's no getting around the fact that you still need your blog
I haven't written in a long time. There are a variety of reasons for this, some banal, some interesting. Too busy with work, or looking for a place to live (there has been a lot of that this year), too busy falling in love, too busy getting my heart broken. Or during one period where I thought I was going to have a lot of time on my hands and thought 'Hey! Let's update the blog!' - too busy running off to Paris instead and spending the week with friend who just happens to be a Colombian circus performer (yes, he's hot too lol!). Yeah, it's been a crazy year.

But the time has come where I am no longer able to deny it. I still need my blog. I've had a lot on my mind lately, and something tells me I should try and put some of it down here. I'd kinda like to think that maybe some day it will be stumbled upon by someone going through the same thing and maybe, just maybe it will help. Even just a little. Maybe there are other women out there who are young, just starting out in life, haven't had a chance to think about marriage and family yet, whose future seems like a wide open pasture of possibilities until they are taken by surprise by very hard and frightening truth that I have had to face this past year: cervical cancer.

I'm not even sure where to begin in expressing what knowledge like that feels like. I think the first thing I felt was fear - breath stealing, blood curdling fear. In an instant I saw all things I assumed would come along some day and that now may never happen: laying a hand on my big, pregnant belly, holding my newborn child for the first time, watching my mother glow with pride at being a grandmother again.

But what I am sure of, and what has gotten me this far, is that I will not and have not let this taken over my life. My very full, colourful, precious, full of love life. And just to affirm this that much more, I want to take a blogging again, crafting again, interacting with more creative people again; things that I value but which have fallen a bit by the wayside. As a bit of a jumpstart I finally posted a couple pics to the wardrobe_remixbefore. I thought this could motivate me have more fun with the way I look (bald head and all lol!) and get the old creative juices flowing. I have no clue how to take a decent self-portrait, but I'm hoping that will come with practice. For the record, the outside shot posted here was taken by my boyfriend Victor :) group on Flickr, a really awesome pool for those interested in street fashion and personal style, which I’ve mentioned

And just to show that I am still knitting and making things, here is the latest fruit of my labours, a project I once feared I would never get done, a lovely cable cardigan knit in the most gorgeous shade of green alpaca. And with a delicate lace trim no less! I don't think I've ever been so in love with something made by my own to hands!

posted by tatjana @ 5:17 p.m.   8 comments
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
All is full of Bjork....and barns and movies and other fun stuff!

Wow. Some weekend. It was quite full of beauty for both the eye and ear, and I for one am a happy camper. As you can imagine, there were loads of people at the Virgin Festival, but in spite of the many lines we had to go through we had a grand ol' time! That's me enjoying a tasty Bud (all they had was that and Old Milwaukee - yuck!) with my darling Pete, who has come up from Rochester to come with me to every Bjork show since her Post tour. It just wouldn't be the same without him!

She put on an absolutely incredible performance, it's just so overwhelming to hear the strength of her voice and how perfectly she hits every note, as well as plays with all sorts of different vocal sounds while running around stage! The passion she puts into every song just leaves me tingling. As you can see, she also puts on a show with whatever she's wearing, no comfy jeans ever to be on her for a concert. She can be pretty outlandish with what she wears, but somehow pulls it off. This explosion of gold she wearing, for example, just seemed like an extension of her own volatile energy, as she turned into this gold blur zooming from one end of the stage to the other. I love how no matter what she wears, she always has bare feet so that she can jump around :)

There were a lot of people who stayed for her performance, as she was the last set on Saturday, and then went wild begging for an encore. It was awesome!!! A profusion of lasers and confetti accompanied her return to the stage, I really hope I didn't hurt anyone in front of me with how loud I screamed ;)

On Sunday I was craving a more quiet day, so I went to the St. Lawrence Market with my mom, one of Toronto's best known farmer's markets that also has antique dealers there on Sundays. Fun!!! I haven't been there in years and I just love snooping through old things with my mom because she gets as excited as I do :) Except for maybe buttons. She doesn't get the buttons lol. But I was very good, I didn't buy any, as right now I need to think about moving, not hording, but if I happen to have time next Sunday I might pop by to see this one seller who had the most lovely glass buttons, which I have a particular weakness for. It's just so hard to find nice ones in good condition, and these were all like new!

I did find one treasure though, that I just couldn't resist....a beautiful handmade purse!! It's made out of wood and looks like a little barn, complete with little windows and animals, and a lovely tree on one side. As you can see, it has a little flap you can open on the front and inside there is a little mirror, besides which it's signed "Made especially for you dear heart....by Margie" You can see a few more pics of it here on my flickr page. I'm sure it must be one of a kind, although my brain is already churning with the thought of how lovely it would be to have a whole collection of little house bags. Maybe a little pink one with flower boxes and a white picket fence? Or a wee ginger bread house? The possibilities are endless! It makes me wish it hasn't been quite so long since I last used a jigsaw....

posted by tatjana @ 9:52 p.m.   8 comments
Saturday, September 08, 2007
I'm film festing!!!

Growing up in Toronto, September means only one thing - the Toronto International Film Festival. The stars, the buzz, that certain excitement in the air....I spent most of my teenage years bemoaning my inability to attend due to lack of money and time. But last night I got to attend my very first festival film! Woohoo! It was great. It was one of the movies I was not able to pre-buy tickets for, so I got to rush, which means you need to just line up and see if there end up being tickets left over. I was a bit nervous at first, because there were loads of people in line, but the day was saved when I was hollered at by my super-movie-buff friend Matt, who was near the front of the line! Yay! As it turned out, I didn't even have to wait til they let the ticketholders in, because a couple people came to the line trying to sell extra tickets they had. It was quite the stroke of luck, because although the line was for several movies, the people looking to sell all had tickets to the one I wanted to see. I swear, sometimes I think I must have a horseshoe up my butt ;)

So what did I see?? The Orphanage, a Spanish horror/thriller about a woman who returns to the orphanage where she was raised to start a home for children needing special care. It's the first feature length film by director Juan Antonio Bayona and was produced by Guillermo del Toro of Pan's Labyrinth fame.

It was fabulous!! Soooo creepy. I will not give anything away, but what happens is that shortly after arriving with her husband and little son, her son begins to make certain imaginary friends.... The film is full of stunning sea-side shots and haunting images, many of which will stay with you long after the film is over. So definitely not for the faint of heart! Belen Rueda was incredible, I can't even imagine how a person could manage to play out all that emotion, particularly since you see far more of her than any of the other actors, and she often carries the whole scene on her own. It can't have been easy, expecially since the director revealed to us (at the Q & A after the movie - pic below) that they had spent much of the filming finding different ways to trick and frighten her, sometimes in the interest of the scene, and sometimes....not. Lol! It did sound like they had quite the time making the film, though.
I am awfully glad I got to see it, but it will be the last of it's kind I will be seeing at the fest, I think. I'm not sure yet what else I may be rushing, but the films I've got tickets for are all much more of the hopeful/romantic/wistful type. I've been kind of needing more of that these days ;) So far I have tickets to see Chaotic Ana (Caótica Ana), another Spanish film about a young girl who lives in a cave on Ibiza with her father, selling her colourful paintings, until one day she follows a French woman to an art school in Madrid and her adventure begins. That one will be on Wednesday, I can't wait! And then there's yet another Spanish movie (I swear I picked them based on the plots!!) called Dans la ville de Sylvia, as it takes place in Strasbourg and is partially in French (also called En la Cuidad de Sylvia).
There is one more film I will be seeing, the one I decided long ago I had to see. But I will need more time than I have at the moment to tell you about it ;) As it is, I have to run to take a shower and make my way to the Virgin Festival, which is taking place on our own little Toronto Island and which I am only going to so I can see my most beloved Björk!! I haven't seen her since the concert she held just before my departure for Germany, 4 years ago. It almost seems like she is here again to see me off :) And to make it all the more fun, my darling friend Pete has come all the way from Rochester to see her too! He is the biggest music lover I know. We met through the Björk mailing list almost ten years ago, when he was just a babe in the woods (barely 16!) and was oh so nervous about meeting these people he had only met on the internet (horror of horrors!!) and would be on his own in a great big foreign city! But never fear, we took good care of him, make sure he got back to the hotel where his parents were nervously waiting and have been dear friends ever since :) And aside from that, he is just the biggest cutie ever, so I'll be sure to get some nice picks of us to show you (and if I can manage, of the magnificent Björk as well). Wish me luck!
posted by tatjana @ 7:43 p.m.   1 comments
Friday, August 24, 2007
I have a wee little confession to make. Remember a while ago when I was hankering for a dress form and I said that I kinda maybe intended to make one of my own. Yeah, well, as you all probably figured, I didn't. Granted, there's been a whole lot going on lately, and making a dress form is not exactly a small project. Also, in my former doldrums I did a bit of eBay snooping and happened to stumble across just what I was looking for. A brand spanking new adjustable dress form, still in its box! And I even managed to get it for half of what I would have had to pay for one in any of the stores I checked around here. So here she is, modelling my latest knitting, the lovely Dottie Tank, that I was the teensiest bit afraid wasn't going to fit right when it was done. But thankfully, it fits really nicely (me too, not just the dummy). It still needs some blocking though, because the lace frill on the bottom likes to stick up a bit, and there is some curling along the straps. I was also thinking though...maybe I should add a wee little cap sleeve? In the pink yarn? Whatcha think? I would use the same lace pattern that I used on the frill and for the lace inset. I like it the way it is too, but I've been crazy lately with cap and/or gathered sleeves. They just look so dainty and pretty! Like a princess. And really, who can resist feeling princess-y? Well, obviously I can't :)
The sad thing though, about my wonderful new sewing and knitting friend, is that I'm not sure I will be able to bring her with me on my upcoming move. At least not yet. She will have to wait until spring when I come back to get another load of things, if not longer. It seems so mean of me to abandon her! But I am hoping I can give her a cozy little nook with my mum until I can whisk her off to grand old Europe. Hopefully she won't mind ;) I've been thinking though, that I should at least name her before I leave. It would probably make her feel a bit less neglected dontcha think? Do any of you have names for your dress forms? Or computers, or spinning wheels, for that matter? I was considering Lucy, or maybe Darla. As you can tell, I like the vintage names. I can't hear Lucy without thinking of Lucille Ball (link is to video), that amazing woman who managed to be technicolour, even in black and white, while Darla makes me think of the Little Rascals. I remember she always wore the cutest little dresses. I just love that whole era. Everyone looked so elegant somehow, in black and white.
But I'm forgetting myself. The point is, I need a name for this girl or I will just never forgive myself for leaving her behind like this. So if you happen to know some good dress form names, let me know ;) In the meantime, I'm going to go wash Dottie and block her out properly so I can model her, and maybe ask the knitters on Craftster what they think of adding sleeves. I can't be deciding things like this all by my lonesome, now can I?
posted by tatjana @ 2:37 p.m.   8 comments
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
I really was knitting, I swear!
As Helen mentioned in her comment, I was lucky enough to get my mug in one of the pics taken by the Yarn Harlot at the Stitch n' Pitch last week. My first thought was Woohoo! I'm famous ;D lol But then I realised I'm not even knitting in the picture....she caught me when I was getting my camera out, so I look more like a sneaky, knitting-infiltrating peeping tom. So, just to show you I really was knitting at the game, voila! I think I may also have been inadvertantly responsible for confusing one of the muggle vendors who came to our section, who was asking "Why is everyone sewing??" because I happen to be sitting right in front of him and actually was sewing, because I was seaming the pieces of my top together. Or maybe he just never heard of knitting, which everyone else assumed. Either way, I feel it's only fair to defend the muggles a bit when ya can :)

My weekend was full of nice surprises, including this lovely basket of flowers my hunny sent from Germany to say how happy he was that I'm accepting the position in Germany, which will give us a much better chance to work things out between us and see if we're really meant for eachother. No easy feat at the best of times, but even harder if you're trying to do it over two different continents!
I also had the pleasure go to this great artsy music event, where I saw several friends from high school, that I haven't seen since I was still at Guelph working on my bachelor. Amidst some great jams between electronic DJs, clarinet- and flute players, a beautiful belly dancer, and artists painting, I got to catch up with some friends I had been sorry to lose touch with. It was wonderful to see how people can seem to change a lot but seem just the same, all at the same time. It's almost as if you can see the present and past selves all at once. It was great to talk to my friend Josh, who used to be an absolute maniac (and maybe not just used to), and is in the midst of the prerequisite 20-something phase of corporate whoring. But he's is craftily gathering mad marketing skills to put to use in his plans to run for city council. Hearing this was a great big epiphany of the it's-just-so-crazy-it-HAS-to-work kind. So we had great little chat about all kinds of problems our lovely hometown has been having, especially that cause closest to my heart - people going hungry. Now I'm really psyched at the thought of him going for this and am hoping that once I'm done my second round of Deutschland I can come back and convince him to give me a hand with getting more funds for urban gardens and partnerships between food banks and farmers to get kids in the city more fresh and healthy food. Here's hoping!

Sunday I went to a birthday party for my best friend's little boy, Rylan. Him and his little sister Hayley are just the cutest ever. I adore kids, I really do. Many of my happiest memories growing up are those of doing things with my niece and nephew. But with them being teenagers now, I get really excited when I can spend time with my friends' kids. I helped with setting up while the wee ones had playtime in the pool. I think the moms were hoping this would dampen the energy levels a bit, but nothing doing. It's kinda lucky that with it being August and all, many of Rylan's classmates were off on vacation, so we only had about 10 3-5 year olds to deal with, instead of 20 or more. I have to admit, they can be a bit difficult to keep occupied at that age, because their attention spans are not very long, and by the time we got them playing Duck-Duck-Goose, my dear friend Candine was looking a might frazzled. But as I said to her, when it comes to dealing with groups of kids, if noone's started crying or bleeding, you're doing ok! lol ;) Seriously though, all the kids had a great time and best of all, I have some fabulous pictures of Hayley covered in blue icing that I get to show her boyfriends some day!

posted by tatjana @ 5:15 p.m.   4 comments
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Let's play Ball!! Um, I mean Skein!
Well, last night was Stitch n' Pitch night here Toronto. It was a blast!! They gave us knitters and other stitchy crafters a great deal - for 20 bucks we got to see a ball game with our fellow crafters and even got a great gift bag filled with lovely goodies, like yarn, coupons and patterns. Woohoo! I had a lot of fun meeting some more knitters and I can't even remember the last time I went to a baseball game - there really is nothing like rooting for the home team :) Our own Toronto Blue Jays were playing the LA Angels. Our mascot Ace was presented with a handknit scarf in honor of the occasion and even came by our section to learn how to knit himself, so I just had to take a pic! It was also funny to talk to our usher, who couldn't have been 16. Before the game, as knitters were still arriving, he was totally psyched - I'm not sure exactly what he was expecting from a bunch of knitters, but he obviously hadn't expected so many of us ;) At any rate, he said our section had been his first pick, even before the speed daters who had a section across the stadium from us LOL.

As for the knitting, I was working hard to get this tank done and I'm almost there! It got a few looks and comments, so I was pretty pleased with myself. I can't wait to get this baby blocked and try it on, hopefully by tomorrow or the day after. I noticed a lot of people working on socks, inlcuding this lovely lady across the aisle, who also happens to be a crocheter extraordinaire. (Hi Pirkko!!) I noticed the gorgeous crochet bag she had to put her blog cards in and when I checked out her site and blog I saw that she also does some stunning free-form crochet which you can see here. I love the colours and textures in these!!

In front of me, Nicole was working on the cutest little baby sweater, while mum Sylvia was knitting one of my former vices....the ribbon scarf. You can see a shawl in a similar yarn here. It knits up really quickly and makes for great spring scarf. These were all over Germany when this type of yarn came out. Of course, it doesn't help that Europeans are all about the scarf. After my first year there, I just couldn't stop wearing them. Everywhere. All the time. I'm sure more than a couple of friends would laugh if they had seen me on certain winter days, when I switched from the traditional Canadian winter scarf (picture something with similar dimensions to the one worn by Doctor Who) to my lighter indoor scarf. In my defense, Germany still uses radiators rather than central heating and my office can get kinda nipply, if you know what I mean. At any rate, Sylvia's scarf was turning out great, and although Nicole has only recently discovered the knit blog world, I'm hoping I can follow in the footsteps of the many great knitbloggers before me and recruit her to out fibre-happy numbers :) I mean really, you can never have too many knit/craft blogs, can you?
Unfortunately, the night ended on a bittersweet note....although the Blue Jays won 2-1 (Go team!!!), I got a bit of a shock when I got home and saw the news. For those of you who haven't heard already, a huge (7.9) earthquake struck offshore of Peru, and for a few hours following there was a tsunami warning for most the western coast of South America, including Ecuador, where a large part of my family lives, some of whom are quite close to the coast. I also feared for many dear friends I made while working in Colombia, who were also theoretically at risk. Although I breathed a huge sigh of relief to hear that the destruction of the earthquake would not be increased by the damage of a tsunami, my heart goes out to the people there. The Peruvian Red Cross has been working like mad to find and treat the injured - this morning I made a donation to their parent organisation, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, who has already committed 250,000 Swiss francs from their disaster relief fund. Anyone interested in making a donation can go to their website here, or those of you in Toronto can donate to the account the Peruvian Consulate has set up locally. Direct Relief International is also involved in relief efforts. And if you have the chance, please send your prayers and thoughts to these people in their time of need.
posted by tatjana @ 4:41 p.m.   6 comments

Trekking XXL Enrelac Socks
Dottie Tank
Lizzieas pdf
Bosomy Tankas pdf
Mods for Bosomy TankA Fanciful Twist
Anastasia Drawing and Dreaming
Apron Thrift Girl
Arleta's Motley Wool
The Barefoot Cobbler
Beauty School Dropout
cArried AwAy
Kandeedo Bandeedo
Fiber Arts Afloat
Hadas y Flores
Jungle Dream Pagoda
Lobstah Life
muerto de risa
My Marrakesh
Pink Lady Knits
Sock prOn
So Sylvie
Stitched in Holland