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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Saturday, September 30, 2006
Dont' Forget!
Today's the last day for the contest, so whoever is looking to get some free yarn has to enter by tonight. I've had a lot of fun looking at the entries so far. Don't be shy ladies!


posted by tatjana @ 12:08 a.m.   1 comments
Thursday, September 28, 2006
999 Things - Inspiration
It's been a few days since my last post...I came down with a cold on the weekend and have been just exhausted all week as my body crawls its way back to health. So there has been no crafting of any kind going on, in spite of a burning desire to make something really awesome. But alas, in addition to my poor physical condition, I have not been of good crafting mind lately, my pencil and sketchbook leave me sad, a look at my yarn or fabric stash bewildered. I'm hoping with my more or less returned health, I can spark a flame of creativity on the weekend and just make something. My hands are just itching to be used and if I don't make something soon I will just lose my mind. So, to get me and maybe others going, here are some of the things that bring me inspiration.

41. Niki de Saint Phalle - I first encountered her (terribly famous but unbeknownst to unarteducated me) work when I went to Vienna and stumbled on an exhibit. I saw a Nana and just squealed. Something about these figures just speaks to me in a way that little art does. I think because there's something so alive about them. There is a huge Nana in the Zurich train station. It is utterly amazing. It is enormous and hangs over those coming through the main entrance like some great technicolor feminine avenger.

42. Alphonse Mucha - When I look at his work I can't help but think there is no such thing as women, only goddesses. We are all goddesses.

43. Björk - I've been a fan ever since she came out with her first solo album when I was 14. Admittedly, she is an acquired taste (and has become more so) but I don't think of what she makes as music as much as auditory art. When I listen, I close my eyes and see the landscapes her music creates. I can imagine what it's like for animals who see by radar, the sounds I hear are like the echoes of mountains, forests and bodies of water.

44. I stumbled upon this a few days ago, and am still in awe.

45. Mehndi - Well, almost anything about Indian culture really, I can think of no other with the same variety and colour. But the endless mehndi designs out there all just beg to made into beautiful permanent things instead of being washed away after a few days or weeks.

46. Glass - I could look at glass for hours. Things like this or this or this.

47. John Galliano - Most people would not consider fashion art. In most cases I would agree, except for this man's haute couture.

48. Frida Kahlo - Not much to say really, just an amazing woman and artist.

49. Fernando Botero - I find his exagerated and rotund style irresistable, and find it fascinating how he can use such childlike figures to portray things like violence in his home Colombia, or the torture of prisoners in Iraq.

50. There should be a knit designer here. I can't think of a knit designer that inspires me, although I wish there was. Maybe I just don't know enough of them? If anyone could mention a couple lesser known ones, maybe I could find one :)
For now I'll say, what with Oktoberfest in the air (Stuttgart has the Volksfest, Germany's 2nd largest festival) I've been thinking a lot about Trachtkleidung (tradition German clothing). Aside for Lederhosen and things, this also includes beautiful knit patterns. Here is an example, I will try to find a better one though.


posted by tatjana @ 5:01 p.m.   2 comments
Friday, September 22, 2006
Remember when I loved just about everybody?
First off, thanks to Arleta for getting us started. You rock! I thought I'd offer some inspiration (and show I likely have much more to be embarassed about) by showing a couple of my crushes. First, the obvious:

That's right. To hell with Joanie! I love Chachi! He was so much better than the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fonzie. But sadly, just not the same when he became Charles in Charge (Wow! It even has it's own Wikipedia entry - who knew!). But much more embarassing is that is one of the few that were anywhere close to my age. Other men I was just dying to marry before I was even old enough to drive included:

Joe Perry from Aerosmith (not as scary as Steven Tyler but not much better) and Robin Williams! Wow, do I have great taste or what? Yeah, I'm pretty sure they'd both been married or had children or both by the time I left kindergarten. In my defense, I would still much prefer an old school rocker to the pretty boy or gangsta types people listen to now. And as for Robin, well, I'm kind of a sucker for men who can make me laugh, always have been :) I admit though, still kinda scary. If you don't see why, take a look at his arms in this picture. Yikes!

There. So now none of you have to feel the least bit embarassed about whoever you liked ;)


posted by tatjana @ 5:32 p.m.   7 comments
Thursday, September 21, 2006
The 'Remember when I loved _____?' Contest
Hi all! I'm all kinds of excited about givin stuff away! I should have done this ages ago :) Ok, like I said yesterday, I had forgotten about my blogiversary but still wanted to have a contest to celebrate. I did some thinking yesterday about what you could do to enter and I think I came up with something fun. At first I thought I'd do something about forgetting things, like birthdays, anniversaries, or maybe a key article of clothing in a rush to get somewhere? (Or do things like that only happen to me? lol!) But then I was inspired by an entry on Selena's blog. She mentioned how her memory just ain't as good anymore, but that she still remembers some really odd things, like Kirk Cameron's birthday. I thought that was really funny (Thanks Selena!). So here's what you have to do: First, think of someone you had a big, fat crush on way back when. Then, put them through Google images and pick the best/hottest/funniest picture you see. Put the pic, or a link up on your blog, and leave a comment here so I can see your old crush! I'll give away 3 prizes, one for the hottest (I reserve the right to pick this according to my wierdo taste, so be warned!), one for the most embarassing (did you secretly love Uncle Fester?) and one for the funniest! I'll give a week, that sound fair? So everyone has til next Friday night (Sept 29th) to find a pic. And now, the prizes!

I wanted to find something that may be trickier to get in other parts, so I thought 'Fancy German sock yarn!'

Opal Hundertwasser sock yarn

This is the Opal Hundertwasser Jacquard. The colours and patterns are based on the painting of Friedensreich Hundertwasser, a famous Austrian artist who is responsible for a number of beatifult, famous and bizarre buildings in Austria and Germany. I couldn't get over the idea of knitting artsy socks, so I just had to get it :) It's colour 897 - Silver Spiral, and you can see a pic of a knit sock here.

Lang sock yarn

This is some more pretty sock yarn, Cotton Jacquard from Lang. It's a wool-cotton mix, so it makes for good fall/spring socks, not just winter. And it comes with the neat-o matching reinforcement thread which hides in the middle. I really like this because it's like a Kinder egg, but with yarn!

Pink yarn

And finally, the non-sock prize :) Sadly, there is a lot in the way of novelty yarns here which, though maybe not sold in other areas, are sometimes downright scary, and I refuse to inflict that on you people! So instead we have 2 skeins of this fun looks-like-handspun wool yarn in a variety of pinks. Each skein is a bit over 100g (~3 1/2 oz) and has about 120y, so together they should be enough for a nice scarf.

Ok, that's it. Go find some good pictures! I can't wait to see what each of you thinks (or thought) is a hunka hunka burnin' love!


posted by tatjana @ 9:48 p.m.   12 comments
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
If y'all ain't just my spinning mojo!
Wow! I really must thank you all for the lovely comments on my yarn...I was almost as red ;) Honestly, I feel really bad sometimes about being such a crafting butterfly, flitting from one thing to another, because I don't always dedicate the time and effort to things they deserve. That has especially been the case with spinning, but I'm planning on fixing that :) And thanks to all of you, I'm super motivated to do it too!

For those of you who commented on the medieval fair, you should really go (or go again) if you ever have the chance. They're just the coolest ever. I'm by no means a hardcore fairgoer yet, but we ordered a shirt for Bunny, I'm looking around for yarn I can use for chainmail and I'm trying to decide what kind of dress I want.

Tricia asked about the apples...aren't they pretty? We picked those on Sunday on this piece of land that used to belong to his dad. Since that sounds a litte fishy, I'll explain :) Southern Germany has lots of farmland, and Bunny's grandparents had a farm. As is fairly common, they had land in more than one place. This one lot just had fruit trees, mostly apples. It sits in the middle of a big stretch of farmland which is made up of all sorts of people's random plots of land. A few of them are actually cultivated, like rapeseed (Canola) or sugarbeet, but most are just used for weekend gardening or barbecueing, since backyard space is hard to come by here. The plot that belonged to Bunny's Oma and Opa, and then to his dad, got sold to the state, who just kinda buys plots like that so as not to disturb things. So we weren't stealing from anybody. Well, kinda from the state, but it's not like they're going to send some minor civil servant out to collect the apples, they just fall down n rot, so I figure it's better if someone makes use of them. Best of all, they are SO good! Super crisp and a little tart, just the way I like 'em. That means they're really good for baking too, so Tricia, to finally answer your question, I will definitely be making pie (Because I don't have the patience for strudel lol) :)

Ok, last but not least, it's occured to my pea-brain that I totally forgot my own blogiversary! It's been just over a year now since I Frankensteined this sucker (It's alive!! ALIVE!!) and brought it back from blog death to display my new found craftiness. Long ago, I used it to chronicle my plunderung of Mexico, but that's another story :) So, to make up for my harebrainedness, I'm going to have a contest! You know, like all the cool kids! I just need to take pics of the prizes and figure out what to do to enter. I'll think of something fun, I promise!


posted by tatjana @ 5:58 p.m.   3 comments
Monday, September 18, 2006
Deutsche fests and more autumn nostalgia
ApplesWe spent a lovely, laid back weekend tidying up around the house in between taking little trips to check out events in nearby towns. Stuttgart is by far the biggest city in all of southern Germany, except for Munich, but it's hard to see it that way. It doesn't have much of a 'downtown' and for the most part is a whole bunch of smaller towns all squished together. Because of this, there are always little events happening in all the little town squares, things like farmers' or craft markets, fairs, sometimes parades. Often they will focus on some kind of regional point of interest, like the Filderkrautfest which is coming up and celebrated a really fun looking regionally grown cabbage. I'm not sure why, but it makes me think of that Peanuts special about the Great Pumpkin....I wonder if there's a little German kid who sits in the cabbage patch with his blankie and waits for the Great Pointed Cabbage?

On Saturday we went to a medieval market in a small nearby town. It was a small market, only about 15 or 20 stalls at most including food. But I found it really lovely because it was mainly children oriented, and we got to watch groups of children learn a medieval dance, which they immediately performed again when we and the other lunch eaters cheered for them :) There was also archery, fencing and this, which I can't find a name for but looks like fun! I think there were other things too, I saw the remains of pottery. And what was really cute was that most of them were in garb! I think I need me some garb too :)

And since I've been so swept up with thoughts of fall I decided to make use of my poor neglected wheel and spin up some fall yarn:
Canadian Fall - single
The colours aren't super clear, but I spun sections of red, orange and a warm brown, plus blends of those in between and then Navajo plied it. Canadian Fall - Navajo plied
I haven't been spinning that long, so I still need to work on spinning uniformly, especially with lighter weights. Maybe I shouldn't let myself get distracted all the time with new projects.

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posted by tatjana @ 9:25 a.m.   7 comments
Friday, September 15, 2006
999 Things - on Fall
31. Fall is definitely my favourite season. I think of the colours, the joy of charging through a pile of leaves, that crisp feeling in the air, the new beginning of another school year.

32. I miss Canada the most in the fall. The thought of a grove of red maples, their leaves blazing, really tugs on the heartstrings.

33. I find things still feel off schedule here. There is no Labour Day weekend to bookmark the back to school, and the children aren't seen on their way to school until after the middle of the month.

34. But there is one school tradition I get a kick out of....on their first day of first grade the children are sent with a Schultute. I think this is a great idea, as it seems to help kids not feel scared or sad about going.

35. Another thing I love about fall is the squash. This is still a relatively new vegetable in German cuisine, but there are now several kinds available at the farmer's markets, at least in fall, and I stock up while I can.

36. Right now I have a spaghetti and a butternut squash to make on the weekend.

37. I like spaghetti squash simple. I just halve it, scrape out the insides, and bake it in the oven with veggie broth in the centres. When it's done I just mix in what's left of the broth while I scrape the fibres out and add butter (plus salt, since butter here is unsalted). I've tried lots of other recipes, but I still like it this way best.

38. Butternut squash is always soup to me, with cream, cinnamon and a bit of cayenne pepper. So yummy! My best friend and I made it once with Scotch bonnets and overdid it a bit...everyone loved the soup, but had to eat with tears streaming down their cheeks :D

39. A popular fall activity here which I've been meaning to do forever, is muchroom hunting. Because there is a lot of light rain and overcast skies, it makes for great mushroom weather and we see them everywhere when we go on walks in wooded places.

40. I only know a few mushrooms, not enough to feel safe picking them to eat. But I love wandering around in the fall admiring their many forms and colours. Flowers bloom in spring, but mushrooms bloom in fall!


posted by tatjana @ 1:23 p.m.   5 comments
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Cheater cheater pumpkin eater....
Do ever feel just a little bit guilty for cheating on the sweater you're knitting to go sew yourself a quick skirt? For putting aside that mile long scarf for Aunt Flo, because you just couldn't keep your itchy fingers from casting on for that cute little top in the latest issue of IK? For tossing your quilting pieces to the wind so you can be up to your elbows in a bucket of yarn and purple dye? I do, sometimes. The last week or so has been one of those times. It tends to coincide with ruts, those periods when your craft mojo just seems to be out of whack, and none of your current WIPs seem so exciting anymore.

So who, or really what, am I cheating on? Well, I've already spouted off about all the sewing, and in addition to that grey cardigan (which I haven't touched since I posted that picture), I have two half knit cardigans waiting in the wings, a Mary Jane and a DROPS 88-4. Then there is a red cardigan, which is actually very close to being done, that I found while organizing my stash, and last, but definitely not least, because it's the only project with a deadline, a little something I want to submit to Knitty. And don't even ask how many potential projects I've started swatches for.


But all this torrid betrayal is not my fault! I swear! It was the yarn....the yarn was my downfall!!! (Have I used enough !!! yet?)

pink cone

And there she is. Isn't she lovely? An unexpected score on eBay, a 900g cone for 6,50 Euro, which of course had to be accompanied by a cone of paprika coloured cotton, and a cone of really soft silver-grey viscose. But this one is by far the best. You wouldn't know to look at it, or feel it for that matter, but it's a blend of cotton, acrylic and polyamid. Yeah, wierd mix. But it's soft as butter, knits up beautifully, and has this ever so slight halo that I'm just loving.

So of course you all think I'm knitting something with it. But I haven't even gotten that far yet (except for a wee bit of swatching). Having been inspired by Aija, I thought 'Hey, we haven't tried Navajo plying yet, why don't we give a whirl with some of that there pink yarn?' I really was just going to try it out, see how hard it was. And then I thought, 'Wow, this yarn is really great plied this way, and I could make a much more cuddly sweater with this added bulkiness!' So before I knew it I was Navajo plying like a crazy person. I don't know what's sadder, the fact that I'm not even plying my own handspun, or the fact that there are winders that do this. Ok, maybe not Navajo ply, but certainly do a decent job of twisting three strands together.

Oh well, it's too late to turn back now. All my other WIPs are already disgusted with me, and I already have almost enough of the yummy pink yarn in worsted weight to make a sweater :)


posted by tatjana @ 7:52 p.m.   6 comments
Monday, September 11, 2006
Monks are just the coolest ever, dontcha think?

As promised, here are some pictures of our trip last weekend to the monastery in Maulbronn! Founded in 1147, it is said to be the best preserved medieval monastery north of the Alps. There are many fascinating architextural details to be seen, from the Romanic main church building (see a panorama of the carved choir stalls here) to the early Gothic architecture of the dining hall. I was expecially found of the arches, like the ones here near the entrance. Maulbronn Monastery - arches
These have only a four part vault, but there were also many six part vaults, often with intricate headstones, like the one here:


I couldn't stop looking at these, and the detailing on the columns. Each headstone and column has a different motif. It was the intention of the monks to imitate the variety of God's creation. Another highlight was the net ceiling of the Parlatorium, which is decorated with a multitude of botanical designs which can still be vividly seen in the original paint from 1493.


It's a bit awesome to think that this hall was reserved for the hour in which the monks were permitted to speak each day. Before its being built, however, they had been granted no such reprieve from their vow of silence. Luckily, they were in no danger of losing their voices, as there was prayer during mass which was held eight times a day, according to Psalm 119 (which I ahve discovered is slightly different in German) which says Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws. to which the German adds and I wake in the night to thank you. Singing was also an important component of the mass, and I can't remember the number of hymns our guide said they went through in a week, but you can be darn-tootin sure, them there monks did a whole lotta singing.
Ok, that's all fer now, stay tuned tomorrow to hear about what a big fat crafting cheater I am ;)


posted by tatjana @ 7:42 p.m.   6 comments
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Quick Update
First, thank you for the lovely comments from Arleta, Courtney and Gaby (Muchisimas gracias!) on my collages. Since it's something I'm just starting with, the encouragement is greatly appreciated! And both Arleta and Marji have asked about the 999 things...can I really think of that many? I may not manage to complete them, but so far I find thinking of 10 at a time is a breeze. Also, I really like that it allows me to give little snippets about me that others may find interesting, without the risk of rambling on, which I have a tendency to do :)

As for crafty stuffs, I really tried to get my Sew Retro stuff done, but what I thought would be quick just went all wrong. I must have spent the better part of an hour trying to figure out the best way to line up the pattern on the 2 halves of the circle skirt. The dumb thing is, they actually printed the pattern so that it lines up exactly, but the pattern is a little too wide for the fabric and it runs onto the selvage :P so I had to cut a section off on either side, making it an almost circle skirt. It still needs hemming, which I haven't had the time or the energy for, but I may just take a pic as is, just so everyone can see it. I also managed to get the wrap dress done, except for hems, but in my impatience I didn't check the fit as carefully as I should have, and it looked horrendous. So I had to take the dang thing apart again and threw it somewhere in the corner. Why oh why am I drowning in this bad craft voodoo?

Aside from sewing stress, the weekend was good, with great weather, and on Sunday we decided to take a trip to Maulbronn. It was really beautiful, we had a great time, and I will post some pics tonight or tomorrow.


posted by tatjana @ 8:56 a.m.   4 comments
Monday, September 04, 2006
999 Things
21. I make a fish face sometimes when I'm bored and not really thinking...kinda like this, but I don't usually cross my eyes unless I'm doing it to show someone else.

22. I sigh alot when I'm feeling kinda melancholy. Really deep, wistful kinda sighs. I don't even realize I'm doing it til Bunny asks me what's wrong.

23. I call my boyfriend Bunny, because I think it's funny. He didn't like it until I spent a week calling him much more embarassing alternatives . Now it's totally his name! haha!

24. He calls me Lion because I couldn't stop dancing and singing along to this.

25. Bizarrely, I could listen to that song all day.

26. I do not know how to play any instruments.

27. I took music for a year in high school, during which I was condemned to the trombone.
28. This is a great instrument, but not for me because I have short arms. Taken from a site explaining how to tune a trombone:
Seventh position -- About an inch and a half past the stockings. his is as far as most people can reach.
For short arms: Use tips of two fingers releasing thumb from brace to reach seventh. Move right shoulder in. Extremely short arms may need to tie a string from finger to brace and "throw" the slide.
Yeah, throw the slide. That worked real well. I won't even tell you the number of times I got a little over-zealous and cracked some innocent clarinet player in the back of the head.

29. I secretly longed for the trumpet, and traded for one every time we had a substitute teacher.

30. I found the trumpet much easier to play, even with the small mouthpiece, and have ever since been convinced that if given the chance I could have been a musical genius.


posted by tatjana @ 1:27 p.m.   2 comments

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