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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Thursday, January 25, 2007
A little more swing for your step...
Just a quick post with another great swing video, since you all seemed to like the first one so much. Although her partner is younger, the woman dancing here is in her sixties - just goes to show that swing is both a lifelong source of fun and keep your tailfeather in good working order ;)

Oh, and I also fiddled with my blog a bit. It looks ok in my browser, but if anyone notices any overlapping of things, or it just looks funky, please let me know. Have a happy Thursday, y'all :D


posted by tatjana @ 5:22 p.m.   6 comments
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
You mean that little bit of snow?

Well, although on the weekend the fates were not exactly in my favour, it looks like they've swung back my way. I woke up to this view out my front door this morning (but a bit darker) and didn't really think much of it. Getting this much snow at once does not happen often here in southern Germany, but having grown up in Canada, it never occurs to me that it's anything but normal. The bus I take to the train station was a little late, but I thought that was to be expected, since it looked like the process of clearing the streets was still underway. Also, people around here tend to get a little paranoid about driving in weather like this, which doesn't exactly help traffic. Matthias does an impression of German drivers in snowy weather which consists of him running around with his hands over his head yelling 'Schneeflocken! Die Schneeflocken werden mich fressen!' ('Snowflakes! The snowflakes are going to eat me!') LOL. Anyway, to make a long story short, the train station was utter chaos, no trains were running, and I just made my sweet way back home. Yay! Since I rather grudgingly dragged my sorry butt to work the last couple days, I am more than happy to stay home. Thankfully, things are really slow at work right now, so no one will mind me just working from home today.

Thank you all so much for your well wishes for me to get better, you are all such sweethearts! Cinderella, I wasn't brave enough to try Moby's cold remedy, although I'm sure it must be pretty effective, since I know at least that garlic and cayenne are great for fighting colds, and ginger is good for all sorts of things. For example, if any of you have never tried ginger tea (just let some ginger steep for a bit, then drink the water), it's great for upset stomachs. As Vanessa pointed out, the ginger tastes quite nice, especially with honey, at least if you like ginger. Unfortunately it has always been one of the things I have to choke down. Luckily though, it's only if the flavour is really strong, so I can still use hints of ginger in my cooking when it's mixed with other spices, like in Indian or Thai cooking, where it usually doesn't bother me. Nevertheless, even though I am a big fat yellow-belly who did not make Moby tea, I am feeling better, if a little run down. But as I said, things at work are slow right now, which means boring and I am just one of those people who doesn't get nearly as tired from being busy as I do from having not enough to do.

So, in the spirit of keeping myself busy, I am well underway with my lovely alpaca sweater! I must say, the Andean Treasure from Knitpicks is so snuggly soft and I really love knitting with it. I only started working on this last week and I'm already done a good part of the body. I am knitting it in the round, just plain stockinette for now, but when I get to the yoke I will use the feather pattern (or is it fan? Who knows, here in Germany we call it peacock!) that I used on the sleeve. I was inspired in part by the Equinox Yoke Pullover, which has a fair isle design all the way up to the elbow, and also the Enid sweater, which I think has a very nice shape. At first, I considered doing some sort of simple fair isle, but when I knit a swatch of the two yarns it didn't look so hot, because of the difference in weight of the two yarns and all the colours in the Araucania. Since I really wanted to make use of just these, though I decided to try something else. I really like how the sleeve is turning out, and am looking forward to knitting the yoke. I think this will be a sweater that I will wear a lot. That's really saying something, since I started designing things on my own almost as soon as I learned to knit, and I've made a lot of duds ;D

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posted by tatjana @ 11:16 a.m.   7 comments
Sunday, January 21, 2007
It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing...
Don't you just hate it when you're really looking forward to something and then for whatever reason you just can't do whatever that was? I woke up feeling all awful and flu-y yesterday - after only managing to stay semi-healthy for only a month! I was really hoping it would maybe get better over the course of the day, that it was only a weak, fleeting little thing, and that I would still be able to go swing dancing like a planned, but no dice. Since it happened over my little hiatus, I don't think I mentioned before that since our plans to visit a friend of mine in Vienna for New Year's Eve fell through, so instead I dragged Mr. Keep-me-at-leat-100m-from-the-dancefloor to a dance party which was split into two rooms: one Tango and one Swing. It was so awesome! I actually did manage to get the boy on the dance floor for a couple songs (during one of which I think I almost dislocated his shoulder) and also got a couple of the swing dudes to dance with me. I learned to swing dance a bit when there was a big craze in Toronto while I was in high school, but haven't really found anywhere along my travels where I could swing since. I would really like to start again. So I was planning on going to a swing night that was planned for last night, and included an intro class beforehand. Alas, it was not meant to be. But I'm not giving up! The same group that organizes the swing nights also does classes, with another round starting in February. Woohoo! I hope I don't make too much of a jackass of myself, since I haven't really done any swing dancing, apart from my drunken, New Year's fiasco, in almost 10 years (Sweet Jeebus!). If I'm lucky, I may be able to convince a friend of mine to come with me, as she used to take ballroom and jazz and was saying how much she missed dancing. After all, why embarass only myself in front of complete strangers when I can have people I know there too ;)

Oh! and before I forget, I got tagged by the lovely Tricia. I have to list five things about me, not mentioned on this blog, and using the same two words to start each one as Tricia did on her blog. So here goes :)

1. I enjoy movies. All kinds of movies. I find something magical about sitting in the dark with the outside world a million miles away, while you empathise with the broken hearted girl, the suave southern gentleman, or the man in black :)

2. I like to make odd noises when I'm excited. Not that kind of excited, pervert! When I'm really happy about something I tend to squeal or chirp, and I'm always talking to the cats, in cat. I guess I just find normal speech a too limiting to express certain kinds of joy properly lol.

3. I love horses. I only ever got to ride one on a couple pony rides as a child, but I dream that when we someday have our house somewhere in rural Canada, we'll have a barn and at least one horse. I think growing up with an animal that beautiful is one of the greatest gifts you can give a child.

4. I have a tendency to get easily distracted. It's a miracle if I can keep my mind on a single idea for 2 minutes at a time. I keep meaning to write more things down, because it always feels like there's so little of me and my ideas that ever come to fruition. I keep a Moleskine in my bag, but it's still an uphill battle.

5. I had a hamster when I was seven. It was the only pet I was allowed because I didn't want fish, my mother thinks birds smell bad, and everything else was too big, because we lived in an apartment at the time. His name was Fluffy, and Fluffy liked to run off and crawl into the walls through the heating ducts. I was always able to lure him back with pieces of apple though. I was kinda proud of him for being so adventurous.

And for those of you who don't know why swing dancing is just the cat's pajamas, take a look at this couple here:

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posted by tatjana @ 6:07 p.m.   8 comments
Friday, January 19, 2007
Aren't pictures so much better?

I know I've already told you about this, but showing you is more fun :) Now you can actually see how cute it turned out! I sorta made up this sweater as I went along, only deciding in the beginning that I wanted some sort of wrap. I finally decided to fasten it with the two buttons you see in the picture, and a ribbon to tie it on the inside. The yarn is a cotton boucle which I've had lying around for a while. Once upon a time it was on its way to becoming a larger wrap, one for me, but at some point I was more or less forced to give it up. The cotton makes for a pretty firm boucle that doesn't slide very easily, which makes it a bit of a pain to knit with. Between working at the computer and all the knitting I do, my wrists get sore now and then and trying to knit with this yarn became too much of a strain. Even the baby jacket took a fair bit longer than it should have, but I managed, and I was happy to have been able to make something out of this yarn that I really like the look of, even if it's not so great to knit. I'm taking it to the post tomorrow morning - I'm on pins and needles to see if it will fit, because somehow it looks a little small now that it's done. Babies grow so fast! It's about 50cm or 20 inches around, which should be big enough for a baby that's no yet 2 months, but you never can tell. I guess I'll just have to wait and see.
Now I can get back to my Dulaan knitting, which I'm a bit behind on, as I wanted to have a sweater done by now. I also finally had an idea for what to do with some alpaca I ordered from Knitpicks when I was in Canada, and some Auracania that I also couldn't resist. Silly me, I didn't buy quite enough of the purple in the top of the Knitpicks picture to make a sweater and have long been hacking my brain as to what I could make or combine it with. For some reason I never noticed how nice it looks with the similar colours in the Auracania. Also, although I have a weakness for variegated yarns, I often don't like the way they look when knit up. It looks nice as socks or a scarf, but I'm not crazy about variegated sweaters. But I just came up with a way to combine them that I think will work really well. I just started a sleeve as a gauge swatch - I'll keep ya posted!

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posted by tatjana @ 1:55 p.m.   3 comments
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
No gift like a handspun gift

Not too long ago, I was at a market with a couple friends of mine who were admiring some fingerless gloves. It occurred to me that these were the perfect project for some of the handspun I've got lying around and cast on for a pair as soon as I got home. The first pair was in various shades of blue and has already been giving to my friend Alissa who says their perfect for bike riding and this purple pair is for her partner Sabrina, who will get hers soon and then they can run around in 'Partnerlook' ;)

I knit them a little long, but they look nice with the cuff folded over. Worn long, I find them good for 7/8 and 3/4 sleeved things. I will probably make a pair for myself soon, but first I will have to spin some more, since what I have now is either too bulky or is reserved for a swap I have to mail as soon as I get my butt to the LYS to buy another skein I'm sending along. I hope I'm sending the right sort of thing, as my swap partner (from Swapbot) weaves, she doesn't knit, and I'm not sure how particular the yarn has to be so that it's nicely weavable. If any of you happen to be able to provide any guidance on this, please let me know!

Other than that, I'm done knitting a baby sweater I started over Christmas for my friend Julie's baby. I heard about her pregnancy just after Matthias and I got back from our trip to Canada, so I missed out on seeing her before the baby was born. It's too bad, because she was the first from our group of girls who lived together during our first year at university. We were all so excited when we heard. I can't wait to see who's next. I think it may be a while though, because I am the only one who seems to hear the biological clock, and kids are out of the question for us until we're a bit more settled. I don't think I've mentioned before that we've decided to move to Canada, for many reasons. So no little people at least til after the big move. But, although Julie was recently engaged and moved into a new house, she wasn't planning on being a mommy yet either, so I guess you never know. Some of the babies I've known who've brought the most joy were also the most unexpected. If life can't throw us a few surprises now and then, what the heck are we here for? ;)

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posted by tatjana @ 12:17 p.m.   5 comments
Friday, January 12, 2007
Almost like the real thing!
I must say I'm pretty pleased with myself. I've never made an animated gif before, and to be honest the idea didn't even occur to me until I looked at the pictures that Matthias took of me and my little tea cup (and in my pretty German Tracht blouse). Being all very similar, but in slightly different positions, it reminded me of those cartoon flip books you make in school. Remember those? They were so much fun! Anyway, I just had to see if I could make a little animation out of them. Then it would be like I was really with you all at Risa's Tea Party! If you look carefully, you can even see me stick my pinky out as I drink LOL.

Oh! And before I forget, my virtual bring along are blueberry scones, which I've been making lately using the recipe found here. Grating the butter is a bit of a pain, but otherwise they're super easy and yummy as all hell. And if you have a food processor (not me - *sniff*) it's a snap, cause then you don't have to grate the butter or even knead the dough. I love them with blueberries (both fresh and frozen work) or making them savoury by cutting out most of the sugar, and adding parmesan, herbs and sun dried tomatoes. A must for any tea party! I hope everyone else is enjoying this as much as I am, I love a good tea party :D

**ETA** I've been popping in to see the rest of you ladies, it's so much fun! I really want to thank Risa, as well as the rest of you for the wonderful atmosphere and a great time. I hope we will do this again!


posted by tatjana @ 8:27 p.m.   13 comments
I'm meme-ing today! I'm at work and don't have any pictures here (the ones I want to post haven't been posted to Flickr yet), so I get to meme it up til I get home :) Can you tell we don't get a whole lot done around here on Fridays? ;D

Thank you so much for your comments on yesterday's post. It's such a relief to know that I'm not the only one who compares themselves to the 'greats' in blogland lol. Especially since you all make such great things yourselves, and I would never dream of considering any of you to be anything less than awesome. Oh well, I guess there are worse things than to see the awesome in others more easily than the awesome in yourself :)

And now on to the Memes!!

First, a really cute one Arleta posted a couple days ago...

The Page 123 Meme
1. Grab the book closest to you.
2. Open to page 123, look down to the 5th sentence.
3. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog.
4. Include the title and the author's name.
5. Tag 3 People.

Well, I just started reading The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls and on pg 123 it says "It was some kind of Gypsy hex. Mom decided, as she put it, to fight magic with magic. She took a ham bone out of the beans and went down to the Gypsies' house, waving it in the air." OMG! Now I can't wait to get to that part! I have a fair bit of time on the train on the way home, but something tells me I'll be up reading tonight ;)
I know I'm supposed to tag people now, but Arleta said something about this that I totally feel as well. I'm happy when I get tagged, but feel kinda like I'm bothering people when I tag them. Except Arleta, because I know she likes memes :D
Besides, usually by the time I see a meme, half the blog world has already done it and I just don't know who's taggable anymore. So if you haven't done it, and want to, feel free!

And just another short one I've seen on quite a few blogs that's a more traditional meme, as it's actually about me....

5 things about me others might not know

1. I hate Addi turbos like nobody's business. Gasp and swoon all you like, that click clack of uncoated metal drives me absolutely bonkers.

2. I sniff a lot. I inherited a rather exaggerated sense of smell from my mother, and I can often get distracted by random smells floating past me.

3. A have narrow feet and am a fast walker. On the rare occasions when I felt I absolutely had to have a particularly gorgeous pair of slip on sandals, I was promptly faced which flying footwear. I kid you not. Although entertaining, it also kinda sucks.

4. Long before knitting, I did cross stitch. Somewhere in a drawer there is beautiful pattern of a geisha I started working on somewhere circa 1999.

5. I am currently in desperate need of a haircut. I'm starting to look a bit like the Shaggy Dog.

Ok, I'll be back later with a couple pictures, hopefully one of me drinking tea, as I am expected at a tea party! Ta ta for now....


posted by tatjana @ 12:22 p.m.   2 comments
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Houston, we have a problem
First, a very happy new year to all of you. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and is coping with all the wacky weather, whether too warm or too snowy, that seems to be occuring everywhere. I had a bit more than a week off altogether, and spent it alternately frantically repainting or applying stucco in our apartment and lazing around with my honey.
Cable lace socks
In spite of bits of knittery here and there, as well as other goings on to share, I've been really struggling to get on the blog wagon again. It seems lately I've been in a much more quiet, keep to myself kind of mood. The kind where you're not really up for company, because you're just content to putter around in your own little craft world. I think, in part, this has been brought on by all the social activity, which sometimes brings on the urge for some nice, quiet alone time but there's also something else. I sometimes have a bad habit of stressing myself out about things I'm supposed to enjoy, like blogging, or crafting. And of course, when something becomes stressful, it's just no fun anymore. And if you're a procrastinator, like I often am, you just start putting it off. Does this happen to anyone else? Am I the only one who gets her knickers in a knot about her blog?
I realize a blog is, in part, supposed to be like a journal. You write what you like, when you like, and it doesn't matter because it's just for you. But noone reads your journal. At least, they're not supposed to. And most importantly, you don't go around looking at other people's journals. I think my biggest problem, not only with regard to blogging, but with a lot of things, is that once I see how great a blog, a handknit sweater, an anything can be, I want mine to be that too. I can't just have a blog, it has to be a great blog, a gorgeous sweater, the most beautiful handspun. Man, sometimes I wish I could just give it a break.

Diego mi corazon
In spite of my very chaotic nature, I've always been someone who needed a mission. For a long time it was my goal to pursue international development and help the poor, but when that became impossible (at least, in the way I had planned) I felt kinda stranded. I think part of me thought I could make a mission out of craftiness, developing a niche for myself where I could design, sell, and promote crafty goods, which I think of as not only creatively fulfilling, but also socially positive, because it encourages independent business and people to buy things which are not produced in a way that exploits others.
Frida arbol vida
But the thing is, I'm a fairly new crafter. I was never encouraged to make things as a child and for a long time was really intimidated about making things. I even thought that doing something like that just because I enjoyed it, was not a good enough reason. I thought I had to use my time to study more, work more hours, do things for others, or further my career. It was a big step for me to go for it, just because I wanted to. I really should be happy with the fact that in less than 3 years, I've learned to do all sorts of crafty things and made many things that anyone could be proud of. I need to stop thinking that what I do is worthwhile only if I'm a total craft goddess, who is not only able to make a career out of what they make, but be an example and source of help for others. I need to come to terms with the fact that, at this point in my life, I don't have the time, the creative energy, or the skill to be one of those superbloggers with a 1000 readers who are able to churn out unbelievably beautiful/adorable/brilliant things on an almost daily basis. And you know what? That's ok.
Vintage buttons
Who knows, maybe someday I'll get to the point where I can be a full-time crafter, maybe I'll go back to science, maybe I'll follow the advice of one of the students in my workshop who said I should be a teacher (is that a compliment or what? :D ). But for now, I'm really going to try and let my crafting just take it's own course without stressing myself out about it.
more vintage buttons
Hmmm, that smells suspiciously of new year's resolution. Funny, I never had one of those before! I guess there's a first time for everything ;) Anyway, the pictures here are a couple things I've made (sorta) recently and some scrumptious new additions to my button stash which I may never actually bring myself to use LOL. With any luck, I'll be back again soon with a picture of some fingerless mitts I made as Christmas gifts and a soon to be completed baby sweater for one my girlfriends back home.


posted by tatjana @ 1:10 p.m.   4 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