Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas décor

This season, the Christmas décor in our house has been all about mixing textures, scents, and memories with the basic color trio of red, white and gray.

Of course, it must also be about being creative & handmade. My husband helped me find this branch on a lovely walk in our snowy forest. I gave it a bit of white paint and suspended it above the sofa. I sewed Mr. Bluebird from spool sewing - of course, now it is Mr. Robin. In addition I hung some glitter stars, soft hearts, pine cones & feathers and cut out the letters to spell “noel”. Voila!

As snowflakes fell outside my window I sat snug in my studio and sewed some red pillows for the sofa – a soft, velvety corduroy.

I was thrilled to find this lovely bird and elk fabric and made a pillow and a runner for the table.

A pretty amaryllis stands tall next to this wooden hunter & his faithful dog - a Christmas gift from my husband from ages ago. I adore seeing him again every winter - the hunter, that is! :)
The house isn't (yet!) filled with the aroma of cookies baking, but I did find this oil called “Winter Fairy Tale” - a delicious blend of cinnamon, cardamom and orange. A few drops warmed over a tea light bring a lovely scent into the house.

Now, the children are asking if we can finally find a tree tomorrow.....let's hope so!

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

frosty delights

We have been enjoying frosty days and icy-cold nights. And lots of snow! Just lovely with all the cheerful Christmas decorations in the streets and houses in our town.
I have to admit, I am a "less is more" type when it comes to outdoor decorations and lights. I have one strand of white lights on the little peach tree in front of the house and some red accents by the front door - some red lanterns for candles and a basket of cones, evergreens and heather and a romantic little angel.
I have always wanted to make ice-ornaments. I filled baking tins and forms with water and some holly leaves and berries and let them freeze overnight. They certainly were cold to handle but with my optimistic little helper we managed to hang them up.
Then...the temperatures rose....and the ornaments started to drip a bit, but are all still hanging. Only one circle did melt halfway and has formed a perfect moon. Delightful!


Monday, November 29, 2010

Advent Preparations

November has been mild. My daisies and calendula and little roses are still blooming! The first snow fell this past weekend and my flowers are stoically still standing tall but wrapped in a thick white blanket.

Family life & my new working schedule has kept me away from keeping in touch with flickr friends & my creative impulses. The children seemed to have taken on many new activities this fall which means even more time spent chauffeuring them to places. I feel fortunate when I have a moment to myself, even if it is to just gaze out the window and to spy a little bird close to our house. Recently this woodpecker was knocking and tapping around in our wood pile. Can you see him?

No matter how tight time is, there MUST always be some left for creating and this Advent and Christmas I am squeezing out as much as I can. I completed our Advent's Wreath last week and yesterday we lit the first candle. I decided not to use the traditional evergreen branches but to go for a different look this year. I started with some favorite fabrics and some frosty red candles and created a patchwork wreath.

Of course my faithful little robin is there too, and I did not glue him down so he can move around and accompany us through all the seasons, as he has for the last few years.

Another change this year is that the Advent Calendar is a family effort. I stamped out 24 tags and after dinner one evening, everyone drew numbers until all were taken.

Each family member has approx. 5 days she or he has to prepare a small gift for the family such as 5 little chocolates, nuts, a poem etc. These are to be wrapped and tied with the number and then placed in the “Advent Calendar Basket”. The reactions at the table were mixed and I have 3 requests for the 24 little felt stockings we've been using for the past 10 years so I guess we may just have 2 calendars this season! However, the basket calendar is filling up quite quickly. There has been a lot of elf-like activity and closed doors and secrecy going on recently! I think it is a great idea because a) everyone is involved b)it is at least as much fun to wrap presents as to open them and c) I get some surprises, too :)!

I did help my youngest son make his gifts and he prepared the most adorable little clothespin angels. I promise I will show them to you when the family opens it.

The walnuts from our tree were so plentiful this year and I sewed a gingham and linen bag for them. Matching placemats for the table are being assembled in my studio right now. I just wonder...should I leave them plain or embroider white stars on them? I am very drawn to simple understatement right now.

Endlessly inspired by our feathered friends, we made paper birds in a crafts class for children I held recently. These are stunning & simple and so easy for even small children to make.

You can find the template and instructions here:

I think we will make some more in the next couple of weeks. Maybe you will too!

A joyful start of Advent to you all!



Friday, November 5, 2010

ah sunflower

Ah Sunflower

Ah Sun-flower weary of time.
Who countest the steps of the Sun:
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the travellers journey is done

Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow:
Arise from their graves and aspire,
Where my Sun-flower wishes to go!

William Blake


I wrote a paper on William Blake in 12th grade British Literature class....but I don't remember exactly what the theme was. I do remember my teacher disliked Blake – too esoteric. I liked him – Blake and my teacher, too, actually.

But what I really love is this field of sunflowers my son and I came upon on our walk recently. I went there again Monday and they were still blooming!. Some of these photos are mine, some are from the perspective of a person approx. 1 meter 20 cm tall. Can you tell which? :)

Sunflower sunshine to you!



Saturday, October 30, 2010

party preperations

Do you like Halloween? I have mixed feelings about it - but of course having grown up in the USA, I have fond memories. Trick-or-treating and dressing up in various costumes my mom sewed - a ladybug, a ghost, etc. and oodles of candy - a child's dream!

My two oldest children have decided to throw parties for their friends this year; just leafing through our little collection of Martha Stewart magazines get us all inspired.

Everyone is excited - we'll play games, carve a jack-o-lantern and I think I'll serve pumpkin soup in the shell, with fresh baked bread sticks. What child doesn't love to dress up in costume? It's been a few years since our last party. Plus....we do have a box of decorations in the cellar and when else will we use our special Halloween cookie cutters?

So much of the fun is the preparation, don't you think? I loved seeing how concentrated the children each worked on their invitations. Even though they were quite simple - we just photocopied some of the M. Stewart templates - the children were creative with their handwriting and I think they turned out rather nice!

Even our cat Spooky seems to have gotten in the mood and become part of the natural Halloween decor in front of the house!

I hope - wherever you may be - that you have a Happy Halloween and a good start into the month of November.....

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

thankful for so much....

Hello friends!

The first part of this post is about some very sweet things that have happened recently. As I mentioned in my last post, Valerie sent me this surprise birthday gift - totally spoiled me. But I hadn't yet taken a photo of it, and it is actually a bit of a challenge because of the glass frame. Great photo or not, here is it is!

What a surprise indeed to find this special collage - something I had commented and faved from her Moline's flickr quite a while ago - generous Valerie just went to her etsy shop ( and bought it, framed it (in such a pretty frame!) and shipped it to me! I have it sitting here on the shelf surrounded by other handmade goodness: an angel and pears (Tilda patterns) I sewed, a scrapbook I made for my daughter a couple years ago and the pretty jam covers from Sonia you've seen before :) . I just love the colors and papers in the collage - you see how they match my other decor. A big hug to Valerie ( - indeed she and her family are my thoughts right now.

Everyday I walk around our house and see bits & pieces from flickr friends and reflect on how amazing it is to have met all of you!

Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, the postman rang and brought me yet another package, this time from England, I could hardly believe my eyes!

Dear Joanie ( created this simply gorgeous embroidered K lavender sachet. My favorite colors and scent! So sweetly packaged in tissue paper and tied with strings and darling vintage buttons. Even the back is delightful. I can't believe I'm so lucky to receive this!

Plus, there was a package of naturally flavored English gummy treats for my children and I quote my son P: "These are the BEST gummy bears I have EVER tasted!!!!!" So thank you from all of us, sweet Joanie! This sachet will not disappear into my closet for sure but will be displayed for my eyes to enjoy for a long time.

* * * * *

The second part of this post is about September & October in our home and garden. Our first light frost has come but my Calendula & Daisies & a few last Roses are still blooming! I will let the pictures do most of the talking :)

Fall reading....craft books from the library and a new book to keep -
seasonal decorating ideas by German florist /decorator Imke Johannson

The two books from the library were fun to look through but we didn't make anything. The Johannson book is really beautiful and has decoration ideas using natural materials for each month of the year. I immediately had to sew these two adorable squirrels from her book -
although I changed the pattern slightly. So cute!

I like the soft colors of these pears and apples on the table....and I can't resist sharing this delicious pumpkin & cheese quiche with you.

My son became inspired to make some imaginary "Fairy Houses" - how can one not after collecting all the lovely fruits of fall? Little Nanou nut came to visit! (

The "Potato King" he made in preschool reigns over the fairy house and
nibbling squirrels and other offerings of nature gathered on the table. And yesterday, a new chestnut creature (love his wobbly smile!) came home from preschool and I do believe it was love at first sight!

Enjoy the last days of October, everyone!