Saturday, December 13, 2014

Pumpkin Swirl Blondies

We love brownies in this house. Just yesterday I baked a batch for a Christmas party we were invited to and as I hoped (and expected!) they disappeared quickly.

However, blondies are pretty good too!

The other day my daughter whipped up a batch of Pumpkin Swirl Blondies. They are cake-y and yet juicy because of the swirls of pumpkin purree.
Just having these out on a pretty plate fills up the room with a delicious fragrance.
When you take a bite bits of white chocolate just melt in your mouth.
You can find the recipe by clicking here.

PS My favorite brownie recipe is here, in English AND in German!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Patchwork Christmas trees...and other handmade cards

Have you sent out your holiday greetings yet?
(I haven't!)

But I have been having fun crafting Christmas cards!

I made a dozen or more for my Christmas market. A little forest of patchwork Christmas trees!
I wanted a country-style look and was inspired by bits of fabric, colorful papers, baker's twine and stamps. Sometimes I think I could be a full-time card designer and crafter. I have an old-fashioned love for handwritten messages! I have to thank my mom for that. When I was little we were constantly moving around  so she was always writing letters to friends and family. She insisted that my brother and I do the same. I am grateful to her for that!
I like to stamp the back of the card with my shop logo.
Christmas is festive in bold colors but just as lovely in pretty pink and pastel blues. I'm kind of in love with that tree in frosty and feminine fabrics.
Most of my cards sold so now I'm busy crafting some more that we can send off to our friends. I am experimenting with my new embossing powders and heat tool that I have wanted for years and finally bought! I will share those creations with you soon!
Thanks for stopping by. Have a beautiful day!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas market

I know you are curious about my market and I am happy to say it was a lovely weekend once again with lots of sales.
One of the best parts though is when I have a helper and I can sneak away for a ride on this carriage. How I enjoy the clop-clop and jingle bells of the horses! With the half-timbered houses, fairy lights in the twillight, hot spiced-wine to sip, and a brass band playing carols, Christmas in Germany is really all my romantic heart yearns for this time of the year!
I never would have dreamed I would be able to sell my crafts at a market like this! I'm so grateful to so many friends and people we know for stopping by to say hello because the days are long and cold, I am also thankful to our super nice neigbhor who for the third year has lended me his portable heater which I could not survive without! At this point I should probably invest in my own, although I'm not sure if I'll do this market next year or try a more arts and crafts type of indoors show. We will see.
(Sorry for the blurry photo but you get the idea!)
One thing that was new this year was a collabaration with my artist friend Dagmar who joined me to exhibit some of her jewelry at my booth. Dagmar is super creative and artistic and a lovely person and I was thrilled to have her with me. Her jewelry and my fabric creations really complimented each other well and we both had fun selling. Here is a bracelet I bought from her, actually to give to someone else although I would kind of like to keep it for myself now!
She also sold dozens of whimsical collage magnets in various styles. I bought a few and they are already adorning our fridge.
Aren't they fun? I love the Italy map and coin!
Is it Wednesday already? Time is flying! Stay tuned, I have some lovely cards I will share with you tomorrow.

Friday, December 5, 2014

happy fabrics for your phone

One of the things people always ask for at my markets is cell phone cases.

In the past I have been hesitant to sew something like this because there are so many different sizes and formats.
However, this year I have prepared a dozen or so in a size that fits both of my sons' (slightly differently sized) phones. I hope it is versatile enough! And of course I love to do custom orders if anyone needs a special size and can wait.

It was fun putting together lots of great fabric combinations from my stash. They are padded and fully lined with a coordinating fabric which unfortunately I wasn't able to capture in the photos (usually a plain, gingham, or tiny polka-dotted fabric in a similar color).
Wish us good weather and lots of sales tomorrow and Sunday and thanks for looking!


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christmas felt ornaments

This weekend I will be showing and selling my crafts at a local Christmas market. Can hardly believe this is the 3rd time I'm going to do this show! I've noticed people come back and ask for the same things, so I have a bit of the "old" but my mind is always spinning around new ideas and I've been really busy creating new things!
I've taken lots of photos as hopefully many of the items will be in their new homes next week! In the next few posts I will share some of the things I've made.
For my first post, we'll start with little handmade ornaments that were so fun to create. Felt and sequins are my some of my favorite Christmas materials. I love the warmth of the felt and the rich colors. And the sparkle of the sequins catching the light of candles or Christmas lights is lovely.

I've made hearts with buttons and little toadstools....
Gingerbread men and pretty cupcakes.....
A host of whimsical angels, with heart-shaped wings and details on both sides....
Can't live without owls anymore, can you?
I might just love these little snowmen the best! They will be perfect in January for winter decorations as well.
I've hung some of my favorite ornaments on evergreens in a vase with some other decor in my staircase.  I hope they find new homes, but I'm going to have a make a few for myself to keep!
Thanks for stopping by! 
More soon....!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Advent countdown....

As promised, here is the second Advent calendar my kids helped me make for their grandparents.
We kept the idea with the stars but this time wrapped everything in craft paper.
I wound red satin band around a hanger and then we attached each package with red ribbon.
With the extra hands helping the work went quickly and was fun. Love how it turned out!
My husband and the children delivered it personally last night and it was quite a fun surprise for the recipients! 

Happy December to you! 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

twenty-four little surprises

Every year my children look forward to their Advent calendar. But why should the fun just be for little ones?
So this year, we decided that they should make Advent calendars for their grandparents!

Since my parents live an ocean away, we have already finished their calendar and it will hopefully be arriving in their mailbox in the next few days.
My daughter and I cut out 24 stars and she numbered them all in her pretty handwriting. It would ruin the surprises if I gave away all the gifts but I will share that some of them are little messages. We searched for lovely Christmas quotes and the children copied them in their best writing.
I think in the age of e-mails and instant messages, there is something deeply precious and personal about a handwritten note.
I love crafting and wrapping gifts and am glad my kids do too!  A pot of spiced tea and scented candles made the "it's-not-quite-Christmas-time-yet" atmosphere more festive and cozy.
We added gold to the edges of the stars and attached them to the gifts with double-sided tape.

When the calendar arrives, my parents have the assignment of finding a pretty tray or bowl in which to display their 24 little packages. Of course they also have to be sure to open their gift every day!
This weekend we will make another calendar for my husband's parents. It will look different and I promise to share it here!


Friday, November 7, 2014

Fall is the best

Love love love fall!
I've noticed so many bloggers feel the same.
This vibrant season is so alive and stimulating to all the senses.
"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower".
-Albert Camus

(If you think about it - that's a lot of flowers!)
I love walking through the crunchy leaves.
I delay sweeping and raking a tiny bit - not because I am lazy - but because the ground just looks so beautiful.
My children love carving their jack-o-lanterns.
Life is an adventure!
We enjoyed a lovely fall break on Lake Zurich and in the Black Forest and Alsace, forest and mountain hiking, eating well, city shopping, discovering, reconnecting, hanging out with friends and family. We visited rushing waterfalls, an adorable waffle cafe, and a farm with a huge selection of pumpkins and apples.
Our family spent a few nights in a very small apartment and honesty, we got on each other's nerves. At certain moments I vowed this would be the last family vacation with teenagers, but in the end, everyone agreed we all had fun! I think we all felt incredibly re-energized when we got back home.
So much harvest produce and fabulous pumpkin carving art at this Swiss farm!
Sunshine and mountain air and pretty Swiss flags everywhere.
Life is back to normal and the skies have turned gray and rainy but that is fine with me. I am happy to be in my cozy studio making, sewing, crafting, dreaming! 
Happy November!