Aside
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Argh. I was just about finished writing and then stupid wordpress lost my post, because the page had no “Save Draft” button. Boohoo. SO instead I’m just going to upload a few pictures and leave it at that.

Otis with a Bretzel. Ha, did I mention that we live in Germany?

I found this crime scene the other day. Little potty, wet wipes out of the packet, dolly lying face down on the bed. I guess Otis just decided that she needed to go, and then obviously needed her bottom wiped. Hilarious.

A skirt and bag I made out of a table cloth and a shirt for a little friend’s second birthday, and some trousers for Otis. The knees are quilted. He’s had a haircut by the way – his lovely little curls at the back are almost gone, and his fringe has been trimmed. It actually looks like a Victorian boy’s bob, which wasn’t my intention, but isn’t all bad. I’ll try to get a shot of it over the next couple of days.

Oh, and happy Easter! We spent Sunday with Thomas’ sister and her family, ate amazing food, and hunted Easter treats in the garden. I hope you had a wonderful weekend too.

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End of March Update

A few things have happened since I last posted.

We went to a children’s fleamarket a couple of weekends ago and got some good bargains before almost sucumbing to claustrophobia and making a quick exit. On the list of haul items was

a pair of converse boots (1 Euro)
the vest in the pic (5 Euros, because I bought it off the woman who knitted it)
a book, “Wo ist Wendelein?” with one page missing, but exquisite pictures which I think I’ll frame (50c)
a “Like-a-bike” balance bike for 10 Euro (retails for 190, woop, woop).

We were all pretty tired afterwards…

I’ve been sewing for Otis (and not taking good pics of the creations, sorry). The two shirts above and the coat he’s wearing in the goat pics, are a couple of examples of what I’ve been making though.

In other news, we went to stay with a forester acquaintance of Thomas’ (lovely guy, amazing house with it’s own secret theater up in the attic, also no pics, sorry), it’s turned into spring, and we’ve just gotten back from a small holiday on the island of Rügen.

If you were to ask if I actually like the island, I’m not sure what I’d say. The place we were staying at was lovely – a big thatched-roof place, lots of sun, very rural and pretty. The rural roads are all tree-lined avenues, and there are some pretty villages around. On the other hand, as it is early spring the whole island seems to be lying dormant – the towns look like deserted movie sets, packed with faux Victorian villa holiday apartments – empty, waiting for the floods of tourists who swamp the place in summer. Anyway, we managed to avoid those places for the most part, and had a nice relaxing time.

We went to an animal park while we were there. I think that most of the animals there were native – they even had wolves (although they looked a bit sad). Otis loved the “goaps”, and had fun patting the kids. He woke up this morning and the first thing he said was “GOAP!”, so they must have made an impression.

Rügen has chalk cliffs, so we did the obligatory thing and went for a look. They were ok – didn’t blow my mind, but the walk was nice.

We also went for a walk in a forest where the spring flowers are blooming, which was really pretty.

This weekend we’re shifting flat again – this one for the next two months, but we’re REALLY hoping that we find something permanent after that. Oh, and Thomas has a new job, which means that my job hunt has been put on the back burner a bit. We’ll have to decide what’s happening with that over the next week or so.

That’s all for now I think – I should get packing. Fun times!

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Things have changed (aka skitey mother post)

Disclaimer: Don’t read if you don’t really like hearing people harping on about their wonder-children.

A week ago Otis turned into a different boy. Admittedly, he’d been growing 6 new teeth for a month which all finally popped through in the same week (4 molars and 2 canines), but MAN he’d been a grizzler for a while. I was starting to worry that the terrible twos might be starting already. I couldn’t get anything done without him collapsing in a heap at my feet in frustration that he didn’t have my full and undivided attention.

And then suddenly, after the skating weekend, something clicked in his head, and suddenly he’s Mr Independent. He stands on his favorite armchair and listens to music for an hour at a time. He plays with his trainset. He reads books by himself. He gets out the blocks. He puts his favorite things away in the bookshelf between the books (does he think we’ll nick off with them if they’re not hidden?). He’s into dressing up at the moment too – Thomas’ gloves were the hit today, although shoes are always a winner. Today he even slept for 2 hours! It’s insane, I tell you!

I bake, cook and sew, and sometimes we go to the playground or playgroup. It’s fantastic. My son is fantastic.

Oh, and he also tells us when he needs to do #2s on the potty. We haven’t had a pooey nappy for months.

I told you it was a skitey mother post.

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The winter grinch

Winter has been a bit nothing-ish up until now. It’s been cold (although not under zero) and rainy, and I’ve been telling people that I just don’t like winter very much in general, and that even if it was colder and there was snow, which is what everyone is really hanging out for, I wouldn’t really be too fussed. Well, it’s been in the minus for a week now, which means that the little bit of snow that fell during the week has stuck around, all in tiny, dry, powdery particles. It’s impossible to make snowballs out of (Hooray! I hate snowfights), and when you get snow on your clothes you can just dust it off again (Hooray! I hate having wet clothes).

I’m also not that keen on how long it takes to wrap myself and a small child, and it all seems a bit pointless to do, just to go to the supermarket. This weekend, however, we didn’t go to the supermarket. We went to Thomas’ sister Anja’s place for his niece Sophie’s birthday. And on Sunday morning, because it was sunny and minus 10 outside, we went iceskating on nearby frozen-over flooded fields.

The old, borrowed skates were quite tight, and made my toes numb, but I didn’t care. With a flask of cocoa for the children, and one of mulled wine for the adults, I could have happily stayed out all day. I totally get now why winter can be awesome. When we got home Thomas started looking on eBay for skates. With any luck it will stay under zero all week, and by the weekend the ice on the lake near Anja’s place will be thick enough for skating. I can’t wait.

Sophie turned 12, and has opinions about what is cool and what not, so I was a bit worried about making a birthday present for her. Thankfully the “apple” phone case I stitched at the last minute (from a secondhand woolen coat and an old pillowcase) was apparently “total geil” (a phrase which I’m not allowed to use at home, but among other things, means “really cool”), so I’m thinking it was a success. I’m planning on making Otis a coat out of the remainder of the wool, and because handstitching looks so lovely on the charcoal, I’m scheming as to what embroidered details I can add.

All in all, it was a lovely weekend, and I now have new wintery activities for inside and out.

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Working on my portfolio

I’m working on my design portfolio at the moment, in preparation for job hunting. It feels a bit weird, trying to collate work from what seems like ages ago. Since I last worked in an agency I’ve spent two years self-employed publishing a magazine, and a year and a half employed by a child. I think both occupations have relevant transferable skills.

This is a piece of stitching I’ve just completed for the cover of the portfolio. I thought it would be nice to show who I am and what I like before showing what I’ve done for other people. It was also an excuse to do some physical making in between computer work, and it’s something I can do while Otis is awake (hoorah!). I’m planning on looking for something in publishing (or failing that, a great agency who doesn’t work for unethical clients (hah)), so if anyone knows of any great publishers who’d like a designer in Hamburg…

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I love late birthday presents

I got an amazing birthday present in the weekend. Admittedly, I’d suggested it, but Thomas’ mother bought me 3 (THREE!) beautiful Japanese pattern books. Each book has at least 15 patterns in it, and they’re all completely beautiful, mostly using cotton and linen, and with the most lovely hand-finished details. One even shows how to sew buttonholes by hand, which is useful, because I don’t know if the machine I have does buttonholes. Now I just have to wait until the next fleamarket to get some fabric. Or perhaps an opshop trip is in order…

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Flohmarkt finds

So here’s a rundown of the goodies I got in the weekend (the light was terrible when I took the photos, so let’s just pretend they’re elegant and stylish):

1 Set of dumbells
8 (apparently) handmade buttons
1 Pair Jil Sander velvet pants
1 White vintage linen shirt
1 White vintage linen curtain
2 Embroidered tablecloths
Embroidered cotton ribbon
1 Nut mill
1 Albrecht Dürer “Young Hare“postcard
1 Cross-stitched headband
1 Embroidered blouse
1 Small pottery vase
1 Sailboat brooch

I think that’s it. Written like that it doesn’t really seem like as much as it felt at the time, but it felt like a treasure haul.

I also made the nut muffins I mentioned, but the recipe was very weird – resulting in a batter the consistency of thick icing. My inclination was to add more milk, but I thought I’d try it first without alterations. Bad Idea. They’re not terrible, but not worth photographing, and definitely not worth posting the recipe, sorry! I think I’ll try playing around with the recipe a bit, and see if I can make them better, as I do like the idea of using ground nuts.

Other than that, it’s been an uneventful couple of days (oh, apart from that Otis had no wet nappies yesterday, and only one today!). I went shopping for a few craft supplies, so will hopefully post results soon.

Also, this photo of me and my dad was taken around 30 years ago.