December 2005

We had everything done on the 23rd of December, so I thought I’d pull out my leather pressure foot and needles to make some leather slippers for the kids. Here are Alida’s I made out of an old black skirt. I made the red hearts out of the leather Ohelene sent me. Thank you so much, Ohelene!!!
leather shoes

She was so amazingly generous to send me enough leather to make a mountain of slippers. Now I need to get to work on Alexander’s. Ohelene makes and sells her slippers, so go ahead and check them out.

Here are a few of the things that were under the tree for me to play with. I ended up ordering Last-Minute Knitted Gifts and I’m very happy about the decision. Thank you all for your help!!
Santa also brought me this gorgeous wine red wool from Lana Grossa. I’m planning on making this with it:
The picture really doesn’t do it justice. My knitting store had the sweater hanging in the window and I just couldn’t resist. I tried it on and it fit like it was made for me, so I didn’t leave without 10 balls of this stuff to knit my own. I’ve started knitting already, but because I’m following the pattern, it’s going to go slowly. I don’t have much time to knit when it’s peaceful and I can think.
The last and best present of all is the ‘Gutschein’ I got which is next to the book. Gutschein means cerificate in English. Can you see what Alexander drew for me? It took me a minute to see it, but there is a sewing machine and green knitting with red knitting needles. On the side you can see 5 boxes with numbers denoting the times when Martin takes the kids out and I’m allowed to sit and knit or sew. Do you believe it? I got time to knit and sew for Christmas! I have 5 times open!! I thought this was a super idea and can’t believe my little man made this for me. Alida helped color in the green yarn. I had no idea.
I have to admit, this brought tears to my eyes. My family is the best family anyone could ever ask for.

Santa was very good to us all this year. So good that we’ve been playing non-stop since Christmas morning. Here are some of the things we’ve been doing. Thanks, Judy for the fun shoes, Alida loves them!!
Please notice the dragon slayer waiting for the train. His dragon is waiting on the roof, you can see the end of his tail.
Here is Candy Land in German! Alexander is building a motor with his dad. They worked for hours on it. Thanks, Judy!!!
candy land in germanmotor
As you can see, the felted mice went over better than I had hoped.
So you can understand why I haven’t been around.
I’ve also been busy being crafty, and I’ll be back soon to tell you all about it! Tomorrow we’re going to grow some bacteria with help from our bactreria farm. Thanks, Chris!!
Don’t you want to join us??
I’m off to play, the kids are finally in bed and I can finally use their toys! Too bad those shoes are too small for me. πŸ˜‰

The tension on my sewing machine has been giving me trouble since I bought it a year ago, which means I’ve been to the store where I bought it at least a dozen times since then. Last week when it started acting up again, the owner of the store told me to come in and sew which would enable him to see exactly what the machine was doing.
What do you think I did when I heard that? Without any further hesitation, I had Martin take the kids and I trotted, with my serger and supplies tucked safely in my bike trailer, down to my sewing store where I sat from 10 am to 4 pm and sewed. As you can imagine, I was in sewer-geek heaven. The owner of the store, and a woman who works there, were both around to help me and give me lots and lots of tips. I also learned a lot from just listening to how they dealt with customers and the tips they gave them. Does it get any better than that??
My machine acted just like a little kid-perfect in front of strangers. “Oh what an angel she is” and then when you get home they start throwing a huge tantrum. I went home with a very well-behaved machine, and I hope she keeps acting so well-behaved otherwise she’s getting another time-out!!
I’m planning on making some leather slippers after Christmas, so we’ll see how well my machine works with me on this.
These are the Baby Born clothes I finished while I was there. This doll has better clothes than I do!
I would like to show you one more fun little gadget I finally finished last night. This is a row counter which you can use when increasing rows. I got the idea from String or nothing and also found one at Knit Picks here. You start at the green end which means go, in my case the leaf. Then every two rows, or every knit row, it is moved to the next ring in the direction of red, which means stop, in my case the flower. Here is my version of the row counter.
I don’t really like how the flower turned out but it’s a good start. I’m trying to figure out what I could use other than a chain because the chain links don’t fit on my bigger needles and I would like to use these for everything I knit. Any ideas?? Of course, one of these went into my mom’s package this morning which was then sent off. It should get there in time for your birthday, mom!!
Mom, here are the ornaments the kids picked out this year. You see, every year we go to the Christmas Market with the kids and they each pick out their own ornament for the tree, I kind of guide them to the good ones, and then we write their name and date on them. When they are older and have families they can take their ornaments for their own trees. These are little wooden ornaments from KΓ€the Wohlfahrt and I love them. Last year my parents came to visit and I think my mom and I went to the Market every day at least once, which was so much fun! Next year my parents are coming again and we are going to do those markets again, you can count on it!
Alexander picked out the airplane and Alida the teddies on the sled.
This is the book that Chris, my sister-in-law, sent in her package that we all just love. It is so funny!! Thank you again, Chris, for being so very thoughtful-thank you from all of us! Tomorrow we are making Santa pancakes.
I wish we could have been there for Conrad’s birthday party yesterday. I heard the sailboat cupcakes were soooo cute. Also in Conrad’s face. You need a blog, babe.

I apologize to all of you who have written comments in the last few days. I have not been able to find the time to answer right now, I’ve been quite busy, as you can imagine. Thank you all for writing!!!

Two days ago Christina came over with her two kids to exchange gifts and I think I made out the best of anyone! This is what she made me:
Isn’t that bag fabulous?? I need a new bag, you know. Next to it is a book about crocheting so I can finally learn. Too cool. Thanks so much, Christina!!

Another great gift came this afternoon. Chris, my sister-in-law, sent me a huge and heavy package which was partly full of this:
This is full of great Christmas stuff that really makes me miss America. There were also two more big, heavy gifts to be unwrapped at Christmas for the kids. Thanks soooooo much, Chris! She even snuck in a knitting magazine for me, how well does she know me? Now, I’ve got to get back to that half-eaten package of peanut butter Hershey Kisses that have been strategically hidden in the kitchen.

I tried out my new stitch markers and I just love them, it is so fun knitting and knowing a chocolate candy is coming up. However, after about 10 minutes I got a bit hungry. After about 20 minutes I had my hand in the cookie jar, and my knitting was resting quietly on the couch. Hmmm That’s not really the point, now is it? That’s when I decided I needed a few ‘diet’ markers.
Of course, after making a very good-for-you banana and apple marker, I made an ice cream cone and some slices of carrot cake! I just don’t think I was meant to be on a diet! Of course, any good group has a flower too, right?

I also made two beaded row counter bracelets, one for me and one for my mom. Her birthday is the 31st of December, so I’m trying to get a package together. Mom, your package is getting bigger and bigger and later and later. It’ll be sent off soon, I promise!!
I’ve seen these bracelets before at various places, but I’ve never wanted to spend the money on one. After making the stitch markers, I realized I could probably pull off making these bracelets, too. Here they are:
beaded row counters
You see, you count the individual rows with the little white beads and groups of ten rows with the big blue beads. You just push the beads through the white beaded ring toward the egg. So simple and so helpful. These were the best beads I could find, and I thought the egg looked the best on them.
I showed them to my friend Christina yesterday, and because she is also a knitter and a lousy row counter, she thought it was a great idea. Are you surprised we are on our way to the store today to get her some beads? I love getting others addicted to my silliness.

In German the word for spinning- spinnen- has two meanings: to spin and to be crazy. I think this is very fitting!!! I must be crazy to have started something new, I just love it!! You could say I need another hobby like a good ol’ hole in the head. I went to Stefanie‘s yesterday afternoon for our monthly meet of Berlin knits and it was fabulous. Stefanie is a real spinner; she has two wheels and makes gorgeous yarn. She let me play for a while and I fell in love. Here I am.
Look at the yarn forming on the spindle. Oh what fun. Maybe I have an addictive personality and should stay away from these things.
Forget that! Now I need a spinning wheel. My birthday’s in August, so I have a bit of time to work on it!
Gabi wasn’t able to come, but she was so nice to give Steffi a drop spindle and some roving for me to play with. Steffi and I were a bit clueless on how it works, she’s been spoiled for too long with her wheel, so I have to either find a good site on the net, or wait until our next meet to figure out how to use it. We’ll see. I should have lots of time to knit, sew and even spin over Christmas-it’s on my wish list!
Have I told you I think our knitting group is great? Steffi you need to move to Berlin!! πŸ˜‰ (you see, she lives on the outskirts of town and when I say outskirts, I mean one of those big huge Gone With the Wind skirts)
I met Silke for the first time and we got along super and she makes gorgeous socks. Who would’ve known?
Don’t worry, Sabine, we’ll make up for time lost yesterday in January!! (For those of you not with us, she had to go back to work, the poor thing, and leave us to eat Stollen, Steffi’s cookies and brownies alone) I didn’t think I would be able to find such wonderful knitting people here in Berlin, but I did and I’m so glad!
One last thing-I made brownies that are fabulous but I just can’t take credit for them because I stole the recipe from Nichola at Nikkishell. Here’s the recipe. Thanks, Nichola, I’ve made them a total of 3 times in the last week and I have new orders coming in daily. πŸ™‚

Well, not real ones. I knit these mice for the cats. You see, I really don’t have much to do one week before Christmas, so I thought I would do something like this. Yeah right! I found these cute little rodents here. Well, actually I found them at first and had to have them.
Unfortunately, for our cats I didn’t have any sport weight yarn that would felt so I had to use some left-over worsted weight I found. Thanks to my WPI tool, I was able to find the exact weight of this mystery yarn. Cool tool! I used a size 9mm/13 US needle and made the body an inch longer than the original. They are so big Martin says they’re rats. Do you think the cats will be scared away from them? This is my first felting experience and I love the outcome. Granted I washed them three times to see what they look like each time. Cool.
Here’s a before and after picture. These are just mice, but humor me a bit, I’m on new felting territory here.
mouse beforemouse after
The Bob the Builder digger is in the picture for size comparison purposes only, please don’t be distracted by that. I’ve filled them with catnip and I can’t wait to see what the cats do with them. We only have two cats, so the third one is a Christmas present for Alexander’s piano teacher’s cat.

I was attacked about 6 weeks ago. By bacteria. Very mean bacteria that immediately invaded my lungs not allowing for any fun such as knitting, sewing or jogging. 1-0 for the bacteria.

After a few days of fever and heavy coughing, I fought back with antibiotics. Mean antibiotics that immediately caused a rash almost all over my body and made me itch and itch. I let them go free. 2-0 for the bacteria. (At this point my idiot doctor gave me the flu shot after proclaiming my lungs sounded fine-hey I should be vaccinated I do have a touch of asthma she said)

A week later I fought back with even heavier coughing and a cortisone spray, partly because breathing was not possible and I thought breathing was sort of necessary to sustain life as I once knew it. 1-2 me!

3 weeks later those mean bacteria had left, or at least had hidden in the far depths of my lungs, only to have quadrupled in size. This expansion reached my sinuses causing dreadful pain in my teeth. 3-1 for the bacteria. Coughing continued.

After several Advil Cold and Sinuses and a week of “when is this ever going away?” I went to the doctor to literally beg for a different antibiotic. He, in turn, did not like the idea of a normal person not wearing a white doctor apron telling him what to do, and promptly referred me to a ear, nose and throat doctor. Patiently I waited another day to get an apointment. Then this new wonderful doctor, after hearing my long story, without hesitation, wrote me a prescription for a new antibiotic and a fabulous drug to clear out my sinuses and stop my teeth pain. 20,000-3 for me.

I think we have a winner here!!! I feel good for the first time in 6 weeks and my coughing has ceased, well almost. Thank you, doctor, thank you!

(I won’t go into the story about the doctor’s wife I was forced to go to at the beginning, who is also a doctor, or at least she claims it, and who yelled at me because I had gotten the wrong antibiotic in the hospital. How could I go there in the first place, she wanted to know? Well, lady, if you had been open at the time-Wednesday afternoon around 4! I wouldn’t have had to. She then yelled at Alida because she was moving a chair and making a lot of noise which made Alida cry. She was the one that said my lungs sounded fine and gave me the flu vaccination. Her husband is the one who would not give me the prescription at the end. I think he and his wife are…for the birds!! Because I’d like to keep my blog swear-free.)

I’ve got a bit of a problem, I’ve been working on more stitch markers and I can’t stop. This is terribly addictive!! Here are a few that I’ve finished, and some that aren’t. (Once again it’s take advantage of the sunlight for pictures problem)
stitch markers
stitch markers
I can’t keep writing I’ve got to get back to my stitch markers. My mom’s package needs to be sent off and she’s getting one of each of these. I’ve got another thing I want to try to make for her, but that’ll be another day. Fimo, I’m coming.

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