Sunday, December 21, 2008

A much needed break...

Hello everyone,

I just wanted to let you know I'm taking a break from blogging over the holidays. Thank you for stopping by and perhaps even reading one or two posts of mine ☺ Thanks to all commenters. I wish everyone a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

See you back in 2009!

Monday, December 15, 2008

One lonesome tree

I woke up this morning to find an awful racket outside my window.
Can you guess what happened? Me neither.

When I looked outside there was a worker climbing up into our huge beech tree in the back garden! I had forgotten all about the tree. The city horticulturist had inspected the tree last year and found it to be diseased. It supposedly presented a hazard, so the city ordered it taken down.
They are at it with their chainsaws as we speak. Poor tree. If they keep going at this rate it will be completely removed by midday.
The view out to the back will be entirely different, now that the tree doesn't protect us from the curious eyes of our neighbours.
What a start to the week. Sigh.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Entrecard - serious error

I can't log in to Entrecard. I'm sure other EC users have noticed there's a bug in the system. So no EC dropping for me today. I hope they fix this problem soon!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fructose Malabsorption

More and more people in Europe are suffering from fructose malabsorption, in many cases a hereditary condition. Alternative health practitioners, however, believe it to be stress-related - along with unhealthy eating habits.
Fructose malabsorption is not an allergy. Basically, the afflicted person cannot properly absorb the fructose found in fruit, some vegetables, sweets, chocolate, processed food, (and many more), due to an enzyme deficiency.
Most people with this condition suffer from bloating, stomache ache, cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, feel sick, and lack of appetite.
Naturally, one would have to switch to a fructose free diet. Not easy. Eating an apple may already cause symptoms. So, eating an apple a day, does not always keep the doctor away ☺
People who are sweet-tooths find the switch extremely difficult, becoming depressed as a consequence. There is a way around this, if you're willing to experiment with dextrose and know how to bake. For all FMA sufferers, try this recipe:


250 gr ground hazelnuts
250 gr flour
10 gr baking soda
270 gr dextrose
100 ml milk (may be lactose free)
140 ml strong, black coffee (cooled)
little bit of corn oil

how to:

mix the nuts, flour, baking soda, dextrose. Add milk, coffee and oil if consistency is too dry. Spread in 30 cm rectangular baking tin and bake at 200°C for ca. 50 minutes until golden.
Then remove from tin and cool on a rack. Cut into slices.

ps - try not to eat all at once!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Wishing everyone a relaxing Sunday...

click to enlarge

...and peaceful 2. Advent.

My hubby found this pair of dolls in a local shop and bought them for me. They were the last ones! Aren't they cute?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Enjoying a vegetarian Christmas meal

Over the holidays most people will have eaten more meat than is good for them. There's the family Christmas dinner and lunch, dinner with the in-laws, the office X'mas party and so on.
How about serving up a vegetarian meal for your family this year?
A vegetarian Christmas meal does not have to be boring, and your body will thank you for it afterwards. Here's a recipe you could try:

For the starter: Fresh Basil-Mini- Mozzarella en brochette (on a skewer)

150 gr Mini Mozzarella
8 Cherry Tomatoes
quarter piece yellow capsicum
quarter piece cucumber

marinade: 1 onion, 1 chilli pepper, garlic, juice of a half lemon, basil, oregano, 100 ml olive oil
salt and pepper

half the tomatoes, cut capsicum and cucumber in small pieces. Place the cheese, tomatoes, capsicum and cucumber on skewers. Set aside.
For the marinade chop onion, garlic, pepper finely, add lemon juice, oil, herbs and spices and marinate the cheese skewers for one hour. Serve with fresh baguette.

main course: Fresh Ravioli with Creamy Herb Sauce

buy 300 gr fresh ravioli preferrably stuffed with porcini filling from your local delicatessen. If you're up to the challenge you can make the ravioli yourself :)

2 shallots
1 TS olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
a quart ltr of cream
150 gr creme fraiche
basil, parsley, chervil - fresh if you can get them
200 gr button mushrooms,
salt & pepper, butter

Cook the ravioli in a pot of simmering water until they rise to the top. This doesn't take long.
Meanwhile, dice the shallots and garlic and sauté in olive oil. Pour in the wine and cook until liquid is reduced. Add the cream and creme fraiche. Reduce. Add salt and pepper. Pour sauce through a sieve into a small pan. Stir in chopped herbs and heat through.
Drain ravioli and add to sauce. In another pan stir-fry mushrooms in a little butter.
Distribute ravioli onto four plates and top with mushrooms.

Dessert: Apple Tarts with Vanilla Ice Cream

(makes 12)

300 gr Apples, lemon juice
Vanilla pod
1 TS brown sugar
a pinch of cinnamon
100 gr butter and 100 gr sugar
3 eggs, salt
125 gr flour, backing soda
ready bought vanilla ice cream

Into a bowl cut apples into slices and add lemon juice. scrape the inside of the vanilla pod into the bowl. Add brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir until well coated.

Heat water in a double boiler and place butter, sugar, eggs and salt into a double boiler and beat until creamy. Take off heat and continue stirring, until mixture has cooled. Add flour and baking soda carefully, pour into muffin cups and top with marinated apple slices.
Bake in oven at 180°C for ca. 35 minutes.

Serve with vanilla ice cream.

The recipe serves four, except for dessert which can be eaten for breakfast the next day. Yummy!


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Top 3 Entrecard Droppers for November

Here are my top three droppers - THANK YOU

and visitors...why don't you stop by these blogs; they're worth a visit!

1. Wine at Five

2. Brick for Jade

3. Chronic Chick Talk

Have a good week!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Christmas Shopping

In a previous post I wrote about the insanity revolving around Christmas and gift giving. I am so glad to be exempt from this hassle, because I tend to buy gifts throughout the year. Whenever something catches my eye and I know it would be perfect for a friend or someone in the family I go ahead and buy it. It's then kept for safe-keeping until that person's birthday or another 'traditional' event, such as Christmas comes up.
Naturally, most of my female friends receive one of my handmade gifts, which is all the more appreciated, because when I made it I only had them in mind. This is a truly unique gift. Not only do I love choosing fabrics which I know they will like, the whole designing and sewing process becomes that much more enjoyable! I usually plan these gifts well in advance. Now, isn't that a much more relaxing approach to Christmas?
All I need to think about is what I'll be cooking for Christmas dinner. I usually pre-order the meat for the main course well in advance. Then I just need to pick it up a day before or so. Desserts can be made a day in advance, too. So, instead of slaving away for hours in the kitchen on Christmas Eve (we celebrate on the 24th) I can reduce that time to about two hours and enjoy sitting at the dining table with my family instead.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Walking your dog in the snow

(image courtesy of wikimedia)

My BIL and his family have a chocolate retriever about one-and-a-half years old. He's huge and needs to be exercised daily regardless of the weather. But what if there's a half metre of snow outside (not that we get that much anyway)? Well, it's okay for a dog to walk in the snow, but make sure he doesn't eat too much of it! This is harmful for a dog's stomach. And dangerous if road salt has been sprinkled on it! It's best to keep to areas that have not been treated with road salt. When you get home it's a good idea to wipe the dog's paws and perhaps apply a bit of salve.

Happy walking!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I need more time!

I have been neglecting this blog somewhat - but only because my other blog is keeping me busy, busy, busy. Not only have I been selling my bags like crazy, I received an award yesterday too! So, apart from my regular work I am working on new bag designs, sourcing fabric and sewing non-stop. Then there's all the promoting to do. Help! I need more time!
A good friend of mine reminded me to come up for air once in a while. She's so right. I've been neglecting the chores around the house too, and I haven't done any exercise in weeks! I feel so guilty. Hubby hasn't complained or anything (bless him), although I have caught him eyeing the laundry basket wondering when I'll get round to washing the underwear...
So I have made a deal with myself.
I will restrict promoting to one hour per day. I will get up half an hour earlier to go through my exercise routine. From now on Monday will be Laundry Day, and on Sunday I will just relax, go for a walk, okay, maybe jot down a few new design ideas...
Keeping fingers crossed, hoping this new self-imposed regimen will work ☺

Monday, November 24, 2008


This is what our back garden looks like today.
This is a rare sight for us, because the region where I live doesn't usually have this much snow. We get rain.
I had to go out this morning to run some errands and I found it really uncomfortable wearing my contact lenses. I have astigmatism. This combined with the heater on all day makes for really dry eyes. As I mentioned in my previous post: I really don't like snow!
The weather service broadcast more snow for tomorrow, which will turn into rain later this week. That's fine by me!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

It's snowing

Last night we've had our first snow - and when I woke up this morning it was still snowing. Mind, up here in the north-west we only get the slushy kind of snow! The thin layer usually disappears into a wet slick by mid-afternoon.
I'm not really a fan of snow. This is partly due to the fact that the kids I tutor take this as an excuse to stay home. So in a round about way the snow has a negative effect on my bank account! Not to mention the extra work involved clearing the footpath in front of our house. We wouldn't want anyone to slip and fall and break their ankle. That could have a negative effect on our bank account too. We will have to stock up on road salt - speaking of which, this stuff is so aggressive that it worked a hole into the soles of my loafers last year. I have since bought a pair of boots with thick rubber soles, which make me look like Bob the builder from the knees down, but at least I'll be able to walk the short stretch to our car without risking wet feet!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What does Christmas mean to you?

Although most people in this town are staunch Catholics, it always amazes me how materialistic everyone starts to act, especially around the Christmas season.
I was talking to a few of my students about what they liked most about Christmas, and most of them replied 'the gifts'.
Indeed, I've seen plenty of harrassed-looking mothers dashing in and out of the only toy-shop in the town center loaded down with bags full of cheap plastic in the shape of barbie dolls and playmobil - all undoubtedly made by tiny hands in the Far East.
I've seen even more harrassed-looking fathers heaving stereo's and flatscreen T.V.'s and huge PC's into their family van. Yep, kids are so demanding these days.
When I think of Christmas I have fond memories of sitting round the dining table eating my mum's delicious home-cooked meal, having pleasant conversations, laughing a lot, and yes, of course I was excited about what my parents might have bought me, although I never demanded anything. I was always happy with anything they bought me. We weren't showered with gifts - all the more to appreciate what we did receive. Till this day I appreciate everything that is given to me, regardless of its value in the material sense.
Sometimes all I need is a hug and I'm happy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Prevention is the best medicine

For the last seven days I have been taking spoonfuls of Enterococcus faecalis bacteria. It tastes a bit like milk gone sour, but it helps to build up your immune system, especially if you're prone to upper respiratory infections.
I should have thought of taking them earlier as a preventative measure...maybe it was the cost of a bottle that put me off. It doesn't come cheap. The price of one small bottle costs 10 Euros (about 12.7 US$) and lasts approx. four days.
I guess I should be investing in my health more. Next time I'm in town I will be purchasing the pack of 3, which is marginally cheaper than buying only single bottles. I will be taking these throughout the cold months plus my usual zinc and vitamin C pills in the hope that I won't come down with anything until next Spring!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Here we go again!

I am s-l-o-w-l-y crawling up the road to recovery, only to find my cat Sammy is acting strange. Maybe getting sick? He seemed a little subdued all day and his appetite wasn't as good as it usually is. Normally he chomps down his food, no questions asked. This evening he circled the bowl suspiciously and only ate the top layer. Atleast he lapped up his water; I'm thankful for that. I'll be observing him for the rest of the evening and hope that today is a one-off. If he isn't better tomorrow morning it's off to the vet with him. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
What a week...sigh.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Birthday Wishes

I know I'm supposed to stay in bed. I do feel awful, but how could I not wish my good friend Y. in Cologne a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY. May all your wishes come true!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

100 posts today...and I've got the flu!

Great. I had a special post planned for my 100th, but I'm in a bad way, so I'm just going back to bed with a cup of sage tea (I know, it's disgusting but it helps).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Quick - a new shop!!!

Readers who have been following this blog will know that I live in a town mostly reserved for is therefore hardly surprising that most shops here cater to pensioner's needs. Yes, we have plenty of pharmacies, opticians and shops selling hearing aids. We also have quite a few premises that stand empty.
So, whenever there's even the slightest inkling of a new retailer opening up, there's always a frisson of anticipation in the air. Immediately everyone (under the age of 60) starts speculating. The renovation of the shop in question is followed closely. Difficult to guess what's coming. The new shop owner usually covers up the windows with old newspapers.
Last week a forlorn looking place located at a disadvantageous place in a recessed part of a road opened up 'shop'. Great disappointment. It turned out to be a school of dance. Not the hip hop, jazzy type - more the waltzing kind. For elderly people. Oh well.
I heard a new fitness club was opening up. I can already see a clutch of grannies in trainers rushing to get to the coveted step machine.

Monday, November 10, 2008

PC Problems...sigh

I'm not too happy with Opera at the moment. I've been using this browser for ages and I quite like the interface. Everything worked fine - until now! Even with the updated version the pages I call up don't load completely or stop loading entirely. Yesterday, Opera completely shut down by itself...
So, I'm using Mozilla now. I will need to import all my important bookmarked sites. I wonder if Mozilla has a feature that let's me call up my favourite sites quickly (like Opera does). Can anyone enlighten me on this?

Attention all Entrecarders: If I don't reciprocate drops, it's because I can't seem to log in to Entrecard! And when I finally do, the 'drop' doesn't work. Also had to approve an advert twice - hope that worked at least! Entrecard seems to be lagging! So...I apologize in advance.

I really hope someone will help me solve my PC problem...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Happy Sunday!

If my cat Sammy were a soft toy, he would look like this...

Friday, November 7, 2008

What happened to the BLOGGER tool bar???

There's something strange going on with the posts here on Blogger. Since yesterday, I no longer have the 'tool bar' at the top of the 'create new post' box!?
So, how should I add links now? Or enlarge my words? Or move my text right or left?
Anyone else have this problem?

ps - I haven't done any changes or switched browsers either. Cache and cookies all cleared, too.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Embarrassing moments # 3

you can read E.M. # 2 here (also links to # 1)

I must have been about was my first time on a sophisticated date. All my previous dates were more the 'Pizza Hut' kind. Anyway, my date took me to dinner to this really classy restaurant in a five star hotel, and I was a just a little nervous, since I hadn't eaten at such a fancy place before. The week before I had even splurged on a new dress just for the occasion.
So we sat there at the candle-lit table contemplating the menu. There was a waiter hovering silently nearby. Soft, classical music played in the background. At the time I knew nothing about wine, so I was pretty relieved when my date offered to make a choice for both of us. 
Then the waiter sidled up to the table and it was time to order. I thought 'Lobster Bisque' sounded nice, so I ordered that as an entreé. It was in the soup section on the menu, so what could go wrong, right? 
Anyway, my date and I were enjoying each other's company, and a little while later both our entreé's arrived. I remember being a little surprised when the waiter set down the deep plate in front of me, because all I saw were three pieces of lobster 'morsels' arranged artfully at the centre. My date had ordered a ceasar salad, and it was clear he was ready to tuck in, so I picked up my fork and began spearing one of the lobster pieces. At that moment I heard the waiter snickering behind me. I didn't want to upset the mood, so I just ignored him. Then - out of nowhere - another waiter swooped down on me bearing a soup terrine and this huge ladle. At this point there was one lobster morsel left on my plate. The waiter coughed and told me to please lay down my fork...I was really confused, but I did what he told me..and then, omg, I realized! I was supposed to have waited for the piping hot soup to be ladled on to the lobster pieces. My date was trying not to smile. And I was trying not to disappear into a hole in the ground.
Jeez...I was eating soup with a fork.
The two waiters were cracking up, and the one with the ladle really took his t--i--m--e to fill up my plate.
Somehow, 'Lobster Bisque' sounded better than it tasted.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Spotted Dog

I know Halloween is over, but I just couldn't resist posting this pic of my niece (who lives in the U.S.) in her dalmation outfit - her choice, she insisted ☺

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Top 3 Entrecard Droppers for October

Here are my top three...why not go check them out!

# 1 Money Saving Pro

# 2 Brick for Jade

# 3 A World of Progress

Thanks! And keep dropping!

Friday, October 31, 2008

My popular padded eye glass case

Ever since I designed and made this soft eye glass case for my mom (she didn't like to use the tacky plastic one she got from the optician), all her specs-wearing friends have suddenly developed a desire to own one...translated this means I'll be working night-shifts at my sewing machine!
Since my case seems to be so popular I've decided to add this one to my shop! If you're curious as to what it looks like, please visit here.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

my baker's got a sense of humour

This morning I had a craving for something sweet, so I dashed to our local bakery and bought some chocolate chip muffins. When I left the shop the baker said "cake it easy"
I thought I had misheard. Since when does my baker speak English and make a pun? Then I realized he was reading the caption on the muffin cup, which read cake it easy. Nice!
Made me smile all the way back home.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Home Improvement

When we first moved into our house it took about one and a half years to make it reasonably liveable! Apart from tearing down a few walls and the plumbing we did A LOT of the work ourselves: everything from laying parquet flooring, tiling, plastering the walls, putting up wall paper, name it, we did it. I thought that when my walk-in wardrobe was finally finished - that was it. No more work!
Little did we realize that this was going to be an ongoing project ☺
It kind of feels like I'm living on the set of Tim Allen's 'Home Improvement' !
After living in the house for a while we decided we needed to add a door at the top of the stairs to separate the upper from the lower and also to save energy. With the door installed, there's less of an echo now. A year later we (I) realized we needed an additional room! Mainly because I work from home and it was getting tiresome working out of the dining room. Okay, I admit, I'm the guilty party here! So we moved our bedroom up into the attic - the original one was way too huge anyway - and built a dividing wall to make two tidy offices. Yippee! Of course, another door needed to be installed.
Recently, we were sitting on the sofa contemplating what to do with all our books which were spilling onto the floor. We have a huge collection. So, this evening a carpenter, whom we are acqainted with will come by to take some measurements. This time we'll need the helping hand, because we're planning to tear out a large window to make way for a 'book nook'. I wonder if this is going to be the last thing we do on improving our home...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Time Change

I totally forgot about the time change this morning! So when I got up at 7:00 a.m. to feed my cat, it was actually only 6:00 a.m. - not that my cat minded!
Actually, it wasn't such a bad thing. It was nice and quiet for one, perfect for going through my Yoga routine in peace. And I had that extra hour to check and reply to all the emails, which I had neglected lately. What a good start to a Sunday. Now I can lean back and relax and contemplate what to do for the rest of today...

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Grey & grumpy

Currently we're having a very grey and foggy October. I have a feeling that people get uptight and grumpy the longer they are exposed to this type of weather! Yesterday, I visited a fabric store, and the minute I entered the shop this wave of grumpiness hit me. There were two shop assistants. They were standing in a corner griping about one thing or another, not even registering that I (a customer) had come into the shop. Indeed, I got the feeling I wasn't even welcome. Anyway, since I had come to look for a few particular items I just grabbed a shopping basket and headed towards the bolts of fabric, minding my own business. Then I overheard one of the shop assistants actually berating this elderly customer who apparently lost the slip that is handed out with each fabric purchase. The poor lady looked a little lost while she stood there being scolded like a school child. I had actually wanted to ask this shop assistant to help me with a purchase, but her behaviour really put me off! So I went back to minding my own business and trying to figure out what I needed. In the end I only bought a few notions and only one type of fabric (I'm known for buying loads ☺) and the cashier barely lifted her head when it was my turn to pay, much less thanked me for it...
Please, let there be sun!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to my friend L. in California! Here's to you!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Where? Where? Where?

Sammy....digging in the paper streamers to find the little treat I have hidden inside!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


What's wrong with Entrecard these days? While logging in I got 'serious error'. I closed the site and reopened - and suddenly there I was already logged on.  Since I was already logged on I decided to drop a few cards, only to find that most of the cards I clicked on were 'temporarily disabled'. I know that Entrecard is going through some maintenance, but I didn't think it would take days and days... just wondering if anyone else is having this problem?
Or is it just me?!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Busy on my other blog!

Ok, I've been neglecting this blog...but not because I'm lazy! Actually, I've been busy on my other blog working on new bag designs. Ever since I opened my online shop the pressure is on ☺
Anyway, since Halloween is coming up I thought it appropriate to make this:

pretty cute, huh? If you like it, you can buy it in my shop. All of my bags are unique - no bag is identical. Approx. 15 x 13 x 7 cm or 6 x 5 x 2.7 inches
ps - if you go to my other blog there is a link which takes you to my shop!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Vicious Attack!

When I started this blog a couple of months ago I wanted to keep my posts light-hearted, since there are already a million other blogs on the net with deeply unsettling news. My blog was supposed to be the antidote to all that ☺
I'm afraid my last posts weren't all that light-hearted and today I feel I need to add another sombre post. Don't read on if you already feel down today.
Something dreadful happened at my brother-in-laws' yesterday night. He lives with his wife, his little daughter and baby son in a house at the edge of the forest. Remember, this is rural country, so people don't usually put up security fences etc.  He just put a normal wooden fence around the perimeter of his piece of land. And yes, anyone could trespass if they wanted to, but out here nobody really wants to - until last night: three of his geese were brutally attacked and injured. One was stolen. He woke when he heard the noise, but by the time he got out of the house the two culprits had already escaped (with one goose). The other two were taken to the vet immediately, but sadly had to be put down, because their injuries were too severe and they were in A LOT of pain already.
This just goes to show how degenerated our western society really is. What purpose did this attack serve? None. These guys weren't hungry and starving, these guys were just plain vicious and attacked the geese for 'the fun of it'.
We have heard of similar attacks on animals in other places (mostly instigated by juveniles) and the tendency is deeply upsetting. I do not even want to imagine what happened to the stolen goose. Poor thing.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Wrong number!

I registered my private telephone number from the day I moved to the country, but now I'm thinking of changing it, even with all the hassle that that entails.
I've been getting strange calls lately - and the people calling all expect their call to be forwarded to one patient or the other. So it seems there's a new clinic or hospital or private practice here somewhere with a similar number to mine. One good lady who called a couple of days ago was kind enough to tell me the number she dialled. The number is exactly the same as mine, except for one additional digit at the end, which happens to be the same digit as the last one of my telephone number. So...I assume the people calling must be pressing the buttons really s-l-o-w-l-y, and by the time their finger touches that last button the call has already gone through to me!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Austrian extreme right politician dead

In my last post I wrote about aggressive behaviour in children.
Perhaps it's fitting I should now write about Austrian extreme right-wing and openly racist politician Jörg Haider, who died in a fatal car accident two days ago.
He will not be missed.
Haider was a clever populist politician frequently advocating the mindset of the 'Third Reich'. The speeches he gave were peppered with the NS-belief system that regularly had people all over the world up in arms. Haider knew how to manipulate fears in people (let's face it, we all have fears)! When he spoke he appealed to people's inferiorities, which in turn fueled more fear, rage, conflicting feeling etc. Indeed, his party gained 11% in parlamenary results.
Europe needs visionaries, not people who hark back to fascist regimes.
Europe needs to wake up.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Back to school woes

Autumn break is over, and many children are going to return to school on Monday with a feeling of dread in the pit of their stomach. Why?
According to recent statistics 'Mobbing', a (German) term coined for bullying or harassing, is on the rise at secondary schools, particularly in small towns.
Some of the pupils that I tutor have confided the most appalling things happening at their school, mostly same-age kids harassing a pre-chosen 'victim' of the day. Certainly, bullying has existed for decades, and I'm sure almost everyone has at one point during their teens been harassed or has witnessed others being harassed- perhaps even participated?
There is bugging and there is bullying - where do you draw the line?
When I was 14, I was 'the victim' of twins (girls), a year older, who bullied me regularly. It started with name calling (relatively harmless), then some pretty ferocious backbiting (not so easy to handle), to physical aggression, such as pushing me down the stairs etc.
Luckily I had, and still have, wonderfully supportive parents, who, after this last episode, thankfully arranged for me to change classes. After all, I was in danger of becoming seriously traumatized. Or I could have become aggressive myself - not a good trait later in life. And this really is the crux of the matter. No child is born vindictive. A child may have a predisposition to aggression, which if left unnoticed will become deeply ingrained in its character and will be the cause of much heartache as the child grows up.
But many parents are unaware of their child displaying such aggressive behaviour. In boys it's even encouraged to a certain extent!
A while ago I was talking to one of my pupils, a boy aged 15. The conversation went something like this:

me: was school today?

boy: (shrugs) Hm.

me: everything okay?

boy: hm. yeah. teacher was sick today (chuckles) a B- in Maths (smiles dreamily)...a guy in my class got beaten up today (more chuckling)...
Hey, do you have candy?

I think this brief conversation speaks volumes, doesn't it?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Embarrassing moments # 2

read E.M. #1 here

This wasn't too long ago, so it's still fresh in my memory *cringe*

This was when I was still living in the big city. It was a sunny day and I had a half day off, so I decided to take a walk in the park and enjoy an ice-cream. I was still feeling peckish, so I walked over to the nearest hot dog stand and bought one with all the trimmings.
On my way back I suddenly started to feel slightly sick. It got worse by the second. I had just arrived at the tram station wondering if I would make it home without mishap, when all of a sudden the entire contents of my stomach decided to make a reappearance inside my mouth! By this time I was surrounded by crowds of people all waiting for the trams. I kept my mouth firmly shut, although I was hardly able to breathe and choking while frantically looking for a rubbish bin, a plastic bag, an inconspicuous corner - anything... typically, there was no rubbish bin for miles around. People kept shoving and pushing me from behind; I was pretty frantic at this point...I couldn't hold out any longer. I rushed over to one of the deserted benches and 'deposited' my mouthful behind it, extremely embarrassed, needless to say. Funnily enough, the people milling around didn't seem to have noticed?! While I was mopping my chin with a tissue an elderly lady tottered towards me and said, 'careful, deary, mind you don't step in that awful mess someone left behind you!'
At this point I was probably a deep shade of beetroot. I didn't reply knowing full well that that someone was me. Oh, the shame. I decided to take the subway home, vowing never to mix ice-cream and hot dogs again!
A thousand apologies to the poor municipal workers who had to clean up the next morning.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Picture Perfect

About six weeks ago my husband and I went shopping for framed prints to hang on the last available space in our living room. We were lucky to find the exact prints we wanted - Roses by Gabor Barthez - and the exact frames in matt silver with a 'double glazing' effect. However, the frames already contained another set of prints, which didn't really match out living room colour scheme. We asked the shop assistant if we could have the prints exchanged for the ones we wanted. She told us she would have to check with the supplier. 
While she made the call we inspected the frames and found that the back piece of glass was only siliconed onto the front piece and held with a thin strip of wood - easy to manipulate, we were both thinking ;-)
The shop assistant returned and told us if we wanted another set of prints in the frames it would cost Euro 69,90 per frame, which is outrageous! The original price for the frames only cost 29,90 each. So we left the shop and did some brainstorming in the parking lot. Then we went back in and told the assistant we'd take the frames as they come and buy the prints separately. She gave us a funny look but ordered them anyway. 
They arrived at the weekend. Then we got to work. It took us a mere 20 minutes to untack the wooden pieces and peel off the silicone. Then we gently lifted the back glass, replaced the prints, and finally sealed the edges. Easy-peasy!
As an aside - when we went to pick the frames up the shop assistant gave us a knowing wink.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

German Railway Price Hike

For the second time this year, commuters all over Germany are forced to swallow the bitter pill of a 2.6% - 4.9%  increase in ticket prices - despite the German railway service achieving record results!
The management blame it on exploding energy prices and above-average pay settlements. Many people are forming car-pools, although this a catch 22 - what with the escalating petrol prices. Those that are lucky enough to live in the same place they work opt for the bicycle or the scooter instead.
But what really ticks people off is the fact that after all is said and done, and after multiple strikes at the expense and inconvenience of the traveller, the service of the German railway still remains mediocre at best, abominable at worst (which is usually the case).

As an aside...the German railway is going public in October. The price hike wouldn't have anything to do with this, would it, Deutsche Bahn, hmm???

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Day of German Unity

October 3rd is a national holiday commemorating the unification in 1990 of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic. The central festivities will be hosted in Hamburg; its main attraction the popular 'Citizens Festival'. 
Where was I when the wall came down? I was in Hong Kong watching this momentous event on TV while simultaneously talking to my brother on the phone (who was studying in Berlin at the time). My brother later sent me a piece of the wall which I have kept sealed in a plastic bag. A tiny bit of history in a ziploc bag!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Top 3 Entrecard droppers

...for September are:

Buzzing J from Brick for Jade

Tiddles from Tiddly Winks

Life Ramblings


Happy Birthday H!

Happy Birthday to you, FIL - sorry about the candles - couldn't fit all of them on the cake!



Monday, September 29, 2008


Apparently there are some roadworks scheduled for the main road near our house. Since we live at the end of a cul-de-sac, the workers have put up a Port-a-Loo directly infront of our kitchen window.
Thanks guys, very thoughtful of you...our morning cup of coffee will taste so much better now!

Saturday, September 27, 2008


I was feeling a bit under the weather lately, so my husband surprised me with these gorgeous yellow roses. Aren't they lovely? Cheered me up no end!

Happy weekend.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Choose your skyline

While browsing the internet for suitable Christmas gifts, I came across this:

The candle light projects a skyline - choice of New York, London, Paris, Munich and others - onto the shade. Nice desk accessory and it only costs Euro 16,90. Check the website for more gift ideas!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What have I been up to lately?

Well, for one, I've created a new blog for all my creative endeavours. It's called 'lovelypurses', and no, this is not my preferred blog title, but this was the one that was still available. So, from now on all my bags, purses, totes etc. will be displayed on my new blog, which coincidentally, BlogExplosion has declined due to 'no content'.
Actually, there are five posts in there already, but apparently there needs to be more. So, I'll do my best to update it this weekend and get some sewing done as well. Hopefully, I'll have my online-shop on DaWanda up and running soon, too. These things take time. Obviously, I'm not giving up my day job just yet!
At this point I'd also like to give a big THANKS to fellow bloggers who have left such nice comments regarding my various bags. If you're interested you can click on the 'Dunibagz' icon on the left and see what I've got so far.
I will re-submit my new blog to BE eventually, but first I need to get some work done.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Country Life

People generally say that big cities are anonymous and that moving to a new city means having to come to terms with being lonely for a long stretch of time...well, I beg to differ. I've moved around and lived in plenty of big cities across the globe, and it was only a matter of days before my neighbours came knocking on my door or the news agent started engaging me in conversation, thereby confirming their acceptance and making me officially 'one of them'.
Not so out here, in the country. My immediate neighbours have been here for generations, and although I've been living here for a couple of years now, I'm still only referred to as 'that new girl'; whether I live here for 3, 5 or even 10 years makes no difference! Which is sad, because I have tried to ingratiate myself into this community. Oh, there are plenty of other people who do talk to me - families that have moved here too, college kids returning home to find work, women in a similar situation as myself - I just feel that the people living adjacent to us, I mean, we share the same hedge for chrissake! - they're acting a bit bolshy if you ask me.
Last time I came across the lady of the house she was picking apples. One apple happened to have strayed onto the path that separates our bit of garden and hers, and all she had to say was:

'Don't step on the apple.'

Well, at least she acknowledged I even exist!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Up up and away

I bought my husband a ride on the gyrocopter for his birthday, so these two specks you see in the photos aren't giant mosquitos - that's my hubby flying over our house!
As you can see it was a rather hazy day, and the gyrocopter flew by so fast, that I was only able to snap two shots.
He told me later the flight was amazing - like driving full speed in a convertible, but up in the air!

have a good week everyone.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Embarrassing moments

I'm starting a new series of posts about my most embarrassing moments to date. Here's the first:

Way back, when I was a poor, cash-strapped student, I got a job at a retailer selling the kind of clothes your aunt Jane might wear. You know... frumpy blouses, elasticated waistbands, cardigans in subdued colours. Well, beggars can't be choosers, all right?
Anyway, the manager of the shop gave me half-a-day's training (including how to operate the cash register - yikes!).
I remember her specifically instructing me to say the following words to each customer after they had purchased an item from the shop:

'Thank you. Have fun with your new clothes!'

At the time I thought it was a bit strange, since these kind of clothes were anything BUT fun...however, I did as I was told, smiled at each customer, helped them select clothes, and when they bought something, told them to have fun with their new clothes as per the manager's instructions.
Then, just before it was closing time a woman came in and bought a cardigan/skirt ensemble in a sombre colour. The whole time she didn't say a thing. Just tried on the clothes, came up to the register, and plonked the clothes on the counter. I added them up on the register, told her the price and folded her new clothes up nicely before putting them in a carrier bag. I handed her the bag, smiled and said :

'Thankyou. Have fun with your new clothes!'

Upon which the woman turned and said deadpan: 'They're for a funeral.'


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Just one of those days

Today wasn't a good day. I woke up at 5:00 AM thinking I heard my cat in distress, so I stumbled down the stairs, but thank goodness Sammy was in his usual place, curled up on a chair in the kitchen. I wasn't completely awake yet, but I thought I saw him give me the evil eye - he wasn't amused being woken an hour early, you see.
Well anyway, since I was up I decided to shower and get ready for the day. I had an appointment with the local gyno this morning, which for me is worse than a visit to the dentist.  Apart from my husband, I don't really appreciate strange men gaping into any bodily orifice of mine.
It was freezing cold this morning, and the brisk walk to the gyno's office left me quite breathless. Formalities taken care of I scuttled into the waiting room where a girl of about 18 was talking loudly, and I mean VERY LOUDLY to the woman next to her. For the next ten minutes I was forced to listen to her complaining about her boss, wondering what to wear to a friend's party, the chocolate cake she was going to eat and so on. My mood took a decided dip.

The gyno called me into his office via the intercom and as always grinned at me in that typically professional cheery way which I always find so irritating, more so this morning. He's also prone to chit-chat, which I'm absolutely not in favour of with my pants down.

I escape his office in under 20 minutes, which is a feat and I'm quite thankful for. I'm usually stuck in there for an hour. I rush back home to get ready for my tutoring, which I enjoy most days, but even my youngest pupil can tell I got out on the wrong of side of bed this morning. Oh well.
Then it's off to the supermarket for the weekly groceries, back home to cook, eat, drink and fix my printer which has been out of order for the last couple of days and now I've got a massive headache. Where are the aspirins when you need them?

It's definitely an early night for me.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Oktoberfest 08

Oktoberfest kicks off this Saturday 20th! Two weeks of non-stop drinking yourself delirious and (forced) merriment. Another plausible excuse for skiving off work and for menfolk (mostly) to lech for all those dirndl-clad women...

Years ago I was coerced into joining the fun, which consisted mainly of downing as many beers as possible, while swaying to and fro to the sounds of a brass band. Since I'm not much of a drinker I was swaying to and fro all of my own accord. But the worst bit was when my colleagues insisted we should all go on one of the 'fun' rides. It wasn't the beer that was sloshing around my intestines that had me worried - it was the fact that they paired me up with the most obese woman in our group, and since the cart only held two people at a time it made for an utterly lopsided (and scary) ride. I remember hanging onto the front bar for dear life...there was soooo much space between me and that bar. It was a nightmare, I tell you.

But if you're into that heart-attack inducing stuff, by all means...go.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Skinny vs Slouchy

Katie Holmes has traded in her skinny jeans for slouchy ones. Her husband's slouchy ones, to be exact. Yes, they're men's jeans from Prps.
Katie and Tom have even been seen stepping out together in identical ones. Now, the only time my hubby and I have ever gone out with matching clothes was when we were both in a hurry and both grabbed T-shirts that happened to be black. On all other occasions we're a mismatched couple - fashionwise of course!

So how about you? Do you frequently raid your boyfriend's/husband's wardrobe or do you both aim for that matching look?
Coincidentally, Prps are starting a new women's line in the near future...

Red Carpet Treatment

This little town's full of surprises.
In an effort to attract more customers, the clutch of shops on the market square have rolled out the red carpet. Not that the good citizens of B-town would ever fall for that - they're making a beeline for the One Euro Shop like always. Business as usual, I'd say.

A bit of advice to shop owners, if I may: try having the carpet cleaned before laying it out.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sorry, usual fare tonight.


Accustomed as we are to mainly grey and rainy skies, we've been enjoying unseasonal mild weather these last few days - which didn't deter the local supermarket from stocking up - and me - from buying our favourite Christmas goodies: 'Spekulatius' (spiced biscuits) for me; Domino Squares for my hubby. I'm really proud of myself that I refrained from buying even the smallest chocolate Santa - it is, after all, only September!

I had another hour to kill before it was time to cook something for dinner, so I continued to amble through the aisles, pushing an enormous shopping cart in front of me (I'm fairly small, so this usually merits a few guffaws from fellow shoppers), when I came upon something called 'Toasty'.

Basically, it's a chicken nugget that's been flattened to resemble a Swedish crispbread. You slot it into the toaster and switch it on to the highest level. It pops out lightly browned, hot and crispy -   I briefly wondered if I could get away with serving this for dinner, then immediately dismissed the thought...well, it was one of those days, when I just couldn't be bothered with churning out a three-course meal, so I shuffled along, threw in some pasta, celery, a few carrots, a tin of tomatoes, some ground beef...spag-bol it is. Again.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Who's that kid?

Every morning the kids from this neighbourhood file past my kitchen window on their way to elementary school. They mostly come in two's or three's, but one little fellow usually dawdles along all by himself. After watching him from behind my curtains most mornings, I've come to the conclusion that he's slightly creepy: for some reason he keeps making this alternately smacking/ howling/ gurgling noise all the way to school. Maybe that's the reason he walks alone?!
Or he could be communicating with his e.t. friend, since he seems oblivious to the fact that he's the one making those eery sounds...
Not having children of my own, maybe this is normal behaviour? Speaking of which - who's the LITTLE BRAT who keeps mistaking our front garden for a rubbish bin? Bad, bad behaviour!

I'm keeping a lookout for watch out!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Ladies -don't try this at home!

Recently, I came upon this beauty advice in the September issue of a popular women's magazine:

for super shiny hair: blend one banana, gently rub into scalp, leave in for 10 min. , rinse well

This is TOTAL BS!
I tried this out in the hope of taming my somewhat straggly hair, and guess what?
The sticky goo was worse than trying to remove chewing gum or candy floss. I kept washing and the end my hubby came to the rescue and had to scoop out the mess with a wide-toothed comb. Thankfully, he got most of the gunk out - along with great big chunks of my hair :(

Trust me, ladies, this is one piece of advice we could've all done without. Shame on you P-magazine!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Apple Pincushion

Granny Smith

Friday, September 5, 2008

Keeping long distance friendships alive

I've lived in many places, therefore I have friends in many places. I know that it's difficult remaining good friends over great distances, but with a little dedication it is possible. What's a few thousand kilometers between friends right? Here's my advice:

*email frequently, not just on special occasions
*better yet - buy a webcam and skype
*send photos or videos of your latest vacation
*attend alumni events, or any other common interest event where you might meet up with
  old friends
*don't forget to invite them to an event of your own, i.e. wedding, housewarming party, baby shower, graduation, book launch, whatever - make them feel included. Even if they can't make it, your friends will appreciate the thought.

And who knows? Maybe one day one of your friends will surprise you by showing up on your doorstep!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Bowling Bag

The leaves are turning and there's a certain 'spicyness' to the air - yeah, summer's definitely over. This bag I made from tartan wool fabric is just perfect for the coming season.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Medieval Faire

Last weekend the nature park that this town's smack in the middle of hosted a medieval event called 'Spectaculuum'
If you went there dressed up as a knight, Friar Tuck or a chamber maid you got a discount on the entrance fee. In my opinion, those people who really put a lot of effort into their costumes should have gotten in for free. But who am I to complain? This is the first action-packed event this little town's had in a long while.
There was mead to drink and spareribs to eat, lots of other 'medieval' delicacies, stalls that sold leather goods, jewellery and clothes. There was swordplay to watch, and jousting, and up on the wooden stage a group of performers acted out medieval sketches. There was a huge haystack that kids could jump around in and throw at each other.
The event ended with a fireworks display. I'd say it was a success!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Killing Season!

It's that time of year again, when the first thing I do each morning is kill...

...spiders, that is. And I'm not talking about those little baby ones - no, I'm talking fat, black bodies and hairy legs!

Don't get me wrong; I've got nothing against spiders per se, I just don't want them in my living room. I have no idea why they make an appearance en masse once a year. And don't ask me where they hide the rest of the year ( I don't want to know).
Believe me, it's no fun waking up on a Monday morning all bleary-eyed only to discover a huge black hairy thing stuck underneath the toilet seat.

Trust me, after that I'm WIDE AWAKE!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Weekend Cake

Lemon sponge cake with cherry on the bottom ;-)

Okay, so the cherries were a little heavy for this light sponge and sank to the bottom during the baking process - but the cake still tastes fabulous!

Happy weekend.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Go Green!

It seems everyone's developing a 'green' conscience these days. The interior & fashion world is no exception. American fabric guru Amy Butler has been working with the Gift Wrap Company to come up with an ecological alternative to gift paper & party ware.
The new line is called GIFTWRAP GREEN, ist's 100% post-consumer recycled. The range includes gift wrap paper, gift bags and boxes - all with fabulous Amy Butler prints.

For eco-friendly, organic and recycled clothing go to

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Vive la Vie

In this small town it is not unusual for cafés to close for the summer, so too for this café that pretentiously calls itself French Brasserie & Café. They've just re-opened after a three week break. 
The one time we've been there we only had quiche lorraine with a side salad which wasn't exceptional, but it sure beat the ones from the freezer. The menu did look intriguing; and we would come here more often if they didn't have such weird opening hours. On Sundays they only open at midday, Mondays they're entirely closed (and I thought only hairsalons did that ?!), the rest of the week they only open at 3:30 pm. I guess it's more of a 'dinner only' place.
Anyway, one of these days we're going back to test their entrecote, mousse au chocolat, and crevette salad. They have a good selection of French wine as well. For the sweet tooth they do a variety of tartes.
A word of advice. Don't sit outside - you'll be staring at the back of a rather ugly building - which someone decided to have painted a horrible eye-searing blue!
The inside, however, is nicely furnished and decorated with bistro-style knick-knacks.

It's worth a try, when they're open.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Our ducks


Best friends.

These two ducks that live in our garden do everything à deux. They make me smile.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

To wear or not to wear...

It's that time of year again.

Just like at the beginning of summer, when those first warm rays of sun peek out from behind the clouds, and nobody wants to be the first person baring their naked arms in a T-shirt...I was sheepishly eyeing my black leather boots this morning wondering if a drop to 13°C merited wearing them with my skinny jeans.
Yup, autumn is just around the corner, and usually my heart does a little skip when I think of the soft cashmere cardigans that I get to wear soon; after I've unearthed them from beneath that pile of T-shirts.
But self-confidence deserted me this morning, so I opted for ankle boots instead. Heard the temperature was going to go up to 25°C tomorrow anyway.

Can't wait to break in those boots, though!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Monday Migraine

Leaving behind the stresses of the city, I naively believed I'd be leaving behind my migraine too.
What with the peace and quiet of the country, loads of fresh air, a simpler way of life etc. etc.
Well, I was mistaken.
It hit me again this morning, at 5:55 AM, just before the alarm went off. I am slowly recovering.

As a long-term sufferer I've had plenty of time to experiment with all sorts of pain-reducers, i.e. eliminating cheese, wine & chocolate from my diet (doesn't work); drinking espresso with a squirt of fresh lemon juice (eeuugghh); yoga, meditation, not to mention gulping handfuls of painkillers (worst possible choice if you ask me).

What I found works best in the long run is a moderate amount of Pilates
Aromatherapy; essential oils such as lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary, basil work best. Put a few drops of your preferred oil into a neutral carrier oil (sweet almond, jojoba) and gently rub into temples. Alternatively, use a vaporizer, if your family members don't mind the whole house being permeated by the scent!
All natural wild blueberry extract capsules taken over a longer period. Apparently this 'relaxes' the blood vessels.

If you have any other advice on how to alleviate a full-blown attack, please let me know...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Quote on Sunday

Imagination is more important than knowledge
(Albert Einstein)

Saturday, August 23, 2008


This region is not only known for its famous Westphalian ham, it's also a major fabric supplier.


These woven fabrics are made from 100% cotton and do not contain ace resin (like most cotton fabrics). They are free of formaldehyde and the colours are non-toxic. Since they are wear-resistant, they are suitable for children's clothing, curtains, cushions, soft toys and all sorts of textiles for the kitchen (tablecloths, potholders, aprons etc.)
I have a whole stack of these at home waiting patiently to be turned into something useful and pretty...but school has started, which means my time for sewing is once again limited. sigh...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Olympics Ad - Judge for yourself

Carmen van Kerckhove from New Demographics on Spanish basketball teams 'racist' ad

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I'm Back!

The fantastic fireworks display on August 17th - my b'day :D - definitely was worth the 6 hour drive from west to east Germany. Here are a few impressions from the historic city of Dresden.

men in gold

historic city center with famous cathedral

old mansions on river Elbe

annual streetfestival

Monday, August 11, 2008

Short break

We're off on a short holiday ;-)

Meanwhile I'll leave you to contemplate this poem by G. Eliot.


You love the roses - so do I. I wish
The sky would rain down roses, as they rain
From off the shaken bush. Why will it not?
Then all the valley would be pink and white
And soft to tread on. They would fall as light
As feathers, smelling sweet; and it would be
Like sleeping and like waking, all at once!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Mini Messenger Bag

I made this little bag for my three-and-a half year old niece who lives in the US. She'll be off to kindergarten soon, hence the bag.
It measures 18 x 24 cm with 75 cm strap.


Saturday, August 9, 2008

Calling all crafters

     Don't miss out on one of Europe's largest craft fairs taking place in Wiesbaden this year. It's only 8 Euro for adults /4 Euro for kids. Senior citizens / students /groups get a discount. Tickets can be bought at the entrance. The fee includes a catalogue.

There will be more than 50 workshops to participate in, many of them free of charge. There's everything from paper crafting, scrapbooking, clay modelling, patchwork , floristic, needle felting, cross stiching, jewellery making and much, much more.
If you're a patchwork enthusiast, enter a photo of your work to this year's contest no later than 30th November 2008. Great prizes to be won.