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!