Monday, November 28, 2005

1st Snow

Well, we had our first snow on Saturday. Little Boy had BIG plans - All week he was waiting for Saturday for the train ride to be open. Everyday he would ask if this was the day the train was awake? So, finally Saturday arrives and I tell him the train is all done sleeping and we are going to go see it. While waiting for the train we go up to the park and he plays in the snow and gives a snowman a hug. After the train ride he wanted to go to the coffee shop for lunch. And, he wanted a piece of chocolate - not just any chocolate mind you, but a certain piece of chocolate that is shaped like a frog (there is a specialty store downtown that sells these by the piece). It was a wonderful day for a 2.5 year old. Here are photos of him enjoying his perfect day...

Monday, November 21, 2005

My winter stash - photos

OK, well - here is my winter stash. What was I thinking??? What am I going to do with this hodge-podge of fabrics? Scrap quilts are my favorites, but there isn't enough variety to make much. Well, I will just had to add some more to it over time. Anyway, the 1st pile over to the left, plus the oriental floral looking fabric (3rd pile, 2nd fabric down), plus the blue (4th pile, 2nd fabric down) - these fabrics are all cut into 2.5" strips for Bonnie's Scrappy Trips Around The World. The entire 2nd pile over from the left is all cut for Bonnie's Trip Around The World (the Katrina Relief pattern). Once that sewing machine electricity thing has been straighted out, I am ready to sew! At least until I run out of fabric.


City of Red Roofs and... Sea Creature?

The day was a little hazy to take great photos, but this should give you an idea... a city of red roofs and... sea creature? Actually, that building is the Cultural Center. Graz, Austria.

Still no sewing news to report. My sewing machine won't work with the electrical convertor I have. Hopefully this will be all straightened out this week and my sewing machine will be humming again!

Pumpkin Seed Stand in Austria - photo

Well, I don't know why this photo wouldn't post with my last message, but here it is now!


Thursday, November 17, 2005

Another week slips bye

Well, it is Thursday night. My sewing machine and fabric (plus lots of other goodies in those boxes) arrived on Monday. I spent a happy afternoon washing and ironing the fabrics. Tuesday night was sewing time!!! I picked 5 fabrics and cut out the Trip Around The World quilt from Bonnie's site ( for those not in the know!). The sewing machine was doing a fine job zipping along those long seams, but little by little started to slow down and sloow down, sloooow down and then just stopped. Sigh. Seems like I don't have a strong enough convertor plug or something, so hubby has to check this out with an electrician. It has been a busy week - it isn't like I don't have anything else to do. It is just at night after the baby is in bed, I would love to sew.

Let's see... we have gone to check out a day care. At 2 years, 5 months he is wanting to branch out a bit and play with other kids. So, I have found a nice group for him which is about 7 kids depending upon the day. He can go a few days a week from 8 - 1:30. He will get a snack, lunch, playtime with kids his age. It will be good for him to have his own schedule while I am in school, tackling the task of learning German. I will be in class 5 days a week, M-F 9-12:30 starting Dec. 5th. It is a 3 week class. After that I will go at night M-F from 6-8 for 2 months. So, while I am in school he can go 3X a week, otherwise I will just send him 2X a week. I still like having him at home!

And, we have been to our other playgroup this week to, which is where the Mom's stay while the kids play for 2 hours. I like this group because I am meeting other Mom's. Once the weather gets colder I am planning on hosting a Mom's/playdate breakfast 1X a week at my house. Fortunately, everyone else's English is better than my German (although with all those classes hopefully that will change). So, I am out and about, learning my way around, meeting people, and really enjoy just taking my time walking along with a toddler.

And, we have been to Omi's (grandmother) to visit - she loves to spoil that boy with homemade apple struddle! Plus, the park, downtown, long walks, the bookstore, etc. etc. Factor in 2-3 hour naps every day and all the time sitting at the dining room table eating, then a bit of laundry, housework, etc. - well, there isn't much more time left in a week. Oh yes, and let's not forget the haircut appointment. And play time - lots and lots of playtime. Watch me dance Momma, I'm dancing! Catch me Momma, I want to jump. Play racecar with me Momma. Momma, Momma, Momma. When did my little boy start talking in complete sentences?

I did take a photo of my fabrics and sewing machine, but it is still in the camera, so I leave you with this snapshot of a pumpkin seed oil stand in Austria...

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Photo of castle

Well finally, I have been trying all week to post this photo to go with my last post - "Time ticks bye".

Anyway, I took this photo in April of 2005, zooming along the Audobon at a bizzillion KM per hour. This castle is somewhere between Graz and Salzburg in Austria. I know it isn't the best photo, but there is something about it I really like.

A sentry on the hill, marking time - hence the title of my last post.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Time ticks bye

Well, it has been a week since my last post. Still waiting on the mail to arrive, but that is OK. It has been a busy week. I think the life of any Momma is busy. The week was filled with the usual toddler days of playdates, teething (those back molars), walking everywhere and taking the time to admire all the cement trucks, back hoes, tractors, garbage trucks, buses, trams -whatever catches the eye of a little boy, playing with play dough, coloring, building block towers, etc. etc. etc.

I have ordered a few scrap quilting books - and no, I do not remember the titles off hand, but I know that when I looked at the sneak peaks on the internet I loved them all. Oh yes, one of them is the Dear Jane book. I know, ambitious project. No, I do not plan to used color co-ordinated fabrics. I am just going to piece these blocks together as time goes by and we will see what develops from there.

I posted about my 30 yard quandry to stashbusters (a great yahoo group of quilters, all in pursuit of using their stashes). I am really wondering what I am going to do with such a strange assortment of fabrics. Anyway, I posted for advice about how to go about creating a usable stash and have received responses that have made me step back and think. From now on, I am going to be a bit more "thoughtful" about my fabric purchases. So, here is my new plan for fabric purchases:

1) Keep a notebook with notes about quilts I want to make - including total needed yardage, yardage and colors that I already have that I think will work and then what else is needed, where I have the pattern filed away anyway (magazine name, issue and page, internet print-out, etc.). I think this is a good system and plan to use it indefinately. Shop from the notebook! I get carried away with that little icon - Add to basket!

2) I will experiment with this idea - when purchasing fabric, get 1 yard cuts of fabrics that I like for color splashes in my tops. Buy 2 -3 yards of the fabric if I plan to use it for a background, filler or to piece the blocks. After reviewing some patterns that I want to make, I see it would have been better to order 2 yard cuts of some of the background fabrics.

3) I need more background fabrics and because I like scrap quilts, I am going to go ahead and buy a few fat quarter bundles of these to get me started over here. I don't usually buy fat quarters becuase I find better value in 1 yard cuts, but I figure there is not much value if you don't actually use the fabric, right?

4) Definately cut out some quilt kits from my main stash when I return to Canada, include extra fabric, the pattern, etc. in the bag and then it will be ready to come to Austria with me for next year.

OK, that makes four new things for me to try out, all of which I think will help me make more quilts and have them come out the way I envision them.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

No sewing machine, no stash, gasp!

Well, here I am with no sewing machine or stash. I am in Austria for the winter. Actually, this is my second winter here and last year I learned my lesson - hard to come by quilting fabric and the price of a sewing machine is out of this world. So, this year I am better prepared, I just have to be a bit patient. I packed a large rotary cutting mat and ruler in my luggage and arranged to ship the rest. Enroute is over 30 yards of fabric, plus a new mechanical Janomie sewing machine, rotary cutters, seam ripper (sigh), threads, etc. all that good stuff.

I went with a mechanical Janome because I think it will fare better than my computerized models, plus hopefully less troubles with the electrical differences (I brought electrical converters with me). I already have 2 computerized Janomes with all the fancy stitches at home and don't want to risk shipping even one of them. For my stays over here I just need a work horse machine that will give me a nice 1/4 seam. I love my Janomes!

And now, I am just slightly beginning to worry about those 30 plus yards of fabric... I was a bit daring and went with lots of different styles of fabrics and colors that I usually wouldn't buy; all 1 yard cuts. But, I am trying to change my style a bit. No looking back now, although I am thinking maybe I should have tried to at least buy all the same time period, style or designer or something so that it will all go together. Oh well, my style is scrappy, and I guess these resulting quilts will be scrappy! Who knows, maybe 100 years down the road someone will be wondering at my fabric choices.

In the meantime, since I can not sew at night (my time to sew) I have been having fun enjoying high speed internet. There are so many wonderful quilting sites out there and I have printed off several patterns that I would like to try. In one fit of homesickness (and a bit of stash envy, I confess!) I fired off an e-mail to a quilter I highly admire over the internet, Judy L. She promptly responded which really lifted my spirits. Quilters are such a caring bunch. She had one great suggestion for me in my travels: pre-cut several quilts once I get back to my main stash, bag them up and then they will be ready to go with me next year. What a plan!

Well, I do not have any quilty photos to share, so instead I am sharing photos I took last week of this church (and the view looking down from the church) which is way on top of a mountain in Germany. We took a train to the top - I love trains! This was a neat train because most of the track was the cog system - where little spokes like gears on a watch grip part of the track to hold the train in place - it helps the train climb and also helps prevent the train from running away down the steep grade. There are tons of climbing and walking trails, but with a little guy in tow (2 years, 5 months), hiking wasn't really an option. We did have lunch outside at that restaurant you can see in the photo. The weather was perfect, we had good company in our friends, and it was really a wonderful day.