December 30, 2014

stitching :: fun & free

lately there has been some stitching going on, i discovered it, as being very creative. not following any given pattern, but jsut doing what i want, the way i want.
the first one got started, as thea wanted to stitch something. we picked a flowery fabric and started to stitch the flowers, just plain wild and free the way she wanted, here you can see the moment when it all started.
then there has been that piece of fabric elias painted a couple years ago. i loved it and knew right then, that i would want to do something with it. so here it is, yellow paint and orange french knots. the one on the right has been the "over christmas" handy craft i was enjoying. as there was so much sitting and chatting, eating desserts and watching the snow, i had my hands happily stitching. it's a patterned fabric and the stitches where just chosen randomly. what ever i felt like doing...

i will be stitching some more...

though what it will be is not known to me. as next is a little knitting project, i'm casting on with a very yummy kind of mohair wool.

December 29, 2014

celebrating :: joyfully

we celebrated christmas with many friends and almost all extended family members. so many wonderful moments were to enjoy over the course of the past few days.
starting out at our house, and going to church, singing with the childrens choir on the 24th, listening to the church choir and some wonderful string music on the 25th. lighting the candles out of doors with joels family, lots of laughter and many happy children jumping and running. singing and being together in the presence of God.
heading on to visit my family later in the day, it was a bit of a long day, but rather wonderful. more joy and knowing full well, that jesus was born into this world, to heal and safe the lost and broken. this made it such a special day.

and of course there was work to be done the day after, when the celebrating was over. at least kind of subsiding into the background, then there has to be brought in some more wood, to keep the bathtub warm behind the house. we were able to slow down, and read, stitch and be still. go for a walk and sit in the hot tub and chat and discuss what ever wanted to be discussed. hours of peace and joy and laziness...

December 28, 2014

snow :: lots of it

a sunday with lots and lots of snow!
how wonderful, how pretty and everyone has lots to do and to enjoy!

December 24, 2014

the day :: christmas eve

it is the time of making merry and sending greetings to loved ones. i was handing some of our gifts out yesterday, some more today and many letters have been mailed.
there are still a few more sitting on my desk to be written...

it is christmas eve today and we will be at church tonight, singing and enjoying the community of christians meeting, to celebrate the birth of jesus christ.
and i'm convinced it doesn't matter, if i was able to send out all the letters or not. it's ok if i'm writing on in the coming days. the words will not be lost, they will be welcomed and loved regardless of the date on the envelope. this keeps me going, and yes i'm loving it.

the kids will be decorating the tree and i will be cooking for the many guests joying us later in the day.
o what a day, so perfect, filled with many traditions and so much joy, expectation and hope.

December 23, 2014

frost :: the lace this morning

i was outside this morning, a quick ride to friends. just quick, though it took me a bit longer, as i had to stop and take the camera out. the morning sun was strong and brilliant, and so was the frost in the rather shady places. places where the sun is not reaching, maybe hasn't reached for a couple days...
such beauty needs to be seen and observed and enjoyed.
a couple moments, some pictures and a few more moments of pure joy and praise to the creator God.

such detail, even the simple bent and dried leafs and stalks of straw are dressed with lace.
i will try to come back and think of such beauty, if life will cover me with it's speed and frenzy. i will be still. even if it's just a moment or two, still i will be before the Lord. still to remember.

December 22, 2014

weekending :: so sweet

4th of advent, a sunday to just be and enjoy. having joels parents over for afternoon coffee and christmas cookies. no other plans just enjoy each other and then, it turned out to be wonderfully warm and sunny for a mid december day.
i did prepare a special dessert, some kind of cheese cake squares with ganache cover. well it was worth the try, everyone loved it. and i'm absolutely sure, that i will make it again in the coming days. it is easy to mix it all up but then the baking just takes long, as i needed to put it in a water bath in the oven for almost an hour, and it has to be absolutely cold (refrigerated) before the ganache can be poured on. it is definitely a dessert which has to be planned and not "lets quickly whip something up". and this is where i got it. i do love smitten kitchen, super nice pictures and working recipes...

the short walk in the neighborhood was perfect, very refreshing and for the kids a good opportunity to get some of that energy out...
the second two pics, by joel

December 21, 2014

solstice morning

by joel

our solstice morning moon, there is really nothing else to say. it's just plain breath taking!

December 19, 2014

{this moment}

A Friday ritual.
A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
Inspired by SouleMama. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

December 18, 2014

bamboo :: spoons

it was a long made plan of mine, to go to the gewerbemuseum in the city to see the exhibit "magie des einfachen". and so i went this afternoon, all on my own. it's not a big exhibit, but it is super special. seeing the many bamboo spoons made by one man. alvare abreu is carving one spoon a day, and has done so for many years now. standing there, taking in all the spoons, it's not just a wonderful sight, but it's almost as i was cutting and sanding and smoothing the bamboo, seeing before me. the exhibit is wonderfully curated and watching alvare abreu at work even just in this movie, made me wanting to carve too...

December 17, 2014

lemon :: hearts

in my kitchen there is a lot going on, and there is time to quickly squeeze in some cookie baking. yesterday was the dough making and cutting on the list. before i left the house this morning, i quickly baked the batch of lemon hearts and after my lunch guest left, i glazed the hearts. this is the second time cookies are being "crafted" like this for the past couple days. and for one reason or the other, i kind of like it. as i decided i will not be stressed by baking, but love it and just do it if i feel like baking.

so this really makes me happy and they taste lovely.
it's a very simple recipe, ground hazelnuts, fine sugar, lemon zest and egg whites. so this was quick to whip up and the glazing today was done in a breeze too. i'm sure they will not last long, but a box full will be put aside for dessert at christmas eve.

December 16, 2014

schoggi :: spiel

well, this looks silly to you, and it was very silly for all of us. and lots of fun too.
we played the "schoggispiel". a bar of chocolate is wrapped in a news paper and maybe even a few more layers of wrapping, when ever a person is rolling a six with a die, that person gets to unwrap the chocolate and eat.
of course it's not that simple. to everyone's enjoyment, the person has to put on a hat, gloves or mittens, a scarf and glasses. when all this is at it's proper place, the person then, is allowed to start opening the package and maybe start eating the chocolate with fork and knife. as you might wonder, it is a tedious undertaking and fun for all, especially if it's a nice bar of chocolate, and everyone would want a bite!

that's what we "played" tonight.

December 15, 2014

today :: advent

done with the painting of this room and thanks to joel who has done the painting. i was just taping the windows shot as well as taking all the fixtures away. and after all the painting, including the sealing, i took the carpet out and by the end of this week, there will be even a new floor put in.
really not such a big deal, but an ordeal.

it's one of the community rooms, so by the beginning of the new year, we welcome a new person into our house at birkengarten. it is an exciting day, every time a new person is moving in. and on the other hand, most often sad when a person is moving on. so we have been fortunate about the folks living with us in the house, it has been a consistent group for almost a year now.

on an other note, if i'm not posting as frequently as in usual, there is a lot going on in this time of advent. i have decided, that blogging should be fun and not stressful to me. so maybe i'm just to much living the days as i'm willing to sit down to write...

December 12, 2014

{this moment}

A Friday ritual.
A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
Inspired by SouleMama. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

December 11, 2014

some wonderful rays

it has been bleak for the past few days. this morning on my run, i could already spot some blue sky. the clouds seem to flee and rip open, hope and excitement flared up within me. we can go for very long stretches without much sun or blue sky here in the midlands of switzerland. i should be used to this and not be surprised. usually i can take it with easy and just light one more candle in the living room. though this morning, it made me excited, the hope of some sun rays reaching down to me.
as i spotted the bright rays, there was nothing, no hesitation, i quickly packed the camera and went out doors. sat down in the brightness of it all.
and look those wonderful shadows, thank you creator God.

December 10, 2014

this morning

what a spectacular sky we had this morning!
it was breathtaking and that was such a gift to start today. a full day, with so many people intersecting my being and doing.
the second gift, i was not able to catch. though it was wonderful to listen to a big group of kids singing. at naomi's school they have that traditional advents singing event, and i went to listen today. over 350 kids stood there out in the fresh (if not to say, cold) air and sang advents songs. very pretty and best of all, the hand full of kids from the special needs class were such enthusiastic singers. i'm still impressed by kids who love to sing and are able to show it.

December 8, 2014

advent :: moments of gratitude

our evenings during advent are spent just as a family, moments of singing and story telling. it's rare to be just the six of us. after dinner, we go up stairs and close the door behind us. i carry a big pitcher of hot spiced cider, sometimes it's hot cocoa, something we all like and most often a sweet treat. it is special, just the 24 days leading up to christmas, the season of advent. full of expectation and we also decided to learn about being grateful. the big gratitude thing has been on my heart for a while. and yes we have so many opportunities and our life is full of celebrating gratitude, lets train and focus on them.
we do not have to close our eyes on the sad and wrong things that happen, or we encounter in our own lives. but thankfulness changes our attitude a lot, and i for myself have experienced, how much more fully lived my life feels, when i'm grateful.

December 5, 2014

{this moment}

A Friday ritual.
A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
Inspired by SouleMama. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

December 4, 2014

4th of december

photos by joel

as i  have announced, here is our advents window. it was fun to fold and hang and even more to host a little outdoor party tonight.
a few neighbors showed up for carrot soup and marshmallows, yummy! happy adults who like something a bit more hardy like soup and bread and excited kids, roasting their sweet treats. the swiss kids are still not very used to marshmallows. it is something new and some were skeptical about so much sugar and gummy texture...
never the less thea and amos loved them and were as happy as can be.

by the way, the wonderful new addition for this winter, as you can see, is a fire bowl. joel and naomi went to metall werk zuerich and bought this wonderful "thing". we are all very happy to have such a nice and movable fire place. the tripod, which we already use will fit perfectly and no one will have to kneel on the ground anymore to make a fire...

December 1, 2014

the fröbel stars

for a few days, i have been looking into different folded star patterns...
and then i discovered the fröbel star, of course not really the person, but a folded paper star named after one of the great founders of kindergarten.
what a wonderful way  of using paper stripes and transforming them into 3-D stars. i got a good stash of paper and had the stripes cut at the shop, in order to have them exactly parallel. the kids helped me a great deal, though for the first few stars we were scrambling a bit. with each one we finished, we got faster.
there will be a few more to be folded today and by thursday, i will hang all of them in our advents window. a picture of that one will follow soon.

November 27, 2014

a new toy


well for the next four weeks, amos will be able to play with a new toy...
this is not just for fun though. he is accompanying joel for the christmas musical at our church. the kids ministry is practicing for the "de vierti koenig" a chistmas musical, which will be performed at our church on the 14th of december.
so there is lots and lots of drumming going on right now....
amos is really liking the fact, that he does not have to go out into the garage, all by himself, and it's kind of cold out there now as temperatures dropped.
fine with me, it's great to see him practicing and i don't mind a bit more "back ground" banging in the corner of our living room. so we all seem to like the toy, for  a while at least.

November 26, 2014

christmas cookies

this year, it seems like we are super early to bake the christmas cookies. we had fun and it was great to work together and so very quickly we packed 10 big tin boxes full with sweetness.
so far there are
:: chraebeli (with anis)
:: sandele (with sandel wood)
:: cinnamon stars
:: spicy balls (some type of allspice and almonds)
:: mailaenderli
:: orangenschnittli

as you might have noticed, there nothing with chocolate on the list...
we have already twice made "basler brunsli" and for the moment, i'm just not ready to melt more chocolate, but it will happen eventually, i'm sure. there is a list of more kinds of christmas cookies, in the back of my head. and of course amos and naomi they have their own ideas of adding to the variety of cookies and that is super fun.

November 24, 2014

zippered case

i found this little zippered case at handmade kultur, a wonderful and inspiring magazine based in germany. yup, you are right, i'm getting more and more used to live in europe and find my ways around better by the months passing. (wow and this after 5 years back in switzerland!)
i absolutely loved the idea of using an open zipper and the little time, the project was described to use. well they were right, it really didn't take more then  an hour to actually put together the fabric, zipper and cutting pattern. i have to say, there were a few put together blocks laying around my sewing machine. of course they lent itself perfect for a creative zipper case for my reading glasses.
and a second etui was done for the littlest of the family as a toilet case, as she starts to have sleep overs and travel ideas this comes in handy. and of course the time of gift giving is just upon us...

i could not resist, there are more of those little cases in the making, i was at the fabric store today and purchased more zippers....

November 21, 2014

{this moment}

A Friday ritual.
A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
Inspired by SouleMama. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

November 20, 2014

at night

life is super busy, so much to do, so many meetings and events to attend, so many discussions to have had. and beside all these, there are the exciting makings and doings and the ballett cendrillon to attend. well i love this time of year and i don't mind the baking and crafting at all. this week i started out to bake a big batch of christmas cookies with my neighboor-friends. we do it for the bazar next week, and we love to work together for a morning.

so as i walked home tonight, together with elias, i had to stop and quickly take out the camera. the trolley bus wires are just such an amazing sight, i had to capture them. that's what the picture is about. and it does reflect my everyday living, with all its crossing overs and under and connecting and networking...

November 18, 2014

november day

today started out very bleak and rainy, a day i was looking forward to spend indoors, i thought. well never mind, by mid day the sky was very blue and sunny. it was wonderful to sit out side and eat my picnic in the sun, of course well dressed, as we do write november 18th and it is in order to have the temperature being in the mid fourties.

as the leafs are falling, there is a lot to be seen. i love autumn leafs, even if they are not in new england and not sugar maple...
of course i miss those days