Monday, May 30, 2011

weekend wonders

We were busy this weekend. Actually nonstop. Saturday under the kids supervision I started some sewing. I got pretty far, but it's not yet finished . Afterwards we went  to the hardware store and got all set up with fencing supplies, because on Sunday it's simply closed. Then we went pool shopping because it is getting really hot here. The kids are ectatic.  And still can't believe it, even after working all Sunday afternoon and evening setting it up. Preventing having it flying away before there was water inside. The wind here is plain crazy.  And after we four - Soren included  - did really managed to set the pool up, Bella and me even built the fence including installed gate around the pool just in time before we ran totally out of light. We need to do some more finetuning and to built the big ladder for the pool, because the old one would drown in the pool. lol. 

However I have a hand full of blisters and promise the kids a day at Austin's Park. Since today was the first Monday since a long time we had off and could get in a for half price (Thanks to Mondays's Military Discount) we finally went. The kids had a blast. From spinning in the tea cups, riding in the spray boats until we were soaking wet, rock climbing, mini golf, ... and even trying out gokarts. The girls did great driving the gokarts. Soren was already tall enough for driving a jr gokart, but I did not trust his driving skills yet, so I had no choice as team up with him and go on my first ever round in a gokart, too.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

slightly distressed photo canvas DIY

Our hallway needs a little redecorating, but it is a long  way to go. Mainly because I can't make up my mind exactly how. I would like to include canvases, because I love the look with photographs and artwork. However printing photographs onto canvas is rather expensive. So when I came upon deila creates's blog and saw how I could do it myself I was hooked. I followed her tutorial and am quite happy with the first attempt.

Monday, May 23, 2011

hand the camera to the kids

Being allowed to take pictures from Chiara is truly a task and involves lots of bribing if I don't just want to get to see her behind or an overally grumpy face, because it is soooooooooooo boring. So yesterday it did need the popsicle promise afterwards and handing off my camera for a turn. And of course, what the little sister does also wants the little brother - a popsicle AND a turn to snap pictures.

- taken by Soren -

- taken by Chiara -

Saturday, May 21, 2011

just today

Doesn't Soren look like he actually can play? He just snug the guitar from Chiara to  be a copycat because all three of the kids had to show of to Oma that we have enough guitars in the house and that they know a little from Daddy.

My mom is packing up already again and we will head to the airport eraly in the tomorrow morning, but we took the time to take pictures two sets of painted fabric folded and ironed nicely.   

There are still some more pots with seedlings between our bushes in the shade, by now also a few more of them planted, however they truly need more time to grow. Meanwhile the two bog tomato plants each have their first tomato reddening, two tiny cucumber plants are blooming, but we have four peaches growing with a few leaves on the peach tree and one pomergranate. And more and more peas growing.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

flying in the wind

An old neighbor called it "brightening up the neighborhood".


We thought more of save keeping yesterdays bagged and dyed fabric from our crazy dog who can jump really high. So after rinsing out the dye we dried the fabric on the clothes line and let it fly in the wind. The colors turned lighter with drying. I loved sitting outside just seeing it.

After dinner I went back in my 'Hexenkueche' (sorcerer's workshop) and Bella turned into a sorcerer's apprentice in creating new colors and dying more fabric with pattern and without usinf plain white, pink or blue.

Tomorrow we will see again how they turn out.

Before we started all this sorcerer business we did some real sewing we fabric from the stash. Just the snaps are new to close and yes, there are hundreds of possible uses for snaps if you just start thinking of where you might could add one.

I made the Americana version of this wallet after a tutorial from Noodlehead again. I changed the size a little to fit it more for ITS purpose. It is leaving the country and so I stayed with the American theme and used a cute flag fabric as lining.

The new Quilts & More magazine had this little pattern for a camera bag. My camera seriously won't fit in here. No chance. However it is such a cute bag that we find good use for it nevertheless.

Take a close look at the closure. Another snap. Even engraved. These snaps work so well and are so much easier to install as the metal snaps or even velcro. My girls already can do and Soren loves to sort them buy color and motive. Isn't the flower cute and fitting perfect. Wait until yo get to see a ooga booga snap, we got today after we were not supposed to receive the flower ones.

The first part of my new summer bag is finished. Made with linen and a selection of bright colored strips. Inside I added a keyring to be able to clip my keys on. I search my keys ALL the time, so since a while I have a big carabiner hook on my keys and I literally always hook it on my purse or on my pants. Every bag I make will get one. In addition I added to more rings inside to be able to attach a smaller bag/sidepocket to it as a bag organizer. It is still in the planning stage, but the big bag is ready to be used.

Monday, May 16, 2011

tutti i colori - fabric dyeing

It was my mom's idea. A few years ago. Dyeing in bags with no mess. That was the original idea.
Finally in 2011 she had to come to visit us here in Texas to try it out. All set with Procion MX Fiber Reactive Cold Water Dyes, soda ash, salt, ziplock bags, rubbergloves, flower pots, .... we got actually started today after I cleaned the garage of my mess.

It is really not difficult to mix up the paints when everything is set up and ready, and the bright colors that are developing are just amazing. I love colors.

Even just seeing how the paint is seeping into fabric without kneading it yet is so much fun.

We kept it simple. Plain colors. Just mixed green to all the primary ones and added two fat quarter sized pices of different fabric to each color. Bella snagged my camera to snap pictures even she would have loved to help mixing in the fabric. The first time, however, we kept the mess and splatters on us including our hands even we wore gloves. A mess we made anyway after two ziplock bags malfunctioned on the bottom, but it still worked out.

Now the fabric is soaking in its paint bath till the morning and we will see how it turns out. It is tempting to check earlier, but daylight will be better. The clothing line is already set up tied tp the biggest tree in the yard, waiting for the fabric in all the colors.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

blue dinosaur :: backpack :: trinket pouch

Since the busy weekend  is over there actually was some time again. My mom enjoyed the possiblities to check out the craft and quilt stores here in the States. She would love to pack the Hobbylobby in her luggage just the way it is. :).  The ladies at the local quilt store already know her by now, because I stop by with her at every visit and next month I will with Karin, too. They are really sweet and you are always get told stories about their experiences and trips to Germany or current projects. And we found time to sew. Most of out little project are just no finsihed yet, because they just need the little snap still  to close - but that will be done in a snap you will see.
During our BIG storm we luckily kept power not like everybody here and it only flooded the backyard and caused rivers running right and left running downhill filling up our ditches high and turning everything in mudpies deep.
But we lucked out and stayed dry inside and it was perfect for sewing Soren's blue dino backpack I intended on making for such a long time and just never had enough motivation.

It took a moment to figure out the zipper pocket but it's actually really easy with drawstring backpack tutorial from Noodlehead. I love her blog.

But no little boy can have a backpack without a little trinket pouch fitting to it.

This is one of the project I still need to add a snap to it which luckily arrived late last night. Now I only need to dig up a small carabiner hook, I know we still have one in the house. The stores I look where out and next time I simple use a swivel clip stolen from a dog leash from the dollar store right away - it's impossible to find these in the right size locally here either.

But all that's important is that there is the BLUE DINO on top of the backpack.

Photos of our little flood just CLICK.

Monday, May 9, 2011

a few more pictures from saturday

Here are a few more pictures from the communion on Saturday afternoon for family and friends who have not been able to be there. A short video is posted in the previous post. soren was actually behaving pretty good during the long service, too, even he really wanted to go over to Chiara.

-Soren & Chiara before church -

- Bella & Chiara after church -

- Father Jim & Chiara -

- Soren -

- Ben & Chiara at the reception in the social hall. -
They are friends since pre-k, age 3, now age 8. That is a long time for these two military kids.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Pretzls in any shape or form fresh out of the oven

Fresh pretzls are simply delicious. As a snack when you are out and about and grab one at the bakery stand in town. Best if still warm. I used to get them at school at recess when I was little for 50 Pfennig and they truly were the best in town. Everyt time we went back home my kids are getting hooked on "Brezeln". Add a little butter on top and it's a whole meal. Or get the Laugenbroetchen (rolls) with cheese or a little bit of deli.

We found German bakeries here in Texas, too, but of course everything there is so much more pricey and the Pretzls are almost always already gone if you are not really early. 

Two years ago I started trying to think about making my own. I planned on, but time passed until finally last week. I came upon a recipe and just made them. I didn't take the time to roll them all out into pretzls, Bella made a few. I simple made sticks and little and bigger rolls. Pretzl bites. The first batch got rolled into sugar cinnamon as a sweet treat - yes - we americanized - onces. They were gone within minutes. A few we shared. 

Recipe Pretzels

•1 1/2 c warm water
•1 Tbsp sugar
•1 package active dry yeast
•4 1/2 c All Purpose flour
•2 tsp salt

•2 ounces unsalted butter, melted

•10 c water
•2/3 c baking soda
•1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 Tbsp water
•Pretzel salt

Mix the warm water, sugar and yeast in a bowl. Let stand for five minutes until it foams.

Add flour, salt, melted butter and mix and knead it well.

Cover with plastic foil, and let it rise for an hour. I use a big plastic bowl with tight lid.

Heat the water with baking soda. Bring it to a boil.

In between  form your pretzels, rolls, .... out of the dough.

Add them in small portion to the baking soda bath for 30 seconds. Tale them out with a slotted spoon or spatula. Place it on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.

Brush the egg yolk mix and add your toppings, salt for example.

Bake them for 10 to 15 minutes depending of size at 450 degrees.

If your want to add cinnamn and sugar you can brush melted butter on them after baking and roll them in cinnamon sugar.


Yesterday we made more and extras for the freezer. O am trying to see how to get them freezer ready the easiest way. One batch I just prepped and added to the baking soda bath plus egg wash on top ready for the freezer. The second batch I baked for half of the baking time, let it cool and then they were freezer ready.

In the morning after heating up the oven I put them in for the 8 minutes and voila we had fresh rolls for breakfast. Freezer batch #2 works well. #1 still needs testing.


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