Monday, 28 December 2009

A-Z Monday Letter B

B is for Birthday.
My Birthday!
More A-Z fun at Jen's.

Friday, 25 December 2009

Monday, 21 December 2009

A-Z Monday~ Letter C

I am scheduling this post as on Monday I will be Catching the ferry with Arthur!
As you know, I like to include photos in my posts,
so you will have to wait till I get home to see some photos of:-
a Cathedral,
and hear about some Carol Concerts I've been to.
I just hope the photos turn out.

I'm also looking forward to opening some ATC's that have arrived in my absence.
I will enjoy sharing them with you.
I will also enjoy Catching up with you all.
I'm sure lots of you have been busy with Christmas preparations.
Well I had to mention Christmas!

Pop on over to Jen's for more A-Z fun.
See you soon.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

A to Z Monday~ Letter D

It has been
a Dull,
Drippy Day.
But that has only been the weather!
It was cold as well when my sister and I took a trip into the Lake District.
I haven't felt so cold in a long while
and that includes being in Sweden when it can regularly Drop below freezing in the winter.
But this was a Damp cold.
This was the sort of cold that gets through your clothes,
and into your bones,
into your soul.
Making me,
feel very cold.
But not to worry,
it's nice to get out and go for a walk
even though everywhere was grey.
I took some photos to show you.
But I haven't managed to download them yet.
But my Daughter came to the rescue
and emailed me some photos to show you.
Because I needed something for the letter D.
How about a Donkey?

Well it's my grandson in
He was a Donkey in his school play that I went to see.
I think he enjoyed himself.

He is only 4 years old.
It was his first experience of being in a school production.
He likes Dressing up.

His Mum,
clever girl that she is,
made him this costume
so he could go and see the film 'where the wild things are'
Dressed as one of the characters, Max.
People were saying how cute he looked.
The photos I have taken while I've been here in the UK
may have to wait till I get back to Germany
to be downloaded so I can show you.
Something to look forward to.
But for more A-Z fun pop over to Jen's.

Monday, 7 December 2009

A-Z Monday~Letter E

E is for England.

Which is where I should be when this post is published.
Today I will be in Newcastle upon Tyne
in the north east of England.
I will be watching my Grandson in his first school performance
before travelling over to stay with my sister and her family for a while in Cumbria,
in the north west of England.

It is my nephew's 16th birthday.
I will be able to wish him a Happy Birthday in person.
Haven't done that in a while.
I should have some photos up on here soon,
try and make up for the lack of them today.
And be able to catch up with you all of course.

I look forward to that.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Sewing, Flowers and Skeletons

Earlier this month I showed you hints of what I had been sewing
and said that I would show you properly once they had been received by the recipients.
Well they should all have reached their destinations by now.
Throughout the year I have been taking part in an ATC swap.

ATC's are Artists Trading Cards measuring only three and a half by two and a half inches.
So they are quite small.
That in itself makes them challenging.
They can be in any media that you choose.
Initially I struggled for ages trying to make something with paper and card
but all my efforts looked pathetic.
So I resorted to my first love, fabric.
Something that I was comfortable with.
The idea was to send out an ATC to people in the swop when it was their birthday month.
I think the original idea behind ATC's is that the artist would have left over materials that they would make up into one of these cards.
I found that I didn't really have anything suitable so had to make everything from scratch. I found it really tough to get going with them.
I might have an idea but wouldn't have all the materials I needed.
I tend to have plenty of fabrics but not so many of them are plain.
And I think I needed some plain fabrics for most of my ideas.
I really enjoyed making some ATC's out of some felt I had made.
I embroidered some pine trees and flowers onto the felt.
I showed some of them back in March.
I really enjoyed making them but they were time consuming
and I needed a change.
So then I turned to machine applique.
This is where I really struggled to find the right fabrics.
Some plain fabric here would have been useful.
Again I used a flower as inspiration
cutting a bold flower shape and stitching it onto a pieced background
adding a ribbon for some of them.
Again I loved these,
but it was time for a change.
It also coincided with the move to Germany and I got seriously behind with making them.
I struggled and struggled with ideas
with even fewer resources, as I couldn't bring everything with me.
Before leaving Sweden, I called at the sewing machine shop where I bought my Huskvarna sewing machine.
I had been trying out free motion machine sewing
but wasn't sure I was doing it correctly.
I wanted to start using this technique on some quilts I want to finish.
I tried the technique but wasn't happy with it so called at the shop for some advice.
They were very helpful and gave me some tips mostly about tension.
So off I went with a new skill
which once we got to Germany and finally more or less unpacked,
I tried some free machine quilting.
I really liked the effect and so decided to use it for my next batch of ATC's.

Mike thought it made a lovely fabric and thought I should send the cards just quilted.
It was a lovely effect.
But I added some flowers,
notice a theme here?
And so all my ATC's finally got away to their new homes.
I have found it an interesting experience.

Now it is my birthday month,
and ATC's are starting to arrive in the post.
But I will save those for another day.

On a different theme.

I made this skeleton for my grandson. It was for Halloween. I saw a photo on Womans Day Magazine, which you can Google. I couldn't find the photo again. I made my skeleton out of felt, I think they had made their's out of wool.
They had included a heart on their's but I made mine detachable and suggested he gave it to his Mum if he didn't want it. I must find out what he did with it. I know he carried the skeleton around with him all the time, even though it arrived late.

I thought it was so sweet I think I'll have to make another,

just for me!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Globetrotting Greyhounds

I am scheduling this post for tomorrow, Thursday when I will be flying over to the UK for a visit with family and friends. But I thought you might like to read something that Mike has written about our greyhounds.
I know many of you are animal lovers and appreciate stories of them. So this is one that Mike has written for the rescue centre where we got Jewel, Paddy and Rufus. You will also see another reason for my impending visit!
Just click here to take you to it.

In case the link doesn't work it is

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

A Winter Walk

I have been busy over these last few days.
It's amazing that although I don't go out to work,
time still passes at an alarming rate.
I still don't manage to do everything that I want to.
But I did get out for a long walk the other day with Mike and the Hounds.
The landscape has changed considerably since
I last posted any pictures of it.
We have had wind and rain on and off,
mostly on, for... mmmm
ever it seems.
All the leaves are on the ground.
All the days are grey.
But it is mild.
And that is good.
From our house
we can easily see the River Mosel from windows that face in that direction.
We are about 150 metres from the river.
There is a flood plain,
a road,
a bank,
another road, very quiet one,
and a house,
between us and the river.
In the summer we don't see the river from the house,
(but we sometimes hear a band playing on a boat
as it sails up or down the river).
There are trees in the neighbours garden hiding it from view,
apple and pine.
Trees along the roadside,
a hedge along the other side of the road,
and hedge/trees alongside the river.
It is all very pretty.
But we can't see the river.
Now, in winter,
we can,
and hear the boats themselves.
It is very stark in contrast.
And so it is throughout the landscape.
Quite brown.
But still beautiful.

There are still some splashes of colour.

The Hounds always enjoy a new walk.
As we got to the top of the valley,
they were very alert.

They had been smelling deer as we walked.
There are lots in the woods.
Once back down at the car,
we went into a small chapel.
It commemorates the First World War.
It is very beautiful.
As we opened the doors,
the smell of the burning candles filled the room.
It felt very calm and peaceful.
Paintings were painted directly onto the walls and ceilings,
depicting scenes from the Bible,
but also one scene of a soldier returning from war,
and another,
a woman in tears receiving news that her loved one would not be returning.
Outside again,
there is a cross,
leaning at an angle.
The date reads 1870-1871.
The time of the Unification and the Franco Prussian War.
There are lots of little roads and tracks to explore.
Always something new to see,
or smell for the Hounds.
Who are usually quite tired after their walk.
A warm fuzzy picture of Rufus, I didn't use flash.
While they doze we drink tea with a mincepie.

Monday, 30 November 2009

A-Z Monday~ Letter F

F is for Family and Friends.
I Fly oFF to England in just under Four days.
The day beFore Friday to be precise.
Yes on Thursday I fly to England for 3 weeks.
Leaving Mike and the 3 Hounds together here in Germany.
It's rather a long time.
But I did so want to see my Grandson in his first school Christmas production.
I couldn't miss that could I?
And coming back was determined by other circumstances
which I will tell you about on my return.
I hope to post some photographs whilst I'm away
and I'm planning some scheduled posts,
so I hope you continue to call in.
As I love to read your comments.
I have been a bit slow in replying to some of your comments of late and posting on my blog.
Mike has been commandeering the computer for business purposes,
and he's also caught the blogging bug.
I can't get him off now!

For more A-Z fun call in on Jen.

Monday, 23 November 2009

A-Z Monday~Greyhounds

G is for Greyhounds
How can I not write about Greyhounds when three share our home?

Known for being fast, they can reach speeds of up to 45 miles per hour, they are generally bred for racing. They are working dogs. They earn money for their owners, if they're good. If not then ... it is too dreadful to say what happens to some of them. Even for those that are succesful in their career, their life doesn't always fare much better.

We have 3 Greyhounds all of whom raced. Rufus won thousands of pounds for his owner yet he was kept in a dark shed on an allotment. He suffered an injury which brought his racing career to an end. He was taken to the rehoming kennels where they had to clean up his teeth. They were so matted with grass and gunge. One of the first things that we did when we adopted him was to take him to the vets to have his teeth cleaned and he had one out. This procedure was repeated when we were in Sweden. He most probably will loose more of his teeth, despite regular brushing. His brother arrived at the kennels a while ago. It seems he was also good at winning races. All his teeth have been extracted. He also has poor vision. He has what is called Panus. A condition that can be brought on by living in the dark. Yet what beautiful, friendly, trusting dogs they both are.

Mike and I feel very passionate about Greyhounds. The fact that they work hard for their owners yet often their welfare is disregarded.

Greyhounds were in the UK news a few years back. It was discovered that a large number of Greyhounds at the end of their career, or if they had an injury through racing, or because they were not up to scratch, were being taken to a farmer and being shot. This was happening in the North East of England. An area where Greyhound racing has a strong tradition. The owners of the kennels where we got our 3 were devasted to find that 4 greyhounds they said they would take in a few days, were taken to this farmer and shot because the owner couldn't wait that long. Lots of people in the UK were appalled at this treatment of otherwise healthy dogs. 10,000 greyhounds retire each year from racing either at the end of their career or through injury so the kennels are always full.

And yet it wasn't always so.

Once upon a time only people of nobility could keep greyhounds. And to kill a greyhound was punishable by death. Both Queen Victoria and King Henry VIII kept greyhounds.

Although bred for racing, greyhounds do not need a lot of exercise. They are sprinters, so run fast over a short distance. But they love their home comforts, and spend most of the day dozing. They are popularly known as 45 mile an hour couch potatoes.

Most greyhounds don't sit.

This is an unusual picture. Rufus occaisionally sits, but only for a short time, and never on a chair or a sofa! I don't think I have ever seen Jewel sit.

They make beautiful pets as they are friendly and faithful. But also their coat is short and odourless so they can be suitable for people who have an allergy to dogs.

They are also good travellers. They have probably spent a lot of time in a vehicle over the years being ferried to the racetrack. They generally retire from racing at about 4 years of age, unless they are injured.

I haven't shown any of our 3 running, something that they love to do, because those photos are on the other computer and are inaccessible at present. But you can see some from when we were in Sweden here. We don't let them off here as we don't have a safe enclosure to do so.
They make lovely pets. They are generally adaptable, loyal and intelligent. Even though all they have known are racetracks and kennels, they fit into home life very well. They may not have seen a hoover or stairs before, but they quickly learn, and are responsive to what you ask of them only too willing to please.

For more information about greyhounds, take a look here, here and
For more A-Z fun take a look here.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Christmas is Coming

Well we did get to the Christmas Market
and what a treat it was.
I took lots of photos
just for a change!
We arrived when it was still light and after stopping to buy a glass of Gluwein
we made our way to the main market square.
We took the Gluwein with us as you pay a deposit on the glasses and can return them to any of the stalls selling the Gluwein.
The first thing we heard was a band playing Christmas Carols.
Then I looked around the square.

We saw them working on this house on Thursday.
I thought perhaps they were putting up lights
and changing the window boxes.
I never imagined the decorations would be so creative.

This Hansel and Gretel House below
is just off the market square.

Can you see the witch outside the house
and Gretel at an upstairs window?

Mike took the photo above standing next to the Hansel and Gretel House.
Doesn't the square look pretty?
The band stopped playing.
The square was full of people and there was an air of anticipation.
So we hung around.
Then the trumpeteers sounded.
A speech or two were said.
And a choir of young children sang.
One of the carols was in English!

In the photo above you can see the trumpeteers in the upstairs window.
They were dressed in Medieval costume.
We moved around to soak up the atmoshere and take in the different views.
I found myself next to a cake stall
and couldn't resist,
so I bought myself an Apfulstrudel Beliner.
Beliners are like a doughnut.
Mine was flavoured with apple.

We then wandered up out of the square where we came across a horse and carriage.

What lovely horses they were.
Waiting so patiently
and looking so fine.
Can you see Saint Nicholas in the carriage?

The carriage then made it's way to the square that we had just left.
Led by the small band below.

Mike waited patiently as I tried to get some decent shots.

I just had to try and get another shot
not easy with people milling around
but the horses were gorgeous.

We passed a number of cosy looking bars
and cafes.
I am peering through a restaurant window
to get the photo below.

And I had to take a photo of people in Santa hats sitting outside this cafe.
It has come out more hazy than I intended
but I still like it.

Can you tell what the blurry shot is below?

Can you see it now?

A chicken
sitting above the nativity.

We eventually made our way back through the town passing some different stalls in another part of town.
It wouldn't be complete without seeing some of these confectionaries.
I must find out what they are called.

I'm not sure why there is a toy dog poking his head out of a suit of armour......

The suit of armour was stood in the street near to this antique shop.
When we passed the shop the other day it was empty
but although you can't see from the window,
it is heaving with people inside.

And so down to the river where we had parked the car.

Where I couldn't resist taking a few more photos.

Can you see the castle in the background?
It looks as though it's floating in mid air doesn't it?

Such a lovely visit.
It makes Christmas even more special when it is as pretty as this.