New snow and a snow bunny

Not a lot to say about this. A few days before Christmas it snowed like it never does over here. Nick made a snow bunny for Meli, and it looked really cute, even when it melted away.

Buying our Christmas tree

We get our Christmas tree at the same place every year - from Santa Clause. They actually have a huge Santa ballon in their yard, that's why we go there. First time with Meli. We picked the largest one available (actually not, but it felt that way, when we added the 28o (!) Christmas lights).But it looks really nice in our house....

New beads - all 50% off

I actually am very pleased today. I thought the Christmas break (=availability of Nick to watch Meli while I am shopping) was a good opportunity for me to look at some beads. And guess what, Paula is moving to a new location and is only open 2 more days in this spot, so she had a sale on all glass beads. Look at those pretties. I think I will make something for the next Stringing challenge - Night and Day. Just need to think about a nice concept ;-)

Lori's necklaces

So you remember I won one of Lori's giveaways and got a beading set from the Classic Bead. Well, I felt it was quite expensive for Lori to ship it over to Germany, so I decided to buy something from her store, and that way she could ship it together (good excuse, right?). So here are the two necklaces I bought. I love them both, perfect colors for me. And I am really happy and proud to wear some pieces from such a talented artist. Keep beading, Lori.

My new crafts

So with a baby, beading is not the easiest thing to do. You actually need some space, and time to get the stuff out. On the other hand, knitting works good. You can do one row, and then pick up your little girl (again) when she starts crying. So after I probably have 100 UFOs in my house, I managed to finish this one and I gave it to Meli for Christmas. And I am super-proud. I know it is not perfect, but it is made with love from me for her.

Christmas at our house

In Germany we celebrate on Christmas Eve, Dec 24. It was a busy day, with getting everything ready for dinner, and wrapping presents. We celebrated at our house, with my mum, one of my sisters and her boyfriend. We met at 2 and went to church to see a kids play. When we got home, we opened presents (Meli has enough stuffed animals right now to fill up and entire room). Those are the earrings I made for my sister - she really loved them and so did I. They are simple but nice. I will probably make some for myself as well (I guess I always say that when I made something, right?)
Not to forget the bunnies. They got their own special Christmas tree as well.

And later we had dinner. I spend a lot of time decorating the table, and it turned out really nice. We had a very flavorful Raclette (for those who don't know it: It is like a small stove that you put on the table, everybody gets a mini-pan and you melt cheese in there, with veggies etc).
They all left early, but it turned out to be really nice. On Christmas day, we all met again at my (other) sister's place and had a brunch, followed by.... opening presents (more stuffed animals). I still have some unopened ones sitting under my tree. But I got some really great ones. A metal stamping set, a bead book, the new Jamie Oliver - Jamie's America, a Pandora bracelet, and a Digital picture frame (for my trillions of Meli-pictures). And a special mention goes out to Andrew - Nick bought the little bird necklace for me, since he knew I really liked it. Thank you everybody for making this a special Christmas.

Christmas market in Cologne

So I have spent some time those past days collecting topics for my blog, but not posting them. So today you will see a few new ones. This one is about the Christmas market on Roncalli-Place right in front of the Cologne cathedral. It is my favorite one, because the atmosphere is phenomenal. The little booths, all decorated, right in front of the beautiful church - that is just the perfect Christmas feeling. I bought a scarf, some beads, and we had very yummy flammkuchen - a sort of Pizza from Alsace (France, please forgive me). And then we went to my favorite booth, that I get stuck on every year. The Hair-Acrobacy booth. That's how they call it. There are 3 girls making your hair while selling these hair pins. Nick took a photo of me with Meli in the carrier while the lady did my hair.
We also had some Hot Wine (just a little bit for Mummy) - and I couldn't resist to take a picture of those pretty Lebkuchen-hearts (not sure how you call them).

When we were about to leave, we met a group of teenagers carrying signs that said "free hugs". They actually ran into 4 older people, that were totally overwhelmed when the kids started hugging them. You could see the surprise and happiness in their eyes. It's Christmas.

Another german tradition

What would you think you see on this picture? Well it is wax on coffee beans and I have been trying this afternoon to separate these two. Why? There is a german tradition called advent. For this we have an advent wreath which usually consists out of a couple of branches from a pine tree wrapped into a ring, which holds 4 candles. Every sunday before Xmas, we light one candle and on Xmas eve we have all four lit. I made a special version of this thing this year. A tray filled with coffee beans and four candles. Picture will follow. Unfortunately the candles burned down and all the wax spilled, so I had some picking to do.... I could have just bought new coffee beans, but it was so much fun. I know I am crazy.

The first snowflakes

Snow somehow gets a different meaning when you have a baby and show it to her for the first time. It feels like seeing it for the first time yourself...

What am I listening to?

Landslide - Smashing Pumpkins
Hometown Glory - Adele
Use somebody - Pixie Lott
Crack the shutters - Snow Patrol
With our without you - Scala & Kolacny Brothers
My funny valentine - Michael Buble
A waltz for a night - Julie Delpy
Halleluja - Jeff Buckley
Fix you - Coldplay
Keinen Zentimeter - Clueso
Fluorescent Adolescent - Artics Monkeys
Unlike me (Acapella) - Kate Havnevik

Try those if you don't know them - maybe you'll enjoy.....

Xmas gifts for the nursing friends

So when I did the birth prep class, I met 2 girls, Kathrin and Verena who both had their babies close to our birthday. So no question, they needed gifts. But what would they need now they have everything? So I decided on liquor for the guys, toys for the babies, and necklaces for the mommies. I made those with my new stamping set, that I will officially only get on Xmas. First try, so not perfect, but I am in love with those. They say the baby's name, the birth date and the little stones I added are their birth stones. Peridot for Josefina and Kathrin, and Lapislazuli for Verena & Jan and Meli & myself. I can't wait to wear mine.

The best of 2009 challenge

The best of 2009 - a challenge that really made me grow..... was pushing those two cheeks out during "our" 21 hours birth on September 11. And every day that followed. And every day of our future. Can there be anything that would make your heart grow more?

Today is Day 2

Here is a challenge. What is this? You won't find out though..... We have a german tradition during the time before X-mas. It is called the adventscalendar. See this picture below.

It is a "count-down-calendar" that helps us to wait for X-mas. This means that on every day in December, I get to open one of those little doors of this calendar, and behind each door I will find a piece of chocolate. Today's chocolate had the form of a little house - isn't this cute?
So the first picture is actually a variation from this chocolate-adventscalendar. It is a sticker from a book about this little sheep Rica who will eventually have a Xmas party in the forest with her animal friends. But it builds up like an adventscalendar. Every day we get to read a short story to our baby and we can glue a window sticker on the window. So the first picture that we put on the window yesterday shows a little barn. Glancing towards the window, I thought the whole day: " What is this stain on my window?" Well hopefully it will look different soon.

Paperwork that gives me a headache

So today I need to officially declare how much time I want to take time "off" for my baby. It is called parental time. That means I can reduce my working time to anything from working not at all to 30 hours per week (from 40 + overtime in my usual job). Max is 3 years. But that means that I basically have to start from scratch after that. Or take less time off but not spend it with my daughter but at work. My current thought is that I will work from home as of January, for 20 hours per week. Sounds nice. Will still generate enough income. But means also that there will be 20 hours in each week that I won't spend with my little Meli-girl. Horrible! I even can't give her away for 10 minutes right now, how should that work with 20 hours..... she is an angel. Well, we'll see what I will do - the deadline is today.....

I won !!!

YEAH. I won the giveaway from Lori Eurto's blog. I never won anything so far. And this is the most beautiful prize I can imagine. A ceramic pendant and bead set donated by Tracee Dock of The Classic Bead. Thank you so much ladies - you both really made my day.

Do you know Kelley?

I just received this little package from Kelly Wenzel, a really talented glass artist. I have often been disappointed when I ordered something on the internet - the beads are sometimes just not as pretty as the pictures. Kelley's are even better than her pictures. Mine over here does not really do her beads justice. I can't tell which one is my favorite - they are all gorgeous. Plus I got some extras ;-). Check out her Etsy shop and her blog.... you'll love every single bead. Thanks Kelley.


Some days are rainier than others. Today is one of those. The sky is grey, the sun is not coming out, and there is no way we will leave the house today. It is quiet and calm inside. Baby's sleeping. The new issue of step by step wire came in (it is a bit delayed since I am living in Germany, the shipping takes longer) and I think I will take a tea and read through it. Or do things I should do. Like work on my tax declaration. Organize my craft supplies upstairs. Fold laundry. But... I think I might just take the day "off" instead.

Rain, feel it on my finger tips
hear it on my window pane
your love's coming down like rain
wash away my sorrow
take away my pain
your love's coming down like rain... (Madonna - Rain)

Necklace for a mummy-friend

Oh boy, it has been so long since I made some jewelry. With the baby and all that home improvement, the fun part of making pretty things got a bit neglected. And it was a bit difficult to start again after such a long time - the inspiration block. Plus I made this necklace not for me, but for a mummy-friend, who I didn't know for very long. The given was the color (green is her favorite) and the fact that it should be solid - with my baby I havw hardly worn any jewelry yet. So I picked some resin beads in green and used 20g sterling wire. And even though it is quite simple, I really like it - so I might make it again for me. ;-)

The harvest and how we used it

I think in spring I wrote about the little garden area that Nick made for me in the backyard. Well, I probably did not take as much care as I could have, however, something grew. We got those chilis, a zucchini and a number of mini-carots. Even though they were really small, they were very tasty.

Here is what we did with them. Our two friends were more than happy.....

Our first halloween

Look at this picture from our cutie's first halloween. I haven't been doing much since she came to us, at least not in terms of jewelry or other crafts. But we are signed up to a gym class and a baby massage class, so two appointments per week are ok, right?


Getting ready

Tomorrow is the day. Calculated birthday (or do you say birthdate?) of my daughter. And we are ready. At least regarding the house preparations. She has a bed, a changing table, more clothes than she can ever wear, and a lot of toys. Mentally, I am not sure if you can really get prepared. We did a lot of work to the house, and I will blog about that later. The baby's room is on the top floor though - and not done yet - since she will not sleep in there for the first year, we decided to not stress ourselves out. This cradle on the picture here is my old one - so almost 37 years old. Nick and I sanded and re-painted it, and I really love how it turned out. Just need the baby now. Wish me luck...

Humblebeads studio tour and giveaway

Do you know Heather from Humblebeads? She is a really talented artist. This week she is inviting to a tour through her studio and she is having a great giveaway on her blog. Check it out and take a chance to win here - or just purchase something from here etsy store here.

The world's largest flower bouquet

This is the world's largest flower bouquet. Tuesday was my last working day before my maternity leave. On Monday we had a full meeting day with a dinner event - the whole management team was there about 40 people, since our CEO and some of the Corporate officers were in from Milwaukee. I was not sure if I should go, but decided in the end to show up and maybe leave early. It was only right before desert that I figured out the whole thing was actually a going away party for me. Oh my. Our finance VP and our CEO gave speeches for me (we have that habit). I was really caught by surprise. And then I needed to make a speech. People always tell me I am good at it, but I don't think so and also I really hate it. And especially when I am surprised and can't prepare. So I started babbling about the baby and that I will be back in January and how much I enjoyed working with all of them. My colleague said it was ok, but I felt really like hit by a truck. All in all it was a nice surprise though. And did I mention I love flowers?

What do you think about cord blood?

This came in the mail the other day. It is a package we have to take to the hospital when I will give birth to my baby. It contains all the stuff to collect our cord blood. It will be frozen and saved for 30 years or so. In case the baby will get a disease, we can probably use the stem cells from it to help her. I discussed this with a lot of people, especially the pregnant ones around me. I am really surprised about how few people consider doing something like this. It is true that doctors are at the beginning of a long research path with it, and people are not sure for what it can be used. And if you want to keep it for yourself, it is not cheap either. For us it was not a question though - it is like a kind of insurance you take. You never know if you will need it, but if you don't have it and need it, you will regret. We took a combined option of saving and donating it. Means we pay for it and will keep it for ourselves. At the same time the data are put into a donation database and if somebody needs it, we can decide to give it to the person and will get all our money back. And if you don't want to do it, you can still donate it, otherwise the cord / blood is thrown away after the birth. And they say that there will be no impact on mom and baby, only that the cord is cut a bit earlier. But we will be fine with that if we can save somebody's life. Do you have any experience with it? Would you do it?

Major bead surgery

I was very creative today. No painting walls but finally finally got back to my beads after one of these major blocks. I had the idea for this bracelet when I was at the bead store the other day and found those cool red-green-blue two holed plastic beads. The picture doesn't do the color justice - or in other words I need to work on my photo skills. I used light green seed beads to space them and dark green and a resin bead for the ends. To figure out the end correctly took me a few hours and nervs. I feel I want to write a book titled "things you should know before you start beading", including all the things that can go wrong. I won't go into detail here, since most of it is really stupid, but I could have saved a lot of time if I had read such a book at the beginning of my "bead career".

This one was an UFO project that has been sitting on my living room table without clasp and chain for a few weeks now, since I could not find the right chain in my collection. Surprisingly this one came to me by just playing around, something I never do since I tend to overthink everything. Because all my beads are so precious. Even if they are worth nothing.

I made another one, but I did not take a picture yet. I really think that one is pretty classy, but the pictures are so bad you can't really see how nice it is. I used a shell pendant that was another gift from Andrew, a cream colored resin bead and svarowski sand opals from my local bead store, and silver spacer beads, freshwater pearls, a lobster clasp and chain from Michaels. It is pretty shiny and elegant, but I actually think it is cool. Just need occasions to wear this now, since I am not back to work this week most likely anymore. It was the plan that I would go back Monday and Tuesday, but on Friday they notified us about a case of swine flu, and since I will have my baby soon and can't take and medication, I think it is not worth it for the last two days.

Four new books

I got 4 new books I ordered from the Interweave summer hurt book sale: All wired up by Mark Lareau, Custom Cool Jewelry by Melinda Barta, Making Polymer Clay Beads by Carol Blackburn and Beading for the Soul by Deborah Cannarella. I just started to look through them briefly, so I will let you know what I think when I got a little more into them.

Is this cozy?

I don't think I could sleep like this. Here is Caspi taking a break. My little black girl loves to be cuddled. And eat. And sleep. All of those for hours.
In the meantime Knoedel is having another snack. She does not like to be pet, but loves to crawl under our blankets and dig and play tunnel system.

Speaking of rabbits - please check out Nancy Schindler's blog - The rabbit muse. I love Nancy's work, not only because she has one of the nicest giveaways I have seen in a long time. And her bunnies are so cute.

The carpet puzzle

Here is what I have been busy with (and by the way, still will be busy with for the next few weeks). The carpet puzzle and everything related to it. This is just an example - wodden stairs that I need to paint around - so I had to cut pieces of felt to cover them, which took litterally a couple of hours. I put one layer of paint on yesterday, but could not motivate me to do the second one today. It's sunday and I need a break.

I have a flavor for tomato salad

These are growing in our garden. But I guess I have to go back to the traditional source (supermarket edition) for now, unless I want to make a green tomato salad. They will be very good though. I can't wait. I am working today - my 5th last day before my maternity leave. I have a been a bit away from from my blog - I'll show pictures later why. I can't stop writing without mentioning this - please check out Andrew Thornton's new work on his blog - really amazing, Andrew.

Pretty (humble-)beads

The postman was so kind to bring me a present today. Ok, it's not really a present, but a few beads I ordered from Heather Powers of Humblebeads. I have looked at them for such a long time, but never ordered them - it takes so much time for them to ship from the US. So that was a nice surprise. I got an assortment of random beads, two owls, a hedgehog, a bird, a starfish pendant and a squirrel. Maybe I can use one of them for a project that I have been thinking about for this month's Artbead Scene challenge. I really like the colors of the Lascaux cave paintings.

I went bead shopping

Look at what I've got. New beads. I bought them at one of the only bead stores in Cologne, Le marche aux perles. It's a girl from Luxemburg, Paula Matos, that runs the store, hence the French sounding name, she has her main store over there. Her and her husband go to India pretty often, so they have a nice selection of metal beads - you can see that I am going crazy with those every time I go there (which I try not to do too often). It looks like my color scheme was brownish / dark yesterday - I always find it strange how I come up with one main color getting back from the store. Ok, I spent another small fortune in those. But can you see the pretty ones that will be created from here? What will it be? Wire wrapped? Macramee? Simply strung necklaces and bracelets? Check here on my blog later...

Animals of Greece (insects) - Part 5

I have a couple more pictures from Greece and the animals we saw there. Here are just a few. This one is a dragonfly that sat down on our beach chair for about a half hour at least - he pretty much enjoyed sunbathing too.

This is a cicada we spotted one night. Don't get me wrong - I am pretty scared of all those guys that fly around in an "uncontrolled" way (that's how I call it when it is impossible to predict where they will sit next). But I really admire the strange beauty of those little ones.

My magical forest

This is my submission for the magical forest challenge from the current Stringing magazine contest . I was not sure if I was allowed to show it here before voting is closed, but I got confirmation from them yesterday that it is ok. I wanted to create something simple and not too flowery. I used matt finished jade rondelles, wood beads from Matiere Premiere (a french bead store located in the center of Paris), transparent and green glass beads, emerald svarowski rounds and a clover pendant that I got as a gift from my talented friend Andrew Thornton. I called it hidden rainforest treasure. Compared with the other entries I almost find it too simple, but I know this is something I will definetely wear a lot.

My new best friend

Here is my new best friend - a nursing pillow I just bought. Although the nursing part is still two months away from now, this thing is releaving my backpain a lot. I would even recommend it if you are not pregnant. Tonight we will attend the second time of our birth prep class - where I will see my future best friends again - the other mum's to be that know nobody and nothing of this "new-baby-world" and that are as eager as me to find some new people to hang out with during the day - as work is no longer number 1 on our lists.