Monday, January 24, 2011

Waking Ned Devine, A Poignant Reminder

On Sunday a great guy I know invited his friends to his annual film showing. Once a year, this couple invite all their friends, their families and their children's friends to a film of their choice. Held in the Lichtburg in Essen it is lovely opportunity not only to go to a proper cinema, but also to meet people you haven't seen since last year (and promise to really meet up soon again!). The Lichtburg describes itself as a film palace. It is true. With a balcony, proper red carpet, a cloakroom, marble floors it just exudes a celebration of film. The other great thing about this event is the film itself. This year it was Waking Ned Devine. If you haven't seen this movie, go find it and watch it. Wonderful celebration of life, friendship and funny, very funny.

The film not is a wonderful film in itself, it also touches me in two other ways. It starts with a tune by a band who's music touches me everytime I hear it. The Waterboys. Irrelevant of which of their tunes I hear, they evoke the same nostalgic feeling as long evenings in summer do. They make me think back to being a teen (and feeling the same thing) and how much those friends meant to me. And about that special place in my heart they still occupy, even the ones I have lost contact with. I love my friends now, but there is something about those teenage friends (you know who you are) that fill a spot that somehow noone else ever can. Or is it not the years we shared, but the music we share(d)? This really would explain one subsequent friendship that has that special "teenage" or should I say JYF depth? 

The other thing this film does is remind me of home. No, I don't come from Ireland. But that landscape pulls the same strings as the Welsh landscape does. It reminds me that there is a part of me, a significant part, that belongs somewhere else. Somewhere I don't live right now. Somewhere that nourishes a part of me that this country of choice doesn't. A place with less trees, with wilder open spaces, with cold beaches, with small cottages, with less roads and with sheep. Where a Landrover is not a status symbol, where green wellies and a waxed jacket are accompanied by a collie and are work clothes, not a fashion statement. Time for a trip home.

PS. Whilst looking for a very particular Welsh picture, I have discovered that my external hard drive isn't working..... oh all my older pictures..... let's hope it is just my power supply

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Just Something to Cheer you up on a Grey January Day


When I make calendars (which I do every year) I always wonder whether I should put sunny and green pictures on the winter months. If the winter is grey, dark and long, the last thing I want on my walls are pcitures of what I experience all day every day. Maybe others think the same. These tulips today are a hommage to that reoccuring thought.

As to the darkness and general gloom that normally takes over in winter, it has been kept at bay this year. I think I know why....

walks with this guy mean that I get a lot more rays than I have done in the past. Yes, I have previously made an effort to go for a walk at lunch time. But honestly, if it is raining, damp or drizzly, I never did. If you manage this, you are a stronger person than I.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Lessons of Curtains

There are some monsters in my house. They are huge yellow, green and white curtains. Originally made by my mum for my place in Brighton, then remade to fit windows in France and now they are in Yorck's room. Despite being huge, they are too small for his windows (floor to ceiling, wall to wall windows). There was some material left over when my mum made them, so I have been intending to lengthen and widen them for over a year. The poor boy had curtains that hungs somewhere halfway down the window and didn't cover them either. Looked a little strange. Well we bought track, hung it and then hung the curtains provisionally. Provisionally in my house tends to indicate it'll never get done, well at least not in this place. On a mission to finally rid myself of all the unfinished projects hanging around, I attacked them a couple of weeks ago. Who would have thought it would take so long to unpick some seams and match those stripes? I certainly didn't. I am thinking about working out how long it has taken so far and paying myself. These monsters are over three and half meters wide and two and half meters long. Handling them is not easy. Add a cat who loves to run under them, a dog who wants to sit on them and a child who thinks the whole thing is boring into that. Yes, you get the point. But I now have some pressure to get them done. My mum is coming soon and she has put the heading in the post already. That means I have to have them done before she arrives. Nothing like a bit of self-pressure to get things done.

These Laura Ashley curtains have taught me several things. One, curtains that are terrible in one room can be perfect in another. When they hung in Brighton, they dominated the living room. I could not look at anyone sitting on the sofa that was in front of them for longer than two minutes. We regularly moved around whilst talking so no-one had to look at them at such close range for long. They strobed after about five minutes. In Yorck's room they are just great. They are sunny and light. Two, even curtains that are too small keep a lot of heat in. Despite the lack of material in front of the draughtiest bit of the big windows, I have really noticed how much colder it is in that room since taking them down to make them exclude even more draughts. Three, Laura Ashley isn't only frills and flounces and flowers. Four, I really don't like sewing curtains.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Yipee! A Finished Project

Yes, it's a finished project. No, not quite on time, but I still hope that the now 4 year old who recieved like these pjamas (I can put this online now as I know her mum won't be seeing this before we meet in a couple of hours). The sewing around the C was deliberately loose. But I don't think I'll do it like that again. It looks kind of shabbily done. That was the look, I was going for, but I think I prefer neat. That is just me. Frau Otten, do you recognise the materials? I think they are really pretty, specially together. The t-shirt is organic and from H&M and soooo soft. I could spend all day decorating their t-shirts. 

We had some fun doing this kind of stuff with freezer paper over Christmas with Yorck and Em. I'll show you those another day. Groovy cars chosen by Em

Space for Creativity


We are moving buildings at work so there is a lot of clearing out and throwing out being done. This pristine vintage box of good Pelikan chalk and roll of brown paper were off to the big rubbish dump before a collegue of mine asked if I would like them for my little man. Well here is the thank you. A totally absorbed child drawing for hours (this wasnt the only picture) delighted with lovely materials and so much space. We'll definitely be repeating this. And it does go to show that quality art supplies improves the experience. The Ikea chalk I bought a while ago (before I swore never, never to go there again) doesn't even always make a mark when put to paper.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Dreaming of an Aga

I read this lady's blog faithfully. Probably because she leads a life I dream I'd like to lead. In the country, a stack of kids, lots of animals and home crafted things. Ok, I spend quite a lot of time in the country, but somehow the German Eifel is not quite Maine, a son, a cat and a dog, however demanding I find them are not four kids (and one to come) and a farm and I craft more than I probably should but not as much as I'd like to. But then again, I am very grateful for what I have and I probably wouldn't really want to live in the country as much as I think I would. Nipping on the tram to see my friends at a whim is not really an option then AND we'd need another car, which I am happy that we don't have. But Amanda Soule and I do have one thing in common we dream of an Aga at the heart of our homes.

Picture from

An Aga isn't just a cooker or a way to heat your house, it is a way of life. It is the best way to bake, especially Lasange. Nothing quite beats coming in out of the rain and leaning against one. How many induction cookers can you lean against to warm yourself whilst you sip your tea or chat with the family? Yes I dream about one. One day, when we live in a house (with props in the cellar to stop the beast from crashing through the floor!).

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Special Visit

Over Christmas some good friends ( came over from Beijing. We had a wonderful time catching up, spending hours chatting and the kids playing. It is incredible to see how one person can get a whole lot of overworked busy mums together to finally get their acts together, meet up and even go out for drinks a couple of nights. Yup Alex, you pulled us together to start with and back together again over Christmas. Thank you! This is the first time in ages that we've met up. There have been many mails though. Jobs and more kids have basically filled up our lives to bursting point and as mums tend to do, the meetings, which to be honest were about us as much as them, seem to have been put on to a back burner. We have vowed to change that though, so Mondays here we come.  There are three other kids who aren't on this picture, two because they didn't want to be and one 'cos her Mummy is very pregnant and  the amount of ice and snow outside when this was taken meant it wouldn't really have been very sensible to be travelling about town. Yup Sienna, Susan and Bryanna, we love you too. Even if you didn't want to join the photo.

Monday, January 10, 2011

2011 - A New Year

I've been a little less than present here for quite a while now. I spontanoeusly decided to spend Christmas and New Year completely in the virtual world. I only checked my mails a couple of times and that was it. UNbelievable but soo refreshing. My camera was very active, so there will be some pictures popping up here soon. I really enjoyed the festive days without my computer, trying to remain present all the time and soak up the lovely time with friends and family. There were lots of kids around. The noise level couldn't be called peaceful or relaxing but it was fun (most of the time!!).

I'd like to wish you all a peaceful and wonderful 2011. May it bring you fulfilled dreams and happy days.