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Saturday
Dec202014

Things I made with my hands.

Back in October I started a pottery course. I´ve been meaning to do this for ages but there aren´t any courses nearby; the nearest is a 60 km drive from our village. Anyway it was advertised as a "christmas course" that would only last eight sessions so I thought it would be a nice opportunity to try and see whether I liked making pottery at all. Turns out I do! I know the things I made aren´t very impressive but I love them. Above is a little tea light house that I think turned out cute. I wish it was glazed (wouldn´t it be lovely in white?) but I ran out of time. 

This is my favorite piece. Even our teacher loved it - although she thought I should have glazed the stars gold (nope). Our teacher, by the way, was a gem. It´s funny how in community colleges you often end up with the nicest, funniest teachers. She had bright orange hair and called everyone "darling". Also, she knew a thing or two about pottery, it was really quite impressive. 

Well it´s going downhill from here. Those candle holders we did in our first session to get a feeling for the clay. They are not the prettiest to begin with and then the glazing turned out really odd - the brownish ones should be a light grey and the blue... well it´s a little too much and I thought it would have a shine to it, but well. In fact as a group they look nice enough.

I am actually rather fond of this one. I am not sure how I will use it, somewhere in the kitchen probably. I think as a larger version this could be a very pretty planter. Ah, there are so many things I want to make for the garden. All the possibilities! Sadly I didn´t get a place in the advanced student´s course and really, the commute is a little too much anway. But maybe I could have my own little pottery studio at home and just talk a local pottery into letting me use their oven? We´ll see. 

PS: Tomorrow is Winter Solstice (and my birthday, whee!). I loved what Artemis had to say about it. I really couldn´t agree more. Happy Winter Solstice!

Sunday
Dec142014

About wreaths and cakes and darkness. 

Since I last posted, I´ve been to Munich and Stuttgart and Hamburg which involved sitting on trains and planes for 20+ hours (not all at once, of course). Needless to say, there hasn´t been much progress on the christmas front, neither in form of preparations nor with regards to a festive spirit. But yesterday, Nigel Slater posted a picture of a wonderful christmas wreath on Twitter and I thought "in an ideal world, I´d have the time to try and make something like this but first, the house needs cleaning" and today in the morning, I thought "the house still needs cleaning but it so dark all the time that nobody sees the dust anyway so go out and make that wreath". So I went out and made a wreath. Two, actually. 

It is quite astonishing what nice stuff one can find in my garden at this time. Look at the bounty! I could have made five wreaths. As for how I made them, I totally winged it. Wreath making, as it turns out, isn´t very difficult. I guess I could have been more professional and look up a tutorial on Pinterest or something, but I am way to impatient for that. 

Here is it in the dining room, I made one for each window. It looks really nice although with the backlighting, you don´t really see much of the wreath itself. Oh well. Maybe if they dry well I´ll transfer them to someplace else after christmas. 

In other news, Ludwig had surgery this Friday. He had a cherry eye and a tooth that needed to be shortened (long story) and both things were taken care of in one surgery. Although these were standard procedures he has a high(er) risk when it comes to the anesthesia due to his heart condition. Hence we were quite nervous but everything went well and he is almost back to his old self again already. Phew! Another thing to cross off the list.

Before I go, I wanted to tell you that you urgently should make Ina Garten´s Cranberry and Apple Cake. I made it quite often a few years ago and then somehow forgot about it. I found the recipe again this weekend and oh, I still love it. Eat it warm with heaps of whipped cream. You´re welcome. 

PS: There was barely enough natural light in the dining room to take this picture. I can´t wait for the light to return. 

Sunday
Nov302014

First Advent. 

I am not sure I could be in a less christmassy mood these days. Life is a bit too busy for my taste and when I think about all the things that need to get done in the next few weeks, I do not feel festive but overwhelmed. I didn´t even think we´d have an advent wreath this year but then again, that´s just sad. So I went on a walk with Ludwig and brought my scissors. And here it is. 

The temperatures have dropped quite a bit over the past week and now it´s cold outside. Which I don´t mind one bit actually. It´s a good excuse to have the wood stoves running all day long. 

I don´t need to tell you that these cookies are store-bought. I haven´t managed to bake any christmas cookies yet. Also, this plate? It was my favorite. Was, because after I took this picture Lutz managed to destroy it. So, farewell pretty blue plate. It´s a good thing I took one last picture of you. (Sob.)

I have decided I needed more silly colorful hats in my life so I bought this one. Technically I guess almost-40-year-olds shouldn´t wear silly hats any more, but who cares? Not me. 

So, enough with the whining. As I said life is busy so things will probably be quiet around here for a while. Happy December! 

Monday
Nov242014

Fog and sun. 

We´ve been away for a long weekend so not a lot of pictures on my camera. The past week has been very very grey, but one morning the fog lifted and...magic. I am such a sucker for that kind of light. 

I love this church, it´s so special and beautiful. 

Practically all trees are bare now. 

Bonus picture of a very sleepy Ludwig. I love you, redhead. 

Sunday
Nov162014

Ready for winter.

The golden days, they didn´t last; and now Novemer is showing its darker side. I don´t think it ever got light outside for, oh, the whole last week? Anyway that was to be expected so we´re making the best of it. Fire in the stove, candles lit... and lots of naps. Like Miss Emma illustrates above. 

Yesterday there were some milky rays of sun pushing through the clouds so I got all excited and ran out with the camera. The garden at this time is still somewhat beautiful in a way, yes? All the texture and colors. It´s all packed up now and ready for winter. It feels good to step back and let nature do her thing for the next few months. 

The only thing left to do now is to take care of the fire wood, but no problem with Ludwig helping. Every single year our lovely, generous neighbor dumps a truck load of wood in our garden. He owns many acres of woodland so not a big deal for him, but this saves us a lot of money every year. Ah, the people in this village - we really, really lucked out. 

PS: Ludwig looks terribly thin here but be assured he isn´t. Actually he gained 10 pounds over the past few months! Hooray!