Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Mini Tag Album

Made this little tag album from tags distressed with Tim Holtz inks and stamped with different motives, such as script, music-notes, diamonds, cherubs, skulls and crossbones, floral flourishes and little wings. It has been decorated with Tim Holtz clock faces, textile flowers from Prima, film-strips, metal embellishments, rub-ons and ribbons. I have written some sayings about time, mostly round the edges of the pages. It was, as usual, fun to make, thanks for stopping by to look!

Sunday, 28 March 2010

A walk to Rhöndorf

Rhöndorf is a little district in the suburbs of Bad Honnef. The first German Chancellor after the second World War, Konrad Adenauer lived there, and his house - now a museum - can still be visited. Rhöndorf is also famous for its beautiful old houses, several of which are now *Wein Stuben* - wine restaurants, with a view to the vines growing on the slopes of the *Drachen Fels*, under the castle ruins, in the background. Well, today our afternoon walk led us there, in spite of hail-stones and rain showers. It was too early in the day to be drinking wine, so we went to an ice-parlour and enjoyed giant portions of delicious ice to strengthen us for the walk back to Bad Honnef, where we arrived just in time for tea....

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Far, far away in a little town in Germany....

Today I drove with 2 friends to Linz, a little town on the Rhine about 10 kilometers south of Bad Honnef. Linz is a little jewel of a town, with ancient, half-timbered and stone houses dating back several hundred years, and 2 towers dating back to the middle ages. We almost ran from house to house, it was just unbelievable to see soooo many beautiful houses together. Many of the houses have hand painted sayings along the front, others were adorned with carvings, ornate lead plates, windows with hand made lace and artistically carved doors. One house - and its door - had been adorned with dozens of ancients tools, hammers, pliers etc. One old stone house had a wonderful double door with carved, 8-pointed stars set into it. I could ramble on for ages talking about it, because it was just one of those magical days where everything seems to fit - a parking lot directly opposite the old gate-tower, wonderful things to see, sunshine and blue skies, good company and last but not least a wonderful café with superb coffee and cake, and friendly, smiling waiters.
To cut a long story short - if ever you're somewhere near Linz, go and see it!

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Arrival in Bad Honnef

So, yesterday I finally made it to Bad (*Spa*) Honnef, a pretty little town on the romantic part of the Rhine, near the *Dragon Mountain* and with lots of other small townships, mountains and ruined castles along this stretch of the river. It's not far from the *Loreley*, a famous cliff described by Heinrich Heine, the great German poet in his wonderful poem, *Ich weiss nicht, was soll es bedeuten, dass ich so traurig bin* - *I don't know what it means, why I am so sad....*
Today was not a day to be sad; the weather has turned really spring like, the sun was shining, and it was a pleasure to walk around here. At the weekend I will drive past the dragon mountain (so called because it looks like a lying dragon) and along the Rhine to the Loreley, and I will play my Heine CD in the car and listen to his unforgettable words while driving along. It's good to have a few weeks to take it easy, do something different, see different views and re-charge my batteries.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Unicorns and flowers

Well, I should have been busy clearing up and sorting out yesterday. But somehow I got magically drawn to try the stamps and colours I was trying to put away, and ended up with 3 tags and a card. I love unicorns and fairies, even though I (should) know that they don't really exist. But who knows? Anyway, I had fun making these. Now I'm off to do some clearing up, my stamps and inks are still all over the place....

Friday, 19 March 2010

Stampin' about....

Spent yesterday stampin' about the kitchen, playing with my new stash. Tried out some of the new stamps etc; alone, or combined with others I already had, and here are the results. I like them all, but the owl has to be my favourite! If I hadn't been sooooo tired I could have gone on all night! The tags have been distressed with TH inks, stamped, and then decorated, as always, with everything-within-reach. Two of the tags have been covered with some ads from an old Lady's magazine from 1901.It is slowly disintegrating, and the paper has become very brittle and yellow, and I am busy scanning some pages to preserve them at least as a memory, and others, which are in a really bad condition, are being scrapped before they turn to dust. Was great fun making them - as always!

Thursday, 18 March 2010

The CREATIVA Craft Fair in Dortmund

Phew, what a day! Big queues for parking, even longer ones to go to the loo, masses of scrappers and crafters, and....and.....STASH, STASH and more STASH as far as the eye could see! The outing to Dortmund was something B and I had planned a long time back, and were both very much looking forward to. Once we had passed all the hurdles - getting there, finding a parking space, walking back to the *Westfalen Halle* where the fair took place and getting in, we were almost knocked out by the sight of soooooooooo many lovely things. We both love stamping and nice papers and cardstock etc, so there was really something to look at there. We only managed to look at a few of the exhibition halls, as after a time you are just not able to take in anything more. We did manage to spend a lot of money in a short time, and came away with lots of new stash and even more inspiration and ideas for new projects. We were both rather knocked out afterwards, my feet felt as if they were smoking by the time we got back, but it was worth it. Nothing can keep scrappers away from stash. Must go, need to start playing with my new things!

Monday, 15 March 2010

Distressed Addicted

Addicted. Caught. Hooked. Call it what you like. I just can't stop playing with my distress inks. This time I used some pages out of a very tattered old school music book that once belonged to my sister. I stuck some printed paper onto the tags before distressing them, and then carried on as usual. I am not going to start ripping up my lovely old books, so all you book lovers out there can relax, this one was really just a heap of rather *distressed* pages, just the right thing! If anyone knows a cure for being a scrap, distress and ink addict, DON'T let me know. There are worse addictions!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

2 ATCs, a card and a goody bag....

Our postie is an ambitious man. One of his ambitions was to get everything into the mail-box. If it didn't fit, he made it fitting. This did nothing to improve my mood or the contents of some little parcels and large envelopes....Now, I am proud to say, that he does a good job. With a mixture of complaints and little rewards I have persuaded him to ring the bell when he's got things that don't fit into the box, and not to reduce their size by folding and /or squashing. Well, yesterday he rang, and brought me a large manila envelope and a pile of post. The big envelope contained a *goody bag* from Alma and a lovely ATC from SusieJ. The goody bag was full of die-cuts, card toppers, stickers, ribbons, lace, charms etc, and in addition a beautiful card with a yummy cup-cake on it, and an ATC with a rose on it, one of my favourite flowers. Sue's ATC has a wonderful coffee-cup button on it; it's probably good that I dodn't have too many buttons like that or I would be sewing them onto all of my clothes....Thanks Alma and Sue for thinking of me, and brightening an otherwise cold and grey weekend. It's good to have friends.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

A Damsel in Distress ....

in distress inks! Made some distressed cards yesterday evening, 2 *secret* ones which cannot yet be revealed and three just for the fun of it, and it is fun. To anyone out there who hasn't tried all those lovely things from Tim Holtz, I can only say, try it!

Friday, 12 March 2010

Giving in to temptation - or more tags - again! - and a birthday card.

I tried not to. I didn't want to give into temptation. But I HAD to do it again. It has definately become compulsive - making tags with the new colours of Tim Holtz distress inks. I love the pastel shades, and it is just a good feeling to rub them onto the paper and see the effect as they blend. This time I used ceramic paper, a specially coated, very smooth and non-glossy paper, and the colours crushed olive, crushed glass, Victorian velvet, wild honey and forest moss (for stamping). I decorated them with the ususal eclectic mixture of everything-within-reach - charms, gem-stones, pearls, paper flowers, glossy accents, crackle accents, stickles, acetate butterflies, clock faces etc. The card - which went to Maria Bubbles - has been stamped with an *art-nouveau* style stamp from LaBlanche, and decorated with the the same bits and bobs as the tags. I had fun making them all, now I think I should perhaps clear up a little before starting the next ones!

Monday, 8 March 2010

Fleas, cakes and playing games.

Yesterday I visited a friend who lives in a village called Lintorf not far away from here, takes 10 minutes to get there in the car, traffic permitting. My friend and her Mum both live there. It was beautiful weather, ice-cold but with sunshine and blue skies, made a nice break from the cold, grey winter days. We started the day off with a good natter over breakfast, which lasted nearly 2 hours. We were planning on baking *Buchteln*, yeast cakes filled with jam, so I made the pastry so that it could rise, and then we set out for the flea market which they hold about 4 times a year there. Was a tiny market, but lots of interesting things on show; the usual household bric-a-brac, used books (we found some good ones!), records, toys, old china - you name it, they had it. And some stalls selling new goods, which ranged from life size animals to put in the garden to cheap sponges, ball-point pens and batteries which did NOT look as if they would have much energy left in them. And of course, all the stalls selling goodies to eat - sausages, coffee, bread and rolls, fruit, spices, nuts and dried fruits of all sorts, and - pop-corn!! It was soooo nice to walk home clutching our buys with a big bag of warm, freshly popped, sticky corn. We bought crystallized ginger, burnt almonds, salted cashews and Japanese crackers, too. After we had walked through the park back to my friend's place, I baked the *Buchteln* - recipe at the bottom! There are dozens of different recipes for them, this is just my one. You eat them hot with vanilla sauce - or icecream - but they don't taste bad cold, either. After eating our fill we played cards for the rest of the afternoon, drank coffee and ate nuts, ginger and crackers to keep up our strength. All in all a lovely day in good company, almost like a mini-holiday.

My recipe for *Buchteln*:
500 gramms of plain flour
Dried or fresh yeast
about 50 gramms of melted butter
Pinch of salt
Jam or drained, preserved fruits
I egg
Cinnamon and sugar to sprinkle on top

If using dried yeast, mix with the flour, 100 gramms of sugar, the melted butter, the salt, egg and about 3/4 cup of luke warm milk. If using fresh yeast, make a well in the flour, crumble the yeast into it, add a tablespoon of sugar and a little luke-warm milk, leave till it bubbles - about 10 minutes - before adding the other ingredients. Mix using the dough hooks of the beater till it forms a smooth, slightly sticky dough. Knead through, cover with a cloth and leave in a warm place for about 1 hour to rise. When the dough has about doubled in size it is ready. Divide it into about 12 pieces, and press each piece flat with the palm of the hand on a floured surface till it is about the size of a small saucer. Put a teaspoon of jam or fruit into the middle, and then pull all the edges together and twist them in the middle so that the jam cannot run out. Place the dough balls into an ovenproof form, pour about 2 small cups of luke warm milk over them and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Bake in a preheated oven (180°) for about 30 - 35 minutes till well risen and crsipy on top. Serve hot with vanilla sauce. Guten Appetit!

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Birds of a feather.....

It all started when I saw some pretty birdies made by Sue Bubbles on her DC Gallery. I asked Sue if she could send me the template for them, which she did, along with a pretty brown birdie (first picture). And before I knew what was happening, others fluttered along and joined the merry throng. Two flew away again to my neighbours before I even had a chance to whip out my camera, but I managed to get pictures of the others. I wonder how long they will be staying with me before they find a new home?