Sunday, 29 January 2006

Phil in St Petersburg

We had a regional meeting in St Petersburg which was supposed to be -30 celcius but never really got that low (only -5 to -10). I packed so many warm clothes that I didn't really get to wear, as my normal winter clothes for Berlin were fine - in fact it was much colder in Berlin (about -15 to -20 celcius all week).

Had a really good meeting, which kept me busy all through the week. We had some social activities and a little free time, so I took the opportunity to have a look around - it is an amazing and incredibly beautiful city. So much colour, history and architectual beauty that I was really surprised. I think a visit in June would be even better! I expected a city more like Moscow, but the strong European influence (Italian, French, German) really came through. The city has so much history to see, from Peter and Catherine the great, Rasputin, the seige of Leningrad and the cruise ship Aurora, which fired the signal shot to start the 1917 revolution which led to the 'Soviet Era' of Russia.

Also went to the ballet and saw Swan Lake. I was expecting it to be good, but it was nothing short of magnificent. Both the show itself, and the athleticism of the dancers was really amazing. We also visited Catherine Palace and saw the amber room, and then for 'team building', had an afternoon of outdoor activities (drinking vodka and playing team games in the snow). Quite a bit of fun!

In the end it was a long and busy week, but I would recommend a visit to St Petes to anyone.

Ready for a Russian Winter

Here are 2 items from St Petersburg that Phil was given at the conference. The fuzzy hat, and a pair of enormous felt boots. The boys think these boots will be great for next St Nicklaus Day (December 6th). On Decmeber 6th you leave your clean boots out on your doorstep , and St Nicklaus puts lollies and chocolates in your boots if you have been good. If you have been bad, he will put a stick in your boots instead. So the boys have claimed one boot each for St Nicklaus Day this year!

Saturday, 28 January 2006

Ready for Skiing in Austria

We went shopping today to get some ski clothing for our holiday. Not long to go now, amd we are getting excited about it. Lots of sales on at the moment, and got the boys kitted out at a reasonable price. Phil and I will get ours when we are child free, sometime next week!
Oh, and a Saturn store has just opened at Spandau Arcardian. Electricals, Computers, TV's etc...Phil will loveit...Quick, hide the credit card!

Friday, 27 January 2006

All 6" blocks are sewn

I managed to get a bit of sewing done last night when the boys were asleep. This block is a variation on the Beggars Block, (see 5500 Quilt Block Designs, Maggie Malone Page 56). Although I didn't want pinwheel patterns on every corner, so just did the red connectors on one side each. I ran into a bit of a problem with the border, but I think I can manage this OK...just need to pick out the colour for the next border ,and I can start to sew all the blocks together.

My first Stash Quilt I started to go through the boxes of scraps of green and blue strips for the quilt I am working on. I thought I would go through the boxes and get as many strips that I could. Then I could attack the shelves and get some fat quarters out to cut up.....
I needed 96 green strips 2 1/2 x 6 1/2" strips. 192 blue (same size)....I managed to get enough from just the strip boxes, and not even touch the fat quarters on the shelf.! :) And this is for a single size bed! What was I saying about too much fabric in a previous post?

I managed to cut all the strips today, and 192 red connectors to sew to the blue strips. Over the day, I sewed all the strips together. Tonight when the boys are sleeping I will try and sew up the 6" blocks. Hopefully I will have 96 altogether. Then tomorrow, or Sunday I can play around with placements before I sew the top together!
My photos came out in the wrong order....the second photo is all the strips cut, the second picture is all the red connectors sewn onto the blue strips.

Thursday, 26 January 2006

My Quilting Stash I really have too much fabric...
Am I in the running for "She who dies with the most fabric wins?". Not even should see some of the quilters cupboards that I have seen! I like to show these pictures to Phil, so he realises my stash isn't so bad! :)
In my quilting internet group it was suggested that we should name this year as "International Year of the Scrap Quilt". I like to think of it as "International Year of Use Your Stash Year".

Here are 2 photos of my stash. The shelving is most of the fabric that I have (there is some stashed away in a few boxes, but this is the majority. The second is the boxes of scraps. These are sorted into widths. These are left over strips of fabric that I have used in other quilts over the years...but couldn't bear to throw out!
I hope that by the end of the year, I will be able to see a dramatic difference in these shelves and boxes...I will keep this photo as a reference, and see how it goes. I am trying really hard not to buy any new fabric....but I tell Phil that sometimes I think the fabric on these shelves are breeding...there cannot be any other explanation??

Wednesday, 25 January 2006

UFO continues

Here is the current cross stitch that I am working on. This kit I won in a magazine, and it isn't really to my taste, but I am determined to finish it, and get it out of my "To Do" list...then I have the matching design to do as well. (I won 2 kits) I have no idea what to do with it once they are completed??
The weather here has been really cold, around - 10 -to -14 each day...I have had a cold this week, so not much of anything done. But today I put a few stitches into this picture....almost 3/4 of the way through it now! YIPPEE....

Tuesday, 10 January 2006

Trying out the new Ice Skates

We got each other ice skates for Christmas. We really want to learn how to skate, without holding on to the rail. There are some great outside ice skating rinks, and they look like so much fun over the winter. When the kids go back to school, some of the mums have organised some lessons with an instructor, so I am going to do this as well! We have been going one morning each weekend with our friends Sonia and Alan, and their son Bradley, (in the same class as Cameron). The boys are really getting the hang of the skating, and after a couple of weeks, they spend more time on the skates than on their bottoms! (Phil and I too!) Here are some photos. All of us on the ice, Alexander getting the hang of it (Phil and Cameron in the background), and our friends Sonia, Alan and Bradley!

Sunday, 8 January 2006

"It's -4 out there, but can we still have Ice Cream?"

We had Emily and Charlie over today. A great day, we went to Spandau to the Ice Cream shop. Then we went to the park for a quick play before the kids got too cold. They love this round about, and even more when an adult makes it go really fast! (Phil's job). Then it was home to make a nice warm batch of Anzac Cookies, and make "Bunny Town" out of Lego.

Saturday, 7 January 2006

Ten Pin Bowling

Another outing for the kids before they go back to school. Something indoors, not so slippy on their feet. "Let's go Bowling" someone says! Great idea! 2 lanes are booked.....Notice on the mums yahoo group is posted. "Turn up if you want to" 21 kids arrive......we book another 3 lanes! The man behind the counter is very stressed there are so many children there! We were the only customers in the whole bowling alley! He should have been grateful that we were passing along some business or him!
Maureen managed to get the kids sorted out into age groups, we found all the light balls we could. The kids had a great time. The older kids managed to sort it out themselves. We needed someone to supervise the little ones, but we took it in turns, while others had coffee. What a great morning, and cheap too, 2 games including shoe hire, about 5 euros each! Alexander wants to go here for his birthday party this year! Sounds good to me!

Thursday, 5 January 2006

Icy Walk at Schlachtensee are getting a bit bored, time to get them to out and see some friends. A walk sounded like a good idea, a bit of fresh air, and a restaurant at the end for lunch! Sounds great. Got a few mums together and we all met at the Lake. The Lake was frozen! The walking path was hard packed with ice. There were lots of falls and slips, but we managed to walk around the lake without needing an ambulance! The kids really enjoyed the walk, they liked trying to slide along the path! It was cold, and by the end it was good to get in the restaurant and order some hot chocolates for the kids, and some warm spicy red wine and cappuccino's for the adults!
After lunch I rang Nicola to see if they were home, and they were just down the road sledging. So Sonia and I took the kids to the hill, and the kids had lots of fun sliding down the hill. Cameron and Bradley got sick of waiting for a turn of the sledge, so they decided to go down penguin style. Heads up, arms by their sides and down they went! Hilarious!!!

Sunday, 1 January 2006

Mum and Dad on their bus trip. Back to Berlin for us.

Mum and Dad were up early to get to the hotel where their tour departed from. They got there with plenty of time, they needed to be there at 6.15am! So they didn't stay up to see the Fireworks last night. Here is a photo for the White Cliffs of Dover as they headed off to France!
We got up at a reasonable time and had a lazy morning. Rob drove us to the airport, which is a fair way away. He says the public transport would have been awful on a public holiday. We were very grateful. Phil sat in the front with Rob, while Alexander, Cameron and I snoozed in the back seat.
We are hoping that Kylie, Rob and Oliver will come over for a visit soon, so we can show them Berlin.
We had arranged to meet my penfriend, Charlotte and her family at the airport for a few hours before we left. Charlotte and Declan had brought champagne, glasses and trifle to eat! So we sat in the food court and looked very posh! It was a lot of fun! I forgot to take a photo, but Charlotte did, so when she sends a copy, I will scan it in. Their children Dan, and Sophie are gorgeous! Now that they know they can get to Berlin so easy and at a reasonalbe price...with Easy Jet, we hope to see them soon! :)
We hope we have some visitors this year!
We arrived back in Berlin to a mass of snow everywhere, and we hope it will be good for snowmen and sledging!