Sunday, 29 April 2007

Bike ride and Picnic

Such a nice day in Berlin, we organised a bike ride through the Grunewald forest,down to the Havel for picnic.

We stopped at the Havel, and the kids found this teepee...they played in there after lunch.....(photo is a great ad for a chip company)


It was mostly forest paths that we cycled on...and I will just say there were quite a few bumps, and lots of sore bottoms later on!

Gordon has a speedo on his bike, and we worked out that for us from door to door, we cycled about 25 kilometres.

On the way home we stopped at the Reichstrasse festival to do a bungee trampoline. Cameron was hilarious. The straps must have been pulled too tight, and he couldn't get back down to the actual trampoline. So instead he just hung in the air and did continuos somersauts while laughing his head off (much to the amusement of all the parents standing around watching. Alexander was a little more reserved and was happy to bounce up and down without any spinning!

The kids were in bed and asleep by 7.30pm tonight!

Saturday, 28 April 2007

Joan Elliots Angels finished

The entire piece finished!

Below is the top half

and then the bottom half

Some background information on this project.
The patterns were in the World of Cross Stitch magazine 2006 (British publication). Every quarter the magazine had 3 angel designs. The original design was for an afghan rug, but with so many quilts in our house, I would not use an afghan (also I don't like the look of all the threads at the back, and I don't like the look of a backing on an afgan...overall I just don't like afghan rugs I guess :)
I had some fabric that would work just the same. working over 2 threads, using 3 strands of thread.

The finished piece is 114 cm high x 48cm wide. (In quilter terms 45" high x 19" wide)

I bought some butterfly fabric from the internet in a sale, and Phil suggested doing the flange (blue border) just to give it a bit more of a border, and it works perfectly. I did a running stitch in between the angels to attach it to the wadding on the inside, and the backing fabric, and added the butterfly fabric, the binding hand stitched, and finally the hanging sleeve on the back to add to the hanger.

(click on each photo to get a larger image)

They were designed by Joan Elliot, one of my favourite designers. When DMC had their 100th anniversary, she designed an angel using the entire collection of DMC threads at the time. (366 colours I think). At the time, I had won the complete set of DMC threads in a Family Circle competition (entered the stitched photo I did of Alexander and Cameron), and couldn't resist the challenge of this project.

(This photo is not of my finished Angel, but one I got from the internet) My angel is safely stored with mum in Melbourne.

I am stitching some small Lizzie Kate Flip it's in the mean time, until I begin the next big project, St Nick in his study - my first heaven and Earth Design is enormous, but I am sure it will be fun to do....I hope!

The Water Princess Anniversary Party

I know this sounds like an odd heading for a family with 2 boys.

However, Alexander and his 2 friends, Emily and Isaiah have been writing, and illustrating their own book for the past year. They help write the story, draw a picture and colour it in. It is quite a complex book, and they love writing about it.
Alexander came home from school on Thursday to tell me he had invited his friends to our place on Saturday to have the 1st year anniversary party for the Water Princess book. OK, the date was fine, but it would have been nice to know before hand. So after a quick discussion with the other mums, we organised a play date, that would be the "Party".
This morning I made a chocolate cake. When the other 2 musketeers arrived, they were in charge of icing and decorating. The cake was delicious, and we had choclate milkshakes as well.
The 3 musketeers are currently making a Lego Castle for the Water Princess, discussing the next book....stay tuned....

Cameron and Phil wisely organised to go for a bike ride to Bradley's house for the afternoon. They kids have had great time playing, and I love having the 3 musketeers together, as they all play so well together, and are no trouble at all!

Friday, 27 April 2007

Mystery Quilt Part 4

now for a is big enough for a cot size quilt

Mystery Quilt Part 3

Now to sew all the blocks together. There should be enough to make a cot quilt.

Thursday, 26 April 2007

After 18 months work...

The angels cross stitch is finally finished! HORRAY!!!!!

I am really pleased with how it turned out, and it is great to see it off the frame finally.

Now, I need to give it a really good iron, stitch it on some wadding, and I have some butterfly fabric to put around it, and a nice hanger to put it on!

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

ANZAC DAY Ceremony in Berlin

War Cemetery, Heerstrasse, Berlin-Charlottenburg
Australian Ambassador, H.E. Mr Ian Kemish.

New Zealand Ambassador, H.E. Mr Alan Cook.

Lest we forget.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

A few quick trips

It has been a busy time for work related travels. Last week I was off to Tehran for 3 days. I had some serious doubts about going whilst the UK marines were held hostage (I didn't want to be in Tehran if Tony Blair decided to send a couple of out of date tridents over the horizon...), but with this settled, I had no problems about going.

Don't believe everything you read in the press. I feel safer in Tehran that I do in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, parts of London.... The traffic is more dangerous than anything. The book of road rules is obviously a 'how NOT to' guide!

It is a city that sits at between 1400 and 1800 meters, on the side of a mountain. There was snow on the mountain and it was 27 degrees in town! They even have ski resorts, but I would not personally recommend them based upon the quality of the other amenities! The people were great, and there is massive opportunity for business if you can work with the interesting dynamics of the regime. It was a hectic trip but really worthwhile.

This week I had a flying visit to Moscow. Two days and it snowed on Monday and was about 11 degrees on Tuesday. Business in Russia is again interesting and challenging, and it fun working with the local people to get their businesses to work better.

Whilst I was in Moscow, Boris Yeltsin died (it wasn't me!). There is a very wide opinion amongst the Russians about whether he was a hero or a villain, and the reporting was very interesting. I can imagine the the Vodka industry is now forecasting a sharp downturn in sales....

I am now back until Sunday, when I am off again....


Anzac Cookies for tomorrow. 4 batches.
26 for Alexander's class
26 for Cameron's class
Some for our New Zealand friends
and some for us.

2 hours later....this is the result!

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Kinderfest Part 2

Magic Mountain Climbing Centre had a rotating climbing disc for the kids to try out. Cameron scaled up like a spider, with no fear. Alexander was a bit more hesitant, but still did well.

The ADAC (German road help service, like the Aussie RACV, NRMA) had an amazing display with road safety, car safety etc. They had a car accident simulator that you could get in ,and see what it is like to be in a car that has rolled over. We rotated very slowly, and the feeling was really awful, I would hate to think how this would feel in a real accident. It was a good safety lesson for the kids to understand why they wear seatbelts in the car.

International Kinderfest 2007

This weekend was the Kinderfest. The street leading up to the Brandenburg Gate is blocked off, and lots of stalls, games, rides and other activities for the kids line the streets (like the Fan Mile last year during the World Cup..with less beer)

The Polizei were out in force, and the kids got to sit on motorbikes, in Police vans and cars, wear hats, make badges, and talk on the speakers.

The German Help Service had (Aussie CES) activities for the kids, including this pulley system that they use to rescue people.
Here is the official link

Mystery Quilt Part 2

Here is the next step of the quilt.

Friday, 20 April 2007

Mystery Quilt weekend

Our stashbuster group this weekend is doing a mystery Quilt.

Sølvi's from Norway, is organising the instructions.

Here are the first blocks so far.....

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Angel #11 to go

Here is the 11th angel

I am now working on the 12th..the last one for this series.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Project Spectrum Pink Strips

13 pink blocks complete.

This is the stack of blocks so far. There are 63 x 10" blocks so far, but these will be cut down to 9 1/2" blocks to make sure they are all square.

Here is what the floor looks like after sewing, time to get the Dyson out!

I am having a rest from the strip blocks for the moment, I have a few quilts I want to sew...but I have done the 3 colour themes for this 2 month Project Spectrum challenge. The box of 1 1/2" and 1 1/4" strips is slowly getting smaller. It is hard to believe I have managed to sew so many blocks out of this box. It makes me wonder how many quilts I could make from all that stash I own, and in comparison to some other quilters I know, my stash is tiny! :)

In the meantime, I have been stitching the 11th angel (not much left to go on that one), and also tryinga knitted bag, which I will then felt in the washing machine....but you will have to wait to see photos of those ones. For now I must go and do some housework, so later I can quilt!

Friday, 13 April 2007

Project Spectrum Yellow Challenge

That didn't take long....only 5 squares (and a little bit left over for an extra half) is the pink strips, this should take longer!
So far
yellow 5
green 18
blue 12
neutral 15

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Berlin Zoo photos

Another picture of Knut.....(you have to be careful you don't get those letters mixed around the wrong way), click on the photos to make them bigger.
Holly, Kirsten, Alexander, BJ, Cameron and Meghan
sitting on a Hippo...careful he bites...just ask Kirsten!
Alexander having an elephant ride

The Berlin Zoo starring Knut!

Off to the zoo (with 40,000 other people) to see Knut. Berlin Zoo are raking the cash in after the arrival of Knut the Polar Bear. Knut makes 2 appearances during the day, each an hour long. Security has been brought in to keep the anxious crowds from causing a mob frenzy, and the lines are long! We waited 45 minutes, just to get tickets into the zoo (never ever had to wait more than 5 minutes), and the queue to line up to see Knut were quite long as well.

We were told by another mum to get to the kids playground. The kids got up on the play equipment (with heaps of other kids, and they had a great view of Knut, without us having to line up to see him. He is very cute!!

Here are Holly(standing), BJ, Cameron, Meghan, Alexander and Kirsten with the statues of the Polar Bears.

Knut....look closely. He is standing to the right of the guy in the white t-shirt on the log.(click on the photo to make it bigger)
The crowds of people...check out the guy on the other guy's shoulders with the camera!
Knut's mother, who abandoned Knut, can't understand all the fuss.
The Elephant can't seem to understand all the fuss either!

Monday, 9 April 2007

Project Spectrum Green Strips

April/May Project Spectrum colours are Green, Yellow and Pink.
OK, I cheated, and started these green squares a few weeks ago. Today I sewed the last of my green strips to the 10" wadding pieces. I managed to get 18 squares out of all the green strips that I have collected.

So far
green 18
blue 12
neutral 15

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Dropping into a tiny town, searching for Sam

When we were skiing in Austria, Cameron made friends with a boy in his group called Sam. They have been emailing each other, and as it turns out they live in Scotland, not far from Dundee. After the visit to the Discovery, we thought we would try our luck and visit him!

The small village was not difficult to find on the map, and we thought in such a small village, it can't be too hard to find anyone.

Firstly, the Newsagent didn't know them. We then stopped at a park to let the kids play, and we asked some of the parents - they didn't know, but one old fella pointed out the Janitor of the School's house - the one where we knew Sam went! Nicole knocked on the door, and after a check (probably illegal), we had some clear instructions and were able to find our way to Sams house!

The boys played with Sam for about 45 minutes (mainly on the trampoline) whilst we had a coffee inside. It was quite a surprise for all that we were able to find them, and we had a pleasant afternoon.

We then set off for Glasgow, where we stayed in the Holiday Inn Express right on the airport. We dropped off the car (750.7 miles, and 45 pounds of fuel) and checked in. After redistributing all of our luggage (to make room for all of the new purchases!), we were (unfortunately) ready for our early flight home.

It was a fantastic holiday, and all the organisation by the Ramsays (being Scottish) and the McLeishs (who have been to Scotland before) went perfectly and was highly appreciated!

Discovery in Dundee

Today we all went our separate ways - The Ramsays went off to visit the Grannies in Dundee, and the McLeishs went to Stirling to catch up with relatives. As we have no relatives in Scotland, we were on our own for a day of touring!

First stop was an ASDA superstore. Like a giant Target, or WalMart, this store had school trousers for the kids and a few other bits and pieces that Nicole wanted. We then loaded up the car (now bulging at the seams) and headed to Discovery Point, Dundee, where the Antarctic research ship, the Discovery, is moored. It was sailed by Scott and his crew on a scientific expedition and was stuck in the ice for 2 years. It was a really interesting exhibition, with lots of movies and hands-on things for the kids.

Friday, 6 April 2007

Urquhart Castle

Urquhart castle on the shores of Loch Ness
And who said we didn't see any monsters.......

The four of us in front of what is left of the old tower.

The ruins of Urquhart castle, looking north east up Loch Ness.

No visit to Scotland is complete without visiting the ruins of Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness. It was very atmospheric, was a really interesting site and the scenery was spectacular! This castle stood over the Loch for hundreds of years, and was blown up by its occupants to stop the invading Jacobites from controlling and using it. Looking back, seems like a waste of such a wonderful castle, but must have made sense to them at the time!

The site is well preserved and you can roam all over the ruins, look out over the Loch for a Nessie sighting, or visit the gift shop and cafe (remember, every attraction has one!). Combined with our Loch Ness visitors centre, a super day for the whole family.

We then hit the road and drove back to Inverness, then down the highway to Dunkeld for the night.