Saturday, 31 March 2007

Off to Scotland

After a hectic start to the year, it was amazing how quick the Easter holidays had arrived! We were off for an 8 day holiday touring Scotland with our friends the Ramsays and the McLeishs. It was therefore 6 adults and 4 kids - Nicole and Phil, Alan and Sonia, Gordon and Michelle, and Alexander, Cameron, Bradley and Meghan.

James (Alan and Sonia's 14 year old) flew across to Scotland with us and was collected by his granny at the airport. He was not in Scotland to see the sights, but more likely to eat Granny out of house and home!

We flew over on Easyjet, which for a 2 hour flight is not so bad. We arrived at Glasgow and collected our hire cars - A huge 4wd for the McLeish family (they had ordered an estate (station wagon)), a Zafira for the Ramsays and a little Peugot 407 for us! We had the most kids and the smallest car! There was enough room for our luggage and generous offers of 'space for hire' in the bigger cars if we needed it!

The first night we were staying in Falkirk. We set off in a convoy from the airport and were travelling along the motorway when Alexander, who was a bit unwell, decided he needed to be sick. Luckily we rapidly reached the shoulder and he emptied the contents of his stomach outside the car, not in.

We got underway again and caught up with the others at a roadside stop, and then tried to find somewhere for dinner. The idea of 'fish and chips' from a local chippie appealed to all and we found one on the way into town. From a very low point, the smell of fish and chips perked Alexander right up!

After driving around town for a while, we eventually found our hotel - it was Saturday night and there was a wedding on in the hotel's reception area. We got ourselves organised and to bed, thinking that the day was over....

At about 3.00 am, the hallway outside our room became the set of a soap opera. It appears that Lorna, who got herself drunk at the wedding, was very annoyed becuase her significant other, Michael, had taken off with her best friend, Jackie, for a quick shag. Lorna was knocking on every door trying to find them and intervene, whilst a gaggle of female friends and relatives (all at least as drunk as Lorna) were encouraging her to come to bed, as quietly as they could (which, when they are 'crissed as pickets', is not very quietly at all!). Their language was appalling (they kept using the word that would describe what Michael was doing to Jackie).

Eventually, when Reception didn't respond, Alan 'encouraged' them to finish up and please go to bed. The end of our first day in Scotland!

Pick Me, Pick Me


During the travel show, we visited the Wales booth. here Alexander and I had our photos taken for a chance to win a holiday to Wales.....now this is where we need your help!

To win the trip to Wales, we have to ask all our friends to vote for our photo....now the info is in German, but don't stress, I will guide you through it step by step....

It may be a good idea to open a new window and copy the web address into it, and follow my instructions as you go!

Thanks heap in advance! :)

go to

click on
ITB 2007
on the left hand side you should see our photo...it is number 852.

Once you have found the photo click on
Abstimmen
then fill out the following
Anrede......title, Frau (female) Herr (male)
Vorname*: first name
Nachname*: last name
eMail-Adresse* email address
Stra├če & Nr*:make one up if you do not want to write this
PLZ * type in 14050 (any postcode out side of Germany doesn't seem to work
Ort*: city
Land*: country
Alter*:your age....
tick the box that says......
Ich habe die Hinweise zum Datenschutz gelesen und akzeptiert.
(this means you understand the site is secure, and all is Ok)
Don't tick the second box, unless you want to recieve pamplets in German on Wales.
Thanks in advance if you vote for us......we would love to win this competition and visit Wales...

We are coming 2nd!!! we need 2% more votes....


...for winning the trip to Wales....thank you all for voting for us. We have 14% of votes...and the leader has 15% of votes so far

If you still haven't voted for us, we would really love it if you would! You can find us easily now, in the left hand column, Picture 852

the details on how to vote are below on the previous post!

Thanks again!

Monday, 26 March 2007

Conveyor Belt Lego

Alexander is doing heaps of amazing things with his "educational" Lego set (that he got for his birthday)
This morning he made this, and it works really well. He can move a piece of Lego from one end of his belt to the other with the motor and wheels.




Now he is playing with the wheels to make it go faster or slower.

Friday, 23 March 2007

OUCH!!!


A friend recommended a waxing place in Berlin....not a popular thing to do here...yet. My eyebrows were beginning to look like John Howard's...so something needed to be done. I could go to a Beautician here, and have them plucked for 20 minutes....or be in and out in 5 minutes...I chose the second option.
Here is the price list, (click on the photo to enlarge it),and I will let you try and work out what they mean. I don't think I will be buying Phil a gift voucher for Father's Day.
I am sure the girls see more than they wish to during a typical working day! I won't be applying for a job here!

Thursday, 22 March 2007

My favourite quilts...

Someone asked me to show some of my favourite quilts....so here are some of the photos (of the ones I have kept ... Alexander and Cameron were very helpful holding them up!

Japanese Blues (done at a Judy Hooworth Seminar)
Storm at Sea Quilt (done at a Kaye England seminar...my favourite quilt and my favourite pattern)

Zebra stripes on the Sahara (another from Judy Hooworth Seminar,learning to sew striped fabric)

My favourite colours together...yellow and purple (from another Judy Hooworth seminar)

More of my favourite Quilts

A Quilt Sitter Challenge, "Bird's Nest"block. (this was a lot of work, and well worth the effort!)


Another Quilt Sitter Challenge, using whatever fabrics I took out of the stash.


Gretchen (made at a Kaye England workshop)....one of my favourite scrappy quilts


A Round Robin Quilt (made with Quilt Sitters Group at Oatley Cottage - it is enormous, and it is the quilt the boys fight over to snuggle under when we watch a movie on Friday nights

Knut the polar bear

http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/hes-knut-your-average-bear/2007/03/22/1174153221886.html
(image taken from The Sydney Morning Herald.)

Yesterday we were supposed to go to the zoo with Cameron's class. But it was cancelled due to bad weather. This is the polar Bear cub that has recently made the headlines all the way to Australia. His mother abandoned him, and he is being hand raised at the zoo. At the moment, he is not on public display, but as he is a bit older, he will start to come out for a small amount of time during the day. Hopefully by the time we get to the zoo with Cameron's class (after Easter), we will be able to see him too!

Giant Easter Eggs

Postdammer Platz Arcaden, always have lovely displays for different times of the year. Their Easter display is no different! They enormous painted Eggs are lined up on the second floor, and look really lovely.

They are still working on them, setting them on top of grassy platforms, with small displays of Spring flowers. There were another 8-10 still wrappd in plastic, awaiting to be set up.



Our weather has turned cold again, and the Winter coats came out of the closet...again. 1 -2 degrees in the morning.
Yesterday was the official first day of Spring, and last night we had about 3 inches of snow fall. We haven't had much snow at all this year, and when it has snowed, it has melted away in 12 hours. This year we didn't get to even make one snowman in our garden! :(

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Coming Soon...hide the credit card


The boys get the Lego magazine, which comes out every 2 months. Alexander was bedise himself when he read a large ad about a LegoLand Discovery Centre opening here in Berlin, at Potsdammer Platz in Easter.

Today, I went for a walk through Tiergarten with some of the mums from school, and we ended up in Potsdammer Platz.....look what I found!


It is right next to the cinemas. There were workmen fixing this giraffe into the ground, and he was really impressive! Looks like this will be somewhere to visit during the Easter school holidays. I just have to check when it has actually opened!
Alexander's philosophy is "A boy can never have too much Lego"

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Angel 10 complete....2 to go


Horray.....this is the 10th angel finished....well almost finished! When I was uploading the photo on here, I realised I had not finished the blue border between the angel's wings. So, apart from that, the angel is completed.

Only 2 angels left to stitch. One is called Hope, the other is Joy. I am working on Hope first!

Saturday, 17 March 2007

My oldest quilting UFO

Stashbusters topic of the week was to admit to our oldest UFO. Actually I am not too embarrassed by this one, although at some stage in the near future I will actually get it finished and it will go on our bed.
It is a double wedding ring quilt. I did a course with Oatley Cottage in Sydney, May 2001. When I originally told Phil I was going to do the course, I said it was the only double wedding ring quilt I will ever make, because I don't really like working with curves. His response was "Well, you should make a big one then".....why did I listen to that response.

So, here is the bigger than king size quilt. I enjoyed making it, and enjoyed finishing the top. Then it sat as a top for a few years. When we decided to come to Germany, I asked my quilting friend Ellen to quilt it for me on her long arm machine. Ellen did an amazing job on it.

This is only a quarter of the quilt. I don't have enough space to lay it out, and the photo wouldn't show the detail...so you will have to wait until it is totally finished to see...

Below is a more detailed picture. When I chose the 6 fabrics for the rings, I didn't realise they would all read as one fabric when you look from a distance. I know the idea of this pattern is to be able to read each piece as a single unit, but personally I don't worry about that!

Now I just have to bind it. I have the binding all cut out, ready to go, but somewhere in the move I lost the instructions on how to bind a curved edge....so this has been the reason it is still a UFO. I have tried to Google binding instructions to complete it...with no luck. I mentioned it to the stash buster girls, and someone came up with some detailed instructions on "scalloped edges"...I jsut needed a different word. So, perhaps this will get finished before our 12th Wedding Anniversary next February....or maybe not!

The other UFO question was "How many UFO's do you have?"

Well, I am not pulling them out of the box to check....'casue I don't want to feel guilty about it...but probably about 10. but that is a vast improvement if you ha have asked me back in 1999! :)

Friday, 16 March 2007

Green Scarf


This is the scarf I started while we were in Austria. In the afternoons when the boys were all skiing, I did a bit of knitting.

I had hoped to finish this while I was in Austria, but didn't get much of it done. I didn't go skiing in the afternoon, as my lessons were only in the morning. I was not confident to go by myself. My logic is that if I am with an instructor and I get in trouble, the instructor is obligated to get me down...somehow. If I am by myself, then it is up to me. I felt safer with my instructor. So, I was happy to drink coffee, and knit fora couple of hours.

I finally finished the scarf last week....and typically, the weather has changed, and I have put away the winter coat....and this scarf will be great for next Winter!

Hobbies Day at school

Sorry no photos...although Mr Day took some video....I told him strictly only to video quilts, not me!


Anyway, I had a 20 minute talk with the Year 3,4 and 5's to talk about my quilting. I took in about 7 of my quilts, some of the designs on graph paper, and a sample of wadding. Alexander and one of the Year 5 boys helped hold up the quilts for me as I talked about them.

I talked about how I had been quilting for about 17 years, and how I went from a simple drawing from a sheet, to the final product. The kids asked some really great questions, and I really enjoyed talking about my quilts (if you are a frequent reader of this blog, you will know that is the case!) One of the teachers later asked me if I would teach her to quilt, and she said some of the other teachers would be interested as well. So, I need to think about this one a bit more, and see how many would be really serious about it. Below is one of the quilts that I did take along with me. As a thankyou gift, I was given a box of Quality Street Chocolates...yum! :)

Preparing for Easter

Germans like to decorate these types of branches for Easter. I am not sure which flowers will spring to life from these ones...but I will take a photo once they do bloom.

The shops and florists are overflowing with bundles of branches to sell.


Phil says this is just another excuse for me to buy more decorations. (like my Christmas decoration obsession). So, I don't want to disappoint him, I have bought a few for the beginning of my collection


You can also buy bags of plastic coloured eggs to hang on your trees outside. This is a tree in one of our neighbours gardens. It looks quite pretty when you walk past it.
I could just imagine what our neighbours in Sydney would think if we hung these on the gum trees outside our house



The beginning of my first pair of socks


Knitting socks is a trendy thing to do in Germany.....of course I try to be trendy (although it doesn't seem to work). Anyway, I like the idea of knitting with 4 needles, and have to give it a try.
This is what I have done so far....not quite looking like a sock yet. I have to continue this knitting until it is about 8 inches long, then I can start on the heel.
I like knitting with 4 needles. I am glad I wear glasses, otherwise I think I would have lost an eye by now!

Monday, 12 March 2007

BSV Rugby tour to Ireland and Scotland

Phil joined 21 other guys (including Alan and Gordon) for a Rugby team tour to Ireland and Scotland. It was a super (long) weekend - departing Berlin on Thursday night and returning Monday morning. First stop was Belfast, and a big night out. On Friday morning the team had a defensive coaching session from Ulster's defence coach (Ulster is one of the three top clubs in Irish Rubgy). Next came lunch and a few beers, before a ferry ride across to Scotland. 2 hours on the ferry and 4 1/2 by train and the boys were in Edinburgh. What a great party city!

The boys saw the Ireland Scotland game at Murrayfield on the Saturday, and on Sunday went to Panmure FC, near Dundee, which was Alan's old club when he was a kid. There is even a photo on the wall with him looking like a young Michael Jackson (what an afro!). The hospitality of the club was superb!

On Monday morning, the boys were on the bus at 6:00 am to drive to Glasgow and to fly back to Berlin.

It was a great trip, the guys were a great bunch and Phil, Alan and Gordon had a super time. Of course, being a rugby tour, there are no details.....

Sunday, 11 March 2007

Dahlem Farm


While the dads were on the rugby tour, we took the kids to this farm near Sonia's place. It was a lovely afternoon, and I think the kids enjoyed playing on the old tractor more than seeing the animals. Well, there were not very many animals to see, a few goats, horses, pigs, sheep, chickens and a cow. Well, it was an afternoon out in the fresh air, so that was fine.

the highlight of the day for the boys was at the train station at Dahlem...these seats. They thought the boobie chair was hilarious!


Saturday, 10 March 2007

The Travel show

A busy Saturday...Open Day at school. Alexander was asked to be part of the gymnastics display. He has been doing gymnastics in PE, and also a lunchtime club as well. So, that was really great to watch him do that.

Cameron had a party for Mohamed, and Alexander and I set off to the travel show at the Messe Hall. Lots of stalls for different countries, and all the airplane companies to look at all their aeroplanes. We collected lots of postcards with the different planes on them, ate different foods, and listened to some local music.
Alexander is studying Ancient Egypt for topic at the moment, and we saw this King Tut mask. He got lots of pictures of Ancient Egypt for school as well, and a bookmark made of papyrus. Below is Alexander on an Indian "taxi".

After walking around for 4 hours, we met Sonia, Michelle, BJ, Cameron and Meghan (Sonia collected Cameron from the party), for dinner at an American Diner.

Meanwhile, Alan, Gordon and Phil are somewhere in Scotland watching a rugby match.

Friday, 9 March 2007

Cameron's Science Experiment

Cameron's topic in Science at the moment is plants.

He came home all excited yesterday telling me that we had to buy a bunch of white tulips and food colouring.

I had the food colouring already, so when we went to the shops later to get someting for dinner, we also picked up a bunch of tulips from the florist. Luckily tulips are everywhere at the moment, and a bunch of 7 cost us 2 euros! Bargain! :)

He cut the stems down on the tulips. Got out 7 glasses, filled them with water, annd added food colouring to the glasses. Then put the tulips in the glasses. (they look quite colourful on the bench)


24 hours later, this is what the tulips look like.
The food colouring has worked it's way up the stem of the tulips, and changed the colour of the petal. I couldn't get a great close up of the tulips to show you how amazing they look close up....so you can do this experiment for yourself....

Sunday, 4 March 2007

Last skating day for the season

Today was the last Sunday for skating for Winter this year. We found today a bit difficult, having been skiing the week before, we all seemed to have trouble working out where our body weight should be. After about 10 minutes it was all OK again!

Alexander

Cameron

Gordon and Meghan.

The kids having morning tea.

BJ and Cameron.

Winter here, has been disappointing, with hardly any snow. Phil packed my bicycle away when it first started to snow, but it melted so quickly. I will get the bike out again tomorrow, and start riding it again! This time of year in the past 2 years we have still had heaps of snow, and been able to make lots of snowmen in our garden. This year the snow didn't hang around long enough for us to build even a head of a snowman! The boys were keen to make a snow ramp in our garden this Winter, so they could slide down it after school, but it never happened. Hopefully next Winter we will be able to make it, because next Winter will be our last here!

Friday, 2 March 2007

Happy Birthday Phil and Alexander


Phil turned 3* on Thursday, and Alexander turned 8 today.

We had the McLeish and the Ramsay families come for dinner and cake. Normally I need to make 2 cakes, one for each birthday, and 24 cupcakes for the class. This year, with Phil away in Seefeld, I only needed to make the 1 cake, and 24 cupcakes.

Phil arrived home around 7pm, and everyone turned up not long after. After a yummy dinner of apricot chicken curry, we settled down to sing Happy Birthday, and eat this fabulous Nigella Lawson chocolate cake, complete with smarties and M&m's. It is the best cake any of us have ever tasted! (Sonia wants me to try some other recipes to add to our cake list!)

Alexander got some great birthday presents, and of course there was more Lego.

Phil-Back to Austria

Following a week's skiing, and a day and a half at home to do all the washing, Phil headed off to a business meeting.... in the ski fields of Austria! As he arrived early, Phil had another day and a half skiing, which he loved. The resort was really quiet, and he got discounts on his ski hire and lift passes, and one morning had a whole run to himself for 1/2 an hour, before being joined by another 6 or so skiiers until the ski schools came out in force at about 11:00. With fresh snow one day (and rain the next) the skiing was quite variable.

The local church, covered in fresh snow.

A view from the top of the mountain.
Part of the ski run
Phil ready to ski down the mountain.
The meeting went well, and Phil celebrated his birthday with work colleagues (Cake and Apple schnapps) and a big night out. He would have stayed for the weekend (more skiing - perhaps this is a new addiction??) but Alexander's birthday was on Friday night. Phil's aim was to make it home for dinner, and see Alexander on his birthday. He had never been away on one of the boy's birthdays before, and was not about to start now!