saturday market

Images from the market this morning.  Roses, tulips, spices, fruit, veg, cheese... all so fresh and yummy.  The snow has almost completely melted now and I'm half expecting to see buds on the trees - the bird defintely think its spring.  I woke up this morning to a riot of bird calls outside my window.  It's so nice to see the city coming alive again after a long, cold winter.  

And I bought my shoes today!  They're not what I thought I wanted, but I love them.  I think I might wear them out tonight when we go out for dinner with a friend who's visiting from Vienna.  Happy days.

winebox shelves

We put the wineboxes up lastnight, and I'm pretty please with how they're turning out.  Three on the wall opposite the bed, and one functioning as a bed-side table.  Sorry for the not-so-hot photography - I quickly took these before heading to work this morning.

I'm still planning on lining them, which will add a bit of colour and brightness to the room.  This morning was actually quite sunny (Spring has definitely peaked her head around the corner), but the room still looked quite dark.  I found this awesome site through design*sponge (perhaps?) called chicshelfpaper.com.  They are in the business of, well, chic shelf paper like these:
 At the moment they only have online sales set-up for US and Canada shipping, but if you email them they are happy to quote you the FexEx/DHS/Postie price and see if you're happy to follow through with the order.  Now it's just a matter of deciding which one...
We also hung two hooks that I found while walking around Kollwitzplatz - a beautiful area of Prenzlauerberg not too far from our apartment.  So now we're all ready for people to stay!


Warning by Jenny Joseph

 Warning, by Jenny Joseph
When I am old I shall wear purple,
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

This poem, first written in 1987 has sparked somewhat of a craze amongst the baby-boomer generation.  There is a worldwide society called the 'Red Hat Group' and even a Wiki page dedicated to describing who "Red Hatters" are - there are 70,000 registered members and 24,000 chapters around the world.  This makes the society the largest women's social group in the world!  My mum is one.  And she reads this blog and send me poems.  So this one if for her!


spring shoes

A month ago I joined the gym.  And a month ago tomorrow I set myself the challenge of going to the gym three times a week for four weeks.  If I was successful I was allowed to buy myself a pair of shoes.  A pair of cool, silly, whimisical, 'Spring' shoes that I could look at and say - "these are not particularly practical for X, Y and Z, but I love them and I bought them because I went to the gym regularly for a month".  And, folks, the challenge worked.  There were days when what I really wanted to do was sit on the couch and watch a movie, but I thought - "if I don't go today, then the next time I can go is -xxxx- and then I won't have gone three times in the week, and then I can't buy my shoes."  And with this I quickly scampered off the couch and sweated it out at the gym.  

And now the day has come.  Shoe day.  And this is what I want.  A quirky, lace-up, peep-toe, leather or suede shoe with a small heel that I can wear with colourful tights, skirts and the ever-go-to jeans.

And they'll be a new challenge for March...


remembering italy

Some of our friends from Boston are getting married in Tuscany in April.  Today I've been doing a bit of pre-trip planning and dreaming about past trips to Italy - mmmm Gelati! 



My gym has a sauna.  It's unisex.  And you 'sauna' naked.  I'm not completely sure that I'm grown-up enough or mature enough to handle naked-sauna with girls and  boys (gasp!)'Naked sauna' feels a little bit "naughty" and I'm torn between pretending that I'm cool enough and sophisticated enough to sit naked in a room full of strangers, and wanting to cover-up and yell "Are you all mad?  There is no way in the world I feel comfortable enough in my skin to sit naked with you lot."    

Matthias thinks I'm mad and this obsession with being clothed amongst strangers is perculiar and clear evidence that I'm "Anglo-American".  He thinks I should get over my prudish sensibilities and enjoy being naked.  I'd be happy to let it stand (with me enjoying the sensation of being covered amongst strangers, and him enjoying sauna), except that I think I've decided that I like sauna.  Especially in winter when you feel your insides warming up and you sweat and it feels so, so good.  

So I'm going to be brave and pretend I'm cosmpolitan and take my towel and  venture into the naked-sauna... one day. Soon.


potsdam and sans souci

The sun shone this weekend and we thought trip to Potsdam and Sans Souci was in order.  It was really very cold, although the sun shining through the trees made for some pretty snow photos.  

In the end, I think we spent more time eating Pizza and warming up in St Nikolai's church than wondering around the woods.  Perhaps another trip in summer is in order... now I'm off to warm up with a bubble bath before making Lamb Cutlette's for dinner.  How was your weeekend?


potholder swap 2010

Perhaps against my better judgement I have joined up for the 2010 Potholder Swap.  I haven't really done much crochet before and I'm a little worried that my finished 'potholders' won't be good enough.  But I'm going to give it a try.

I've already had to change patterns as my first attempt at something that I thought was 'simple' resulted in a disaster.  I'm doing much better on my second attempt.  A simpler pattern with step-by-step tutorials from the wonderful Meet Me at Mikes' blog have really helped me get into the swing of 'hooking'.  Meet Me at Mikes' has a fantastic set of how to make a Granny Square videos which are so self-explanatory you can follow them without listening to the sound, which means I can keep listening to my Podcast's as a I follow along. 

I need to have made five (5!) potholders by the 27th March.  Soon!

If you're interested in getting involved or checking out what's being made, there's a Raverly page or Flickr group for the swap.  The best part is you don't need to be on either site to join - just have your potholders delivered by 27th March.  

Wish me luck!


Winter Garden

Winter Garden by Cheryl Magic-Lady
In winter's cold and sparkling snow,
The garden in my mind does grow.
I look outside to blinding white,
And see my tulips blooming bright.
And over there a sweet carnation,
Softly scents my imagination.

On this cold and freezing day,
The Russian sage does gently sway,
And miniature roses perfume the air,
I can see them blooming there.
Though days are short, my vision's clear.
And through the snow, the buds appear.

In my mind, clematis climbs,
And morning glories do entwine.
Woodland phlox and scarlet pinks,
Replace the frost, if I just blink.
My inner eye sees past the snow.
And in my mind, my garden grows.



It's Shrove Tuesday or Faschingsdienstag today.  I feel like a bit of a fraud celebrating this one - I'm not likely to fast for Lent - but who can pass up a chance to cook pancakes?  We've been talking a lot about Faschingsdienstag and Rosenmontag  in German this week.  We're learning about 'holidays in Germany' and around this time of year you either want to be skiing or enjoying the Cologne Carnival.  And beside, I don't need much of an excuse to find a reason to cook pancakes.  Not sure how I'll go on the German equivalent, Krapfen, though...

Quick, Simple Pancakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 1/4 cups milk
1 egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted 
- Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together.  Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk, egg, melted butter and mix until smooth.
- Heat a non-stick frying pan.  Spoon in the batter and turn once bubbles begin to form on the surface.
- Serve with your favourite topping!


3-4 cups unsifted flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 pack dried yeast
2 egg yolds, beaten
1/4 cup butter
grated rind of 1 lemon
1/4 cup jam 

- Mix 2 cups flour with sugar and salt.
- Make a well in the centre and add 1/4 cup warm water and the yeast.  Mix and let rise for 20 minutes
- Add egg yolks, remaining water and butter. Mix well.  Add lemon rind and remaining flour until a soft dough forms.  Knead for 5-10 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic.
- Place dough in a slightly greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise until doubled in size - about 1 1/2 hours.
- Roll dough until 1/4" thick, cut into 2" rounds.  On 1/2 the rounds place about 1tsp of jam.  Moisten edges with water and place second round on top.
- Let rise for 15 minutes.  Fry in shallow pan for 4 minutes on each side until browned.  Drain on absorbent paper and sprinkle with sugar.

Recipe from: International Recipes


woollen accessories


This morning I'm lusting after the perfect woollen accessories.  I'm ready to cast-on a new project and my eyes keep being drawn to aumtumnal golds, muted orange and tweedy blues.  Perfect colours to keep me warm and brighten up a wintery morning.


Heart 'Scratchies'

I have ambivalent feelings about Valentine's day.  On the one hand it can be a really lovely and romantic day.  But then you don't really need a 'day' to tell people that they're loved.  And I absolutely don't buy into the whole dinner, flowers, chocolates etc etc commercial aspect of it.  I once had a dinner at a restaurant on Valentine's day and I think it was the most unromantic 'date' I've ever had.  
But...  I couldn't resist making these "scratchie" Teddy Bears for Valentine's day this year.  So easy and I think I had as much fun making them as Matthias had choosing and scratching off his "winning" bear.  ArtMind has a tutorial for how to make them.  The teddy bear is a ClipArt image that I printed out and stuck on some brown paper.  You then write your message and put clear contact over the paper.  The red paint is one part detergent, two parts acrylic paint.  It actually took a few coats of paint - but I just had them lying on the table and did an extra coat of paint everytime I walked past.  And it worked!  Scratched off beautifully!

Love is Not All

Love is Not All

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain;
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
And rise and sink and rise and sink again;
Love can not fill the thickened lung with breath,
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
Even as I speak, for lack of love alone.
It well may be that in a difficult hour,
Pinned down by pain and moaning for release,
Or nagged by want past resolution's power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It well may be. I do not think I would.



I made some changes to the blog.  What do you think?

And because I promised...

the postie brings great things to those that wait

Told you that I'd have it done by the weekend... here is it blocking this morning, ready for it's debut outing.

Look what arrived... my wine boxes!


a scarf

All that remains to be knit up for my super-warm 'leaf' scarf.  Yes, I have been knitting.  But the light is so terrible inside at the moment that the pictures look a little 'blah' and I haven't finished anything.  Fingerless-mittens are still going slowly (it's too cold at the moment for fingerless so they got shelved).  The cowl is sitting on the bookshelf quietly waiting to be picked up again, and this scarf is almost done.  I plan to finish it off tonight and be wearing it by the weekend.
Enjoy the weekend. ox


Mulga Bill's Bicycle

Mulga Bill's Bicycle by Banjo Patterson

'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze;
He turned away the good old horse that served him many days;
He dressed himself in cycling clothes, resplendent to be seen;
He hurried off to town and bought a shining new machine;
And as he wheeled it through the door, with air of lordly pride,
The grinning shop assistant said, `Excuse me, can you ride?'
`See, here, young man,' said Mulga Bill, `from Walgett to the sea,
From Conroy's Gap to Castlereagh, there's none can ride like me.
I'm good all round at everything, as everybody knows,
Although I'm not the one to talk -- I HATE a man that blows.
But riding is my special gift, my chiefest, sole delight;
Just ask a wild duck can it swim, a wild cat can it fight.
There's nothing clothed in hair or hide, or built of flesh or steel,
There's nothing walks or jumps, or runs, on axle, hoof, or wheel,
But what I'll sit, while hide will hold and girths and straps are tight:
I'll ride this here two-wheeled concern right straight away at sight.'

'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that sought his own abode,
That perched above the Dead Man's Creek, beside the mountain road.
He turned the cycle down the hill and mounted for the fray,
But ere he'd gone a dozen yards it bolted clean away.
It left the track, and through the trees, just like a silver streak,
It whistled down the awful slope, towards the Dead Man's Creek.
It shaved a stump by half an inch, it dodged a big white-box:
The very wallaroos in fright went scrambling up the rocks,
The wombats hiding in their caves dug deeper underground,
As Mulga Bill, as white as chalk, sat tight to every bound.
It struck a stone and gave a spring that cleared a fallen tree,
It raced beside a precipice as close as close could be;
And then as Mulga Bill let out one last despairing shriek
It made a leap of twenty feet into the Dead Man's Creek.

'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that slowly swam ashore:
He said, `I've had some narrer shaves and lively rides before;
I've rode a wild bull round a yard to win a five pound bet,
But this was the most awful ride that I've encountered yet.
I'll give that two-wheeled outlaw best; it's shaken all my nerve
To feel it whistle through the air and plunge and buck and swerve.
It's safe at rest in Dead Man's Creek, we'll leave it lying still;
A horse's back is good enough henceforth for Mulga Bill.'

Banjo Patterson (Andrew Barton "Banjo" Paterson 1986-1941) is one of Australia's most celebrated bush poets. Mulga Bill's Bicycle is not one of his most well-known poems (he also wrote "Waltzing Matlida" and "Clancy of the Overflow") but Mulga Bill's Bycle is perhaps my favourite. I remember reading the book as a child and falling in love with the rhythm of the poem and finding the idea of pompous "Mulga Bill" falling off his bike into a creek hilarious. I'm not sure where that book has gone (perhaps I even borrowed it from the school library?), but I'm thinking that perhaps I should have a look for it on ebay.

yup, still winter

 It's snowing again.  The rivers and canals are frozen.  No signs of Spring... yet.  But we surely must be closer to Spring than we were, say, yesterday.



Berlinale starts tomorrow.  I've been quietly scanning the programme trying to work out what I should see. Definitely on the list is this:

Bran Nue Dae is playing, as a once off, on Sunday.  Tickets go on sale tomorrow at 10am and you can be sure that I'll be in the (internet) line waiting.
I'm also thinking about;
In the Air (USA 2009) 
A Perm (Korea, 2009)
Derby (Romania, 2010) 
Derby is on the top of my list - here's what Berlinale says:

"Mircea has a 15 year old daughter whose boyfriend is invited to dine with the family. He arrives earlier and they go to her bedroom. While watching TV, Mircea can hear his daughter moaning from her room. They start dinner and Mircea finds out that the boyfriend supports a different football team."

Makes me giggle just thinking about it - eastern european, budget movie with everything unravelling over Football.  

I think my favourite thing about International Film Festivals is that you never really know what your going to get.  I remember sitting through one film where the only thing that was said was 'Bonjour' for the whole 90 minutes.  It was slow, it was strange, but it definitely made me think.  What are your 'film festival' favourites?



As far as proposals go, Mr Darcy's first one was really pretty awful.  

(2005 BBC Version) "In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you. In declaring myself thus I’m fully aware that I will be going expressly against the wishes of my family, my friends, and, I hardly need add, my own better judgement. The relative situation of our families is such that any alliance between us must be regarded as a highly reprehensible connection. Indeed, as a rational man I cannot but regard it as such myself, but it cannot be helped."

But still - there is something so wonderfully romantic about such a pathetic attempt at declaring his love for the wonderful Miss Elizabeth Bennett!  While daydreaming about all the wonderful things that I could buy on Etsy last week, I stumbled across Brookish's shop.  Mr Darcy's proposal on your coffee mug, or tea towel.  Almost too much for a Pride and Prejudice lover to bear!


sneak peak

In what truly seems like 'forever' ago (but was really only last week) I posted about my love of wall stickers and how I had bought some for our bathroom window from Janey Macpress's etsy shop.  Well here's a sneak peak - for the full photo you'll have to wait.  Matthias is away this week and it hardly seems fair that you lot should it before him... 

You can actually see how close the next apartment is in this picture.  There's a tree between us, and in summer privacy will be assured but, in winter, well, not so much!  Hopefully this will do the trick...

And it just so happened that today was the perfect day to get, not just one but two packages (my long-awaited mobile also arrive - hurrah!)  You see, Berlin's ice finally caught up with me and I slipped quite badly at lunch today and am now nursing a very sore finger (twice it's normal size and blue) plus an increasingly painful wrist.  But grumpy-pants immediately disappeared when she discovered two packages at her door.  Yeah for packages and snailmail!


playing with shadows at the pergamon museum

This weekend I bought the annual pass to the Staadtliche Museen zu Berlin (Berlin's State Museums).  For 80 euro it gives me full access to the 17 state-owned Museums, including all of the museum's on Museuminsel.  Given that entrance to most of these museum's costs around 10 euro a visit, I think this is a pretty good deal and I'm hoping to take full advantage of being able to pop in and out of the museums as I like.  

As much as I love visiting museum's I always find myself waning in attention a little, especially when it involves looking at ancient greek and roman art.  So with audioguide in hand and camera at the ready I set myself the task of playing with the light and shadows as I wandered around learning about the ancient city of Pergamon and all its relics.
Reflections in the pool
Light and Dark
reflections of war
Cupid sleeping
looking through the glass
three wise men