fledge capable of flying, from Middle English flegge, from Old English -flycge; akin to Old High German flucki capable of flying,
Old English flEogan to fly -- more at FLY
intransitive verb, of a young bird : to acquire the feathers necessary for flight or independent activity

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I'm thankful! How 'bout you?

Happy Thanksgiving! Love to you all!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

"Once upon a time..."

There are many "So, I began to sew..." stories being posted. They are very inspirational to read. As soon as the stories come to the part of "One day, I found Farbenmix..." I find amazing how similar these stories are to my sewing story. It goes something like this for a lot of us: "And then I found klickundblick. And since then my sewing machine has been going non-stop. And since then, I've made many, many new friends. And since then, sewing has become more colorful, more joyful and more fun. Since then, sewing has become a part of my life."

Sewing is pretty deep in my DNA, as my mother always sewed me wonderful clothes, all the way through college. But I'd like to jump ahead and show you my first sewing project for one of my children.

I made this little overall thing that Anna is wearing while I was pregnant with Jack. I'll tell you a few things I learned from this first sewing project.

The first thing I learned about sewing for babies is that babies are small. Yep, pretty darn little creatures these babies are. This overall thing was huge -- just huge -- compared to my tiny baby boy. Jack wouldn't fit this overall until he was well into his twos. 

The second thing I learned about sewing for kids is that, big white appliqués across the front and across the bum are a good idea -- not. (There is a back side to that bunny on the back of the overalls. And yes, that is a bunny. A stylized bunny. Yes, it is. Yes, it is. And, yes, it is cute. In a stylized bunny way, cute. Not hideous. Cute.) Really, colors that conceal apple sauce and blueberry yoghurt and grass and dirt are better choices. Really. 

The third thing I learned about sewing for babies is that sewing is too expensive. Frankly, I'd never heard of JoAnn's and picked up this navy cotton percale for a measly $16 a yard. Something about it being from Italy or something...And the buttons are shell, so named as I shelled out about $5 apiece for the large ones. All in all, about $50 in supplies. For just that? Great.

And the fourth thing I learned was that I couldn't rely on sewing patterns. The neck was too large, the body too wide...I just never really liked the way this thing fit. Like a sack. Just weird. Just plain weird.  

In summary, sewing for kids would be expensive, ill-fitting and just weird, somehow. I sewed no more. Jack made it through toddlerdom entirely in GAP overalls and t-shirts, as did Anna, for the most part.

And then one day on Ebay, I came across Farbenmix. And then I clicked onto klickundblick.de. My. Chin. Hit. The. Floor. And despite the weird bunny overall experience, I tried a bit of sewing again, this time without patterns. And my story from that point on is about the same as everybody else's. Sabine welcomed me into the forum and said some of the nicest things about the clothes I had made. Blew me away. Sabine began publishing a few of her own patterns. I was blown away again at how nicely DORTJE fit. Blew me away. At one point, when I messed around with bias cuts and made a skirt, Sabine offered to make a pattern of it. Blew me away again. I never would have moved beyond that weird bunny overall thing without Sabine Pollehn. I never would have made these friends. I never would have come out of my shell this way. And since then my sewing machine has been going non-stop. And since then, I've made many, many new friends. And since then, sewing has become more colorful, more joyful and more fun. Sewing has become a part of my life.

I have also since learned to sew to size. I have since learned that while much of the fabric I buy may still be $16 a yard, I can find good plain navy fabric for much, much less. And I've also since learned that handmade clothes can not only not be weird, they can be spectacular, a celebration, in fact.

I'll have more to say on that soon. 

But for now, I'd love to hear your "So, I began to sew" story. If you post it, I'd love to link it.

Es gehen die "Und so fing ich zum Nähen an"-Geschichten in die Blogs herum. Sie sind wirklich inspirierend. Sobald die Geschichten zu dem Teil kommen-- "Und eines Tages stosste ich auf Farbenmix..." --finde ich's fazinierend wie ähnlich meine Story zu all den anderen Stories ist. Die Geschichten gehen in etwa so: "Und dann kam ich auf klickundblick.de. Und seitdem steht meine Nähmaschine nicht stil. Und seitdem habe ich nette, nette, bedeutungsvolle Freundschaften geknüpft. Und seitdem ist mein Nähen bunter, fröhlicher, lustiger geworden. Das Nähen ist zum Teil meines Lebens geworden."

Das Nähen steckt bei mir ziemlich tief im DNS drin, denn meine Mutter nähte mir wundervolle Sachen bis ins Uni-Alter. Aber ich möchte in meiner Story ein wenig vorspringen und auf mein erstes Projekt für meine Kinder kommen.

Das Ding, das Anna trägt, habe ich während meiner Schwangerschaft mit Jack genäht. Aus diesem Projekt habe ich einiges gelernt. Erstens habe ich gelernt das Säuglinge recht klein sind. Winzige Wesen sind diese Babies in wirklichkeit. Diese Latzhose war riesig. Jack könnte diese erst mit zwei Jahren tragen.

Als zweites habe ich gelernt, große weißen Applikationen vorne am Bauch und hinten am Po gute Ideen nicht sind. (Auf dem Latzhoserücken ist nochmals das Häschen von hinten. Doch, ist ein Hase. Ein stilisierter Hase. Doch. Und ist süß. Doch. Nicht schrecklich. Nein, süß). Nö, Apfelmußflecken, Blaubeerflecken, Grasflecken, Weiss-woher-nicht-Flecken sind magnetisch angezogen worden.

Drittens habe ich gelernt wie teuer das Nähen ist. Damals kannte ich den großen Stoff-Discounter nicht und dieser Baumwollstoff hier kostete schlappe $16 pro Yard. Irgend etwas hatte die Verkäuferin von "aus Italien" erzählt. Und die Knöpfe sind aus Muschel und ich habe für die großen je $5 berappt. Na, wunderbar. $50 für das bißchen Stoff und Knöpfe?

Viertens habe ich gelernt, daß ich mich nicht auf die Schnittmuster für Kinder verlassen könnte. Der Halsausschnitt ist zu groß. Das Ding insgesamt zu weit. Wie ein Sack. Alles merkwürdig. 

Ergo, das Nähen für meine Kids wäre teuer, die Sachen würden nicht passen und das ganze wäre meiner Bemühungen nicht wert. Jack verbrachte seine Kleinkindzeit ausschließlich in GAP Latzhosen und Anna beinahe auch.

Und dann eines Tages stosste ich auf Sabine Pollehn und klickundblick.de. Und meine Story geht ab da fast genauso wie Euere. Ich habe ein wenig das Nähen wieder angefasst (trotz Hasenhose-Disaster und diesmal ohne Schnittmuster, danke schön). Und stellte ein paar Photos bei klickundblick ein. Sabine schenkte mir herzhafte Komplimente und mir Mut anderes zu probieren. Irgendwann stellte ich einen bestimmten Rock in die Galerie ein. Dann bat Sabine an, daraus einen Schnittmuster zu erstellen. Und seitdem steht meine Nähmaschine nicht stil. Und seitdem habe ich nette, nette, bedeutungsvolle Freundschaften geknüpft. Und seitdem ist mein Nähen bunter, fröhlicher, lustiger geworden. Das Nähen ist zum Teil meines Lebens geworden.

Hier hat Chris eine Linkliste der Geschichten aufgestellt.

Nov. 24th: Sara tells us her "So, I began to sew..." And do not miss clicking through her flickr! Tie dye ta die for! She must have some sort of rainbow catching contraption. Actually, in an earlier post, she explains something about dyes and dye families. But I think there is also some kind of fairy magic involved. That's my suspicion.

Nov. 25th: Yvonne tells us her story. She only started sewing in her 30s and now runs one of the loveliest online fabric shops around. The whole ten yards (those ten yards being gorgeous European fabric). She even creates her own velour iron-ons.

Nov. 29th: Eileen tells us how she overcame her fear of German patterns, German online ordering and German airmail to make her first GREETJE. I love that fuzzy material in the middle! No two GREETJEs are ever alike. Thank you, Eileen!

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Not much to say today. Just saw some pretty fabrics. Pretty yukata. Pretty obi. 

Friday, November 21, 2008

I have a tax question...

I've received some gifts and with these gifts, I think I have been elevated to the status of Super Rich.

I've received things like hand-crocheted ice cream cones. And special barbeque sauce from a fan. And, when Anna needed a dirndl for International Day at school, no sooner said than done. And look how sweet she looks.

And also Nana's bridge pad. Nana was a Long Island beauty queen and she left her granddaughter her Bernina. And her granddaughter sews my patterns and this granddaughter wrote me this note.

So, you see the great wealth I possess?

I'm looking though the tax code, but I'm not finding a place to declare this kind of intrinsic value. Which is good, because I know I would owe big time. And I am also fortunate that I don't need to find a shelter on some distant tropical island or tiny mountain country for my wealth (although Anna would fit right in in Liechtenstein, don't you think?). And I can increase this wealth tenfold by giving it away.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Das macht glücklich!

Bei DaWanda.

Ich habe früher in Celle gewohnt und kenne Hannover dementsprechend gut. Diese Idee macht glücklich, finde ich.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Thank you, Farbenmix, for four years of color and creativity

Looking forward to many, many more!

Happy Birthday!


There are a few wildfires in the surrounding areas (our family faces no danger). But look at this layer of smoke. This is the middle of the day. The sky would otherwise be perfectly blue, cloudless. That ribbon of bright white on the horizon is the daylight.

Strange day.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I'm curious: A hypothetical...

So, let's say you are on a sinking ship and you only have time to grab a handful of sewing tools. And let's just say that your ship is going down within swimming distance of Pfaff Island in the Bernina Archipelago, first discovered by the Husqvarna Vikings and this is where all the sewing machines grow. So you are covered as far as having a machine. And there's fabric and thread, no worries.

Which tools would you grab?

I'd take those up there: Cutting mat and large and small rotary cutters (yes, I can swim with a big cutting mat--it's my hypothetical, so just go with it). Knife-type seam ripper. Scissor-like seam ripper. Sharp snippers. Marking tools. Long pins and really thin and sharp short pins (I like these ones with glass heads: I think they are for quilting). And some WonderTape. And two safety pins. I can survive with just that.

And if I lost the scissor-like seam ripper in a battle with a hungry shark, I'd be okay with that. Same with the marking tools.

Seam gage? Got one, never use it. Turning tools? All worthless. And there's this thing. I don't know what it is or what it does. And I've still sewn many things.

So, what are your must-haves? Am I missing something?

Oh! The measuring tape! I totally spaced that. Left it on the ship. Darn it. Measure thrice, cut once!

Bin neugierig: Hypothetisch bist du auf einem sinkenden Schiff und Zeit hast du um nur ein Handvoll Nähwerkzeug mitzunehmen. Das Schiff sinkt zufälligerweise keine 50 Meter vom Insel Pfaff im Bernina-Archipel von den Husqvarna-Wikingern erst entdeckt worden und dort wachsen die Nähmaschinen. Insofern hast du dort genug Nähmaschinen. Und Stoff und Nähfaden sowieso.

Aber welches Nähzeug nimmst du mit? Ich könnte mit der Schneidematte (ja, ich kann mit einer großen Schneidematte schwimmen: Ist meine hypotethische Frage, also akzeptierst's einfach, gell'?), Rollschneider groß und klein, Messernahttrenner, Scherennahttrenner, Markierstiften, langen und kurzen Stechnadeln, scharfter Fadenschere, einem paar Sicherheitsnadel und WonderTape überleben. Und wenn der Scherennahttrenner beim Kampf mit dem Haifisch verloren geht, ist nicht schlimm. 

Also: Was sind deine Must-Haves? Habe ich etwas vergessen?

Ach! Das Meßband! Habe ich total verschlampt. Am Schiff vergessen. Dreimal messen, einmal zuschneiden!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Veterans' Day was declared a holiday in November 1919 by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, one year to the day that the guns and grenades fell silent. It was originally called Armistice Day. "Armistice" is derived from a couple of Latin words, "arma" and "statium", and basically means an end to fighting. On November 11, 1918, at 11:11 a.m., fighting stopped on the front lines in Belgium between the Allied forces and the German troops. It just stopped.

This is how one survivor, Dr. George L. Barry, who at the time was a 28-year-old surgeon in the 91st Division of the U.S. Army, which on the eve of Nov. 11, 1918, was ordered to the front for a possible move against the Germans, recalled the day:

"Dear Al, This day will go down in history, for at this hour, French time, all hostilities ceased."

Nobody fired a rifle. Nobody lobbed a grenade. Nobody sent off a mortar round.

Maybe it was quiet.

Maybe you could hear the young men in the opposing trenches talking.

The war was over. 20 million casualties, 40 million civilian and military deaths by some of the very gruesomest methods devised. Over. Done with. This was the war that would surely, surely end all wars. Let's go home.

It is probably not a coincidence that 11/11, 11:11 was chosen to stop fighting. Yes, Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated two days earlier, taking with him once and for all the fashion of handle-bar mustaches. But 11/11, 11:11 happens to be the exact moment in that part of Europe, when preparations for Carnivale/Karnival/Fasching/Fastnacht, the pre-Lent time of celebration which culminates on Ash Wednesday, may begin. Only once the clock strikes that eleventh minute past the eleventh hour on this eleventh day of the elventh month, may you begin working on your costume or meet with your Carnivale club or prepare your float for the parade. Not one minute earlier.

The week of Carnivale in Europe, especially in Germany, has another function. It is a week when traditions and routines and biases and conventions are turned on their head. And in doing so, perhaps those traditions, routines, biases and conventions are also put into question. During that week, the formal "Sie" form of address is tossed aside and everyone is suddenly "du", a form normally reserved for only family and close friends. Other times of the year, the move from "Sie" to "du" can almost become an unwritten adoption agreement when you drink a shot of schnapps together with arms linked, called a "Bruderschaft" ("brotherhood"). During Fasching, you may call your boss by his first name, address your grumpy old neighbor like he was your high school chum, perfect strangers, and so forth and so on. This is a big deal: You simply do not call someone by their first name. During my yuppie years, when I was in meetings with Germans and Americans and the languages switched between German and English, while speaking German, the German managers would address each other with their honorific, Herr This, Dr. That, Frau Professor Doktor This and That. And when these same individuals switched to English, they would call those same colleagues Horst, Herman und Hildegardt. Don't ask me: It's a German thing. During Fasching, you are also supposed to lay aside your quarrels and squabbles, at least for that week. Those stodgy Lutherans tossed aside Carnival, because the celebrations do have pagan, pre-Christian origins. Martin Luther also enjoyed a good party any time of the year. Whatever the origins, Christian, pagan or otherwise, I think at some level the people would follow the moon during the coldest times, would look to their fellow villagers and say, well, it's the dead of winter. It's cold and it's difficult. If we're going to make it to spring, we'd better try and get along, at least for a little while.

I can imagine that the French, Belgians and Germans on that battlefield, young, young men who likely hadn't shaved more than a couple of years, were thinking this is really horrible, really difficult. Maybe we can toss these guns and this mustard gas aside. Maybe we can turn convention and prejudice and ambition and blind patriotism and violence on its head. Maybe this minute can be the beginning of the end. Maybe by Carnivale we enemies can be friends. Or maybe not quite friends, but we'll drink a beer together. Maybe we will be able to forgive.

Nic asked us to post something for which we are grateful. My list is long, long, long, long. But I'm just going to just mention forgiveness: for when I have been forgiven, for my own ability to forgive (not perfect, but I'm working on it) and for forgiveness in general. Forgiveness is magic. Really. Forgiveness stopped all war in most of Europe. Forgiveness is a conscious action and must be done with no strings attached. Forgiveness releases the forgiver of the huge burden of resentment and revenge. Ever had that feeling? You just say, "I'm forgiving you" and you feel like a weight has been lifted? "Eye for an eye?" Why that? Now we're both half blind. Forgiveness is freedom, I think.

The Great War soon was rechristened World War I. The war did not end all wars. But it did end. It appears that the military involvement in Iraq has an end almost in sight. Way off, and kind of hazy, but there is an end. I want to wish the families with members of the military a beautiful Veterans' Day. 

Monday, November 10, 2008

Boys will be.

Boys will be boyz.

And still be boys.

Growing up, I liked boys. Boy, did I like boys. And not just like-like, but I really liked their puppy-dog ways. Shirts untucked and stuffing your whole sandwich in your mouth and table top football and burping contests. No, I never wanted to do those things. Yuck. Boys were yucky. But that unabashed yuckiness was fascinating. And frightening. The nerve. Where did they get the nerve? No, really: Where did they get it? I was extremely shy around boys. Anybody or anything that had the nerve to be that--that--that much like a boy must know a secret that allows them to be that way. I wanted to know the secret.

I am now a mother to a boy. I have done my reading, now. The secret, physiologically, has something to do fewer connections between the right and left halves of the brain than girls have. So, in theory, boys are not nervier. Their brains just haven't bounced the message back and forth enough to know what they are doing is silly, socially awkward or even dangerous. And, in the evolutionary scheme of things, there is good reason to not think everything through completely when in spear-throwing distance of a three-ton mastodon. Really, you just need to throw the spear and not think too hard and long on those six-foot-long tusks or if your loin cloth makes your butt look big. 

Today, in practice, in Los Angeles, when several of these 10-and-11-year-old boy creatures are invited to a birthday celebration, it can mean riding around in a stretch Hummer limo to wherever they want to go (like I said: Los Angeles). After rollin' like rock stars, drinking cola from champagne flutes and bustin' out with the dance moves, where do boyz wanna go? They want to go to the park to climb rocks and feed the ducks.

"Let's feed the ducks!"

"YEAH! Let's go feed the ducks!"

How long will this last? This equal fascination with limousines and ducks? I suppose soon enough girls will surpass ducks on the list of interests. And I kind of hope "been there, done that" applies to stretch limousines sooner rather than later.

I still don't know where boys get the nerve. But I'm glad they have it.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Just too cool!

Something somebody in Japan thought up. As far as I can tell. Pretty cool, eh?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I've been wrong.

In my life, I've been very wrong.

When I was a teenager, I knew a black exchange student from South Africa, who was living under Apartheid. Her dream was to study medicine and become a pediatrician in her village.

When I was a teenager I met a kid in Berlin, when it was East Berlin. His dream was to someday go to Paris.

At the time, I thought these kids' dreams would be impossible to realize.

I was wrong.

Thank God.

As an adult, I assumed racism was stronger than reason. I thought a black person would never be elected to the Oval Office. As an adult, I assumed xenophobia was stronger than sense. I thought a man with foreign heritage and having lived in a Muslim culture would never hold the highest office in the land.

As of this minute, the election results of only three states are in, but I think I'm wrong again.

What a great day and age I live in.

I also think our habits and ambitions will destroy our environment beyond repair.

I also think sexism is too deeply engrained in our minds for men and women to view each other as equals.

I think status quo, not peace, is the best possible outcome in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

On these and many other points, I'm looking forward to being wrong yet again.

While my head may think one thing, my heart will dream another. And with that, I will borrow a line from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:
"I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream."


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Trick or...whatever...

There were years when my mom made my Halloween costume, per my exact wishes, and there were years that I was directed to the closets to create some sort of costume out of whatever I found in there.
We went with Plan B this year.

My boy dressed himself in bubble wrap and called himself Pop Rocks.

I was the Queen Bee (Honey, it's not easy being queen).

And a lesson in the economic theory of value, namely willingness to pay: One Heath Bar has a market value of one Lemon Heads, one Twizzler, one Sour Patch and one Whoppers. Admittedly, it is a very small market, just Jack and Anna, but a market nonetheless. And Anna drives a very hard bargain.


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