Saturday, November 30, 2013

I Have a New Talent






I honestly forgot how much work is involved with having a new kitten.  Keeping Vesper busy and out of my knitting is (almost) a full time job.  


Vesper thinking she's so smart sleeping on my knitting
instructions ... I let her sleep, undisturbed, while I knitted!

Her favorite toy is a stick with feathers attached at the end.  She loves them so much that within a several days of receiving her new favorite toy, she has managed to shred it and of course, she doesn’t clean up the feathers.  Oh no, she just looks at you like this:  You’re going to clean that up before The Shaker comes home and sees what I’ve done, right?   So instead of going back to the pet shop to stock up on “stick feather toys,” I went to my local craft store and pick up some “cat toy” supplies.

So here it is:  feathers, thread used for hand quilting, some pom-poms and my favorite product: duct tape …


And just added Vesper’s “repertoireof games:  Acting like Farmer Ted from Sixteen Candles


But I can’t just stop there with Farmer Ted … I just have to slip this is in as one of my favorite movie clips of all time - the part after Farmer Ted comes out from under the table to make Jake a martini.

Cheers!
The Martini Knitter



Thursday, November 28, 2013

My Answer Is, I Am Thankful for the Kindness of Friends


I am not sure I would say I am good at relocating. I am always excited about the new destination it’s the actual move that I don’t look forward to.  Just ask The Shaker.  My constant frustration after setting up a new house is this:  I can see that gadget that I am looking for in the old house and, now in the new house I can’t remember where I put it!  He knows the drill. But it’s my friends that always see me through this transition;  and for me this has become so clear in my life: You really find out who your friends are when you do this kind of move – leave the country and set up house in another part of the world.

In some ways, another relocation move has occurred in my life where I physically didn’t do the move but my daughter did: the relocation of Gin back to the United States to attend university. The kindness that my friends have shown me during this transition has been so heart warming that words for me, just can’t be express my gratitude enough.  And for this, on this Thanksgiving Day, I am truly thankful and blessed to have friends like them in my life.  And when these things happen, I must knit and quilt. 


When we told our friends that Gin was returning to the US to continue here education, the warmth that poured from our friends there was very kind.  Friends asked to be Gin’s emergency contact for the university.  One of those friends has been moved to the bottom of her “emergency” list but only while she nurses her new baby girl.

Our friend that we refer to as Lisa-Jean and her wonderful husband have just had their 5th child and I wouldn’t say final one either … with Lisa-Jean you just never know. This woman is one of the most calmest, spiritually rooted women I know and I am always so blessed to call her my friend.

This is how Lisa-Jean rolls in her daily life and this is just when she just had 3 children and I don’t think that her son was 1 years old when we learned that we would be moving to The Netherlands.  The move from North Carolina to The Netherlands happened relatively fast once we found a place to live there.  We returned home from the housing-scouting trip to realize that Vermouth’s birthday was in less than 6 days.  I had nothing planned.  

But I pulled it off and Vermouth was none the wiser until a few years ago when I was telling some friends here about the kindness of our Southern friend, Lisa-Jean.

I kept the birthday simple.  I booked a “paint your own pottery” place for after school and had Vermouth pick out her cake from the local grocery store. Vermouth was so excited because I think I usually made their birthday cakes; nothing fancy, just your typical round cake. But she was excited because this was a special cake with 3 Bratz dolls striking a pose on top of the cake.  Everything went smoothly without any hiccups.

I went to the grocery store to pick up the cake on the way to pick up the girls from school.  I was informed when I got to the counter that they didn’t have the order.  Now let me say this, I remember the girl who took my order: she was one of those overly-bored-teenagers that could careless that by not putting my cake order into the “cake order book” that she would be ruining an 8 year’s old birthday.  So I’m at the counter and the lady informs me that my cake has not been ordered.  Now I got about 1 hour until the birthday party and I still had a 40-minute drive to go and pick up the girls from school and then another 20-minute drive to the party location.  Just so you know, we lived “out in the country” in North Carolina and we drove everywhere. I panicked.  Plain and simple.  But I didn’t yell nor did I flip out.  I was just flat out stunned. I am thankful that the bakery manager was there and heard me say, “Did I hear you correctly: you lost my cake order?”  Because I had no other options – Vermouth was expecting a Bratz doll cake.  The manager came over asked me the usual questions – when did I order it? What time of day and which day? Do you remember who the girl was who took my order? You know, the usual questions that a manager would ask.  I remember starting to answer and then starting to cry. No sound was coming from me, just the steady stream of tears down my face.  Well, this manager was on it – I think she was a mother too.  She said that she could have the cake ready in less than 30 minutes could I come back or could I have a friend pick it up?  Well I thought of Lisa-Jean because she lived the closest to this grocery store.  

So I call up Lisa-Jean and by this point I am crying or more like sobs because by this point I am completely freaking out (the move was getting to me).  And Lisa-Jean in all of her Southern calmness says to me - when reading this, put in your mind the sweetest Southern accent imaginable and you’ll have Lisa-Jean’s voice – “Sarah, honey, why are you crying?”

My response was this, “Because they lost Vermouth’s cake and she was so excited about this cake and I just wanted one nice day for her in all of this melee.”

Again with the nicest, calmest Southern voice, “Now Sarah you just go and pick up those sweet sweet babies of yours from school and I will come and pick up that cake for you. Vermouth will never know that her cake was lost.”

I am thinking that I was asking her way too much of her because I think that out of the 3 children at the time, one was in school and 2 were at home – one being a baby.  She would have to come to the grocery store and get both of her children out of the car and go into the store just to pick up the cake.  She did.  And to this day Vermouth still has those 3 Bratz dolls from her cake. I will never let her throw them out.

Now all of Lisa-Jean’s children have a hand-made quilt from me.  And Lisa-Jean is one of those people who absolutely treasure anything that is heirloom quality.  Furthermore, she uses them.  None of this: “Oh this is so beautiful; I just can’t possibly use it.”

Made with love using Aunt Gracie fabrics
So of course, when I spoke to her, I told her I would be popping something in the mail to her.  She was so excited.  But what Lisa-Jean doesn’t know, is that I made something extra for her this time:  I knitted my first baby hat and cardigan set.  The Shaker and I chose red because Lisa-Jean and her husband have never found out the sex of their children.  So we thought it would be nice to have a little red cardigan set representing Switzerland for the new baby.  Because knowing Lisa-Jean she will tell this new baby, about the red sweater was knitted and flown all the way from the Europe just for her. 


To Lisa-Jean, you are one of most kindness, sincerest people in my life and for this, I will I never be able to express my gratitude that you have shown me, my family and “my sweet sweet babies.” I will always quilt and knit for you and your family!

With All my love,
The Martini Knitter

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tuesday's Tin(s) of the Week


According to Olive, I gotta get my priorities in order … ok, she didn’t say quite like that but …

I have made my exercising the priority almost over everything else. As I say, “I’m on a roll, baby!” But is that really an excuse?  My day usually looks like this: Wake up, have a little coffee, talk to The Shaker and Vermouth before they leave the house and then either swim or head to the gym.  Then it’s whatever scheduled for the day: possibly coffee with friends or lunch and then it’s knitting in the afternoon. I can’t complain; I’m happy.

Which brings me to Tin of the Week.  Which I’m guessing has “taken off” as I stumbled across a booth at Herbst Messe here in Basel a few weeks ago.   I feel that my idea, which really isn’t trademarked, has been stolen and turned into capital gain!  This lady’s sold only tins.  I kept trying to take pictures discretely but she kept giving me “the eye.” But she never called me out on it, because I thought if she did, I would have to say in a very haughty voice, “You stole my idea!” Like that would have worked … She had the usual suspects in large Kellogg’s Corn Flake tins, Coke Cola tins any even Lackerli Huus tins, I guess from overstocks from last year’s Christmas selections – minus the Basler Lackerli cookies contained inside. 

So this week’s Tin of the Week is many tins of the week …



Cheers!
The Martini Knitter