Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Grace and Truth

This was a little something I made to send off to Jodie of everything vintage. This blog post has been on hold until I saw she got it and opened it. And then I had to get around to remembering to post it :)


Yes, it's that Lillian Russell image from Mary of Green Paper again. My first attempt at making something for Jodie became this (and ended up as a gift for my sister-in-law for Christmas) and I decided those weren't really her colors, so I tried again.


I played with a bunch of different titles but eventually came up with "Grace and Truth". I spent over an hour auditioning various pieces: buttons, pearls and what have you -- so much fun!

It's also the first piece I've made that I've signed. (Admittedly on the back). Jodie, I hope you liked it!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Want to play?

I am inspired by Schloss Neuschwanstein.

King Ludwig II used the castle to escape to a place where he could dream of being the absolute monarch he always wanted to be (it was a constitutional monarchy by this point). He did this by having a series of meditations or reminders in each room about purity: being pure enough to be worthy or acceptable to God. His ideal was the swan knight or Lohengrin.

Here's a detail of a painting from an old hand-colored postcard (found on Wikimedia Commons):


Other examples of the paintings are here at the castle's official website. (Take the tour and see more) Here's one with a closeup of one of the wall paintings. Scroll down 5 images for a detail of the throne room -- look at the borders and the floor!

If you have ever visited Neuschwanstein you know that none of those photos even come close to do it justice, to seeing it up close. If you haven't, I hope you understand what I'm getting at.

Leanne, what's your point?

I'd like to do an altered book with some of you. Ludwig used beautiful images to inspire him and affirm what he longed to be. How about each of us either look at what we think keeps us from God (you know, even though we might intellectually know that nothing does), or perhaps a long-held aspiration, an impossible dream even, and make that the theme of our book.

As we pass it around we create a beautiful, detailed spread, that is not busy, but calming, and inspires us to reach for the impossible--or what has always been in our grasp if we'd just had eyes to see it right there.

My initial suggestion is that we do a two page spread (facing pages) using the Romantic imagery of the courtly medieval era. There are plenty of Victorian era (and earlier) paintings to inspire us. The pages would be of an ornate quality, a place to put a hidden (optional) meditation on what you feel is a barrier between you and God (or your impossible dream), using the image as a basis for that meditation. So not only do you receive the artist's hope for you in achieving the dream or removing obstacles to God, but you have a place to respond to it.

Also, Ludwig II had a liet-motif (ok, he had a few): an image that repeats again and again in the art and sculpture of this castle. For him it was the swan. What would be yours?

One more rule: I must either know you through actually meeting you, hanging out with you in the blogging world, or such a friend vouches for you because they want you to play too.

(another Wikimedia Commons image: this from the Library of Congress. Isn't it pretty?)

Who is in? Am planning to start this in earnest at the beginning of February, so we have the month of January to find a book and our particular theme.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

the last full day in Munich....

Where we did the church tour of the inner city. Most of the churches were actually closed, something I didn't factor on: one was for a wedding, a nun was cleaning another, and I think we just might've been too late in the afternoon for a third. Not all of them were closed, however.

This is St. Anna's, where a wedding looked to be either in progress or about to start. There were caterers at the foot of the steps.


And one more shot of a Christmas market -- this is the lights going into the one at Marienplatz.

Now I think I'll hold off my absolute last post about Munich until after Christmas. So happy holidays all!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas baking update #4

Springerle got scratched. I pulled the dough out of the fridge to roll flat and it crumbled. Crumbled! #^$#%$

Made a second batch of peanut butter fudge, although I think I forgot to add salt. It tastes different, but then I also used some low-fat p.b. Second batch of Milky Way Delight in progress. Both so that we have Christmas goodies on the actual Christmas.

Made pumpkin whoopie pies today and um, rather enjoyed sitting in front of the tv and eating the last of the ginger-specked cream cheese frosting. Mmmm.

And so I am waiting for the last ingredient to arrive for the brandied fruit mince tarts so it can have some time to party with the brandy before I make them Christmas Eve. I was hoping it would come today, but its made it as far as my post office so maybe tomorrow...

And that's it. Aside from the tarts I am done!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Munich, day 6, and my favorite....

I have tons of photos from this day, and I was gonna share them all, but surely you're tired of all this Munich stuff by now and want to hear how my Christmas baking is going, or something.

Did you guess what my favorite place is?


Except we saw it in the snow. We got a nice sunny day for the bus tour day trip. Here's a picture of it from the bus. I kinda like how I managed to make the tree look like a swirly frame for the castle. Pure accident, I assure you. The bus was not really slowing down for us to take pictures.


And it was a good 35 minute slog up a hill that got steeper as we went in 24 deg Fahrenheit (approx) weather. (That's -6 for the Celcius folk.)

This is in the courtyard before our walking tour, which involved many many curving stairs, began.


I fell in love with the effect of light in the Bavarian Alps. Here's one that occurred before we made the last part of the trek to the gatehouse.


And here's the delicate light of the sunset as we were walking back down the hill....

OK, I lied, there will be two more posts on Munich and then we're done. Really.

Well, sort of. As you will see.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

#reverb10 and baking update

I am all caught up with the #reverb10 daily prompts. Can't wait to see what tomorrow's is.

Baking on the other hand. It's been interesting this year, to say the least. For example, even though I have made springerle before, this time the dough just crumbled when I tried to roll it. So, no springerle this year....

The lebkuchen got made, as did the peanut butter fudge (the latter is almost gone, so I'm making another batch of it and the Milky Way Delight tomorrow). Haven't tried it (the lebkuchen) yet. It's supposed to be good 2-3 days after making, so I'm making myself wait.

I'm hoping the candied peel arrives from King Arthur Flour tomorrow so it has a chance to hang out with the brandy before I make the brandied fruit mince tarts. That happens on Friday morning.

Tomorrow, I unveil my favorite part of my trip to Munich/Bavaria....

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Rebecca's Birthday Blog Party


For her birthday party, Rebecca Ersfield wanted us to share something special we'd made for someone (not ourselves). Here are two of mine:

I made this for a friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer. It's one of my "earlier works". Alcohol ink with beads, bird and plastic flowers embedded in wax.


I made this for my Nana when she was transferred to a nursing home. I have a couple of other beading projects in the works, but haven't gotten around to them. The milagros are significant to what was going on with her.

Happy Birthday, Rebecca! (I prewrote this post, so I will add the link to her birthday blog party as soon as I see it!)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Munich, the 5th Day

day 5... we went to the Residenz, the former home of Bavarian royalty.

First though a picture of the Old Town Hall which is right next to the New Town Hall in Marienplatz. It looks newer because it was destroyed during WWII and they rebuilt it. A lot of churches were badly damaged during the war and most of them appear to have been fully restored.


(And yes, more Christmas market. There was one inside the Residenz courtyard too.)

These are the lions guarding some monument. They look a bit chilly. They were selling Christmas trees and other greens in front of them. St. Catherine's is the yellow building behind it.


We took a tour of the Residenz itself, as opposed to the Treasury, or the theatre, etc. This was in the Relics room. Relics were a big thing in Catholicism back in the day (and I think one of the things Luther may have ranted about). I thought it was the odd finger bone or piece of the cross or his shroud.

Oh no, it goes much further than that. This might be a bit macabre, but these are supposed to be two of the Holy Innocents murdered when Herod was trying to get rid of Jesus the baby (who'd already fled). Those are mummified bodies wrapped in embroidered silk inside that casket.

And on that cheery note.....

Monday, I share my absolute favorite place we went to the whole time (of one week) that we were there. Any guesses?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas baking update #3

Sunday's baking included:
  • bacon cheddar mini loaves (and I made mini-muffins too). Smelt heavenly.
  • rum balls
  • the brandied fruit mince part of the brandied fruit mince pies. It needs to hang out with the brandy for a while.
Yesterday's baking included:
  • malted milk chocolate brownies. The batter tasted yummy, they are in the oven right now.
So that leaves us with:
  • springerle
  • finishing the brandied fruit mince pies
  • peanut butter fudge
  • poppy orange quick bread
  • pumpkin whoopie pies (although I suspect I shall probably give these a miss)
  • lebkuchen
  • gingerbread muffins (shall probably give the banana choc chip muffins a miss as well as they are so similar to the banana white chocolate brown sugar quickbread I've already made)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Munich, the fourth day

Some of my favorite things from Munich:

Went to the Englischer Garden, which is a big park, even though it was starting to snow. And then the snow got heavier.... I am missing feet in the photo below .... lost in the snow! My hubby took the following photos....



This was the Christmas Market near the Chinese Tea Garden. I am not kidding when I tell you these things were everywhere....

Monday, December 13, 2010

Munich, the third day

We spent most of the day at the Alte Pinokotek (art museum) and shopping. Here are a couple of pics that I snapped.

This is my favorite spread of my journal:


Snow laden branches outside the Pinokotek.


We went for a walk to a different train station. I got us lost (briefly) but we came across the Glyptotek.


This little ship was perched high atop a steep pitched room of a very upscale shopping mall.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas baking update #2

You know how you make a point of checking that you have all the ingredients and then discover, you don't -- or that you do but they've given up the ghost?

Yesterday, it was sugar. (Sugar! Normal, regular sugar!). Today, it was baking powder, and I had to use the chocolate I bought for another recipe to finish up the Milky Way Delight. So, managed to get 24 cute little cupcake-muffins and one loaf from the "Banana White Chocolate Brown Sugar" quickbread recipe...

Progress?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Baking update...

I should have taken a photo but St. Lucia buns successfully completed. Jury is still out if they are worth all the effort.

Half of the Milky Way Delight is done. It would've been all done except the chocolate #$%$$@ refused to melt... Hate it when that happens. (No, it wasn't a freshly bought bag of chocolate chips, my mistake)

So I do have freshly bought chocolate chips, so we'll see how that goes tomorrow, and I plan to take a crack at the quick bread recipes on my list... Could not find disposable mini-loaf tins for love or money today, grr.... so they'll be getting muffins instead...

Friday, December 10, 2010

My trip to Munich

I'm going to spread this out over a series of posts because there are too many photos for just one post.

I had a travel journal while I was there, a small Molekine. I ended up gluing pages back to back because the paper was so thin. (I also ended up tearing out most of the last signature). In retrospect, I should've found a chipboard book or something, in the round coaster shape, 'cause that would've been awesome.


It snowed during our first night there, so we woke up to this.


Our hotel was out in an industrial park, bordered by fields. It took over half an hour to get into the city centre by train. But I had huge fun in the 25 minute walk back to the hotel (not included in travel estimate above) with the snow coming down.

These are gargoyles in the New Town Hall in the center of Munich.


Just had to take a picture of the following one....

And good news! Jodie of everything vintage has opened her present from me, so I may be interrupting this Munich series to show what I made her. You can see it by the bed in her post today.

Christmas baking...

So I like to bake things every year, partly for the family gathering and partly as gifts. Here's my wishlist. We'll see how many of these I do.
  • St. Lucia buns
  • springerle
  • rum balls
  • fudge (probably peanut butter)
  • Milky Way delight
  • poppy orange quick bread
  • bacon cheese quick bread
  • banana brown sugar white chocolate quick bread
  • pumpkin whoopie pies
  • malted milk brownie bites
  • brandied mince tarts
  • lebkuchen (gingerbready stuff)
  • banana choc chip muffins
  • gingerbread muffins
Ok, it's pretty unlikely I'll get to the muffins but I do have two weekends to get it all done in.

What's on your Christmas baking list?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Playlist

Most every Advent and Christmas I make a playlist .... one year it was all swing-style stuff. This year, like last, seems to be a little more serious. Anyway, thought I'd list it:

  1. Winter Snow - Audrey Assad, Chris Tomlin
  2. Angels We Have Heard on High - Sara Groves (Christmas from the Prison, live recording)
  3. Sing! - Patchwork
  4. Carol of the Bells - George Winston
  5. Angels We Have Heard on High - Sara Groves (O Holy Night)
  6. Breath of Heaven (Mary's Song) - Sara Groves
  7. Mary, Did You Know? - Hayley Westenra
  8. Labor of Love - Andrew Peterson (but I think features the vocals of Christy Nockels)
  9. It Wasn't His Child - Trisha Yearwood
  10. O Child O Son - Supper Club
  11. When a Child is Born - Michael Ball
  12. A Cradle in Bethlehem - Sara Groves (yes, yes, I really really like her stuff)
  13. Stille Nacht - Jose Carreras, Natalie Cole, Placido Domingo
  14. One Child/O Come All Ye Faithful - Natalie Grant
  15. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day - Casting Crowns
And I'm thinking about purchasing Monteverdi's Vespers of the Blessed Virgin, if I could but figure out which version to get!

What are you listening to this Christmas?

(Munich stuff tomorrow....)

#reverb10

I haven't started yet, but I've picked out the journal in which to write for #reverb10. Goal setting is always a good thing. The challenge will be if I actually remember what happened this year :)

I'm not messing with the cover at all because a) it's so darn pretty and b) fits for reasons I won't go into now. I'll make a cover page on the inside though. This is gonna be simple, and honestly, pretty private.


I'm working on photos from Munich and scans of my journal in PhotoShop and so should have something in the next few days....

Monday, December 6, 2010

A cute giveaway...

This is such a cool way to find new blogs. I've finally caught up with all those blog posts and emails (mostly "cyber Monday" offers)... but there's still time to join this one from Heirloom Gypsy.

Back from Munich

More details later. I've 416 emails and 240 blog posts to read. Plus laundry, grocery shopping and reading for class tonight.

Loved, loved Munich even though I didn't make it to a single flea market. Plus and, it snowed! So much fun!