Today started out with such promise. A new bra, a pretty dress, ugh, a messy room. I've been putting off organizing the girl's room for a while now. Every night we clean up, only to witness a shit storm of paper and playmobil pieces the following day. 
So I've swapped my dress for a garbage bag and I'll be in the trenches for the remainder of the day. That is all. Nothing more to report. 
 
About a year ago, my sister-in-law Christine let me exploit her talents by sketching a canning table for me to use on the blog. The original canning table lives in her parent's basement and this sketch is as true to form as I could ever hope for. Seriously, how cute are those little canning jars? 
I came across a video by Urban Outfitters on DIY block printing. It looked easy enough, and excited this print nut to no end. So off to the art store I went and plucked for this 10 euro kit. I doubt the packaging has changed much from its inception (which also excited me to no end) and I'm smitten with the little cat that doesn't seem to belong. I've been practicing carving hearts on old erasers, and it's been great. Soon I hope to have an etching of the canning table to make a print from. I think I'll give it to myself as an anniversary present. I can't believe I followed through on the blog, let alone for a year. Stay tuned ...
If you're interested in making your own prints, I highly suggest watching this hipster make arrows.  
*Update
After posting the entry I skipped over to Apartment Therapy, only to see on their front page a post all about block printing. The article is a link to a Martha Stewart how-to, using found materials for printing. Now I must go out and buy those crystal bottle stoppers I spotted yesterday. Yes, I must.
 
We had bird watchers come and visit! I was serenaded with pigeon coo imitations for two days and it was excellent. There are only two other people I know that are more interested in pigeons, Bert being one, my mother being the other. I sent this pic to my Mom years ago, just to be mean.
Pelican vs Pigeon. Who wins?
The weather was down right pleasant for their visit. Then, they left this morning and it has been raining since. This is a craft we did a while ago, but it's perfect for a rainy day like today, and uses scrap paper that every parent inevitably has laying around.
After tracing the outline of a bird, I had the girls use some watercolour paint to colour it in. I cut it out, slit its belly open and put in some accordion wings the girls had made out of left-over paper. Then we took some pinking shears to other scraps and threw those into a bowl to make a nest. Easy peasy. I think Bert would approve.
 
This is the way our living room looked the day we got the keys to our apartment. This is the after:
By positioning the sofa this way, we've created a little mini living room, which leaves the rest of the room wide open. I don't like it. I miss my decorating partners in crime, and I'm hoping they'll chime in with ideas for the second part of the living room. Please send me your pins, words, anything. I need some inspiration!
 
Oh, how I long to be sitting on a beach, preferably with the scent of orange blossoms and sea salt wafting through the air. Instead, I will fix myself a drink, aptly named The Amalfi, and live vicariously through Pinterest photos.
Mix together:
  • 1 ounce Blue Curaçao
  • 1 ounce Amaretto
  • 1 ounce cream or whole milk
  • 2 ounces orange juice
  • lots of ice
  • make it pretty with an orange slice and drink your rainy day away
Landscape / Italy / Amalfi
Amalfi photo is from one lucky dude on Flickr.
 
Picture
View from our bedroom.
Picture
View from our kitchen.
I took these photos at 10:45 pm, last night. My circadian rhythm is being played. 2 am bedtimes are now the norm. So, so sleepy. It's like living on a parallel universe. At least not the 43rd that I'm used to.

 
If there is any upside to being sick in bed, it must be the shameless amount of "me time" one is entitled to. I have owned this book for a while now, but was intimidated by the 700+ pages that I would have to commit to. I am sorry that I put it off for as long as I did.
Freedom follows the lives of the Berglunds, beginning first with a glimpse into their lives as a young family in a rapidly gentrifying neighbourhood in the Midwest. But the novel doesn't dwell there. It swiftly moves from era to era, richly describing the individuals whose lives you are entitled to share in. 
The empathy you feel is not mostly pleasant, but engrossing and familiar in some form. Whether it be the intensity of teenage love, the necessity of reassurance, or just wondering what your place in the world is, there are striking moments of truth within this book. 
As I closed the cover at the end, I gave Aaron my "it was so good!" voice, usually reserved for buttered popcorn. I want to feel that all over again. So please, give me your recommendations. I'm desperate for anything written in English, so that should give you a lot of help in suggesting a book for me to read next. And in turn I suggest Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen.
 
In our tiny social circle, we're known as harbingers of disease. If you have a cold, it's probably our fault. If we have a cold, you stay away and double lock your doors. We've accepted this. 

When Aaron had a scratchy throat, he stopped kissing me. When Claudia got a runny nose, she wiped it on my arm. I got sick. Really sick. 

I am not a stoic lady, by any means. I cry and moan and want the world to know just how shitty I feel, and the injustice of it all. Yesterday was Father's Day in Canada. Luckily though, not in Germany. So I didn't have to suffer much guilt at employing Aaron as my on-call nurse. 

Throughout the course of the day we tried many things to get me to shut up. I swallowed a paste of honey, garlic and chilli pepper. I acted like the old man and had a shot of whiskey. I had tea and popsicles. I asked Aaron to put a pillow over my head. Finally, we rigged up a home-made neti pot and drained 500 mL of saline through my nasal passages, took more than the recommended dose of medicine and went to bed.

Folks, I should totally be a doctor. Today I feel fabulous, yesterday a fading memory. I even put a goddamn skirt on and straightened my hair. 

All was well in the world until I looked into the wonders of the neti pot and was hit with the words BRAIN EATING AMOEBA. Okay, we used sterilized water and we're not from Louisiana, but still. I want my cold back.
 
I'm going to let you in on a little secret I have. I love the Netherlands, if for no other reason than the culinary awesomeness that is The Bitterballen. Nothing is better than sitting on a patio with a beer in one hand and a plate full of crunchy goodness in front of you. Soft on the inside, and crackling on the outside, these are the be all and end all of croquettes. We chose a mix of vegetable filled and ham filled, complete with spicy dipping sauce on the side. It is the perfect bar food. 
Picture
At SAM SAM in Enschede.
 
Short of walking non-verbal dogs for a living, I'm at a loss for ideas. The only networking I've managed to do is with the local coffee shops, and they don't appear to hire non-German-speaking mutes. So, I'm asking for your help. Whoever you are. Your two cents are invaluable, so give them to me. Or conversely, quarters, nickels, loonies, toonies, any loose change really. 

I want to start an online shop. A mix of vintage and 
hand-made items, sourced both locally and while out and about. I feel I have a good head for sorting through trash to find treasure, and I'm lucky to be friends with some very crafty people, even if they won't admit it. Katie Clarke.

So what do you think? Do you shop online? What do you look for when you do? Are you good with other people's cast-aways, or to they make you squeamish? If you want 
hand-made, do you rely on Etsy for your fix? 

Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts. The more input the better. I'm also going to do my first ever giveaway. I'll let Claudia pick a comment at random, and if it's you, we'll be sending off a little German gift for you to hopefully enjoy! Thanks everyone! xo