Monday, October 24, 2011


This is cool: November is National Novel Writing Month.

That's right. It's time to write your novel.

Don't worry. The folks at will help you.

In fact, the folks at challenge you to write that novel.

Register for free at their website (but consider making a donation, please). If you finish a 50,000 word novel between November 1st and November 30th then you are a winner!

You don't win anything. You're just a winner. Plus, there'll be a new novel in the world.

Novels are good things.

Monday, October 3, 2011


Most of the time I feel like a clueless parent. Once in a while I feel like a not so good parent. And once in a while I feel like a pretty good parent.

Tonight I was good. Or at least I had fun. I taught my son how to make lemonade. My favorite. And his.

Squeeze 6 lemons. Add 1 cup of sugar. And 6 cups of water.




Thursday, September 1, 2011

pretty music

I didn't stay up late or wake up early to watch The Wedding but I did TiVo it. But my TiVo cut off before the kiss on the balcony. Ah well.

My husband is one of those guys who don't get the hype over The Wedding. I tried to explain...pretty princess, handsome prince, gothic church, choir boys, England, lacy dress...he didn't get it. He's such a boy.

But then he got me The Wedding on DVD for my birthday. So I could see the kiss, he said.

He's such a prince!

So I like to watch the DVD but not for the prince or the kiss or even the dress...but for the music!!

This is my favorite...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

home renovation: master bedroom

When we decided to buy this house we immediately began making renovation plans: both what to do and what order to do them.

We wanted to do the living room and kitchen first, but the house had other plans. We quickly found that need would end up dictating the order we would get things done. Which is why we did the baby's room first. The new baby just had to have new room. So then we were going to do the living room...

However, the walls of most of the house were painted in this awful fleshy brown-ish beige that was just depressing. And I was especially getting sick of it in our bedroom. So we decided to paint.

But once we got the pretty grey paint on the walls (the same Pebble Grey as the baby's room), the raunchy carpet just looked twice as bad. So we decided we might as well get some new carpet, too. And since we were doing that we ought to put in a new ceiling fan as well. And curtains, of course.

Master bedroom before: (with all the previous owner's stuff in it)

So we bought a new ceiling fan, took it out of its box, had second thoughts, then took it back and bought a different ceiling fan. Then we picked out some carpet, then checked at another store and picked out some different carpet, got the room measured, decided we didn't want carpet, canceled our order, then found some bamboo floor and got that instead. Karl spent two weeks installing our beautiful floor (I did help some) Then we installed new trim work (tall base boards and thinner crown and door molding) and I found some new curtains (that didn't weigh a ton) and voila! New and beautiful master bedroom!

Here's a video of our then 11-month old son playing in the new room without the furniture. You don't want to see it with the furniture. Our bedroom furniture is still very mis-matched and odd. One of these days...

But at least the floors and ceiling fan and moldings and curtains are beautiful!

Master bedroom after: (with my cute boy in it)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

blog: bookshelf porn

I recently found a great blog consisting solely of photos of bookshelves.

Looking through the photos I find the same words running over and over through my mind "I want to be there...I want to be there...I want to be there..."

Is there anything better than a wellstocked bookcase and a cozy nook nearby?

I don't think so.

"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library."
- Jorge Luis Borges

Monday, June 6, 2011

home renovation: baby's room

Our home renovation was originally intended to begin with the main living spaces, the living room and kitchen. Very quickly those plans changed as we realized as we were physically moving into the house that the soon-to-be-born baby's room just wasn't going to cut it as is. I didn't want to bring home my first-born to this ugly room with yucky dirty carpet. We were already painting the room a lovely gray and decided the floor just need to be addressed, too. So in went new twist carpet, a modern white and silver ceiling fan, and pretty furniture. We also have new prettier lever doorknobs that still need to be installed, but Axel has a harder time opening up the current doors so we'll keep it that way for now. (Click on any photo for a bigger better quality view.)

Here's what the room was like before (with the previous owner's stuff still in it):

After we closed on the house and before we actually moved in my mom and sister helped me do a lot of painting...the Tinkerbell green just had to go. I decided early on in my pregnancy that I wanted a neutral we didn't find out before his birth if Axel was going to be a girl or boy. I finally settled on Pebble Grey by Glidden (Home Depot). I wanted all of my baby's things to bring the color into the room. And I love how it turned out! Axel's room is my favorite room in our house.

Some details:

The ribbon mobile I made myself...I used Martha Stewart's instructions found here. The crib is a discontinued model (I got a good discount!) by Amy Coe and all the other furniture (dresser, bookshelf, rocker, curtains, green mirror, the wall clock) are from Ikea.

The "Happy Axel" banner is from Axel's 1st birthday (where the banner hung in the dining room and I later took out the "Birthday" part of the banner and hung it in his room).

The quilt hanging over the crib was made by the women in my quilting group...I love it and it fits the spirit of the room perfectly!

Those are Axel's newborn footprints on the wall hanging next to the "Ich bin ein Kind von Gott" ("I am a Child of God") my sister made for my baby shower.

The pictures in the room include a picture of Chirst, photos of Karl and I when we were about 2 years old, photos of both our mothers when they were pregnant with us and a few family photos.

The round halo light also came from Ikea and gives out the perfect amount of light for nighttime feeding or calming night-night routines.

Monday, March 28, 2011

they draw & cook

I don't remember where I first found this site...but I love it and you should check it out, too.

They Draw & Cook combines art and cooking to give you recipes drawn by artists from around the world.

Many of them are by professional artists but anyone can submit and recipe and artwork. They even have a Kids Draw and Cook site.

I love to just browse through the artwork...but there's a recipe search page to help you find something for dinner. And if you're really stuck and what to make they have a fun Dial-a-Recipe page, too.

Enjoy their yummy artwork!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

doors and windows

Burg Thurant, Germany

Soufflenheim, France

Columbus, Texas

Bruges, Belgium

Schwabish Gmund, Germany

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

blog: portes et fentres

Photo from Portes et Fentres

I somehow found this blog once a few years ago when I was still living in Germany: Portes et Fentres (Doors and Windows).

It was love at first sight.

The blog is simply postings of photos of doors and windows from around the globe (mainly Europe).

I had truly found a kindred spirit blog because as I scrolled through the photos for the first time I realized I was already doing the same thing...taking lots of photos of doors and windows during my travels around Europe!

So I started posting my own doors and windows photos on my blog. And I'll keep doing that. But check this blog out because you'll be amazed how simple and universal things like doors and windows can really be so stunning and unique.

Monday, March 14, 2011

home renovation: location, location, location

19 months ago Karl and I bought our house. It's the first house we've ever owned.

There were two big reasons we chose this house - and a lot of little ones - but two big ones.

First, location. Upon returning from our two years in Germany residing in a little village a 10 minute walk from a larger town, down the street from a lovely Biergarten, a couple of blocks away from a self-serve stand with fresh produce and flowers and home-canned goods, with our apartment overlooking a nature preserve on one side and the Black Forest on the other...well, we learned we liked the small-town life. The last several months we were there we got rid of our car and loved biking everywhere and taking the train everywhere else. So we also wanted to live somewhere where a car wasn't such a necessity...or at lease not more than one car

Once Karl got settled in his new job, we decided to live in the outskirts of the Houston suburbs in the little city of Katy. Katy proper, not Katy suburbia (or Old Katy as we say around here). And we chose an older neighborhood right in the heart of everything and everywhere we needed to be.

The historical city center is a 15 minute walk away, the church we attend is two blocks away, the public library is one block away, a big park with a community pool and duck pond and fish pond and miniature golf and playgrounds is three blocks away, and Axel's future elementary school is three blocks the other direction. The town is very small-town while being very accessible to the major city of Houston...I like big cities, too. Axel and I walk to the library once a week, we walk to church as a family every Sunday, we bike around town sometimes and walk to the park to play and swim regularly.

This is really the biggest reason we bought this was the only affordable house in our preferred neighborhood and for that reason alone I love this house!

The other big reason we bought this house is because it's ugly. It's ugly and we know we can make it pretty! Make it just the way we like it and hopefully someday make a buck or two in the resale.

The house was built in 1978 and it looks it. The few so-called updates that have been done to the house since then are just as ugly and obviously done by someone who didn't really know what they were doing. (Although fortunately the previous owners did put on new siding, a new roof, and install new windows and used good materials doing it so those big jobs are done.) Karl and I have always wanted to renovate and fix-up our own house so finding an ugly gem was just what we wanted!

We're doing all the work ourselves and don't have a lot of money to work with so it's all going slowly as we work and save and work and save...but slowly it is getting done. And yes, my very talented husband is doing most of the work. He hates painting though and I like it so I'm in charge of that and we do design together but mostly it's his amazing talents on show here.

Room by room I'll be showing off our ugly befores and beautiful afters as we stay tuned!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

another blog

Yes, I'm starting yet another blog.

Gruesse Aus served its purpose in chronicling my cultural travels in Germany and Baby Anne Quilts was begun to focus on my quilting and Etsy shop...both of which are very much in a back seat in my current lifestyle. And I haven't really posted much of anything since Axel was born anyway.

But I miss blogging. And I don't want to feel the pressure of blogging on a regular basis or on specific topics.

So...a new fresh blog where I get to post whenever I get the chance on whatever is going on in my life and my mind.

Read it or not...

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