Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Sorry about not posting much lately. It's been a bit crazy around here, with the painters finishing up just before Christmas. I have a tree this year. Will post pics later. I love how the tree looks with candles. We're taking the train to Leipzig on Sunday, for a few days. Neither of us has been there so it's a bit of an adventure. One of my goals for this little Winter break is to get my workspace back in order so that i can get back to quilting. For now, it's just heavenly having a few days with no obligations.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Stealth Model

This one is the stealth version.

The elastic closure is cleverly concealed inside, although this might not satisfy people who are used to the classic shape of a hot water bottle cover. Not sure the world is prepared for this much innovation..

Tweaking the Design

I made a few more of these yesterday, then a Swiss visitor informed me that some sort of closure really is important, so I ripped out a couple and inserted elastic. Above was the result. I think the next batch will have drawstring closures. Me, I still prefer no closure at all.

This is my first mini-quilt, inspired by Hedgehog's at (still can't seem to link now).

Friday, November 07, 2008


I don't think i've ever been this pleased and optimistic about an election result. Obviously, this isn't meant to be a political blog, but I just have to say it: I'm so happy that Obama won!

Funnily, I've heard from a number of Germans, both before and since the election, that they don't believe Americans are "ready" for a black president. It must be an opinion that's been floating around in the German media. Must ask a friend if this is so as I don't read much German media, apart from Die Zeit, which tends to be a bit more thoughtful and broadminded (i.e. not immune from but less inclined to facile, knee-jerk anti-americanism).

Hot Water Bottle Cover

I'm thinking of making a few of these as Christmas presents, with flannels I've been collecting for a while. I'm not sure whether a drawstring closure a few inches from the top is necessary. I personally prefer it plain, as it's easier to change the water more often that way. Any opinions on this? By the way, I have a German friend (you know who you are!) who unaccountably hates flannel.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tokyo Quilt Festival

I just ran across this album of pictures from the Tokyo Quilt Festival on Jan's b*muse blog (link in the title--for some reason, i can't seem to set up links within texts at the moment).

It was exciting to look at these quilts from Japan. I lived in Tokyo for 8 years before i came to Germany and I love the Japanese sense of color, the asymmetry and "wabi sabi". Recently, looking for material for a short stories course i'm teaching, I found the Oxford Book of Japanese Short Stories.

It seemed to be just the right time for me to run across this collection. Some of the stories are deeply disturbing and some confirm my bleak assessment of Japanese society, but it's still fascinating to hear Japanese voices talking at eloquent length about their world. While I was living in Japan, I was often mystified by various elements of the culture. Like many Westerners, I also, frankly, felt alienated by the culture and found it difficult to cope with many of the differences. That's why it's good to have a bit of light shed on the mysteries and also, fun to re-encounter Japanese aesthetics from a safe distance (I left in 2000).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Grandmother's Fan

After several months of woe and intrigue with my Mac, i'm finally wired at home again, and hoping to be better about blogging now. Being offline did have a silver lining, though. It gave me time to finally get started on the Grandmother's Fan quilt for my nephew Marcos. He chose this pattern from a book of historical quilts while he was visiting me a couple of years ago. I decided to use mainly Japanese fabrics.

Mail from Hedgehog!

This fabulous little quilt arrived in the mail from Hedgehog (aka Jen) in Finland recently. What a wonderful surprise! It's even more beautiful in person than in photos. I love the colors and the composition and the contrasting stitching. It was an entire strawberry package, including: strawberry tea, white chocolate with cookies and strawberries, and even a set of Merrimekko napkins with the same strawberry print as in the quilt. Jen's quilt has inspired me to start my own series of mini-quilts, using Japanese fabrics.

Monday, October 13, 2008

More Raffle Quilts from Lisa!

A baby-sized Mickey Mouse quilt (38" X 38")
detail of Mickey quilt

A lap-sized batik quilt (48" X 52")

In case anyone would like to enter a raffle to win one of these lovely quilts made by my sister Lisa, the drawing will be held October 31st. Proceeds are to benefit a friend with cancer. Tickets are $1 or 6 for $5. Make checks payable to Lisa M. Hendricks at 12031 Scribe Drive, Austin, TX 78759. If you're in Europe, please email me about tickets:

Both are 100% cotton and machine washable.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Inspiration Everywhere

These tiles are in the entry hall of a friend's house. Every time i see them, i think what cool--if not exactly easy--quilt blocks they would make.
I'm still without my computer at home, and feeling too burdened by "real" work to do much sewing, but next week we're on holiday from one of my jobs, so i hope to have a bit of guilt-free time for creative stuff, finally. I'd also like to take a few pictures around town, while the Fall colours are still going. Autumn tends to segué pretty quickly into Winter here, but at the moment, it's glorious.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Another tumbling blocks project. This one was designed by my boyfriend Alfred, who is an architect. I'd always wanted to try something a bit more planned, and collaborating with someone who is more interested in planning a design inspired me. Alfred was fascinated by the 3D blocks. They'll be arranged from the lightest at the top to the darkest at the bottom. It's going to be a wallhanging.

I've also decided to divide the white background blocks further: into those with warm colors included and those that are more just cool colors. It seems to me that northern Europeans tend to prefer warmer colors--maybe to offset the cool grey skies?
I'm planning to finish this one for a Hamburg friend (one of those cool blondes who like warm colors). Many of the blocks in the photo above are Luisa's, which I think she's shown on her blog, but I'll take a picture of her latest ones together. As always, they were lovely, and with inspiringly perfect workmanship.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I decided to split the stars into those with an indigo background and those with a white background. I can't help asking: which do you like better? Opinions so far seem sharply divided.

Sorry to be so remiss about posting.

My ailing Mac has kept me offline except for work-related stuff for a few months now. Also, the amount of correcting for the summer writing courses was worse than usual this year. Definitely must find other jobs, so I can get back to more quilting. I've also made a few more stars for the swap and finally, finally started on my nephew Marcos's Grandmother's Fan.
Nachwuchs! I love that German expresssion. My sister Lisa (the one who also quilts) has just become a grandma! My nephew David's fiancée Singer gave birth to Gwyneth Agustina Luján on September 6th. She was an even 9 lbs and 22 in. long. And here she is lying on the quilt that i made her.

I just tie quilted it, but the back is pretty cute, with red knots on a sky blue background and a yelllow Dick and Jane border. More pics coming soon (I forgot to take any, but grandma promised to send some).

Monday, April 07, 2008

My sewing machine is still in the shop, but I'm in a good mood because Lisa, my fairy godsister, just sent me a care package full of fabric, plus those orphan 10" star blocks I wanted to put together in a quilt for her son, my nephew David, who is getting married soon. She also slipped in an audio book of Lisa Scottoline's Lady Killer. I'm not usually a mystery fan, but love these legal thrillers, I think because their lives are so different from mine. Scottoline is funny, too, so i'm looking forward to this.

Oh, and Lisa also sent her latest set of Stars for the swap. No time to post pics now, but they are beautiful.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sunny this morning, so thought i'd try to get a better photo. Somehow, i think ikebana always loses something, tho, in 2-D representations, since a lot of it has to do with space and 3-D form.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Western Flower Arranging

vs. Japanese

This isn't a very good example of shogetsu ikebana. It's missing some shorter flowers near the base and let's face it, seven years away from Japan, i'm a little rusty, but I thought i'd show you the contrast between Western and Japanese arranging, with the same flowers. Ikebana emphasises lines and requires a balance of empty spaces and fullness. It's also almost always asymmetrical. I remember when i was first learning ikebana, I felt frustrated by the spareness and the asymmetry. I longed to create a nice, full, symmetrical arrangement, but after five years, I began to prefer the Japanese aesthetic, although I also love a mixture of Western and Eastern, arrangements that involve branches and in which each flower is given the chance to shine. Chez Panisse in Berkeley and other chic California Cuisine restaurants tend to feature this kind of arranging, not to mention fancy law firms and department stores, especially in California.

I suppose because Holland is not far from here, and Hamburg is a port city, tulips are really cheap here, so i tend to indulge. I just bought 20 parrot tulips for €8. I will post another picture when they've opened up more.

Thanks again for visiting and leaving comments. I'm still swept up in spring cleaning and hence trying to stay away from the computer and sewing machine, but thought i'd share some parrot tulips with you. It snowed today, even though there are blossoms everywhere--cherry, forsythia, plum.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My cousin Norma just finished quilting that Sister's Choice I made for my niece Mia! I'm so lucky to have a talented longarmer for a cousin!

I was in Dresden for a day last week. Forgot to bring my camera, but my friend Rick took this picture.
I've been taking a little internet holiday, so I could get a bit more other stuff done. Since my sewing machine is on the fritz, I have nothing to show for myself anyway, except tidier drawers and fabric stash and bookshelves. Here's a link to a site that sells binder labels like the ones pictured a few posts below.

They don't have that particular picture, but they have one Carl Larsson.
In case anyone wants to google around for these, in German, they're called

selbsthaftende Ordnerrücken

or Ordner Etiketten

Another site that sells them, tho no Carl Larsson, is

Sunday, March 02, 2008


I'd been lusting after this little mug and warming stand setup for years. Finally decided to get it for myself for my birthday, back at the beginning of February. I also reached my 100th post a few weeks ago and forgot to mention it. I guess it was partly feeling that i didn't have much to show for all those posts. Really, the 100 mark was a bit misleading anyway, bcs often in the beginning i made several posts for one, bcs i hadn't yet mastered the photo uploading feature. So i guess this is a kind of late blog-o-versary/birthday/and 1st anniversary of when i really started posting on this blog.

Thanks for reading my blog and leaving comments. I'm enjoying getting to know so many fabulous and inspiring bloggers. I'd like to do a giveaway to celebrate (probably some handmade coasters) so if you leave a comment, i'll put you in the drawing.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Getting Organized (NQ)

My sewing machine has been on the Fritz the last few days, but it's actually good, bcs I needed to spend more time on other stuff anyway, like getting orgenized! Here in Germany, instead of using file cabinets, most people seem to file their paperwork in binders like these and then shelve it in regular bookshelves. I found these cool labels that sort of disguise the binders at a museum shop. I love Carl Larsen, sort of the Swedish Norman Rockwell. Would love to someday build and decorate a house in the C Larsen style. Someone in the Midwest did this, altho he made the house in much larger (American) proportions.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Just had to post a link to this story on Elaine Adair's blog, in case anyone missed it. Elaine is such a good storyteller and this one really cracks me up.

It's about her great great aunts, crossing the atlantic.

Monday, February 25, 2008

T.I.F. challenge

I'm old enough to remember:

*when racial segregation was more or less standard in the South
*girls had to wear dresses to school, unless the temperature dropped below freezing.
*even little boys wore hair oil or Brill Cream (one of my strongest memories from 1st grade is walking into school on a rainy day, the smell of Brill Creem (sp?) heavy in the air).
*air conditioning was not yet so common, even in Austin, Texas. It wasn't as hot then as it is now, but hot enough! In the late Spring, fellow students sometimes fainted away during choir practice and in the summers, the only way to survive was to spend every afternoon at the pool.
*those wonderful Mexican bakeries on the border--maybe they are still there? The screen door with the Buttercrust sign would slam gently behind you and there'd be that warm, buttery smell of empanadas and rosquitas and molletes...Mmmm.
*a half pint carton of chocolate milk cost 5 cents at the corner store, 2 cents at school. An Eskimo Pie or Dreamsicle cost 10 cents.
*smoking was still very common. At the university, it was pipes, especially. Summer evenings at the outdoor theater (10 cents), where you'd sit on white wooden benches to watch things like 1,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the smell of pipe smoke contributed to the romantic atmosphere.
*a married woman who worked outside the home was kind of unusual and you wondered if her husband was ashamed that he couldn't support her.
*Drug Store soda fountains. My sister Mitzie and i used to always split a grilled cheese sandwich.
*we wore lace veils to church. My grandmother had a drawer full of them and let us pick the one we wanted to wear and bobbypin it into our hair.
*corporal punishment was still allowed in school.
*if you went beyond "second base" as a teenage girl, you could kiss your reputation goodbye, simple as that.
*as little kids we spent most of our time playing outside, exploring.
*It was possible for a five-year-old to walk across campus unaccompanied (altho strangers usually asked me if i was lost and then regretted it bcs i'd end up telling them my life story--was a fearless and loquacious little kid).
*the Berlin Wall going up--i remember it being all over the news for a few days. There was an interview with a woman whose sister happened to be on the "wrong side" of the wall when it happened. She was crying, as if she thought she'd never see her again. I was only 2 and a half then, about the age I was in the photo above, but for some reason this made an impression on me--maybe bcs i had five sisters myself.

The photo above is of some of my family. The only one I have that includes all eight siblings literally would not fit on my scanner! I'm the one with the inflatable frog. I still remember a particular afternoon/moment, floating around in the sparkling water of Ramsey Pool on that frog, being pushed and pulled around by older siblings, most likely Ronnie and Ruthie.
The Cousins Club

My cousin Norma (upper left) just unearthed this photo from 1973 when my younger sister (middle, bottom) and I spent a summer with them in Arizona. The things i remember most about that summer are listening to Top 40s (Brandy, you're a fine girl!) and Aunt Livia taking us to the fabric store. Actually, this is the last time I remember seeing these cousins. She says we were all at a family gathering in San Antonio in the 80s, but that I didn't recognize her and she was too shy to talk to me. Her sister Sandy and my sister Mitzie and I were the youngest from large families and around the same age, so we formed a little club we called the Cousins Club. We even designed a logo rather like the Chanel one (ya think they ripped us off?!) We recently reconnected after 35 years and it turns out Norma is a quilter! She's just started a blog. I told her she should have a blogwarming, so you're all invited. Welcome to Blogland, Norma!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

What Punctuation Mark are You?

I usually resist these things, but I ran across the little quiz below on Fairybread's blog and had to try it. I do think I'm pretty comma-esque, although they have a way of making it all sound more flattering than is perhaps fair.

You Are a Comma

You are open minded and extremely optimistic.

You enjoy almost all facets of life. You can find the good in almost anything.

You keep yourself busy with tons of friends, activities, and interests.

You find it hard to turn down an opportunity, even if you are pressed for time.

Your friends find you fascinating, charming, and easy to talk to.

(But with so many competing interests, you friends do feel like you hardly have time for them.)

You excel in: Inspiring people

You get along best with: The Question Mark

Got bitten by Bonnie's Bargello bug. I started this for my friend Sophie. Took it over to her place yesterday to see if it goes with her sitting room. Since her place is full of gorgeous antiques and paintings, I was a bit worried about the quilt clashing or being too busy, but fortunately, it looked fine. Shows how much time i've spent in her sitting room--i seem to have her color scheme memorized.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

a favorite red fabric.
An idea for what do to with all those orphan 10" stars. Maybe a wedding gift for my nephew and his fiancée? Maybe too cold and pointy for a wedding gift?
(considering that knives and scissors are supposed to be taboo)

Originally uploaded by nhendricks

(this fabric has little valentines in it.)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Another star for the swap. It's called Twirling Star and it's from Marsha McClosky's Block Party. I like this book bcs she shows layouts with different values, so you can visualize how diff combinations of fabrics might work in different positions in each block. She also shows a bunch of whole quilt layouts, combining blocks to interesting effect.
I made cardboard templates for the triangles here, and put rubber cement on the backs to keep them from slipping on the fabric while cutting (a tip I got from a book), but next time, I think i'll try another tip: gluing sandpaper to the backs, as the rubber cement makes them so sticky that they're then difficult to store.

Monday, February 11, 2008

I'm thinking of making only one medallion and surrounding it with very wide borders for a baby quilt, perhaps with a very thin pieced border (these same little squares) breaking up the wide border. I didn't follow the pattern Lucy and the others are doing exactly, and ended up bungling it slightly, making the center section too big and not having the center point be a yellow square, but it doesn't bother me that much. At least it's a tad bigger this way. Maybe will add a few more rows to make the whole thing bigger, since i'm only making this one medallion.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

My attempt at the Mennonite Mosaic inspired by Lucy's, altho mine won't look antique--didn't have the right fabrics--and the color scheme is slightly off. Was thinking of making something for a friend, but it's starting to look more like colors for a kid, and I just found out that my nephew is expecting a baby in August! The first time one of us siblings will be a grandparent.
This is the cushion cover I made out of the Dutchman's Puzzle block below. I set it at a slightly tipped angle, which turned out to much more trouble than I'd expected, but i think it was worth it. The back is just orange (tiny woven stripes, like the pinwheel at the center).
Step into my humble abode. OK., it's not my only excuse, but one reason I haven't been posting as much is that the kitchen renovations (below) have been making my life a bit more topsy turvy than usual.
This latest round of renovations inspired me to reorganize the china cabinet. The green boxes are for tossing mail and receipts (one for filing and one for action).
New floor in entryway and kitchen: can you believe this is bamboo?

Only newish: the upper cabinets, installed in 2006. I spent months and months deliberating over which style and how to arrange them, glass doors or not, etc.
I'd been longing for one of these Under Cabinet giant drawer thingies for years. Separate containers for trash separation.
And guess who finally has a dishwasher for the first time in her life? Such luxury!
The lower cabinets are not quite finished, but I love it that the dishwasher blends in with the other cabinetry. Trim underneath also still needs to be installed.
The new counter. Not real wood, but much less hassle than the rotting beechwood counter i had before.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Hi, there,

sorry i keep neglecting the old blog here. Part of it is due to Sekrit Projects in the works and part of it is that i've been offline more these days, due to various real-life challenges that need more time and attention. For example, my kitchen is being remodelled soon and there's lots to do to prepare for that. If I have online access at home, it's too tempting to procrastinate, so i hand over my modem to a trusted neighbor, with instructions not to return it to me no matter what i say until a specified date. I hope to be back in posting mode next week.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I ran across a beautiful indigo and orange quilt, here, at the New England Quilt Museum.