Sunday, December 31, 2006


A lot of people like Berlin - they probably don't live here!
To be honest: I hate Berlin. If I could, I would move this very minute.
Because there are too many people here:
People who don't like kids.
People who are very aggressive.
People who let their dogs sh.. everywhere.
Kids can't play in the park because there is dog poo everywhere.
They can't play in the playing ground because older kids harrass them seriously - e.g. footballs or other things get stolen.

The other day we had a doctor's appointment and went there by bike. Because of the heavy traffic we rode our bikes on the sidewalk (one after another: me leading, the twins following). People waiting at a bus stop gave us dirty stares; one, after seeing us, even stepped forward so we couldn't pass easily. Others shouted after us that we shouldn't use the sidewalk - that particular sidewalk was about 10 metres wide (!) and the ladies didn't have their dogs on the leash...
I had a severe headache when we reached our destination. These people make me sick!

About 2 weeks ago I was riding my bike on the sidewalk (I know it's not allowed but the motorists drive like crazy here). I always go very slowly. When I wanted to avoid a woman with a buggy she simply pushed me! I could have fallen onto the road...

The day before yesterday the following happened:
We wanted to do some last minute shopping and walked on the sidewalk. The kids were chasing each other. A woman on a bike wanted to overtake us (on the wrong side, she didn't ring her bell or shout) and hit Emma because she couldn't break in time. She did NOT apologize. She shouted that this was not a playing ground! Can you imagine the brazenness?? I don't mind people riding their bikes on the sidewalk but one has to be considerate and drive slowly. Of course I shouted back but she just drove on - without inquiring if anything was wrong or apologizing. She only showed us the middle finger and left - that's Berlin!
I am very sorry that I didn't take a picture of her. I hope to meet her again.

This list will probably be continued, I am sorry to say.

a peaceful, crafty and happy new year!

I made the snowmen that I posted about some time ago. They took ages but I am very pleased with the result. The photos are crap though - I always have problems taking pix of white objects...

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Swapping with Olivia

This was my third swap but the first swap where both packages arrived. I still haven't heard from Mayumi - hopefully she got her box. I still didn't get mine. Ivy from Singapore wrote to me a couple of days ago that she is still waiting for her box. That's a real pity because I even made jam especially for her... and I received her package shortly after she sent it. I hope she will get her goodies soon!
So this was the second swap package that I received - and it was full of marvellous things. Olivia sent some beautiful fabrics and buttons, a magazine (missing in the picture) and sweets (the twins are at the moment tasting all the different flavours of the jelly beans!). She also sent a little pouch and a bag which she made herself I think! The kids are fighting over the sweetest stickers I have ever seen.

Here's a close up of the fabrics. Another incentive to get a new sewing machine - as if I needed one...

Olivia made this beautiful bag which is perfect to tote around a little knitting. Thank you so much, Olivia!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

How to caramelize almonds

Now that my sewing machine doesn't work anymore I have some time to spend on other christmassy preparations. Friends and family have been asking about the almonds that I make every year. This morning I finally obliged.

I use 200 g of sugar, 5 spoonsful of water, 1 teaspoonful of cinnamon and some cardamom. Stir well and bring to a boil, than add approx. 200-250 g of almonds. Lower the heat. And then you just keep stirring and stirring and stirring.
Warning: don't ever touch any almond that falls out of the pan! Use a spoon!!

the sugar gets dry and you keep stirring...

Thank God, at one point the sugar starts to melt and now the caramelizing begins!! Don't forget to stir! I know, it's tiring!

Hmmm, caramel doing very well indeed - what a smell! It's a very sticky mass but stir you must!

Pour the sticky almonds onto a baking tray covered with baking paper and separate as best as you can, using forks or spoons. Let them cool down .

After cooling down, try to separate the almonds some more. Now you can try one, but you better start making another batch. They are really delicious (if I say so myself) and it's difficult to stop. And the good thing: they are less sugary than the ones you can buy...

Monday, December 11, 2006

good news

Last weekend we went to the Sinterklaas market in Potsdam, near Berlin and it was really nice. I expected it to be very crowded but it was OK. There were a lot of craftspeople from Holland. They were extremely friendly and explained what they were doing, Unfortunately I couldn't take as many pictures as I would have liked...

Here are Sinterklaas and Black Peter talking to a brave little girl reciting a poem.

The basket-maker really fascinated my daughter. She spent about 10 minutes watching him weaving and weaving. And look: it was sunny! But quite cold, mind you!

The porcelain-painter wearing a traditional Dutch bonnet! She was very talented and had some beautiful things for sale.

Another craftsman who fascinated my daughter. Again she spent a long time watching him plaiting the seat of an old chair. He was very nice and talkative. And he's wearing traditional wooden clogs!

It was a very nice afternoon but in the end our hands and feet were freezing. I can't imagine how the craftspeople could stand the cold!

bad news

my sewing machine died last Friday which is terribly inconvenient. I have so many presents to finish! It teaches me a lesson: don't leave too many wips, finish your crafts as soon as you can!