Thursday, October 30, 2008

favorite shop friday: loyalty and blood

Today is Halloween (and I wish you all a fun and happy one!) but I'm spending my holiday traveling from one continent to another! I'm flying over the Atlantic today making that same great journey my ancestors made 150 years ago when they decided to immigrate from Germany to the United States. Except my journey will be made in a crowded airplane instead of a crowded boat and I'll arrive the same day I leave instead of weeks later and I'll be comfortably dressed in a T-shirt instead of a corset with my airplane snacks and books in a tote bag. So in honor of my long flight abroad today, let's take a look at look at some great tote bags and comfy T-shirts with images of ships and flight and family monograms and a new home, shall we?

Allow me to introduce Loyalty and Blood! This is a very cool shop of T-shirts, totes and jewelry.

The T-shirts are beautifully done with strong simple graphics...

The totes (my personal favorite) are screen printed with gorgeous alphabets...

And the jewelry is unique and carries on the vintage feel of many of Loyalty and Blood's other designs...

I love this shop. I love the vintage yet modern designs and I can wait to add one of those letter tote bags to my new American shopping trips. And, of course, this necklace is just the thing I need for my new home!

Find more of Maggie and David's brilliance at!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

quilting politics

Flag, 1915, made by Belle Engley of Kingston, Michigan. cottons, pieced, 78.5 x 67.5 inches. Collection of Marcia and Ron Spark.

The US Presidential election is only a week away. Karl and I will be making it back to the States in time to vote on the 4th, but we decided to go ahead and send in our absentee ballots last week, so our choice has been made and our duty as US citizens is already taken care of. But I know many of you US Americans are still making choices and looking forward to voting next week and I got to thinking, being the quilter and history buff that I am, about the roll quilts have playing in United Sates politics.

Did you know that quilts have played an important role in American politics?

It's only since 1919 that women in the US had the right to vote but American women have been playing an active role in politics since long before that and largely through their quilting.

The 19th century brought a growing population through immigration and and growing populations mean growing social problems. Women created organizations to improve education, prisons, temperance in drinking, abolition of war and slavery, and women's rights. The money to run these causes were raised at fairs, festivals and bazaars where they sold their baked goods, needlework and, yes, quilts.

The Civil War brought more cause for fundraising and more quilts being made to finance the buying of gun boats and hospital supplies and still more quilts were made to send out to the soldiers themselves. Quilts were used by Abolitionists to express their antislavery viewpoints and the names of traditional quilting patterns were changed to reflect their views: for example Job's Tears became Slave Chain and Jacob's Ladder became Underground Railway.

In the 20th century women continued to express their political and patriotic points of view through quilting. Magazines and newspapers called for quilts to send to "Our Boys Over There" and to sell to raise money for the war cause.

But I'm happy to see that with the right to vote, women have not entirely given up the public voice quilting gave us. One of my favorite modern quilters, Denyse Schmidt, has made this beautiful quilt to help raise funds for the Barack Obama campaign. You can find her fundraising page by clicking here.

No matter what your political sway, quilts like this help us to remember, at least help me to remember, that voting is an earned right for all of us. I'm glad my voice in politics today is counted in the private ballot box but I'm also glad that there were many women before me that took advantage of a public voice through fabric and needlework. Although a quilt didn't "count" in elections, they certainly made a difference in our history.

Stars and Stripes, c. 1876, cottons, pieced, 12.5 x 15.5 inches. Thelma Moore-Morris Doll Quilt Collection.

Facts and photos from The American Quilt: A History of Cloth and Comfort 1750-1950 by Roderick Kiracofe

Friday, October 24, 2008

favorite shop friday: made with love by hannah

I've been a big fan of today's shop for a long time. Mostly because of this...the Schwarzwalder Skirt!

And since I'm saying goodbye to my Schwarzwald this week, it seemed the perfect time to feature Made With Love By Hannah!

Her prints and skirts perfectly capture the kitsch that Germany is so good at (which is why, I guess, they invented the word for it). It's a cozy kitsch that I see so much of around my home from the knick knacks cluttering the local Biergarten to the gnomes and sheep and cherubs covering the lawns in our neighborhood. So Hannah's shop makes me feel right at home!

Visit Hannah's haven for all things knick knack-y and ric rac-y (or if you're just feeling homesick for Germany like I will be!) at and check out her blog at for sneak peek at what she's been creating!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

mein schwarzwald

After two years and one month in Germany, Karl and I are moving back the the US at the end of them moth.

We had hoped to make our home here, which started out as a temporary 6 month assignment for his job, into a permanent home, but things haven't worked out as we hoped. And now we're returning.

The decision has made us sad because this is so much our Home. This place has affected us in many ways for the better. There is so much we are going to miss about living in Germany. One of which is the view out my window of the Black Forest. Every day we've lived here I've been amazed that I'm so lucky. Often those thoughts come when I look out our bedroom window at the beautiful green forested mountains with its castle ruins.

I've been trying to soak in that view as much as possible this past week since we've learned we're going to be returning to the States at the end of the month. Unfortunately, it's been a rainy and foggy week and there hasn't been much to see out my window...

But I've taken many shots of our view over the past two years, I love it so much. So, in farewell to my beautiful view, here's my little bit of the Black Forest for you to enjoy, too...

...*sigh*....I'm sure going to miss this place.

Friday, October 17, 2008

favorite shop friday: plum creek mercantile

This week's shop is as simple and brilliant as it's products...reusable food bags!

Say goodbye to going through boxes of throw-away plastic baggies and say hello to Plum Creek Mercantile.

Candyce provides you with fabric food baggies, the perfect size for your sandwich and snacks, and quart-size and gallon-size bulk food bags.

They are pretty, washable, reusable, made with natural cotton and close securely. They are perfect for packed lunches, your toddler's finger foods, travel snacks and whether you want to save some cash on repeatly buying plastic throw-away baggies or have the environment's health in mind.

Find your food's next best friend at

Thursday, October 16, 2008

fall in the forest

In the past couple of weeks, the autumn season has hit the Black Forest in full force and it is beautiful!

This past Saturday Karl and I went up into the Forest mountains with our cameras and our friends, Thomas and Denise, to enjoy the colors...

Denise tries her luck...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

doors and windows 6

Bruges, Belgium

Bruges, Belgium

Bruges, Belgium

Bruges, Belgium

Bruges, Belgium

Monday, October 13, 2008

fire party in my room, guys!

One thing I always look forward to when I travel through Europe is the hotel rooms. In America, a hotel room is a hotel room is a hotel room. They're all pretty much the same size, have the same layout, and the same predictable hotel cable TV. In never really know what you're going to get and I love that!

I've stayed in all kinds of price ranges from cheap 8 euro a night hostels to some pricier places that feel, well, quite American. But I usually sleep in some lower-priced budget hotels (40-70 euros a night...except for London where it's a confirmed miracle to find anything under 100 pounds a night!) that usually consist of mix-matchy furniture, towels that came from somebody's mother's linen closet, and sometimes there's a bathroom in the room, sometimes the shower's in the room and the toilet's down the hall, and sometimes you get a sink and the shower and toilet are shared by the floor. Sometimes there's a TV, often there's not, and I don't know that I've ever had an alarm clock included in my room.

Almost always they are housed in some ancient European building with rustic medieval wooden beams or beautiful 19th century ceiling molding and the rooms often have some odd size as a result from creating several rooms from what use to be one large space. I never know how big or small they're going to be...for example, when I took my sister and her husband to Paris last year, they stayed in a room that was at least three times the size of my decently sized single room with a ceiling probably twice as high, but in Amsterdam I had quite a nicely sized bathroom in my stylishly decorated room but with just enough space on either side of my bed that I could place my bottle of water and travel alarm clock between the bed and the wall but I had to crawl over the end of the bed to get in and out...smallest room ever!

But they are always clean and neat, always have very friendly staff (which is often the married couple that own the place), a heavenly, light yet filling European breakfast ("good morning, hot chocolate, baguettes and Nutella!") and I've never had a disappointed stay...if sometimes a surprising one!

My cute little hotel in Bruges was no exception!

Cute, medieval building with mix-matchy furniture including a big cozy bed!

A married couple staff that kept my room clean and served me a simply divine breakfast!

But when I first checked in, I noticed this little box on the wall outside my room...

With this sign written in several different languages...

Three guesses who checked into room number 7 (with the only fire escape on the floor)....!

I laughed so hard when I saw that! Thankfully, I never awoke to the sound of breaking glass and a key fumbling in my door. With or without the smell of smoke!

Friday, October 10, 2008

favorite shop friday: royal buffet

I love paper. Stationary, greeting cards, an empty journal, blank or decorated...paper is a happy thing with so many possibilities.

I recently discovered a shop that gives paper even more possibilites.

Royal Buffet is paper cut and strung along and glued together to create the lovliest, most delicate creations to brighten your life!

Mollie often uses French paper (why is it that French automatically makes things so much prettier?) and the forms of birds and butterflies to make her creations seem to float.

But there is so much many more possibilies when she has a pair of scisscors in her hands...I know my husband would love this garland of cars:

This wreath of butterflies would be so welcoming on my door:

Mollie's paper is so inspiring and would be so perfect for a certain celebration or simply to brighten up a corner of your room. She has so much more in her shop so go check it out:

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Don't forget! Today is the last day to take advantage of the 10% off sale in my shop!!

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