Friday, August 29, 2008

favorite shop friday: something's hiding in here

Something's Hiding in Here is one of the many creative endevors of Shauna and Stephen and I suppose the best category for their shop would be novelty. But that doesn't quite seem to do it justice.

Novelty: an article of trade whose value is chiefly decorative, comic, or the like and whose appeal is often transitory (definition from

Ok, I guess their Paint by Number USA is mainly decorative...

...and their faux (real) bois charm is quite comical (get it?'s real wood that's painted with fake wood grain!!...get it?!...hee hee!...)...

But I'll have to put my foot down with "tranisitory appeal". I mean, what is more timeless than a mustache on a stick?

The fake mustache has always been comical (and decorative, come to think of it) and always will be!

And take a look at these report card pennants...

...won't those elementary school grades of fail and incomplete haunt us all forever? (Don't worry...this set also includes "very good" and "pass.")

And, I don't know about you, but my wishes will continue to be granted by tossing coins in a fountain, blowing out all my birthday candles, and pulling on one of these...

But as I mentioned...this wonderful shop with anything but a transitory appeal (if you ask me) is only one of the many creative endevors of Shauna and keep tabs on all they do (including catching a glimpse of their truely incredible studio and home) don't miss thier blog: And buy all of the above items (including many more variations of the fake mustache) at

Thursday, August 28, 2008

nienie day

I didn't start reading blogs until I started writing a blog. I started with the blogs of people I knew. I then was introduced to a few blogs by people I didn't know. And that's when I started to realize what an incredible thing blogging can be. I began to be daily inspired by...well, by all of you. By your creativity, by your joys and sorrows, by your humor, by your unique perspectives. I find blogs amazing because they prove how amazing we can all be. I am a wife, a sister, and a daughter, a homemaker and an art historian, a quilter and a small (very small) business owner...and I would not be as good at these things without all of you and if I fall short of my aspirations (and, believe me, I do!) it's not because you have not already shown me what I could be and do!

I discovered the NieNie Dialogues some time ago and I didn't hesitate to add Stephanie's blog to my sidebar (maybe you've discovered it, too?). Stephanie has a beautiful family, a delightful home, and creative talents that I can only aspire to (and I do!). She's not only a beautiful woman she is an obviously amazing mother and homemaker and is completely in love with her husband! She takes incredible photographs of her life and I'm so grateful she shares her talents with us through her blog...I have been inspired by her more than once!

Recently, however, tragedy has struck the NieNie family. Stephanie and her husband were involved in a small airplane crash and they now need help in their recovery. And so, once again, the blogging community is putting me in awe! Another creative mom I aspire to someday be like, Design Mom, is declaring today NieNie Day! Head over to her blog for a silent auction to help raise funds for the family and for a super-huge list of blogs participating in today's festivities with special posts and more auctions. If you've been in the mood for some fresh blog's your day! You can also simply click on the button below to donate financially to the family (all funds will go directly to medical bills and household managment as they recover).

Now...can I share with you one of my favorite NieNie posts? Around the time I first discovered her blog she hosted a special Mother's Day week with giveaways and thoughts on motherhood from fellow mom bloggers. All the posts were amazing, but it was her own thoughts at the beginning of this post that particularly inspired here ! Let NieNie inspire you, too!

Friday, August 22, 2008

favorite shop friday: sodeco

Wall graphics seem to be all the rage right now. I've noticed a lot....A LOT...of shops on that sell vinyl wall graphics to apply to your home walls and most of these shops have really great designs. But I recently came across one shop that really stood out to me...Sodeco.

Sodeco are Denise and Ana in Toronto and they have created - I think - some of the most unique and beutiful wall graphics I've yet seen. They are simple, elegant, and beautiful.


Big stump

You can order your wall graphic in a variety of colors, they are easy to apply and remove, and Sodeco will even do custom orders if you have something new in mind.

AND, these girls are so cool that they are offering all of you here on this blog a 15% discount on any order! Just add the code "etsydecals" in the comments to seller section at check-out, then wait for a revised invoice before paying. And they do ship around the world so no matter where you are you've go the chance to make your home that much more beautiful!

Find all of these designs and many more from Sodeco (and go get that discount!) at

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

tour de france

We live very close to France. About 14 kilometers, actually. We often hop over the border to see a movie (the French play American movies in their original English language more often than the Germans who seem to prefer to dub over movies into German), go to a yummy restaurant, or buy French groceries (and yes, we love to say to each other "Let's go the France, today!"). But ever since we moved here we've been wanting to ride our bikes over to the border. On Saturday, we finally did!

This past week I've been making cookies, eating cookies, sitting on the couch finishing up a big quilting project, and watching athletes half my age breaking world records at the Olympics so maybe I just felt inspired to get us off our butts, but we finally had a non-rainy Saturday and so we ventured out to France!

We made our first stop just a couple of blocks from home to buy some sweet and declicious white raspberries from the self-serve food stand as a biking snack and then rode on through several little German villages and beautiful fields and orchards and nature preserves toward the Rhine.

This house smelled so good as we rode by!

Then, just before we reached the Rhine river...Karl got a flat tire!

So we walked our bikes the last quarter of a kilometer or so to the ferry that crosses us over to France.

Goodbye Germany!

Once in France we walked into the little town laying just on the other side of the Rhine and found a grocery store with bike-repairing supplies and made camp in front of a closed resturant to make repairs.

We muched on our bakery snacks bought in one of the German villages then made our way back to the Rhine, having accomplished our mission and tired out by that flat tire.

An old World War II barrack on the French side of the Rhine, not used since the French were trying to keep the Germans on the other side of the river:

In passing through one of the German villages, we noticed the local Bicycle Society was having a Summer Festival so we made a stop for some festival food.

We made one more stop at the self-serve food stand for some homemade pickles and plum jam and felt very satisfied (if exhausted) arriving home having finally accomplished this little goal we made for ourselves so long ago! Take that Olympic medalists!

Home again...the well-stocked self-serve stand in our little Oberweier:

It was such a lovely day! But, now...back to the couch...

Monday, August 18, 2008

schwäbisch gmünd library

The Hospice of the Almshouse Brothers in Schwäbisch Gmünd was founded in 1269 and in 1434 a half-timber building for the Almshouse was built as part of a complex of Alms buildings and a mill surrounding a pretty courtyard. Today, that half-timber Almshouse is the town's public library. I originally ducked into the library to find a toilet to use and was awe-struck by the building itself. I ended up spending about an hour in the buliding, first wandering through it's wooden-beamed rooms, then sitting in a corner to read in this old and incredible space.

See? Didn't I tell you this was the coolest library ever?

My favorite space was this room called the Uhrenzimmer. It was built in 1596 as an office for the Almshouse and is now apparently used for weddings. I found my way there, found the door open, and just as I stepped inside this stunning room but I before I could get the camera out of my bag, I was shooed out as the room was getting prepared for a wedding. So all I can show you is the door into the room with the little hanging sign on the doorknob letting us know that there is a wedding in session. But imagine the kind of room (dark wooden walls, floors and ceilings with old Renaissance windows) that beautiful wooden doorway would lead you to and that's exactly what lays beyond it!

Friday, August 15, 2008

favorite shop friday: cathy cullis

Cathy Cullis is an artist. Her ink is thread and her paper is linen, newsprint, and yellowed novels and the result is beautiful!

With trailing threads, unfinished fabric edges, sketchy figures, there a sense of the improvised in her work but, as Cathy puts it, her pieces are still "carefully constructed, considered." In fact, Cathy calls her work "visual poems" and I think that's the best way to describe them because they are certainly lyrical and while they have an abbreviated quality there is quite a depth to them, I think.

Her pieces can but framed but can also be worn like this beautiful pendant and brooch:

Cathy's beautiful work can be found at

Thursday, August 14, 2008

schwäbisch gmünd churches

We visited three different churches during our day in Schwäbisch Gmünd and they were all very different from each other.

The first was St. John's, a Romanesque church built between 1220 and 1250. It was being restored and the inside floor of the church was littered with the original gargoyles and saints from the outside of the church.

I climbed up the church tower where I got a beautiful view of the next church we visited...

The Holy Cross Cathedral is a Gothic church built btween 1315 and 1521. It had a big beautiful organ and pretty side chapels and gorgeous windows!

The last church we visited was really a chapel. Two chapels, actually. And it was very unique! St. Salvator was built on a hill overlooking the town in 1617. The path going up the hill has little chapels containing sculptural vignettes of Christ's Life.

The two chapels (an upper chapel and lower chapel) were built into caves with beautiful carvings both inside and outside cut into the rock.

All three of these churches were very beautiful and represented a completely different era in architecture. It was so neat to see a mini history of church design all in one afternoon!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

schwäbisch gmünd

Yesterday, Karl had to go to a small town called Schwäbisch Gmünd (say "shvay-bish g-moondt) on the far side of Stuttgart and I decided to tag along. The town was charming! As Karl was busy with business, I wandered around the charming town, and then we met up together and wandered around some more. Here is some of the charm we explored...

We actually also saw three very interesting churches and the coolest library I've ever seen but I'm going to save those photos for another day!

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