December 20, 2011

Reflexions on brain fizzles

In Istanbul I got infected with a bad bout of the brain fizzles. Perhaps you know what I’m talking about. It is this state where an idea bounces around your brain like that old computer game. You know it; I mean the one where you have to hit a ball and it lazily bounces from the walls and when you are lulled into some kind of oblivion sneakily pops out the exit.
No matter how much you try to distract yourself with other things; as in my case – the Christmas preparations are screaming for my attention- it simply will not leave you and keeps popping up into your consciousness and calling for immediate action. And I mean NOW!!!
Ok, ok, so you do not know the fizzles, it is solely my kind of brain damage. Good to have that clarified.
I’d better get on with my sorry story.
This is what happened. I saw this man; clearly a tourist – all the relevant signs were there: camera up front, rucksack on the backside and book in the hand. You’ve seen them around.
No, male tourists don’t give me the fizzles, but this ones rucksack did. It was a fairly normal one, but it was covered with lots and lots of these colourful patches from different countries. Hah! I thought; what you can I can as well. I’ve been around. Easy piecy. I’ll just collect patches from all the countries I’ve visited and stitch them on. But…Where do I get the patches from all the places? Do I have to visit them all once again? (Yes!!!) Or do I order them online? (No!!!) But how do I count the places I’ve been to? Some of them do not exist any longer like the Soviet Union. Should I get only the German flag and forget all about DDR? Or should I forget about Yugoslavia and get the patches for Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Montenegro? And what about Czechoslovakia? Is it one country or two? Even worse; what about Scotland and England (I haven’t been to Wales, sorry), or do I only buy the UK one?
Somehow I’ve the suspicion there are a lot of places I’ll never visit again; I do like to go to new places and there are a lot of them just waiting for the right opportunity. What shall I do about these countries; shall I take the coward’s path and just order them? It doesn’t feel right. Who knows, one day…What would you do?
I can’t make up my mind, but I got started and bought this one in Istanbul. Now I have only to get a rucksack and attach it. One patch is better than none.

By the way, I have the same kind of problem with pins from Hardrock cafés, except that you cannot order the pins online. I only got started last year. Dumb of me, because I got a lot of pins for a friend.

December 17, 2011

Iyi günler Türkiye

In September it seemed a great idea to escape from the Christmas hullaballoo for a few days, so I booked for a friend and collegue of mine and myself a four day trip to Istanbul. The plan was to have everything prepared for Christmas before we set off, but somehow...

To tell the truth - it was great to get away and just to go sightseeing and enjoying ourselves. We forgot all about Christmas the moment we landed in Istanbul. The sight from the breakfast table sure was better than the one at home.

The Blue Mosque to one side, the Marmara sea to the other.

On the roof of the house next to our hotel we saw two dogs chasing some seagulls. Of course they did not catch them, but we were afraid the dogs would fall off the roof. Actually they were quite careful of the slippery rooftiles, so we could enjoy our breakfast in peace. There were lots of things never sighted on my breakfasttable as well...Mmmmmmm

Our plan was just to go sightseeing, drink some coffee and eat well with absolutely no Christmas shopping, but who can resist with offers like these?

Perhaps I ought to rethink my quilts style

as well as my dresscode (I wonder how my behind would look like in this?)

or perhaps not.

We sure did find some coffee. I just love it and drink it as often as I can. Normally I'm a teaperson, but here in this country there is no way I'm leaving a full cup of coffee behind me.

It is just as delicious as it looks like. The lump is not sugar gone bad, but lokum (Turkish delight).

Istanbul is a really beautiful city, full of colours and interesting people. I don't like to take pictures of people I do not know, without their consent. But how do you talk to them if you don't know the language?

The chestnut sellers look a bit different from their French collegues. (These guys were happy to be models)

Of course we had to visit the Blue Mosque. This is Marita on her way inside the mosque. You have to wear a scarf on your head and take off your shoes. You carry the shoes in a plastic bag with you until you go out again.

She wasn't too thrilled about the scarf, but the inside was well worth it. The Blue Mosque of Istanbul is one of the most impressive buildings I've ever seen.

There were only few tourist in Istanbul at this time of the year, so we could really see everything we wanted without queing for hours. In this picture you can see some people praying on the left side and the tourists on the right side. I didn't mean to take a picture of the people praying, but at home I saw what I had done. I hope they don't mind too much.

This is how the carpet looks like. It is all over the place and looks this well everywhere. It does make sense to leave the shoes in a bag. I wouldn't want to know what this carpet would look like otherwise.

We also went to the Hagia Sophia. It used to be a Christian church, but was turned into a mosque later. Now it is a museum. You can see signs of both religions beside each other. I have never seen anything like this before.

This is an angel with a face. There are two angels without faces as well.

This place inspires true devotion, in all creatures.

This is the Ompahlion, the place where the byzantine emperors were coronated.

Upstairs there were some beautiful mosaics. This one is with the emperess Irene to the right.

And there was some graffiti from the Vikings (the real ones). They must have liked what they saw, because they didn't smash down the place. What's a bit of harmless graffiti in the marble between friends?

Not far from the Hagia Sophia there are the Cisterna Basilica. It is the place underground, where they used to get the water for the palace.

We went to a hammam (Turkish bath) as well, but I'm not going to show any pictures of ourselves being kneaded on a slab. It was great though and I sure will go there again should I ever come to Istanbul again. We found a place where even the tourists (a lower form of human being in most countries) are being treated well and not ripped off. Last time we were here, we weren't so lucky and paid a lot for about 2 minutes of treatment.

A couple of hours ago I came back home again, well motivated to get on with my Christmas programm. How are you doing, everything in place already?

December 12, 2011

Mystery parcel is on its way

This is where it is going.

This is the home town of lots of delicious Cadbury chocolates and the coolest mall I've ever seen. I'm sure my parcel will find a very good home here.

Some of you did sign up for the mystery swap, but the parcel went to Birmingham (UK), simply because it was the only address I got in time.Truth to be told I barely made into the postoffice before they closed for the day. Last day at work, you know. I was planning on an early escape, but...

Tomorrow I will be taking deep breaths of my favorite (airport) air so today I just had to rush around like Speedy Gonzalez and did not have the time to wait for the answers to my emails. I did also send away parcels to Finland, Ireland, Singapore and Russia. My last parcel, to the USA, is still waiting for Jeannes address. I'm telling you this, so that you know that something is on its way. I do hope everything arrives in time for Christmas, but I have full faith in Rudolph's speedy delivery.

I'll be back with some pictures from my trip on Saturday, until then, take care!

December 11, 2011

Last minute mystery swap

Any one care to make a last minute mystery swap? Here am I, plodding away like a circus hourse on a modest 29 item to-do-list and just yearning for some fun.
In my parcel there is a brand new, cute, quilt related gift. It is rather big and heavy and ought to make someone happy. I swear it is nothing handmade, so there is no need to be anxious. Just drop a comment, or an email and I'll bring the parcel to the postoffice first thing tomorrow morning.
If you don't happen to have any gifts just laying around; it's no problem, then just regard it as a Christmas gift. (But I confess I would just love to get a mystery parcel myself...)Should there be more than one person interested, I'll throw a dice.

December 10, 2011

Quilts, quits, quilts

I've been rather busy making lots of fun things, but as they are shortly going around the world I don't want to be a christmas present spoiler and show them here and now. So I thought why not show the pictures from some quilts I saw in Alsace in October. They were in a small place near a town called Ribeauville. Enjoy!

This one I liked most of all - I just hope that I will one day be able to create something half as good.

December 4, 2011

Alsace, France

Just taking a break from this Christmas spirited housekeeping. It is actually not so bad, once you get started, but I'm not planning on participating in the contest "Best housekeeper of the Year award" any time near. I did try out Irene's advice, but with limited success. It went something like "Hey yo windows, get off my back!" (perhaps I should cut down on the Wire) They kept hinting at some, well, let us call it patina in a true Christian spirit.

But that is NOT the theme of this posting. Now I just want to show you some pictures from our latest trip to Alsace. We go there every year in October since 20 years for a weeks vacation. As you can well imagine we know every spot by heart, but we truly enjoy the stay there. We just go there, throw our stuff into the cupboards and are off to some of our favorit spots. On the way we buy some wine, some baguette, some cheese...
This year was a bit different as we had to shop a lot. We see each other so seldom, so we had to grab the chance and invest time and money in winterclothes for the kiddies.Rather a pity as there are a lot of beautiful places to go to. But well, there is always next year.

I will not bore you with details, just show you the pictures and tell that we had a great time, once again.

Alsace is wellknown for its storks. There are a lot of them.

We even saw some thieves; quite shocking!

There is a pumpkin feast every year in a small town called Logelheim. The whole town participates and there is a contest for the best show. I can only show you some of the pictures I took. There was a lot to see, good food to eat and we had a lot of fun.