Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Past is in the Current

*The following information in this blog entry is based off of other people's opinions and the information may not be 100% accurate.  In other words...I'm not BBC.

This past Monday took an eventful turn for some construction workers in one of Munich's most exclusive neighborhoods.  While digging in a construction site one of the workers located a 250 kg American bomb left from World War II.  Apparently, finding bombs buried underground is not uncommon throughout Germany.  They find British and American bombs every few months.  In fact, the last time another bomb was found in Munich was at the end of June when Husband and I were here visiting.  So just in two months two bombs have been found.  Though they say this happens every so often and most Germans are used to it, Husband and I are not.  Reading about what happened 6 decades ago in a textbook is one thing but then seeing a glimpse of the past really opened my eyes.

So what does someone do when they locate a bomb you might ask?

Well, first the police completely shut down the immediate area and evacuated residents.  People had to find accommodations Monday night and some were not even allowed to return home on Tuesday.  Then two specialist and a dog were flown in from somewhere else in Germany to try to defuse the bomb.  It took a while to get them to Munich and they did not arrive until Tuesday.  The last time this type of bomb was located was 25 years ago.  Unfortunately, they were unable to successfully use the method of defusing because it was a chemical fuse which are tricky.  (This is all foreign to me)  I have heard that there are some bombs that are "peacefully" resting left alone, others that are defused, and some that are taken out to the country to be let go.  I've heard before you build a home or what not in Germany you have to have the land checked. 

Since the specialist were unable to defuse this bomb and it was too risky to take it to the country the men decided it would have to be set off in the city.  The surrounding radius of 1 km was evacuated, roads closed, and the trains shut down.  Trailers full of hay and sand bags were brought in to "hush" the bomb.  They set the bomb off in the mid afternoon and it was pretty well contained.  There are a few buildings with broken windows up and down the blocks next to the site.  Three stores down from the bomb site did engulf in flames and was a complete loss.  Windows, walls, and buildings can be replaced but the best news is that nobody was hurt.

Experts estimate there are still 100,000 bombs still unaccounted for left over from World War II.  They believe over the last 67 years some 368,500 bombs have been defused. 

Seeing the news, the videos, and knowing that Husband and I just walked down this block a few weekends ago really makes the past seem so real.  It is astonishing that a couple of generations later we are still picking up the pieces left behind so long ago.  We shouldn't completely forget the past because it allows us to not take for granted where we are now.  

Here are some pictures from the event:  The first four photos were taken off of
The bomb sticking up out of the ground to the right of the man.
 1 in every 8 bombs dropped did not go off. 
They think this bomb probably bounced a few meters before coming to a rest.
Trailers of hay and the blocked streets
The area evacuated.
This is right near the English Garden.
 A local department store window
 Two days later the area is still secured
 Lots of people stopping by to see
 To the right of the yellow building is the construction site.
You can see the burned store front and apartments.
The police protecting the area
Video of the explosion
 Thanks to all the men and women who keep us all safe!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I "Felt" Like Crafting

When your husband is out of town there are a few things a girl likes to indulge; pajama pants, a chick flick, a bottle of wine, and a glue gun.  That's right I had a craft night!
Monday I headed into the Munich city center to check out a felt store Husband and I had passed a few weeks ago.  The store was teeny tiny about the size of a nice master bedroom closet back home.  All the felt is behind a counter where the store clerk attends to your pickings while you basically stand just a foot in from the doorway.  From the floor to the ceiling there are shelves filled with all different types of felt in the most beautiful colors of the rainbow. 
I told the clerk in German I do not speak good Deutsch and she told me in English she does not speak good English. We settled for the method of me pointing at what I wanted and she would pull it off the shelf.  The first piece she pulled was about 8"x11" made of wool and about 2,30Euros.  I guess my face gave away that the price was too much.  The clerk asked me what I needed felt for and I told her a wreath.  Neither she nor the other employee knew what a "wreath" was and both had puzzled looks on their faces like I was strange.  The next piece of felt she pulled out was for kinder projects at 60 cents.  This was definitely more like the price range I was looking for.  Ignoring their smirks as if to make fun of my children's felt I quickly made my purchase of 13 pieces.
On my way out of the store I asked if I could take a picture of the felt and the clerk told me no. I was crushed that in a store so colorful their attitudes could be so cold. I decided not to let this harshness stampede on my bright cheery field of daisies. "After all, tonight is craft night!" I thought as I headed home and to take pictures of my own felt. 
Yarn Wreath with Felt Flowers
  • Styrofoam wreath
  • Yarn
  • Felt
  • Floral Flare
  • Scissors
  • Glue gun
 Since we are moving into a small apartment I am going to use the same colors throughout to keep with the flow.  The colors we are incorporating are greens and taupes with accents in red, orange, and marigold.  This wreath is going to hang in a collage of picture frames in the entryway.
Here is my inspiration for the wreath:
Our "Marigold" chairs from Target
First, wrap the styrofoam wreath in the yarn.  Make sure you are consistent with the firmness you use throughout the wrapping.  My very first wreath I made a few weeks ago had a "sagging" section because I wasn't pulling the yarn as tight. 
The yarn wrapping is complete!
Secondly, choose which colors you want to use for the felt flowers.  I decided on red, orange, and yellow.
To make the felt rosette flowers I cut each felt sheet in half.  Then I took the half sheet and cut a large oval. 
Like a coiled snake, I cut a spiral through the whole oval.  I started out with a small width and then gradually cut the width larger as I went.  *I wish I had taken picture of this next part but my hands were full!  Then you want to pick up the small end and start rolling the felt between your fingers keeping the edges of one side of the roll in line.  This part will be the bottom of the flower and the other side will be the flower petals. When I was done rolling the felt I glued down the loose end.
After I had made a few rosettes I decided to try a different flower, one with loop petals.  I took half a piece of felt and folded in long ways, hot dog style, horizontally whichever way you prefer to call it.  I glued each corner where the ends met but not on the fold.  Then using scissors I cut big, small, big, small strands up the fold about 1 cm. away for the end. *Again, I wish I had pictures to show but my hands were full!  Finally I took one end of the strip and started rolling all the way down the piece keeping the edges lined up to form the flat bottom of the flower.
Once you have a good selection of rosettes and loopy flowers start trying out different placements on the wreath until you find one that you like.  I added some extra flowers I found on clearance at my local craft store.  I also painted two wooden flower cut outs to add a different texture to the mix. 
Finally, I glued down the flowers.  In some areas that looked bare I added some felt leaves cut into different shapes. 

 The final product!
  Do you think it matches my inspiration chair?

A cheerful wreath for a happy home.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Simple Life

This past weekend Husband and I decided to stay in our area (farms...) instead of taking the train into the city center of Munich.  Saturday was mostly cloudy with scattered showers so we kept most of our exploring indoors. In fact we did some retail exploring... which is the best kind of course! 

The shopping trip turned out to be eventful for two main reasons. First, we located a "Do It Yourselfer" store called OBI.  The store is similar to Home Depot (both are orange!) but mixed with a Sears and Michaels.  Now I know where all the graffiti artists pick up their spray paint.  Hallelujah! You know I will be heading back there as we start coming up with some apartment projects to tackle.

The second reason why the shopping trip to OBI became important is because we found these guys hanging out by the registers.  Say what?!?  Alright, I will admit I wish we had asked to speak to the manager because I want to know WHO WENT TO TEXAS?!?  Thank goodness for a little taste of home. 

 Keep in mind these bottles were 6,99Euros. That is about $9-$10. We treated ourselves!

Sunday the weather was cooler from all the rain and the sun did decide to shine on.  It turned out to be a nice day so Husband and I spent as much time outdoors as we could.  Husband spent the early afternoon mowing the backyard with an old fashion mower.  It worked quite well although I don't think he would recommend it for Texas sized yards!

While he was busy mowing I found a friend.  Spider webs are fascinating, and sometimes annoying depending if you see it or not.  I left this guy alone hoping he'll feast on some of these nasty house flies that are buzzing about.

 Here are some freshly picked raspberries off the bush out back.  We didn't even realize what the bush was until a few weeks ago when the berries started plumping.  Tonight I plan to put little spoonfuls of these berries into dough to make mini pie pockets.

After a few chores we headed to a local park made up of small lakes, lots of trees, and walking trails.  It reminded me a lot of Erwin Park.  Each lake had a different purpose.  The biggest lake had very clear water, a swimming slide in the middle of it, and is the backyard to a biergarten.  Across the road the other lake was holding wind surfing lessons for young teens.  Keep in mind it is late August, people are swimming all around me and I'm cold in my fleece!  The third lake was next to nearly full grown corn fields.  Looking down into the water we saw all sorts of fish. 

Walking along the trails looking at the three lakes was very peaceful and a great start to a new week. Could this be the simple life?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Six Pack Gift Wrap

Some exciting news has reached us from the Homefront; one of Husband's best friends and one of my best friends both welcomed new babies into this world this past week.  We cannot wait to meet Baby Isabella and Baby Alex when we are back in the States. Congrats to both families!!!

In hearing this news, I am reminded of a craft project I have yet to share with you from July.  In the midst of all our moving arrangements last month I needed something crafty to do to get my mind off the stresses.  In my craft closet I found two St. Arnold's 6-pack bottle holders on the brink of being thrown out.  Instead of their almost fate in the trash, I decided to repurpose the two carriers.

First, I gathered my supplies:
-Six Pack Carrier
-Assortment of Scrapbook paper
-Spray glue
-Tissue paper
-Gift items
*It was really fun to shop for the gift items.  Baby Alex's nursery is Nautical so I decided to go along with that theme with items on and off his registry at Target.
*For the Big Sister kit I picked up those items from Michael's and Target sticking to a craft theme!

Then, I placed the different sections of the carrier down onto the scrapbook paper to trace the sizes.  I cut two coordinating pieces of paper for each section. One for the front, one for the back.

Next, I sprayed each section with spray glue and attached it to the matching side of the six pack carrier. I would not recommend the spray glue you see in the picture.  I did have issues with the paper coming up at the corners of the six pack.  I have had better luck in the past with Elmer's spray glue.

Finally, I played around deciding how best to "stuff" the six pack carrier.  I decided to put the bottles on one half of the carrier stuffed with socks and the bibs hanging over the edge.  On the other side I rolled up onsies, placed the body wash in the center section along with the wash clothes. 

Last, after I was satisfied where each gift item was placed, I cut small pieces of tissue paper to fill in the gaps of the six pack carrier.

After finishing the baby gift I decided to create a Big Sister kit to keep Alex's sister entertained while at the hospital waiting for his delivery.  I stuffed her six pack carrier with a tote bag, puff paint, stickers, stamps, pencils, funky colorful pens, notepads, etc. She was very excited to have something to open at the shower when all the attention was on her baby brother. 

This turned out to be a really fun gift to put together.  These carriers are perfect for any occasion. get to enjoy six yummy sodas!

Look who else likes to craft in our house!

Do you have a "go to" baby gift idea for showers?

Make Life Beautiful,

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Happy Monthiversary!!!

Today marks a special occasion, Husband and I have officially survived our first month in Germany! And BOY has it been a complete roller coaster ride! At every turn we are learning new ways of living and how to get along in a new environment. I have a feeling this is going to be consistent during our time in another country. This is one of the reasons we decided to come to Germany, to get uncomfortable and experience the "unknown".

Here are pictures taken one month ago today:

 My new husband sitting on the floor reading during our 4 hour layover in NYC!
 I think I asked Husband 20 times "Do you have your passport?" Good grief.
 Air Berlin waiting to take us over the Atlantic.  We weren't impressed with this airline.  The food was not the best we have had on an airline and the movies were only on large cabin screens.
 I lost count of how many hours we spent traveling but I'm pretty sure we were awake for nearly 24 hours before we got any "real" sleep.  Accidentally, after we arrived in Munich Husband and I left the secured baggage claim area without our 6 suitcases.  He had to go back through security to claim our 6 suitcases.  Does that explain to you how exhausted we were?

Cool Things That Have Happened This Past Month:
-We have met people from all over the world
-We are vikings exploring this massive city
-We can say "Mein deutsch ist nicht gut"
-We cook at home 6 nights a week
-We found the English bookstore
-We spend time walking in the various parks
-We have a tow truck guy named Alfred
-We asked Aaron Watson to come do a show
-We got our first care package of allergy medicine

Stay tuned there is much much more to come!  Miss you all!