Welcome to my little world! My name is Donna and I'm the mother of one very spoiled kitty named Clarice. I was a banker for over 20 years but now I'm a SAHM and loving every minute of it. I'm a super, huge Bon Jovi fan and an avid cross stitcher. I love decorating my home with flea market finds, primitive style items and vintage items. My hubby says if the last three generations threw it out as trash it'll end up in our house as a decoration.

Friday, August 31, 2012

How I miss my washing machine back home!

Never really gave much thought to a washer and dryer until I moved over here.  Keep in mind that it takes over 2 hours to wash a very small load of laundry like 4 to 5 men's dress shirts totally fill the dang thing up.  And dryers just aren't used over here so it's back to clothesline days for me.  But I am extremely grateful that I have a washer in my apartment and it's quite a step up from beating my clothes with rocks at the local river bed to get them clean, Ha, Ha!  The not having a dryer thing is no biggie when the weather is hot like it has been but not sure what I'm gonna do when it's snowing or like today and yesterday just cloudy with rain showers.  I washed 3 loads on Saturday and hung them out with only dropping 3 things onto the balcony below us which is a huge improvement from what I did the first few times I hung things out.  Anyway there were huge storms that blew in and soaked all my hard work not once, not twice but three times!  I told Mark that it was just extra rinse cycles but seriously was really getting tired of it and knew the neighbors were probably just shaking their heads at what a stupid woman I must be.  It all got dry finally and it's fine but it was seriously making me feel very inadequate in just dealing with everyday life.  I'm over it now!!!!

Yesterday we picked up our visa permits which allow Mark to work here and me to stay with him.  It's a huge process of filling out paperwork then waiting for it all to be approved which took almost 6 weeks but it's done now so we can stop carrying our passports, birth certificates  and marriage license with us everywhere.  Silly I know but I hated carrying it all in my purse because if it got lost the hassle of getting replacements would have been a nightmare.  Now I just need to find a really safe place to store it in the apartment.

Anyhoo, I kept the car after we picked up our permits and I was determined to spend the day just doing "Donna Stuff" so I drove myself into Karlsrhue to this antik store I had read about on line.  I know what it sounds like "wah freaking hoo, she drove herself into a city" but it was a big deal to me.  The car is still a rental, 6 speed and there are a lot of one way streets where I was headed.  And how did she know that you ask.....well because I'd already been trying to find the store and got lost several times over last week until I finally gave up in tears.  Now I was determined that I was gonna conquer this store and get my confidence back that I could handle living overseas just fine without Mark's constant help.  I got there, parallel parked the car without any issues so I was flying high.  Walk down to the store and it's not open....WTF?  It's open from 9 to 12 then 2 to 4 everyday is what I read on line but then I see a hand written sign which of course, I can't really "read" but it looks like the hours have changed to opening at 11 so ok I have some time to kill.  I walked around, found some cool home decor places just browsed then sat myself down at a cafe to order coffee, chocolate croissant (not German but I love them) and read my book until he opened his store up.  I went back and this store is amazing just high quality antiks that are just gorgeous!  I think I might have made him nervous because I was petting every piece, opening doors and drawers just loving every minute of it.  He was the type of storekeeper that followed behind you which makes me nervous but I soldiered on and ended up buying a great yellow ware pitcher for 10E which was probably the cheapest thing in his entire store but who cares, I bought something!  Then I drove to get Clarice's new id tag with Mark's new cell phone #, went to the WalMart type store here and finally ended up at my favorite antik store.  Come on, I had the car so why waste a perfect opportunity.  I found some more great stuff and I'll post pictures later this weekend after I get everything washed up and in place. The lady was happy to see me and gave me some really good prices.  I also told her that I'd bring pictures next time so she could see how much I loved what I got from her.  Not completely sure she understood me but she could surely tell by my smile that I loved her stuff.

Donna Davis asked me last night what if the people at Mark's job don't like what I chose to furnish our apartment with since they "own" everything I have bought.  I told her too stinkin bad if they didn't but how could they not?  What is it about old, worn wood surfaces or rust or tattered fabrics that speak out to me?  Is it the stories they could tell or do tell about the people that owned them before?  Is it that someone treasured an item enough to keep it several years?  Is it because they saved their grandmother's little tin of sewing whatnots whether out of sentimental or practical reasons?  Could they not afford new things or was it because they treasured it?  I don't know but all of that runs thru my mind no matter if it's a fine antik cabinet or a little tin sewing box so I'm drawn to it.  I won't apologize for it or try to rationalize it to people that just don't get it but I will love what I bought for as long as I can and try to pass on that sense of history to others.

Ok enough for now because the washer has finally stopped so I get to go figure out how to hang Mark's dress shirts to dry.  Have a great weekend and do something that makes you smile!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Clarice's Encounter at the park

Today is sunny and bright over here so to escape the heat,  Clarice and I went for a stroll in the park this afternoon.  She really enjoys walking on her leash and exploring so I just let her wander around while I follow her reading my kindle.  Today I finally got her close enough to a bench so I could sit while she explored.  I was distracted because I started a new book right before we left (One Thousand White Women-The Journals of Mary Dodd) which had me enthralled.  Suddenly I feel a sharp tug on the leash so I look up and there is Clarice face to face with this squirrel.  This little guy is bright red and he's as curious about her as she is him.  They were literally nose to nose then he scampered up a tree just barely out of her reach and they "Talked".  He would chatter at her, I would talk to them both and Clarice would meow just a little.  I'm sure we were quite a sight but it was just amazing.  I walked up to the tree and I swear the squirrel would have let me pet him if I'd reached out.  He was so tame but Clarice lost interest in him so we headed for home.  It was one of those encounters where you just kick yourself for not having your camera because it was so surreal.  I hope we see him again so I can get some pictures.

Thanks everyone for your kind words about the loss of my grandmother.  She was a feisty, little thing that spoke her mind and it's really strange to realize that she was my exact age that I am now when I was born.  I was her first grandchild and the only girl for 11 years (I think that is right).  We spent our young years living on the same street as her and Pappa so we were at their house as much as we were our own.  She was the finest country, down home cooking woman that there has ever been.  Paula Deen has nothing on my mamma!  She showed everyone her love by cooking for them and it didn't matter what time of the day or night you stopped by her house, my gosh she was gonna feed ya!!!! My little brother, John would walk into her house asking "Mamma, you got any pots on the stove" every time we went in her back door.  I could probably count on oe hand the times I went in thru her front door because that just wasn't her and Pappa....they were always in the kitchen and rarely sitting down in the living room. They always had a huge garden and Pappa could grow anything so Mamma always put up a lot and I do mean a lot of pickles, jams, beans, okra, corn, tomatoes, ect.... Her fig preserves were my favorite but her bread and butter pickles were a close second.  And fry chicken...man oh man that woman could fry the best chicken in the world!!!  Her mother passed away when she 10 years old so she started taking care of her baby sister, daddy and brothers at that young age.  Her daddy had to build her a step to reach the top of the stove and her aunts taught her how to keep house.  I just can't imagine a child doing that nowadays and keep in mind this would have been 82 years ago so things weren't as easy as they are now.  Wow!!!!!

Ok one last thing I forgot to post a picture yesterday of my favorite treasure so far over here.  I got a German (duh) Wedding Chest for $35E and we are using it as our tv stand.  Mark actually spotted it covered with a horrible old vinyl tablecloth draped over it outside and I didn't even want to ask how much because I figured it would be way out of my price range.  I was shocked beyond words when she said $40E but I was able to talk her down to $35 anyway

Isn't it just wonderful with the flowers painted on it with the old red and blue paint?  I just love it!
Ok so off for now to fix some dinner before Mark straggles in tonight.  I think we are having stuffed peppers because I got some amazing red, yellow and green peppers at the market today....yummy!  I don't think I've made this dish in the last 10 years so I hope it's as easy as I remember.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

So barely 20 days ago we were in the hotel

First off let me explain that this post will be picture heavy and probably quite lengthy.  So grab a cup of your poison of choice and settle in for a long, much awaited (lol) update on the Harris family.

We officially moved in August 17th and have been working our butts off to make this apartment into our peaceful home.  Mark is under a lot of stress and yes, I do mean more than his norm so I wanted the home to just surround him, nurture his spirit and welcome him to a sanctuary when he walks in the door.  Not an easy feat when you have no car or don't speak the language and trying to find stuff at stores, on line, ect... But we are getting there so I'm gonna put some pics on of the progress so far.  It's a work in progress but that's how I always view my homes no matter where I live. Now remember no kitchen, no over lights, no closets or even bathroom fixtures come in an unfurnished apartmentin Germany.  Now you see why I said working our butts off? 

Clarice has adapted remarkably will which is probably due to the fact that she now has room to roam, play and escape us instead of being tethered to a windowsill every minute.  She loves walking out on the balconies and watching the world go by.  As a matter of fact, she just jumped off the back of the couch, stretched real big and walked outside to watch some workers in the park.  Speaking of the park, she has been for 3 walks over there and loves every minute of it. We have had older people stop to pet her and children just adore it because there is just something really funny about a Katzen walking on a leash in the park!  I enjoy the cool shade and read while she explores.  Thank goodness that Auntie Donna Davis got her a retractable leash because it gives her much more range than the little cat leash that I had bought her.  We are still debating keeping her "Soft Claw" caps on her nails because Mark doesn't like them but if she starts scratching the furniture I say they stay on.  Just think of them like nail tips so they don't hurt her but Mark thinks she pounces less when they are on so he doesn't like them. 

I have discovered the Antik Store that Mark found before we moved over here and I love it!  It's a family run business with an older couple and their daughter who looks about my age.  They carry a lot of stuff like primitives and dusty stuff that looks like it hasn't moved in years.  I have been there twice already and got some just amazing stuff, free delivery and established a friendship already.  Of course, guess that's easy when you are throwing money around...LOL!  Seriously, I was able to haggle a little which was fun for both of us...I think!  I know I came away just bubbling over with excitement which scared Mark nearly to death....OMG, She's already found a place to spend my hard earned money...LOL!  Doesn't take me long does it?  These people just have amazing stuff and it's packed to the ceilings, piled up, some outside with tarps (which of course is my favorite area) and some storage buildings.  I just ran around like a kid in a candy store those 2 times and must have made 10 or 12 passes with piling stuff at the register before I finally said I was ready to discuss price.  Now I should explain that it's been in the high 80's to 90's here with no air conditioning so I was a sweaty mess by the time I was ready to start haggling.  I think they really felt bad for the poor fat, sweaty American so they actually threw a few items in for free.  I was beyond thrilled and I think they will be too when I go show them the pictures of what I have done with the stuff now.

One last story then I'll start adding pictures.  Those that know we all too well will remember that I am a mystery novel junkie.  I think it all started with my addiction to Nancy Drew novels as a child but I admit I like nothing better than reading mystery, crime novels.  So our last week at the hotel proved that I may be a little paranoid from all that I have read.  I walked the contents of the litter box(ewww) over to drop into the hotels garbage area late one evening.  It was really dark and it's about 1/2 a block from where we were staying.  As I started back thru the empty street, I realized it was very dark and isolated back there which was spooky.  Then I started across the street and I heard a man's dress shoe footsteps behind me along with the swooshing of his pant legs.  I didn't want to turn around so I just increased my pace a little but knowing that I had to walk into a dark alley to get to our room was scaring me a little.  I look up and see Mark working at the computer with his back turned to the window, Clarice sitting in the window and I wonder if they will hear me if I start yelling.  The guy turns and starts down the alley right behind me and at this point I'm almost running.  Yep this is it is what I'm thinking.....he's gonna grab me and Mark not have a clue what happened.  It's every mystery novel"s plot happening to me!!!!!  Yep, you got it...he was staying in the building right next to ours but I didn't know that until I broke out into a run, swiped my card and quickly pulled the main doors shut.  I ran up the stairs just about in a panic and I looked outside our window in time to see him swipe his card in the other building and go inside.  I was so out of breath that it took a couple of minutes for me to calm down to explain to Mark what was going on.  After we had a good laugh over it, he decided that he'd take whatever items needed to be thrown out after dark from then on.  I felt so silly afterwards but also very happy that it was just my imagination running away with me instead of some psycho man!

And to quote Bugs Bunny:  On with the show this is it!!!!  Now admit it how many of you just sang that line and thought of all the characters walking on stage? 

We arrived and now where to store everything
I must decorate even the hotel nightstand that first day

Clarice makes herself at home right away!

Finally Moved in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Master bedroom and I brought the quilt and all bedding with me from home.  Just stuff I had collected but not yet using yet.  I'm a bargain hunter extreme just like my Granny was.  She's say "Don't know what I'm gonna do with it yet but it was a bargin and if I just take it out and bury it in the yard, it was still a bargin"  God, I miss my Granny
Mark's nightstand which is actually a huge hanging cupboard but since we need a place to store his sleep machine I thought this was perfect.  And I only paid $20 euros for it which is about $28.00 US
Ikea lamp with some of my small sewing items in it on his nightstand.  It took me several hours to pry the top off, put the smalls in and figure out how to rewire the dang thing.  They don't want you to do this obviously but I had other ideas.  What else is new?
My makeup table since we only have one bathroom this was a must have item for the bedroom.  Again $20 E and they threw in the pail that I'm using as a trashcan for free
Hope to find more Putz sheep while we are living here but these 2 I brought from my very small collection at home
Yes she made the trip with me as well because you can never have enough primitive dolls around and she's sitting on the huge windowsill in the master bedroom
This is in the entrance hall and Mark made the lights for me.  I knew I wanted huge hanging laterns but couldn't find them over here.  But I did find garden lights to be used with candles so you know us, cut the bottoms out and wired them up.  Perfect and just what I had in mind for this massive hallway.

Living Room light fixture which is a wire lampshade structure that was covered in vinyl, made to look like leather and I cut it off the frame.  The antik lady gave it to me for free and if you'd seen it before you'd think she got the better end of the deal.  Ha, ha!  I knew it would be perfect wired up so Mark did just that then we covered the cored with rope.  I love it!!!!!!
Clarice's chair with my $10E stool as a side table and my $10E solid pewter lamp. Alnog with a coverlet/throw I brought from home. Look at the awesome pail that we are using as a trashcan and it was $5E
Living room sofa and Mark picked the fabric.  I do think it's growing on me now that the room is starting to come together.
Living room wall with stitching I did earlier in the year but framed over here.  The $5E carrier that I put in some of my smalls that I brought with me.  The heart shaped rock was found on our lot in Arkansas when we built our home and it's been in all the others since.  It's just a small way of always carrying home with us no matter where we are living
I did this to honor my Mamma earlier this year and she passed away last week so how fitting that I was framing it myself the day she passed.  I'll miss her and so happy that I did this to honor her before she passed.
My $5E stool with Clarice's KitCat sitting on it.  I just love that someone found this piece of tree and envisioned a stool out of it.  Wow it's a piece of art as well as functional since it holds the living room door open.
Kitchen is finally done!  I will need to declutter my shelves by moving my glassware but first I need to collect more yellowware.  The pitchure on top was $3E and simply gorgeous!
The crock was $5E and the old wooden spoons were free
Finally got my farmhouse sink or atleast the Ikea version of a farmhouse sink

German wine and beer crates to use as storage $5E each.  The white and black graniteware on the racks are from home.  Got the 2 cups at Goodwill for .99 cents before we moved and the cup with spout is a very special gift from a wonderful lady, Eileen that I have the pleasure of calling my friend.  It belonged to her husband Robert as a child and when he passed she gave it to me because she knew how much I loved old things.  I think of her and Robert everytime I walk into my kitchen.  That man made the best fudge in the world!
My farmhouse kitchen table.  I paid more for the wood glue than I did for the table.  LOL! It's just weathered to perfection for us and after a polish of bees wax just as smooth as a baby's butt
My antik breadboard is huge and only cost me $5E  I wish she had a few more of these beauties though I'm loving the simple look of this one board on that wall
Functional and pretty to look at

Finally my favorite space in the whole apartment.  Now according to the owners, this was the first "fridge" when the apartment was built over 100 years ago.  I don't know if that's true but I just love this little space
Isn't it just too cute?  And since it's all "stone" I can burn my tart burner in there without worrying about burning the entire place down.  Sure happy I held onto that old thing all these years because it's perfect here

Ok that's all for now boys and girls but we sure to tune in again real soon and we'll continue to Prim up Germany together!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Oh no!

Well the world as I know it just ended last night.  I lost my only cross stitch needle to a hotel chair which does not  have a removable cushion. Whatever am I gonna do and why didn't I throw an extra pack in my stuff?  What was I thinking or not thinking as the case may be?  I have  needles packed in all our stuff at the apartment so guess what  I'll be doing first thing when I get over there?  That's right, figuring out what box they are safely packed away in and digging them out...pronto fast!  I guess lucky for me that Mark limited my boxes to 6 total so it's not a ton of stuff to dig thru.
It's been a very, very boring day here in Germany because the Internet is barely moving, I can't understand anything on tv except CNN and I can't even stitch.  I guess I'm having my first international pity party.  Sorry but it's not always easy being cooped up in a hotel room with nothing to do and all day to do it.  Just like Scarlett, tomorrow is another day and let's hope my attitude is much improved.

Monday, August 6, 2012

They're Here!

And for all of us bloggers of a "certain age" that simple phrase reminds us the scariest movie ever! I didn't sleep for weeks after I saw it and i'd lay bets that my date didn't either. I think he may have screamed louder than I actually did but I've never been a fan of scarey movies and that just cinched the deal for me after that.

Anyway, I had a squirrel moment because I didn't start this post to talk about movies ut rather to bring everyone up to speed on our move.  The trip over went off without a hitch.  Clarice did amazing and even after all my checking, rechecking, triple checking all her required paperwork, customs never even looked at it.  We got right off the plane, grabbed our checked luggage and went straight to the "something to declare" line.  We walked in and I sat her carrier on the floor, opened her file and told them here is everything you need to admit my cat to Germany.  He glanced down at the English form which was actually just for the airlines and he stamped our passports so we were done.  Never checked the required USDA papers, vet's certificate, scanned her for microchip or even looked at her for that matter....just stamped and waved thru.  Yeah baby! I was almost pissed because I had fretted about all this for months and he didn't even check anything.

So now we have applied or our German visa cards that will allow Mark to work and me to stay more than 60 days in the country.  That was an ordeal in itself but thank goodness someone from BOA went with us to translate.  They didn't like my passport picture ( which I don't blame them because it is ugly) because my eyes weren't even in the picture....yep, I said not even, I can't help that my left eye droops a little more than my right and come on really?  So we had to find a photographer quickly to take new pics of me.  What fun and now we wait 6 to 8 weeks for the actual cards to arrive.

We got our kitchen ordered and lucked out because when IKEA measured they realized no special order items were needed so instead of waiting 7 to 8 weeks, it will be installed this week.  I just can't wait to get it in so we can start living there.  I got the sofa, closets, bed and bathroom  stuff last week so we assembled all weekend long.  Thank god we decided to not install the kitchen ourselves! This is a 200 year old building a nothing is straight ! We have realized this is probably the last do it ourselves project that we need to undertake.  The wardrobe closets in the bedroom were 10 feet long and quite a bugger to assemble without killing each other.  No seriously with no air conditioning or power tools it is a freakin miracle that we didn't strangle each other.

Last night after about a 5 hour assembly party, we came back to the hotel to shower and grab a bite to eat.  Keep in mind that the only air is the open windows in this room so they stay open every minute we are in the room.  But I digress, so we have attached Clarice's harness and leash to the window frame so when windows open, she's allowed to roam the sills without being able to escape.  I thought this was an excellent plan and up until yesterday, we had no mishaps.  She knows jump up to the sill and wait for momma to clip her in then she can roam the top of the patio, sun herself on the window ledge, get fresh air, ect. We have never left the windows opened while we are gone but last night I actually said "it's so hot and it's not like she can go anywhere so let's just leaven them open tonight while we are gone next door to eat".....yep, that's famous last words right?  Sure enough we walk back into the room and all I see is her still completely fastened red harness laying in the floor.  I immediately started freakin out, just crying, couldn't catch my breath and the whole nine yards but Mark quickly saw that she was hiding in the kitchen chairs.  I didn't know whether to laugh, hug her or beat her senseless and I still don't know.  So she's lost her privileges now and I'm still trying to figure out how she did it.  Guess the world will never know just like how many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop.

I have taken a lot of pictures and as soon as we can upload them then I'll share 'em with everyone.
I have to admit that right now my days are boring because I don't have a vehicle, public transport is not really easy to use from this little village where the hotel is located so I have to wait or Mark to come home every evening so I can go to the new apartment.  I get up with Mark to eat breakfast then I spend about 45 minutes cleaning the hotel room then the rest of my day just kinda stretches out from there.  I really thought that I'd be stitching, reading or something but instead I'm just sitting here taking the cat on and off her leash all day long. I will be so happy to get into he apartment so I can walk around, shop and decorate the home because let's face it, that's the fun part for me. We should be moving in next week and I just can't wait for that.

It's a nice gentle rain this morning so Clarice and I are off to snuggle in for a quick nap!