December 29

Happy Birthday” to wake me up, a fancy cake for breakfast that J and M had made …

IMG_0160… followed by two hours of reading and knitting in a lovely café.

IMG_0162Afterwards, all three of us went to watch Alba Berlin play basketball (sadly an ugly game due to fouls, trash talk, and whippings. Alba won though).

© Alba Berlin
© Alba Berlin

Finally at night, we had dinner at a tiny Italian restaurant …

© Trattoria Bocca Del Buon Gusto

… with a handful of extraordinary friends: the professor who mentored my master thesis in American Studies and her husband, a devoted basketball fan; my lively and charming Belgian friend, photographer and mother of 5 boys, with her sharp-witted Swiss husband, and J‘s former basketball coach, a very gentle young man from India who grew up in France and will go back to India next week to work with “sports without borders.”

Quite an experiment as they had never met before but we hit it off right from the start! I don’t remember having so much fun, so many interesting conversations, so much friendship and warmth at a long table in a long time.

I am inspired, grateful, and a year older! Thank you all 🙂


1970s crochet blankets

Back in the 70s, when my sisters and I were kids, my mom would make blankets for us that we would use as bedspreads for years to come.

Looking back, it amazes me how she managed to keep the making of those huge blankets a secret until Christmas.

Lately, all three of them moved in with me. And I am not even sure my sisters know that I became the “keeper of handmade bedspreads” 🙂

The one with horizontal stripes in yellow, red, beige, and brown belongs to my elder sister. My younger sister was pleased to get the vertically striped one in turquoise, brown, and beige. Ultimately, mine is the checkered one in red, green, brown, and beige.

You can tell they’re old, you can tell they’re used but there is no doubt I will bring them back out again next fall.

crochet blankets

striped croched blanket

striped crochet blanket

checkered crochet blanket

crochet blankets

Did I ever say thank you? Just to make sure: Thank you, Mami 🙂


Years ago, a colleague gave me his mother’s sewing machine. Dusty and old, it had been hiding in his attic until the day I mentioned that it would be nice to have one. I don’t remember sewing anything “big” though as I would rather repair than create.

Over the last years, patches on J’s jeans became an obligation. Zillions of patches … The machine would be reliable, eager to help, buzzing and humming and sewing what ever I wanted it to sew, its stitches being straight or zig-zag. Occasionally, I would break a needle, but that was it.  No serious illnesses.

However, we never became friends. Maybe because the machine is so incredibly heavy: I really hated to drag it out of the basement, to carry it into the kitchen and to set it up on the table. Hence, I would procrastinate my sewing until the pile became high. Finally, when J had no more pants to wear I would start the ordeal. Of course, my little boy had grown in the meantime and his patched jeans would be too short …

Now, why am I writing this? Because I finally decided to find a new home for my 1950s sewing machine by advertising it on eBay for free, looking for someone to convince me that he or she would be the perfect new owner. Within an hour or two a good 20 people responded.

Gut feeling had me decide on a young woman, mother of two, and devoted needlewoman. (After all, that’s what she told me). I really liked the way she wrote, the eMail conversation we had, and (I must admit) I was curious to meet someone called Ritva. Isn’t that a beautiful name? I had never heard that before.

To cut a long story short: an hour ago, Ritva has been here. She seemed to really like the sewing machine, its equipment, and the suitcase that comes with it. Love at first sight. And when she started to praise all the advantages an old machine has as opposed to the newer “plastic” ones, I sort of regretted our breakup.

Have a happy new life Ideal Zick-Zack Deluxe, and thanks for being with me over the last 25 years.  I promise, I will remember you every time J rips his pants …

Ideal Zick-Zack Deluxe


So here we are, it’s 2013, and what can I say? Thank you for visiting the häkelmonster every now and then, thank you for commenting on my posts, for your approval and – probably most important – thank you for welcoming me in the world of crafts and blogs. Your company and support have made this an easy one.

May the New Year be good to you, may all resolutions be kept (…), and may we see or read or write each other soon.

Happy New Year!

Der Bunte