Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Narri! Narro!

You are probably wondering what kind of nonsense I am using for my title this time! Don't worry...it really does make sense..in a fun nonsensical kinda way! It is the funfilled time before Lent (depending on where you live you may call it Carnival, Mardis Gras, Fasching, Fastnacht...) and that is what you hear the people in and around the parade shouting to one another. It is different in different places, when we went to parades in Mannheim we would all shout "Ahoi!" at the floats and clowns, and in Heidelberg most people yell "Hellau", but in the Black Forest where we went for Fasching this year they yell "Narri! Narro!" back and forth. We drove down into the Black Forest Sunday morning and came upon 3 or 4 different parades in the villages that we went through. Each town or village has it's own traditional "Fools" or "Narren" as they call them. The costumes and masks that they wear are specific and never vary. We saw witches, animals, and other folk characters of all sorts. The towns were decorated with streamers with colorful strips of cloth tied to them and crisscrossing the streets and many of the businesses and homes had flags with a picture of the local "Narren" depicted on it. Before we checked into our guest house we stopped in the town of Villigen and noticed a group of people gathering around the town hall (Rathaus) and waited to see what would happen. As it started to get dark a band carrying torches came and chanted for the mayor to bring the key out. He finally came out onto the balcony and turned the key to the city over to the Narren so the celebrations could begin.

Monday we went to the town of Schramberg to join the thousands of other visitors to watch the "Da-Bach-Na-Fahrt" where 40 groups float their decorated, themed rafts down the river that flows through the town. We were a few hours early and got a good spot on one of the bridges spanning the river so we could get some photos. What a fun spectacle it was! Not all the participants made it through without falling in the water, and lots more came close to capsizing or getting stuck on the banks.

Once the boats had all gone by everyone walked over a block to the main street where we assembled to watch the big parade. Groups of Narren from villages all around march through the streets and throw candy, confetti, straw, oranges, and just have a great time playing with the spectators. They don't stay in the middle of the street either, we had several of them sneaking around behind the crowd and startling people back there. I even watched one climb up a makeshift ladder that his cohorts were carrying and climb in a window to tease the people watching from what they THOUGHT was a safe vantage point! We had a wonderful time and if you are anywhere near the Black Forest during this time of year I would DEFINATELY make it a must see event.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Design Team on Parade!

All of us on the Scrap That Moment Design Team (except those directly involved with CHA) have been working hard all month on our projects using products from the SEI "such a boy" collection and this week is our week to shine! If you haven't already visited That Gallery you are really missing out on some great work. Every day this week a few designers will upload their goodies into the gallery, so be sure to come back and see what's new!

My first project was an altered CD case that I made for our son Jeffrey who is living at Boys Town in Nebraska this year. He has made so many amazing changes and his attitude is so different it is just miraculous. When he was here this past Christmas Bill got a photo of Jeffrey and me together that is one of my favorites. He looks so genuinely happy in it and we are so close to each other. This photo just would not have been possible even 7 months ago. I wanted to express this to Jeffrey and let him know how proud I am of him and how much we love him and always have, inside the little envelope is a gushy note saying this to him.

My next project features our son COLIN! He is a drummer in the band at his school and loves to play the tympani. Every concert they have given this year he has played the tympani and nobody else. He sometimes plays other percussion instruments, but if there is a tympani part that is where he is. He told me that is because he "is a tympani specialist". His band teacher told me she doesn't let any of the others play them because Colin knows what he is doing and does it well. I love how the paper matches the color of the drums and also how the circle paper mimics the top of the tympani.

Not to leave anyone out...for my third project I used a photo of Bill! Remember that big wind storm we had a few weeks ago? The wind continued to blow for a few days after that so when the weekend came we all took Colin's kites out to the fields near our house to see if we could get them off the ground. (We had tried once before with his stunt kite and had no success) It was PERFECT! Both kites seemed to take off on their own. We all took turns flying each one but it is clear we all enjoyed the double line stunt kite the most. Yep...we are all kids at heart!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Out of my comfort zone!

Remember the Survivor Contest I am participating in on the Scrapbook Chalet web site? I am still in! Whoohooo! The challenge for us this week was a DOOZIE! We had to create not one, not two, but THREE items. Two of them were to be valentine cards and the third one is to do a canvas creation. I have made a few cards before but they are just not my thing...I guess I am just used to working on a larger scale and with photos or something. The canvas was something I have been wanting to experiment with, but also...a new medium for me, I wasn't even sure where to find one. Luckily it was a lot easier to find a canvas then I thought it was going to be. The subject of my canvas creation is a poem that my husband Bill had on a card that we had displayed. He asked me a few weeks ago to do something with it....this was perfect! I pulled out all sorts of goodies and just let myself go. It is a real collage of stuff. I like it!

The cards were a bigger challenge than the canvas really. I actually made one Sunday night but it just didn't 'click' with my when it was finished, so I went to bed and tried again today. MUCH better! I made one for Colin and one for Bill. (I made a special valentine gift for Jeffrey that I can show you tomorrow.) Colin told me today that boy's valentines should not have too much pink on them...and if they do have pink there should be more red and also a dark 'boy color' too. So I made sure to follow the 'rules' for his card. I think he will like the bottle cap embellishment...he is always picking them up!

For Bill's card I went with a simple bold design since that is what he likes best. It is weird how something so 'simple' can take as long as a complicated layout sometimes!! Ah well....I am happy with them both so lets keep our fingers crossed that the ladies who vote will like them too!