Fat Lava- A West German Ceramics Collection

Fat Lava 5e

If you have read my blog for a while you may remember my fist post on collecting  West German Pottery, then I had only acquired a handful of these ceramics. Almost two years have passed since I wrote that first post and things have changes, a LOT.

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you already know I am deep in the throes of a full-fledged West German Pottery addiction. What you may not know is that I now have over three hundred pieces and counting.  I don’t normally include these finds in my market posts because it may bore you non-ceramic enthusiasts to tears. “Oh surprise, surprise she bought more Fat Lava.” Rather than show you my collection piece by piece every week I figured you might like seeing the collection (well most of it…) all at once.

I know, I know I’ve gone a little overboard  but with so many different sizes, shapes, glazes and colors I feel like I could collect these forever. Unfortunately in just over a month we move back to the States and the sources will run dry. I don’t know if  the collecting will come to an end but it will definitely have to slow down. For the next few weeks I will be feeling the pressure to gather up as much as I can. When we get back to the States who knows? Some will be keepers, some I may sell but for now I am just enjoying the view.


Fat Lava 1e Fat Lava 2e Fat Lava 3e Fat Lava 4eFat Lava 9e

It’s Friday, High Five

greenwich_street_mainPhoto via Rob Stuart (Photos by Donna Doton)

I know I’ve shared with you that we are moving back to the States this Summer but what you may not know is that this is happening in just 6 WEEKS. Arrrhhhh, To add to that our orders from the Army still are not cut. This is the paperwork that we need to do just about everything from scheduling the movers to giving notice to our landlord. I am a planner and I like to get things done well in advance so this is just about killing me, so that is definitely NOT a high-five. What is a high-five is that I have gotten tons done this week trying to not to worry  about all that REALLY needs to be done. Unfinished projects and blog posts are getting completed during a time which normally would be way too busy. So at least for this week I have something to high-five about, next week may be a different story.

Here are a few more…


1. The West Village town house by designer Rob Stuart seen above. It is perfection, see the rest of the tour HERE.

2. I always love a good font, here are 12 free romantic fonts you may want to try.

3. These Shelves by Straight Line Designs double as Mid-Century Modern dollhouses for grown-ups or just a place to drop you keys.

4. These super cool mid century star burst back-plates for doorknobs. You can buy all sorts of great designs like this one at Rejuvenation.

5. No need to reinvent the Lego, just make it prettier like these wooden Legos by the Japanese firm Mokurokku

For my locals: It’s Spring and the market scene is getting busy. One of my favorites in Wörnitz is this Sunday but there are also markets in Ansbach and Spalt. Also, remember next weekend is the biannual Nurnberg Trempelmarkt  on the 8th and 9th, this is one you don’t want to miss.

Have a great weekend,


Found it at the Market – April 2015


  1. Pair of large and small antlers 6€($6.60) to add to my husband’s collection in the “Man Cave.”
  2. Set of 4 Oil Portraits 60€ ($66) I love to buy a piece of art where ever I travel so when I ran across these at a market in Barcelona, I had to have them to remember the city by.
  3. West German Pottery Covered dish 3€ ($3.30) I just loved the color of this one and the little crown on the lid.
  4.  Set of 4 Mid Century furniture legs 5€ ($5.50) found these at a market in France, not a piece of art but nice none the less.
  5. Hand carved wooden horse 35€ ($38.50) These hand carved figures are common here in Germany but they are most often a huntsman or a religious figure, when I found this horse I fell in love.
  6. Blue Chest $15 (16.50) This little cutie was such a bargain and all painted up and ready to go,  it came home with me.

I have to say the wooden horse is one of my favorite finds this month. He is so well done I thought you might like to see some detail shots and the other angle.

DSC08055 DSC08056

What I didn’t buy?

This cute little “butt head” or maybe it’s the “rear’s ears” either way I decided I didn’t want it listening in on all my secrets. Maybe it will find a home where its special attributes will be appreciated.


Happy Hunting,


Finally, A Blue Velvet Sofa!

DSC08004It is no secret that I have a thing for blue velvet sofas. I have been drooling over them for a while now but guess what? I finally got my own, well sort of…

My blue velvet sofa is actually an Ikea Hack!

Here is what I started with, my 8-year-old mid-century style sofa with brown tweed upholstery. I love the straight lines of this sofa but what was I thinking buying a brown sofa? Oh yeah, that was 8 years ago when I had small children with grubby hands… Now I have big children with grubby hand but at least they understand when I say not to eat on the sofa. (If only I could get them to listen.)


I have thought of slip-covering this sofa for a while. Originally I considered a white duck fabric but after living with it on my office chair I realized it was probably not a good idea. I wear dark wash jeans almost everyday and the seat of my desk chair constantly has to be cleaned due to the dye from my jeans rubbing off.  I figured a white slipcover on my sofa would have one blue cushion on my favorite sitting spot, and there’s the grubby hand issue.

So what color hides blue? Oh wait, blue….

After hemming a pair Ikea SANELA curtains for a client I had a bit of fabric left over, and I got the idea that this pretty blue velvety fabric might just work on my sofa.  I ran a piece of scrap through the washing machine and was pleasantly surprised to find it washed beautifully. I’m sure your thinking why didn’t I just buy velvet fabric? Well, nice velvet is very expensive and the inexpensive options usually have a shine to them that just looks cheap. Also the nicer silk and cotton velvet (velveteen), needs to be dry cleaned. These curtains were machine washable, exactly what I needed for when the grubby hands don’t listen.

So my blue velvet sofa is actually a slipcover made from inexpensive SANELA curtains in dark turquoise. They cost only $70 for two 55″x 118″panels, minus the grommet tops one pack gives you over six yards of beautiful velvety fabric. For my slipcover I used four panels (two packages) and had quite a bit of fabric left over.


When I started working with the fabric I also noticed that it has a bit of stretch to it, perfect for the tight-fitting slipcover I was looking to make.

This is not a slipcover sewing tutorial but I will give you a few personal pointers if you are considering sewing our own but have never sewn a slipcover before.

1. When fitting your slipcover, pin you fabric on the sofa inside out ( I like a tight upholstered look so I pin mine tightly.) Once pinned remove the slipcover and sew right along the pin line, removing the pins as you go. I do this in sections and keep adding on, usually taking the slipcover on and off several times as I sew.


2. Since I was using curtains I tried to take advantage of the hemmed edges. I ran the finished edges of the curtains along the bottom of the sofa it saved me the step of hemming the slipcover at the end.


3. If you want to take an extra step towards an upholstered look, add a strip of Velcro along the bottom edge of you sofa and slipcover so you can tuck the edges under for a tight fit.

4. This last tip is specifically for sewing velvet. Watch that you keep the direction of the velvet going in the same way whenever possible. Velvet will look dark in one direction and lighter in another. If you are not careful you may have one cushion looking like it is a different color than the rest.

The end results look like this…


After a days work and $140 investment in fabric, I have my very own blue velvet sofa.

Ad few new pillow covers and I have a whole new look.


I’d say my Ikea Hack blue velvet sofa is a complete success!


It’s Friday, High five!


Spring has sprung here in Germany and this southern girl is loving it. I am not ashamed to say,” I NOT a fan of cold weather.” Snow is pretty for about five minutes until I have to shovel the walk or clear it off my car and some winter days it seems like I just can’t get warm. This means I am always ready for Spring to arrive. In Germany, Spring seems to arrive in full bloom with flowering trees  and colorful tulips and daffodils in every yard. All this new life and warmer weather makes me want to give someone a high-five.

Here are a few more high-fives for the week…


1. My Japanese Magnolia that puts on the most beautiful show every spring.

2. This post on  Rock stars at home with Mom and Dad from 1970-71. I’d like to go chill on some of their vintage furniture!

3. I’ll take some graffiti like this any day, how much fun would some“Graffitrees” be in my yard?

4. love the idea of bringing the outdoors in with this rug design by Flor, a sun room with pavers and grass.

5. I ran across artist Erin McIntosh on Instagram and fell in love with her work. The colors and pattern in her art make me swoon.

Happy Spring!


10 Things To Do With Vintage Sheets

PicMonkey CollageLast weekend at one of my favorite thrift stores I ran across a stack of vintage sheets. I’m pretty sure most of them date from the 60’s and 70’s based on their bold unapologetic color and pattern (which I happen to love.) I bought this stack of Euro shams without any grand plan grand plan on what I wanted to do with them.DSC07953

In the back of my mind I was thinking how fun they they would look as a mixed match set.


This photo by Teawagon probably says it best. (Actually her Flickr feed is full of all sorts of amazing ideas as is her blog Tea Wagon Tales.)

The more I looked around the more I found great things to do with vintage sheets so I thought I would share a few of my favorite ideas.

One big plus about using sheets in any kind of sewing is having a large expanse of fabric that is wider than almost any fabric you can buy. I love to use them for quilt backing so no seams are required.

db61880b8196bd878762b9712e401330This makes them great for making large items like these shower curtains seen on  A Country Farmhouse


or this cute children’s tent by My Cakies


But there is no need to stick to household items these dresses by SOHOMODES are so much fun for springtime.


And for the boys, how about these ties I found at Kitchcafe


Sew Mama Sew had the bright idea of making pajama pants out of this pre-softened fabric.


With smaller scraps how about some cocktail napkins like these by Design Sponge


or cover a lamp shade like Nature Mom.


and when your done with all that not even the smallest scrap needs to go to waste, make a happy quilt like Katie’s Kitchen Blog


or a colorful rag rug like Blue Corduroy Photo

With all this creative inspiration I’m thinking I may have to run out and buy a few more vintage sheets.

Found it at the Market – Doria Chandelier

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A few weeks ago I found this amazing chandelier at my local thrift store for just 20€ ($22.) It was in great condition but one of the glass pendants was missing (probably broken.) I figure if it was one of the inner ones it would not show too much, no big deal. It was a great find but I was torn since I really wasn’t looking for a chandelier. After a bit of thought I knew I couldn’t pass it up. I didn’t have enough cash on me so I had to run to the ATM and hope it was still there when I returned. Fortunately it was. I paid for my score and just as I was loading it into the car one of the thrift store employees ran out with the holding the missing pendants, it was fate!


DSC07306The chandelier measures 15.7″ (40cm) in diameter 3 tiers of tubular textured glass pendants (50 in all) each with little flecks of amber in the glass.



The chandelier had a tag showing it was manufactured by Doria so once I got home I did some research and found this one which is very similar for $3,200, WHAT? Now admittedly 1stdibs has super high prices but obviously some one is paying them or they wouldn’t be in business. Still, I could not believe my 20€ light was selling for $3,200.

1st dibsSo I decided to take my search to more reasonable sites like Ebay and found this exact match for only $975


So worst case I would only profit $950 off this little beauty, that is if I were willing to sell it.  But I think this one is a keeper and a pretty great bargain for only 20€ ($22.)

I guess that trip to the ATM was worth it.

Happy Hunting,


It’s Friday, High Five!

The New BohemiansPhoto via Justina Blakeney

Late Monday night my family returned from an amazing vacation which I shared HERE and HERE and you would imagine I would be refreshed and ready to get back to work. Unfortunately, sometimes you need a vacation after the vacation. Tired from travel and a little hazy from being on a ship for a week I now faced ten days worth of dirty laundry for four people.  This giant pile of laundry took three days to wash and dry in my tiny Barbie sized washer and dryer, but ladies and gentlemen, the laundry is done! (well at least until the end of the day.) So high-five for getting the vacation laundry done and hopefully getting something useful done next week.

Here are a few more high fives for the week…


1. Decor8 recently reviewed LA-based blogger and designer Justina Blakeney début book, The New Bohemians. It looks like a winner and with gorgeous photos of rooms like the one above it is going straight to my wish list!

2. The trailer for Fashion Icon Iris Apfel‘s Documentary, ‘Iris.’ Can’t wait to see this movie, she’s a fire cracker!

3. Works by textile artist Marna Lunt, you can even commission your own. Love the stitched details!

4.  This Floor Cloth DIY on Design Sponge. I have made these before as area rugs but I love the idea of using them as flooring, as a renter this could come in handy.

5. The jewelry designs of Tel Aviv based Etsy shop Shlomit Ofir.

For my locals: There is a nice little market in Neuendettelsau that is worth a visit and remember to mark your calendars for the biannual Nurnberg Trempelmarkt  on the 8th and 9th of May, this is one you don’t want to miss.

It’s good to be home,


Cruising the Western Mediterranean – Spring Break 2015 Part Two


I wanted to split this post into two parts because the next stop on out cruise was Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember and it did not disappoint. With a population of over 1.6 million people I was amazed by how clean the city was and the amount of green space within the city center. It is also clear that the city takes great pride in its art and architecture.


The main reason I wanted to visit Barcelona was the architecture, especially the work of architect Antoni Gaudí, which can be seen throughout the city. Guadi’s designs are radically different from those of his contemporaries influenced primarily by forms of nature.

DSC07810Casa Batlló

These buildings with fluid lines, organic shapes and brightly colored tile work are truly original.

Park Güell

DSC07812Casa Milà/ La Pedrera

But the structure I most wanted to see was the still incomplete church La Sagrada Família, it has been under construction since 1882. Gaudí  worked on the church from 1883 until his death in 1926. Since then different architects have continued the work after his original ideas. The building is financed mostly from donations and the contributions of millions of people over the years and now has a planned completion date of 2026.


From the exterior La Sagrada Família is highly detailed with stone carvings that remind me of a drip sand castle.


On the inside while the design is still organic (representing trees) it has a much more geometric feel. We were told on our tour that this was so that the interior would not be distracting.


I’m distracted. I think I may like the interior more than the exterior, which is hard to believe.

Gaudí architecture is not the only sight to see in Barcelona, the city is full of beautiful buildings and tile work at every turn.


Barcelona was definitely my favorite stop on the trip.


Our last port was Marseilles, France which we decided to visit on our own, just walking about and seeing the sight.


We strolled the pretty harbor.


Checking out the ancient port


and the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilization


and the Cathédrale La Major, which was breathtaking.

We followed our sight-seeing with a yummy lunch at a street side café which was right across the street from a little flea market (I of course did some shopping.) Finishing the day off with a cup of coffee and some WiFi before we headed back to the ship for our final cruise into Genoa.

While Genoa was not technically part of our cruise itinerary we did spend the night prior and the night after our cruise there so we were able to see the old town and the harbor which were quite nice.IMG_3995

For our first cruise experience I would give this one an A+. While we may have only spent a day at each port we were able to see so much and enjoy out time by letting someone else do most of the planning and organization. The excursions allowed us to see places we may not have known to visit if we were planning on our own. If you want to save money you can plan your own port visit but sometimes I find that my time (and worry) are worth the extra money so I’m glad we did them.

Special thanks to MSC Cruises and our awesome ship the Splendida for making this an amazing trip,

And to my children who never tire of having their picture taken.

Blue Steel!

Cruising the Western Mediterranean – Spring Break 2015 Part One

DSC07648Cefalù Palermo, Italy

Hello all, Have you been missing me? Hopefully not too much. I have only been gone a week but it seems like a month. I have missed you but I will admit I have enjoyed the break. Since I have been away a bit, I thought I would share with you what I was doing while I was gone.

This year for spring break we took a seven-day cruise around the Western Mediterranean. One last big trip before we move back to the States this summer. This was my family’s first cruise and overall it was a great success. We chose a cruise for the ease of seeing many places on one trip and because we traveled with another family and the logistics of getting seven people around Europe would have been daunting. My husband who was initially not keen on the idea of a cruise and being “herded,”  loved it. “This is great, we don’t have to do anything!” were his exact words. I am usually the one that does the planning so I’m not sure what he would normally be doing but he was probably just glad not to hear me stress about anything.

The first port on our cruise was Rome, Italy


We made stops at Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Square

The Colosseum…


and the Pantheon…

Rome was lovely and we were excited to see some of these amazing monuments but it was also very crowded with tourists. This may have been due to the fact that we arrived the day after Easter which is a peak time for visitors.

I actually enjoyed wandering through the streets and the amazing lunch we had more than braving the crowds at the historical sites.


After spending the days exploring the ports each night we cruised and woke up to beautiful coastlines like this one.


Or next port was Palermo, Italy where we traveled to the nearby town of Cefalù. This little town sits on a rocky coast that could not be prettier.


We spent the day walking around the town, viewing the cathedral, and enjoying the views from the beach.


After another night at sea and a little on board entertainment


We arrived in Valetta, Malta. Malta was one of my favorite ports. This prosperous island nation was bright and sunny, boasting 300 days of sunshine per year.  This means Malta is one of the few places in Europe which are “green” all year round. A bonus for English speakers, Malta was formerly part of the British Empire so it is a great stop for picking up books and magazines in English.


That’s our ship, the Splendida, at the port of Valetta, Malta.


My son is a Titanic fanatic so this cruise was a dream come true for him, fortunately it ended better…


A few shots from St. Paul’s Cathedral in Mdina, Malta.


and the gates into Mdina.


Most of the buildings in Malta featured these lovely painted bay windows that I could not get enough of.

and of course a little British influence the kids loved.


Hope you are enjoying the photos. I will share the last three ports tomorrow so I don’t overload you.