June Sisters Audio Podcast, Episode 4: Spinning….because knitting isn’t weird enough.

Show notes for the April 27, 2017 Episode

Click on the audio player above to listen!  Time stamps are noted for each section in the show notes.  Feel free to skip to sections that you are interested in.  Links to patterns and other resources can be found by scrolling over highlighted text.

You can find me on social media at the links below:

Instagram @ debihassler

Facebook @ Debi Graham Hassler

Facebook @ June Sisters Knitting

Ravelry @ debihassler

Etsy @ JuneSisters

Email:  debi@erikphotographic.com

In the Suds

(1:04)

Chief’s Wollmeise socks, knit cuff down with a plain stockinette leg and foot, slip-stitch heel flap and gusset, and rounded toe using US 1, 9-inch Addi circular needles.

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West Yorkshire Spinners 4-ply wool in the Bullfinch color way using US 1, Hiya Hiya double points and my standard vanilla sock recipe.

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The 2017 Shetland Wool Week Patron hat, The Bousta Beanie by Gudrun Johnston knit out of scraps of Paton’s Classic Worsted.  Here’s the link to my Ravelry project page and modifications for knitting a worsted weight version.

Shetland Wool Week

Beloved by Solenn Couix-Loarer, and Hello Baby Hat by Susan B. Anderson.

IMG_9351The Baby Aviator by Julie Taylor with vintage buttons.

Knitting Now

(6:36)

Amy Hertzog’s Craftsy class:  Sweater Modifications for a Custom Fit.

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Swatching and doing sweater math with Cloudborn Merino, alpaca, and silk in the charcoal-heather color way.

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In this example, there are 19 full stitches between the pins measuring 3-1/8 inches apart.

19 / 3-1/8 = 19 / 3.125 (converting the fraction to a decimal) = 6.08 stitches per inch.  Exactly.

Custom Fit website by Amy Hertzog.

Spinning

(9:45)

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Sampling and record keeping.

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Ashland Bay Merino in the Cabo color way by Jean Elizabeth Fiber Arts Studio.

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Natural Corriedale from Sheepish Creations on Etsy, spun and dyed with black walnut and knit into Amy King’s Corinthian Cowl.

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Peruvian Highland wool in dark, natural gray spun short-forward draw with a traditional two-ply.   I’m dream knitting about this spin.

Sewing

(14:57)

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New Look pattern #S1084.

Inspiration from the 70s and a very faded photograph of me wearing my favorite outfit when I met Emmett Kelly, the famous clown.

What Fills My Cup

(16:53)

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A wooden ironing board used as a yarn-winding station.

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Vintage clothespins, buttons,  glove mold, and wooden spools rest on a Chief-made, reclaimed-wood shelf in my sewing room.

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A child’s vintage 1960 toy “spinning wheel” (spool knitter) is a good place for a few hanks of spindle-spun wool to sit.

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Old rusty sheep shears hang on a peg in the great room.

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Yes, we even have restored working crank phones in the house and studio because texting or calling on cell phones between the two buildings is too easy.

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The portable church pew in our studio.  You can also see a rescued wooden elevator gate on the wall and lamp made out of a vintage camera tripod in the corner.

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The church pew’s former home.

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In the garden, the hops are vigorously growing and climbing.

As always, thanks for listening and happy knitting (and spinning if knitting isn’t weird enough for you, too).

Music by MaxKo Music, licensed by Envato Market.

JuneSisters Audio Podcast, Episode 3: It’s been awhile but I have a good excuse

Show notes for the March 23, 2017 Episode

Click on the audio player below to listen!  Time stamps are noted for each section in the show notes.  Feel free to skip to sections that you are interested in.

You can find me on social media at the links below:

Instagram @ debihassler

Facebook @ Debi Graham Hassler

Facebook @ June Sisters Knitting

Ravelry @ debihassler

Etsy @ JuneSisters

Email:  debi@erikphotographic.com

You can find me on social media at the links below:

Instagram @ debihassler

Facebook @ Debi Graham Hassler

Facebook @ June Sisters Knitting

Ravelry @ debihassler

Etsy @ JuneSisters

Email:  debi@erikphotographic.com

(and a little self-design)

Hannah Fettig, Texture

(1:42) Waverly Hat, adapted from the Waverly Cowl pattern by Hannah Fettig.

Pup Tent Hat by Catherine Gamroth.

Handbrake Cowl by Kay Jones.

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(5:55) Dreaming of Trees Wrap.

Fringe Association, “Texture by the Yard” blog post.

(10:32) Mercury Socks.

Knitting Now

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(12:00) Chief’s Wollmeise Socks.

The Loopy Ewe.

Sewing

(13:23)IMG_9223

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Spinning

(14:44)4A2ACD19-AACA-4FEE-AFE8-A16D24947F33

Lacy at The Woolery.

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The Present Cowl

(20:56)

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Happy Spring and thank you for listening!

Music by MaxKo Music, licensed by Envato Market.

JuneSisters Audio Podcast, Episode 2:  Cowls for Everyone

Show Notes for the January 26, 2017 Episode

Click on the audio player below to listen!

You can find me on social media at the links below!

Instagram @ debihassler

Facebook @ Debi Graham Hassler

Facebook @ June Sisters Knitting

Ravelry @ debihassler

Etsy @ JuneSisters

Email:  junesisterspodcast@yahoo.com

Details about this episode’s finished knits can be found can be found in episode 1.

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Debi’s sock recipe.

Purl Soho’s Lovely Ribbed Cowl.

Waverly by Hannah Fettig.


Respect theSpindle by Amy Franquemont.

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From right to left:  Progression of consistency in spindle-spun yarn.

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Crocheting hand-spun into a granny stripe blanket.

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Jumper + Void Shawl by Melanie Berg

Stitch Marker Tutorial

Tools and supplies needed include small wire snips, round nose pliers, one 3-inch head pin, two alphabet beads, three small glass or decorative beads, and two 9 mm jump rings.

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Place the alphabet beads and glass beads on the end pin as shown.

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Using the round nose pliers, form a loop at the end of the head pin.


Push the beads toward the loop and cut off the excess pin with the wire snips leaving enough pin to form a loop on that side.


Using the round pliers once again, form a loop on the cut end.


Attach the jump rings to the loops at each end.


Your stitch markers are ready to use!

My Etsy shop.

London Fog Recipe

Brew one cup or teapot of Earl Grey tea.  Sweeten to taste with honey.

In the meantime, steam and froth 1/2 cup of milk + 1 teaspoon vanilla with an espresso machine or milk frother.  If you don’t have either, warm milk in the microwave and froth with a whisk.

Fill your tea cup or mug with Earl Grey, then carefully spoon the frothed milk on top.  Sip and enjoy!

Thank you for listening!

Music by MaxKo Music, licensed by Envato Market.

JuneSisters Audio Podcast, Episode 1:  Make it Lovely

Show Notes for the January 8, 2017 Episode

Click on the audio player below to listen!

You can find me on

Instagram @ debihassler

Facebook @ Debi Graham Hassler

@ JuneSisters

Ravelry@debihassler

Email:  junesisterspodcast@yahoo.com


My first knitting, more than 45 years ago.

Paton’s Kroy Socks in the Grey Brown Marl colorway.


Debi’s Vanilla Socks.


Germany knits:  Precious Cowl by Nadia Crétin-Léchenne, Pebbles Socks by Mina Philipp, Crofthoose Hat by Ella Gordon, Sockhead Hat for Chief by Kelly McClure, and Pup Tent Hat and cowl (adapted by me) for Cameron by Catherine Gamroth.


Messy Bun Hat by Melanie K. Ham.  Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick in the Blackstone colorway.


Tiny Christmas Hat Ornament by Debi Hassler.


Kork Nisse Knit by Jennifer Edwards.


Schoppel Wolle Zauberball Crazy in the Frische Fische colorway (which means “fresh fish” 😜).
Little Bobbins Knits Christmas Eve Cast On #lbkchristmasevesocks2016.

Purl Soho Lovely Ribbed Cowl.  Kraemer Yarns Naturally Nazareth in the Hickory colorway.  “Thanks” #kraemeryarns for the shoutout on Instagram!

Chief’s Hemingway Cowl.
Kromski drop spindles.

Hygge: a Danish and Norwegian word with a unique definition, although very similar to Gemütlichkeit. Hygge as a noun includes a feeling, a social atmosphere, and an action. It includes something nice, cozy, safe, and known. The word is more than a physical state, instead the Danish and Norwegian word focus on a psychological state. Hygge is a state where all psychological needs are in balance.



Fringe Association
Never Not Knitting
Debi’s Blog from Germany

Me and Chief atop the dome of the Frauenkirche in Dresden, Germany.

Music by MaxKo Music, licensed by Envato Market.

Audio engineering assistance was provided by Eric Hassler, aka Chief.

Childhood Dress to Table Runner in Three Easy Steps

While cleaning out some boxes in our basement this holiday season, I came across one with “vintage clothing” inside.  That’s what you call anything worn in the 60s or 70s.  It sounds much fancier than “old clothes”. 

At the top of the box was a red Christmas jumper; it was one of two identical dresses ordered from The Sear and Robuck catalogue for my sister and me to wear on Christmas Sunday, I’m guessing, in about 1970 or so.  Sidenote:  Did you know that you can look at old Sear and Robuck Wishbooks online?  Check this out and plan to spend a few hours there http://wishbookweb.com/  You will soon discover that plaid was a big thing then.


Even for boys.  Gotta love the Toughsins.  We all had ’em. 


Now back to my project…

While still in fairly good condition, the fabric on the bodice of the dress was degrading and as result, it was shedding copious amounts of red dust on everything it touched.  


Because of the mess, I was tempted to toss the garment right into the trash, but the plaid fabric was in such good shape that I hesitated for a moment or two.  I LOVE plaid and while I’m unsure of the fabric content because all of the labels had faded, it was most likely a polyester of some kind.  The woven fabric was in excellent condition and caused such sweet memories to tumble through my head.  Was that the year that I wanted an autoharp for Christmas?  I think it was.  

Obviously, there were too many wonderful memories tied up in that dress to simply throw it away.  So here’s what I did…

Step one:  Salvage the fabric.

Using my seam ripper, I got busy separating the skirt from the bodice.


This was a little fiddly and messy but easily accomplished while listening to Christmas music and having a cup of tea.

Then I gave that skirt a nice bath.  


Again, unsure of the fabric content, I used a mild detergent in cool water and allowed it to sit for a bit.  

I carefully rinsed the fabric and rolled it up in a fluffy towel to absorb most of the excess water.  Then I hung it on the rack to dry.  

Step number two:  Give that fabric remnant a new life.  

Now clean and dry, I carefully pressed the plaid fabric with a medium-hot iron to steam out wrinkles and open up the old hem, which promptly came out with a pull on the line of stitching.  

There was enough usable fabric for a small pillow or a doll blanket, which would have been equally endearing, but I quickly decided upon a table runner because of its obviously long and skinny shape.  Perfect.  

Following the lines of the woven plaid, I trimmed the fabric to its maximum length and width following the straight of the grain.  Then I serged the edges with the serger to keep them from unraveling.  Back at the ironing board, I turned in about 1/2 inch along all edges and mitered the corners, pinning them in place.  A straight line of stitching with white thread secured each edge.  Small lengths of red pom pom trim on each end provided the finishing touch! 


Step three:  Enjoy!

The table runner now sits on my farmhouse table under a piece of wood that was once part of my grandmother’s quilting frame.  Fat candles in thick,  seeded-glass holders line up on top.   There is so much sentiment and satisfaction in that simple centerpiece, now completed with the addition of the plaid runner.  I may trek out into the woods for a few sprigs of cedar, too. 

I think I love it.  

Merry Christmas!

I Do Christmas Cards for Me, Not You.

That sounds awfully selfish, doesn’t it?
Let me explain.
I’ve sent Christmas cards every year since 1982. That’s the year Eric and I got married. I’ve sent photo greeting cards every year since Clay was born in 1986. That’s more than thirty different cards, counting this year’s version. At an average of 100 cards per year, that’s more than 3,000 envelopes and pushing $1500 in postage.  Did you just check my math?  I know some of you checked my math.  
What?

Is it worth it?

How do I justify the time and cost it takes to send out Christmas cards each year?
It’s simple. It’s all about me.  
I come by it honestly. My mom was a big Christmas card sender. Yep, we even did photo greeting cards back in the day when we only had black and white film and my dad set up the camera with a timer. 


One of my fondest childhood memories of Christmas was the daily receiving of Christmas cards in our mailbox and the opening of each one. I especially loved the cards from people who lived far away but were long-time, treasured friends of my parents. The receipt of cards from military folks who served alongside my dad in the Air Force led to stories about my parents’ newly-married days living in a trailer park in Colorado Springs. Remember when you realized that your parents actually had a life BEFORE you were born? I loved hearing those stories about borrowed Christmas trees and jello salad made with canned, mixed fruit. What treasures. I never met the Kapertas in real life but feel like I watched their children grow up as my sister, brother, and I marked each passing year.  
I grew up thinking that Christmas cards are what you do in early December.  

Through the years, my Christmas card tradition has become so much more than simply giving and receiving holiday greetings. It has become an important part of the season for me.  I own it.  It’s all mine. 
It’s a timeline of friendships from every phase of my life.
I still exchange cards with friends from high school and college. And those years are measured in decades now. It’s wonderful to have friendship histories that are so long-lasting and true.  North High School, Western Kentucky University, and Ball State were once my stomping grounds and remembering those faces makes me smile.  
It’s a geographic scrapbook of all the places I’ve lived and the people I’ve met in each one.
From our tiny apartment in Muncie to our timber frame in Hassler Woods, we have dear friends gathered from each address we’ve occupied. There’s Haven Drive, our first house and our dear neighbors there; Woodside Court where my kids learned to ride bikes and we had an annual block party; and finally Petersburg Road and our “country neighbors” here.  These are cherished people who brought us homemade cookies, bought ice cream truck popsicles for our kids, and watched our kitties when we went out of town.  We’ve had the best neighbors.
 It reminds me of what I’ve lost and what I’ve gained.
Each year, and increasingly so, there are names and addresses that give me pause as I realize that no card will be sent this year. These tender moments lead to a reflective time of prayer and thanksgiving for that person and the impact he or she has had on me. I leave those names on my Christmas card list so that in the very least, I have a yearly reminder of the precious gift of life and friendship, and consider the continuing impact that we can have on others. This is a good time of year for that.  
My card list also grows every year, which is a good barometer of whether or not I am stretching and putting myself in new places and new experiences. I am never too old to widen my circle and make new friends.  
 It helps me to sloooooooow dooooooooooown.
December is a crazy and frantic time of the year for most of us. You know the drill…shopping, decorating, baking, traveling, parties…all of the busyness can be a real joy stealer. Here’s my recipe for sanity:
1. Light the Yankee Candle Company Mistletoe candle. It smells like a real Christmas tree, people.

2. Put on Christmas music. I have fine-tuned my Christmas Pandora station like a beast. NO Christmas Shoes. May I suggest starting with “A Christmas Song Radio” particularly if you like the old standards…Bing, Judy, and the like.

3. Brew a cup of holiday tea (I love Santa’s Secret by David’s Tea), OR make creamy hot chocolate with real milk and miniature marshmallows, OR pour a glass of wine (if after 5:00 pm…or earlier…up to you) and make sure it’s in a big, special Christmas mug or fancy stemware (I have a wine glass that says “Mrs. Claus.”  If I don’t quit eating this Dresden Stollen, I’m gonna be looking like that jolly lady soon enough.)

4. Gather your cards, list, pretty pen, and beautiful stamps. This year, I picked The Nativity, which is gorgeous. Take time to admire the art on that stamp.  


5. Savor the moment.
I don’t know how I did it with toddlers underfoot, or a million Christmas programs to attend (Christmas adrenaline, it’s a thing) but I always found a moment or two to steal away and work on the cards each day. Peace. On. Earth. 
It’s a blessing counter.
With each name I write (and I don’t judge if you use labels because those blessings can be tallied, too), I have an opportunity to think about that person or family and recall how very thankful I am for their presence in my life. They include fellow cheer moms and marching band parents, my children’s teachers (man-oh-man, am I thankful for those people), my church family, small group friends far and near (at one point we joked that if you wanted to get relocated, just join our small group), cousins scattered across the country, and on and on. That fills me up to the point of bursting. Watch out for glittery bits of Debi flying all over the place. So very thankful.
Sooooooo, here’s the honest truth, people: I receive all of these precious gifts before I even get one card in my own mailbox. And to quote Linus, “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”  Amen. 
(And that doesn’t even start to describe the incredible joy that comes when greetings come my way. I love, love, love every card and every picture and yes, EVERY CHRISTMAS NEWSLETTER. They are my absolute favorite. Send them to me with abandon and ALL of the details.)
I started a new tradition a couple of years ago. We drive to Dale, Indiana to have our cards postmarked from Santa Claus because why wouldn’t you do that? There’s also a quick stop at The Christmas Store for a new ornament, and a short trek to Monkey Hollow Winery for a case of Winter Warmer. See how much fun doing Christmas cards can be?
Oh yeah, I started one other Christmas card tradition last year that was inspired by my sweet cousin, Angela. If you send me a photo Christmas card, it gets pinned to a big bulletin board in my laundry room so that I can see your sweet face all year. I often stop to count my many blessings and pray a prayer of thanksgiving over your picture. To quote another holiday favorite, “It’s the gift that keeps on giving the whole year.” (One point for me in the Christmas Vacation quote contest.) Thank you, Eddie.  

From Hassler Woods in Earle, Indiana, we wish you the Merriest of Christmases and Happiest of New Years!!!! 

Rejoice, rejoice! The Savior is born!

A Full Day in Poznan

Good morning, Poland!


After an amazing breakfast at the hotel, which included braunschweiger and mackerel for some, we hit the streets of Poznan.


The old city is very quaint with tall and narrow buildings.


School children were everywhere.


Each day at noon, the court house clock tower strikes and the doors open to reveal two goats which move forward to butt heads twelve times.  We take our places in the square to observe.

As promised, they come out and the school children shriek with joy each time they strike.


Why do they butt heads?  Here you go…

A legend behind the original addition of the goats to the clock mechanism states that a cook, while preparing a banquet for the voivode and other dignitaries, had burnt a roast deer, and attempted to replace it by stealing two goats from a nearby meadow. The goats escaped and ran up the town hall tower, where they attracted the attention of the townspeople when they began to butt each other (according to some versions, this drew attention to a fire which might otherwise have done significant damage). Because of the entertainment provided, the voivode pardoned both the cook and the goats, and ordered that two mechanical goats be incorporated into the new clock being made for the building.

After securing a warm, spicy beverage, we walked up to the Christmas Market and also popped into an antique store.



There, Clay discovered a 1916 stereoscopic camera.  Being an avid collector of antique viewers and cards, I think he is still thinking about that camera.

We purchased some candy.


And found a great place to warm our chilly bones.


We accidentally found a great place for dinner.


This part of the menu was very sincere.


With help from our kind waiter, we decided upon a variety of Polish dumplings with fried beets, fried cabbage, and the best roasted potatoes we have ever had.


Of course, we had to top off the evening with a little dessert.

When we got back to the hotel in the evening, this display made so much more sense to us.  


Yes, these goats have pants.  

Poznan

The somewhat early departure from Dresden was eased by slices of stollen and a gift of fresh croissants from our Airbnb host.  


Packing up our bags and backpacks, we took the tram to the central station.  


We said goodbye-for-now to Cameron and Michael who headed for an adventure in Prague, while Eric, Clay, Tif, and I took the train for a return to Berlin and then on to Poznan.  Cameron is already posting Instagrams from Prague so be sure to check out her feed @camhalcomb!


On the train to Berlin, our cabin-mate was a Polish gentleman named Michael who was traveling through Berlin on business.  He lives in a small, coastal village on the Baltic Sea.

He shared a lot of historical information about Poland and gave recommendations of food to sample.  While his English was very, very good, we all chuckled at his attempt to explain the word “garlic” in describing a type of pickle they make.  I especially loved the description of his family’s Christmas celebration, with a big meal on Christmas Eve and then celebrating the twelve days of Christmas that follow.  This is such a special time of year to travel.  Michael even taught us to open a beer bottle without an opener.  “Easy peasy” he said.  

We had a brief layover in Berlin before boarding our train for Poznan.


After securing a car for the four of us, we settled in for the trip across the border.


That included a picnic of wine, bread, cheese, salami, fruit, and cookies, some on-board knitting (I am turning the heel on my sock and Tif is knitting the thumb gusset of her mitt).  We also watched “Home Alone,” a family Christmas favorite.  

We arrived in Poznan after dark and quickly walked to our hotel.  Clay and Tif checked in with the film festival and were introduced at the beginning of their screening.  It was fun to see the film sub-titled for this non-English-speaking audience.  


The Q and A after the screening was engaging and lively.  An interpreter from the festival translated from Polish to English.



There was one request…

A crowd selfie!


Many stayed to talked to Clay and Tif after.


This young man wanted to be Clay’s friend on Facebook.


We are anxious to see Poznan in the daylight and explore the old city today!

Dresden

We are just back to our apartment in Dresden after spending a very full day in Altstadt Centre.  

We started with a delightful breakfast, Dresden style, created by Clay and Tif.  Our Airbnb host also provides fresh fruit and bread daily.  


Catching the bus to the city center, we got off one stop early so that we could walk along the river and cross the Augustus Bridge on foot.



Once across the river, we walked to The Zwinger, the palace complex of the Saxons.

We walked around the palace garden and after securing steaming cups of hot tea, walked around the terrace on top of the palace.  The bells chimed the hour and played a tune as we shuffled in and out of the many student groups touring today.


We walked past the opera house and Furstenzug mosaic toward the Christmas Market.



When rounding the corner, we heard music and followed the sound to find a brass quintet playing under the bridge.  We listened to several festive pieces.


There are several markets within the town proper; one of our favorites was the Stallhof which offered more medieval booths and wares.  Two Bavarian sheepskins may be coming home with us.

Cameron and Michael enjoyed the exhibit of the Gems of the Green Vault while the rest of us toured the Gemaldegalerie Alte Meister, an art museum.


My favorite room was the collection of paintings of Dresden by Bernardo Bellotto.


The gong of the docent sent us scurrying outside…

When we exited the museum, it was snowing!

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Another walk through the Christmas market led us to dinner and a plate of cookies to enjoy back at the apartment.  


Tomorrow we head for Poland!