Thursday, March 31, 2011

Re-Styling Extreme

Re-styling is one of my passions. Maybe because I love accessories so much. Maybe because my share of our wardrobe is more than full. Maybe because I love to play with fashion. Anyway, during Me Made February I enjoyed re-styling my jeans dress very much.

And I could have come up with at least another 12 variations. But not with 365.

Tthat is exactly what Maike Winnemuth did though. She is a German journalist and did the most extreme re-styling experiment I can think of. She wore the same blue dress for ... 1 year. Yes, that is 365 days! The same dress! Well she had three copies, because of hygienic reasons, but it was really just that one blue dress.

I know, I couldn’t believe it either. But it is true and you can have a look at all the stylings and the whole experiment here. The blog is in German only – sorry! Nevertheless you can a) look at the pictures, no matter what your mother tongue is and b) there are more ‘crazy’ women who did the same and posted about it in English

e.g. Alex Martin and The little brown dress

or Sheena Matheiken and The uniform project

Some claim their projects as an “attempt to confront consumerism” (Alex Martin), some want to raise money for an Indian schooling project, others just don’t want to think about what to wear every day for a year.

Amazing, don’t you think?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bridal Emergency Kit

On Wednesdays I share everything wedding with you: tips, projects, organisation, photos, faux-pas, fun things and golden rules I ‘learned’ from my own wedding. I feel I need to give something back to the fabulous blog community who helped me stay sane and enjoy every second of my ‘big day’.
* * *

One of my favourite presents for all brides-to-be in my life is a self-made Bridal Emergency Kit. It contains everything that helps to prevent the little dramas on the big day, for example:
  • Hairpins (for unruly strands of hair) 
  • Lipgloss (for a little touch up after all that kissing)
  • 2 Headache Tablets (one if a nervous headache strikes before the ceremony and one for the morning after)
  • Handcream (to smoothen unruly strands of hair or flaky skin on the naked elbows and knees and to make the new wedding ring slip easily onto the finger )
  • Transparent Nail Varnish (for last minutes touch-ups on finger and toe nail as well as for stopping annoying runs in stockings and tights)
  • Safety Pins (because you just don’t have time to do any sewing of hems and there will always stand someone on someone else’s hem)
  • Mints (so much kissing and mostly so little drinking and eating, do I need to say more?)
  • De-Make-Up Wipes (tears of joy and make-up just don’t mix well, even if it is waterproof make-up)
  • Band Aids (we don’t want to risk getting blood stains onto the wedding dress, do we?)
  • Tissues (because no matter how relaxed and cool you are, you will cry at some point. Promised!) 
I usually put all of these things into a self made white fabric bag (which I am going to show you another time), which the maid of honour then can keep at hand for any bridal emergencies. Oh, I also usually add a little Leporello with descriptions on how to use the kit. If you want, you can copy my design for this little booklet here (just click on the picture to get a higher resolution version):

All you have to do is copy the images on a page each, blow them up till they cover the whole page and then print them double-sided onto light cardboard. Afterwards cut them horizontally in half and fold them in three equal parts. Then paste them together on the small edge. Add descriptions to the single pages if you want.

Voila, your personal bridal emergency manual is finished.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ruby Russian Doll

picture found here

No, it is not a Matroschka-Babuschka doll this time. This cute little doll is called Newaljaschka. Or Wanjka-Wstanjka. This both means tumbler (“Stehaufmännchen”), , but I like the Russian words so much better. Because they are so onomatopoeic – when you hear the words you can almost see the little doll tumble from left to right, from right to left – wanjka-wanjka-wanjka.

I discover this cutie in a Russian shop today and couldn’t resist her. Look at these big dark eyes. And these incredible lashes. And her stylish forelock. There are actually a number of different types of Wanjka-Wstanjka, from sailor to clown, from mouse to bunny, from brunettes to raven, but I think she is just the sweetest.

Obviously Wanjka-Wstanjkas are very popular toys in Russia as I learnt here. It is ideal for little ones, because it is not only a tumbler, but also a rattle and the bright colours catch every baby’s attention. Oh well, I think I have to share this beauty with my little one.

Monday, March 28, 2011

All I need is a little respect, baby

Every Monday I will post something related to babies: inspiration, craft projects, baby news, and discoveries I have made in this new and exciting world for me. I hope you come along on that rollercoaster ride with me.
* * *

What you want (hooo) baby I got it
What you need (hooo) you know I got it
(Hooo) all I'm asking (hooo) is for a little respect
( Just a little bit) when you come home
(Just a little bit) hey baby ( Just little bit)
When you come home (Just a Little Bit) Mister

Respect by Aretha Franklin, lyrics found here

Children and especially babies get a lot: attention, hugs, toys, clothes, friendly smiles,...

... but what they still don’t get is


Or how would you call it respectful if some stranger comes up to you and tries to touch you. Or if the tilt girl in the drugstore tells you that you look oh so cubby (even if you just have a little bit of a round face). Or if someone shovels food into your mouth even if you try to avoid the spoon. Or if someone picks you up while you were relaxing on the floor. Or if someone ignores you while you want to communicate with him or her.

Respect is one of the key words in Emmi Pikler’s book “Friedliche Babies – zufriedene Mütter“ which I am reading at the moment. And while I don’t agree completely with her parenting approach, I think her basic principle is great. It is about respecting babies from the start. And trying to support them in their natural and personal development and not ‘pushing’ them forward.

So I am now showing my little one a bit of respect and play with her, because she has ‘asked’ me to do so for the last 5 minutes.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spanish Tapas Feast

I could live on starters. Italian Antipasti. American Fingerfood. Spanish Tapas. You name it. I think it is because you can share them. You can try many different dishes – and don’t have to choose only. Because you can eat for hours. Because they go so well with a nice glass of wine. Because they are so easy to prepare. Because you can make them for 2 or 20 people.

Yesterday I made a little tapas feast for my lovely husband and I. And oh it was soooo good.

We had green olives filled with lemon, almonds and sweet pepper, capers, sardines in vinegar, tortilla (potato omelette with onions), plums in bacon (eaten so fast I couldn’t even take a picture ;-)) manchego cheese and jamon (Spanish gammon). Then a nice Spanish Rioja and some white bread - ¡ya está!

Unfortunately there were only the two of us, so I couldn’t have more tapas variety. Because although they are just little things, they do fill you up.

I have to give most credit for the success of the feast to a wonderful Spanish supermarket I discovered on Friday, however. The cooking itself was a minor effort with the amazing ingredients I got there: Spanische Quelle

After shopping all I had to do is:

* heat the tortilla
* fry the plums
* cut the cheese
* arrange everything on little plates and in little bowls
* open the bottle of wine

... and then: ¡Buen provecho!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Lazy Saturday!

As a mum you need those lazy Saturdays so badly. The little one sleeps. You have nowhere to go. You have nothing to do (well, you always have something to do when you are a mum, but the secret is to ignore all those chores for a while and pretend that you have nothing to do). You have a cup of coffee. And your laptop in front of you. And thanks to the WorldWideWeb the shopping world is at your feet.

Today I did a virtual shopping spree at Anthropolgie and as so often I fell in love with their accessories.

Isn’t this dachshund cute?

And look at this classic Chanel-like necklace!

Oh, and what a sparkling but sophisticated headband!

Ahhh, and those golden feathers!

Oh and what a beautiful Obi-belt!

All found here

Hope you have a wishful Saturday, too!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Cupcake Party – Kitchen Maths

I love parties! I love to go to parties! I love to throw them! I think there are many things to celebrate, not only birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas and Easter. Therefore I now dedicated my Friday posts to parties: to creative party invitations, to easy-to-make party food, to party decorations that make all the difference... I hope you feel inspired by the festive atmosphere on Fridays and celebrate many small and big events.

My dear reader Christiane left me a comment last Friday about how much she would like to try many American or Australian recipes, but the annoying converting from cups into grams prevents her from doing so. That is exactly why I always stuck with European recipes. I just couldn’t be bothered to do a little maths class before even starting the cooking. And it isn’t just simple maths like converting inch into cm (what I always do before sewing when I use an American pattern) – oh no it is more difficult than that.

The reason is that – now I will become a bit nerdy, sorry, but I really get fascinated by these things sometimes – while cups are a measure of capacity, grams are a measure of weight. And therefore there isn’t just one factor to convert cups into grams. Instead each ingredient has another ration. For example:

1 cup of flour = 110g of flour
1 cup of butter = 225g of butter

... and so on and so forth.

Hell , even similar ingredients like brown, icing, raw and caster sugar have totally different conversion ratios (1 cup = 200g, 125g, 250g resp. 225g as seen here)

So, it is pretty obvious that you cannot just use a one-fits-all approach to converting cups into grams. You have to be accurate otherwise you could as well not use a recipe at all and invent a new one yourself. Which can be great, but must not be great necessarily ;-)

A helpful tool to minimise the time I spend converting cups into grams I found (as so often) online. This calculator does all the maths for you. You still have to spend a bit of time getting all your measurements together, but it is so much quicker (and foolproof) than working with the maths formulas.

Another – a more beautiful and more hands-on – solution are my three little cooking girls:
Their heads and bodies give you the measurements of 1 cup, 2/3 cup, 1/3 cup, 3/4 cup, 1/2 cup und 1/4 cup. So all you have to do is fill them with sugar, flour, butter or whatever else you need for your recipe. Easy-peasy!

For all other conversions you might need in the kitchen, here is another great calculator. It converts:

oz - pounds - grams - kg (weight measurements)
ml - tsp - tbsp - fl - oz - cups - pints - quarts - liters – gallons (volume measurements)
grams - tbsp - oz - cup - stick (butter measurements)
mm - cm - in (lengths measurements)
F° - C° (oven temperatures)

Oh dear, I also just discovered that there is a difference between US and UK cups! Puh, the more research you do the more complex it gets. Anyway, I think that was enough maths for today – or even for this week. I will keep on calculating with my Matroschka cups. So far this has worked very well. And I think, I need a cupcake now ;-)

Happy Friday to all of you!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I am back

I think the silence on this little blog of mine is over. Because the silence in my heart is over. Unfortunately the news from around the world are still devastating. They make my heart sink. But somehow in my mind there is now more positive energy.

Thank you very much for still hanging out here, dear readers. Despite the silence. And the lack of posts, stories, inspiration and pictures. I’ll promise there will be more of all of these in the next couple of days.

I am not a professional blogger and thus I see this blog as a reflection of who I am. Of how I feel. And what is going on in my life. Therefore it just didn’t feel right to write posts just to fill the page, when I am not in the mood for it. I hope you understand that.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


As you might have noticed it got a bit quieter on this little blog of mine in the last couple of days. This is due to the fact that I just feel like being a bit quiet at the moment. I find the news from Japan and Libya shocking. Alarming. Frightening. Frustrating. Devastating. I feel helpless in the face of these catastrophes. Thank God there are people who nevertheless act and do so much good like Cat who auctioned one of her favourite fabrics for the disaster relief in Japan and made 300EUR. Wow!

So after kicking myself in the b... and donating to the good cause as well, all I do is concentrate on my little ‘ideal world’: cuddle my little one, chat with my lovely husband, bake a cake for my sister in laws’ birthday...

I know that it won’t harm or offend people in Japan or Libya, when I continue to live my life, but still somehow it feels wrong to me. Do you know what I mean? I don’t know whether it is a very German thing to feel guilty when you do yourself something good, while there is a disaster somewhere else?

Anyway, while thinking about all these things I stumbled across a very interesting mini diary written by an illustrator in Tokyo in the SZ Magazine online. Unfortunately the article is just in German, but I can really highly recommend it to all German-speaking readers. In part III of her mini diary she writes that “in time like these you have to give ourselves reasons to be happy” – her friend still plans her wedding to happen in 3 weeks, she and her friends go out for soul food in their favourite restaurant... Reading this really gave me a whole new perspective on how people can deal with situations like these. And it makes me incredibly happy to picture people in Tokyo (and the rest of Japan) meeting with friends and eating their favourite dishes. That is so much better than sitting on their packed earthquake backpacks as described here, don’t you think?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Cupcake Party – Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes

I love parties! I love to go to parties! I love to throw them! I think there are many things to celebrate, not only birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas and Easter. Therefore I now dedicated my Friday posts to parties: to creative party invitations, to easy-to-make party food, to party decorations that make all the difference... I hope you feel inspired by the festive atmosphere on Fridays and celebrate many small and big events.

Yesterday I had a pretty average day. Grey skies. A sick child. Too little sleep. Well, that sort of things. Anyway, I wish I had a few of my favourite Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes left from my last party. They would have cheered me up immediately. Without fault. The problem is: they are too yummy. So you will never have any leftovers ;-( Even if you double the amount straightaway ;-)

1 cup sugar
½ cup softened butter
3 chunks of baking chocolate (‘Zartbitter Kuverture’)
2 eggs
2/3 cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup chopped hazelnuts
1 cup cherries (fresh and pitted or from a glass and drained)
1 packet vanilla sugar

Cream sugar and butter. Melt chocolate over a water quench. Add melted chocolate and eggs to sugar-butter mix and beat. Add flour and baking powder. When well mixed, add nuts,


and vanilla sugar. Fill paper lined muffin tins half full.

Bake at 375 degrees for 17 minutes. Let cupcakes cool and then frost.

1 1/4 cup sifted confectioners' sugar (‘Puderzucker’)
2 tablespoon softened butter
1 chunk of baking chocolate
2 tablespoon hot, strong coffee
1/2 teaspoon vanilla sugar

Cream butter and chocolate. Add the sifted sugar and then the coffee and the vanilla sugar. Beat well until a smooth consistency. Fill into a plastic bag with a small hole at the bottom...

and spread onto cold cupcakes.

Add decorations like sugar hearts or flowers or hundreds and thousands.

Pretty impressive, isn’t it? And it is really manageable. These were the first real cupcakes I have ever made. And they looked really good, I think. And tasted even better. So give it a go. Your guests will be very happy, I promise.

Inspired by Aunt Muriel’s Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes found here

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Bavarian Wedding

On Wednesdays I share everything wedding with you: tips, projects, organisation, photos, faux-pas, fun things and golden rules I ‘learned’ from my own wedding. I feel I need to give something back to the fabulous blog community who helped me stay sane and enjoy every second of my ‘big day’.

* * *

My oldest friend from high school C. is getting married this summer. Since she has chosen me as her maid of honour – what an honour! – you surely will hear more about this Bavarian wedding in the next couple of months.

And a Bavarian wedding at its best it will be. Celebrated in a little town south of Munich. With a bride and a groom from Munich. In traditional costumes – a Dirndl for the bride and a Lederhosn for the groom. How wonderful!

This is how they might look (just to give you an idea what I am talking about). And I will definitely wear a Dirndl as well. I am not sure, yet, whether I will make a new one. Or pimp one of my old ones (new skirt). Whether I will wear a modern version (jeans) or a traditional (cotton) or a precious one (silk). I will definitely have a bit of persuasion to do with my husband, because he is from Berlin (where you would never ever wear a Lederhosn). But I am sure he would look so hot wearing one ;-). And I will make a mini Dirndl for my little one. I hope she can walk in August, because I imagine there isn’t anything more annoying to wear when you are crawling than a Dirndl ;-(

Anyway, I love traditional costumes at weddings. I think getting married is so traditional – in a good way! And wearing traditional costumes that generations of your family has worn on their wedding day is a perfect fit in my opinion. Because in the old days most people hadn’t had a special dress for their special day. They just wore their Sunday dress. Added an inherited veil. Or maybe some flowers. Or some rosemary (because it stands for never-ending love).

Looking at my wedding photographers’ website, I found another wedding with traditional costumes. While the couple wore the international version of wedding dress and suit, some of the guests showed off their traditional Norwegian costumes which I find simply stunning in the colourfulness and positive vibes.

These photos and many more can be found here

Beautiful, isn't it?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

TOP 5 Love Stories

It is the 15th again – so it is time for reading. And time for sharing my favourite books with you. This month it is all about love stories. No, please don’t stop reading this post. I hate sugary, Hollywood ending, prince-on-a-white-horse rescues princess-stories as well. And I promise you that these books are different – although they are about love.

Gut gegen Nordwind – Daniel Glattauer
Due to a mistake Emmi and Leo start writing emails to one another. With time the emails become more and more intense and they start having a very intimate relationship without ever having seen each other. Funny, heart-warming, heart-breaking and without any cliché you might expect from the plot.
Unfortunately in German only

Alle sieben Wellen – Daniel Glattauer
Emmi and Leo are back. They start writing to each other again, but will they finally mange to meet in real life? And what impact might this have? I was really surprised that the author managed to write a sequel which is every inch as touching and amusing as his first book. Therefore he deserves to be mentioned twice in my top 5 love stories.
Unfortunately in German only

The Time Traveler’s Wife / Die Frau des Zeitreisenden - Audrey Niffenegger
Confusing at first, because the story takes place in the past, present and future and everything happens simultaneously. After a few chapters, however, you get used to this weird concept and I got absolutely absorbed by this tragic and comical love story.

Love in the Time of Cholera /Liebe in Zeiten der Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Márquez
I know I have mentioned this book before. In my August Top 5 Penguin books to be precise. But it is just the greatest (and longest) love story of all. So it needs to go on this list as well.
In German and English

Hunting and Gathering / Zusammen ist man weniger allein – Anna Gavalda
A wonderful story of four people who have surprising little in common at first sight. A story about all different kinds of love. And how important love is for everyone – to love and to be loved. Beautiful! Poetic! Funny! And a bit sad as well!
In German and English

Monday, March 14, 2011

Yummy Baby Food

Every Monday I will post something related to babies: inspiration, craft projects, baby news, and discoveries I have made in this new and exciting world for me. I hope you come along on that rollercoaster ride with me.
* * *

My little one has started solids a couple of months ago. And while I love and loved baby food in jars for its convenience (especially if the little one doesn’t eat more than a spoon full of food in the beginning), I also cook baby food myself. For me the advantages are

a) that I know exactly what is in the food (organic or not, salt or not, thickeners or not)

b) that I can combine veggies and meats that my little one likes

That doesn’t prevent me from buying baby food in jars, but I like to combine it with the good, home-made stuff. Although I am not back at work, yet, I don’t feel like cooking baby food every day. We are just too busy with playing, cuddling, changing nappies, trips with the pram, meeting other babies and mums,... you get the picture.

Therefore I mostly cook big pots of food and put them in portions into the freezer. That way we have enough home-made food for a week and we can easily choose between different veggies.

So without any further bla - here is the recipe for our favourite veggie-potato-meat mash:

600g potatoes
300g lean beef
1 kg veggies (carrots, pumpkin,...)
150ml water
300ml apple or orange juice
100ml oil

1. cook potatoes in their skin until soft (about 25 minutes), then peel and mash them

2. cut beef and veggies in small cubes, put them in a small pot and add water, bring to the boil and cook for about 15 minutes till soft, take beef and veggies out of the boiling water and puree in portions, add juice to make mixture smoother

3. mix mashed potatoes and pureed veggies, add as much boiling water as you want to get the right consistency

Makes 12 baby food servings plus two servings of mashed potatoes (mixed with apple juice – soooo yummy!).

Recipe inspired by “Kochen für Babies” by Dagmar von Cramm

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Shopping Sunday

By chance I found a wonderful etsy shop today: Purrr...

It is full of postcards, which I would never ever send. Instead I would hang them up on my wall. Because they are true pieces of art. If I could only decide which ones I love the most – sigh!

I love fashion meets art meets book pages!





Well, while I make up my mind here, please have a look at Jess’ blog. It is full of beautiful art, jewellery and its inspiration from old movies & books, fabrics & fashion, and other etsy shops.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Better than a bunch of roses...

... is when your lovely husband takes the little one for her midday trip in the pram. And all you have to do is sit back, relax,...

... enjoy your cup of coffee and a cinnamon roll, read a magazine, browse the net, look out of the window.

I love you darling!