Saturday, December 31, 2011

Good-bye 2011

I cannot believe 2011 is almost over. It was mostly a good year! It was also sometimes a bad year! You know, it was just a year with up and downs – like most years are ;-) – and it was definitely a crafty year for me!

In January 2011 I rediscovered the good old Strickliesl and remembered how much fun it is to produce meters of “Strickliesl sausages”: here and here and here

In February 2011 I took part in Me-made-February, a wonderful initiative by Cat, and discovered how many me-made things I own, although not nearly as many as the other participants.

In March 2011 I made delicious Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes.

In April 2011 I worked on my balcony – to transform it from a triste concrete place to an urban oasis.

In May 2011 I saw parts of my little one’s christening outfit, including crawling pants and sunshade cap.

In June 2011 I made a lot of decorations and pressies for the twin baby shower, I organised, e.g. this dummy band .

In July 2011 I continued making little baby things like this onesie.

In August 2011 there was little time for crafting, but I managed to make at least some great food like these spaghetti vongole.

In September 2011 was a failure in terms of crafting. Too much working didn’t leave a minute for DIY L

And the same was unfortunately true for October 2011. Don’t like!

In November 2011 I finally got more time for crafting: my little one’s first lantern and starting my dress for Cat’s Christmas dress challenge. Yipee!!

In December 2011 my creative juices really went crazy thanks to a few days off work: cinnamon balls, lemon-rosemary bath salt, a ‘stolen’ piece of art ,  a leather necklace for my aunt,  ginger-almond-crossies and of course my Christmas dress.

Wow, what a wonderful DIY year! I wish 2012 will be equally productive, creative and fun!

Wish you all a great New Year’s Eve! With great food, friends, bubbly and of course spectacular fireworks!

Friday, December 30, 2011

For me made pressies

Paula had a wonderful idea. She shows us not only what beautiful presents she made for her loved ones, but also what amazing self-made presents she got. And believe me creativity runs in her family. I love the idea to show how great and creative your family is and how much you like the gifts you have gotten.

So here is my tribute to my wonderful creative family:

My husband turn one of his beautiful photos into an amazing piece of art by getting it printed onto Alu-Dibond.
My little one made beautiful drawings, ok let’s say scribbling, for her grandparents.

My mum made me a beautiful hand bag. With my choice of fabric (top and bottom), my choice of handle, my choice of interior fitting (room for my mobile, for my calendar, my keys, my pens...). That is real luxury: something which caters for your individual needs and aesthetics.
My mum also knitted me another one of these wonderful warm scarfs. I never wear them outside (no need to this winter so far anyway), but love to wrap them around me when I am sitting at my sewing machine or laptop. It feels like a big hug.

My sister is also a kitting champion and made this beautiful woollen flower brooch for me. I love its vibrant colours and the combination of something so cosy and spring-like at the same time. I could never make something as delicate and as knitted.

My brother is a passionate photographer and made some amazing photographs using a special lens that makes the photos like a miniature landscape has been photographed. A bit like these ones. Real pieces of art.
And my dad made us all dinner. A family tradition, but still we appreciate your efforts every year, dad.
Thank you so much for each and every of these wonderful pressies, dear family. I love them more than any diamond ring and I thank you so much for making them for me.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fireworks Sale start today!!!

picture found here

Just a little reminder for all the other firework addicts in Germany: the fireworks sale starts today.

I know many think it is a waste of money! Just dangerous! And over in a second anyway!


I am so excited!!!

Aldi? Lidl? What do you think? Who has the better offer? I am big fan of the Aldi website, because you can have a look at the fireworks virtually beforehand. Which saves you a lot of time and pushing in front of the shelves in store. Which is what I DON’T like. I just want to get in, snatch MY fireworks and leave this crazy-grocery-shopping-because-there-is-one-public-holiday place as soon as possible.

So I better go. The early bird, ... you know ;-)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas again

Today we will be celebrating Christmas with my lovely husband’s side of the family. I love that the distance between my family and his family ‘forces’ us to celebrate Christmas twice. I simply cannot get enough of candles & stories and beautiful presents & great food. In both our families our dads are responsible for the great food by the way.
My dad cannot cook a lot of things, but he makes the most amazing chicken dish on earth and therefore it has been our Christmas dish for about 10 years (and hopefully for the next 10 years as well): Lemon Chicken.  Slowly roasted in the oven. With a golden crust. And lots of soft vegetables and apples. Fresh and light thanks to the lemon juice. The exact ingredients are his secret, since everyone else is so engaged in the other family traditions that we hardly drop into the kitchen.
In my husband’s family cooking is always dad’s job and thankfully my husband kind of inherited this family tradition and loves to cook, too. They don’t have a special Christmas dish, but whatever my father-in-law makes, it is always delicious. Therefore I now quickly pack our pack of presents, my little one and my lovely husband and then we are off to a delicious, relaxing and festive afternoon and my in-laws.
I hope you enjoy your Boxing Day, too! Hopefully not in the Myer’s Christmas sale, but relaxed with your loved ones.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Finally time to open up your presents as well, dearest readers, who didn’t celebrate Christmas last night. I hope you have a great time with your loved ones, with great food and great music.
I started the day with another of my favourite traditions: staying in your PJs all day. Later on, however, I will have to break this tradition, because like so many other people we will travel today to celebrate with the other side of the family tomorrow. So my wishes go out to everyone who catches a train, a plane or drives to go into the second round of Christmas celebrations tomorrow.

Have a safe and relaxed trip!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Frohe Weihnachten!

To all my German readers and those all over the world who celebrate Christmas today: Frohe Weihnachten! Feliz Navidad! Buon Natale! Have a wonderful Christmas Eve!

I won’t be able to post a lot today, because December 24th is full of traditions in our family. Some traditions are old. Some are new. But we all love them dearly and nothing can keep us away from celebrating them ;-)
One of my favourite traditions is decorating the Christmas tree. My two siblings and I have been doing that for the past few years and it is always a celebration in itself.
First we get all the Christmas boxes from the basement. It takes us three to four trips before we have all the collected decoration treasures which my mum has collected over the years.

Then discussions start about how the tree should look like this year. Monochrome? Colourful? Traditional red and green? Full of memories? Bad taste? This discussion is part of the ritual although we always end up throwing everything together. A bit of handmade ornaments from our kindergarten years. Some shiny Christmas balls. Lots of real candles. Some folk art. Some glitter.
And one thing is never missing. Our collection of obnoxious ornaments. We always add something new each year and it is really astonishing what is available. And they mean it seriously, don’t they?
Anyway, these were last year’s ornaments:
The most decorated hippo in the world.
A Yorkshire terrier.
A garden gnome.
I cannot wait to see what my brother and sister have ‘unearthed’ this year. I have to admit mine is a bit lame this year. But how could you possible top last year’s highlights ;-)
Anyway, I hope you enjoy your Christmas traditions – whatever they are – and I wish you a happy and peaceful Christmas Eve!!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Weihnachtskleid sew along – Finale

Hurray! A highlight right before Christmas. Today Cat and all the other fabulous Christmas-dress-sewing-girls finally show their beautiful Christmas dresses.

Here is mine:

 After looking for a fabric so long, falling behind and a bit of panic, I am really happy with it now. It fits me very well without too many adjustments. Due to its wrap front it is adjustable in width, particularly important when you love to eat (on Christmas Eve and other foodie occasions). It is not too transparent (despite being off-white). I love how softly it falls, when I walk or dance.

I am sorry that I cannot show you my Christmas dress properly i.e. on me, because today I don't have a personal photographer but only a curious little one. And the photos in the mirror doesn't do this dress justice at all.

 Nevertheless the dress looks much nicer on me than on the hanger. Great, because that is what dresses should do. Not the other way round (i.e. look nicer on the hanger than on me) ;-)))

I have to go now because I cannot wait to see your dresses!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Homemade Christmas: Ginger-Almond-Crossies

It is almost Christmas. Unbelievable, but so true.
This year I decided to make my Christmas as homemade as possible.
Because I love crafting and doing lots of crafts as decorations and presents
make my day uhmm December. So I try to share one idea for a homemade Christmas with you
as often as possible and hope that you feel inspired, amused or simply festive.
Happy Christmas time to all of you!

I have one last Christmas recipes, because if you are anything like my family all the other cookies have been eaten by now. It just seems impossible for us to save some cookies for Christmas ;-)
Anyway, this is one of my favourite recipes, ever since I learnt it from my friend Anna a couple of years ago. It is extremely chocolaty, a bit tart, crispy and so easy to make. In short, just my piece of cake.
For about 100 little pieces you need:
600g dark chocolate couverture
70g crystallised ginger
200g almond slivers
200g cornflakes
Roast the almond slivers in a pan (without any fat, so you have to pay close attention, stir it constantly and quickly get it off the heat before they burn). Let them cool off a bit.
In the meantime melt the couverture in a big metal bowl over a pot of boiling water.

Cut the crystallised ginger into very small pieces and mix it very well into the melted chocolate.
Add toasted almond slivers and cornflakes and mix until everything is coated in chocolate.
Fill baking tray with mini muffin papers and then add a teaspoon of the chocolate mixture to each little paper cup. Be careful because the mixture is very hot. As tempting as it might be to stick your fingers into the bowl: please don’t do it. With 100 paper cups filled there will be enough for you to try once they are cool.
Let them cool for a couple of hours and voila. Simply irresistible, I promise. And please don’t worry about the colour differences in the chocolate. This is only due to the fact that I put it into a box before they were completely cool. So don’t do that if you want to give them away as a present. If you ‘just’ want to eat them yourself, don’t worry about it. You will eat them so quick that you don’t even  shoot a glance at how they look ;-)
Happy chocolate mood!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Weihnachtskleid sew along – Panik

I am calm. I am happy. No tears. No panic whatsoever.

Oh dear, there was panic along the way of sewing my dress for Cat’s Christmas dress sew-along.
First of all I have to admit that I am a pragmatic sewer. Well, actually I think that I am a pragmatic person anyway. Therefore I knew I would only have time and passion to make one dress – alas no ‘Probekleid’, it was the real thing from the start. PANIC!
Plus I am not a very experienced sewer. Little things here and there, sure. But a Christmas dress is a different pair of shoes. So PANIC again!
So those were my general points of PANIC, but of course there were also some others which jwere created during the process.

PANIC No 1:I was so clever to choose a wonderful fabric with a very distinct pattern and only 20cm more than the amount of fabric recommended on the pattern. And somehow I thought that “allow extra fabric to match plaids or stripes” wouldn’t apply to me, because my fabric is neither striped nor plaided ;-(  So cutting the pieces were more than a little challenge, but somehow miraculously after lots of shuffling around I was able to cut all necessary pieces from my fabric with virtually no leftovers – puh!

PANIC No 2:Despite all the shuffling around of the pieces on my fabric and despite a lot of hard thinking on my behalf, there was more panic related to the distinctive pattern of my fabric. First of all: how would the darts look? Answer: surprisingly good except the one I show you above, but that is the one which is almost completely hidden by the wrap. Lucky me ;-)

Panic No 3:You surely guessed it – there is more trouble attached to a distinctive pattern. Note to myself: just buy plain-coloured fabrics in future! The skirt's side seams. There was simply no way to adjust them, especially with my mere 20cm extra fabric ;-( Therefore I decided to focus on aligning the front and just ignore the side seams. Pragmatic approach, but to be honest you don’t see the mismatch if you wear them because of the extreme width of the skirt and the flowing nature of the fabric. Okay, then keep on going, no major disaster, yet. No reason to throw the dress into a dark corner and forget about it.

Ehhhmmm, such a disaster happened about 2 hours later. When I wore the dress for the first time in front of the mirror to be precise. Pure PANIC because there was no way that I could comfortably close the wrap. There just wasn’t enough fabric. Or too much boobs (which I doubt). Anyway, my pragmatic me decided just to extend the fabric in front my adding the contrasting front band the instead of sewing it on top of the wrap part. Thank goodness I had planned for a contrasting band like in view A anyway. And hurray, it worked beautifully.

Panic No 5: Compared to the other PANIC moments, this one is almost not worth mentioning. At a new round in front of the mirror I discovered that there was a big hole in the front of my dress. Close to the newly attached sleeve, which I was so proud of to have mastered. To cut a long story short, I had to detach the sleeve again, open the seam, close it properly (with a lot of backstitching!!!), attach the sleeve again. And voila, a mere hour later or so the hole was history ;-)

Oh girls, I hope you have had less PANIC moments in the course of your Christmas dress sewing (or at least solved the big and little problems by now) and I cannot wait to see your dresses on Friday!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Happy 4th Advent!

I am about to go to an Advent invitation, but I nevertheless wanted to wish you a happy 4th Advent.

I hope you enjoy your Christmas decorations, some cookies, some Christmas music and most important of all some peace and quiet.

Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Homemade Christmas: Leather Jewellery

It is almost Christmas. Unbelievable, but so true.
This year I decided to make my Christmas as homemade as possible.
Because I love crafting and doing lots of crafts as decorations and presents
make my day uhmm December. So I try to share one idea for a homemade Christmas with you
as often as possible and hope that you feel inspired, amused or simply festive.
Happy Christmas time to all of you!

I know it is really unbelievable how fast time flies in December. Just another week until Christmas Eve. And how are you doing with presents for your loved ones? I feel quite well-prepared this year – oh well that is not an achievement when you have time off in December ;-), but anyway. I haven’t finished all the shopping and all the crafting, yet, but at least I have ideas for all my loved ones. Because I hate nothing more than running around through shops without having a clue what I want. For me that is just a waste of energy, extremely frustrating and stressful.
Because I want to spare you this situation as well, I today want to share an easy but fancy crafting project with you, which would be a perfect gift for your mama, your sister, your best friend or – like in my case – for my favourite aunt.

I saw a necklace decorated with leather pendants a couple of weeks about at COS. While I loved the style of the necklace and the idea, I wasn’t too fond of the colour and the price tag. Therefore I had a close look and made something very similar myself. It is really easy, not too expensive and something really special, I promise.
All you need is a little piece of leather, a glass, a pen, scissors, a small circular punch, transparent fishing line, some beards (optional) and a fastener.
First I drew as many circles as possible onto my piece of leather. I used a water glass as pattern, but you can use every round object. Just remember the leather pendants on the necklace will be a quarter of the size of the original pattern.
Then you have to cut your circles…
… fold them in half…
… and then in half again, so that you end with a quarter circle.
Then punch a hole into the top corner of the quarter circle (where the two straight edges meet). This is the hardest bit, because punching through four layers of leather requires some ‘oomph’.
After unfolding your leather quarter it should now look like this. A bit like a four-hole button. Then you repeat the same for as many other circles as you want – or have.
Now you just have to bead the folded circles onto fishing line...
... and adding beards is optional. I added some translucent beards to keep the leather pendants apart from each other, but that is really a matter of your own design.

At last you just have to adjust the lengths of your necklace and finish it off with a fastener. I used a magnetic one, because I hate to fumble with the little screwing ones.
Voila, that’s it. It won’t take you more than an hour and you might have a lot of the ‘ingredients’ lying in your craft room anyway. At least if you are as crafting addicted as me ;-)

Happy crafting!