Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Nag Champa incense

So here's a post completely unrelated to almost anything i've ever posted before. I didn't even think that was possible.

I am posting about Nag Champa. Not any Nag Champa, but my favourite. Yes, I like incense sticks. Not always, not all of the time and I like them best on the terrace, but I DO like them. Especially the blue ones, Satya Sai Baba.  So, I've noticed there are different packages around and I've also noticed they smell differently and a lot of people on the net noticed that, too.

I just wanted to add to the confusion and tell you, there are two companies, that nearly look the same package wise, one in Mumbai
and one in Bangalore   and I personally like the Bangalore one best. I am not completely sure what the exact reasons for the two factories are, they seem to have the same roots, but the Mumbai one seems to have them machine rolled, whereas the Bangalore ones are handrolled.

How can you distiguish them? Well... there are subtle differences in appearance, only nobody knows how long that's going to stay like that. The sealing sticker on the side is different (two bars vs. three bars) and the logo on the sticker is slightly different (Mumbai has more like two C's, the Bengalore one is more an S with stripes, be aware though, the package print itself is more or less identical!).
Also the Mumbai one seems to have LLP written after the Shrinivas Sugandhalaya. The Bengalore company writes either (BNG) LLP or none of that. The Mumbai Company also has something with ISO 9000-2008 or so printed on it. We are talking about Indian incense here. ISO? No, sorry, I don't buy that.

The packages have been changing over time, with new pictures and stuff on it, so the only thing I can tell you now (November 2017) is:

There are two companies: One in Mumbai and one in Bangalore. I like the product from Bangalore better. Comparing pictures on the two homepages (see above) helps. For the moment the seal (two stripes = Mumbai, three stripes = Bengalore) is a good indicator.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Christmas lantern Special

For the Christmas market of the kindergardens, I had to contribute something. So I thought I'd do some arts and crafts. I've not got tons of time but they luckily don't expect masterpieces. So I thought I'd try something I've always intended to try and never did - making oiled paper lanterns. :)
I really enjoyed folding these lanterns, so I can really recommend making them even if you don't have to supply a christmas bazar. They create a very cosy atmosphere.

I find it easiest to first fold and glue the lanterns and then gently rubbing them with baby oil or rapeseed oil (or any other neutral oil). You could even add a drop of scented oil (e.g. lavender or cinnamon, but that's not necessary). I also recommend putting a little glass inside, to protect the paper and prevent fires.

Here are my results

Lampion 1

Lampion 2

Try the Lampion! (A4 sized paper)

Lampion Laterne

English instructions:Lantern

I've made slight alterations to the pattern above, because I like very crisp folds. And the version in the original patterns always ended up a bit tattered. But the method behind it is the same. Just the red lantern has two folds more, and the yellow a few less.

Here is the folding pattern for the red lantern above
The pattern for the yellow lampion lantern can be found here:

Waldorf star shaped lantern

The Waldorf/Steiner Star shaped light (A3 sized paper)

Waldorf lantern
There is also a video how to fold it, it is in German, but not too difficult to follow
Video Waldorf lantern

English instructions: Star shaped lantern

Tealight holder - I didn't fold these, it's from
This is also a very pretty, extremely simple tealight holder and you can also make 24 of it in rainbow colours and use it as an advent calender! Super cute!

table light (includes pattern for paper lantern cut, pentagon), I couldn't find english instructions, but it is supereasy. :)

And talking about Pentagons, there is this classic Waldorf lantern, too! (it is made from pentagons and results in dodecahedron with stars!). I found it easiest to cut 10 pentagons (so you leave to top and the bottom open) and then just light a candle and put the lantern over it. After printing the pattern on yellow (or any other sort of paper), cut them juuuuust inside the marks, otherwise you have the marks left on the lantern (like me...)

Dodecahedron lantern - I LOVE geometry!

Pentagon star lantern (with pattern)
English instructions: Pentagon star lamp
my pattern: (A4 sized paper)

**** Be careful with fire and candles. Put them on a heat proof surface and don't leave them unattended. If you don't know how to handle fire, use LED candles, they are safer****

short url:

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Macramé lights

Just imagine I HAD actually lit the candle inside!

So today I did some DIY again. And it was so supereasy and though I'd share it.

I've always wanted to try out Macramé. I can't really tell you why, because I've never really seen anything made from Macramé that I wanted to have. Possibly it is because my mother always made fun of people making stuff with Macramé technique. So for years this wish to do Macramé was there... and then this happened:

(I know, the video is in German, but just switch of the sound and follow the pictures, it is SO easy)

I really like the way those lanterns look (especially the hanging one), so I though, why not give it a try, especially as I had all material required (empty glass, anything goes here) and string (it is 24meters juteyarn in dark green, which i normally use to wrap parcels and presents).The glass is from jam.

And because it is November, you see this lantern NOT swaying gently in the garden
but peacefully hanging from the back of our door. 

Super easy project, took me about 30minutes (the kids helped, too).

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Jeans Mend

Yes, these are my jeans. 

Just a quick post of my newly mended jeans.

I hate buying jeans, I don't find any that fit properly and they keep changing the models so if I finally find one, that I find out i DO like, they are not on sale any more. Like this one.

The area (you can now see mended) was really really thin and nearly gone, so I decided I had to do something or I would have to go and look for a new pair of jeans or make one (I am still dreading making jeans... because of everything...).

I took a piece of wool loden (which is soft, thin and durable) and then used a sort of sashiko-whatever-works technique. Done. When worn you can't really see the spot.

Yummy Yummy Pumpkin bread - a recipe


So, I am sharing a recipe. One of the most "moreish" cakes I've ever made. It's like you eat so much from it you start feeling sick, take a break, and as soon as you don't feel sick any more, you want to eat that cake again, it is THAT good!!

Believe me, I am not a very passionate cook. I don't particularly enjoy cutting and mixing and stirring for hours. And i don't particularly enjoy trying out recipes if it involves pots and pans.

However, I do enjoy baking, I like making roasts and cakes and gateaux, but because I've learnt that cake every day just isn't a really clever thing, I am not doing that very often.

BUT today I just felt like trying something new. And because it is pumpkin season here, I wanted to try's pumpkin bread. I had made her pumpkin pie with pecan praline sauce before, it was really nice (especially because we don't really do pumpkin pie over here in Germany, it's not very common...), and that sauce is ooooohhhhmmmm..... yummy (here's the recipe:

But even nicer (AND easier!) is the pumpkin bread. Make it. Now. DO IT!

I made the pumpkin puree from scratch (we can't buy pumpkin puree in tins here, it seems it is a common thing in the US), and as it is super easy I don't really understand why one would buy it, but anyway.

The cake was gone in about 4 hours. And the children didn't even get much from it...
That is one of the reasons why I didn't take a picture. Another reason is, that my cakes don't always look good. Don't ask me.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

The Doomsday Clock

I have to admit, although this doomsday clock existed since the late 1940s, I hadn't heard of it. Shame on me.

But it is really worth visiting the page and reading about the latest political developments worldwide and learn, why it is 2,5 minutes to Midnight.

Monday, 23 October 2017

The Minimalism Fraud / Mark Eder

Today I've been looking around the Internet for interesting posts on Minimalism (again) and I noticed something, that really upset me. Although it didn't surprise me. After the LOHAS lifestyle, the minimalism lifestyle is the "new" thing to do. The "less is more" and "what you have should be of superior quality" thing. But it still involves buying new stuff. Which is not minimalist. At least not the way I understand it. But as I've said before, I am not really a minimalist that way. 

If you put all your files on a digital surface (books, music...) but keep buying and buying - that is not minimalism. It just doesn't show consumerism that much. 

If you have less furniture in a huge house - that's still consumerism. Especially if you throw everything out, that you owned before to refurnish with the new style. Nobody needs a huge house. Huge (empty) houses are a waste of space and energy. And a luxury item. A status symbol. Especially if they are empty. 

If you completely change the contents of your wardrobe to match that new style, if you buy new minimalist beauty products - that's still consumerism. 

When IKEA suddenly offers bicycles to be more "minimalist and eco" and H&M  group open their third line (H&M, COS, Arket) with the two latter aiming at conscious and minimalist consumers (but still consumers), then that indicates, that there is a new target group of consumers. They certainly don't do it because they want to inspire thrift and prudence.

We are stepping into the consumerism trap again. 

What I also find annoying is the "in your face" attitude a lot of self-proclaimed minimalists (one should never call oneself a minimalist, really...) when they show on their blog (where you can also buy their latest book on the topic and where lots of adds are popping up) how minimalist they live - in the 5 bedrooms house. With an extra sports rooms and an extra toys room. And a huge car. Gosh, that's all "stuff"!!! It shows again, that minimalism is only for well off people. Honestly, I don't have words for the disgust I feel towards this whole consumerism and minimalism-fraud. Everything around me seems to be about "buy-buy-buy". 

*rant off* ;)

I didn't make this up, I found this on a google picture search:
find the mistake
Interesting reads:

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

The Gift of Death - George Monbiot

Christmas is approaching quicker than we all think. Before you go shopping for "stuff" for you beloved - read this article and think about it again.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Some thoughts on my "Make and Mend" Challenge

Maybe you have heard of Jen Gale's or know of similar pages. She's inspired me to my year Make and Mend Challenge and only today I've stumbled about a comment with a question on the "no new clothes for a year" group. The comment was

"I am 9 months in and loving it. I am starting to think about when the 12 months is up and what I will do then. Part of me says splurge but that doesn't feel right or likely. What have other members done? [...]"

I suddenly remembered, I had similar feelings when I started my own Make and Mend Challenge in 2016 and it was a sort of spiteful "you are not being nice to yourself now and pull through and when your are through you can go and indulge in shopping because you earned it and you deserve it anyway ". Funny enough, this is exactly how consumerism works. It manipulates us on a very emotional level. Because shopping really still isn't a hobby and it has nothing to do with being kind to yourself. It is just a feeling instilled in us by very clever advertising. 

Now, while I went on the Make and Mend challenge we also were challenged financially by the fact that we had decided to take nearly a year parental time and live on about 50-60% of our normal monthly income. So as it happened, I was not only very busy with tending to two small children (that said, we were all 4 of us together those 10 months!) but even when I was very very very tempted, it wasn't really possible and that was a good thing. (as I had explained in a post before, overconsumption is only possible if you have the means to do so... or decide to go into debts...)
With the time passing I noticed a distinctive change in my attitude (very much like the one in the comment above). When before I would buy something because it was cute and I could, now I look at everything very carefully and would ask myself "do I really need this?" and "don't I have something at home that serves the same purpose?". It just got much more unlikely to just go on a mindless shopping splurge. I mean, why go shopping if you already know you don't need anything and you don't really want anything you don't need...?!

I also got to know my taste in clothes a lot better and I am much more careful to only buy things that fit now. And are of an acceptable quality for the price asked. Which means a lot of the time even if I try something  on, I don't buy it.

I've actually come to a point where I don't really enjoy shopping, because I don't do it for its own sake but for a purpose - and I really don't enjoy it much to look for a pair of jeans these days, because I just don't find any, that fit me. Which also means that any time in the next 6 months I will probably have to sew a pair. But I am trying my best to mend the 2 pairs I have and that fit me well. I am even thinking about not replacing them and starting to wear more skirts. i have a few lovely skirts and dresses. Only the moths have eaten all of my woolly tights... (which is a sign I didn't wear them much, shame on me!)

I am in my second year of make and mend now and I am growing used to this attitude of "non-shopping". I still own more than enough clothes, and nothing new has really entered my wardrobe. I am starting to mend more, I am also repurposing items (like one really really cool t-shirt that just doesn't fit me.. and probably never did...). I also notice ill fit more (which is something the sewing for the 18th century caused) and I get really annoyed about uncomfortable clothes not (which might also be a sign of getting older...).

I sometimes look back and think - wow, how much time I wasted on just going shopping - all those hours... I could have read a book, I could have painted, I could have played the piano, I could have gone for a lovely walk or a run, I could have learned something new, I could have done something that is more according to the idea of mindfulness.

But then again - I had to go through this, to learn about myself and to learn how in then end this whole shopping and fashion and accessoires and home decor stuff is just empty and leaves you with more emptiness. Which is very ironical really, because it is the opposite of what adversiting is suggesting.

So, to come back to the question from that group. If you have gone though a year on not shopping at all, I think you do deserve a treat. But does it have to be a shopping splurge? Maybe you have a rough idea how much money you saved because you omitted regular shopping trips. You could visit a friend who lives further away. Or you could go on a mini holiday. Or you could treat yourself to a book. Or a membership in the public library. Or cook a nice meal for friends. Or maybe all through that year you have eyed up one particular item... a coat? A pair of shoes or boots? A necklace? A hat? Decide on one item and get it and enjoy it.

The make and mend challenge is a challenge. Which means, it is also over after some time. And that is a good thing. As I said in the post on the challenge, it is not about chastising ourselves for the rest of our lives. It is about going from one extreme to the other extreme for a limited amount of time, to eventually find the middle way (to quote buddha).

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Aurélie for Mia

Of course my Little Miss No 2 shouldn't be without a self-made doll, either. She will get this little cutie (called Aurélie) for her 3rd Birthday. She's been asking for a while already, so I hope she will be happy when she finally gets her own doll.

I used the patterns again, and I still love them so much.

For the hair I used Dolly Mo Wooly Mohair in Dark Brown. The pullover/knitdress is also made following a pattern by Mariengold and I used some leftover sock yarn (the one I used for Bina by Lalylala...). I made two strings to close the back, with two pompoms (i LOVE making Pompoms!) also from leftover yarn. The shoes are also made following the Mariengold (oh girl!) instructions (cotton in a rusty red).

The dress Aurélie is wearing underneth the pullover dress is made from a lovely fabric by Tilda and then from a scrap piece of fabric (cotton batist) I applied a ruche at the bottom.

And why is she called Aurélie? - Because I like the Song by "Wir sind Helden". :)

Tilda Wildgarden fabric