Tuesday 31 December 2019

Goodbye 2019, welcome 2020

Photo by Nicola Fioravanti on Unsplash

2019 was a very busy year for us. It has been very full of activities, new and old, private and work, alone and together. And it was full of surprises and change. 

I wish everyone A Very Happy New Year 2020, may it be full of love, happiness and blessings. 

Thursday 12 December 2019

Christmas window decoration

So Christmas is here and as we traditionally do, we put up the tree and most of the Christmas decoration on my husbands birthday. This years, I've tried out this "christmas twig" decoration for the kitchen window (hanging is really the ony ways to decorate our home, because we have no windowsills!- apart from the one in the kitchcen, which is so close to the sink, that it is unsuitable)

I got the idea from one of the neighbours and despite my inability to take fancy photographs, I find it is really pretty. :)

Saturday 30 November 2019

The Paradox of our Age

I hope we can take the chances that we're given and change to the better.
Especially in December things seem to speed up in commercialism. And around Christmas everybody is so stresses about what to buy for your loved ones. But do you have to by. Isn't it enough to be? Be there for each other, spend time with each other and tell each other what moves us. And get to know them again?

Tuesday 15 October 2019

Seasonal table October 2019

I actually did have this ready in time for the first of October but it's been really busy here so the picture had to wait. All around us the colours of the leaves are changing and it's been a beautiful October so far. We've been flying kites and collecting leaves and are currently enjoying a warm weather situation with temperatures up to 26 degrees celsius!
We've also found an awful lot of fly agarics and other mushrooms that didn't look edible but very pretty. And on another walk we discovered stone age caves that people were using as a shelter about 13000 years ago! Amazing! (obviously we didn't discover them first, but it was a first for us...)

And I find this month's Elsa Beskow calender leaf most endearing!

Monday 14 October 2019

Being compassionate

Don't let a single day pass without trying to be compassionate! 

Even if it is not easy. An interesting and personal essay about what compassion is and what it isn't and about a little bit of buddhism. And about trying and failing. And trying. 

Thursday 12 September 2019

Live your life virtuously!

Photo by Ahmad Odeh on Unsplash

I'm interested in what factors contribute to a happy or content life. I think I've established quite well, that I don't believe in shopping to be a safe and reliant source for happiness. A couple of days ago I stumbled across the "Six-factor Model of Psychological Wellbeing" by Carol Ryff. So thought I'd share it with you.

a quick overview http://livingmeanings.com/six-criteria-well-ryffs-multidimensional-model/ (also other interesting stuff, food for thought and inspiration for further reading)
Further reading: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicomachean_Ethics

Original articles:


Monday 2 September 2019

Seasonal table September 2019

September has begun, this time the meteorological beginning of autumn is also on the 1st of September and I managed to put up the table in time AND get it online in the beginning of September, too. :) Yes, I know, there are no flowers in that little vase, but I am waiting for the children to find some.

The nights are certainly becoming  a little chillier, even if daytime temperature can still be up to 32°C. I am looking forward to "Zwetschgenkuchen", which is one of my favourite (it's a special kind of plum, but basically it is plum cake with crumble...). In fact there is one in the oven as I am writing this. :)

The Else Beskow card for this month reminds me of our little apple tree, which is already (despite being quite a young tree) growing a few apples. We've been cutting the hedge and everywhere you find little hints at autumn coming. But for the moment, we are enjoying a warm and pleasant late summer.

Sunday 1 September 2019

Seasonal Table August 2019

Wow, this took a looong time to go online! Although I had even managed to put it up on the 2nd of August. Anyhow, that's what out August table looked like. :)

And isn't the Elsa Beskow monthly card most adorable?

Monday 12 August 2019

Cocoon cardigan pattern

from https://www.mooglyblog.com/hygge-cocoon-cardigan/

I am a big fan of cardigans/shrugs that are easy to wear and easy to make. So here is a pattern for a crochet cocoon cardigan, of you want to go all the way.

BUT you can also take a shortcut and just take and kind of fabric that you seem suitable to be used/seen from both sides. E.g. a wool knit or a punto di roma jersey or a heavier wool knit  - whatever works for you. Just keep in mind that the inside will be seen and the weight of the fabric will determine the drape of the cardigang. Anything goes though.

You need a rectangle. The instructions call for 91x101cm (37"x40") but you can see what you like best. And you need some fabric for the cuffs. you can make them longer or thin, you can omit them completely and leave a wider opening (just add some bias tape to finish the edge). Anything goes.

And then put the fabric together the same way the cochetes rectangle would be put together.

That's it!


Sunday 7 July 2019

Fast Fashion, Consumerism and Costumes

In Germany, people buy 60 items of clothing each year and 20% aren't worn once.

If you understand German, here is an interesting discussion about fast fashion.


And what does this have to do with costumes... well, I am in a bit of a crisis with my costume sewing - while I would very much like to do some historical sewing ("Project 1908"), I wonder, whether it is not a pure waste of resources. On the other hand I learn so many new techniques and about fitting from it, that it probably does help me and maybe one IS allowed to have a little bit of a hobby...? But: Make it count! Good quality fabrics, no rushing over a project, no shortcuts.

Tuesday 2 July 2019

Seasonal table July 2019

This month I really tried putting everything out in time (both the table and the picture online). :) 
The Spring Flower girl now really went to bed, with temperatures near to 40°Celsius it was not really refreshing anymore. Like in the postcard picture the hay is being brought in and the poppies and lilies are flowering. Elsewhere... the poppy in our garde  decided to vanish entirely... ah well... some other plants are suffering from ... "something" like our Deutzia, which was growing perfectly well until ... the day before yesterday. Maybe it's just the heat... 

Isn't Elsa Beskow's July "garden helper" painting cute??

Monday 17 June 2019

Seasonal table June 2019

 So, as surprisingly as always, June is already more than half way over... and despite being in time with putting up the table, I didn't take a picture ...

We had quite a heavy wind these past few days and my lovely roses were bent under the rain and the storm.... so I cut them and now we have them in the flat. (the same actually happened to my peonies, so we had a wonderful peony bouquet on the dining table for about a week... it was beautiful, although they would have been beautful outside, too). One side effect of garden flowers is, that lots of ants seems to live in them and the children keep finding them crawing on the table (and "rescue" them... some even make it...)

Although the little flower child is a spring child really, we wanted her to be on the table still, because she is sooo cute!

In the background a postcard with Elsa Beskow's "June". It couldn't be more apt.

Monday 10 June 2019

Challenge yourself - embrace sports!

One of the things I am enjoying more and more, is yoga. I can't emphasize enough, how wonderful moving around and keeping active is. For me personally, Yoga is a form of sports, that suits me best.

I used to feel sports was more like something you "have to do" and a bit too time consuming. It wasn't something I thoroughly enjoyed. I am grateful I have made the experience, that physical activity is a wonderful thing and keeps you happy and feeling warm and well inside. For me, it is Yoga, for others walking or running or climbing or dancing or cycling or any other way of moving around. I hope for everybody out there, that you find your way of being active and enjoy being in motion. Outside, inside, wherever.

So, if you understand German and enjoy Yoga, this Youtube Channel might be intersting for you, I think she does great videos and has very precise instructions. There is something for every energy level!


I am currently joining this Challenge, but there is lots more to discover


PS: I don't get paid or anything for saying this, I just really like her Channel and what she's doing.

Tuesday 4 June 2019

The year after "The Make and Mend Challenge"

So the last 12 months (3 June 2018 - 3rd June 2019) I did not consciously follow the "Make and Mend" Challenge. In fact, i had decided to actively NOT be too strict with myself like I had been while on the challenge, especially the first year. Nevertheless, I thought it might be good to keep a list of what I bought (just what was for my own pleasure, not counting household and kids stuff), out of curiosity. And here it is:

What I bought  in the last 12 months:
- fabric for Vogue dress and satsuki dress*
- fabric for 4x corduroy Ginger trousers (2x black, 2x mustard) (2x black done, also 1x mustard done, looks horrible on me, disposed of...)
- fabric for 2x jeans Ginger trousers (stretch indigo) (2x done)
- fabric for 1x Morgan/Ginger Jeans amalgamation (non-stretch broken twill)
- fabric for Jade skirts (1x teal, 1x purple) (both done)*
- fabric for star otari hoodie (done)*
- fabric for Dirndl for Child no 1 (done)
- fabric for Linen/Cotton summer trousers (done)
- crazy patterned knit fabric to test shirts and leggings (1 shirt roughly done, if they fit well, they can double as pyjamas...)
- black knit fabric for Jade skirt (done)*
- fabric for pattern testing for Scroop patterns - lovely wool mohair knit (done!)
- dress pattern (burda)

- 2 skin moisturiser
- 1 shampoo soap
- 1 make up base
- 5x make up that works (still have a lot leftover, it was a bulk buy...)
- 5x lipstick
- 3x mascara
- 3x eye shadow*
- 2 make-up remover

- 1 pashmina shawl*
- tights (pack of two, opaque black)
- 1 pair yellow tights*
- 2 black bikini
- 1 teal bikini*
- undies (ok, it was just easier to buy them than making more myself... lazy me...)
- 5 bras*
- 2 Fasnacht Costumes (Cookie Monster and Cheshire Cat onesies...)*
- 2 oversized scarves in white/yellow and white/berry shades*
- 1 pair earrings (for Christmas)
- 2 sets of bracelets (earthy glass beads and chakra ribbons)*
- 1 ring bracelet green*
- 1 red glass bead bracelet*
- little spring doll for seasonal table*
- 1 second hand black wool coat
- 1 new wool coat with fake fur collar*
- 5 black t-shirts
- 4 black tank tops
- 1 black shawl jacket (wool)
- 1 black wool formal dress (second hand)
- 1 black cotton summer dress (second hand)*
- 1 pair dancing shoes (second hand)*

What I made in the last 12 months:
- Ginger Jeans (3x indigo stretch jeans)
- Ginger Corduroy (2x black, low waist)
- jade skirt mini purple
- Jade skirt midi teal
- Jade Skirt black satin (from stash fabric yay!!)
- jade skirt black knit (punto di roma)
- Vroni Dirndl for Child No 1
- Mini Dirndl for Nora Doll
- Remake of favourite linen trousers (2x)
- high waist ginger trousers in mustard - gosh, those looked awful! :)
- Otari Hoodie with stars
- bendable waldorf doll
- dress for Alina doll
- Black Twister Dress
- Circle Wool knit Cardigan (Scroop Patterns) and Rectangular Mahina (Scroop Patterns)

What I mended in the last 12 months:
- 3 jeans (zipper teeth fell out, very very very annoying, because - well fitted self made jeans!!)
- childs dress (zipper broke, replaced)
- 1 glove (some stitches had become undone, easy fix)
- wooly pullover (moths or cabinet bugs had a go at it, I think and hope in our old flat. mending was no problem, only small holes)

A neighbour moved house and sorted through her clothing and she allowed me to have a rummage through that, and I found a lovely wool cardigan that fit (I will try and publish the pattern at some point) and a couple of pullovers that are of nice material only a bit big and a bit much "bat style" for me. So I upcycled. Again, trying to put pictures of that online asap. :)

What went out 
 - a lot of my clothes seemed to just fall apart this year...- 
- 7 t-shirts-  holes, washed thin and they seem to get these "deodorant bobbles" under the arms after some years...?
- 3 tops (washed thin, fabric "breaking", holes, lace trim ripped apart everywhere)
- 1 pyjama (holes)
- 3 jeans (holes, 1 JUST DOESN'T FIT and hasn't for years...)
- 1 lamp (given to friend)
- children's chair (just collapsed, with the child on it! ­čś▓)
- 1 pair yoga/sports pants (holes beyond mending)
- 1 black coat (really sad, one of my favourites, but now the fabric is thin at the shoulders, holes at the sleeves and some seams are opening - in short - it is really beyond saving... it's starting to look really shabby)
- 2 knit dresses (didn't wear it..., went to charity)
- 1 woolen cardigan (big holes in a very very fine transparent knit, impossible to mend)
- 1 pencil skirt (too high waisted, doesn't fit properly)

* I marked items that were not absolutely necessary with this star *
Can you see, how many stars there are?!? Nearly all of it is marked as "unnecessary"! I'm a little upset about this...

Monday 20 May 2019

Seasonal table May 2019

So.... although I had actually redecorated the seasonal table RIGHT on the 1st of May (Labour day being a public holiday and I didn't have to work) and I even took the picture right on that day - but putting it online took a bit of time again. Sorry about that.
The children have contributed stones they painted last year and have in the meantime added a bit of dried moss between them.

Enjoy Spring!

This month's postcard is very lovely by Elsa Beskow (again)

Monday 6 May 2019

Scroop Pattern Mahina Cardigan Pattern Test

One way of wearing the Mahina Cardigan is with lots of heavy books.
I have only blurred vision when I look over my glasses. 

Sometimes there are just these incredible coincidences ...
A while ago I got stuck in the door with the bottom edge of my favourite light wooly cardigan. And was looking for a new one and just didn't find one that was like that one. And then I tried mending (but you can still see the hole...) and was really sad - and suddenly Leimomi of Scroop Patterns looked for pattern testers for her Circle Cardigan she had blogged about a while a go (which I had admired so much already...) and how lucky I was to be one of her testers!*

 And then luck struck another time, because I was "just browsing" ebay for a woolly light fabric (not really expecting to find something, because I had quite specific ideas about what it should look like already...) - and found the perfect fabric: a light knit from wool and mohair (and a little bit of polyamid) in a dark brown. I admit I had hoped to find black, but a dark brown is as nice. And at a bargain price of just 7 Euros per meter! Was this meant to be?

But what about the pattern? There there...
It's brilliant! I think it is one of those patterns that enable you to make a basic cardigan that should be a staple in every wardrobe. Yes, really.

There are 4 different Views included in the pattern and more ideas for alternative views included, too. Also different ways of finishing the edge/binding are included, to you can finish the Cardigan to your heart's delight. :)
The instructions are very clear, very concise and if you just follow them trough there shouldn't be a problem. I really like Leimomi's way of explaining. The instructions have good diagrams and lead you from one step to the next.
The pattern fitting is somewhat unusual, because you are fitting the sleeves into the seamless fabric circle. So you have to "create" the shoulder and sleeves. It works a treat, though. And easy. This is really a "no fuss" pattern. I think I finished it in 1 hour.
The sizing is accurate and very inclusive (more on the bigger side, though, I cut the smallest size and still altered it to be a tad smaller).

Hop over to Scroop Patterns to get it: https://www.scrooppatterns.com/

Are you ready to see 12 more ways to wear the Mahina Cardigan? Here we go

Seriously me. 

Back view. You might see the back darts creating the shoulder line. Or maybe not. 

Minimalist style. I think a fibula would really look cool on the left shoulder.
A smile would probably do, too.

I'm a romantic! Chocolate. Please. 

I am ALSO a super hero! (also you can see how sheer the fabric is)

I am cute and cold and you can see my shoulders and
will you invite me for a cup of coffee? Pretty please?

Everyday me. This is what I really look like. 

What can I say. Reality. (Actually it's "let's go downtown", anyone know that joke?)

Trying to look adequately.

I made a bun. I am also wearing a rectangular version of the Mahina Cardigan.
This is where you should deliver the chocolate, ok?

See? It's rectangular. I used the selvage as the side finish.
My bun is messy and I am also featuring Ginger Jeans.

I think the back view is very pretty.
I also like standing in front of the wall, contemplating. 

*I was given this pattern for free for the pattern test and have used the test version. As for the final version, there might be changes to the pattern or the instructions. I am adamant, that all the uttered opinions are still my very own, and I was not required to say anything OR do any reviews or marketing whatsoever.

Wednesday 24 April 2019

Black Asymmetry - Twister Dress

Although you can't see it in this picture, I AM smiling. Inside. And aren't those boots lovely?

As you might have noticed, I like this pattern. And after giving away the Black Disco Twister Dress, I was just waiting until I could make my own Twister Dress. I have to admit, the first one, despite the fact that I love the pattern.... it actually did turn out to be a bit "loud" on me... erm... like my husband already knew... yes. Anyhow, I wore it a few times, but it never really seemed to fit in.
As my favourite color (in clothing) seems to be black, I should really start making everything in black first, because that's what I am actually wearing. 

So here is the Twister Dress again, by Apfelbl├╝te https://www.burdastyle.com/patterns/my-neon-twister-dress

I've already worn it once, to my very first Tango Milonga, as I've started to learn Tango argentino lately. I would say, it is the perfect dress for Tango, but what do I know...

Monday 15 April 2019

April seasonal table

April is half over already and I've not managed to post the picture of our monthly table shame on me. Especially as I even managed to take the picture on the 7th of April (one of the kids changed the settings in the camera and now that stupid date is displaye. I didn't notice until it was too late and now I can't be bothered to remove it or take another picture)! :)

And next weekend it's Easter! Happy Easter! :)

Elsa Beskow - April - that's exactly the weather we've got here!

Wednesday 10 April 2019

Another Otari for me...

Can you spot the pointed hood? 

After completing the test version for the Otari hoodie, I knew I wanted to make another one. Partly because I wanted to make another more fitted version and partly because I had seen this great fabric with stars... in brown and yellow and orange and blue and grey and... yes, all colours I usually don't wear. But goes well with black at least.

So when the fabric was on sale, I grabbed 3 meters and made the hoodie. :) It is a winter sweat, so it is really cosy and I looove it. Again, when choosing the fabric, I didn't think about the work it takes to match patterns (so much thinking included... and still not perfect...). Oh, and even after all that thinking, I did make a mistake with the pattern matching -- the left pocket matches but doesn't at the same time. It's a feature. :)

Yay, pattern matching on the Front! (Pockets and zipper)

Oh and although you can't see it - I am also sporting the Jade Skirt (by Paprika Patterns) in this picture. Brilliant pattern!

Wednesday 3 April 2019

A Ginger Parade!! (without Parade)

Ginger No 4

So I've made several Gingers by now... the very first one in dark blue and then 2 more dark blue ones and 2 black fine corduroy trousers.

And what about the Parade?  - There's only one picture! Well, I lost a bit of weight and this is the only pair of trousers, that fits well at the moment. You have to imagine the others. :) And I have to make another pair... :)

2x black corduroy: nice weight, 370g/m, 95% cotton, 5% elasthane
2x stretch denim blue: 97% cotton, 3% elasthane, 10oz

I think I look like scared squirrel in this picture.
But trust me, the jeans fit well. And I am not scared. 

Wednesday 27 March 2019

Jade Skirt(s) - Paprika Patterns

For whatever reason - I look "not amused" -
although i LOVE the skirt and the pattern

I've been looking at this pattern for ages and recently I've started dancing again and had absolutely NOTHING to wear... ahem... no, seriously, as I've not been dancing for about 10 years, the stuff I was wearing back then just doesn't exist any more (apart from the shoes, they are still brilliant...). So I decided a skirt from knit fabric is just the right thing for summer. Perfect occasion to make Paprika Patterns Jade Skirt.

I think it's a brilliant pattern. I made the version without a zipper (although I even had one here...). I started with a Mini version in purple, meant as a sort of (very) wearable muslin. And then I made a Midi length in a teal colour. ... and then I remembered that lovely black satin stretch fabric in the cellar... and made another one. And then, because I just couldn't get enough, I made one from black Punto di Roma. And didn't blog about it for a year. :) 

This is me, in a skirt. Hilarious. 

Absolutely nothing happens, when I lift my arms.
So why not do it?

I made a few mistakes (which wasn't the patterns fault), the biggest one being catching a few of those folds while sewing them to the lining, but as it was just a few stitches and didn't really show, I didn't bother to unpick my lightning stitch. Next time I will definitely take more care. Everything else went really smoothly, the instructions are precise and not fussy. I planned to make the zipper version on the Midi length one, but as it was no problem getting into the Mini skirt, I didn't bother. It might be a different matter altogether, if you use a more sturdy fabric. I used a light to medium weight (more on the light side) 95% cotton 5% elasthane knit - it was the same fabric just in different colors. I imagine a more sturdy fabric might need the zipper. I don't think the skirt needs a much thicker fabric though, because of all the layering even lighter jersey knit gets a bit of "substance" - because of the pleating and the lining, there are 6 layers of fabric in a few places!! 

I've also read, that some people use interfacing on the waistband (which probably then requires the zipper version). It might look a bit more "substancial" with interfacing, as I usually wear a shirt over my dress and my fabric has a good recovery, I didn't try that. I certainly wouldn't recommend a flowy fabric like viscose or rayon or a very thin knit, it doesn't work for this pattern. It's meant to have a bit of weight. 

rock'n'roll satin - and a silly face

Making the (first) skirt took me two evenings: one evening to tape the pattern together and wash and dry the fabric (never forget prewashing!) and one evening to copy the pattern in my size and cut and sew it. Easy as pie! I especially like the fact, that the seams are wedged between lining and outer fabric, which gives the whole thing a really nice finish. You can also use the pattern pieces fo the lining as a pattern for a simple knit fabric mini or midi skirt. :)

Paprika Patterns are great, it's a bit different, totally practical and lots of tips and hints and helps and videos on the homepage. I find the instructions very clear and the graphics in the instructions well made. Great Pattern!

I love it! Totally love it!! It is soooo comfy and I think it looks great!

PS: Having the pictures taken took me more than 12 months... I have worn them a lot in all sorts of weather, definitely one of my favourite clothes!!! The black version also looks great with strangely coloured or patterned tights. I think. :) 
Pattern: 12 US Dollars (about 10,50 Euros), download https://www.paprikapatterns.com/shop/jade-skirt/
Fabric and notions: purple 20 euros, teal 25 Euros, black satin - from stash, black 15 Euros; yarn 7,50 Euros

(For the Mini skirt in size 2 (waist) to size 4 (hips) I need 1,2m fabric (but that's quite tight, I would buy 140cm next time. Width of the fabric was 150cm. 

Friday 22 March 2019

Twister Dress Disco Ball

Before I tell you how easy and quickly to assemble this dress is, I have to admit a few things

1. I like making things again that went well before.
2. I have the urge to make more twister dresses.
3. I made this dress as a friend's birthday present.
4. After seeing the pictures, I am SO tempted to keep it (but I won't)
5. I might make a disco-ball twister dress for myself
6. I like assymmetrical things.

Anyhow, I used a stretchy velvety fabric that had the sequins mounted (I would love to see the machine that puts sequins on fabric...) and just followed the instructions for the ingenious Twister Dress by Apfelbl├╝te: https://www.burdastyle.com/patterns/my-neon-twister-dress

I LOVE the pattern. It is SO extremely easy and so fast to put together. I would say, if you manage to put a pdf pattern together without too much trouble, you can make this dress in no time. It takes about 1 hour to make. With cutting and making small adjustments. I made the neck opening a little wider and the long sleeve a little tighter. I also prefer wearing the longer sleeve at 3/4 length, but I wear it pushed up, I didn't shorten the sleeve).

You can see more examples on the burda page and also a great batty version here:

Here is another view

And just in case you ask yourself, what to do with a disco ball dress like that - listen to this music!

Friday 8 March 2019

Seasonal table March 2019

I even managed to get the table done ont he 1st of March - only putting the picture online took aaages. As usual. :)

And yes, that's an incense holder you can see there. We do love our nag champa, it's Goloka and Super Hit (Satya) that we like best at the moment. Strong stuff though, we need to air the place a bit while lighting it. :)

The postcard is from Elsa Beskow, depicting "March". Nature here is a bit more advanced that in Scandinavia, so it seems a bit late. On the other hand - we still get cold nights and Father Frost is still sort of here. And up in the hills, there is still snow, too!