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Friday, 19 December 2014

Unusual Advent calendar

My mother-in-law prepared us an unusual calendar this year:

 24 small boxes
 filled with tiny wooden decoration and one flower bulb! I love the idea! We are supposed to plant them every day and hopefully in the spring we will have 24 beautiful flowers :)
 and here's the surprise - when I planted the first 12 (all at once instead of one a day), I found one small raddish and a teeny tiny potatoe!!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Spool-knitting with a 3,5yo

My 3,5yo daughter and my almost 2yo son really like trying their hands at what I am doing. So the big game is sometimes to use scissors and cut all sorts of threads into pieces, or glue stuff, or thread beads, and so on and so forth.
 Some time ago I was spool-knitting and N. asked if she could try too. She found it difficult with the small knitting mushroom, so I made her try on my flower loom. She could not hold it too well as it was big, so I had to find an idea on how to set it up. Look what brilliant idea I had ;)
 The toilet paper roll was the perfect size to hold the loom AND the hole in the middle was just what we needed to let the knitted cord go down.

N. was very pleased with herself but she got tired of it pretty quickly. She still managed to obtain enough loose cord to make herself a small bracelet :)


Monday, 15 December 2014

Beanie and Winter hats

If you remember a while back I found the perfect pattern to make beanie hats. It was on the Hamburger Liebe blog. I made the children one each and they used them very happily for quite a while. In May (I think), we had a fabric market and I got new jersey fabrics for myself and for the children. I was well inspired because T. grew quite a lot in Autumn and he outgrew his first beanie hat. So I made him a new one:
 He just loves the dragons and firetrucks!

And then because the weather was getting fresh, I also made one for myself and one for my husband! I also made myself a loop scarf.
I really like those beanie hats as you can wear them in different ways: either adjusted or a little loose. Plus now that I know how to make them, it usually takes me about 1 to 1,5 hours to make one. Although that depends very much on whether the children are around or not ;)

The other blog I really like for hats is Schnabelinas Welt. I made Summer hats for the kids thanks to her patterns. She has posted recently a new pattern which I will try as soon as Christmas is over (too much to do before then!). The last pattern I tried was the Zwergenmütze. Funny pointy hat which covers perfectly the ears and the neck.
I made two of them for N. and T. and we always get amused looks and compliments when we walk around:

 The hats are made of fleece and jersey cotton fabrics. They are both reversible but they are warmer with the fleece inside. 
I just love making hats now. It takes a little time and thinking to make them properly, but I find it a very rewarding work when my children prefer wearing those hats to the bought ones!

Friday, 12 December 2014

In der Weihnachtsbäkerei...

In der Weihnachtsbäkerei... here is my children's favourite song at the moment! They love it and ask me to play it over and over again. I rather like it too, but I am getting slightly tired of hearing it. I've tried to find a video online but somehow they won't play on my computer. So if you are curious, try to find it by yourself ;)

It is about making Christmas biscuits, they get burnt at the end but at least the children making them had fun.

We also have been making Christmas goodies as well as buying some at our local bakery. We made Mince pies, our first ones in 4 years. We had loved them when we were living in the UK and we were missing them very much. So we opened again our Delia's Christmas book (wedding gift!) and made mincemeat and mince pies. If you are not lucky enough to own a copy of the book, you can easily find the recipes online
The mince pies were absolutely delicious and luckily we have enough mincemeat to make another two batches soon! 

Now onto things that we haven't baked ourselves but which are part of our Christmas favourites: speculoos biscuits, Dresdener Christollen (see pic below), Domino Steine (some chocolate type of sweets), Lebkuchen etc. There are many delicious things to eat around here and Christmas time is NEVER the time to try losing weight ;) which ok I guess since winter can get pretty cold, so we need to fat reserves don't we?

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Nikolaus and "Engel & Bergmann"

After the 1st Sunday of Advent, the next "big" event is St Nicolaus day, Nikolaustag here in Germany. In the evening of the 5th of December, children are supposed to clean their shoes and set them up for St Nicolas to come by and drop a present. That is, if the children have been good ;)
The Kindergarten asked for adult sized socks. So I decorated an old pair :)
And at home we all cleaned our shoes
 The children went in bed pretty quickly and on the next morning the first words we got from our 3,5yo daughter, N. was: "was he there?" - at 7h it took me a little while to understand what she meant. But then she managed to get us out of bed to check on our shoes!
 We had two happy bunnies jumping around in the flat for a while ;)

Now I'd like to talk about the two characters that you see standing. The Angel and the Miner (Engel und Bergmann). They are traditional characters around here, from the region called "Erzgebirge". You can easily find out more about them online.

I was given the two plain wooden figures by my father-in-law. Either he or his father had made them but never go round to do anything further with them. After he gave them to me, it took me just a few days to decide what to do with them. I decided I wanted to paint them extremely carefully and give my daughter the angel and my son the miner. They are allowed to handle them, to play with them, to move them where ever they please in the flat. 

I first painted them completely white before getting on with other colours.
The angel's wings are made of felt and glued at the back. I wanted golden shiny thread but did not find any at the time, so I used a sort of yellowish-brown which does remind the golden paint.
I now have put on my wish-list of handicraft tools to acquire, a set of tiny paint brushes. I need brushes fit for miniature. The details were very challenging to paint with normal brushes and I don't really want to do that again.
The belts are made of ribbons, the rest is painted. Then I put a coat of varnish to make the figures shiny and after they were dry, I hid them away for St Nicolas to bring them to the children on the 6th of december ;)

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Advent wreath and little birds

Finally back after, yet again, a rather long silence... I am terribly sorry but somehow I don't seem to manage posting regularly. I always prepare a few posts, that keeps the blog going for a little while, then there is a big event coming up that's keeping me busy, I could have a LOT to post but I do not always have the motivation and/or the time for writing articles.

In any case, now I am sitting at my computer, taking the time to write a few posts that will be published in the next days and weeks. I cannot show everything at once since many things are Christmas presents ;)

I am going to start with Christmas decorations. I wrote to a french lady from this blog "Les Trouvailles de Joséphine et Adélaïde" that I would write a post about decorations in my home and about the marvellous decorations one can find in Saxony, Germany.

The first step towards Christmas time, towards Advent, was to make our wreath. Every year since I have been living in Germany (5 years now!), I make one along side my mother-in-law. The wreath is always our table center piece for the four weeks of Advent. So we make it very carefully. It is also a very nice and privileged moment spent with my husband's mother. This year we have little guests on our wreath!

My in-laws bought a certain number of wooden decorations on their last trip in Ramsau. There were two lovely little birds which I was free to paint as I saw fit. Here are pictures of the different painting stages :

A future Robin
A future Blue Tit

And finally, painted, varnished, ready to enjoy their lovely nest
My mother-in-law opted for white this year. I prefered to remain with my traditional red - although the shades are changing slightly every year.

Every day we lit the candles, we have now two already, and next Sunday we will lit the third one. Our 3,5yo is very much looking forward to the fourth candle being lit, as she knows now that it means Christmas will be around the corner :)

Wishing you all a lovely Advent time!