Monday, 30 June 2014

July Birthdays

I'm feeling especially blessed at the moment that little Isabella is just clingy enough for special mummy-baby cuddles but also independent enough for me to find time for crafting again already. I can't wait to do crafts with her when she's a bit older.

Above are my cards for the next month. I used the last marbling card from my adventures last month and then carried on experimenting with the new card stock and stamps. Nothing new this month but I am pleased with getting them done in time.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

The Saturday Update

We have had a lovely first week at home with Isabella. It's been relatively relaxed and quiet.

Dad was here until Thursday and we had some nice trips to the park and shopping with the new pram.

The midwife visits started on Monday and have been great for all our little questions. On the whole she is doing really well - back above her birth weight now and eating and sleeping well.

We are getting back on top of things slowly but surely. Next week there will be more of the same including registering the little one and making some visits.

Feeling very blessed this week.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Our sewing corner

The rate of projects has slowed down around here while we settle in to parenthood. While we were in hospital the material for my next project was delivered so I am looking forward to diving into that soon.

In the meantime I thought I would show you how our sewing workshop is looking. The sewing machine is a W6 that I have been using for 18 months and am really happy with. The overlocker is new from the same company. Also, after four years of living without, we finally bought an ironing board - a sewing essential.

Since this photo was taken we have also bought some large boxes to store the machines and bigger materials when we don't need them and some plastic drawers on wheels for all the bits and bobs that are needed for sewing projects. It's looking good!

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Grandad's Visit

A few weeks ago, my dad booked to come and visit in the hopes of meeting his new grandchild. Luckily she arrived in time and dad arrived the day we came home from the hospital. 

It was much quieter than his usual visits but we all enjoyed it and we had a lovely few days together.

We had a couple of trips out with the pram, shopping and walking in the park. We're getting into a nice routine - just need a little more sleep now.


Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Heinz Ruhmann

source
When I'm not being too lazy, I like to watch more German films; both for entertainment and to improve my language skills. 

A few years ago, Nico introduced me to the Feuerzangenbowle - a Christmas film. It was good but it was back when I struggled to follow feature length films. 

It came as part of a set and recently we watched the Pauker - a film all about a teacher who turns around  that difficult class. This time I followed the whole thing without subtitles and really enjoyed it.

Then, when Isabella was born, Nico bought her a musical toy with changeable tunes. One was a lullaby which I knew straight away and the other, I had no idea what it was. Nico couldn't believe I didn't know it and immediately ordered the film it comes from - another Heinz Ruhmann classic he grew up with - Wenn der Vater mit dem Sohne. We watched it this week and it was another one I loved and could follow easily.

I really recommend these films for anyone who speaks German and especially for those who are learning.

P.S. Here's that lovely lullaby.


Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Parenting Links

I mentioned the other day how helpful I find parenting blogs. Here I wanted to share my top three with you that I found helpful during pregnancy and am convinced will continue to be sources of support and inspiration to me.





Monday, 23 June 2014

Recipe: Pasta Bake

Ingredients:

  • pasta
  • two peppers
  • mushrooms
  • bacon
  • cream cheese
  • seasoning
  • egg
  • grated gouda
Instructions:
  1. Cook the pasta according to instructions.
  2. Chop the peppers and mushrooms. Combine the vegetables, bacon, pasta, cream cheese, egg and seasoning in a bowl and mix well.
  3. Transfer to a baking dish and cover with the grated cheese.
  4. Cook at about 180 degrees until the sauce has bubbled and the cheese is golden brown.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Lemons!

Look what Nico discovered while we were in the hospital - those lemon seeds DID take and are shooting up now. I can't believe I waited for months before giving up on them and then they appeared! Just little more patience now.

Friday, 20 June 2014

It's a Girl!

After 32 hours in labour at the hospital, our beautiful daughter was born on Wednesday. We named her Isabella Kathleen. 

Labour was the toughest experience I've ever been through but it's true what they say that it is forgotten the moment you see the baby. I also realised that my labour was surprisingly smooth and easy compared to many others I spoke to.

We are still finding our feet home so posts will be hit and miss for a while. One thing I want to make clear though is that this will not be the first of many baby photos and posts featuring Isabella. I'm keen to keep family and friends up to date but the blog is way too public for me and I don't want to expose her to that. I'm not criticising parenting blogs - I love them and will certainly be using them in the next few months! It's just not what this blog is intended to be.

For now let me just say that I have a newfound respect for all mothers! (and fathers who are as involved and supportive as my husband has been - thank you Nico!)

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Edible Garden Update

 This will be the last update for 2014. Our basil (above) is going crazy. We are actually struggling to find recipes with basil. I came across this one at the weekend and I'm hoping to try it soon.
 The parsley is also doing well now that it is protected from Pete. We just need to start using it. Unfortunately my lemon seeds never took. That will be going on my 2015 list.
Nico is having much more success (having put in much more effort). Above you can see his tomatoes. I can no longer see the bird feeder with the plants going so crazy.
Finally Nico's chillies - second year harvest. Already found one red one!

Looking forward to trying some new things next year and glad that most of my attempts yielding something this year.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Beauty Tip

source
Soap and Glory really took off in the UK around the time I moved to Germany and it's taken me this long to really get on the bandwagon despite friends and family raving about their products.

It started with a Christmas gift with the body sprays. Nico isn't convinced but I love them. 

Then, when I was in England for my hen do, I bought their sugar body scrub. I don't use it often - normally when I have time for a bath rather than just a shower as it gives the product more time to work. It is amazing - the scent is fresh and sweet and it has an amazing effect on the skin.

My latest addition is what prompted today's post. After eight months of regularly moisturizing the growing bump, I have finally used up my seemingly endless supply of body lotion - the product of many years' Christmas and birthday gifts. Finally I had to choose one on the shelves of my favourite cosmetic shop here - Douglas. I went with the Soap and Glory Smoothie Star body lotion. It cost 17 Euros but the bottle is huge. The aroma is delicious and like the sugar scrub, my skin is already thanking me for it.

If you haven't discovered it yet, take a look! They are definitely my go to brand for body skincare now!

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Sewing Project 2014 - 13: Baby Shoes

I was looking for another quick little project to do last week when I came across this book in our collection. It had a pattern very similar to one I had been considering buying online for baby shoes.

I made these in about an hour on Friday evening. The pattern was really easy to follow and extra bonus - they match the reversible Buddha jacket that Nico made for the baby.

Looking forward to trying to keep these on those kicking little feet and to making more in future.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Recipe: Spinach and Chickpea Curry

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • Onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp curry paste
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Chickpeas
  • 500g fresh spinach
  • Coriander and salt
Instructions:
  1. Fry the onion, garlic and ginger for four minutes.
  2. Add the curry paste for a further two minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, 250ml cold water and chickpeas. Bring to the boil and reduce the heat. Simmer for ten minutes.
  4. Add the spinach until wilted.
  5. Season to taste and serve.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Sewing Links

As you can tell from the blog this week, we've been getting into sewing in a big way lately. Part of that has been researching the basics, patterns and supplies. I thought I would share some of our findings today:

A great blog for beginners. I'm in love with the book already.

One source I often use for material.

A German source we are trying out.

Still can't recommend this course enough.

This pattern is on my to buy list.

As well as this one.

And this one.

P.S. Not sewing related but proving useful at the moment.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

The Saturday Update

It's been yet another quiet week around here. We had a long hot weekend where we didn't do much. The heat was just starting to get to me before it cooled off a bit. 

We both did a bit of sewing and continued researching and stocking our sewing workshop. More to come on that.

On Wednesday, baby and I had our regular checkups with the doctor and midwife. All is well and progressing slowly so that's good.

Thursday was a busy day getting jobs done in the flat but nothing exciting.

Yesterday was my last swimming session for a while followed by another nice visit to work. Afterwards I did a spot of shopping for the baby and me and got a nice lunch for Nico and me. 

We're having another quiet weekend doing bits and bobs, reading, sewing and waiting...

Friday, 13 June 2014

Currently...

...waiting patiently for the stork.
...drinking lots of water and tea.
...trying to stay cool in this heat!
...reading Gone With the Wind.
...enjoying our time as two.
...catching up with friends.
...getting very crafty in our new sewing workshop.
...watching the tomato plants shoot up.
...nesting.
...eating lots of risotto.
...feeling glad that the midwife is back from holidays.
...house-hunting.
...listening to the chirpy neighbourhood birds.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Sewing Project 2014: 12 - Baby T-shirt

Nico recently bought this book in German to bring us some inspiration for new projects. He finished a little double sided Buddha jacket in no time and I started with this simple newborn t-shirt.

I love the finished product. It's the first time I've ever made clothing and it was good to start small. I'm especially pleased with the ribbing around the neck but also with my first ever attempt at sleeves.

It's certainly not perfect - it wasn't easy working with stretch material and the zigzag hems are a bit messy - I would stick to the straight stitch for future projects. However, any new project is a learning curve and I'm still riding this wave of sewing inspiration at the moment.

Also, both of our baby projects were made with some of Nico's old clothes so they cost nothing!

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Bump Photos

Looking huge now!
With our due date looming we were keen to get some last bump photos, especially some with Nico as well. It took a bit of time and effort digging out the camera gear on another hot day but yesterday, we finally got around to it and I love the results.
The belly button is almost popping!
All together
Belly close-up!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Sewing Project 2014: 11- Headscarf

Recently, I stumbled across a new blog to read - Tilly and the Buttons. Tilly was on the first series of The Great British Sewing Bee and recently released her first book, which is on its way to me as I write.

I was on the lookout for another little project to keep me busy without the possibility of getting into something huge and going into labour. I was also keen to make something I can wear without having to wait until I lose my bump.

This project was perfect. I had it done in under an hour and got to use a new stitch on the machine for decoration. I love Tilly's back to basics approach and really recommend her site for sewers of all levels. I'll be scouring it for a while yet.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Recipe: Summer Vegetable Risotto

Ingredients:
  • Olive oil
  • 225g risotto rice
  • Spring onions
  • Garlic
  • 100ml white wine
  • 850ml vegetable stock
  • Red pepper
  • Yellow pepper
  • Courgette
  • 50g peas
  • Seasoning
  • Parmesan
  • Fresh basil
Instructions:
  1. Heat the oil and add the rice for 2-3 minutes before adding the spring onions and garlic.
  2. After about a minute, add the wine and a ladle of stock. Simmer for five minutes.
  3. Add the vegetables. Cook for about twenty minutes, adding the stock gradually as it is soaked up by the rice.
  4. When the rice is tender, season to taste and serve with the basil and parmesan to taste.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Sewing Project 2014 - 10 Nursery birdy

Yesterday I dug out a book of sewing projects that I got for my birthday last year. It's a German book and it's full of stuffed animals for children.

I decided to go with this little bird for the nursery as it was a small project and would use up some material I had. The colour is not a sign - I plan to make a pink one too. To be fair though, the nursery is so full of pink things from my childhood, that the blue brings a little balance.

I loved the combination of machine and hand stitching. I liked using the buttons and I liked adding in the pleated wool for the legs.

The challenges came with the beak and the generally tricky side of tackling such a small project with the machine. I adapted the pattern a little from the book. For example the eyes should be little beads but I didn't have any so I used some embroidery silks and stitches. 

I'm pleased with the finished product and I'm thinking of making some for the Etsy shop when I relaunch later this year.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

The Saturday Update

Despite it being a quiet one, I don't know where this week went.

We had a very quiet day on Sunday, recovering from the busy few days while mum was here. 

Nico didn't have a day off this week as it's exam time here in Bremen. At home, we had the Ikea delivery and kept on top of the usual jobs.

I had all my regular appointments - dentist, doctor and acupuncture, all of which went well.

On Wednesday evening, I had a lovely catch up with an old friend from my student days in Oldenburg eight and a half years ago! It was great to see her again and rebuild an old connection.

On the creative front, I just did the little cross stitch above. I was quite tired for much else but I'm hoping to maybe try another sewing project for the baby next week.

Yesterday I hit the pool with my work friend again which was refreshing. Afterwards, I called in at school and it was lovely to catch up with colleagues and pupils.

We're keeping it quiet for this long, hot weekend and doing whatever we feel like while we still can! Have a good one!

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Finishing Touches

 Our Ikea delivery finally came yesterday which meant that we could put the finishing touches to the nursery and feel completely ready for the baby's arrival. Furniture building at 38 weeks was surprisingly okay - another reason I like Ikea so much.

Above you can see the easy chair, recommended by a colleague, for our nursing corner in our room. Should make the late night feeds a little more bearable!
Here is our cute little changing table. We headed straight out to our favourite baby store for the neutral changing mat. I love both new pieces of furniture, the wooden look really fits in and keeps a spacious feeling for the flat.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Project Life - May

 I really enjoyed this project again this month. It broke down quite nicely into sections and even though it felt like a quiet month, there's a lot in there. 

Above is the first page with the usual typed journaling and calendar card. I like the colours on this page and used it to add some other little bits in like an update on my 30 things list and a note on Nico's tomatoes.
 It turns out we do a lot of eating, cooking and baking around here. I managed to get a whole page out of our culinary creations from the last month. 

I also put in an extra square spread about my creative endeavours in May. You can see it on the right above and the left below.
 The rest of the above page covers the quilt and preparing for the baby. I also put a bit of material from the quilt in there.
Finally, I added a spread about mum's visit and our trips out. Again, I love the way the colours work together and I had the chance to use some new cardstock.

The next month may be a little longer in the making but I will be keeping up to it at some point.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

30 things - write a will

When I put this on my list, I thought it would be much more straightforward. It turns out that the most important thing here is to have a kind of power of attorney 'just in case'. Even if you are married, courts can appoint someone other than your spouse unless you have written down your wishes. Anyway, I have done that now and made my wishes clear. 

What I didn't expect is how often this has to be updated. Every time we move, every time my next of kins move, every time we have a child and every time there's something new to leave. I've made blank copies ready for the changes too.

I feel a little more settled and secure now anyway. Glad to have this one crossed off.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Recipe: Feta and Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

  • Quinoa
  • Vegetable stock
  • Red onion
  • Cucumber
  • Tomatoes
  • Feta cheese
  • Mustard
  • Seasoning
Instructions:
  1. Cook the quinoa with the stock according to instructions.
  2. Chop and dice the feta and vegetables.
  3. Combine all the ingredients and season to taste.
We made this for a barbecue we went to last month. It's a nice summery side dish for almost anything. As you can see in the picture, we had the leftovers with falafel.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Mum's Visit

I updated you on our week yesterday, including all we did while Mum was here visiting. Today I thought I would share some photos. I didn't get any in Fischerhude since I forgot the camera and the weather was miserable but I really recommend a visit if you are ever in the area.
 We got the baby's room set up.
 We had a lovely evening in Findorff, walking in the sunshine and enjoying a delicious Greek meal at Metaxa.
 We finally got to the Kaseglocke in Worpswede. Last time we tried to go it was too icy to get to it and this time the weather was gorgeous. We went around the lovely little shops too.
 There was also a lovely market where I found some lovely buttons for the baby cardigan. They had all kinds of lovely things there.
 This is the main cafe at the museum in Worpswede. We didn't go in but the building itself is something to see.
I even found my spiritual twin there in the artwork!