Saturday, April 30, 2011

Micro Makeover – One more for the balcony

When I started the micro makeover of my balcony I talked about creating a beach balcony, a city beach even). It turned into my little oasis full of summery details, but a beach? Where is the water you might say? Where is the sand?

Well, here it is...

... a mini beach with the finest and whites sand you can think of. And it is so much cheaper than a flight to the Whitsundays ;-) Actually in total it was just EUR 15!

White plastic flowerboxes from Domaene (EUR 1.99 each)
Sand box sand from Bauhaus (EUR 1.80) – guaranteed without cat poo, cigarette butts or cullet
Bicycle expander from kik (4 for EUR 1) – to prevent the boxes from being overturned at once by your little one or a strong wind

Beach mat from kik (EUR 2.99) – to make ‘the beach’ a bit nicer to sit on and to crawl on

Other news from my city beach: the herbs are growing...

... and the courtyard has put on its green dress.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, April 29, 2011

The biggest wedding party...

... of the year - or the decade - just started. William and Kate are married. Of course I watched it on TV! I still remember the wedding of Diana and Charles – mainly because our black-and-white TV broke down right in the middle of the ceremony and we had to run to grandma’s house to watch the finish. This time the TV did okay, the bride looked stunning, the groom looked, well military (I am just not into uniforms :-(), there were tons of celebrities, TV cameras, a bit of sunshine, white horses and a carriage. What a wedding!

I am glad, however, that is wasn’t mine. That my lovely isn’t a prince. That we could decided what we wanted (and what not) without a queen in the background and tons of strict royal traditions. That our wedding was relaxed, intimated and not broadcasted and watched around the world. I simply don’t want to be a princess. Or a queen. I don’t want my face on flags, coins, collectors’ plates and every magazine on earth.

Nevertheless, all the best to the happy couple!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

My Creative Space - Stitching

It is Thursday and in my blogging world that means My Creative Space – a great blogging initiative initiated by Kirsty from Kootoyoo. Creative people from all over the world show their working space, projects they are currently working on and unfinished projects. I find it very inspiring and the photos that show the work spaces are truly stunning.

This is how my creative space looks today. Jeans fabric, colourful yarn and an embroidery hoop – all ready for doing some stitching.

My little one finally seems to be on a kind of sleeping routine during the day! Hurray!!! That means finally more time for crafting. Double hurray!

Looking forward to seeing what is in your creative space today!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The First Dance

On Wednesdays I share everything wedding with you: tips, projects, organisation, photos, faux-pas, fun things and golden rules I ‘learned’ from my own wedding. I feel I need to give something back to the fabulous blog community who helped me stay sane and enjoy every second of my ‘big day’.
* * *
One thing that seems to create more stress than pleasure on the big day is the first dance. If you read through wedding blogs, bridal magazines or online communities, this tiny part of the day (5min max) seems to be an endless source of fear. Full of stage fright. Full of unrealistic expectations. Full of drama. Full of pressure. Full of Dirty-Dancing-like lifts. Therefore the bridal couples often end up spending weekend after weekend taking dancing lessons. Preparing choreography. Practising steps and turns and lifts. Oh dear!

Right in the beginning of our wedding preparations, however, we decided to make our wedding a relaxed and thoroughly enjoyable affair for us. We didn’t want to feel like we are doing a show. Therefore stressing about the first dance just didn’t fit into our concept of a casual wedding. Thus we decided not to take dancing lessons at all. We would just dance like we always do. With more passion than skills.

We did spend some time choosing a first dance song though.

In the end we choose First day of my life by Mel C which was perfect, because

a) it was meaningful to us because it was my husbands’ alarm tone when we first met (romantic, huu?)
b) it is about starting a new life (together)
c) it is slow but not too slow (you want to motivate your guest to dance and not fall asleep)
d) it is not too long (as above).

Perfect n’est pas!

Looking back I am so glad that I haven’t obsessed about the first dance because it turned out to be all different in the end. Very different than I have ever imagined, but also much more fun.

Yes, my lovely husband wore flippers (from a previous wedding game) and I had a present with a balloon on my wrist. Yes, it was unusual. It was unplanned. In a weird way, however, it was romantic and wow, it got the party started ;-)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Such a clever dress!

found here

How beautiful is this dress? Simple but so different. Do you see this clever asymmetric pocket that looks like it just comes out of the skirt? I am in love! Unfortunately the skirt is extremely padded so it is more of a winter dress. Since I want something like this for spring and summer though, I think I have to try to copy this pattern.

I will let you know how I go. Please keep your fingers crossed for me ;-)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Happy Easter – part IV

Okay, I am done with bunnies. I never, ever want to eat an egg again. Well, maybe except a chocolate egg ;-)

Enjoy your day off (if you have to go back to work tomorrow) or enjoy your usual working day (if you are a stay-at-home mum ;-))!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter – part III

I usually don’t like plastic Easter eggs. With a little one, who has just started to crawl, however, this year there was no other option for my Easter decorations. I have to admit though that they can look charming if you are lucky enough to find ones, which aren’t hideously coloured, and I am pretty please with these one.

Hope you have a lovely day! Good luck for finding plenty of chocolate eggs and spending time with the ones you love!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easter – part II

Oh I couldn’t resist when I saw those egg colours. They reminded me so much of my childhood when we used to colour tons of eggs the night before Easter Sunday. We usually celebrated with lots of other families in our holiday house in Austria and then all worked together in the big kitchen to create the most beautiful Easter eggs ever. Year after year. We boiled them. We decorated them with wax or fresh leaves. We coloured them. We rubbed them with a piece of ‘speck’ to add extra shine. It really was a bit like a Easter bunny lab. We were so proud of them and eating them the next morning was almost a minor matter.

This year it will be only my lovely husband, my little one and me, but still I have to spend tonight preparing (way too many) colourful eggs for tomorrow morning.

Hope you are enjoying your personal Easter traditions as well!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Easter – part I

This year my Easter decoration is very pink and turquoise. These metal eggs hold the little surprise presents for my daughter resp. my goddaughter:

A apron made out of a kitchen towel for my goddaughter – and a matching one for her little doll – and ...

... an ice-cream set for the sandbox for my little one.

I am going to visit my friend N. today, so I won’t have much time to blog. Instead I will have coffee and chat, hide and seek some Easter eggs just as a warm-up, play in the garden, eat too much from the barbecue and enjoy the sun till the very last minute.

Have a great start to the long Easter weekend!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Things that make me smile

Coming face to face with a horse in the crema of my morning coffee ;-)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Beautiful things gone wrong

On Wednesdays I share everything wedding with you: tips, projects, organisation, photos, faux-pas, fun things and golden rules I ‘learned’ from my own wedding. I feel I need to give something back to the fabulous blog community who helped me stay sane and enjoy every second of my ‘big day’.
* * *

One of my favourite wedding presents were these balloons.

Originally the friend who gave them to us planned to give one balloon to every guest, everyone would write a wish for us onto a postcard and attach it to the balloon and then we would all send them to the sky. That was the plan, anyway. The problem was that the ropes of the balloons got tangled so badly that there was no chance to ever separate them again. So in the end, Andi and I sent two huge clouds of balloons to the sky. Which looked absolutely beautiful. And which worked despite the considerable weight of each balloon cloud. And I think this is just one example of how amazing it can be when something goes wrong at a wedding.

So, please relax all brides-to-be and maid-of-honours-to-be! I promise you that no matter how well you plan the wedding and no matter how often you double-check. There will be things that ‘go wrong’ on the day. That is inevitably! All you can do is shrug it off, laugh about it (if you can) and just keep on enjoying your special day.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Best ‘Schnitzel’ in Town...

picture found here

... looked exactly like this and tasted absolutely wonderful. This Wiener Schnitzel is made of veal, not pork (then it would be called “Schnitzel Wiener Art”). It is incredibly thin. It is deliciously crisp. And it is so big that it covers your whole plate. It came with a yummy potato salad and a fresh cucumber salad.

I ♥ Schnitzel. And since I don’t really know the secret recipe of the best Wiener Schnitzel, I order it very often in restaurants. I had a number of really good Schnitzel in Berlin so far, but last night topped it all. The best ‘Schnitzel’ in town that is a secret I don’t want to hide from you. I had it at

This restaurant is almost a legend. I heard a lot of good things about it, but yesterday was actually the first time that I had dinner there. And it definitely wasn’t the last time! With 18.50 EUR the Schnitzel is quite expensive (at least for Berlin standards), but it was worth every penny. Plus you can take the leftovers home with you so that you’ll have a yummy “Schnitzel-Semmel” (Schnitzel sandwich the day after).

Apart from the famous Schnitzel they also have a small menu full of other delicious, authentic Austrian dishes and a large wine list with focus on Austrian wines.

Favourite dish: real ‘Wiener Schnitzel’ of course

Atmosphere: relaxed, a bit chalet-like, friendly staff, always busy (therefore a reservation makes sense!)

Address: Bergmannstraße 30 (at the corner of Heimstrasse), 10961 Berlin (don’t mix it up with the Felix Austria, which is just a few meters down the road, they serve great Austrian food too, but not the most amazing Wiener Schnitzel)

Reservation: 030 6944440

Open: daily from 6pm

Pleasant Surprise: baby changing table in the toilet

Monday, April 18, 2011

5-Minute Nap Project: Decorated Toys Box

Every Monday I will post something related to babies: inspiration, craft projects, baby news, and discoveries I have made in this new and exciting world for me. I hope you come along on that rollercoaster ride with me.
* * *

I love to look at beautiful nurseries. I adore rooms which show in every aspect that someone has put a lot of tough, passion and love into decorating them.

But let’s face it – reality is quite different, if you don’t have an interior designer or tons of money. Especially if you are a mum and your little one doesn’t sleep for hours during the day. I heart that those babies exist, but I have never come across one in real life ;-)

Anyway, although my little one hasn’t got an own room, but has to share one with me, I still want her to develop a sense of “that’s mine”. And since I share a room with her, I want her things to look beautiful to me as well. Which is something that is not always easy to achieve, if you think of all the hideous plastic toys, the pink princess-like decorations and the like.

So here is my first 5-Minute Nap Project – a decorated toys box

All you need is:
  • a box with a lid (mine was from IKEA Slugis for 4.99EUR + 1.50 for the lid)
  • a roll of broad sticky tape with beautiful decorations (mine was from IDEE for 0.99EUR)
  • scissors
  • baby wipes (wet and dry)
  • a baby that naps for 5 minutes
And then ready – steady – go:

Minute 1: Clean box with wet baby wipes (or other cleaning wipes) so that the box is free of oil and other dirt, dry off with the dry baby wipes (or tissues or paper towel or towel)

Minute 2: stick the decorative tape onto the box, make sure that it has the same distance towards the top and bottom of the box (if you like it neat) or just stick it freestyle onto the first side (if you like creative chaos)

Minute 3: cut the tape on each corner of the first of side (if your box has rounded, non 90-degree corners like mine had), try to find a gap in the decoration of the tape and cut there to make it look super-professional (otherwise don’t worry about the corner too much) – repeat the same for the remaining 3 sides

Minute 4: put toys into the box

Minute 5: play, because I guess your baby is awake by now (mine would be anyway)

Of course a beautiful nursery might need a bit more than just a box. But you could decorate a couple of them over a couple of naps. And I will definitely show you more 5-minute-nap-project soon. So watch this space :-)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Micro-Makeover: Balcony – The Details

After showing you the big picture of my new balcony yesterday, I want to ‘zoom in‘ on some details today. In case you want to ‘steal’ an idea or two. Or in case you are as short-sighted as I am ;-)

1 Bought: Rattan chairs from IKEA (EUR 20 each)

2 Me-Made: Cushion covers (made of this wonderful green-turquoise fabric, back and seat cushions used as pattern, no fastener used just overlapping pieces of fabric on the bottom)

3 Me-Made: Covers for folding chairs (again made of the ‘signature’ fabric, single layer of fabric with a hem on both sides and a Velcro fasting on the bottom, so that it can be taken off for washing)
4 Bought: Turquoise-white plastic rug from house doctor (reduced to EUR 20)

5 Bought: Turquoise solar-powered paper lantern string from IKEA (EUR 15)
6 Bought: Turquoise net canopy from Domaene (EUR 8.99) - to prevent my little one from throwing her toys down to the court yard 6 stories below, Wiebke ;-)
7 Bought: Herb plants (EUR 1 each) - and there are more herbs sowed in the other flower boxes, so unfortunately we don't have space for turquoise flowers, Christiane ;-)

8 Bought: Green-white-turquoise planting bag from IKEA (EUR 0.50)

Total amount spent: EUR 87.46

So right within the budget of EUR 100, which I have set myself as limit for a micro-makeover ;-) For me this makeover is worth every cent, however, because now I feel like having a summer cabin right next to my living room ;-)

There are still some projects left which I still haven’t managed to do, but I will tell you about them once they are finished and ready to be shown. Now I am off to my little summer retreat for a cool beer!

Hope you had a nice, productive or lazy, spring or autumn (if you live down under or somewhere else on the southern hemisphere) weekend!!!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Micro-Makeover: Balcony – The Big Picture

Tata... today I am finally able to show you how my balcony looks after my micro-makeover. Just a short reminder – this is how it looked before...

... and now it looks like this:

Much better, isn’t it? I love it so much now that want to spend all my time outside, reading a book during the day, chatting and drinking a beer with my husband in the evening and doing a BBQ with friends on the weekend.

I am really surprised how much I even like the green balustrade now. In the beginning I had no idea what to do with it. Green is not my colour – neither in fashion nor in decoration. Since we live in a rented apartment with lots of similar balconies, however, painting the balustrade was not an option. I thought of covering it, but I also didn’t want to block the view. And then the whole dilemma was solved when I looked through my fabric stash and found this fabric which I have bought at IKEA years ago:

It was the solution to all my problems because it combines green and one of my favourite colours turquoise in such a beautiful way. So green-turquoise the colour scheme would be and the rest miraculously fell into place. I have so many turquoise pieces for decoration, which I all bought while we lived in Australia. So having these on my balcony doesn’t just look nice, for me they will also remind me of my ‘second hometown’ Melbourne all the time. They really add to my mid-city Berlin balcony a splash of Aussie lifestyle and interior design. Because since the climate is so pleasant in Australia, people put much more thought and effort in the planning, building, furnishing and decoration of their ‘outdoor spaces’ (auf Deutsch: Garten, Balkon, Terrasse, Loggia etc.). They make them stylish and most of all liveable. Well, most of them anyway. Of course doggy backyards full of rubbish exist as well ;-)

So that was the big picture of my new balcony. More on the details tomorrow.

Enjoy your evening!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Cupcake Party – Blueberry Muffins

I love parties! I love to go to parties! I love to throw them! I think there are many things to celebrate, not only birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas and Easter. Therefore I now dedicated my Friday posts to parties: to creative party invitations, to easy-to-make party food, to party decorations that make all the difference... I hope you feel inspired by the festive atmosphere on Fridays and celebrate many small and big events.

Here comes the last part of my cupcake party posts. Today I want to share my favourite blueberry muffin recipe with you. I love blueberry muffins and a tried many recipes before I stumbled across this one and LOVED it straight away. No tweaking necessary. It has lots of blueberries, lots of crumble and just the right amount of sugar – not too sweet, not too tart. Just yummy!!!!

Although you know now how to convert cups into grams, I will give you the ingredients both in cups and grams. Just to make it super-easy.

For 8 people – or 4 people who love blueberry muffins as much as I do ;-) – you need:

190 g all-purpose flour (1 1/2 cups)
150 g white sugar (3/4 cup)
3 g salt (1/2 teaspoon)
9 g baking powder (2 teaspoons)
80 ml vegetable oil (1/3 cup)
1 egg
80 ml milk (1/3 cup)
145 g fresh blueberries (1 cup) or much more if you want them really fruity like I do

100 g white sugar (1/2 cup)
40 g all-purpose flour (1/3 cup)
55 g butter, cubed (1/4 cup)
3 g ground cinnamon (1 ½ teaspoon)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.

Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries.

To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together sugar, flour, butter, and cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.

Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

Easy isn’t it?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I ♥ vintage children patterns

... and therefore I couldn’t believe my luck when I found these in my little OP shop just around the corner...

... and I was over the moon when the lovely shop assistant told me the price. He had no idea what treasure he had on hand ;-)

Aren’t they adorable? My only problem is which to make first ;-)