Monthly Thoughts #2

Even though I thought this little series is going to be a monthly thing it turns out it’s gonna be a bi-monthly one (if at all…). The last couple months have been exciting and boring and slow and hectic… If that makes any sense at all.

Balance

What I learned:

I learnt some new sewing skills, new English vocabulary from this latest book series I read, how much I was missing asparagus on my plate, that I usually don’t get everything done I put on my to-do list…

What I discovered:

I put up with a lot of bullshit and I later wonder why I actually do it. I need to take my side more and articulate how far I am willing to put up with stuff. It’s work in progress…

What I couldn’t do:

live a healthier lifestyle. I don’t know when it got this tough. I eat my veggies, I drink more than 2 liters, I increased my daily steps and still I gain weight, have knee and back pains and feel yucky. It’s very frustrating.

What I am proud of:

I sewed my first pair of pants. I never dared to as the patterns usually don’t fit. Well these pants are to loose at the waist but for summer it’s ok. Wore them yesterday and love the feel of them. I also started my maxi dress and so far it’s the first sewing project were I had hardly any seam to unravel and redo it. I am actually proud. My wardrobe grows with things I made myself I am not embarrassed of. 

What I can let go of:

I can finally let go of a very toxic person in my life. I knew from the beginning this person was not good for me but sometimes you are just stuck. 

What I was curious about:

books! I have read my share of books for this year already. The last weeks I read like 6 or so. They were easy and quick reads and not all that well written or deep but they had new “worlds” I wanted to discover and that is already a good book, no?

What I lost:

I believe I lost some of the sadness and negativity I have seen last December when looking in the mirror. I’d say my eyes looked more awake with life. 

Well, so far in my little retrospective. Will you join me in the fun? What happened in you world? Please share…

Happy life living,

Tobia

Spring List 2015

Hey there,

Just when I thought, with all this sunshine the last days and my first lunch break in the sun without a jacket, I am all set for spring and write my spring list it starts raining…

crocus

BUT spring is around the corner and officially starting today so here is my list:

  1. Making Easter Eggs in this traditional technique of the Sorbians.
  2. Fixing my bike and taking a ride.
  3. Have a lunchtime walk to this cemetery I want to check out for probably 10+ years.
  4. Quitting my job.
  5. Take a vacay with hubby. I am thinking Mallorca (never been there) or maybe Italy (at one of the lakes). Suggestions are welcome.
  6. Meeting friends I haven’t seen in a while.
  7. Sewing a maxi dress. I know exactly how I want it to look and I already got the fabric but I can’t seem to find the pattern.
  8. Doing a detox week. I am feeling like getting rid of junk in my life.
  9. Doing some more home improvements.
  10. Going to a wedding in the botanical garden.
  11. Having a family reunion.
  12. Going on an photo walk with myself

Writing this list I had a picture of my spring-like cake pops stuck in mind and I really want some now.

Anyhow, who else is doing a list? What are you looking forward this season? Please share I want to expand mine a bit more.

Happy spring,

Tobia

Sorbian Easter Eggs {Tutorial}

Hello,

I have a confession to make: I am not big into Easter decorations at all. Heck I don’t even own Easter decorations. Usually it’s just a pot of flowers and that’s about it.

I grew up with a one simple decoration. Every year we would cut some birch twigs and put them in a huge vase. On Saturday before Easter we would then hang easter eggs to decorate. And as I grew up in a area in Germany where there is a minority called Sorbs living, most of our eggs where made in their traditional way – at least that’s how I remember.

sorbian easter eggs tutorial

Since last year I was having the urge to give this craft another try. I remember we did it as kids but the eggs probably looked horrible. Maybe I can find some on this year’s Easter bouquet.

The sorbs have four different techniques for decorating their easter eggs but I only know how to do the wax batik technique. Wax is applied with special quills to the eggs shell and in various usually very detailed and complicated patterns. Then it is dyed. Different colors can be achieved by dying in many different steps and in-between applying more wax.

To make Sorbian Easter Eggs with the wax batik technique a bit of preparation required though.

Eggs.

I recommend doing this technique on blown out eggs. It is time consuming and it would be sad to have them broken on Easter morning. However it’s up to you but make sure to boil them before starting to craft. Usually the eggs have stamps on them that need to go. With a bit of soap and a brush or sponge you usually get it off. You could also use nail polish remover but you really need to wash the eggs carefully afterwards otherwise the dye will not stick.

Tools.

Feathers are your drawing or better stamping tool for this craft. It’s important to get feather from the wings and goose feathers* are recommended. Then you cut of most of the thin hairlike thingies left and right of the bone of the feather until you have only the tip left. (Sorry not sure how that is called in English but you hopefully know what I mean.) Now you cut your shape. (I just read that a cutter is better suited than scissors… Well next time…) For basic patterns you would need a triangle, a drop, diamond and a arrow shape. The dots are made with the heads of a pin.
tutorial sorbian easter eggs quills and tools

In the picture below you can see what kind of (traditional) shapes can be made with those basic tools:

basic shapes for sorbian easter eggs
source: www.sorbische-ostereier.de

Once you have the quills you need the wax. It is important to use a mixture of regular candle wax and bees wax. The bees wax makes it more flexible to apply and also easier to get off as it melts faster. You also need a tinplate spoon. I used mine out of New Years Eve lead-pouring kit. Then set up you station by curving the spoon in a 90° angle and pushing it into a flower pot. Place a tea light underneath and add a bit of wax to the spoon. Now you are ready to go.

tutorial sorbian easter eggs wax station

How to do Sorbian Easter Eggs.

Your first egg will probably look horrible. Its ok because it’s to learn how the quill works. It is important to work fast and with a steady hand. Not always easy.

  1. Put your quill to the wax and make sure its fully soaked (first time) or fully melted (after already using it). You can see tiny little bubbles.
  2. Now press the quill to the shell and remove immediately. I found it to be practical to remove the tip by slightly moving it towards your body (always making sure you don’t mess up the pattern). If you let the quill rest too long the wax will melt and then you have to jerk the quill away and usually this results in tiny wax drops all over the egg shell.
  3. When you are done with your pattern you can dye your egg. Use only cold dye otherwise the wax will melt. If you are planning to do a two colored egg you only need to have it in the dye a very short time. Otherwise the difference is hard to see.

The following picture shows the steps for a simple wax batik egg with only one dyeing:

tutorial sorbian easter eggs 1 color1. your cleaned egg // 2. wax is applied // 3. after dyeing // 4. after wax is removed

And here you can see the steps for a two colored egg.

tutorial sorbian easter eggs1. your cleaned egg // 2. first coat of wax applied // 3. after first dyeing // 4. second coat of wax applied on dyed surface // 5. after second dyeing // 6. after wax is removed

You get the idea. You can go with multiple dyeing rounds when your pattern requires it. My brain however can only think ahead two rounds.

4. Once you are done with your egg you can start to remove the wax. We used to do it over an gas flame but this time we put the eggs in the oven. Preheat oven to 50°C/120°F, put paper towels on your grate or baking pan and add eggs for about 3 minutes. Wipe of melted wax with an old rag. Tada and you just made your first Sorbian Easter Egg.

How to do patterns.

This is the hard part, something coming with practice I guess. However I found it useful to divide up your egg by either going in a circle from top to bottom or by making a line at the thickest part of the egg. This gives some direction to help with the symmetry. And symmetry is key when it comes to Sorbian eggs. For more complicated patterns I thought it was easier starting from the middle and working your way out of the pattern. I saw online that some people predraw the patterns with a pencil. I don’t understand how this works as you can’t get it of once the wax is covering it. Maybe after dying but that requires the dye covers the rest of the predrawing. Well you figure it out and let me know.

Here are a few patterns I have tried:

sorbian easter egg 2 colored blue by craftaliciousme

sorbian easter egg 1 colored by craftaliciousme

sorbian easter egg 2 colored by craftaliciousme

sorbian easter egg 2 colored red by craftaliciousme

If you need more inspiration and ideas follow my Pinterest Board.
Follow Tobia’s board SPRING :: EASTER on Pinterest.

I found this craft amazingly meditative and I am really hooked. I am pretty sure we have a few more days of scrambled eggs ahead of us.

What do you think, will you give it a try or is it too complicated for you? How do you dye your easter eggs?

Happy wax dipping,

Tobia

PS. If you want to read a bit more about the traditions and helpful tipps check out www.sorbische-ostereier.de (only German)

*affiliate link (more info here)

Monthly Thoughts #1

Last year I was setting goals at every start of the month. When December came around I was a bit tired of it. While I loved taking every month into consideration on how I wanna spend it I felt like it was too overwhelming and in the end superficial. Now in January I just lived without anything to hold myself accountable too and I somehow missed my monthly goal setting. So I came up with a new monthly challenge for myself. You are welcome to join in and write down your thoughts.

Balance

What I learned:

Life is all about surprises. You think you know someone and then suddenly a certain situation reveals a new side of this person. Nothing bad, nothing good just totally different and it sheds a new light on the whole relationship and how you see the actions of this person. Did you ever have the feeling to see a person for the first time even though you know each other for years and years? Its a funny feeling.

If in your gut you know a situation is bad it most likely is. I had a bad feeling about my current job from the start but now six months later I still can’t convince myself it’s not that bad. I wonder why I put up with it…

What I discovered:

A lot of new TV series. We watched Game of Thrones, The American, Shannara Chronicles and Arrow.

I still don’t really now where I am headed in life. When does it make click? When do you know for sure?

What I couldn’t do:

I wanted to be more understanding and be more patient. Some situations require to have this trait of character and I am having a tough time with it. I am trying though.

What I am proud of:

I knitted a hat in one evening. My mom was much amused as I whispered instructions to myself the entire time.

What I can let go of:

The need to find a new job immediately. Unfortunately not…

What I was curious about:

 Yoga. I know it’s lame. For years I thought I don’t need to follow this trend but curiosity finally caught up with me and I popped in a DVD and gave it a try. I felt good afterwards even though I understand about 10% of it. I am considering taking a course… Maybe Pilates though.

What I lost:

Unfortunately I wanted to lose something I don’t need anymore. In reality I lost my drive the last two month. I needed a break. I needed time to just pass without high goals. I needed time to breath and to pause. Admitting this has taken off some of the pressure to have life figured out. I am hoping next month I will feel more motivated and ready to tackle those life goals, personal challenges and everyday hiccups.

On the other hand I was a bit more practical and got rid of stuff I have stored  for ages always thinking I could do this or that with them. I don’t. And admitting I will not get around to them within the next two years I really don’t need to hold on to those things. When I actually will be able to do them I most likely will have gathered the supplies again or they are available anyways.

So I think I honored my word of the year alright those past two months. Hoping to be picking it up in March.

How do you keep track of your goals?

Happy day to you,

Tobia

Pannakakku – Finnish Pancakes

Hello you all…

It is Sunday. I like Sundays. When I am lucky the sunshine will be bright and hit my chair where I sit every morning writing my journal and drinking my coffee.

Sundays are for “me time” and “us time” and chilling and relaxing.

Pannakakku Finnish Pancakes

Sundays are for special treats. I hear a lot of people do waffles for Sundays. We never had those when I was growing up. I don’t know why. Maybe because we just knew noone with a waffle iron… What we often did on Sundays though was having “Plinse” a very local variation of pancakes. Either we took a bike ride and stopped in one of the quaint inns in one of the villages or my mom made some. I am way too impatient to flip pancakes for eternity in the kitchen.

So good thing the Finns are not so patient either and came up with pancakes out of the oven.

And I would like my Pannakakku – Finnish Pancake Recipe

♥ 3 eggs
♥ 70 g sugar (or more if you desire)
♥ 1 pinch of salt
♥ 475 ml milk
♥ 150 g flour
♥ 60 g melted butter

Pannakakku Finnish Pancakes with berries

  1. Preheat oven to 230°C
  2. Combine sugar, flour and salt. Add eggs and milk and mix until smooth. The dough is very fluid. Cover your baking pan with melted butter and add rest to the dough. Mix again.
  3. Pour dough into your baking or casserole pan. Bake for 30 minutes. The dough will rise a lot during the baking process but will collapse as it cools down. Cut pieces and serve with powdered sugar, jams, fruits or dessert sauces.

Pannakakku oven Finnish Pancakes

I find it so interesting that about every culture has it’s own variation of pancakes. How do you do your pancakes? Is there a special family recipe or a local variation?

Happy Sunday,

Tobia