Things I learnt from my Grandparents

Good morning and hello,

Today is the Sunday before Advent. Today it’s Sunday of the Dead – a day where we (in Germany and speacially we as Protestant Christians) commemorate the lost ones. For years I have been going to see and prepare the graves for winter often with my mom sometimes alone. Usually the Saturday before today. While this post goes up, I am on my way to attend service and go see the graveyard. This year I have lost the last of my grandparents. I’ve thought a lot about my grandparents the past months and how grateful I am to have spent the time with we had together. I know not everyone is lucky enough to get to know all four of them. Each one of them taught me something and today I feel like sharing some things with you.

Sunday of the Dead hands

Granny – she was a cooking wizard and made the best apple pie and kohlrabi stew. She always had sheet cake in the cellar when we came over. She was adventurous not only in her cooking. Unfortunately most her recipes were in her mind where Alzheimer’s stole them from us. One of the first things she taught me was how to wreathe flower crowns from sea pinks. She was a handicraft woman and also explained to me how to hold a saw correctly. She taught me respect of the elder and of places. As of today I will never run or ride a bike on a cemetery and feel anger when I see people do so. And then I learned all the board and card games from her and her girlfriends. Only because of her I know how to play Nine Men Morris, Checkers, Rommé or Mau Mau. Granny was a strong woman often had an opinion and didn’t take much b***s*** from anyone. She was the only one who was ever truly mad at me because I scared her. And so I learnt that my actions have consequences. I think I could have learnt a lot more from her.

Gramps – only of late I learnt that gramps was a very moral person and traded that in for high ranking career. I do see a lot of that trait in me. Other then this gramps was someone who knew how to enjoy life. Often his friends would stop by to enjoy some beer (or schnaps) in the garden and he would tell the latest jokes he picked up. I think all jokes I know are from him. Some are secret life lessons. There was his love for sports and we watched endless soccer games and olympics together and he often explained rules. Gramps taught me how to swim. He taught me how to ride a bike on a busy street and how to find coltsfoot on the roadside. He kept this joy of life despite the heartaches and blows of fate he encountered and had a calmness to him. He is the only one who taught me on his deathbed without saying anything: to look back on my life with contentment and peacefulness. If I manage that he taught me everything.

Grandma – if I had to use one word to describe her it would be “warmherzig” I think the best translation would be caring. I have never seen a person in my life who gave her whole self to others like my grandma did. Not only did she support her family from a very young age and slipped into a role of motherhood, she never left that role. She was always concerned about the well being of others. She was a charitable woman. I often feel reminded that I should be more caring. Not in a guilty way though more in a nudging way. I remember an incident this Easter when coming back from my family I was giving a homeless person my leftovers in an impulse and felt so good about it. It wasn’t planned. I wasn’t going to talk about it. I was just feeling like I could do more and without thinking or fear I did. And then I thought about my grandma. The other thing I often think about her is when I come up with an unusual creative idea. My grandma didn’t have much but she made gold crowns from left over coffee packages to play with for us grandkids. She always had a solution to a problem. Mostly they were very practical. Speaking of practical some of my best baking know-hows are hand downs from her as well. I often called her when first living alone and she walked me through recipes. Only because of her I know the secret of potash and hartshorn in christmas cookies.

Grandpa – he was a man of books and learning. He was always curious. And while he was a man of faith he was also deeply interested in science and for him those two things didn’t exclude. I give him credit for my missing fear of all small creatures. He was fascinated by small bugs and spiders and such and every walk in the park he would point out some new animal and then tell us about where they live, what they eat and how they breed. Mixed in were the plants along the way. I think his love for parks and wildlife somehow transferred a tiny bit to me. I find it fascinating seeing a mouse and discovering her trail. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that he also had a big impact on my faith. And he also invoked my love for architecture and art history. I rarely enter a church and looking for some details he pointed out when I was merely 6 years old. I wished I had more time with him because the older I got the more I connected to him. Unfortunately he was the first to leave us.

All of them taught me one thing: modesty. I believe it had a lot to do with experiencing a world war and real hunger, escaping troops and fighting for survival. Just to land in yet another political system with controlled supplies and being monitored in every move. I usually don’t take things for granted and am grateful. I might not show it but I often realize that I am much more aware than other people around me. I do believe it is character trait worths having.

Well, this post got personal. Hope you you enjoyed it and I would love to hear what you learnt from your grandparents.

Happy Sunday,

Tobia

Best Traditions I Grew Up With

It is storming outside, the fall leaves are dancing in the wind and my coffee warms my hands while I was reminiscing in childhood memories. I realized I had some fun traditions I grew up with and wanted to share today:

1. Die Fete | The Bash

Every Saturday after my dad’s birthday we celebrate “Die Fete”. BUT it is not just a birthday party it just kinda happens to fall close to my dad’s birthday. It originally started out as his party I am sure but it is much more now. Since my dad’s college days he invites his friends and companions to this bash. Every single year! In 2018 it will be the 30th+ time. And since it is such a fixed date most people have it marked and will show up. Everyone makes time for it. And if something comes up they know next year they have another chance. I think my parents have created a really great way of staying in touch with their friends, introducing new people in the mix as they grow older and even having been matchmakers too. And even though I am over 30 now and don’t live at home there is still one guy bringing candy for the kids.

traditions and memories

2. Der Rundbrief | The (Family) Newsletter

And this brings me right to the next tradition. Every year before Christmas a newsletter was sent out. Again mainly my dad writes about what happened the last year in the family and shares his thoughts with his friends. The very end of the letter always ends with the invitation to above mentioned gathering.
I always loved those letters and since they have been written since I am alive I can basically read my life in them. Since I moved out I receive my very own copy.

But I am even more happy that Mr. ♥ and I started to adapt this tradition the year we got married. Now he sits on December 23rd and writes a wonderful letter of all the things happened to us that year. The things we are grateful for, the things we struggled, the people we miss. It is a wonderful way to connect. Unlike my parents we do sent it out via email though.

3. Adventsstündchen | Advent hour

My love for advent and Christmas was ingrained early on. My mom used to sit us down during advent and craft with. We would light the advent wreath, would have a plate of cookies, sometimes listen to some music or play the piano or flute and make little project. Like straw stars, paper stars or lanterns. We would learn poems, sing songs or think about the Christmas play. Make Christmas presents for friends and family or bake cookies. It was always such a magical time and one of my most treasured childhood memories.

4. Weihnachtsspiel | Christmas Play

For many many years of my life I was performing Christmas plays. And I am not talking about the native plays you do in church though I did those too. No we had pretty specific schedule on Christmas Eve and when who got presents. And while we got ours after church and before dinner my parents got theirs after the Christmas play performed by my sisters and I after dinner. It all started during Adventsstündchen where my mom asked if we didn’t wanna sing a song for dad on Christmas. Once we got older we decided to do those little things on our own. We were putting lots of thought into those plays – even though often we only started the day day before Christmas. I remember one time we were doing the play in English (I started having english class only 6 months earlier!), one was a quizz show with a modern and the old Santa and yet another one where we traveled around the world. One of the funniest one was actually a native play we did where my little sister (only 4/5 years then) played every single role but Maria & Joseph. It was hilarious with all her wardrobe changes. Too bad that I cannot remember them all. And no there are no tapes just memories.

5. Dads Stories

You could put down our intensive vacation travels as a tradition too. Mostly twice a year summer and winter we would go exploring the world. And usually not twice to the same place – only exception would be skiing areas. But as much as we loved the vacation we were always specially excited about the newest story my dad would tell us. It was always a story related to the area we would visit or a topic that was relevant. So there would be a story about marmots when hiking in the Alps and one about mosquitos when we were visiting the Mecklenburg Lake District. There was a story about wolfs and foxes and tunnels when I was hiking in Poland (1988) with my dad and only years later I would discover that he actually told me about the political conflict. I so wished I would have wrote down all the great stories. They were so entertain but always had an educational aspect.

Looking back on those traditions it seems like I had no chance than to fall in love with this time of year. Many of them just revolve around the Season. Or maybe even back then my little self absorbed those the most as it was important to me. Who knows.

But I am curious if you have any traditions that have stuck with you. That always keep coming back to you and that hold warm fuzzy memories. Please share, I’d love to read. And if you decide to write a blogpost too make sure to link it.

Happy strolling down memory lane,

Tobia

Morning Thoughts

Good morning,

I feel tired today. That might have to do with that I only slept 6,5 hours. That is not enough for me.

I just made myself a coffee. Unfortunately it is pitch black and instant. Not what I usually like but what has to do right now. Better than nothing.

Now I am back in bed with my laptop typing away. Rambling. All the thoughts that come to mind. I heard about the concept that you just dump all thoughts in the morning before doing anything else. Its supposed to clear your head. So I try this. Haven’t looked at my phone yet. Ok, did to check the time. There were some Instagram alerts but I didn’t check them yet. And there is a blog comment that I read when I am done typing here. But are there going to be any deep thoughts?

morning thoughts bed

Lately I am not happy with my hair. And I mean not happy as in I do not like the cut or the color. No it is more that I feel like it is getting very thin and frizzy. Might have to do with me dying it very blond. But it does look healthy it just feels so light and thin. I never had that problem. Makes me wonder if I should keep going dying. But I really want to try this granny gray color. Or at least very ashy color. I know it is trend but I really do believe it would be something fitting me.

It is going to be a long day. Won’t be home until midnight. Currently in Düsseldorf on a business trip. Like every other week. Only one more week this year. So glad to be home for a stretch of time.

Looking forward doing lots of Christmas crafts. But than I probably have way too many things in my head again and I am overeager and get nothing done. Like so many times. Why is that? So many plans. But not following through. Why not sticking to one project and finishing it up. Why start a gazilion and then have them all unfinished in every corner of the room and mind. It is exhausting. But I guess that is how I am wired. On the other hand I can be really structured. It is a weird character trait I don’t get about myself. Mostly I am ok with it but sometimes I am annoying myself. You do not want to know my December list… Or maybe I just write it. It is brain dump after all: sew blue sweater, sew rosé sweater, make advent wreath for us, make rosé advent wreath for mom, make advent wreath for sisters?, send St. Nicholas package to godchild, clean craft lab, work on business website… well thats the once i can remember right now. there is more.

I also need a vacation. The last real vacation was in May last year when we were in Croatia. That was amazing. So rallying. One week and I read 7 books or so. And the ocean directly in front of the window. Could hear the waves all the time. I mean yes I did go to Lviv in September but as fun as it was it was not relaxing.

Oh this coffee is awful. Time to get going.

See you tomorrow,

Tobia

Planner Love :: The hunt for the perfect companion

When I was in school I used to have a planner. But it was more than a planner. It was a diary, planner, timer – all in one. I remember that I loved leafing through it in boring classes, that I drew doodles, that I glued quotes into my planner and that I really really didn’t like anyone touching it or going through it. I mean it was personal. But I also remember that everyone wanted to have a look.

I kept all those planners. They are all up on a shelf unter my desk – the one I am currently sitting typing those lines.

Planner Love since 2000

After school I downgraded my planners and for a couple years I used a tiny one from moleskin. I always asked St. Nicholas to bring me one so I had enough time setting everything up.

But then I realized I actually don’t use it anymore and put everything in my phone anyway. So the planners got smaller and they are almost unused.

Last year however I felt like I need one of those diary planners back in my life and bought a “Ein guter Plan” through crowdfunding. I only used it to journal my three happy things that happened and about three sentences about the day. I liked the mindfulness chart for every day and drew up a few more bullet journal inspired charts.

While I liked the planner I feel like it is not quite what I need. First I thought I will start a bullet journal but lets be honest: I probably won’t make it far.

So I am looking for a planner that is my perfect companion. One that has pre-printed most of the things I need but enough space to individualize it.

Planner Love

I am currently looking at the following planners*:

Klarheit – Life Coach and Planner

Facts:
Size: A5
Color: white and black
Price: 34,90 €

What I love:
– Coaching section with 32 pages for reflections, goals, action steps
– unfold-able 12 month timeline to plan out goals – would work hand in hand with the goal setting from the “Unravel your year 2017” book
monthly review to stay on track and reflect on successes
weekly goal setting
– after 6 month there is a section to reflect and regroup
– 40 blank pages
– the company blog shows how to use the pages and gives ideas

What I am missing:
– the book cover looks a bit boring and seems not of as high quality as similar products

What I don’t need:
– I don’t care that I can number/date the weeks on my own. I guess if you only use it in weeks you work the 52 weeks last longer than a year and might be helpful for some people.

Starryday Planner

Facts:
Size: A5
Color: black, mint, pink
Pages: 224
Price: 16,90 €

What I love:
– weeks start with a “dump list” for all tasks
– entire page per day with top 3 tasks to get done, timeline and task manager for ABC prioritizing as well as a section for notes and a habit tracker
– seven extra habit tracker page

What I am missing:
– the planner only has 26 weeks… I am a bit confused by that so I guess you need two to get through the year.
– I am not really impressed with the used font/layout. It’s just not my style and a bit cheesy in my opinion.

Business Planner by weekview

Facts:
Size: A5
Color: white and black
Paper: 90 g/m
Price: 24,90 €

What I love:
– lots of lists for goals, projects, tasks with overview pages
– monthly overview pages for project planning with ABC tasks
– habit tracker per month
– quarter project overview
– ABC prioritizing for the week, timeline, upcoming week preview, note area
– goal setting pages
– lots of sticker, labels etc. available

What I am missing:
– I am not impressed with the layout. It seems bold and uninspiring.

What I don’t need:
– the goal setting pages are set for 2023 – too far for me

Planner / Workbook Pink Edition by Jo & Judy

Facts:
Size: A5
Color: rose/gold
Pages: 256
Paper: 80 g/m
Price: 28,90 €

What I love: 
– the project section for every week
– clean and feminine layout and colors

What I am missing:
– lists, trackers, coaching…

What I don’t need:
– The address book pages – its all in my phone so no need for that.
– The budget page that is next to the project page. I have my finance in order and I usually have a pretty good overview so this wouldn’t help me much.

While the design of Jo & Judy is the most impressive the structure of the planner just doesn’t work for me. The business planner might be a bit too much for what I plan to use it for. And the starryday planner is only half a year (I really can’t wrap my mind around it).

So I guess the Klarheit Planner is my best choice. But I am open for suggestions so please share if you have a better option!

Happy weekend,

Tobia

*Some links in this article are affiliate links. Meaning if you buy through this link I get a small provision. This would help me cover some of the costs for this blog. Thank you, I really appreciate it.

 

Challenging myself and being creative #100daysofcraftaliciouspatterns

Do you follow me on Instagram? If so, you might have seen I challenged myself for the last months and drew a little pattern for the last 100 days. Here you can check them out #100daysofcraftaliciouspattern.

I followed Elise on her endeavor of doing 100 pep talks and it was just so inspiring. Then I listened to her podcast about her journey. Immediately I knew I needed to start my own project. I could feel it in my gut that it would be right and somehow I also kinda knew I will manage to write the #100 on one of my paper slips.

And I am so glad I started my 100 day challenge. It was tough at times. I made a tiny list of my take aways. Because who doesn’t love lists…

  1. 100 different patterns is tough. I felt like I was drawn to paint similar patterns more than once.
  2. Circles, dots and triangles reappeared often.
  3. I like the bold pens better than the really fine ones.
  4. The drawing took place mostly right before bed. However that was more because toward the end it became a chore…
  5. The best patterns were created when I didn’t pressure myself (surprise right here, no?) and when I wasn’t tired and wanted to head to bed.
  6. Sometimes I felt like I didn’t give it my all.
  7. When I didn’t come up with an idea/inspiration I leaved through a magazine or looked around my craft lab.
  8. Sometimes inspiration hit me totally unprepared. Like my migraine inspired pattern – one of my faves.
  9. I came across a ton of interesting Instagram accounts during this challenge. Separate post to follow.

So here are my top ten patterns.

100 day challenge my top 10

And apparently those top three were the most loved on Instagram.

100 day challenge top 3 instagram

What is your fave? And have you ever done a challenge like this?

Happy day to you,

Tobia

PS: I just realized I must have messed up the count because I only got 98 pictures uploaded on Instagram and missing #15 and #58. Mhm… so did I really do the project or did I fail?!

PPS: And since this is another DIY and pattern project I will link up with Muster Mittwoch, Wow me Wednesday and creadienstag.