Christmas tree decorating habits

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. Lot’s of people have there Christmas tree already put up. In Germany maybe not als long as in the US. In my family the tree was brought to the house late on the 23rd or in the morning of Christmas Eve. For us it has always been a real tree. And those need to unfold a bit before being decorated.

When I grew up my mom used to decorate the tree. Usually after she was done with preparations in the kitchen and when my dad took over to prepare his part of the Christmas dinner. (but that is a story for another day.) We children didn’t get to see the tree until Christmas Eve after church. What was usually early evening.

Our tree was rather traditional with some silver balls, wooden toys, straw stars and some chocolate rings with sprinkles (who knows which ones I mean?!). Also there were some more wrapped chocolate figurines. And we had real candles. We had the tradition of undecorating the tree after New Years when we were allowed to pick one of the candies daily from the tree.

I do not know how long this practices lasted. There was a year when I had an idea for a different decorated tree and suggested it to my mom. That was the year when tradition changed and my mom and I started to decorate it together. The “new” tree was decorated mainly by natural things: dried fruits, pinecones, nuts, cinnamon sticks, star anise and such. What we kept was the real candles. Instead of the Christmas balls we used apples. My parents still do that and when I spent Christmas with them, that is the tree I am seeing. And often it is still my “chore” to decorate.

natural christmas treeTo be honest I can hardly remember the first version of the tree and I doubt my little sister knows we once had a different tree.

As you can see the concept of changing up the Christmas decoration yearly as some people do is rather foreign to me – not that I don’t admire that.

So it comes to no surprise that in my own home and with my own tree I also follow the same theme year in and year out. My tree now is always silver and white. Over all it is a rather simple version of a tree. It all starts with white and silver balls. (We received those as a wedding gift by my aunt to be always reminded of snow. I thought that was one great gift.) And then I add my real candles. I have never had a tree with electric lights and wouldn’t even know how to get them on there. In the first years I created one new ornament every year and added them to the tree. I am now at a point were I do have enough and can’t hang all. I do collect some cute little ornaments like my silver bells or my little pottery trees.

white silver christmas treeSince we are usually spending Christmas Eve and Christmas with family I decorated my tree on the 23rd. But I will not light candles before Christmas. It just doesn’t feel right.

I usually take down the tree around January 6th. Often I am a bit lazy though. Because one disadvantage of using real candles is that it will make a huge mess. I have to clean all my glass balls and the candle holders and often the floor. It’s not done in an hour. But it is worth all the trouble to me.

The whole tree decorating business is quite different with everyone. I know a lot of people who do it like I have done all my life and the tree is only being put up Christmas Eve. But I feel like in recent years the trees are being decorated earlier and earlier. Some beginning of Advent some when ever it suits.

I got a real cultural shock when I spent my year in the U.S. and was rather perplex when right after Thanksgiving Dinner a big box was open, a fake Christmas tree unfolded and ornaments put up. It was so weird seeing the tree 5 weeks leading to Christmas. What I really enjoyed though was all the presents being collected underneaths. I liked that tradition a lot and adopted that. What really blew my mind though was when Christmas Day right after everyone open the presents the big box was put out again and the tree put back in the attic. I was really dumbfounded with that. For me Christmas was just beginning and here my host family was done with it. If someone asks me I often say that I didn’t really had a Christmas in 1999.

It is so interesting how everyone is having so different traditions and rituals. So if you have a few minutes to spare please let me know how your tree looks like and when you are putting it up.

Wishing you a wonderful Merry Christmas and the best of times with all your loved ones,

Tobia

Winter Bucket List 2017

It’s gotten really cold. Not below zero yet but it’s this wet cold that creeps in every layer of clothing and leaves you shaking. While it is not very comforting it has a message. Winter is coming. So i figured it is time to write down my winter bucket list 2017.

creative winter bucket list

  1. Spread some “Random acts of kindness” in the upcoming season where everyone is just hectic and stressed. I currently think of: smiling to the cashier, meeting the postman half way, let an old lady in front of the line in the post office, etc. something like that.
  2. Dance in the snow
  3. Ice skating. It was on the list last year bit it wasn’t cold enough. Fingers crossed.
  4. Sew a lot: finish the dress, make two sweaters and there is this tote idea in my mind for ages.
  5. I want to read a few more books this year.
  6. There will be some binge watching over the holidays. Definitely GoT, any other recommendations?
  7. Starting my vacation with a spa day all by myself.
  8. Write Christmas Cards and then our newsletter.
  9. Bake two new cookie recipes. And maybe finally tackle the Stollen recipe.
  10. Enjoy the season. Take a few minutes in the morning while drinking coffee and just look at the decorations, the snow, people watch from the window or admire the Christmas tree.

I am sure there will be added a few more things to the list. Right now I am a bit tired so I leave it at this.

Happy winter start,

Tobia

Little Beech Nut Bells in Red and White – Tutorial

creative DIY_beech nut bells decoration

Yes, I think the Holiday Season has started for me. Today I want to share another tutorial for this those cute beech nut bells in red and white with you.

I really don’t know how I came up with the idea. I think I was talking one of my walks through the park or my favorite cemetery and just saw those beech nuts lying all around on the ground. Don’t they look like little calyx or bells? And then weeks later I was shopping and came across those festive little red bells.

 

Suddenly a picture popped up in my mind and I just had to do it. But let me tell you. It is not that easy to find beech nuts early in November. They were hiding right under all the wet leaves. Of course I had to go hunting for them when it was drizzling and muddy.

Anyhow I did found some. I put them on the radiator to dry and to open them up a bit more. The rest was pretty simple.

creative DIY_beech nut bells tutorial

  1. I painted the beech nut white. I used regular acrylic paint.
  2. Got my little bell.
  3. I used silver wire and made an eyelet on one end (for the bell) and a knot on the other end.
  4. I painted the wire a hot red with nail polish as I think it looks better.
  5. I assembled the wire and the bell.
  6. I heated up the glue gun and gave a good amount of glue in the beech nut and stuck the wire knot in it. Sometimes I had to adjust the length a bit so it looked good. I just wrapped a bit more wire around the know until I liked it.
  7. I glued some ribbons on as well. If I do it again I might choose white and smaller ones but hey it is very festive and Holiday like.

creative DIY_beech nut bells detail

What do you think? Would you hang them on your tree? I would. Maybe not red and white but white and silver (who would have thought HAHA).

Happy crafting,

Tobia

linked to creadienstag | Dienstagsdinge | Handmade on Tuesday | MMI | Freutag | Weihnachtszauber

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Pine Needle Wreath – Advent Wreath 2017

pine needle advent wreath | adventskrank aus nadeln

Hey there,

Writing my advent wreath posts is the sole reason this blog exists. Yes, pretty sure it is true. This year I want to share a Pine Needle Wreath with you. Not a regular pine wreath but one made of needles.

You may wonder what the difference is? Oh there is one! Mainly time. But lets start from the beginning!

Remember my post about the Pine Needle Star? Ever since than I had the idea in my mind that those needles are meant for more. I knew I wanted to do something with them when they were still green and fresh and looked vibrant. Then I came across this idea on Pinterest. I was thinking about doing that but of course I didn’t get around.

Some things need time. So I thought about it a bit more. And then it hit me – somewhere, sometime. Use the single needles and glue them to a wreath form.

OK, so tutorial this year is pretty simple and all you need is:

♥ wreath form, preferably wrapped green
♥ glue gun
♥ pine needles, I used black pine needles but you could use other that are bit longer
♥ time, lots of time and a bit more time oh and don’t forget patience

1. I started out wrapping my wreath form with a white paper because I lacked fabric.

pine needle wreath | nadel adventskranz

If I could redo it I would use a dark green fabric. As the wreath will be see through at certain places depending on your viewing angle it really doesn’t look too great. I had to glue in more decorations than I originally intended to due to that.

2. Start glueing pine needles in little batches to the form. Layering them so that you cover the entire wreath form.

The smaller your wreath form the shorter your needles should be. Otherwise the wreath looks rather messy.

3. Once you are done you can seal the needles from loosing color with simple hairspray.

simple pine needle wreath | krank aus Tannennadeln

And that is about all you need to do. Unfortunately it does take forever. This advent wreath is by far the most work intense one I have done in the last 15 years. I think I worked a solid 8 hours on it. However I love the look of it and think it was worth all the time. This idea was in my head for so long it just need to be executed.

pine needle advent wreath | krank aus tannen nadeln

Now let me know, would you attempt it or is it just too much effort?

Happy advent prepping,

Tobia

pine needle wreath | nadel advent kranz

linked to MMI | Freutag | Kerstin & ichWeihnachtszauber

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Homemade Vegan Bath Bombs

handmade vegan bath bombs

I mentioned that I attended the blogst conference last weekend. One fun thing about this conference is that during coffee breaks you not only drink coffee but can craft. Because those sponsors are cool. They don’t just set up a booth no they set up crafting tables for the attendees to get creative. One of the sponsors was PonyHütchen a natural cosmetics shop from Berlin. And we were able to make our own vegan bath bombs.

 

It was so very simple and most all ingredients are either already in your house or are available in any grocery or drugstore. Now that does sound good right. Not only because the product really is natural if you can actually (almost) eat it. So I asked Lucie (head of marketing & Berlin store fairy) if I can share this simple DIY with you here. She said yes!

So lets get started (recipe makes two vegan bath bombs):

❤︎ 100 g baking soda (Natron)
❤︎ 50 g citric acid (Zitronensäure)
❤︎ 35 g corn starch (Maisstärke)
❤︎ 15 ml almond oil (Mandelöl)

❤︎ essential oils, food colors, nonpareils – optional

  1. Now it is really simple. You have to mix well. And by well I mean well. If it is not really mixed the bomb might break when drying up. So take you sweet time, let your mind wonder and start relaxing.
  2. Then press the mixture into a form. We had some half balls but I guess you could easily use silicone mutton of praline forms. However it needs to be packed really good. Otherwise it will all crumble.
  3. Now it needs to dry over night. And ready to go. Wrap them up, gift or just enjoy a bath yourself.

This is a wonderful gift idea. It could also be a cool idea for a girlfriends night. Oh the possibilities.

vegan bath bombs Pony Hütchen

I’ve heard from PonyHütchen before the event but I was happy to have gotten a better idea what they are doing. I have to admit I am usually not the biggest fan of natural cosmetics. Not because I think it is not good valid cosmetics more so because of the fanatics behind it. Fortunately this was not the case it was just lots of love, enthusiasm and joy. I loved the displays they put up in the bathrooms and the packaging is so cute too. It is nice to see such a young fun brand.

vegan bath bombs ponyHütchen products

After I tried their hand cream at the event – it smells amazing and makes the smoothes hands, really no joking here – I was really happy to find a sample of the deodorant cream in the goodie bag. I will give this a good try during my business trips as I like to travel with the smallest amount of weight and it comes in a tiny cute tin. I am excited how it works.

vegan bath bombs Pony Hütchen2

Anyhow, I just wanted to share this discovery from my weekend with you. If you are into vegan handmade cosmetics this could definitely be something for you as they do have some decorative things too. And they own an online shop for everyone not in Berlin. I am not sure about worldwide shipping though.

Now I am wondering, have you ever tried making cosmetics yourself?

Happy Tuesday,

Tobia

 

PonyHütchen Store Berlin | Straßburger Straße 37 | 10405 Berlin

linked to creadienstag | Dienstagsdinge | Handmade on Tuesday | MMI | Freutag

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