Hello winter – bucket list for my favorite season

Winter is here. At least for me. As you may know winter starts December 1 or with the first snow fall. It least in my house. The snowfall usually comes later. This year however I am somewhat caught off guard. I just haven’t gotten all the things done I felt I needed to do. I have still too much work stuff to cross off the list to enjoy the season. I can’t craft as much as I’d like to due to my arm injury and in general life just flies by. To make the most of my favorite season I wrote yet another bucket list. But let’s do a quick check-in of the fall list first:

1. ✔𝗫 Finishing #the100daysofcraftaliciousimages project. Crossed off a few days.
2. ✔𝗫 Participating in #inktober – painted twice… better than nothing
3. ✔𝗫 Participating in #NaBloPoMO again – I made it on half the days.
4. 𝗫 Sew a pencil skirt
5. ✔ Baking pumpkin muffins – so yummy
6. ✔ Take walks and enjoy the changing season. 
7. ✔ Sell stuff on eBay 
8. ✔ Read Dracula 
9. ✔ Spending a weekend in Venice
10. ✔ Getting cozy
11. ✔ Getting started on xmas presents

craftaliciousme seeking creative life meadow with dew

Here is my winter bucket list to celebrate my favorite season.

1. Take a walk in the snowfall.
Nothing better than watch the dancing snowflakes and feeling the cold air on your cheeks.

2. Go to a Christmas concert.
As every year I am invited to a classical concert my godfathers wife is organizing. It will be my own personal Christmas party since I don’t work in an office anymore.

3. Get into Holiday spirit.
As I said I was caught by surprise this year. So I will try to find the spirit in all the odd places.

4. Celebrate our 6. Wedding Anniversary
I can not believe it’s been that long but it’s true. I feel like treating ourselves to a little anniversary trip. Maybe after seeing Helsinki for the 4th we go see Oslo now…

5. Visit Roncalli Christmas Circus
My littlest sister asked to spend an afternoon together eating cookies and visiting the circus since she won’t be home for Christmas this time around.

6. Plan vacations for 2020
It’s never too early thinking about a vacation. Usually we are always too late, everything is booked and we end up doing compromises. Maybe if you start spitballing ideas now, we might go on a bigger trip coming year.

7. Unravel 2019 and find a word for 2020
I am so looking forward to Susannah Conways workbook. I think it will be year 5 I am doing it. It’s the best during the years to reflect and get focus.

8. Go ice skating
I know this one makes the list every year. Hopefully it will be cold enough so the lakes are frozen and this will happen.

9. Try to catch a snowflake on camera.
I always wanted to do that but never did. Hope to find the the time.

10. Spend some cozy days with Mr. ♡.
He plans on a three week vacation over the holidays so I foresee lots of relaxing and movies.

11. Be kind
In times where everyone runs around hectic and stressed I want to make a conscious effort to be nice. This pdf should be a good reminder.

Did you make a list for the season? I’d love to have a peek. If you need inspiration you might find it here, here and here.

Happy December

Tobia

MY FAVORITE BOOKS 2019

As we are coming close to the end of 2019 it’s time to reflect on all the great books I have read. In total I am at xx currently but I believe a few more make the list. Of course I had a few favorite books in 2019 so let’s dive in.

Oremere Chronicles by Helen Scheuerer | ★★★★★

“In a realm where toxic mist sweeps the lands and magic is forbidden, all Bleak wants is a cure for her power.
Still grieving the death of her guardian, still trying to suppress her magic and dangerously self-medicating with alcohol, Bleak is snatched from her home by the commander of the king’s army, and summoned to the capital.”


You might think when reading this premises “I’ve read those stories a million times” and while this might be partly true I found the world it is all set in very interesting and different. Also to me the story felt a bit more grown up. Issues of addition were tackled, the ups and downs of friendship and forgiveness. I enjoyed it immensely and might have shed a tear too.

Daughters of the Dragon by William Andrews | ★★★★★

“During World War II, the Japanese forced 200,000 young Korean women to be sex slaves or “comfort women” for their soldiers. “Daughters of the Dragon” is one woman’s riveting story of strength, courage and promises kept.”

This was an intense read. The first 20 % are tough to go through and heart shattering. After that it gets a bit easier but nevertheless it is not a “pleasure” read. Still I flew through the book and forgot everything around me. 

I was aspecially impressed how graceful the whole topic was told. While it was often brutal and detailed it was never vulgar or pervers. I also felt the feelings of woman were well captured and that is not always the case with male authors. Chapeau.

I highly recommend reading this book. However be aware that it is no beach read.

“If you do not have courage, you will never blossom into the flower you were meant to be.”

Daughters of the Dragon – William Andrews

Dragon Queen by William Andrews | ★★★★★

“As tensions rise on the Korean peninsula, US diplomat Nate Simon is sent to Seoul to gauge the political situation and advise the president. He also needs to find out why someone sent the president an ancient, intricately carved comb with an ivory inlay of a two-headed dragon. Though familiar with Korea’s language and culture, Nate knows little of its troubled history. Beautiful and mysterious embassy aide Anna Carlson believes it’s time he learns, starting with the extraordinary story of Korea’s last queen.”

As the first book “Daughter of the Dragon” it was wonderfully written and swept me away into the world of a proud but grief stricken Korea.
I didn’t much care for the present story of Anna and Nate. But the life of the Dragon Queen was so interesting and engaging. It showed compassion and toughness in a male dominated dynasty. It showed humanity and love. All while quietly education about Koreas culture and history.

“You can wear the crown on your head and sit silently on the throne like the stones in the palace walls. Or you can wear the crown on your heart and be like a dragon who rules the forest. If you choose to be a stone, you must make yourself dead. If you choose to be a dragon, you must be alert and quick because many will want to slay you.”

Dragon Queen – William Andrews

Requiem for a Robin by Carter Bowman | ★★★★★

The haunted world of the Chryssians has crept upon the country of Passerine for the past one hundred years. Today, seventeen-year-old Lily Egret stands at a crossroads: spend the remainder of her days in hiding, or risk exposing the secret that will put her life in jeopardy.  
But something dangerous is growing inside of Lily—something that refuses to hide any longer. With no options left, Lily breaks the rules holding her life together and flees into the ruins of Chryssus, where more than specters wait for her in the shadows. Even safety comes with a price, though. With war on the brink, Lily will have to choose between her new allies and the only home she’s ever known. 


This was a pleasant and surprising read. I am glad I picked this one up.
Great world building and different setting from what I came across so far. The main character is not the smooth I-know-it all-heroine but has flaws and struggles that are actually relatable and believable. Looking forward to read more in the Second Soul series.

Strange the Dreamer Duology by Laini Taylor | ★★★★★

“The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way aroundand Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.
Love and hate, revenge and redemption, destruction and salvation all clash in this astonishing and heart-stopping sequel.”


Laien Taylor was a new to me author and I will definitely check out her other books. Her writing is just amazing, so whimsically crafted and the wording had such a nice flow.
I loved all the characters – they were not flat but had personality, good and evil had depths to it. And of course the storyline line was just beautiful, engaging and magical. A whole new world to discover.
if you like fantasy go read!

“Wishes don’t just come true. They’re only the target you paint around what you want. You still have to hit the bull’s-eye yourself.”

Muse of Nightmare – Laini Taylor

Vergiss kein einziges Wort by Dörthe Binkert | ★★★★⭐︎

Three epochs, three women, three destinies.
It’s the story of Martha, Maria and Magda from small Salesian town Gleiwitz which mirrors the history of the boarder region between Germany, Poland and Chzechia. The life between Christians and Jews, families being formed, families being expelled, families being left and reconnected. This stories takes place between 1920 and 1960 and beautifully portraits area and region and how close joy and sorrow are intertwined.


I immensely enjoyed this read. I struggled a bit to get into the writing style but the story immediately captured me. Even though this book was over 600 pages I would have continued reading to hear more about certain lives.
I especially enjoyed it as my Grandma was born and raised in this region and fled during WWII. It sometimes felt like reading her story.
Also some situations made me wonder about certain parallels to todays politics and situations. It felt very up-todate.
If you enjoy historical fiction this one is for your. Unfortunately it’s only in German but I hear translations are in progress.

The Book Thief by Mark Zusak | ★★★★⭐︎

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.
By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.


I’ve heard so much about this book that I really wanted to read it. It is beautifully written and is bordering on poetic. I enjoyed that very much. The story itself could have been a bit stronger for me. Don’t get me wrong it was nicely told and had lots of detail and heartbreak. However I was missing something. Maybe I was just very bothered with the German phrases that were included and always translated – so when you understand German it’s a bit annoying. Until the very end it was a 3 star book for me. But then I cried while reading the last pages and since I can not remember the last book doing that to me I upgraded to 4 stars.

“It was one of those moments of perfect tiredness, of having conquered not only the work at hand, but the night who had blocked the way.”

Mark Zusak

Nachtblau by Simone van de Vlugt | ★★★★⭐︎

“Following the sudden death of her husband, twenty-five-year old Catrin leaves her small village and takes a job as a housekeeper to the successful Van Nulandt merchant family. Amsterdam is a city at the peak of its powers: science and art are flourishing in the Golden Age and Dutch ships bring back exotic riches from the Far East. Madam Van Nulandt passes her time taking expensive painting lessons from a local master, Rembrandt van Rigin, and when Catrin takes up a brush to finish some of her mistress’s work, Rembrandt realizes the maid has genuine talent, and encourages her to continue. 
When a figure from her past threatens her new life, Catrin flees to the smaller city of Delft. There, her gift as a painter earns her a chance to earn a living painting pottery at a local workshop. Slowly, the workshop begins to develop a new type of pottery to rival fancy blue-on-white imported Chinese porcelain—and the graceful and coveted Delft Blue designs she creates help revolutionize the industry. But when tragedy strikes, Catrin must decide whether to defend her newfound independence, or return to the village that she’d fled.”


I really enjoyed this story and the setting in the art scene and characters one might know from art class or museums. Mentioned people and paintings do exist. Of course it’s historical fiction but I liked it and it was a entertaining read.

“Wohin fliegt der Seufzer?, fragt er. “Nirgendwohin. Er bleibt hier. Es war ein Seufzer des Glücks.”

Nachtblau – Simone van de Vlugt

This is my selection of favorite books 2019. I’ve read many more and you can find my reviews on Goodreads. Also let’s be friends there to build our TBR pile.

Happy reading

Tobia

Bark Wreath – Natural Advent Wreath 2019

Bark Wreath seeking creative life

Inspiration can hit you anywhere and at anytime. This years natural advent wreath is inspired by one of my autumn walks across the cemetery. It was a beautiful day, I needed to clear my head, the air was already crisp and the smell of rotten leaves drifted by. While I was listen to one of the many podcasts on my phone I was hit with this view.

I tried to remember if that tree was really a cottonwood. I remembered someone once told me that the cottonwoods are not native to Germany and Germany. And that during/after WWII US pilots dropped many seeds over Berlin to re-grow vegetation that was cut down by the population during the years of war for firewood. I was also wondering why it shed its bark. And if it is a re-grown material… how much supplies will you get. Only an idea…

Well and here we go. The squirrel in me started picking up scraps of bark and putting them in my shopping bag. I had just decided no groceries today. On top I added some hazelnuts and walked home. There I let the bag sit near a heater until advent season was just around the corner..

seeking creative life craftaliciousme Bark Wreath

My initial idea was to wrap a wreath form in bark by bending it. This didn’t really work as the bark was too porous. It kept on breaking and splitting. I briefly considered wetting it as wood usually is more agreeable to be worked with but decided against it. I actually quite liked the scale-kinda-look.

Ok, let’s get started by gathering materials:

  • dried bark of a cottonwood tree
  • wreath form
  • glue gun and enough glue
  • candles
  • decoration

The tutorial is rather easy.

  • Break bake in smaller pieces.
  • Make sure there are not dirty or wet areas.
  • Glue on wreath form, The outer bark will be put on form so you will see the inside of the bark.
  • Once done place the candles. I decided to go with all candles close together.
  • Add decoration to your liking. I went with a brown golden color theme and really liked it.
seeking creative life Bark Wreath

That’s all you actually have to do. The most intriguing part of this natural advent wrath is the material. Most people I asked would not figure out what it was.

What is your favorite material to make an advent wreath? As you probably know I always try to figure out some new ways and rarely use fir-branches. Leave a comment and tell me about yours. It’s never to early to plan for next year.

Happy wreath crafting

Tobia

CURRENT TV SHOWS I AM WATCHING – 2019 Edition

Let’s be honest – we are all binge watching too many tv shows on Netflix and Co. But especially this time of year it is great. Now with Apple also starting it’s own service I am sure I will get stuck in the living room even more. We are currently holding out as I don’t like waiting for the next episode to be released. Too much suspense. I will definitely watch SEE asap though.

But for today I give you an update (list from 2015, list of 2018) on current shows as it’s always fun to keep track.

Shine On by Reese

I just started that one but it is really entertaining and informative. Reese reaches out to women in the entertainment industry that try to change things, fight for rights and equality. The whole show is filled with laughter and genuine interest. Very likable. It’s just 20 min per episode.

Casketeers

Ok, now this one is a bit weird. It’s a reality show where we follow a New Zealand couple who owns and runs a funeral home. Why I like it: for one it is always interesting to me how other cultures burial traditions are. Also it’s an industry that is doing so much but you never really have a look at in your life. I really like how it shows that for people working in this industry it also is a job and that there are office fights and things like that while on the other hand being very caring and professional as soon as a client walks in. I am impressed how graceful the show is. You will never see an entire body – sometimes they show body parts though but never a face.

Gilmore Girls

Do I need to say more? I just rewatched the entire show, crossed off #42 and I am still in love. However it’s interesting to see what 10 years ago was ok and how much has changed. I believe in todays world it would not be ok to use that many disposable coffee cups. Also it is funny to see those old mobile phones. Man the world does change fast.

Chefsline

A cooking competition show where four candidates cook against a chefs line of an Australian restaurant. I like that every week it’s another cuisine and its fun to see the national dishes and their interpretation. Only downside is you are quite hungry when done.

Chicago Fire

Loving this one as it allows a peek behind the scenes of how a fire house is run. Of course paired with all the drama and romance and career struggles. Unfortunately I have to wait for the next season to be released. Also it’s a franchise including Chicago Med and Chicago PD. The stories intertwine at certain points between those law enforcement sectors but it’s still stand alone.

Blindspot

An FBI show with a bit of mystery. I do love those kinda shows where in every episode there is a new case to crack. However I have to admit that last season was not too good and season 4 has not quite gripped me yet. We’ll see how that goes.

I used to try keeping track of all my shows by updating this list here. But it wasn’t really efficient. So I am glad Mr. ♡ has found the TV Time App. Here it’s easy to track the shows, get info about new releases and also note your feelings. And the comments are often quite hilarious. And just recently movies have been added to the app. I don’t know how many times I said to Mr. ♡:” let’s watch this movie” and he had to reply: “we already seen that one.” Man, my brain is a sieve…

Do you watch a lot of tv? And do you like to keep track or is it too much waste of time for you? And then what shows can you recommend to watch next?

Happy bing-watching

Tobia

Disclaimer: This post contains links to companies. Due to current (German) law this needs to be labelled advertising. However I was not paid to talk about them.

VIRTUAL COFFEE DATE | NOVEMBER

I am so glad we can meet again this month. It is such a wonderful way to have a sneak peak in everyones life and meet new people. And I am really grateful Lecy is hosting month after month.

If we had coffee…
I’d tell you about my endeavor to blog daily in November. It’s been something I have been doing for a couple of years now – thanks San. It’s always a bit of a stretchy but it gets my creative juices flowing. How often do you blog on a regular basis and did you ever blog daily?
And then right with my next breath I would have to admit defeat already on Day 9. Unfortunately I have gotten myself a tennis elbow and now I need to reduce my computer and phone scrolling time to max. 2 hours a day. With work picking up, Christmas presents to be found and all I am scrambling. So the NaBloPo had to fall to the wayside. Unfortunately.

If we had coffee…
I’d wanted to know if you remember November 9, 1989. Here in Germany we celebrated the 30 year anniversary of the fall of the wall. Lot’s of people are coming forward to talk about their experience and how that day had been branded in their minds. I have told my story five years ago when the 25 anniversary was celebrated. To this day my body gets a bit queasy and shaky. I am so grateful for everyone back then risking life and livelyhood to demand change.

If we had coffee…
I’d tell you that my sister and I will again volunteer for Christmas in a shoebox. We’ll be packing boxes to be sent to children in need and who would otherwise not be able to get a present for the holidays. I look forward and can see this becoming a tradition. I wrote about last years experience. Also I will pack one or two boxes myself. Not quite sure but I need to get it done soon. Do you do any volunteer work? Is it a regular thing?

If we had coffee…
I’d wonder if you had any good books to recommend that are Christmas themed. I want to make the most of the holidays. Last year I read my favorite “Christmas Carol” by Dickens but I am sure there are similar ones that I don’t know about. My dad used to read us Christmas stories on Christmas Eve after all presents were unpacked and we were in a food coma. I kinda miss that and picked up the habit to find my own stories and read one Christmas themed one every year.

So much for now. My arm hurts quite bit now and I need to rest with an icepack. Let’s meet up next months and I will be more talkative then – hopefully.

See you

Tobia