The season to be… crafty?

I would like to share some family joy with you all: On the 16th of November my beautiful sister-in-law gave birth to a beautiful baby boy πŸ™‚ We obviously all got very happy and excited, and book the ferry tickets for the next Saturday to visit them. The plan was to pick up my mother-in-law on the way there, and spend the day in Copenhagen.

Then, of course, Cherry got the flu 😦 First of all my heart was breaking for her, because I don’t remember her being so sick ever in her little life. My heart was breaking, because it also meant, that there is going to be no baby-visiting for Cherry, and no baby-visiting for her Mum either (that would be me). And I don’t know which one of us was more disappointed about that, the almost 5 years old, who was sooo looking forward to see her new little cousin, or me, who knows that every baby born to family members or friends might be the last chance for me to hold a newborn again in my arms (as we are NOT having more πŸ™‚ ).

Anyway, my husband packed up Paddington last Saturday, picked up his Mum and they sailed over to Sjælland for the visit, while Cherry and I stayed at home.

At this point Cherry was feeling well enough to be bored out of her mind, locked up in the house, but still too sick and contagious to go among other people, so we had to find some activities we can do inside. And then it occured to me: But it is almost advent! So we were going to make some advent/Christmas decorations, hurray πŸ™‚

One thing you have to know about Cherry, that she is obsessed with pearls. She has tons of beads and pearls that she prepares lovely necklaces of, many a day, then she picks her little scissors, cuts the wires, recycles the beads, and starts it all over again πŸ™‚ She also has a huge box of Hama Beads, and sometimes she spends hours sitting on her little chairs, making lovely shapes and figures out of the Hama Beads, then brings them over to me, so I can iron them. So making decorations of Hama Beads was an obvious choice for us πŸ™‚ Cherry made some circles, hearts and other full shapes, and I tried to create some snowflakes.

Hama Snowflakes

 

At the end we hung them up on some branches, collected from the garden, together with some old Christmas cards we had. I am also thinking about making some more, and including them in the postcards we are going to send out this year, as they are so tiny and light.

Hamas and Cards

Later, while she was resting on the sofa, watching some cartoons, I cuddled up next her warm, little body, and crocheted some cute little starts of different sizes. I found this lovely tutorial (on Pinterest, where else) :).

Crochet Starts

Twinkle-twinkle πŸ™‚

SAMSUNG CSC

The Sunflower Granny Circle Pillow

During this Fall I have been trying to give a new look to our sofa. Poor little thing, serving a family of four with two dirty little children and a not any less dirty dog, this sofa could tell you horror stories of poured cereal, apple juice, sharpie marks, melted candy, chocolate biscuits, mud, wild wet dog running in from the rain, and whatsoever. It has a central part in our everyday life, and therefore it gets used and shabby. However, we are not going to replace it with a new one, not just yet.

Instead, we made a cover for it, that can easily be washed, many times a week if needed, and the sofa itself goes under heavy cleaning once in a while. So with the new cover the sofa got a new life, and a new, funky colour (ok, probably not so, funky, but a bit more fresh at least). And it needed new cushions too. (Yes, the old cushions were all chewed up by our dog when she was a puppy, and for a while I decided to go cushion-free for safety reasons, but it is a different story.)

Besides sewing cushion covers of my favourite fabrics, I decided to make two round cushions with crocheted covers. I did some research for patterns, and for the core I went with the lovely sunflower pattern I found as the center of a granny square pattern, you can read the tutorial here. After that I carried on crocheting granny style. As I didn’t find a pattern I could directly interpret to my pillows, I went the good old trials-and-failures path, but finally I found the right way, and ended up with the perfect pattern. As I said, I made to pillow-covers, the first took me literally 3 weeks, because of all the trying and failing, pulling downs and starting overs. Once I was done with that, and had my little pattern in writting, I completed the second cover in less than 2 days πŸ™‚

I took the completed mandalas, sewed them together with some fabric of my choice, and stuffed the pillows inside them. Aren’t they lovely? πŸ™‚

The Sunflower Granny Circle Pillow

I know you are interested in the pattern, so I am going to share it with you. But first things first, I would like to introduce you to my lovely photoassistant of the day πŸ™‚

My Little Photoassistant

Now the pattern: This pattern is going to fit a round pillow of 40 cms in diameter. I used a size 6 (or 4.25 mm) crochet hook, and used up all the sweet little acryl yarns I had in stash already. These are all kind of thin yarns, so I used them doubled up. I also went with as many colours as possible per cushion, but of course the colour choices are completely up to you πŸ™‚ I am using US crochet terms in my description.

The Sunflower Granny Circle Pillow:

  • Start with a magic loop
  • Rnd 1: Chain 1, 7 scs in the ring. (You will get 8 scs this way) Slip stitch into the first chain stitch.
  • Rnd 2: Ch 3, dc in the same st, 2 dcs in each st all around. You will get 16 dcs in total. Sl st in third chain of the beginning.
  • Rnd 3: Ch 1, sc in the same st, 2 scs in each st all around. You will get 32 scs. Sl st into first chain. – Now the core of your sunflower is made.

Rnd 1-3: The Core

  • Rnd 4: Ch 2, dc3tog, ch 4, * dc4tog, ch4* , repeat * * 6 more times. You will end up with 8 petals. Sl st in top of chain. – Now your sunflower is done.

Rnd 4: The Sunflower

  • Rnd 5: Ch 1 and 5 scs in the first 4chain-space. 6 scs in each 4chain-spaces around. You will get 48 scs in total. Sl st into first chain.
  • Rnd 6: Ch 4, * skip st, sc in next st, ch 3*, repeat * * all around. You will get 24 chains of 3 chain spaces. Sl st into beginning.
  • Rnd 7: Ch 1 plus 2sc sin the first 3chain-space. 3scs in each 3chain-space around. You will get 72 scs. Sl st into beginning of round. – Now the lacey part is done.

Rnd 5-7: The Lace

  • Rnd 8: Let’s start the grannies!Β Ch 3 into the first space in between two scs of the previous row, 1 dc into the same space. *Skip 2 spaces, 2 dcs in the next space*. Repeat * * all around. Sl st into beginning. Here in this row you will have to cheat a little bit, because at the end you will only have to skip 1 space to reach the beginning.

Rnd 8-9: Granny Starts

  • Rnd 9-10: 1 sl st to next st, then sl into space. Ch 3, 2dcs in the same space, 3dcs into next space, all around. Sl st into beginning.

Rnd 10-11

  • Rnd 11-13:Β 1 sl st to next stitches, then sl into space. Ch 3, 3dcs in the same space, 4dcs into next space, all around. Sl st into beginning.
  • Rnd 14-15:Β Β 1 sl st to next stitches, then sl into space. Ch 3, 4dcs in the same space, 5dcs into next space, all around. Sl st into beginning.
  • Rnd 16:Β 1 sl st to next stitches, then sl into space. Ch 3, 5dcs in the same space, 6dcs into next space, all around. Sl st into beginning.
  • Rnd 17:Β Β 1 sl st to next stitches, then sl into space. Ch 3, 2dcs in the same space, 3 dcs into spaces between every 3rd dcs of the previous row, all around. This way you can form cute little hearts πŸ™‚ Sl st into beginning.

Rnd 12-17: Hearts are formed

  • Rnd 18:Β 1 sl st to next st, then sl into space. Ch 3, 2dcs in the same space, 3dcs into next space, all around. Sl st into beginning.
  • Rnd 19:Β 1 sl st to next stitches, then sl into space. Ch 3, 3dcs in the same space, 4dcs into next space, all around. Sl st into beginning.
  • Rnd 20: Ch 2 into dc of previous row. ‘ hdc in every dcs, all around. Sl st into beginning. You are doneΒ with your mandala:)
  • Fasten off and weave in any loose ends.

The Mandala

Now you can pick some fabric for the back-side, or make another mandala for that purpose and join them together for your pillow cover πŸ™‚

Risalamande

Monday was St. Martin’s day. Another holiday that people usually don’t remember the origins of, but are still looking forward to it, because it means some special, big eating, right… πŸ™‚

In Hungary it means eating goose, but in Denmark it is duck. Since roasted duck is also very usual as a Christmas dish, with potatoes, caramel-potatoes, red cabbage and gravy, it is not unusal for Danes, to celebrate Sankt Mortens Dag (as they call it) with an early Christmas feast. As it happens, that is what we exactly did this year πŸ™‚

I made the complete Danish Christmas menu, and to make it whole, I also prepared the special dessert that goes with it: Risalamande.

Risalamande with cherry sauce

Risalamande is basically chilled rice-porridge, blanded with chopped almonds, vanilla and whipped cream, served with sweet Cherry sauce. Usually on Christmas evening the hostess hides a whole almond piece in the middle of the pudding, she asks a few other people to stir it well, so there could be no cheating (at least that’s what my mother-in-law does), and then she serves it to the family. The one who finds the whole almond in his/her dish, is the winner of a special almond gift πŸ™‚ It’s a little bit like the coin in the British Christmas-pudding, I guess.

Making Risalamande is not very difficult, however it takes its time, especially because of all the cooling.

Here is how it goes:

Risalamande:

  • 3dl water
  • 2,5 dl porridge rice (small and round)
  • 1 liter milk
  • 100 g chopped almonds
  • 2 vanilla sticks
  • 4 sp sugar
  • 2,5 dl cream for whipping
  • cherry sauce or other berry sauce for serving

First you will make rice-porridge: Take a heavy-based saucepan, put water and rice in it and boil them together. Once it is boiling, cook it for an additional 2 mts while stirring it constantly. Add the milk and cook it at a low temperature, still stirring, for another 10 mts. Cover it and cook for half an hour more, stir it once in a while. Once it is done, let it cool in the fridge. It is best, if it can rest for a whole day.

preparing risalamande

Bland the cold porridge, the vanilla seeds of the two sticks, sugar and the chopped almonds together. Whip the cream until you get a light foam, and then carefully fold it into the porridge. Set the risalamande in the fridge for another 2 hours before serving.

For serving take some lovely cherry or berry sauce. In Denmark you can buy hundreds of different types of little cartons of cherry sauce from November until January, in any shop.

Enjoy πŸ™‚

SAMSUNG CSC

 

 

Another big girl crochet cardi, this time with flower

This is the last result of my big-autumn-kids-cardigan-crocheting era.

When I found this tutorial on Vicarno’s Mama, I knew instantly that this is going to be a cardigan made for my daughter, and also one made for my niece. You can see the first result, my daughter’s striped, colourful cardigan here.

As for my niece, who just turned 3 years last month, I decided to modify the original pattern to start with 50 chains, and using dcs again, instead of hdcs. I decided to go with different colours, divided a bit differently, and also, for a more feminine look I made a shell-edging alongside the neck, bottom and front openings, plus, I added a crochet rose to the chest.

What do you think? πŸ™‚

Big girl crochet cardi with flower

 

I am actually very happy with the result. I am thinking about going back to my daughter’s cardi, and finish the edges with shells there too, because it gives a little bit more straight, finished look to the cardigan.

Look at the details πŸ™‚ I love how the two different kind of yarns, the merino wool and the alpaca-mohair blanding work together.

Details with flower

London, Baby!

My husband and I, as a couple, have not many chances to spend quality time alone. Grandparents and other family being so far away, and baby-sitting not really being a costum in Denmark, we cannot go on date-nights, we cannot spend a weekend away, just the two of us, and don’t even mention travelling…

The last time we were somewhere together, was about 3,5 years ago, the summer Cherry was very little, and my sister-in-law and her boyfriend took care of her for a weekend at their home in Copenhagen, while my husband and I flew to London and spent two days in this wonderful city. It was a nice, eventful and romantic trip, with theatre, fantastic weather, lots of sightseeing and shopping. We loved London, and we had a wonderful time there. It was also very successful from another point of view… well, how should I put it… hmmm… Have you ever wondered how Paddington got his nickname? Yes, 9 month after London we became parents again πŸ™‚ And this also means that we haven’t been able to go for another trip since then.

But! We have been thinking a lot lately that we really need some away-time soon, and when my parents announced that this year they can spend both Christmas and New Year’s Eve with us in Denmark, living with us for two weeks, leaving us with the possibility of getting away while leaving the kids and the dog to the best persons to take care of them, we took the chance right away. We are going away for New Year’s, yeahhh baby πŸ˜€ Plus, we are going to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary between Christmas and New Year’s, plus we would like to celebrate our new jobs too. We deserve this! πŸ˜€

Looking at the possibilities from the nearest airport, instead of going somewhere warm, sunny and expensive, we opted for London again (well, cheap flight tickets and short travelling time are hard to argue with πŸ™‚ ). And by this time I already have the hotel booked in the City, we chose the theatre play we would like to watch, and are about to make our choice about where to spend New Year’s Eve.

We are going to have 4 days there. And obviously it is going to involve some shopping (I am already looking for visiting the best bookshop in the whole World – hope we won’t have to pay for a too heavy bagage on the way back…), and probably some sightseeing (we would like to visit HMS Belfast), we will still have a lot of time left to spend in this huge city.

To be honest, we are not the type of people who like to go for the usual tourist thingies. Of course we tried the London Eye last time, but we agreed that we were both too scared to try that again :D, and we would never spend a long time standing in queque just to see a bunch of wax figures, or paintings for instance, just because that’s what tourists do, if you know what I mean. When we are in a different place, we would like to see how it is to live in that place. Instead of the conventional attractions we like to find out what locals do, where do they like to go, how do they spend their free time, etc.

Last time we were in London, we were wandering around in different parks and hidden little streets, along the Thames a lot, but obviously this time it is going to be a little less warm, and probably we should find some indoor activities. As a matter of fact I know, that there are quite a few people reading this blog from the UK, and London itself. So I turn to you πŸ™‚

What are your favourite places, eateries, pubs, bars, hidden little tea- and coffee shops (craft shops, yarn shops πŸ˜‰ ) in London, where do you go with your friends to have some fun, etc?Β 

Oh, please, feel free to bombard me with your ideas πŸ˜€

I am so excited and so looking forward to this trip πŸ™‚

London Collage

Upsidedown

I know this is a hobby/crafting/baking blog mainly, but the last two weeks were just so very intense and world-changing in my life (not leaving time for crafting or baking), that this post is going to be a little bit different, it is going to be personal.

Lets go in chronological order, exactly 16 days ago Cherry fell a bit ill, obviously I got it too, and the virus that caused slight fever in her case, developed a serious case of stomach flu in my body, with days of fever, diarrhea, throwing up, and other very lovely details. I couldn’t even keep water or pills in my body. A few days of this and I lost 5 kilos, got dehydrated and one nice evening I was driven to the nearest hospital by an ambulance, while my babies stood at the doorstep in their pajamas, waving goodbye…

These few days left my husband alone with the two children, and since he is usually very busy at work, and I am at home anyways, he is not very used to do stuff at home. He is a very dedicated, loving father, but packing lunchboxes for the kids, or finding matching, clean clothes for them was a serious challenge for him. He did his very best when it came to cleaning, but still, the house looked a mess and dirty.

My Mum got so worried when she heard the news about me being in the hospital, that she took the first flight to Denmark, stayed for a week, and even though I was released from the hospital after quite a short time, she took care of me, the kids, and the whole house. What would I have done without her?

After I somewhat got back to my feet, it was time for my husband and me to go on our big job-related meeting. You see, I met my husband while studying for my Masters in finance and business, we were in the same study group. After graduation he got this killer job at a big international accounting company(one of the big fours), while I was pregnant with our daughter. Obviously being pregnant or having a newborn is not the most ideal position for a newly graduated young woman, and even though I returned to some extra studies while she was small and I was having our second baby, all of a sudden a few years went by without me gaining any kind of relevant job experience. Plus, I am still a foreigner in this country. This summer it has been 5 years since the graduation, and by that time I have spent 1,5 years with looking for jobs. And very intensely, as a matter of fact. They say that you have to send 100 applications to get 10 interviews, and out of that 10 interviews you are going to get 1 job offer. And there I was, around 130-140 applications sent, and not even a single interview… This autumn I eventually managed to get an interview for a dream-job (to be honest I was shocked with surprise when they wanted to see me), but finally it was not me they chose for the position.

So my husband started to pull some strings. 5 years in the business, and he has quite a network in his field. In fact he was offered a job earlier this year from one of his old colleagues, but he refused it, saying that we, as a family are not in a situation where he can simply give up his safe and secure job for something more risky and not that much more yielding. So lately he was contacted again by the same company with a better offer, plus, they also mentioned my possible employment as well, to help me get back to the job market… That did the work, and last Tuesday both of us signed our contracts, starting from next January. In the meantime an opportunity of a trainee position emerged for me, so actually I started my training period last friday, 1st November, as an accounting consultant πŸ™‚

All of a sudden I transformed from a stay-at-home to a working Mum, waking up early, rushing the kids through the morning processes, quickly preparing lunchboxes, taking care of the dog, driving half an hour to work, try to comprehend all the new things I need to learn, rushing back home, feeding them, rushing through the housework, getting dizzy by the end of the day and falling to bed much earlier than I used to πŸ™‚ Β (tell me, it is going to get better, once we find a new routine… ) It is a whole different set-up, especially that I am still fighting some viruses. My husband is also very happy about my job, but secretly longing for the good-old days when I had the time to take care of most of the things πŸ˜‰ From that point of view my hospital-stay was a very well timed eye-opener for him, when he made such fantastic realisations as: 1. Cleaning up after the kids takes a lot of time, 2. Doing the groceries is very expensive… welcome to the real world, honey πŸ™‚