It’s on!

Christmas is on!

In the last about ten days we have been to the local school’s Christmas market, a Hungarian Santa Claus fest organized by the Danish-Hungarian Union in Aarhus, and the kindergarten’s own Christmas party.

Everything is about the upcoming holidays, and the smell of cookies being baked fills the air – how romantic ๐Ÿ™‚ But it is true. We have been baking diligently.Danish treats like ย pebbernรธdderย andย vanilla cookies, and Hungarian treats such asย linzer and honey cakes. Luckily I have my children to help me, I think next year I might just give them the order: make 2 boxes of this, and 2 boxes of that, and let them do the work, while I will rest in my armchair, sipping my coffee ๐Ÿ™‚ Seriously, they are getting pro ๐Ÿ™‚

baking christmas treats

We also went yesterday to pick up our Christmas tree, at a small, local plantage. It was hard to find the best one, just because all of them were so nice and perfect ๐Ÿ™‚ Once we picked the one, the owner came and cut it for us.

picking and cutting

We had to set it up right away in our living room, and decorate it. My kids did most of the work again. They are so excited about Christmas, they will do anything connected to it ๐Ÿ™‚ I think it turned out lovely, what do you think? ๐Ÿ™‚

tree before and after

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The First of Advent

Don’t you think it’s absolutely amazing that the first Sunday of Advent was on the 1st December this year? Or is it just me who is an absolute fan of these kind of coincidences?

Also a coincidence, or just good timing from my part, that I was done with my next portion of handmade Christmas-decorations by yesterday:

Star Frames

These lovely crochet stars are the idea of Sandra from Little Golden Nook, which is a beautiful blog. I saw the stars on Pinterest, and followed Sandra’s lovely tutorial to make them. I picked a bag of curtain rings, some yarn of my choice, and some Christmas postcards, and the 10 starts were done surprisingly fast.

let's make frames

 

I really enjoyed making them. Here they are, bathing in sunshine ๐Ÿ™‚

SAMSUNG CSC

Also, as you can all imagine, we have been very busy with advent preparations all weekend. Actually I have been planning it for quite a long, because the advent calender is something very important in our family. And getting 2 times 24 small, cheap, yet exciting and funny gifts for small kids is a challenge in itself… And then wrapping all of them… Even when I only had to wrap advent gifts for Cherry, I decided that the maximum amount of children in our household is going to be 2. Because there is noone on earth who can handle packing 72 (or more!) tiny little gifts every year, or is there? ๐Ÿ™‚

For advent calender we decided to go with the tradition of my husband’s childhood. Every year his parents hung the gifts on a piece of string somewhere in the house, but without numbers on, and he and his sister got to choose one present every morning. And they loved it. So that’s how we do it too. No numbers, but random picking every morning. It has been two mornings so far, and my kids are in absolute trance ๐Ÿ˜€

Our Advent Calender

Sorry for the poor picture quality, I made the photo late in the evening on Saturday, when I was done with hanging the packages, and obviously there was no natural light at my disposal in our living room ๐Ÿ™‚

We also got out our Christams boxes, placed a few elfes, Santas, candles here and there in the house, and made an advent wreath – well, it is just 4 candles in a box with some dried fruits and branches from our garden really, but it is nice.

nisse collage

 

So, we are ready for the Holiday Season. Is it too much to ask for a little bit of snow as well? ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ˜ฆ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ ).

Anyway, my husband packed up Paddington last Saturday, picked up his Mum and they sailed over to Sjรฆlland 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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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 ๐Ÿ™‚

I took the completed mandalas, sewed them together with some fabric of my choice, and stuffed the pillows inside them. Aren’t they lovely? ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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!ย 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:ย 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:ย ย 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:ย 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:ย ย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ Sl st into beginning.

Rnd 12-17: Hearts are formed

  • Rnd 18:ย 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:ย 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 doneย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

A Snowy Easter and the Perfect Milk Loaf

I have been absent for a while from my little blog. I had a good reason: My parents were visiting us for the Holidays, and since I see them so rarely, I’d rather spend the time with them than with my computer when I have the chance ๐Ÿ™‚

I picked them up at the happiest place on Earth ย about two weeks ago, and I dropped them off at the saddest place on Earth this Sunday: the same airport. I am turning 31 this year, but after I saw my Mummy and my Daddy off at the security check, I went to the lady’s room, locked myself in a cubicle, and simply cried my heart out. Once I felt fit enough I washed my face and went to the car and drove home, knowing that I am not going to see them for 3 months…

However we had a wonderful time while they were here, even though the weather was far from Spring. Like everywhere else in Europe, poor Easter Bunny had to lay the eggs in the snow this year.

wintereaster

It didn’t stop us feel all eastery and decorate the whole house with eggs and flowers.

decoreggs

And Saturday we had the traditional Easter dinner, Hungarian style: ham, cooked eggs, and braided milk loaf ๐Ÿ™‚ A little bit of Denmark was also represented in the form of tiny chicken tartelets:)

eastertable

Milk loaf is the best yeast dough you can find, something between a bread and a cake, and it cannot be missing from our Easter table. Usually you can buy beautiful milk loafs in any Hungarian baker shop, but Danes don’t bake such a thing, so I had to turn to my cookbook and used the recipe of my great-granny to create some milk loaf for us.

Milk Loaf

My favourite thing in Easter Milk Loaf is the raisins popping up in it, but my husband cannot stand raisins in any kind of baked product, so I decided to make one of the loafs without raisins, and instead I put some cocoa powder in one of the braids. My kids simply loved the results, Cherry basically only ate milk loaf with honey for the two days while the loafs lasted.

I tought I will share the old family recipe with you, because milk loafs are a treat for a birthday breakfast, for Easter, for Christmas or just because ๐Ÿ™‚

Milk Loaf Recipe:

  • 1 kg flour
  • 40 g yeast
  • 4 eggyolks
  • 150 g margarine
  • 100 g sugar
  • 7 dl milk
  • 2 teaspoon salt

Put the flour in a big bowl. Take 4 dl of the milk, warm it up a little, stir in ย 2 tablespoon of the sugar and crumble the yeast in it. Cover the milk and the yeast will appear in the form of foam on the top within 8-10 mts. Now make a little hole in the middle of the flour with your hand, pour in the yeasty milk, stir in a little bit of the flour around the hole (this is called the sourdough), sprinkle some extra flour on top, cover the bowl, put it in a warm spot and leave the sourdough rise.

dough

Once it has risen a bit, warm up the rest of the milk and melt the margarine. ย Pour the milk on the soursough, add the rest of the sugar, the eggyolks, and finally stir in the melted margarine, bit by bit.

The dough should be shiny and airy. Sprinkle some flour on top again, cover the bowl and leave it to rise. It should rise up pretty high, about double as high as it was, within about half an hour.

Now sprinkle some flour on your worksurface, and pull the dough out of the bowl. It is sticky and thin, but don’t worry, that is the way it should be, just put some flour on your hands, and it makes it easier to work with the dough. Make 6 rolls out of it, and if you want to add something extra to the different braids (like raisins, dried fruit or cocoa powder), now is the time. Take one roll by its two ends and spin them into opposite directions. Repeat the same with all of the rolls.

braided

Now braid 3 rolls together, and the other 3 rolls together. Put them in greased bread forms, or you can put them next to each other in an ordinary cake form as well. ย Now cover them again and leave them to rise. Once they have risen close up to the edge of the form, grease them with some whipped egg and put them to the warm oven.

baked

Bake them on cca. 175 C for about 40-45 minutes. Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

raisins and cocoa

Poor Pinkie

Well, what we have been fearing since we moved in, has happened: I fell down the staircase today.

Good news is, that Cherry, who accidently tripped me, is unhurt.

Good news is, that Paddington, who I was holding in my arms while falling, is also miraculously unhurt.

Good news is, that my right pinkie is not broken.

Bad news is, that it is still terribly bruised, swollen, and most of the skin came off of it. Bad news is that I have to rest it for about a week. Bad news is that I wanted to perform a spring cleaning and other serious tasks around the house, before my parents arrive on Friday, to spend the Easter holidays with us. Oh, well…

 

bruised

Girls day out at Ikea

Cherry woke up with a little fever today. No kindergarden for her. But she felt quite ok, so I decided to take her to Ikea. The main reason for the trip was to buy some new lamps for the guest room, but of course one cannot just go and buy one thing at Ikea, I am sure you all understand this ๐Ÿ™‚ My husband doesn’t ๐Ÿ™‚

Cherry and I ended up buying some new plants for the house as well. You have to know something about me: I kill plants… not intentionally, but I do kill them all eventually… It was very hard to accept that no matter how hard I try, how often I water or don’t water them, put them on direct light, semi-light, darkness, one by one they fade away ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Finally I had to realise, real plants in pots are not for me. So the plants we bought today are all artificial. Fake. Plastic. But actually very good quality, and you can hardly see they are not real.

plants in row

Cherry also picked some plastic flowers of different colours that we put in a vase and then in her room. She is very happy about them ๐Ÿ™‚

roses

We also bought some cookie cutters, cute animal figures, and tried them right away when we came home. I made some linzer dough, and Cherry helped me cutting the cookies. We got lots of squirrels, hedgehogs, foxes, snails, and also some cars, trains, planes, ships and what not. While we were working hard, Cherry ran upstairs a few times, went into her room, and smelled her fake flowers ๐Ÿ™‚ We also had a nice conversation like this: “Sweetie, don’t eat the raw dough, you’re gonna get sick!” – “But I am already sick!” You cannot beat children logic ๐Ÿ™‚

When the cookies were done, they got some chocolate icing, and decoration.

cookies