Review: Sonja Dress


Although we did have some scorchers in July, summer pretty much ended early/mid-August here in Berlin.  I feel like I’ve been robbed of 3-4 weeks of prime summer dress weather. In fact, there are some dresses that I didn’t even have a chance to wear once this year. How depressing.

However, that was not the case for the Sonja dress, since luckily I stated early in June and it only took me a weekend to make. You can grab your free copy of the Sonja dress patter (here) via BurdaStyle available from Salme Patterns. They’ve also got some other patterns available for purchase too, as well as some helpful tutorials. I think I would like to try the Buttonless Shirt Dress, or the Sleeveless Pleat Front Dress next.

I was a little hesitant about this dress at first, because I usually shy away from things with halter-style/high necklines, since I am a bit self-conscious about having broad shoulders. Nevertheless, I made this pattern anyways, and I’m so happy I did. 


According to my measurements, I should be a size 6, however after making the dress I needed to take a lot in on the chest. I took it in at least 1 inch along both sides at the side hem after the dress was finished, but still the dress does look a bit too baggy around my waist. I think next time I make this dress I will definitely make a size 4, and also enlarge the size of the darts to create a more fitted form.


I was planning on making another version on the Sonja Dress with the adjustments listed above, but since summer left us early, I think I’ll hold off until next year.  I think it would be really easy to make some cut-out alternations between the bodice and skirt to reproduce the Staring at Stars Zig Zag Dress from Urban Outfitters. Hopefully this cut-out trend will reoccur next summer as well.

Things I’ve been swooning over to sew!

I’m off on a “vacation/business trip” in Cologne, and yet all I can think about is “what am I going to sew when I get back home this weekend?”.  Crazy eh? Here are the things that I have been most recently considering making for my next projects.



1) Shirt Dress with Hip Yoke from Burda Style
2) Kelly Skirt with Scalloped Hem from Megan Nielsen
3) Fabric Baskets from Nalle’s House
4) High Tea Dress from Burda Style
5) Urban Tote from Bag’n-Telle

Any suggestions on which I should do first? or what I should add to my ever growing list?


Learning Woodworking in Berlin

feetQuick post here, just want to pump up something that I thought was really fantastic!

Last Saturday I took a beginner class in Woodworking at betahaus in Berlin. At 107€ (including materials) it wasn’t cheap, but I definitely felt like it was worth it. With a small class of only 5 people, we learned about and got to use a ton of tools including: a Miter Saw, a Table Saw, a Band Saw, some Japanese Handsaws, a Router, a Drill Press, a Hand Drill, an electric sander, and tons of other hand tools. It was awesome, and all in the span of 6 hours. It was great having hands-on action with all these tools, but the downfalls of the course were that we went through all the settings and changing bits/drills/saws/pieces really quickly… so much so that I probably won’t be able to remember most of it, and will definitely need a refresher on most things.



Together we all transformed our starting material (a 1.2m x 30cm piece of spruce) into an awesome… box… thing? At first it seemed like a weird goal, but hear me out! Since I was in charge of my own project I made specific adjustments to reinforce mine and turned it into an awesome Step Stool for my kitchen! I’m pretty damn proud of my work, and I’ll be honest, I’m experiencing an inflated sense of self… so much so that I’ve tasked myself with building a kitchen island! Yes, I realize that is a huge jump, from small box-thing, to a substantial piece of furniture, but a girl has got to dream! And I’ve got help too, since now that I’ve taken the course I can use the tools at betahaus for a fee and there will always be a carpenter supervising. Hurray!



So, in closing, if you’re interested in learning the basics of how to use some heavy duty tools and want to get into woodworking, I highly recommend checking out the Introduction to Woodworking Course at betahaus. The course is usually offered on Saturdays, please check the program listings to see when the next course available is. Use of the Woodworking shop is available Tuesday evenings and Thursday mornings for 20€ a go.


More Aprons!


What happened to us? We were so organized! Our inner Germans were so proud! We were consistently blogging once a week, but then… we all failed… all at once… for 2 months. But no more! I vow to return to once per week blogging! Crafts forever! Celebrate distractions!

Here’s a quick catch-up post on my last 3 aprons. I made these for my sisters and mom, as “Thank You” gifts for pretty much organizing and planning my entire wedding in Canada while we were overseas. I think aprons are always a great gift,  and I love them so much because:

  1. They are practical! No spills shall ruin my dresses!
  2. They are (potentially) easy to make!
  3. Aprons can give you the opportunity to wear colours/patterns/craziness that you wouldn’t normally wear.
  4. Your “Hostess Point” go up 10 fold when you serve guests food while wearing an apron.

So here is a quick Show & Tell of my most recent 3. The first one (grey one), uses the same pattern as my previous apron. It was a fabulous free pattern from Sewing In No Mans Land. This time I altered the width of the top piece by increasing it by 1/2 inch per side. I think this fits better now.


The pink apron is the most practical and feminine, with its sweet heart neckline. However, as you can see in the picture below, it doesn’t quite sit right and buckles a bit on the chest. Next time I will make the top piece trapezoid shape instead of a rectangle, and put the neck straps at more of an angle to hopefully alleviate this problem. I really love the small bib and buttons on this apron!



My third apron took my forever to make, since it was my first time ever making full pleats and a collar. Needless to say, I miscalculated how much material I would need on more than one occasion. But no matter, I figured it out in the end… sort of. In all honesty, the top part is too narrow. I’m quite petite in the chest, so it covers me, but on most people I think it would run parallel with the nipple lines… so if you like to show off your side boob, this apron is for you! Next time I’ll make it 1/2 inch or so wider on each side. What I really love about this apron is the “top-apron”, essentially, a round apron onto of the apron base! Imagine wearing a long skirt underneath this apron! – Apron Inception!



The second and third aprons I designed myself. They are by no means close to perfect, but I hopefully plan on creating free printable patterns, once I gather more feedback and make some adjustments. Any feedback anyone has would be greatly appreciated, please post them in the comments below.

DIY Embroidered Mother’s Day Card


Oops, today is already Mother’s Day, but if you’re like me, and constantly running late for everything, then this tutorial is for you!

Here’s a easy, semi-quick card project –> How to embroider a card!

This is my first thing I’ve ever embroidered, and I’ll be honest, I’m hooked! What a fabulous craft. You can do it anywhere (I chose to completely these cards while watching Downtown Abbey). I definitely think I need to invest in some more embroidery materials.

Anyways, this craft is easy & cheap, all you need is:

  • a blank card (make it from card stock)
  • a pencil & eraser
  • a needle with a large eye
  • some embroidery floss

Since I’m new to embroidery I checked out this Embroidery 101 Tutorial on Instructables, which was really helpful and sent me off in the right direction, armed with a couple basic stitches.

First sketch our your design on the card. I chose a vase of flowers, very simple. Next, with some patience, thread your floss through the needle, and tie a double knot at one end, leaving the other end short and free.


Now comes the fun part, doing a basic Backstitch, outline your pattern. Starting from the inside of your card so that the knot is hidden, pierce the paper with your needle and bring it though, and making a new hole a few mm away, come back down again. Continue on using you Backstitch, changing threads when necessary, until you are all finished your outline.


A word of caution; don’t put your holes too close to each other, or they may tear into each other forming gigantic hole (which looks awkward). Ensure that there is some space between them so that they can provide enough support for your design.

Once your outline is finished, fill in the design with a satin stitch. Try to re-use the same holes as much as possible, as to avoid creating more hole craters.


Tie off & clip your loose ends, write something nice of the front, and fill the inside with words! Done!


Here’s the 2 I made, one for my mom, and the other for my mother-in-law. Personally, I prefer the “Alles Gute zum Muttertag” one, but I think they both look nice.

After I completed these, I then searched the interwebs to see if other people have made embroidered cards – apparently this idea wasn’t too original. Oh well. I did learn though, that most people actually make the holes in the card for the design first, and then once it’s all laid out, will weave the thread through. I think this technique would help prevent the creating crater-holes when you accidentally make two stitches too close together. I think I will try this approach on a future embroidered card.

Obviously I put these in the mail late, as usual. You can to! Bust out a quick Mother’s Day card asap, since it’s better late than never.



Recipe: Iced Coffee Cubes

I left Berlin at the beginning of April to spend three weeks in the states visiting family and friends. I came back about a week ago. While riding in the taxi home from the airport, I was struck by a strange sense that my neighborhood street had changed; become fuller, brighter. I wasn’t really sure what the change was until the next day when I was walking to meet my husband for lunch. It was leaves. In the three weeks since I had been gone every single tree in Berlin had burst into green growth.



Spring had sprung and with it came temperatures in the 70s (F) and above. Suddenly the idea of drinking hot coffee in the afternoons became upsetting. I usually make cold-brewed coffee in the summertime (when I live in a place with actual summer, that is. San Francisco does not count) but on my birthday last weekend we went to a local cafe where the iced latte was made with coffee cubes.

Coffee CUBES-brilliant! I’m pretty sure that if I did a better job of paying attention to Pinterest I would have figured out this coffee cube thing earlier but I’ve been out of touch with the internet lately. But it’s ok because apparently real life doth provide, if just a teeny bit slower than our digital friend.

The basic idea behind the coffee cube is simple and you’ve probably figured it out already. Step one: Freeze coffee in ice cube trays.  TA-DA!

But wait! There are other things to consider. How are you going to serve your coffee cubes? With milk or with more coffee? Will you leave them whole or blend them? Will you choose to sweeten your coffee cubes? If you are more of an iced latte type person I would recommend freezing a strong coffee or espresso because it will be easier for the milk to stand up to the coffee. If you really just prefer an iced drip coffee then freeze regular coffee because the cubes will prevent your coffee from being watered down. In a similar vein, if you want to make a blended coffee beverage I would personally use a strong coffee and then blend it with milk. If you like your coffee to be sweet you can either stir in an appropriate amount of sugar into your hot coffee before cooling and freezing or you can make a simple syrup to add flavor and sweetness later. I posted about making simple syrup here. If you decide to make simple syrup you can easily make it flavored. I made mine vanilla but with other extracts and natural flavors you could easily do whatever your favorite flavor is.

Here is what I did: I made a strong coffee using my aeropress. I allowed it to cool on my counter (which took about 30 minutes) before pouring it into my ice cube tray. Then I carefully put the tray in my freezer.

The next day, I popped a few cubes into a glass, added simple syrup and milk, and stirred to dissolve the cubes.

About halfway through I decided to try blending it so I added a few more cubes and then blended the whole thing together until it was creamy and smooth. The coffee cubes work so much better than regular ice because they are just a little bit softer. Plus, again, no watered down coffee!


P.S. Have you heard about this nify-fabulous blender trick? A regular mouth mason jar can be used in place of a blender pitcher on most blenders. Awesome right?



Happy summertime coffee drinking!



<3 Stef






Berlin’s Supermarket Angebote (offers) Review: 05.05 bis 11.05.2014

I spent almost the entirety of the weekend recovering from May day celebrations, but was lucky to host a dinner for great friends and some how muster up the courage and energy to actually work a full day on Saturday – I was out like a light by 9:30pm.  Sunday came round and to my delight it happen to be einkaufs Sonntag!  This meant 10% off my grocery bill!  I don’t think I have ever bought so much protein in one shop!

Tip of the week: Do not enter the store without remembering your goals.  My goals for the next 2 months is reducing our butter, refined sugars, carbs and chocolate consumption.  If I remember them I can avoid purchasing anything that may tempt us!  Good luck!

My favorite offers this week:


  1. Bailey’s! – The 0,7L bottle is on special for 9.99€, normally it is 12.99€.
  2. Seedless Green Grapes – A 500g container is on sale for 1.29€, normally anywhere from 1.99€ to 2.99€.
  3. Hagen Dazs Ice Cream – 500ml container is on sale for 4.99€, normally they can cost from 5.99€ to 6.49€.


  1. Lemons – A 500g bag is on sale for 0.59€, normally they sell anywhere from 1.29€ to 1.99€.
  2.  Mövenpick Feinjoghurt – Assorted varieties of 150ml containers is on sale for 0.49€ each, normally they are 0.79€.


  1. Dr. Oetker Ristorante Pizza oder Bistro – On sale for 1.99€, normally 2.69€.  Assorted varieties.  I keep some in stock in the freezer and modify before baking, adding mushrooms, green peppers, onions, pineapple…… really anything you like.
  2. Leerdammer Käse-Scheiben – 160g packages of assorted varieties on sale for 1.79€, normally 2.19€.

Hope you have a great week and happy shopping!

- Kristina