More Aprons!

apron1a

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.

apron1b

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!

apron2a

apron2b

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!

apron3a

apron3b

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

complete

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.

thread

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.

sketch

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.

satin

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

cards1

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:

Reichelt:

  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€.

Rewe:

  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€.

Kaisers:

  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

Show & Tell: Tea and Crumpets Apron

apron1

Answer me this: does anyone actually like wedding showers??? Just Mothers and Grandmothers right? They kind of remind me of a 5 year old’s birthday party, but instead everyone is between 20-80 years older. Not to say that I hate Bridal Showers, obviously seeing people I love is always great, but… I feel that they are just another money grab… with less food… and more awkward conversation with strangers…. For these reasons, I personally opted not to have a bridal shower. However, opting-out of being invited to other people’s bridal showers is harder to do.

Getting to the point, about 3 weeks ago while back in Canada I attended a bridal shower for one of my high school friends. I was actually looking forward to this one, since like me, she also lives abroad, so we barely get to see each other. Like many bridal showers, it’s overarching theme was a feminine “cooking” theme, where we had to offer up our favourite recipes and such. For once, such a predictable and gender-specific theme actually made me happy – finally, I have an excuse to make an apron!

wearing-apron

Since I’m “lightly-employed” here in Berlin, I don’t have very much spending money, so homemade gifts are always my go-to. This apron definitely did not disappoint, I’m actually really pleased at how it turned it out. The pattern I used came from this apron post from Sewing In No Mans Land, which is a really cool sewing blog. The post is really great, complete with free printable pattern pieces for the top half of the apron. The design is based off of the Anthropologie Tea & Crumpets Apron.

I found the tutorial fairly easy to follow, so there is no point in my re-inventing the wheel, just go check it out. However, I do just want to highlight some changes that I made.

Firstly, I had no clue how to make ruffles. I’m a self-taught sewer, so I asked my mentor (YouTube), and found this tutorial from About.com really helpful.

Secondly, I used pretty crappy fabric, I’ll admit. The white fabric was some sort of cheapy synthetic polyester stuff that frayed like crazy on the ends, which created a huge mess! Usually I don’t bother cleaning up the insides of my garments; open seams, loose ends and all, nobody ever sees the inside so I don’t bother wasting my time. However, strands from this fabric were fraying out everywhere, so something had to be done. Using the extra inside edge from my teal pipping fabric, I folded it over top-wise, incasing the fraying white fabric ends, and stitched a tight zig-zag overtop. This ensured that the white fabric could no longer fray and shed everywhere. In the picture below, the yellow arrow indicates how the teal fabric was folded over to incase the raw edge.

insidehem

I faced the same problem with the fraying white fabric on the bottom hem, so I incased my ruffle edge within the bottom hem. This incasement-folded-hem used up a fair amount of fabric, so make sure to give yourself a couple of extra inches in seam allowance along the bottom on your apron skirt.

In the original tutorial, no exact size was given for the bottom half of the apron. I randomly chose mine to be 49cm width x 46cm length, NOT including seam allowances. The white ruffle pieces I added at the bottom was about 4inches wide x 2-3 times the length of the bottom hem (~100-150cm length). I folded it in half, and created the ruffle along the top edge.

bottom-hem

For the pocket, I used a square that was 5×5 inches, seams allowances NOT included. Just like with the skirt part, I allowed extra room on the length to allow me to cleanly incase the raw ruffle edges. I also added a pipping edge to the pocket, that was approximately 17 inches long.

 

 

apron-pocket

For the middle straps, I cut out 3 waistband pieces (in the tutorial she only recommends 2), using one as the centre waistband, and the other 2 as waist-straps. Looking at the following picture, you’ll see that I added a tapering hem to each, which I think looks cleaner and makes it easier to tie up.

waistband
And there you have it! An awesome apron! Like I said, I’m very happy with how this turned out, plus I really enjoyed making it. Now I’ve got aprons on the brain, I think I’m going to bust out a few more of these. I’ve got some great designs in my head, so stayed tuned for more aprons!

Berlin’s Supermarket Angebote (offers) Review: 28.04 bis 04.05.2014

The weekend was packed with family, friends, yoga, prosecco and the sunshine!  Groceries were not on the list of things to attend to, but they are now!  Check out this weeks best offers below.

Tip of the week: The perimeter.  Stick to the outer ring of the grocery store and avoid those nasty aisles.  Everything you require to maintain a healthy diet lies almost always in the border of the store.

My favorite offers this week:

Reichelt:

  1. Cucumber - On special for 0.33€ per piece, normally 0.99€.  Great for snacking on!
  2. Dr. Oetker Ristorante Pizza oder Bistro – On sale for 1.99€, normally 2.95€.  Assorted varieties.  I keep some in stock in the freezer and modify before baking, adding mushrooms, green peppers, onions, pineapple…… really anything you like

Rewe:

  1. Green Asparagus – On sale for 1.99€ per 500g bundle, normally anywhere from 2.99€ to 3.99€.
  2.  REWE Bio
Soja-Drink + Calcium – 1L carton on sale for 0.99€, normally 1.39€.

Kaisers:

  1. Kohlrabi! – one piece on sale for 0.59€, normally 0.99€.  Quick and easy addition to any dinner.
  2. Innocent Smoothies! – 250ml containers on sale for 0.99€, normally 1.99€.
  3. Avocados!!!!! - On sale for 1.11€, normally anywhere from 1.49€ to 1.99€.  Making Guacamole this weekend!’

Hope you have a great week and happy shopping!

- Kristina

Berlin’s Supermarket Angebote (offers) Review: 22.04 bis 26.04.2014

Pitter patter sounds awoke me Sunday morning, music to my ears, as I was waiting for the easter bunny to visit.  The German Osterhase (easter bunny) to my delight left behind a beautifully wrapped golden Lindt dark chocolate rabbit.  Lindt: oh how I love thee!  I must apologize for my tardiness in posting this weeks Angebote reviews, I have no excuses, and today I thought better late than never.

Tip of the week: Walk to the grocery store.  In most cases you probably live close enough to the grocery store to walk (if you live here in Berlin or in any other major city).  There are so many benefits, my favorite is the fresh air.  Just do it.

My favorite offers this week:

Reichelt:

  1. Bananas - On special for 0.99€ per kg, normally 1.99€.  Great after any work out!
  2. Red Bull Energy Drink – 250ml cans are on sale for 0.99€, normally 1.49€.
  3. White/purple local Spargel (asparagus) – 500g bundles on sale 2.49€.

Rewe:

  1. Red Grapes – Special price of 2.99€ per 1kg, normally 3.99€.
  2. Lipton Yellow Label Tea -  40g packages on sale for 1.19€, normally 1.59€.

Kaisers:

  1. Ocean Spray Cranberry Cocktail! – 1L bottles on sale for 1.69€, normally each is 1.99€.  I add a few drops to every glass of water.
  2. Cucumber! – One piece on sale for 0.59€, normally anywhere from 0.89€ to 1.29€.

Hope you have a great week and happy shopping!

- Kristina