November 26, 2014

Parcel Adventcalendar

The Englishman doesn’t know, but this year I almost gave up on his handmade advent calendar (one of these German traditions I foolishly introduced into the household). I had this crazy idea of creating 24 little parcels – like actual parcels with little Airmail sings and everything. However, well into my third Christmas movie (Love, Actually!) and still folding, stamping and labelling like a maniac I lost my mojo. It took me a full hour hot-chocolate-and-cookie-brake to get back on track, but eventually they were all wrapped and ready.

Now, I am not fooling you into believing this is the easiest advent calendar to be made. However it is certainly very cute (in my humble opinion) and worth the whole folding-stamping-gluing-wrapping-shebang AND there are still a few days left until the 1st of December. So plenty of time!
Apart from it being time consuming it is not even difficult.

For the boxes I cut out 48 squares, 24 of them slightly smaller than the others so that the lid would fit effortlessly onto the bottom, and folded them with the Origami technique.

For the decoration I had a cute little stamp saying “Air Mail with Love” that I stamped with white ink on dark blue card stock and cut out with an x-acto knife and glued them onto the left hand corner. For the stamp and the little waves that you get from posted mail, I had some more stamps in my repertoire which I inked with black. Instead of the address I just put the number of the parcel down (you know, 1 to 24 – and yes we Germans count only until Christmas Eve). For the finishing touch I wrapped some twine around the parcel. Done!

Now for the filling the Englishman requested some chocolate treats, but really this calendar could hold so much more...

28 days till Christmas, friends. Happy times are coming!
xo, Nadine

November 24, 2014

Map Adventures: Eyam Moor, Abney and Stone Ford

This adventure had it all: Fog, rain and blinding sun; mossy woodlands, fields of red fern, bubbling streams and wet moorland. We jumped over rivers, climbed hills and mountains, fell down on the slippery grass and dangled our feet over the edge of the world. In the words of the Englishman #itsmuddygoodbusiness.

Oh, and we encountered a sheep that seemed to think it was a bunny.

November 21, 2014

My first... knit

The Englishman doesn’t know but I have big crafty plans for our life: One day I will sew our quilts and cushions, decorate our house with handmade awesomeness and our children will wear the BEST carnivals costumes ever and most important of all will run around in home-crocheted hats and scarves and will look terrible cute in their hand-knitted Christmas jumpers.

There is just one tiny problem: I actually don’t know how to do any of these things. Although I bought some wool once and inherited my grandma’s knitting needles and have a mum who resembles very much the craft goddess I aspire to become: I never really learned how to knit. That’s not to say I never knitted. I did. A couple of years ago I knitted (with the help of my awesome crafty mum) a hat for my Englishman. However the skill lasted only one Christmas season.

It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy it, but that huge gap between my abilities then and the demands of the project. Really my mum did most of the knitting. You see, secretly I already dreamed of knitting patterned hats and scarves and sweaters, because I didn’t just want to knit something that I knew I wouldn’t like or need. I wanted to knit things that were useful and cute looking.

I probably would have stayed in that limbo forever, but then last May (yes I thought about knitting even in the summer!) I found this picture online and immediately knew: that’s it! My first knit. It seemed easy enough, cute and totally useful. So after some hours on you tube researching again how to do a slipknot, cast on, do the knit stitch AND the purl stitch and how to cast off again, may I present you: my very first headscarf! (Full tutorial here)

I am absolutely totally thrilled with it. It took me only a week to finish the project and I love wearing it. I love it so much that I started to make some for other people. I am now well into my fifth one and even started some other projects (aka big snugly chunky wool cushion covers).

If you want to learn how to knit, here is my advice: Start with a headscarf. They are cute, easy enough to make and teach you all you need.

Happy knitting folks, I am off to finish another headscarf.

November 19, 2014

Currently Behind the Hedges // November

Burning... all the weeds and woods on bonfire night.
Discovering... the bottom half of our garden.
Enjoying... hot chocolate after hours in the mud.
Harvesting... our pumpkins and the last of the carrots.
Measuring... where to put the chicken fowler next spring.
Planting... flower and garlic bulbs and a lot of winter manure.
Watching... our allotment kittens hunting birds.

November 17, 2014

Taking Travelnotes

Do you make New Year resolutions? I know, I know, it’s not that time yet (just kidding, it’s never too early to set some goals), but I have a regular that I want to talk about: Writing a diary. Every year I have great intentions to document my life in a diary: I would buy a new black note book every December, being all excited for the New Year. Then I would start filling it in religiously for the first few days. I would write about everything. Eventually I would get exhausted from all this writing – and then I would stop. Only to renew my vows to the note taking when the summer holidays approach. Man, how I would love to keep a consistent travel diary. Yet I seem to fall under the same spell while abroad that I do at home. I write a few days then there is so much happening that I forget to and then I feel like I’ll never catch up and may just stop altogether.

This year however, after being away for five weeks exploring bits of Thailand and visiting Australia, things turned out a little different. Before I even started on my travel diary three things happened:
First, I researched how to take field notes. I had this idea about a travel diary being not only an account of my experience, but written notes about how a place feels, smells, looks. (I had just read Measuring The World and was inspired by Humboldt’s meticulous note keeping). Also I liked the look of the field note books.
Second, I ended up not buying aforementioned note books but cheaper once, which came in a pack of three. This way I had enough pages to fill if I needed to, but if I would end up not filling all of them (which was the case) I could still feel like I completed the diary.
Last, I came across this video by Elise Blaha Cripe and although I never intended to do a scrapbook, her advice not to worry to capture everything really spoke to me. Somehow someone else telling me that it is ok to not note down a minute-by-minute account made it actually ok.
I am pretty happy now with how my travel diary turned out and so I thought I would share it and my favourite record keeping techniques with you.

Write what you see, feel and smell
I did this mainly in the beginning when we visited Thailand. This beautiful South-East-Asian country was very new territory to me and since its culture is so far from what I have experienced before, I wanted to keep a good record of it. I kept the sentences short and the descriptions filled with adjectives.

Keep a count of your observations
One day in Koh Tao I simply spent half an hour counting the animals passing. It turned out as a lovely record of the islands animals, by no means complete and yet a full account of my experiences.

Make a chart
On our first day in Sydney, Australia our lovely friends who we stayed with introduced us to their favourite gelato place. We do love ice cream and the moment our lips touched our first scoop, we knew we would be back (probably the next day). There was really no better way to sum up our time in Sydney then with a good ol’gelato chart. Five stars for Banana Split and Steve Jobs (some gooey peanut/chocolate ice cream, not the inventor).

Ask a question
I ask questions all the time. Whenever I see or experience something that doesn’t make sense, I just put the question out there the moment they come into my head – usually with no one around to give me an answer. However, the Englishman encouraged me to write these questions down instead of just saying them out loud. It turns out that they are an excellent caption to what was going on that day. I simply added a few notes on where and why I asked the question and the answer (obviously).

Give it a number
Our last weekend in Sydney was probably the most exciting one of our whole holidays. My best friend got married and I got to be her maid of honour. Clearly there was not much time for keeping a travel diary, however I wanted to remember that day not just through photos and so I made and account of random things I remembered from the day. Literally with numbers.

Sum it up in three sentences (you can try one, but I am no good at that)
Some days we really didn’t do much or we did so much that I didn’t find much time to write. These days I simply captured with three sentences (or not at all).

Oh, just looking through the diary fills my mind with great moments from this summer. What about you? Do you keep a travel diary?