March 27, 2015

The One Day Project // Quarterly Update 1

With three month already gone in 2015 (say what?! I know, if we blink again it’s Christmas soon) I thought it was time for an update on my progress with TODP (yep, I gave my little anti-procrastination-project a catchy acronym!). If you think now, what the heck is she on about, let me summarize for you: At the end of 2014, facing THE longest list of unresolved resolutions, I decided instead of setting new goals and dreams I make fighting my procrastination habit my goal. So I vowed to find a way to finally cross off all these un-ticked goals by spending at least one day in 2015 on each of them. No fixed time tables, no required outcome; just doing it for at least 24 hours (or 24 projects) this year. Sounds easy? Well, there are 24 projects of knitting, sewing and crafting to be completed as well as 24 hours of running, swimming, biking, nurturing my herb garden, writing, learning how to juggle, practicing English and doing Yoga. I track my success on a modified goal tracker by colouring in the day I managed to complete one hour on a task.

As you can see from the picture above the goal tracker isn’t covered in colours yet, in fact broken down into a tally my project status reads like this at the moment:
...learn how to juggle. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII
...practice my writing. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII
...listen to more music. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII

Pretty grey up there, I know. However, this project is far from being un-succesful.

Three months in and I am still motivated.
Three months in and I am still thinking about how to add that next hour of running or when to finish that next knitting project.
Three months in and I am still going for it!

Currently I am simultaneously knitting a scarf, a blanket and two cushion covers. I also started to create a ritual for a weekly run and some daily Yoga and my stack of books is growing weekly. The Englishman and I are discussing details about a coldframe for my herb garden and my second craft project is also in the making.

There might not be much to show for after the first Quarter, but things are happening and there are still three quarters to go and most importantly: I am still in love with TODP.

So far, so good.

March 25, 2015

The Happy Spring Clean

My 15 minutes bus ride to and from work has me currently stuck my nose deep into Gretchen Rubins „Happier at home“. It’s the sequel to her popular “Happiness Project” she published several years ago. I am not unhappy or anything, but I learned so much from her first project that when the book popped up in our library system I just had to borough it. I’m only into the second chapter, but already so inspired.

Her words on possessions and how they contribute to our happiness basically ignited a very familiar feeling: The urge to just toss, clean and simplify the mess that is our home, ripping it from its grimy corners and overcrowded cupboards.

In other words: It’s time for a spring clean! With my mental to-do list just exploding upon Rubin’s words I realized the simple monthly cleaning schedule won’t do it this year. I need to dig deeper. As the inspiration of a month-long to-do-list wears off at the latest when I have to motivate myself to get the scrub out and work through the oven on a random Wednesday night.

Instead I thought I could do my own little happiness project: The Happy Spring Clean. A three months undertaking aimed to clean, de-clutter and enhance our home. No daily schedule, instead some actionable monthly resolutions to remind me of my goals and dreams I have for our little home.

Here is the plan.

The Happy Spring Clean

April – The month of cleaning

Develop a weekly cleaning schedule: By the end of the month I hope to have created a cleaning schedule that over time will engrain all those little chores into my daily habit – making it second nature instead of a constant source of annoyance.
Clean the forgotten spaces: Some things just need to get done and this is a simple to-do-list of the half yearly cleaning essentials.
Create and curate cleaning supplies baskets: My goal is to have a fix set of supplies ready in handy baskets to make daily chores run as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

May – The month of de-cluttering

Go shelf by shelf:A resolution by Gretchen Rubin and a great reminder to tackle the clutter bit by bit to avoid paralysation.
Donate, toss, and repair: My vow to decide on the future of each item and act upon my decision by donating the unwanted, getting rid of the un-useful and repair the broken.
Give everything a place: The amount of stuff that just lies around somewhere is immense in our household; to keep the clutter at bay I want every item to have its own place.

June – The month of cherishing the season

Use your stash: Instead on continuing the add-on after the de-clutter, I first want to use what we already have.
Create a shrine: Another resolution from Gretchen Rubin and she explains it best, “Cultivating my possessions, [...] wasn’t a simple matter of organization, elimination, or accumulation; it was a matter of engagement.” I want to cherish the things we have not only by giving them their place, but by showcasing them and the memories they stand for.
Make mindful additions: Much in the mindset of the capsule wardrobe concept; I want to think about the additions I make to the house; sourcing and curating my purchases carefully.

I think I have never been so excited about a cleaning project. Bring it on spring!

March 23, 2015

Letter to Spring

Dear Spring,

I have been awaiting your arrival impatiently over the last weeks. Mainly because I was worried my tulip bulbs might freeze to death in the cold winter soil. However, all is good now that you’re here. I hope you brought some sunshine with you, because my list of plans for our time together seems endless. Obviously I would like to get the allotment ready before summer comes along, but while you are around I have some special adventures in mind, like…

…stuff my face with homemade hot cross buns
…celebrate Easter with a big brunch
…bring out the barbecue
…dust off my bicycle
…decorate the house with flowers.

Let’s do this spring 2015.

Love, Nx

March 20, 2015

A Beginner Sews: Sleeping Mask

As a child I had a very specific idea of what my beauty routine as a grown up woman would look like. I pictured long baths with lit candles and rose petals, after which I would wrap myself into a silk gown and tie my hair back with a white fluffy towel. Luxurious crèmes and fluids would line my bathroom shelves. I would spend my evening winding down applying face masks and massage scented oils into my skin. And there would always be a sleeping mask in reach.

Well, turns out I am more the quick shower and go type. However, there are some beauty essentials that I learned not to skip: No. 1 Good sleep! While my dressing gown might be made of cotton instead of silk and my approach to pampering is generally less luxurious as anticipated at the age of 10, I did start using a sleeping mask (Yeah, one step closer to being a grown up!).
As my old one is the left over from a flight to Australia last year, I felt it was time for a change aka a second sewing project. I found a wonderful step-by-step guide on For The Makers and with a little bit of tweaking it took less than an hour until soft jersey and flowers were covering my eyes. My dreams have never been sweeter.


Sleeping Mask


2 pieces of fabric each around 20cmx20cm
Sewing machine (with bobbins and thread)
Fabric scissors
Sleeping mask template (For The Makers have a good one)
Elastic band


1. Print and cut the template for the mask.
2. Lay all your fabrics (wadding included) over each other and place the template on top. Pin in place.
3. Cut around the template, as close as possible.
4. Iron your fabric pieces (not the wadding).
5. Cut the template down along the inner line (if you use the one from For the Makers) or by ½ centimetre.
6. Place the smaller template on the wrong side of the fabric that will be the inside of your mask and mark around it.
7. Place the wadding face down and cover with one of the fabric pieces right side up (the one that you want to be visible when wearing the mask).
8. Line up your elastic along the middle of your mask and pin in place with a safety pin.
9. Now place the second piece of fabric on top right side down. Pin everything in place.
10. Sew in small straight stitches along the line that you marked of earlier (see step. 6). Start on one side of the nose bridge and go outwards, stop on the other side of the nose bridge leaving a gap of about 3 cm open.
11. Turn your mask right side out through that hole.
12. Hand stitch the last 3cm with small diagonal stitches.
13. Slip your sleeping mask on for a quick, little test nap.


Happy sewing!

March 18, 2015

The Birthday Card Box

Birthday cards are the source of the greatest discrepancy in my life: I love them, as a sender and a receiver – yet I never seem to manage to send them off on time.

The story is always the same: Every now and then I spot an upcoming birthday in my calendar, but the date is either too far in the future or life is too busy to buy a card there and then. So I make a mental note to myself. Then the weeks rush by and suddenly it’s that day, that birthday, and I haven’t posted a single word. I probably spot my mistake at 7 in the morning or late at night when I check my diary for the next day (either way too early to call). So I make a mental note again (you spot a pattern?). Then the day rushes by and suddenly its 11pm and I am in bed and just before I doze off to sleep, I think to myself “ugh, the birthday…”.

As baffling as it might seem, the reason behind it is a simple truth: lack of organization.

At the end of last year, while filling in my new diary with all the important (birth)dates, I thought if only I had all the cards on hand whenever I needed them, wouldn’t it be far more likely that I actually send them?! And born was the idea of the birthday box.
The birthday card box contains of an eternal birthday calendar on which I noted down all the upcoming birthdays – concluding a total for the year. With this handy number I embarked on several afternoons of card making and shopping until I had a card for every person plus some spare ones. As storage for my birthday cards I chose a sturdy kraft paper colored box from Wilkos. In there I host my acquired collection and two sets of stamps both for international and national letters.

Three month into 2015 and I haven’t “forgotten” a single birthday yet!

I even tackled the last hurdle which is probably the biggest to be honest – getting the letter into the post box! There is a letter box on my way to work. Since getting to work is a carefully timed operation involving specific walkways and bus times I set myself a timer which goes off the moment I pass the letter box (mental note: remember to set the timer when a letter needs posting).

Friends expect birthday cards this year!