Recently read // Gerade gelesen

by Anna
books january

As part of my goal to read at least one book a month in 2015 I will review what I recently read. I will do so mainly in German because I read books mostly in my native language.

2015 ist eins meiner Ziele jeden Monat ein Buch zu lesen. Ende Januar habe ich schon zwei Romane gelesen und ein Sachbuch, also selbst wenn eine Durststrecke kommt bin ich meinem Ziel schon zwei Bücher voraus. Als ich Journalistin wurde war ein Grund dafür Bücher, Filme und Ausstellungen zu bewerten lesen und sehen und darüber zu schreiben. Und genau das werde ich an dieser Stelle wieder tun.

Kaui Hart Hemmings Für immer dein Lachen
Im Dezember bin ich auf der Suche nach Urlaubslektüre durch die Bibliothek gestreift und habe dann impulsiv “Für immer dein Lachen” mitgenommen. Ein passendes Buch für den Winterurlaub, auch wenn ich es dann erst zu Haus (und im Januar) gelesen habe. Es spielt in einem Skigebiet, an einem Wochenende. Auch wenn es auf Ereignisse aus der Vergangenheit zurückgreift, nämlich den Tod von Sarah erwachsenen Sohn, ist das hier fast ein Kammerspiel. Schauplätze: Sarahs Haus, ein Auto, ein Hotel. Mich habe vor allem drei Dinge gepackt: Die überschaubare Anzahl an Orten und Personen, der Familienaspekt der Geschichte, der psychologische Gesichtspunkt. Die Geschichte ist damit dicht, fröhlich (trotz des Themas) und entwicklungsreich. Einzig mit der Sprache hätte sich die Autorin mehr Mühe geben können (alle sprechen wie Sarah, die Erzählphasen sind ebenso), wobei ich nicht bewerten kann, wieviel davon an der Übersetzung liegt.
Für Fans von “Der Vorname”

Joanna Trollope Schwiegertöchter
Nachdem ich wochenlang um das Buch auf meinem Nachttisch herumgeschlichen bin las es sich dann blitzschnell sobald ich angefangen hatte. Schuld war der etwas sperrige Klappentext – auch wenn der mich anfangs bewogen hatte das Buch auszuleihen: “Rachel liebt die Rolle als Matriarchin ihrer großen Familie”. Der Roman handelt dann aber genauso viel von Rachels Schwiegertöchtern, den Söhnen und Enkelkindern, ihrem Mann Anthony und von sämtlichen Beziehungen untereinander. Das ist aber alles andere als kompliziert dargestellt, die Charaktere sind durchdacht und bunt beschrieben und ich habe mich als Beobachter miteinbezogen gefühlt ohne die Schwere zu spüren, die die Probleme der Brinkleys in der echten Welt mit sich brächten.
Für Fans von “Wo die Mondblumen blühen”

Aruna M. Siewert Pflanzliche Antibiotika
Auf so ein Buch hatte ich gewartet seit ich “Les antibiotiques naturels” gelesen hatte. Die antibiotische Wirkung von Heilpflanzen auf deutsch, übersichtlich präsentiert und verständlich zusammengefasst. Für mich als Naturmedizinfan ein Muss. Ich habe “dank” Grippewelle schon die Tipps gegen Bronchitis und grippalen Infekt sowie Nasennebenhöhlenentzündung ausprobiert und bin dadurch (und durch viel Ruhe) wieder gesund geworden. Auch wenn ich noch keine Tees nach Vorschlägen von Aruna Siwert habe anmischen lassen, die vorgestellten Naturpräparate halten was sie versprechen. Und wenn es doch einmal chemische Antibiotika sein müssen, gibt es hier Hinweise, wie wir den Körper von deren Nach- und Nebenwirkungen reinigen können.
Für Fans von sanfter Medizin

Aktuell auf dem Nachttisch // Currently on my nightstand
Mohammed Hanif A case of exploding mangoes
Erik Axl Sund Krähenmädchen
Giulia Enders Darm mit Charme

Und was liest du gerade? // What are you currently reading?

Annas winter capsule wardrobe

by Anna

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Is a simpler life anyones goal for 2015? I did not exactly put simplicity on my list but I want to build, wear and maintain a capsule wardrobe. This means 37 pieces of clothing for each season. I work with the meteorological seasons which means I wear my winter clothes from december through february. However with the unpredictable German weather I decided to have a month-long transition period aka overlay. Meaning I still keep my winter clothes handy in march. (And I won’t be stuck with springy tees and cotton cardigans when there is snow blurring around.)

I stuck with the 37 pieces rule of Un-Fancy but left warm outerwear coats out of the equation. Fyi I own and wear three of them. Shoes are included in these 37 pieces. PJs, workout wear and homewear are not included, neither are festive/formal dresses. That sounds like a lot of exclusions, no? So let me tell you what 37 pieces I solely wear.

So here is what I wear
Pants: burgundy, black, highwaist, carrot, overalls, +new green
Skirts: tulle, wool
Dresses: woolwhite, waterfall, stripes
Cardigans: cabel, fleamarket, norwegian, grandpa, ikat
Sweaters: black/white, orange, waves, grey, black, olive, woolwhite, hoodie
T-Shirts/turtlenecks: flowers, snowflakes, ornaments, black, black turtleneck, waterfall purple, blue, pale pink, stripes
Shoes: brown lace-ups, white booties, pink suede, ballet flats, snow boots

Also I divided my clothing rack with a scarf. On one side are the garments I have already worn, on the other side those I have yet to wear. If at the end of the capsule wardrobe I find that something was not at all worn, I will have to leave. With three items left on the unworn side I rather doubt that though.

How is this going? This is my second capsule. I did one for fall and told noone about it. That was my test run because I wanted to know if people noticed if I wore the same pieces over and over. Like my mum asking me if I had a new favorite cardigan. But although I wore the same cardi for almost five days straight on christmas break, nobody said a thing. Which is good.

I am doing this capsule thing to simplify dressing in the morning and to find out what I truly love to wear i.e. to learn of my very own style. I already ditched some winter pieces while putting together this capsule and what I find impractical and unconfortable of the items in my current capsule will leave at the end of march. The thing is that I mainly shopped my own closet. That is because I want to minimize.

My goal is to find pieces that I love and wear and not to swap stuff (that does not get worn) for more stuff (that does not get worn). So I start out with a wardrobe from pieces that I already have. During the transition period I take notes of what I still need and then look and shop for the right item to fill the gap. These pieces must be what I want in color, match many of the other garments, be comfortable and of good quality to last not only through this capsule but best through many more capsules as well.

For this winter I needed another pair of pants. I wanted comfy and colorful (in my capsule not necessarily everthing matches everything) and bought these mint&berry jeans in teal. They are a great fit and I love them a whole bunnch already. I brought them in for the grandpa vest that was not warm enough for winter. Also I am still looking for a replacement for my striped longsleeve tee because I is just too worn and baggy. I had hope that this striped turtleneck would work but it turned out the neckhole was very tight and felt like a grip around my throat.

My capsule wardsobe get worn at work and at home. And it gets dirty a lot, little hands smear banana or snot on me, I drip on myself when feeding one of the kids or and outside I get muddy feet on my stuff when picking a little one up.

For winter I included shoes but excluded coats. Even though I have pretty much worn every garment in my capsule already I think I could even downsize some more. On the other hand I did include coats as well as shoes in my fall capsule, so that’s what will happen in spring, too. From there on I will see if I want to narrow down some more. Think 30 pieces?!? Exclude skirts completely? (I tend to wear dresses when I want to be fancy…) Limit shoes even more?

Bottom line: I love it! I am not sure yet wether it is limiting my selection or the open racks that make me see everything in one place. But the items I chose get worn. Obviously I still have clothes that I tend to reach for more often. This also is what makes me thing I could limit myself even further. Like come to the point where I love all the items in my closet equally… Ok, this my be utopia.

What I know for sure is that I know what is in my closet or more acurately on my rack. Since putting together this caspule there have not been any surprises as in “oh, I still have that”. I am more aware of what I own. And that’s a great way of decluttering…

Would you be interested in a recap at the end of winter?

Sam says

by Anna

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Sam says hi! Anna is feeling under the weather with a little flu this weekend so I am taking over the blog today. I am a nine month old kitty with long hair, which might be a reason why Anna picked me up at the shelter. I was found in Bad Oeynhausen in November where I had lived on the streets for a long time. They called me Pumuckel at the shelter but I really am Sam. When Anna came to visit me the first time I was very sceptical, I hid in the in the far corner and chewed on her fingers when she tried to pet me. She came back anyway.

Ever since she has fed me every day. She bought me a second litter box when I had pooped on the couch on four consecutive mornings. She also speaks to me in a soft voice as if we had secrets. She also cleans up after me. (And if she doesn’t I poop on the sofa some more.)

In return for her adopting me I let her look at me, I catch the tasty kitty tidbits that she likes to throw from the sofa (when it is clean), I growl at her when she comes to close to my bowl or doesn’t withdraw soon enough after feeding me and I scratch her when she tries to touch me. I do not know if this is what a good kitty does, but I am still learning…

Anna says as long as we are communicating, so as long as I growl at her, we are making progress.

CLOSED Give-away of one ABM 2015 planner

by Anna
abm planner 2015 peach gold
Update: Suprise! Since we had two contestants I decided I would give both of them a planner! I will flip a coin to decide which one of you girls will get the peachy golden one as seen above. The other winner will receive the colorful planner that I just got in the mail!

Yippee, it’s time for the first give-away on modewaerts! I brought all three Designs of the A beautiful Mess 2015 planner. The first one who got here (black and white cover) was Hettys christmas present, the second one with the peachy cover and golden dots just arrived at my doorstep and it is for one lucky modewaerts reader!

All you have to do is follow modewaerts either
by e-mail (sign up at the bottom of this post – sorry, it’s hard to see…),
via bloglovin’ here
on facebook there
or over here on wordpress (click follow in the lower right corner of your screen)!

Then you need to tell me in the comments one of your goals for 2015 and in which of the above mentioned ways you follow.

Give-away is open to European residents only and closes on wednesday january 14 at 18 hours (6pm) Central European Time. I will draw a winner on wednesday evening and contact them shortly after. The sooner you reply with your adress, the sooner your planner will get to you!

I cross my fingers for you! And here is to having my planner here next week too, hopefully!

PS: The planner runs all the way through until the end of january 2016! So even with it being mid january until the planner will arrive at the winners home, they will still be able to use it for one whole year.

25 goals for 2015

by Anna

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do a girls trip to Morocco
do one power-walk per week (spring/summer)
do one yoga session per week (autumn/winter)
write and publish one blogpost per week
look for love
consume less, buy consciously, declutter
visit the Bronsons in Austin
find a sideboard/chest of drawers for the living room
write down three good moments each day
enjoy the moment, be happy
adopt a cat
cook at least once a week
do household chores for 30 minutes each day
meet Sarah and Shanes baby :)
finish the apartment (paint, organize, decorate)
shave legs regularly
considerately say what I think with carefully chosen words
put money into savings each month
write a children’s book
look for a educational science master programm
build and dress in a capsule wardrobe each season
do something fun every day (craft, nap, work out)
two friend dates each week
read one book or more per month
keep sundays internet-free

Cranberry truffles with pink Pepper and coarse Salt

by Anna

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We have established quite a while ago that we love peanutbutter cups. We showed you the french version of them: Salted caramel cups and today I am here to share a true Anna version. I know I am boring as hell when I say I wanted to make truffles – I was actually inspired by Aurelies Baylies truffles – but I had nothing in my cupboards. And by nothing I mean no creamy liquors. What I did have was speculoos spread and Ti Maria coffee liqueur so this was the first batch I made. What I did have was lots of dark chocolate in the cupboard…

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Feeling pleased with the Christmasy speculoos coffee liqueur truffles but finding them not very inventive I laid eyes on my beloved pink pepper. And magic happened. Thinking of pepper salt is not far, and coarse sea salt also looks so darn cute – and gourmande…. To make these festive (they were going to be a christmas present) I added cranberries. And in order for them to have a soft heart – after all they are pralinés and not rocks – i melted a Kinder chocolate Santa. Taste testing is a must with culinary gifts (and I don’t mean to brag) but I had a hard time not eating all of them before giving them away…

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Pink Pepper Cranberry Truffles with coarse Sea Salt
makes 15 bite-size pralines
1 bar dark chocolate (100g)
1 Kinder chocolate Santa (or other milk chocolate, about 80g)
1 teaspoon pink pepper
1 teaspoons coarse salt
15 dried cranberries (or one for each praline cup)

praline cups or praline mold

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Melt chocolate in a double boiler. With a brush smear chocolate into the molds, so that the bottom and sides are covered. Let refridgerate for ten minute and repeat. Meanwhile crush the pink pepper and mix it with coarse salt. Melt the Kinder chocolate santa in a double boiler.

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Once the praline shell has been covered with dark chocolate twice and cooled off place a cranberry inside. Mix pepper and salt with the melted milk chocolate and spoon into the shells on top of the cranberry. Let cool in the fridge for 15 minutes. Keep the remaining dark chocolate in the double boiler in a soft but not too fluid consistency. In other words: Turn down the temperature. Add this chocolate to the praline cups as a sort of lid to close the truffles. Let cool off completely.

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These should be good for a long time if you can resist not to eat them all straight away! Enjoy!

Waiting for christmas: Last minute gifts

by Anna
turnbeutel drawstring bag
Four days left until christmas? Today I want to show you some handmade gifts you can still whip up before the holy night! A drawstring bag serves travelling gals and guys as a camera bag, beach tote or laundry bag.
paper fascinator
Make your bestie a fascinator for New Year’s Eve, her birthday or as a headpiece for all of her bridesmaids. She’ll love you forever!
statement blouse top chemise diy sew
Giving clothing can be rad or bad. Unless it’s handmade. Then it’s always rad. A top like my statement neckline top is great for the lady who thinks outside the box. This is easily customizable: buy the shirt, sew the statement (by hand).
three candles birch
If winter isn’t for candles I don’t know which season is. For a rustic and natural decor make some
birch disk candlesticks for a nature lover in your life.
pescatarian dip tapenade
For the culinary friend a delectable gift will bring you ooohs and ahhhs. Try tapenade a French dip with olives, sardelles and capers. And little else. Très francais!
blue ombre espadrilles
Summer will be back I am sure. Prepare your mama with dip-diyed summer shoes like these ombre espadrilles I customized.
black white photos washi tape album
Your travel buddy will love it if you share your roadtrip memories with them in a very personal
wanderlust scrapbook like Hetty made for me!
floral heart box
Give a heart full of flowers! Who does not appreciate a little pop of colour during the winter months? Neighbours, teachers, or the mailman might blush with joy at this little silk flower heart
song lyrics art plate
This one’s for the spouse or the person you always wanted to tell how you feel! Say it with a plate, your prettiest handwriting and some meaningful lyrics like I did here and here
do it yourself cake stand
There is a blogging baker or a baking blogger on your gift list? Make them a cake stand from vintage plates, saucers and cups. Adorable!
doily cover shade floor lamp
Ok, here you will need to give a present certificate BUT it will be totally worth it! Promise a very special someone to make them a doily lampshade and really do make it of course!
creme peche petit four
Baking with booze is not only a favorite thing of mine, it also makes a perfect present. I loved making these dark chocolat petit fours as well as the vegan hearts

Pretty in knits

Pretty in knits


Wether your a quick knitter or just starting I made several hats of different difficulty levels last winter. Hat make great gifts for just about any family member, see last winters hat here and Hettys matching knits here
feather studs earrings tape
Someone got their ears pierced recently? Fake feather earrings from washi tape are easy to make and fun to wear.
motivation calender
Your boyfriend abroad cannot wait to finish his job and come back home to you? Make him a countdown calender with precious memories and photos of you two. Works for friends as well…
felt trivet filz untersetzer
Wooly felt and smooth pebbles a great sensory contrast and a cool gift wether the person loves cool industrial chic or rustic nature. Are you giving this trivet to a cook, a minimalist or both of them?
tissue box makeover
This is one of the diy projects I made that I use most, the sequin tissue box will be appreciated by girly girls and women…
diy necklace
Hetty is rocking her knotted necklace that I gave her – who will be rocking the one you will make?
DIY Pouf Giant Floor Pillow
I like to sit on the floor – and I know I am not the only one who likes to stay “grounded”. A handmade pouf makes a great gift, wether it’s to sit on it, use it as a side table or to put up your feet on it.
pillow case paris
Oh, pillow cases, can anyone ever have enough of you lot? Make your significant other a quote pillow your grandparents felt foliage pillows and any geometrical patterns obsessed person a honeycomb pillow and the cat lover get this name pillow for the pet.
embroidered map
There is another road-tripping friend? They will cherish reliving the route via this hand-stitched map and keep photos on display on the fabric-wrapped pinboards!

Only three days until Christmas Eve! Happy (and quick!) crafting!

Stock Taking III

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by Anna

sewing a neutral hexagon baby quilt
mending socks for my little cousins doll
ripping open boxes
knitting a blanket
drafting a pompon rug

crafting envelopes for christmas mail
gathering ideas for the christmas cards
preparing a give-away!!!
stamping with Perlenfischer products
loving all the crafty chrismas markets I went to already

cooking cabbage
baking savory pizza
baking sweet christmas treats, duh
mixing red wine with spices
eating more and losing weight
drinking winter punch

writing christmas cards
reading The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp and The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce
listening to christmas music, duh
planning what to bring to Christins New Year’s Party
going away to the mountains for christmas

Here at Meet my at Mikes is a list by Pip with prompts for taking stock posts – so much fun!

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Waiting for christmas: 12 cake and cookie recipes

by Anna
Christmas stollen
What better way to start the christmas baking than with a traditional stollen? This poppy seed stollen is a family favorite and a recipe that has been handed down from my grand-ma.
gingerbread from scratch
Another christmas classic one can simpy not pass up on: Homemade gingerbread and the zillion ways to decorate it! Makes a cute gift tag, too!
Hettys shortbread two ways
Hetty made a simple shortbread recipe her own by adding cranberries and pistachio or orange and amaretto. Cannot decide which Christmas shortbread I would like to try asap, you?
Orange Pomegranate Scones
Pomegranate seeds resemble little diamonds, no? So these Orange-Pomegranate-Scones will grade up your christmas brunch a lot!
buche de noel
Have you ever made a yule log cake? I felt intimidated by the idea yet loved it so much that I went ahead and made it with the help of a sweet friend, it is so worth it! And nothing to be afraid of…
Spekulatius Pralinen
Speculoos is THE taste of christmas for me – even though I could have it all year round. Make some speculoos pralines to give to some very special people this christmas.
Muffins Rose Wine
Cranberry’s great every day – paired with rose wine it makes a festive treat. Try making Hettys aromatic Rose Wine Muffins with cranberries for christmas breakfast.
pink pepper cookies
I fell in love with Pink Pepper Shortcrust Cookies last december and I haven’t fallen out of love since. They are still on my agenda to make this year. Why has the day 24 hours only?!?
ottilienkuchen
This one has already been made and eaten up completely: Ottilienkuchen. Almonds, chocolate and some rhum – doesn’t take much to make me happy at christmas – and Ottilie’s cake has is all.
Linzer Plätzchen
We haven’t shown many cookies in this round-up yet? These Linzer Plätzchen (cookies from Linz) with a heart of jam will change that. Hetty made them with plum sauce from her parents garden – the plums, that is.
rotweinkuchen
Red Wine Christmas cake I love you so much, I made the recipe, which yield two cakes, and send one off to my former host family in France. Hope it arrived there safely and still edible.
Bethmaennchen Coconut Christmas
Marzipan. Another ingredient that says Christmas out loud. Bethmännchen (moist marzipan cookies) are a favorite both at Hettys and my house growing up. Hetty made them vegan and with coconut.

What are you baking these days? I made sugar-coated almonds in the microwave the other weekend – and was impressed! Way better than at the christmas market! Happy second of Advent! ~Anna~

Advent “wreath” in a box (Adventskranz in Obstkiste)

by Anna

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To think outside the box? Can mean to put your advent wreath inside a box. This year my advent wreath is made from a fruit box, four small bottles a tiny poinsettia, as well as ivy, twigs and rose hip collected in the neighbourhood. Talk about recycling and being thrifty. The best thing about it: You can totally still make one in time for the first Advent sunday with only a trip to the grocery store (or your recycling bin) and a walk in the woods.

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I have had the bottles quite a while already planning to use them as vases. Because I do not have enough vases. Kidding. Then I found a small empty crate in the street and decided it needed to go home with me. I am all for boxes, containers, purses and everything that will hold stuff. As if i had not enough stuff but that is another story. When I stumbled upon mini poinsettia and short candles it was decided: the Advent wreath would be an Advent box this year.

I went for a sunday walk equipped with a modewaerts bag and scissors. People must have thought me weird. I like weird. I somewhere once read that all greenery and shrubs that grow over your fence and hence outside your property on common ground may be trimmed – and I am not sure it is true – I die so. In an alley I cut ivy, on the side of he road fir and rose hip. I think it was well worth turning “criminal” for this project…

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Supplies wooden crate, four bottles, four candles, a tiny poinsettia, shrubs/greenery, small jar (to hold the flower), decoration if desired

Peel off any labels on the crate and brush it clean. Place the bottles in the corners. Arrange the twigs. I had at least two of each kind and distributed them evenly across from each other for a balanced look.

Place the poinsettia in the jar and put it on top of e twigs in the center of the crate. Push down gently and make sure it site more or less level on top of the greenery.

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Distribute the candles to the bottles, I needed to point them a little with a knife. You may want to fill in gaps between the bottles with tiny twigs for a fuller look. I liked to decorate mine with only a pinecone added.

Happy first of Advent tomorrow! ~Anna~