Saturday, 29 December 2012

DIY inspiration: Feathery clutch

First of all: You should shout a "Esther you fail at regular posting" at me right now. Done? Well, then let's start.

I don't know how you will spend New Year's Eve, but maybe you are most likely to be spotted on one of the dance party things, dressed in some amazing cocktail dress having the party of 2012.
Well, I won't be at a party like that, but at a relaxed gathering with some good friends back in Cologne, but I believe many of the party goers are struggling to think about something appropriate to wear right now. At least that's what the overload of glittery dresses in the stores are wanting me to believe.
So when you are still looking for the perfect clutch/ handbag for your last (party) night of 2012 (and yes, I know it's kinda late, but hey, shops are open on December 31st), why not remembering Michelle's really easy AA inspired clutch tutorial?

"Great Esther" you may think "and that is your entire blogpost?"... oh well. Even though I have to admit I am struggling right now with new ideas and especially the realization of them: No, I try my best to not let you down. So how about a AA inspired clutch covered in feathers? :)

What we need:

Feathers (better you got too many than not enough since they are something natural and therefore not all perfect)

fabric (size depends on your wished clutch size and / or your amount of feathers)

a zipper

maybe some fabric ribbon for the upper part, to cover the top row's quills

sewing stuff

1. Look through your pile of feather and decide on the ones you want to use.
2. You should be looking for straight one with not that much fluff and nice pattern...
3. By comparing your zipper length and your chosen feather decide on the approximate size of your clutch.

4. Start pinning your feather to your fabric by starting off with the bottom row...
5. and sew it on!

6. Now your first row of feather should be fixed to your fabric.
7. You might want to clip off some rebellious quills, because they are likely to poke through your feather layer.

8. By adding row per row you should get something like a scale pattern or something similar to the feathering of a bird... surprise there.
9. And then you go on by pretty much finishing off your clutch as Michelle tells you in the tutorial...  I added pockets to the inside, because my bag is pretty tiny and I do not want to stuff it with my purse but put my cards into these pockets...

And yes, I am aware that my "finessed" clutch looks just a bit out of shape... it's because I did not finish it yet since I want to add a chain to it, that I did not bring back to my parents house... and I don't really like my mum's sewing machine, and, and and...
Yeah, you might want to do another shouting-at-esther-session, this time by saying "FAIL!"

PS: I wish you all a "Happy new year", hope 2013 starts awesome and you will all rock your individual New Year's Eve partys :)))

Friday, 21 December 2012

Roasted Apple Jam

Christmas Eve is quite close and I believe nearly everyone is sucked in by Christmas spirit (and maybe by stress, too). One of the reasons, why I love (and hate) Christmas is probably the food... who would have guessed, since I already posted two food related gift ideas. And today I have got... another one. I know. We should all go jogging after the holidays.
Nevertheless, one traditional food I connect with christmas are certainly roasted apples... I believe a German tradition. It's a baked apple stuffed with all kinds of nuts, raisins, marzipan and spices, depending on one's personal preferences, often combined with vanilla sauce. Sounds delicious, mhmm?
So even though you may did not have a roasted apple yet, how about a spicy, christmasy apple jam, filling your whole kitchen with awesome smells?

What we need: (for two jam jars)
2 apples
200 ml apple juice
80 g marzipan
2 Tbs honey
spices: cinnamon, vanilla

gelling agent and sweetener of choice: I used separate sugar and gelling agent on apple pectin basis, I prefer this method, so I was able to decide on the amount and kind of sugar... just look at your local store and decide for your preferences.

1. Peel, core and dice your apples.
2. Put them and your spices, apple juice, gelling agent and sweetener into a sauce pan.

3. Let it cook (as it is written down on the package) and remove from heat.
4. When you do not like apple dices as big as mine in your jam: Use a immersion blender to get a smoother paste.

5. Solve your marzipan by adding a bit of apple juice to it...
6. and by putting it into the microwave (and checking about every 30 seconds, because it does burn easily). Stir through it to see the grade of melt-down

7. Add your marzipan (tastes better than it looks when molten)...
8. and your honey to your apple mixture. You may want to leave it out when you cook for vegans and/or your mixture is a tad too sweet...

9. Fill it into sterilized jam jars.
10. Let it cool down while storing it on the jars' lids.

There you go... in case your jars have a lid as ugly as mine, you can easily cut out a fabric circle, slightly larger than the lid and fix it to your jar by using a rubber band...

I hope you all have stress-free and harmonic holidays with a house, smelling like one big roasted apple

Monday, 17 December 2012

Gift guide III: Hot chocolate... on a stick

I actually feel really bad right now. Just look at the date of the last post and you will realize that I am kinda late. Uni is not kindergarten and with christmas upcoming it is not only a bit stressful. Sadly enough I spend my free time learning vocab or grammar, but not preparing blog post. And when I wanted to do it, the recipe turned out to be pretty bad, so the result was not postable. In addition to that my (kind of new) laptop decided to break and I had to bring it back for fixing.
But lets stop the moaning and get into the next part of my gift guide, giving you another idea for a culinary little something to hand to your hot drink lover. Because you have to admit it: Close to every person loves a nice hot chocolate in the winter. And I always look at these hot chocolate on a stick thingys in store, but can never get far enough buying them. Otherwise, why should I since I can easily make them myself?!?

Oh, and sorry for the poor lighting... time did seriously hate me. Again.

What we need (for about 8 - 10 portions): 30 g sugar / 150 g dark chocolate / 100 g cream (I used a vegan version, so my one was a tad thicker...) / 50 g icing sugar / wooden sticks

1. Put sugar into a sauce pan and wait for it to start caramelizing.
2. Add your spices and the cream and stir until it is a homogenous mixture. Allow infusion during the next 30 minutes.

3. Melt your chocolate...
4. Warm up your cream mixture (no bowling!) and add it to your chocolate. Stir well and let it cool for about 45 minutes.

5. Fill your mixture into a piping bag with a big hole (or, as I did: into a plastic bag with a cut off corner). Squeeze 8 - 10 balls out.
6. By using a fork roll them through the icing sugar until they are dusted and round.

7. Stick your wooden sticks into them...
8. Or when you do not have enough sticks and they are only for you: Use a fork! :)

After wrapping them up nicely you are ready to go anywhere with a little something for any chocolate lover... hope you apologize my delay and I am hopefully back on track for Friday

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Diamonds are girl's best friends: Leather pendant necklace

Marilyn Monroe told us so and many of us girls will happily agree. So giving a diamond as a present is always an awesome idea. Unfortunately also a quite expensive one and I have to admit: I cannot afford a diamond for my best friend.
Therefore I when I was asked to write a post for the Brigitte Advent calendar, which features a gift idea every day from November to December 21st (and is the only reason why there is a German translation), I decided to find a replacement for girl's best friend.
And as it is with fate, I actually decided for another best friend of all the fashionistas out there this fall and winter season: Leather.

Inspired by origami I created a leather pendent necklace for your best friend or girl, showing her that you care even without spending all your earnings, but some time that you invested for her very own diamond...

Marilyn Monroe hat es uns bereits gesungen und die meisten von uns Mädels werden begeistert zustimmen. Deswegen ist das Verschenken einen Diamanten immer eine geniale Idee. Dummerweise auch eine teure und ich muss ehrlich zugeben: Ich kann mir keinen Diamanten als Geschenk für meine beste Freundin leisten.
Aus diesem Grund habe ich nach einer Alternative für den besten Freund aller Mädchen gesucht, als die Brigitte anfragte, ob ich Teil ihres Adventskalenders werden wollte, der zwischen November und dem 21.12 verschiedene Geschenkideen vorstellt.

Und wie es der Zufall will, ich habe mich beim Material für einen anderen besten Freund vieler Fashionistas im letzten Herbst/Winter entschieden: Leder.

Inspiriert von Origami habe ich einen Lederanhänger für deine beste Freundin oder dein Mädel gebastelt, sodass du ihr zeigen kannst, dass du an sie denkst. Und das ohne all deine Ersparnisse zu opfern, sondern indem du Zeit für dein ganz persönlichen Geschenk investierst.

What we need: (Das brauchen wir:)
a thick piece of leather
leather needles
thread in a contrast color
a chain
carpet knife
wooden / metal ruler

circle, geometric triangle, pen, sharpener, eraser and Co for constructing your pattern

ein dickes Stück Leder / Ledernadeln/ Garn in einer kontrastierenden Farbe / eine Kette / ein Kuli/Teppichmesser/ Metall- oder Holzlineal // Zirkel, Geodreieck, Bleistift, Spitzer, Radiergummi und Co um die Vorlage zu zeichnen

Constructing the pattern: (Kreation der Vorlage)
Our diamond shape consists of two parts, a pyramid with four sides and a truncated pyramid. Both of them without a bottom, because this is the place where they are linked. So for our pattern we need also two pieces. On the one side a shape made out of four triangles, mine having a base of 4 cm and a height of 3 cm. The other one consists of a square, the sides being 2 cm and four trapezia surrounding it (see picture two for reference :) ).

Unsere Diamantenform besteht aus zwei Teilen, einer vierseitigen Pyramide und einem Pyramidenstumpf, beide ohne Boden, da hier beide Teile verbunden werden. Also brauchen wir für unsere Vorlage zwei Teile. Zum einen eines bestehend aus vier Dreiecken, mit einer Basis a 4 cm und einer Höhe a 3 cm. Die andere Vorlage besteht aus einem Quadrat mit einer Seitenlänge von 2 cm und vier Trapezen (für eine Erklärung hilft das Bild :)) 

Constructing the diamond: (Das Schaffen des Diamanten)
1. Trace your made pattern on the leather...
2. ... by using a ball pen, because it is slightly visible on the shiny surface of the leather... you need the marks visible on this side for cutting refernce later on.
3. Cut your two pieces out using a wooden or metal ruler to get straight lines.

1. Zeichne deine Vorlage auf das Lederstück...
2. ... indem du einen Kuli verwendest, da dieser auf der glatten Oberfläche des Leders sichtbar ist... und du brauchst sie später für einige Schnitte auf dieser Seite.
3. Schneide die beiden Teile aus, indem du deinen Cutter mithilfe des Lineals benutzt um gerade Linien zu erhalten.

4. Cut slightly along the folding lines of your pattern, so it easily foldable... don't cut too deep.
5. Pierce your leather on the edges by using your leather needle, so you can sew them together without any problems.
6. Sew along the edges of your two diamond pieces after deciding on a thread color.

4. Schneide vorsichtig entlang der zukünftigen Faltlinien, sodass man sie einfach falten kann... und ja nicht zu tief schneiden!
5. Mithilfe der Ledernadel kannst du nun entlang der Ränder das Leder durchstechen, damit du es später alles ohne Probleme zusammennähen kannst.
6. Näh entlang der Außenseiten der beiden Diamantenteile nachdem du dich für eine Garnfarbe entschieden hast.

7. Before sewing both pieces together you should add a thread loop or even a jump ring to the top of your diamond, so you can add the chain later on without any problem.
8. Tadaaa
9. Sew both pyramid pieces together, thanks to the prepierced edges even this step should not be any problem.

7. Bevor die beiden Teile zusammengenäht werden, solltest du noch eine Garnschlaufe oder auch einen kleinen Metallring auf der Oberseite des Diamanten befestigen, damit du die Kette später ohne Probleme hinzufügen kannst.
8. Tadaa
9. Nun nur noch die beiden Teile zusammennähen, dank der vorher gestochenen Löcher sollte selbst dieser Teil problemlos über die Bühne gehen.

So after adding your chain all you are left with is wrapping your individual present with heaps of love... Hope you all have amazing christmas days and all your presents are simply spot on, so the eyes of the lucky ones look like diamonds... cheesy comparison there..

Nachdem du die Kette durchgezogen hast, muss alles nur noch mit viel Liebe verpackt werden...
Ich hoffe, ihr habt alle großartige Weihnachten und all deine Geschenke sind genau richtig, sodass die Augen der Glücklichen wie Diamanten funkeln... kitschiger Vergleich xP