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Tuesday
Nov222016

A little Etsy gift guide.

Preface: It feels a little surreal to publish a gift guide after last week´s post and the comments it generated. There might be a follow-up/a response to all this in the near future, but in the meantime, let´s look at some nice things and calm our minds, shall we? 

So I´ve come across so many nice things on Etsy lately and I wanted to share them with you. First up is Not Perfect Linen. They are a family business in Lithunia and they have the nicest things. I particularly love their table cloths (pictured). I adore this stripey one but they also have a color named Swedish Blue which I am obsessed with (here´s a table runner in that color). My husband is building me a new wooden dining table for my birthday (!!) so I can´t possibly buy things that would cover said table, but maybe you can! 

More lovely linen things from Lithunia: Knock Knock Linen. I own two of their scarves and several of their bath towels. Very much recommended.

Also in Lithunia (I feel like I maybe should plan a trip to Lithunia real soon?): Woolen Clogs. I have stalked this shop for years now and one day I will own some of their lovely felted slippers (pictured are these).

More felted goodness from Lithunia (seriously!): Agnes Felt. The cutest cat beds you ever did see! My cats would never use a cat bed because all my pets generally ignore all the things we buy for them, but maybe you have cats that are more cooperating. 

Leaving Lithunia now: Julia Smith Ceramics. I particularly love her nature-inspired stuff like this espresso mug (which is sadly sold out now). We have great local ceramicists around here so I rather support these businesses, but if you´re in the UK this shop is for you! 

Also in the UK: The Leather Store. I own one of their bags and love it. 

Last but not least: Sara Carr. I´m that awkward childless person who always buys the wrong gifts for kids but frankly, I would love a ton of her knitted creatures for myself. One is cuter than the other - look there´s even Mog! And a kitty scarf! And then there´s this donkey above who apparently is called Donald, and yes it takes all my willpower to not make a joke here. But it does close the circle nicely. 

Have a happy week! Be kind! Buy lots of nice gifts for your dear ones! 

Pictures (c) by the respective shops. Clicking on the pictures will take you to the product/shop.

Sunday
Nov132016

The feel that this ain't exactly real.

What a week this has been. Trump got elected, Leonard Cohen died, and winter arrived. So I am not a political person and I this isn´t really the place for such woes. But I can´t stay silent on this one. I woke up on Wednesday and immediately checked the news and then I went catatonic for a few minutes. What have you done, America. It took all my willpower to not sob through my breakfast. I´ve since basically shut myself off any news because I just can´t bear it all. I don´t want to speculate what this means for the US and for the entire world because I am terrified enough as it is. 

And then Leonard Cohen died. That was a tough one. I remember my parents had one of his albums ("The Best of" from 1975) and I was about 14 when I first discovered it. I remember lying on my bed with my walkman, completely mesmerized by his music. I´ve been a fan ever since, and "Take this Waltz" is my soundtrack for our Vienna years (this song is insanely beautiful, particularly from 4:02 onwards). Also, this letter. 

Last but not least, winter arrived. I can´t remember it ever being so cold in November, but it seems fitting (in fact we had our first real frost on the night from Tuesday to Wednesday). Then there was snow on Thursday (proof). And today I woke to a frozen world; temperatures had gone down to -6 °C over night.

I think what makes this frost so particularly beautiful is that plants have mostly been caught by surprise. There are still lots of leaves and even blooms which results in a beautiful texture and those wonderful muted tones.

This one is a new favorite. So yes, the world is still beautiful, and the sun still rises etc. And I am ever so thankful for that. Have a better week. 

EDIT: Well that was fun! (Not.) I have closed the comments section because nothing good will come of this.

Thursday
Nov102016

Book club: House of plants.

So here´s the thing: I don´t really do house plants. I love them in other people´s spaces, but not necessarily in my home. I do like orchids (who doesn´t), and sometimes I bring indoor plants back from our nursery, but the majority subsequently dies from neglect. I know! I think I´m a good gardener "outside" but I just don´t have the patience for indoor plants. And yet, here I am to tell you that there´s a new book on house plants, and that I think it´s great. 

"House of plants" by Caro Langton and Rose Ray is an in-depth guide on how to select, grow and even propagate succulents, air plants, cacti and other tropical plants. The authors tell us everything about caring for different plant species, including how to plant a terrarium and make your own compost/fertilizer! However I particularly love the chapter on how to find the perfect plant for the perfect spot in your home. Although I have to admit that I won´t get any plants from the strange surfaces/strange plants section. Monkey´s Tail Cactus, anyone? But then again even airplants sort of weird me out. 

What I like best about the book is the gorgeous photography with lots of wonderful interior shots. It´s all a bit Kinfolk-ish but in a good way. It might just convinve me to get a few more indoor plants? Yes? We shall see.

House of Plants by Caro Langton & Rose Ray, photography by Erika Raxworthy, is published by Frances Lincoln. The book´s website can be found here. Many thanks to the publisher for sending over a review copy!

Sunday
Nov062016

November light, sleepy animals and a wreath.

We finally did some garden clean-up this weekend and I brought some of the hydrangeas inside. They look so nice on our dining room cabinet, right? Also, more quinces. I am down to 15 at this point which seems manageable. I´ll make some liqueur next week and I´ve just found a recipe for port wine quinces (match made in heaven?) and also I´ll try and store a few so that I can make that Tarte Tatin again on Christmas. 

Saturday was gloomy but today we got some sun. I´ve said it before but this house gets the very best light in November. The sun is so low that it basically shines directly into our front rooms. 

Like so. I brought some of the potted plants inside the house for the winter and this one seems to enjoy her new place. The clay figure was made by a potter nearby, I love her dearly. I think she is supposed to be the Snow Queen from the Andersen fairy tale. So technically a bad character but she´s quite good at greeting guests. 

Lots of tired cats enjoying the sun today. I never take pictures of Lu because she is never around so here it is, the annual picture of our Lulu. The black blob on the sofa is Lutz. 

And here´s Marlene in my favorite chair. Apparently it wasn´t comfy enough so she made do with the blanket. Smart kitty.

Couldn´t decide which picture I liked better so you get to see both. Ludwig is a bit of a terror these days. Once the temperatures drop he is a different dog really. Lots and lots of energy (and mischief)! Also see how much light our kitchen gets? Heart eyes. 

Last but not least, I made a simple little wreath today with ivy, ivy flowers and some spirea branches that have turned reddish with the frost. I quite like it. It´s a bit large though, next time I need to measure first. Ah well. Have a happy week!

Wednesday
Nov022016

Bookclub: Stilvoll wohnen mit Farbe.

When I lived in Munich in my early 20ies all the walls in my apartment were a stark white. Almost impossible to believe! Later I moved to Düsseldorf and lived in a ramshackle Altbau apartment, which was the first space my-now-husband-and-then-boyfriend and I renovated together, including sanding floors and everything. I remember at one point we painted one kitchen wall a pretty green (very similar to the shade in the kitchen picture below) and I was hooked! Since then I´ve used paint to transform all of our homes (6 altogether!) but things got only really serious when we moved into our house 5 years ago - for various reasons: One, I didn´t want to mess things up in the first space that we owned; Two, in a house as large as this you *really* don´t want to repaint because you don´t like the results; and Three: I discovered Farrow & Ball paint. 

Choosing paint colors for our house was both fun and pure agony. I was particularly helpless when it came to the North-facing rooms (our kitchen, the library). Back then the Farrow & Ball website was one of the few that provided advice that actually made sense to me. I think pretty much everything I know about paint is based on the information I gathered there. Also there were a few interviews available online with Joa Studholme, F&B´s "Color Guru" which I all inhaled. Painting stuff is a science! All of this to say, I wish Farrow& Ball´s new book "Stilvoll wohnen mit Farbe" (in English: "How to decorate") would have been around five years ago. It gives all the advice you could possibly need when it comes to choosing paint colors, even very hands-on information like how much paint you´ll need. I especially love that the focus isn´t purely on the walls but also on painting floors, furniture etc. Last but not least there´s a chapter on wallpaper! Love.

"Stilvoll wohnen mit Farbe" is, of course, not only full of advice but also full of eye candy (it is probably no surprise that I adore the dark and moody interiors). I love that it´s a joy to look at but still is a practical, in-depth guide on how to use paint and wallpaper in your home. Like I always say, everybody can learn how to paint a wall! And with this book, you´ll even know which color. 

"Stilvoll wohnen mit Farbe" by Charlotte Cosby und Joa Studholme has its own website which you can find here. Thank you Callwey for sending over a review copy!

PS: I really need to repaint our coffee table... color is my all time-favorite Down Pipe, by Farrow & Ball of course.