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Tuesday
Jan102017

A new table, turning 40, and a horse in the dining room.

So a few weeks ago, on Winter Solstice, I turned 40. My husband gifted me a truly hideous flower bouqet and a truly beautiful new table for our dining room. The bouquet quickly went out of my sight and we had a lovely, quiet, sunny day. I have been in love with this table ever since.

I have wanted a new table since we moved into this house. Or if not a new table, at least a new table top. We had originally bought our Ikea Norden table for our old Berlin apartment and while it did have the right dimensions for the dining room, I just didn´t love the table top. I wanted something made out of massive wood. So I started begging my handy husband to build me a new table top and for my 40iest birthday, he obliged. The wood was provided by one of our neighbors who has a seemingly unlimited supply of beautiful old pine planks, one of his friends did the planing, and my husband did all the assembling and sanding and whatnot. The tabletop went on our old Norden base and hellooo, gorgeous new table. I have since treated it numerous times with a white pigmented oil and I hope it will keep its light color. I love it. When we had just installed it I went into the dining roo several times a day just to look at this table. 

As for turning 40. Well. It seems everybody expects you to be devastated. Is this a women´s thing? I don´t think anybody expected my husband to feel terrible when he turned 40? Anyway I always (like even back in my 20ies), always had the feeling that I would like being 40. I kind of thought that at age 40, I surely must have figured it all out. Ha. Well I surely haven´t, but as a fact I have never been more at peace with myself than right now. And yes that extends to my body. It´s all good. Let´s do this, 40.

On a lighter note, there´s a horse in my dining room. I had the urge to switch it all around for spring so I brought in Horse. Horse had been living in my rear hallway so far. I bought him from here a few years ago but never considered him for the dining room until now. He is made from painted scrap wood and has all the right colors and I think I really like Horse here. At least for now. Also, spring bulbs. Because after Christmas it´s spring. Right? (I have such garden fever these days. I have already ordered all my seeds because I´m so impatient. Can it be March already?)

Last but not least I treated myself to a flower bouqet. Eucalyptus and white Amaryllis. And yes I might have told my long suffering husband to use this as an inspiration for upcoming birthdays. But really, it´s all forgiven and forgotten because look at this table. (Just please never buy me orange flowers again). 

Bonus picture! Snowy fluffy furry Emma. 

Have a good week! 

Monday
Jan022017

2016 in pictures.

Happy new year! Let´s take a look back at 2016 before we move on, shall we? In January, we went on a wonderful trip to the Baltic Sea and not only Ludwig enjoyed the snow and the sea. This year for our annual wedding anniversary we´re going skiing in the Czech Republic! Well Ludwig and I don´t ski, we´ll just get cozy in our hotel while my husband skis, but, you know. It just sounded better that way.

In February my house looked very much like advanced spring apparently. Nothing wrong with that.

In March we installed new shelves in the kitchen, again. These are here to stay although their tilt is getting worse by the day. We´ll have to do something about that, but otherwise very happy with this particular change.

It seems I was very busy in April and took very few pictures, but this one is my favorite from this month.

The walled garden looking pretty in May.

In June I finally shared pictures of the dark-painted library. I still love the result and sort of want to paint everything dark in my house.

In July I took my favorite picture of 2017. I´ve talked about my "cutting garden" throughout the year and I think it´s caused a bit of confusion. Basically what I did differently last year is to save some space in the veggie garden for cutting flowers, like this space in our large raised bed. So the cutting garden isn´t actually a garden in itself. I loved the look of it though and will do the same this year. And I just love this picture so much, especially with Lutz in the background!

In August I took a pretty pictures of my homegrown tomatoes. A bit deceiving since it was the worst tomato year ever. We´re planning some changes in the veggie garden which will hopefully improve things this season.

A riot of asters greeted us when we got back from our vacation in September.

Taken in October, another favorite picture, my dahlias - one more example for last year´s "cutting garden".

Freezing temperatures in November, which resulted in this pretty picture.

And last but not least, Emma contemplating over the advent wreath in December.

I was going to include a little personal summary of 2016 here but frankly I am more and more struggling to share personal things here. And then yesterday I read this post by the wonderful Cara of Peonies and Polaroids and I loved her words so much that I am just going to quote her here:

"I know that on a global scale 2016 has been a bit of a shit but if anything maybe it can remind us to hold on to the beautiful moments ahead, because however fast our journey in that handcart may be the moments of mundane magic, of everyday miracles, of the golden light will be there too."

Amen. May your 2017 be filled with golden light!

Friday
Dec232016

And so this is Christmas.

... and I am signing off for this year. May your days be merry and bright! And as always, thank you for reading.

Sunday
Dec182016

A midwinter baking day.

We have an old functional bake house in the village that gets used maybe twice a year (it has already made an appearance here). It has become a small tradition to do a gathering there shortly before Christmas - last year we didn´t attend for some reason I can´t think of anymore, but this year we did and I spent all Saturday morning preparing some goods that I wanted to bake in the brick oven. Above are Hungarian "Kipferl" made with a wheat sourdough and soured milk - recipe is here

Here´s the bakehouse. Basically what you do is burn a whole lot of logs in that oven over the course of one whole day so that the brick gets really hot. Once you want to bake the embers are being removed and the oven gets a rough cleaning with a very wet cloth and then the bread goes in. Sounds simple but of course it´s not because you can´t control the heat like in a conventional oven. But more on that in a minute.

My husband made mulled wine which we warmed over that bonfire. I got him that tripod/kettle thingy as a birthday gift a few years ago. Thank god for gatherings like these or otherwise we wouldn´t use it ever. 

Besides the Kipferl I prepared this sourdough bread with shredded rye (this recipe). It was a bit worried how it would turn out since we were running late - baking bread requires impeccable timing but at the agreed time the oven just wasn´t ready - not much to do about it. So my bread was way overproof by the time it finally went into the oven (meaning it had risen too much/was baked too late) but I think the cold prevented the worst. 

Here´s the result. It turned out really good I have to say. It´s a rustic bread so I figured it would do well in the hot oven, and I was right. It has a lovely crust and a flavor that you can only achieve in that kind of oven.

The Kipferl turned out fine too. The oven was still too hot for them so they got charred a bit but they tasted wonderful. One of the neighborhood kids polished off five Kipferl in one go and not a single one got left over so I assume I did well. 

Bonus picture that has nothing to do with baking bread but is too cute to not share it here. Happy 4th advent from Emma who sits on what will be a wreath some day. Always helpful!

Monday
Dec122016

New sofa covers.

A tiny little post on our new sofa covers because they are making me happy. In our living room we have an Ikea "Kivik" sectional that we dearly love. It was one of the first things that we bought for the house and I still think it is a great fit. However after more than five years of wear and tear, the covers were filthy. I did wash them twice a year but lately it didn´t really improve things anymore. I guess with twenty paws in the house this isn´t actually surprising.

However I didn´t realize how filthy the sofa was until we got our new pale grey covers and they were basically the same color as our old, originally white ones. Ha. The new covers are from Bemz - you can get replacement covers from Ikea but I didn´t like their fabric choices. Plus Bemz had a huge sale in November so we just went for it. And I am so glad we did, I love the new covers! So clean! For maybe two seconds until Ludwig first drooled on it. Oh well. 

I was a bit worried things would be too matchy-matchy in here since the covers are now almost the same color as the walls. I didn´t really mind though because I was planning to go darker in here with new paint. That might still happen, but I don´t think it´s terrible as it is. But maybe definitely some new cushion covers? Time will tell.