Sunday, December 25, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cranberry Meringue Cookies

These are among my favorite Christmas cookies.  So much so, that this is the second batch I am making this season. The third when considering that the first batch was a double.  It might have something to do with the fact that I haven't met a meringue that I didn't like.  Need some convincing?  Then take a look at what I posted in April.  Anyway, the cookies eat fast.

Cranberry Meringue Cookies

2 egg whites, cold
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
4 drops of food red coloring (optional)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3.5 ounces dried cranberries, chopped

Preheat oven to 250˚ F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.  With an electric mixer set on medium, beat egg whites until slightly foamy.  Add lemon juice and continue to beating until soft peaks form.  Gradually add sugar (about 1 tablespoon at a time); food coloring (optional) and lemon zest, continue beating until the mixture forms stiff peaks. Gently fold in the chopped dried cranberries. Drop the meringue by teaspoon (mounds about 1¼" diameter) onto the prepared baking sheet. Should yield approximately 60 cookies.

Bake at 250˚F for 35-40 Minutes, or until dry.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Simple Christmas Décor

This seems to be the year of simplified Christmas décor in our house.   It wasn't a conscious decision. It just sort of happened and I am really liking the outcome.  In fact, I see a purge of my holiday decorations coming up.

 A few festive branches.

Pine cones, some additional candles, and just a little bit of shimmer.

Wishing everyone a peaceful third advent.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Craft It Forward - Thank You!

Yesterday I received mail; Craft It Forward mail from Juliette.   The package totally made my day and was so thoughtfully put together.

I loved everything, but these tags are my absolute favorite.  I just love their simplicity.  Now I just have to find a way to show them off, you know subtly.

This card that Juliette included says it all.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Some Things Go

And other things enter. 

Insanely awesome things.  This Plycraft lounge chair and ottoman made their way into our home a few weeks ago.  You see, I have been up to more than purging around here.  I did get rid of a sofa (see the first picture in my last post) to make room for them.  My parents bought the set 49 years ago and I am elated that my mom said yes when I asked if I could have it.  Thanks Mom!  Now I just need to talk her out of a teak dining table, high boy and buffet.  Not gonna happen, but I can dream. The chair needs a different pillow and I am thinking of painting the nesting tables, but those are just little details.  In my book it is both useful and beautiful, so it is a double score.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

More of Less

Is thinking about posting the same as actually posting?  Maybe "More of Less" also applies to blogging? This blog in particular.  Excuses I know, but somewhat valid sounding.

Well, I have been busy with stuff. Literally.

I took this picture the eve before our big Sperrmüll pick up a few weeks ago.  This pile of stuff equals the weight I felt lifted from my shoulders when I came home the next day to find it gone.

A long overdue closet purge is another item that I can finally strike through on my to do list.  The fruits of my labor consisted of 5 bags of clothes to donate and a bag destined for the trash.  Among the items I let go was a top that I wore the day my grandmother died.  Every time I looked at it, wore it (yes I did), or washed it I was transported to that horrid day.  I should have donated it a long time ago, but it is gone now and I suppose it is all part of the process of mourning.

I realize that I have been heavy on the topic of organizing and purging, but it is what has been on my mind.  Hopefully you will bear with me, because I am not quite done.   Besides all of the purging I did bring something "new" into our home.  A post on that later this week.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

More of Less

You might remember the painting from my post about it in March or you might remember the More or Less post I did back in April about the contents of the top drawer of this cabinet.

However,  I forgot neglected  did not want to show you what is behind the doors of the cabinet.  Here we go.

It could be worse, but it could be a lot better.  So, I pulled everything out to survey the situation.  This is always the point that I want to quit and run away. Far away.

Sheets and duvets that I will never use again, old pillows, a curtain from our apartment (love the fabric), gift wrap supplies and a small stash of children's gifts.  It might seem over the top to have a gift stash (and I had been beginning to think so), but I have actually gone into the stash twice in the last 4 weeks. So, for now it is a keeper.

I dropped off the extra linens, along with 6 bags of clothes, purses, and miscellaneous accessories at an Oxfam store this morning.  After this Christmas I should be down to one roll of gift wrap (brown packing paper) and then all of the gift related stuff can fit on one shelf.  Who knows maybe I will get all crazy and keep one shelf (hold on to your seat belts) empty.  Sometime down the line I need to oil the cabinet and do something about the old and dingy contact paper.  I am just going to simmer down for now though.

After all, this is much better.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

More of Less

I have been obsessed with interested in organizing for a long time. Especially if other people are doing the organizing and I am watching the process on TV or on my computer screen.  Oh, I have dabbled in the process in the past (see my very neglected More of Less column).  In fact,  I am pretty sure that one of my very first purchases ever at IKEA included storage boxes.  I got rid of those boxes in January and wrote about it in my first post titled  More of Less.  Over the course of my "column" I lost sight of the title or maybe I just wasn't ready for what it really meant or not fully committed.  Who knows.

I am still not there, but I am closer.  For the longest time I thought being organized only involved putting things in pretty boxes or containers. It does not, that is merely a quick fix.  A few weeks ago I read this.
Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.
–William Morris.
Now this is the house that I want to live in and those should be the words repeated before something is organized into a box. Jules at Pancakes & French Fries is on her best way with her October series titled "31 Days of William Morris" and her blog is where I first read the quote.  It is also the place I have found countless hours of blog reading excellence.  Really.  Go have a look.

So what does this mean?  It means that I am taking no prisoners and  have ordered a special trash pick-up for large bulky items (called Sperrmüll in Germany).  Everything has to be out on the curb on the morning of October 25th.   I mean business.

I am also back in my shelves, containers and cabinets. Here is a photo of the after of a bathroom drawer,  unfortunately there is no before picture.

It was one of those organizing projects that came about spontaneously.  As in, I opened the drawer and went into a fit.  It was a productive fit.  I threw out a lot of stuff (mainly lipgloss).  You know the half used, can't remember when I bought it kind.  Most importantly I found a use for the dividers that  came with the pullout drawers from the IKEA PAX closet.  I hope they will help keep mayhem at bay. This post is all about purging, but sometimes it pays to keep (see the useful part of the quote).  I even had to partake in some saw action so that the slats would fit. Yes, I am talking real big time blogger stuff and I only have this picture to show for it.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I am One

3@12, that is. This is not really how I envisioned my post to be for today.  Over two weeks since my last post, a photo I have previously used, and no real plan on what to write.  Still, I did not want my one year blog birthday to go by without mention and most importantly thank everyone who reads it. A real big thanks to you! 

Not sure what year two will bring, but I am hoping a painted stool, an organized house, better photography and better follow through (see the first three items) will be a part of it.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

It's all about the Glitter

Back in August this post by Anna started my obsession with nails and then she added to it with this post.  I have had glitter and patterned manicures on the brain ever since.  Apparently I am not the only one because I have seen them all over Blogland, Pinterest, and Twitter.

At the moment my nails look like this.

It took me a few about 6 attempts (and lots of nail polish remover) to get them close to my Pinterest inspiration (thanks for pinning Tesca). 

There are tutorials all over the web (even on YouTube) for this type of gradiated or ombré glitter manicure.  I used five (yes 5) different polishes: base coat, solid teal, teal glitter, clear with larger teal glitter and finally a top coat.  Apply base coat, then the solid color just a the edge (like with a french manicure), the glitter polish from the middle of the nail plate up to the edge,  the clear polish with large glitter a few millimeters from the cuticle all the way to the nail edge, and finally the top coat. A little time consuming I admit, but I love it.

We don't have Sally Hansen Nail Strips that Anna used available here in Germany, but yesterday I bought a set of Incoco Nail Strips  (A very big thank you to Frau Haselmeyer for finding them.)  You can guess what is going on my nails next. :) For right now though, it is all about the glitter.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Cargo Cafe, Staten Island on September 13, 2001

10 years ago today I was living in NYC with Milt.  We were both pretty excited on that morning because it marked the start of our last work week.  That Friday we were flying to Germany and we were going to marry a week later.

I had to leave for work a little early because of an early meeting.  When I got to the office I  went straight to our large conference room.  About 30 minutes in to the meeting I noticed there was a man on the roof of the building across the street with his eyes fixed south.  I remember thinking how odd it was.  Never could I have imagined what he was looking at.

A few minutes later a co-worker popped her head in the room and told us what was going on.  I went down to my floor and started to frantically call Milt.  He worked only two blocks from the World Trade Center.  I couldn't get through and I checked my messages.  He had left me a message as he came out of the subway saying that there was smoke and fire spewing from the World Trade and people appeared to be  falling out.  He was heading for his office.

Everyone on our floor gathered around the TV and watched the events unfurl with the rest of the world.  When the first tower fell I ran to the phone again to reach Milt.  I remember shaking so bad that I couldn't get the numbers right,  a co-worker dialed for me.  I was so happy to get through and hear his voice.  We spoke briefly and agreed that he would walk up to get me (about 40 blocks) and that we would try to make it home together.  I don't remember what time he finally got to my office.  I just remember him standing at my cubicle all of a sudden. It was such a relief.

We didn't linger long and started our walk back downtown.  At the time we lived in Staten Island and took the Ferry from the very bottom tip of Manhattan to get home.  The further we got down the emptier the streets became.  There was no traffic.  By the time we got to the vicinity of the financial district Manhattan was a ghost town.  There was ash and paper every where and cars standing doors ajar in the middle of the street.  The burnt smell in the air was strong.  We made it down to the ferry terminal and were relieved that they were still running.  The sight from the harbor was unfathomable.  Smoke where just that morning the two towers stood proudly.  We had seen them come down on TV, but it didn't seem real until that moment.

The memories of that day and the months that followed will linger forever in my mind.  Months of unease, fear, grief and yet I was fortunate.

We were fortunate.  Our story continued and a mere ten days later Milt and I were married in Germany. For nearly 3,000 people the story ended.  In the memories of their loved ones and friends they will never be forgotten.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Mini Hack

More like microscopic hack.  Back in July I posted about the SORTERA bins that I bought to store our recycling bottles.  I am pretty happy with them, except for one tiny little thing.  When stacked (and they are meant to be) the flip tops don't/can't stay open.  Kind of pain when you are putting stuff in.  Enter these little guys.

A total of 4 mini, but super strong magnets.  Two in the upper bin and two in the lid of the lower bin.

A little super glue and ta-da my first IKEA hack. :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

September Garden

Here we are in September, the month that brings autumn.

Looking at the garden  I can see the first signs of the changing season, but I think there is still some summer left. 


This time of year is actually my favorite, with the crisp mornings followed by warm afternoons and most the green in the garden looking, well still green.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tomato Jam

The weather is still all over the place and my tomato crop is still the bomb. Luckily Pinterest came into my life a few months ago, because I would have never thought to look up a recipe for tomato jam.  The pin was a recipe from Bliss (please check out her blog).  I had a little less than 4 pounds of tomatoes, so I adjusted the other ingredients accordingly.  Actually I guessed. 

It looks pretty good in the glass.  It tastes so much better.  This afternoon I had a smear on my ham and sourdough bread sandwich.  Tomorrow I am trying it on grilled cheese.

Now my tomatoes aren't ripening fast enough.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Open Garden

Last year a friend and I visited several gardens in my area that were participating in an open garden day or Die Offene Gartenpforte for Hessen (the German state or Bundesland that I live in).  We decided to start at the one located in a small town near us.  Thinking back about it, we should have never left and here is why.

This private garden also has a wonderful store attached to it, Feldmann Haus und Garten (unfortunately they do not have a website), that sells garden/ home accessories and furniture from companies like Lambert and Gervasoni.  They are open every week on Thursday and Friday. The best part is that garden is also open to the public on the days the store is.  Needless to say that I have spent a few hours there since my first visit. 


Bergstr. 70
64319 Pfungstadt.

Both the store and the garden are so worth a visit.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Flowers

Friday is always the day for fresh flowers in our house.  It was a tradition that I started while living in Brooklyn.  There I would go to a flower shop in Grand Central during lunch or stop by the Union Square Farmers Market on my way home.   I still get flowers on Friday, but now I can do it country style. :) During the summer months I pick them myself at one of the many pick your own fields nearby.  I was going to bring my camera and take pictures of the field, but I forgot it in my usual morning rush.  So, you will have to make do with pictures of my harvest, pickings, or whatever.


Sword Lilies

Looking at the last picture reminds me that I still have some unfinished business with the Thonet stool.   I did buy a tub of wood filler and I am now pretty sure that it will end of being painted yellow. In my book that counts as progress.

Monday, August 15, 2011


A while back I found a cool idea for gift wrapping via one of Juliette's pins.  When I saw all that confetti I knew I had found the perfect wrapping idea for my best friend's birthday present (we use to hide confetti in each others gifts).  This was the year to reinstate the tradition or at least allude to it.

Packing paper, double sided tape, hole-punch art paper, sprinkle confetti.  Done.  Wait, forgot one thing.  Vacuum. :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

2 days down

And about 2,398 to go.  School days that is.  We made it through the first two and I am okay. :) Last week I posted about the German (& Austrian) tradition of giving each 1st grader a Schultüte and wanted to follow up with some pictures of how Sam's turned out.

Mission accomplished.

Time flies

 And suddenly my little baby, my little boy is starting school.

Monday, August 1, 2011


One more week and Sam will be starting school.  It is all new to us, since neither Milt nor I ever attended a German school.  One of the most important things about starting school here is the Schultüte that every child entering the 1st grade receives.  It is a large decorated cardboard cone that is filled with small toys, school supplies, and sweets.  The idea being that this gift will make the start of school a bit sweeter.  A nice tradition, I think.

There are plenty of pre-made ones that can be purchased, but I thought it would be nicer to come up with my own design.  My little guy is totally into dinosaurs at the moment, so I wasn't surprised that he choose them as a motive when I asked him.  I am still working on it, but this is how my project is doing at the moment.

Friday, July 29, 2011

More of Less

It has been very rainy here in Germany, so I had to regroup my to-do list and am now working on some projects I had thought to do in the Fall and Winter.  Last November I started to organize my spice cabinet.  Notice the word November (wet and grey).  It is now July (also wet and grey).  OK, I am now moving on. I still have a five tickets for the outdoor pool.  Moving on. At the BBQ we had this weekend guests huddled around the grills. Really moving on. Now. 

First thing I did was buy more jars during my trip to IKEA.  I had originally thought to buy the DROPPAR jars, but when I saw the ones from the 365+ IHÄRDIG series it was container love at first sight.  After a little rethinking about which spices would go in what jars I got out my glass marker  and got to work. Labeling was a step that I skipped last go around and I came to find it is really hard to tell the difference between curcuma, curry and masala once they are in the jars.

Much better.

I got rid of the box the salt comes in and am now storing it in this canning jar.  The opening was the perfect size to use during cooking.   Then I just added an unnecessary label and I was happy.