Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Bloggers Block and Social Media

I am sitting here hitting the keys to form some words then backspacing them. Switching tabs over to check Facebook notifications about who 'likes' a comment I made or a photo I posted. I think I need to check my Instagram quickly to see if anyone put a heart on my Oatmeal. What did that politician just Tweet about, Im probably going to spend the next 15 minutes reading the comments on that irrelevant tweet. Oh by the way I just binge watched Mind Hunters on Netflix.

Reading all of the above it would be hard for anyone to believe when I say 'I am not obsessively active on social media'. Thats a lie. I am. Maybe not on the surface. When I started this blogging hobby slash online journal I decided to keep it away from my personal Facebook. Who wants to share their diary with the world? This question is as outdated as a walkman. Everyone seems to be doing it. I gave in too and shared my blog posts occasionally on my FB. A few likes, some unimaginative-social courtesy-comments, some honest encouragement from a select few and a reality check for me that it is easier to share things anonymously when the fear of judgement and approval is all together removed from the situation. No matter what we tell ourselves; I find it true for myself that I wouldn't mind a stranger judging me but the same coming from a 'friend' on social media affects me.

Need to double check if I am an introvert of some sort. I recently realised I enjoy going through my Instagram and Twitter more than Facebook. I have anonymous accounts both on IG and Twitter. That makes my predicament easier to understand. I use IG to keep up with the trends, bloggers, insta stories of people I like. I don't feel the constant pressure of acknowledging every single post on there because I don't owe anyone any social courtesy to do so. The only things I post there are my weight loss related photos, some interiors & home related photos and thats it. I follow random people and famous people. I get to learn so much everyday. New books, nutrition, recipes, life hacks, contouring, thrifting, primark hauls..you name it!

What I want to put out here is that all the reasons I had for starting up a blog however humble and small have now changed their form. I used to read endless blog posts. Not anymore because I get it all on instagram instead.

I look back at some of my earliest posts and I shake my head in disbelief. How could I post that unfiltered, uncropped, hideous photo of a silly project I made back then. This thought process is exactly what stopped me from writing blog posts. I feel like the free issue of weekly newspaper that ends up at your door without you asking for it, while the rest of the BLOGGERS are Glossy magazines with unbelievably fine photography and editing skills.

I need to come at terms with myself and work and be merry with whatever I can offer. I have thought it through and come to a conclusion that in this fast paced, social media friendly lifestyle that I crave and aim for I am going to loose my own real self. Now I am not saying that I am going to be real and raw and post about my issues without abandon. What I will do is to try and share the things that make me happy, some rants, some photos taken only with an iPhone.
Not everyone is good with power tools. All DIYs are not affordable. You can't keep up with all the trends. Some of us don't know a thing about editing and planing posts. Its good to learn something you don't know. Its feels good to take a nice photo staged or real.

The most frequently visited post on my blog is about how to recycle a Diaper Box

So there are people out there who still look for basic stuff. I got caught up in doubting and undermining myself. I stopped blogging because of that. I need to change that. We evolve as time goes by. I moved to Europe only 8 years ago. I started off in a studio apartment with one sofa bed that my husband already had. We moved twice within the city and a couple of months back we moved from Germany to Austria. As life changed so did my canvas. We should embrace each stage as it comes. There surely are others out there who can relate to you and your work.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

MidSummer Bonfire in Bavaria 2016

I thought I'd share some photos from the Feurfest or Fire Festival that our local town had last month. Germans take their festivities quite seriously! The Mayor of Ottobrunn was spotted donning a leder Hose and Chugging on a Beer Maß.

I was intrigued to find out more. Turns out its a pagan tradition that wards off all evil. Witches are not invited to the party!

Did you know that the loops of the pretzel are believed to represent arms crossing the chest for prayer. 

In my opinion though, the shape is best suited for toddler hands to nibble on !

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Cookie Mosque

The foundation stone of this idea came from the Classic Gingerbread house. I made it last month for Eid. Living in a different culture I always make a tiny bit extra effort to create something that my 5 year old son can associate with in terms of religious festivities. His friends get cookies, gingerbread houses and presents on Christmas; I want him to have the same feeling of celebration too.

The end result of my Architectural venture resembled the Blue Mosque a bit! Our printer had some last minute issues so I could not print a template. Good old paper and pencil came to the rescue.

 I drafted a shape for the dome and minarets which seemed all balanced on paper but I did end up with issues during assembly.

I cut out the drafted mosque template using a sharp knife on the cookie dough. *Chilled Cookie dough* yes thats important. I was worried that the shape will stretch out if I tried lifting it up from the counter to the cookie sheet so i actually placed the rolled dough onto the baking sheet and just peeled the excess off after cutting the shape.

Once all my pieces were baked and cooled I started the assembly. This is where I realised that the dome part was thicker and thus heavier than the rest of the piece. it started cracking as soon as I had it standing up in position with the side walls. Eventually it toppled under its own weight !
So a good tip would be to choose a shape that is balanced in a cookie form not just on paper AND to roll the dough evenly.

I troubleshooted by slicing the dome off completely with a sharp knife and adding it separately behind the front wall. I used thick royal icing for the entire assembly. I used instant royal icing this time instead of the egg white method. recipes of which can be found on the internet.

How To make Sugar Lace without Tylose Powder
For the design details I tried making sugar lace for the first time,without Sugarveil. Turned out really well. I got the recipe for it from youtube but finding ingredients here in germany is like finding dory! I took the liberty of replacing tylose powder with Kukident available at all drogerie markets. its cellulose and it worked perfectly. Here is the link to the recipe 3 Ingredient Sugar Lace
After peeling the lace from its mat I just snipped it off to add details on the windows and minarets.

Loved the end product.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom Cake

 I made this for my nephew who was coming from England to stay with us. He had his second birthday and after Peppa Pig his next favourite was Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom. Although my mind finds it difficult to relate the same voices from peppa pig to fairies and elves!

I used gum paste for the figures, buttercream for the icing and edible pens for the details.
We do not like to eat fondant in all honesty..so I only used it as a cuff around the cake instead of the entire cake.

                                           I hope that Gaston doesn't haunt you at night :D

Doily Lace Cake

I was going through my phone photos from what seems like a light year ago. I have been baking and making throughout the last year but I did not get around on blogging anything.

Here's a simple doily cake I made using the tip of an icing nozzle to make the lace eyelets.
To make the flower shape I used a large peony cutter.

Cake is made using my favourite Wilton Easy Layer pan set.

 The recipe for the Chocolate Fondant is from  Kessy's Pinksugar.

Football Themed Party

I know its August and I am about to share a party that took place in December 2015. The thing with party trends and for that matter any thing 'trending' these days is that its all a short lived affair. Who would have thought just 20 years ago that our living spaces, crockery, phones, apps and bucket lists could change at such  rapid pace.

I hope my son's 5th birthday party pictures are still a little in the trending zone. Mama was not blogging all this time!

Selecting a theme is second on my list. I first scan and see whats available and then I try to match that to my son's interests. So far this approach has worked well with me. He goes to football training once a week but if I had asked him what he wanted for his birthday he would have said Chuggington, Minions, or Ninjago. Fair enough he should be allowed to choose..but giving him and using mama skills to convince him on something that I would find convenient is a skill I own. *10 points to me*

I wanted it to look modern and appealing by playing with black, white, and green with gold accents (my go to colours at the time and still )

 Referee's  Whistles instead of Party Horns

 Mini Trophies for the champions

 Good old timer hand games, No tabs or apps needed ;)

Goodie Bags ordered off eBay, styled by using clothespins which I painted and added gold glitter for the oomph. I cut out the circles from a single sheet of printed card paper. 
 Ikea placemats if you didn't guess already! 

P.S I have a thing against printed party plates and cups. I just steer clear of them.

Football/Soccer Shirt Cookies- These cookies were such a hit with the kids. I mean children always like things with their names written on them. Especially 5 year olds who can actually read and write only their own names!

I free handed on that 'Goal' banner..since I don't own a fancy circuit machine. Painted it gold and then added a layer of glitter glue. Isn't it pretty!

 Here is the tallest cake on my scoreboard. It was not as easy as it seemed it would be. I don't make fondant cakes too often so after watching many youtube tutorials this was made. I used a wilton ball mould for the Football Cake. For the middle I used the Wilton Easy Layer Pans. I had to divide the baking, cooling and icing 2 days ahead of time. For the grass I used a Fondant Extruder.

 We had Mini Sausage buns, Fries, Chicken Balls and popcorn on the menu.
Finger Football for the elder siblings invited. and Musical Chairs for the little ones. During the party we had out German neighbour knocking at he door for turning the music off. Ahhh there is always a party spoiler !

 Our apartment is not too big but still we accommodated more than 20 children. I made a small photo backdrop in the foyer/ entrance to snap photos as soon as a guest child entered. I used astro turf and white masking tape to mimic a football field.

 A cheer leader pom pom made out of bin bags! 

 After party clean up!

I did ask him what he wanted for the cake that he had to take for his kindergarten and he said Jake the neverland pirate.

Disney's Frozen Party for BOYS!

*******EDIT: This post was written back in 2015 and never posted. Nevertheless, I am sharing this now in August 2016*******

I had almost taken a golden handshake from blogging. Its been a year. Coming back in slow pace, the first post is dedicated to the Frozen shivers that everyone seems to have gotten in the party planning world!

Well yes BOYs loved the movie as much as girls did.
It might not be 'pinterest-worthy' but my 4 year old LOVED it.
I didn't die planning and cooking.
I cleaned my hands on some great bargains for the supplies!

Lets get the photos to do the rest of blabbering!
Will share noteworthy  deets under each pic!

Rolls of wrapping sheets..after xmas sales: 3 for €1.99 πŸ‘Œ
Charecter Banner: Printed on photo paper and attached to blue paper string. ( home printer, no immediate cost )
Number Four cut out to resemble the disney font. Normal A4 paper.
Paper Fans:  I had this big roll of plain brown wrapping sheet purchased at Aldi last year. ( it would'nt be anything above €2 and I have used it alot before- no immediate cost )
I could have bought a fancy paper but I thought why not use whats at hand. It really went well despite being the odd color. Tutorials on how to make one of your own can be found online.

The snowflake in the middle are cheapo styro cut outs found at a discount store for €2 for all 3 πŸ‘

Tassel garlend is such a hit party decor idea or just a fun way to pretty-ofy any space for that matter!

What I normally see in tutorials is the tissue paper in metallics etc but since I live in 1921 of crafting supplies era aka Munich I could not find a descent place to buy that!
I had tons of crepe paper rolls sitting inside my drawers and I decided to use what was on hand. They were bought by my husband in bulk in every color on the wheel some 2 years back..so many that I used them on my son's second birthday too but still have plenty left! 

I think the crepe paper gave them alot more fluff? body? I added silver in to add some sparkle. So the immediate cosy for the tassel banner was just €1 for the silver foil.
Please notice the OMBRE effect πŸ‘
Oh and once I made the banner and added the tassels on string ribbon they kept gathering in the middle and didnt balance. I fixed that up by putting some extra wide waschi tape ( also on hand ) to distance each tassel from the other. 

Loot Bags/ Goodie Bags
I got these gift bags in packs of 6 from Aldi again! A couple of months ago when I had still not made up my mind about the theme. I was lucky that the christmasy items all over the stores went so well with the Frozen theme. These bags were €1,99 per pack of 6 if I am not forgetting. But surely they were not over the budget. Aldi πŸ‘

For the goodies I had seen treat tubes on etsy and I searched for the thin tube bags online and again I failed to find them in Germany. Had my mind fixed on them so I decided to make my own. 
The first few were such a pain in the umm head that I wanted to quit the idea.
Perfect Backdrop!

Then I tried used a hot glue stick as a mould to roll the cellophene strips into a tube and taped them on the long sides- stapled the bottom. Ta da! I used cupcake topper printables to top these!
Annnnnnd whats that silver thing you ask? 😜 certainly not the €9 per sheet of metallic silver card paper sheet I saw at Muller. Its a €1 ROLL of draw liner available at the 1 Euro shop! πŸ‘ 

Filled with smarties!

I had different age groups invited so the bags had to be age appropriate.
For the bigger kids I made some book marks and door hangs (Love is an open Door!)

I was sooooo sad that my themed goodies were lost in the christmas rush of post that they arrived a week after the birthday:( so I had to make do with some puzzles, play doughs and other toys as fillers. plus more candy and sweets! This set me off a little from my budget but 'twasokayyyy!

Table Setting
I had some fancy shamancy plans lined up for the menu and setting..chocolate fondu for example but  i had to remind myself that it was a party for a four year old and the guests were little naughty monkeys too!
First, the disposable paper sheet! So important to be prepared for spills and accidents! I used three tables my dining table, garden table and an extra table with detachable legs that I had in storage.
Covered in white paper it gave a nice plain look and binded the look together.
 For the table runner again I got that in a roll for just €1 πŸ‘ christmas season!!

For the coasters hold on to your socks! This was a window trim from xmas decor felt. €1.50 for the trim. I cut the snowflakes off it and used them as coasters!

Napkins are plain ones from Lidl my local grocery store! See the thing is Party supplies with printed napkins, cups and plates etc can be a bit pricey and in this case EVERY item I came accross online had elsa or anna printed on them NOTHING for boys! 
I printed these images and just stringed them with paper ribbon! Plain cheapo cutlery from the Euro shop againπŸ‘ No matching birthday sets for the table..but still used nicely the alternatives worked so well for me.

I used portion divider plates for the kiddos to manage better. The sides have washi tape on them. Just to spruce them up a bit!

With the party goblets. I did spend a bit extra..€1 for four..I got four packs so €16 for those as compared to the plain cups which are much cheaper. Its ok to spend a bit in one department if thats what it takes to boost up the look!

Sven's Antlers ..these are such cute replacements for party hats! I made these by making a free hand template..took some time to cut those curves but so worth it. I used elasticated thread for the back.

I did not aim for a show stopper but. I was pleasantly pleased with what I made. Simple non fondant cake..I just wish I had played with more play dough as a child, maybe then I would have tried fondant!
The idea, recipe of cake, buttercream and ganach filling all are from Cookies Cupcakes and Cardio. 
For the sea glass candy ALL recipes called for corn syrup..NOT available in germany! I used an alternate recipe with no thermometer and no cornsyrup! Will share that seperately.

I ordered the figures from Amazon last minute! My original set of figures ordered from China included Sven as well but it has still not reached..as I type this post. Not good.
 The snowflake border comes from a pack of sprinkes I got from the grocery store. It had snow wafers, colored sugar and sprinkles all in one pack! 

Other items include 
Sandwitches, pizza pops, nuggets, pringles, Sven cookies, mac n cheese and a hot choco bar!