Thursday 31 May 2012

Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

No, seriously! Do you speak German? I ask because my good old friend Susanna has just gone and started a blog called Bücher, Essen etc.... In German. But maybe you would like to learn?! 

Susanna and I worked together in the same bookshop in Cologne for a few years, I lived with her for a little while and she did my bridal make-up. I will actually get to see her when Marco and I go to Germany next week, and I am very much looking forward to that! So far, Susanna has blogged about her cat Ratte, her bike, the town she lives in, and a few other snippets from her life. She shares vegan recipes as well! Overall, she is one lovely lady! I am really glad that I now have a real-life blogging friend!

Susanna speaks English too, though, so if you want to go and leave her a 'hello' instead of a 'hallo', I'm sure she will be pleased. In fact, why don't you go and welcome her into the blog world in any language whatsoever. Just tell her I sent you. Dankeschön!


© Text & Photos - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).

Wednesday 30 May 2012

Alright, then.

Seeing as that is the only bit of blue left in the London sky at the moment, I thought I might as well give you those updates on my projects I was talking about yesterday (when I said I did not feel like blogging...). I will just assume that me deciding to wash our pillows and duvet today is just coincidental with the weather deciding to give us some rain. Anything else is just too messed up to think about it! Well, at least I got almost everything dry before the first drops fell.

So, here is update number one, for le sky scarf:

I have arranged all my balls of wool neatly in cups and glasses on a tray. So far, everything has stayed tangle-free. It also lets me easily store the project on the living room cabinet, well out of the way of my darling cats. 

You can see that since I started at the beginning of May, the weather has been pretty grey, except for the last glorious week and a half. I have not yet used any of the deep summer blue, but fortunately also none of the thunderstorm grey. Although today I might have to...

Update number two is for the wedding quilt:

I'm done with cutting out the squares. All 270 of them! Suddenly this project is starting to seem a bit daunting again. But it's been fun so far, and I can see the finished quilt vaguely in my mind. Onwards and upwards, ho! I believe it can be achieved.

Which leaves update number three, my lovely craft room:

The floor turned out beautiful! Whenever I go upstairs now, I need to factor in about 10 minutes of staring at the light wood and the pretty wallpaper. I have not moved in yet, before that happens I will need a trip to Ikea and the hardware store to get supplies to build a desk and shelves. This won't happen until after we're back from Germany. But that's okay, as I have been using the room as a workshop for refurbishing a little cabinet that is going to go next to my side of the bed. Yay! That's another project I will hopefully be able to show you soon!


© Text & Photos - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).


Tuesday 29 May 2012

It's Too Darn Hot

I must apologize for still being a bit unreliable with my blogging. It's finally summer in England (let's hope it lasts for more than a week!) and sitting in front of my laptop has not been a priority. I have not quite been tap-dancing around my living room in a bathing suit, but the picture of Mae pretty much conveys what I feel like doing at the moment. Letting the sun warm my bones! I have a book review to write for Forever Free and I could show you progress on my wedding quilt and my sky scarf, so hopefully I will get those things up here soon. 

But I must warn you that I also have a Germany vacation planned next week, to go to my parents' housewarming and then to spend some time with friends in Essen and Cologne, so there might not be much posting happening then, either. But I have a feeling I might bring back photos...

To be honest, at the moment I am kinda thinking of giving myself the whole summer off, but I think I would miss you guys too much! So for now, please bear with me while I tend to life.

For something to do, maybe you would like to enter my knitting pattern giveaway?

© Text & Photos - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).

Friday 25 May 2012

Fine Tuning: Kanye West - All Of The Lights


© Text & Photos - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).

Thursday 24 May 2012

A Room Of My Own

We all know that for a woman's well-being and mental maintenance it is important she have a room of her own (see Virginia Woolf). I might be slightly antagonizing the underlying feminist idea by having my room be a craft haven, but I don't care! Over the last few weeks, the little box room in my house has been cleared and completely renovated!

I had been looking forward to this, but after an initial bout of DIY madness when we first moved into our home 5 years ago, Marco and I had grown tired of spending our weekends at the home improvement store or wielding tools, so this room ended up the last largely unfinished area and was abused as storage. I did have a desk in there, but because I did not feel a lot of love for this space yet, it was always really, really untidy. I do not know how I deserve Marco's generosity, because unlike me and my domain, he will not have a boys' room. But I guess because I will spend so much time in the craft room once it is finished, the rest of the house will pretty much be his!

So the first daunting task was to establish whether or not the floor was still there, and clearing out the mess. I salvaged anything that was useful and stored it in the guest room (I know I just shifted the problem to another space, but it will be dealt with once the craft room is ready for me to move in!). Anything else filled one big garbage bag.

It was an amazing improvement already to be able to move around freely without stepping on stuff or boxes collapsing on top of you!

The cupboard in this room used to hold the massive pleistocene boiler before we replaced it with a newer model when our kitchen and bathroom were being done. Behind the boiler was this amazing vintage kids' wallpaper with bunnies and ducks partaking in all kinds of pastimes. The wallpaper looks like it was handprinted. Even though I stripped the rest of the room of its textured vinyl, this remnant of another time will stay!

Mae is not yet sure what she thinks of the renos, but Missy quickly discovered that she can jump out the open window onto the roof over our front door, from where she can watch the going-ons in our street. It took her slightly longer to figure out how to get back in, but she has mastered that move too now. But there may have been an attempted rescue mission involving a ladder before she finally switched her brain on....

It did not take very long to strip the walls, mostly due to the fantastic steamer we have. And in addition to getting rid of the textured paper on the walls, it felt like spending a few hours in a Turkish bath!

After the walls were bare, I sanded and painted all the wooden surfaces, including the window, the skirting boards and the built-in cupboards. It was ever so gratifying to look at all the pristine white after the job was done.

Then we put wallpaper on again. I picked a really lush design of branches and cherry blossoms on a black background. It's very boudoir, but looks amazing. I bought the wallpaper a long while back when it was on sale, because I just loved the pattern, and that caused a bit of a panic when we realized that we were about half a length short on the final piece! Predictably, the shop I had bought it at did not carry it anymore, but I found a few websites that were still selling the design. Never mind that that one additional roll cost as much as the three other ones together. Lesson learned: never buy wallpaper on a whim when you only have a guesstimate of the actual room size!

While I love a bit of DIY (when it does not drag on for months and months and months). my husband can only cope with it with the help of many a swear word and the occasional sip from a beer bottle! I am so grateful that he was willing to help with everything, though! Yesterday he spent his entire day off work sanding the floorboards after replacing a few faulty ones in my room and our upstairs hallway. Today he will do the same again, the magnificent man! He even cancelled drinks with his friend tonight to make sure he gets the job done. LOVE YOU!!!!

Apart from with my husband, I am also so in love with this room! I cannot wait to move all my things back in there and have a place for my laptop and my sewing machine and all my projects and ideas! I will keep you updated on the progress.


© Text & Photos - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).

Wednesday 23 May 2012

Debbie Bliss Pattern Giveaway

Today I am giving away a little booklet with 6 new Debbie Bliss knitting patterns. Why, you ask me? Well, because I love you, Silly! And because this little booklet was shot just around the corner from where I live. That butcher's shop window the model is leaning against? We often get their delicious sausages for our barbecues. The bar in the restaurant where the dog is drinking? I booked my birthday dinner there! So I got pretty excited when I first saw this collection and got one copy for myself (even though the patterns are maybe a bit advanced for my knitting capabilities) and one for one of you! 

The tops you can knit following these patterns are all classic and elegant. Plus you might feel close to me while you're looking at the photos, and imagine what it would be like to meet up for a coffee and a chat in your new knitted cardi! Mwah! Check below how you can win! 

Here is how you can enter:

1) MANDATORY - Leave a comment below and tell me about your favourite shop/café/restaurant in your area.

2) OPTIONAL - For one more entry, follow my blog via Google Friend Connect and leave a separate comment if you are.

3) OPTIONAL - If you blog or tweet about this giveaway, please leave the link to your post or your tweet in another separate comment and you will be entered in the draw once more. You can use this tweet if you like: Win a @debbieblissnews pattern booklet! Check out @Live_Long_Day's blog to see how:

Please make sure you leave one comment for each action and that you provide some kind of contact detail that I can reach you at in case you win. The giveaway is open to anyone, anywhere in the world.

The giveaway will close at midnight (GMT) on Saturday, 2 June 2012 and I will draw a random comment and announce the winner the week after.



© Text & Photos - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).

Tuesday 22 May 2012

Wedding Quilt

I personally thought this day would never come. Nor did the people who kept asking me about the quilt I had told them I would make about two years ago. The back story? I asked everybody at our wedding to bring a piece of fabric that I was going to make into a memory quilt to remind Marco and me of the day and of all the people that shared it with us.

So we got married, people gave me special fabrics, and then this fabric just sat around for nearly 24 months. I was kind of apprehensive to start on the quilt. It is going to be my first one, and I was so afraid of messing it up. But now I will tackle it! It is still daunting, especially as there are quite a few materials like silk and wool that you would probably normally not quilt with. But I have managed a few smaller patchwork projects over the past months, and succeeding with those have given me the confidence to start something bigger. So far, I have only taken photos to catalogue who gave us which fabric, and washed all the pieces so that the finished blanket will not shrink. And yay! All the fabric survived! I will keep you up to date on the progress. Wish me luck!

Canadian friends gave us fabric that they used for their furniture.
My grandparents gave me a piece of corduroy from dungarees I had as a child. 
My friend Saskia made a quilt block especially for us.
My uncle (via my Mama) donated a piece of my old room's curtains.
My colleague and his wife gave us a Chinese silken handkerchief.
This is a fragment of a skirt my Mama made me when I was little.
My friend Susi brought a piece of window decorating fabric from the bookshop that we used to work at together.
Our friend John once made this batique that should have become a cushion but will no go in the quilt.

My aunt surprised us with a fabric remnant of the dress that she wore as a bridesmaid at my parent's wedding.
My friend Abi parted with a whole thoughtful collection that included her son's first hat.

Now I cannot wait to cut squares out of all these!


© Text & Photos - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).

Monday 21 May 2012

Lemon Mousse

Last Saturday a week ago Marco and I had friends over for lunch. Seeing as I had just gotten The Little Paris Kitchen for my birthday, the whole meal was made up of Rachel Khoo's recipes. We had trout tartare with a rhubarb and cucumber relish for starters and Venison Wellington with asparagus and a white sauce for mains. Everything was so easy and quick to prepare, I had never felt that relaxed before a lunch date before. Yet I got compliments for the food. Happy!

For dessert, I had planned to make Rachel's Orange Mousse, but when I read through the recipe I realized that I could as well adapt it to make a lemon mousse, for which I had nearly all ingredients at home. I also increased the quantity, because in the book the mousse is a part of a trio of desserts and I wanted to serve it by itself. I still had an unopened jar of lemon marmalade that I brought back from Italy when I went to see my friend Ceci. I used that instead of regular marmalade and I substituted the original Cointreau with Limoncello. You need to start this recipe the day before you intend to serve it, as the pastry cream needs overnight chilling.

LEMON MOUSSE (adapted from The Little Paris Kitchen)
(serves 4)


For the pastry cream:

3 medium egg yolks
50g caster sugar
20g cornflour
250ml milk
zest of one lemon, finely grated

To assemble:

2 tbsp Limoncello
5 tbsp lemon marmalade
300 ml double cream
zest of  lemon
1/2 tsp caster sugar


To make the pastry cream, beat the egg yolks with the sugar in a large bowl until the mix becomes lighter in colour and thickens up a bit. Then add the cornflour and beat until combined.

In a small saucepan, combine the milk and lemon zest. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring all the time. Take off the heat and gradually add to the egg mixture. Make sure to add the milk in small quantities and to whisk vigorously while you do, otherwise the eggs might scramble. 

Pour the mixture in a pot and return to a medium heat. Heat, stirring, until the mixture starts to thicken and throws bubble. Do not bring to a boil, remove it from the heat as soon as bubbles appear.

Pour the pastry cream into a bowl and cover with clingfilm. Push the clingfilm right down onto the top of the pastry cream, this will prevent a skin from forming. Place in the fridge and leave to chill overnight.

The next day, mix the Limoncello with the marmalade. Set aside.

Take the prepared pastry cream and whisk it until smooth. Whisk the double cream until stiff and fold half of  it into the pastry cream until well combined, then fold in the rest of the whipped cream.

Carefully fill one third of the cream mix into a small glass with a teaspoon. Gently knock it on your work surface to get rid of any air. 

Then layer half of the marmalade mix on top of the cream. Repeat the two layers and finish with cream. To garnish, mix the lemon zest and caster sugar and sprinkle this on top of the dessert. Serve with small galette or tuile biscuits if you like.


© Text & Photos - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).


Friday 18 May 2012

Fine Tuning: The Sheepdogs - I Don't Know

© Text & Photos - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).

Thursday 17 May 2012

Look! I can make curtains!

But hey, at least I finally got around to sewing some curtains for the living room! It was one of those projects that had been on my to-do list forever. It was really quick to do in the end, maybe a couple of hours.

I used a set of old sheets that I got from eBay, and cut in half the yellow sheet was about the right width to cover the window. So I could use the existing hems, which saved me a lot of work. Lengthwise, the sheet did not quite fit, but as I wanted a contrasting bottom anyway, that was not to much of a drawback. I cut strips of the other sheet with a floral pattern in matching colours and sewed them on, using the French seam technique for a neat finish, so that my neighbours don't have to look at untidy sewing when they pass by my house. Again, I made use of the existing hem, and did not have to hem the bottom edge myself.

French Seam
I did not like how, when the light fell through the curtains, you could see where the hem started, so I attached a length of jaquard trim over it. Even though this was not part of my initial plan, I very much liked the look of it.

And here are my new curtains, all done. I like how they are not too dark and still let some of the light shine through. The cats have already started hairing all over them, so I think they approve. And even Marco liked them, despite the floral pattern at the bottom! That has made me think that I might try and be able to sneak some more flowery stuff into our home... Shhhh!


© Text & Photos - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).