Storage clean-up time and preparations

IMG_0463Over the last year I collected a lot of stuff for my crafts. This year was really productive and therefore all the stuff started to spread from my craft room to the living room for easier access. Now though it might have been easier to have everything close, the solution was less than perfect. I ended up with a punch of boxes stacked next to the couch which were hard to access nevertheless.

IMG_0464Recently my hubby started. to talk about this – he was quite annoyed whenever I started something new or got additional material. This was the time where I realized that I had to do something about this. I searched for a solution and finally came up with one based on the Ikea Eket series. This can be stacked however you want and has doors to close everything in so that it does not gather dust. Now after several long minutes figuring out the instructions – who ever said that those are easy to understand? – and building the 3D-puzzle, I am now proud owner of my new craft storage in my living room. Now it’s fun to work on my WIPs again and hubby is happy too.

Speaking of WIPs – Polly Plum is hosting a Finish Along CAL where the goal is to finish as many WIPs as possible in ten weeks. In the progress of cleaning up my craft space I also made an imventory of all my current WIPs to set my goal for this CAL. Here is the list I came up with:

  1. IMG_0474the second Nuts about Squares in Earth colours
  2. my beach bag that needs some fabric added
  3. Sophie’s Universe
  4. a shawl I started quite some time ago but am not happy with the design
  5. Ross Poldark which I am currently working on tomget finished
  6. a lalylala bunny which is missing the cross-stitched roses
  7. Charlotte – 2 of 25 squares finished
  8. a gothic amigurumi doll
  9. some squares that should have become a throw for my couch but now will end up as a bag instead

Let’s see how far I can get in the next 10 weeks – especially as I have several new projects on my mind.

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Drinking coffee with Genevieve Cogman

Everyone that knows me in person, knows that I am a total book nerd. Even though I have already a rough count of 800 books – not to count the digital ones – I am always on the look out for something new.  I blame my mother for my passion for books as she gave me books to shut me up when she needed some quiet time.  However it’s not easy to find good quality fantasy books that are not plain copies of the same old plot: Good vs. Evil – and the good always wins. Worse are stories with dwarfs, elves and other magical creatures that so call out Tolkien-write off that I just can’t even try to read them.

IMG_0459Recently I stumbled over a new face on the block – so to say. The story of a heroine (yes, these are rare creatures) who even was a librarian. What better can a book worm such as I wish for. Of course the library was not a simple library but quite a magical one and the librarian was not a plain simple working woman either. It’s fantasy after all. And therefore it has a good amount of magic, romance and the fight between Good and Evil too – though it’s not always easy to see who’s who.

I have the habit to stalk authors that I love to read on Goodreads – if they are there and active. So first thing after finishing the first book, I added Genevieve Cogman to my favourites list. I also try to follow on what those authors blog but it’s hard to fully keep up to date with all of them. However I was lucky to read her latest blog entry recently and skimmed over the comments of other readers too. She was talking about a trip she planned and someone commented something about Australia. I was like “Oh, yeah sure – Australia, what else. None are ever coming to this tiny little country called Austria”. I really hate it when authors come over whatever ocean to Germany or other big European countries and never ever consider that there might be a fanbase in Austria too. But than Genevieve Cogman corrected that she actually planned to visit Austria and not Australia. I almost dropped off my seat in surprise and had to restrain myself not to hop up and down lest the people in the subway would have wondered about this crazy woman. I thought I might give it a try and ask if there was a possibility of getting some books signed – and guess what: even though it was her vacation (it really was not even a business trip as an author!), she agreed on meeting in a small coffee bookshop.

IMG_0460When I went there I was so nervous – I had never met an author before and feared that she might be enoyed of fans bugging her. I got my friend who got hooked on the books recently  too and my husband who has read and enjoyed the books to accompany me, so I had a solid base of support. However I could throw my fears overboard really soon – Genevieve Cogman is such a nice and great person! We had a great chat about her inspirations (she is an avid book and comic reader as well as a roleplayer), her future projects (yes there will be more about Irene and her companions) and her other hobbies (she does beading and knitting – how cool is that!). She gave us 1 1/2 hours of her precious private time – and we gave her some insider tips on what to see in Vienna. I hope she found everything she was looking for and enjoyed the rest of her stay afterwards. I for my part need a new set of her books to read now because those three are too precious to read in the train on my way to work. As well I might need to put them in a safe now – seems like she is sending Irene to steal some books here soon and I won’t make it easy for her :P.

Thanks Genevieve Cogman – you are fabulous!

Bucket List #2: Visit Filitheyo Island

20170903_100914In my last post I have been half way to Maldives already, so it was only a short jump from Dubai to Malé. We found the lounge, where we were supposed to get our tickets for the water taxi, easily thanks to the good description from the local agency Maldives Exclusive we had booked our holidays wih this time. Actually it’s really not easy to get lost at Velana International Airport as the support there is really good. By bus we were brought to the waiting area for the water taxi and only after a short wait we were ready to fly. It takes 40 minutes by plane and 15 more minutes by boat to Filitheyo – but that time flies by quickly as you watch turquoise water passing by underneath.

20170910_164247The first you see when approaching Filitheyo Island are the water bungalows – bungalows build over the sea with a special entry to the water. No sand and beach though so we actually are not a fan of those – you just won’t get that special Robinson feeling there – and I don’t think  that they are worth the extra money.

20170903_112108As soon as we stepped from the boat we took of our shoes – it’s a barefoot island after all. We were seated and brought a nice mocktail and some fresh coconut to get into the tropcial spirit. After a short information session – we were returners after all – we were brought to our bungalow. We were so happy as we actually really got the one we had last time as we had requested.
IMG_0452Honestly – it’s the best one right in front of the best part of the house reef. And most people pick water bungalows or bungalows closer to the bar areas – so it’s much more secluded. We had no neighbors during the whole stay and we also never had to share the beach area.

We settled right in – jumped into our bathing stuff and settled down on the beach beneath the trees (not palm trees as those tend to drop coconuts and old branches – and you really don’t want to get hit by those). We were very tired after the flight, so we mostly slept and actually went for a swim the next day for the first time. The house reef was just as beautiful as we remembered and we were hard pressed not to stay too long each time as the sun is pretty intense. Never swim without a shirt! We tried to shoot underwater pictures for the first time, so hopefully I am able to show you some fishes soon.

IMG_0443Every day when it was nice and sunny (almost every day :)), we went to the sunset bar. It’s one of two bars on the island and actually the one we prefer. It’s situated next to 20170910_164823the pool – you could even order your cocktail from inside the pool itself. However we preferred to stay dry and just enjoyed the sun and the nice view while sipping a cocktail. Best of all – there was a happy hour every day from 3 to 5pm and as the sun starts to settle at around 5, it’s almost perfect.

 

Filitheyo Island is simply paradise.

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Visit Filitheyo Island – double check ✅

Bucket list #1: Flying Business class with Emirates in an A380

The last three weeks I have been a little bit quiet as I have been on vacation without internet access. Sorry for not replying to any comments – I will get to them soon. But I have gathered a lot of impressions during that time that I want to share with you over the next blog postings.

20170902_131829My hubby and I really love to fly with Emirates Airlines. For several reasons: not only is the staff overly friendly even in Economy class, the space there is also bigger than on some other airlines and food is always delicious. You get a lot of soft drinks without ever needing to ask (or beg as I needed once during another airline’s flight). Dubai airport is also nice to pass your time during transfer with a lot of sitting areas and nice shops to look at. So this year, heading for Maldives, it comes to no surprise that we picked Emirates again – especially as the flight from Vienna to Dubai was on an A380!

20170902_135728Then it happened – we got an email that we were eligible for an upgrade to Business class for a certain, reasonable amount of money. My hubby was already all ears – he had read before about the Business class in an Emirates A380. So after quite some thought – and various checks that this email had not been a fraud – he upgraded us. I was dubious at first – is it really worth the money? We had been upgraded to Business class for free once on another flight with a different airline and it was okay but not spectacular. I just didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Just let me tell you one thing: put this experience on your bucket list and you will never regret it!

20170902_145601At the airport you are singled out in order to get a priority boarding. We actually boarded together with part of the crew.  Because of that you can make yourself very, very, very (add 100 more “very” here) comfortable on the top floor of the plane. Remember this foot space that never seems to be big enough in Economy? Definitely no worries here – I am a small person but even my tall hubby had enough room to stretch in here. The seat can be moved to the front or the back in order to adjust to your size and can be made totally flat if you want to sleep. Or halfway down if you want to watch your movie in a really comfy position. The screen makes you feel like in your own personal cinema. Remember these controls that look like a TV remote? Here you have an Ipad to use for controls if you are too lazy to use the touch screen. Or to watch those cameras that show you where you are while watching the movie on the big screen.

20170902_164106You are not even settled down yet and a stewardess steps up and offers you soft drinks, wine or even champagne – Moët champagne – to celebrate in style. Those nuts you get in Economy for a first snack – nope those are not fancy enough to suit the luxury used clientel. Here you get them on a plate and they are slightly warm. No peanuts here – pistachios, almonds and – oh yummy – cashews!

20170902_151830Then the menue is handed out – even though Economy is always really delicious, Business class can still top that. You get a menue with a lot more options and you even get a wine card to select which high end wine you want to take with your meal. To be honest in Business class I threw my rule of not drinking alcohol during flights quickly overboard …

The meal itself is like dining in a fine restaurant – it’s just up in 30000 feet. You even get a table cloth! How crazy it that!

And finally you have to make one last trip – to the back of the plane where the bar resides. There you can get a cocktail or mocktail and – in case you are still hungry which I don’t know if that ever can happen – grab a snack.

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Flying Business class on an A380 of Emirates – check ✅

Getting organized: Self-made Yarn Cards

Welcome to my first “Getting organized” post. Here I will be sharing some tips and tricks I myself have collected over time. I hope those will help anyone getting started – and maybe even those that have been creative for quite some time.

I am a very visual and tangible person – when I buy yarn I prefer to touch it, see it and cuddle it. Honestly – you will have to live with the final product so you’ll want to make sure that the look and feel is exactly how you envisioned it. Now when creating a lot of projects you get to know a lot of yarn – and if you are a little bit like me it is very hard to store all the yarn information in your head. As well as to decide if a bunch of colors or different yarn brands will fit together. Memory – especially mine – is a really bad councilor. Surely you can order yarn cards from manufacturers sometimes but in my opinion they are awfully expensive and very hard to get. You cannot arrange the colors next to each other and they are never up to date anyway as manufacturers release new colors now and again. Therefore I decided to create my own yarn cards. It might take some time and they might never be complete but over time I will surely collect a lot to work with pretty well.

IMG_0440I have seen several different styles of yarn cards by other people on the internet – some use yarn pegs like Attic24, some make yarn books or yarn swatch booklets. For my own I wanted to have cards that are easy to get my hands on, can be written on and arranged well while not taking up a lot of space. Therefore I picked cards I already knew of from my cross stitching period – DMC thread cards that have actually been created to store your floss when stitching. I bought the DMC storage box to start with but you can actually take any box with the appropriate height – just don’t choose one too big, otherwise you either loose too much space or start stacking which makes the lower rows hard to access over time. The cards I ordered from Aliexpress – though it takes a long time to get here they are much cheaper there than anywhere else. You could created the cards yourself as I did for my floss about 10 years ago but honestly it is very boring work and I am too lazy today to cut hundreds of cards by hand.

So this is all you need for your new yarn cards storage:

  • a box
  • several small cardboard cards (e.g. DMC floss cards)
  • a ballpen or other permanent marker for writing on your cards
  • yarn ball

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When you have everything ready it’s time to start winding. Pick a yarn ball, thread the end through the tiny slit in the bottom and start winding the yarn around the card starting from the other end so that the area in between both ends is covered. No need to add a second layer as a nice flat surface is best for feeling the quality of the yarn. When you have covered the card, break the yarn leaving a little tail which you thread to the second slit and then duck behind the yarn on the back. So you prevent the yarn from accidentally become unraveled again.

Now add the yarn manufacturer, the brand as well as the yarn color to your card and store the finished card in your box. Fill your box with every yarn already at hand – which will be quite some yarn if you are a little bit like me. Any time you buy new yarn, before starting your project create a yarn card and add it to your storage.

IMG_0439Want to know if a color combination might work out? Pick your cards and arrange them according to your plans. Do the not work as expected? Rearrange them, add or change some – color planning was never easier. Loose the label of a yarn ball (I am the master of loosing those!) and do not know which color number that one was? Take the yarn and check against your yarn cards.

Happy yarn card making!

 

Stardust Melodies Finale

Finally I finished my Stardust Melodies CAL (makes a happy dance)! After I successfully finished all squares and joined them together it was “only” border time. I choose the paid border pattern as this looks much fancier and fits more the blanket in my head. The border pattern looked simple enough – the beginning was quite forgiving working with either even and odd numbers of stitches and afterwards it was just a repeat of two different rows. But you probably did hear all the swearing and cursing last week.

IMG_0434I was always proud of being a “mathematical girl” – I loved maths at school, I did special courses, studied banking and finance and am working in the IT of a bank. But as it seems basic mathematics such as counting to three eludes me completely. Three – yes, three! – times I had to frog one round because I made a mistake in counting. This, of course, I realized only when I was working the next round. My hubby ducked and hid – he already knows that he needs to be really quiet when that happens and let me cope with it myself. I ground my teeth, frogged and restarted – cursed, frogged, restarted – swore, frogged, restarted and prayed.

But once this round was finished successfully the rest was easy! So I proudly present the final and totally complete Stardust Melodies! Winter can come now 🙂

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Almost ready for the beach

I am getting ready for vacation which means getting ready for sun, beach, sea and lots of time to read, relax and – of course – crochet. All those years past I used a bag made of up-cycled chocolate wrappers from Rittersport to carry my stuff to the beach. But I always wanted to create a beach bag that really makes me feel all beach and sun and summer. Oh yes, ravelry has tons of bags – and I have tons of bag patterns there in my library already. But I was still looking for that one special design.

IMG_0436Then I stumbled over the flowering meadow bag by Daniela Krejčová and just knew that this was the perfect beach bag project. I decided to use the leftover yarn from my Danish mermaid Hygge kit – all sea colors of blues and greens that just make me think of vacation all the time. I added some other scrap yarn from my stash in white for contrast and happily set out to start crocheting. The pattern however is only Czech – a language that has eluded me until now. And the pattern is not written that well that I could distinguish stitch counts, stitches or anything on how I was supposed to do it. However it contained a lot of pictures so I just kind of winged it based on those. I added a personal touch to it as in my opinion the straps are too little supported to carry anything with substantial weight. Overall I am planning to carry at least a book, my crochet stuff and my gaming device.

IMG_0437Crocheting was pretty simple and straight forward though adding the little star flowers took what felt like ages. I am still not sure about the best way to secure those threads – I  just knotted them of in the back several times. Well, I still have some Catona left in case they all fall off ;). I wanted to also add some fabric with storage for scissors, crochet hooks and keys but time ran short – so this year I will still use my up-cycled bag but next year I will definitely be ready for the beach …