Tablecloth-Skirt

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My oldest son’s passion are marionettes. His stories typically revolve around princesses, kings, a fakir and his snake, and their fight against evil. For the costumes and stage decorations he uses all scraps of fabric I can (and sometimes rather not) spare. Recently, I took him along to a local thrift store so he could look around for things to use in his play. We went home with a bag full of treasures – not only for him. I found a beautiful round blueprint tablecloth.

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I immediately remembered the full circle skirts Frau Kirsche made from round tablecloths (unfortunately, she closed down her blog, but she published a tutorial here)!

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Following her instructions, this is how I made my skirt:

  1. I measured my waist, and cut a hole with the same circumference in the middle, with seam allowance added. I stitched a supporting seam around the hole. Note to self: instead of cutting a perfect circle, I should have followed the pattern – now the waistline doesn’t look very even.
  2. I divided the the cut-out circle into stripes and made from it the outside of the waistband. For the inside I used a piece of blue cotton fabric from my stash.
  3. The tablecloth did have a seam across, which means it was made from two half circles. I opened the seam a bit on one side of the cut-out hole to insert an invisible zip.
  4. Despite careful measurements and calculations, the skirt turned out to be a bit too wide. So I inserted additionally an elastic band into the waistband, so that the skirt doesn’t fall off my hips.

And thats my long full circle summer skirt – right on time for the beginning of summer – and finished thanks to the Sommer-Rock Sew-Along of Meike and Lucy on the MeMadeMittwoch blog! It is nice and airy and a perfect hiding place for small (and not so small) children.

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Pattern: no pattern but I followed Frau Kirsche’s Tutorial.

Fabric: second-hand round tablecloth

Will I do it again? Yes, if the right table cloth comes along.

This is my first time participating at MeMadeMittwoch, this long admired parade of women wearing self-made clothes! 

Dieser Blogpost ist in Englisch. Ich lese und beantworte Kommentare aber gerne auch auf Deutsch.

The post Tabelcloth-Skirt first appeared on tamtamtiger.wordpress.com.

Synaptic Boogie

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What is a Synaptic Boogie you may ask, and what or who is dancing it? Well, let me tell you, those are neurons on the t-shirt dancing this boogie. Eh? I guess this is what happens when a bunch of neuroscientists sit together for several weeks – their mind just goes all boogie…..

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Anyhow, this is t-shirt no. 2 from my husband’s beloved t-shirt collection. Since t-shirt no. 1 was refashioned for our little one, t-shirt no. 2 was destined to be transformed for my older boy. I cut for him a t-shirt and to make it a bit more interesting, I used contrasting colored thread and blue cuff fabric for neckline and sleeves. This was only the second pieces I made following a design by Ottobre and I was utterly confused about where to add seam allowance and where not. As a a result I did not add seam allowance to the neckline and now it is a bit too wide. I should have at least added a wider cuff…. But my boy loves to be able to wear papa’s t-shirt, although it is still a bit too wide. I hope this thing will last long enough for my boy to properly grow into it. And he wears his t-shirt with short I showed here!

Pattern: Ottobre 3/2013 No. 11 “Birthday Fish” t-shirt, without applications.

Fabric: old t-shirt, cuff fabric from local fabric store.

Will I sew it again? Yes, I like the pattern. And hopefully next time I will be better about the neckline….

This blogpost  is my contribution to Made4BOYS! and my kid wears!

Zero Waste Home

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It bothers me how much waste we produce, mostly as a result of our convenience and the amount of consumption. All the things we throw away end up in landfills or are burned, either way destroying our Lebensraum (living space). What really upsets me is the amount of trash that does not even find its way into the trashcan but is just dropped somewhere. In particular, it seems socially acceptable to throw cigarette butts just about anywhere.

In Germany, general waste is expensive and limited to a special sized bin. However, instead of pushing for waste reduction, the problem is rather moved to a very popular recycling system. But, in my opinion, this just moves the problem instead of solving it, because those mountains of plastic have to be dealt with somewhat other than just shipping it to China or elsewhere, or worse just getting “lost” on the way (e.g. Great Pacific Garbage Patch)….

Everything we throw away is produced at some point. The production uses resources and often generates (harmful) byproducts. Therefore, reducing our waste means on one hand to reduce our consumption, and on the other hand to consume more consciously, always keeping in mind how things are produced and how they will eventually be disposed of.

I am not a saint myself. I have a baby and am not using exclusively cloth diapers, and I put out a trash bin every other week. But I am trying to improve. A big inspiration is Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home. She has an almost waste fee home, following the simple rule of “Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (strictly in this order)”. She keeps a small home, only buys her food items on farmer’s markets and in bulk, bringing her own containers. Everything else she tries to buy second hand. Her website has a wealth of information and tips how to reduce waste in all areas of living.

IMG_9497a(This is our bakery bag. I think my cousine made it for us when we were both still children.)

There are many easy steps to reduce waste (see Bea’s site or her book for many useful tips!) which can make already a big impact. Bringing our own bags to the store, and avoiding packaged and/or processed foods as much as possible are the most obvious steps. Buying less in general and trying to reuse what we already own are others. A good idea is also to just look into our waste bin and recycling container and maybe there are items which could be easily eliminated. A good check for me is always to think about how an item is produced and how it eventually will be disposed before I consider purchasing it.

However, our society is so much based on and geared towards consumption, that avoiding waste can be quite tricky.  One thing that I find really difficult here in Germany is to avoid packaging. I cannot buy rice, grains, pasta, spices, cleaning supplies etc. in bulk but need to buy it packaged. Meat and cheese I buy at the counter, but I cannot bring my own containers because of hygienic regulations. Bea has now released an App to collect information about bulk stores. I hope it will at some point include (and inspire!) Germany as well.

Veggie Day: vegetable curry

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Oh – give me a break. It is snowing again. Everything is white and it is cold. I am so done with this. I so badly needed a bit of color and the freshness of better days, so I made one of my favorite dishes today. Yes, the ingredients are not quite seasonal yet, but I hope you forgive me for giving in to my yearning for summer. When I was a student I would eat this dish several times a week (whenever I had time to cook instead of being stuck in the lab for most of the night…). I love this dish because it is very versatile, you get a big portion of mixed vegetables, you can vary the spices to your taste, which keeps the flavor interesting, and it is relatively quick (a small portion can be put together in about 30 minutes). This dish is great on its own, or you can add cashew nuts or shrimps. The vegetables listed here are my favorite combination, but you can add/substitute any vegetables you want.

One word about the curry: you can use any curry powder of your choice. I personally like to use a mild Thai curry paste and/or I mix turmeric, ground ginger, ground coriander, paprika with my standard curry powder, which allows me to vary the flavor a bit depending on my mood (and the kids’ liking). Just don’t overdo it with the spices, you still want to taste the vegetables.

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You’ll need:

  • olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • curry (*see comment above)
  • 3 carrots
  • 1-2 red and/or yellow bell peppers
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 can coconut milk (or heavy cream)
  • small pack of frozen peas
  • if desired: cashew nuts / shrimp (for a non-vegetarian version) /feta / some freshly ground ginger root
  • fresh parsley or cilantro
  • salt to taste
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large deep pan over medium heat and very gently brown the garlic together with salt and curry – don’t let it burn!
  2. While the garlic and curry brown, cut the carrots in fine slices and add to the pan. Cover the pan and let all simmer on medium heat.
  3. Meanwhile cut bell pepper into small cubes and add into pan.
  4. Cut zucchini once length wise then cut small slices (you’ll get half circles) and add to the mix.
  5. Add coconut milk. Bring to boil and let simmer on medium heat.
  6. When the zucchini start to get soft, add the peas (and shrimps or nuts). Increase the heat until the mixture boils again, then continue over medium heat.
  7. Let simmer until vegetables are soft (or shrimps are cooked through), but not overcooked. I personally like my vegetables al dente, therefore I add peas etc. relatively early. After you turned off the heat you can also add some freshly ground ginger root, this adds some light freshness to this dish. I didn’t do it today, because I forgot to buy ginger.
  8. Serve on rice and sprinkle with finely chopped parsley or cilantro. I like to add some crumbled feta to the non-shrimp version.

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How I cook my rice: In a small pot heat some olive oil over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon cumin seed, three cloves and three cardamon pods. Add the washed basmati rice and let everything fry a little, but don’t let it get brown, just dry and crispy. Then add twice the amount of water, steer the rice once so that none sticks to the pot. Bring to boil, then turn down heat to small, cover it and let it simmer until all liquid is gone. I usually switch the heat off when the rice is almost done and let it just sit until done.

Enjoy!

This is my contribution to Veggie-Thursday, following siebenhundertsachen‘s example.

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Und nun noch auf deutsch:

  • Olivenoel
  • 2 Zehen Knoblauch
  • Curry (Paste oder Pulver)
  • 3 Karotten
  • 1-2 rote und/oder gelbe Paprika
  • 2 Zucchini
  • 1 Dose  Kokusnussmilch (oder Sahne)
  • Schachtel gefrorene Erbsen
  • je nach Laune: Cashew Kerne / Feta / frischen Ingver
  • Frische Petersilie oder Korreander
  • Salz
  1. Brate Knoblauch mit Salz und Curry bei milder Hitze in Olivenoel an.
  2. Fuege die in feine Sscheiben geschnittenen Karotten hinzu und lass alles bei milder Hitze zugedeckt duensten.
  3. Fuege die gewuerfelten Paprika hinzu.
  4. Fuege die in Scheiben geschnittenen Zucchini hinzu.
  5. Fuege Kokusnussmilch hinzu, lass alles kurz aufkochen und lass es dann bei milder Hitze koecheln bis die Zucchini anfangen weich zu werden.
  6. Fuege nun die Erbsen hinzu. Lass alles nochmal kurz aufkochen und lass es dann bei milder Hitze weiterkoecheln bis alles gar ist.Ich mag mein Gemuese al dente und nehme die Pfanne vom Feuer, wenn die Zucchini noch Biss haben.
  7. Serviere ueber Reis, streue fein gehackte Petersilie oder Korreander drueber und wenn Du magst noch ein bisschen zerbroeselten Feta.

Guten Appetit!

Veggie day: chard quiche

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Did you hear about Donnerstag-Veggietag (similar to Meatless-Monday)? In short, we eat to much meat. This is bad for the animals, bad for the environment and bad for us. To bring more awareness to our meat consumption and especially to tasty alternatives, the movement Donnerstag-Veggietag suggests to eat no meat for one day every week. Many public places like cafeterias in universities or companies have already adopted the  Donnerstag-Veggietag. But here is the problem: I feel that Germany is a desert when it comes to vegetarian dishes! A common vegetarian dish in cafeterias is Apfelstrudel with vanilla sauce, or Kaesspaetzle (our Schwabian version of Mac&Cheese). Are you kidding me? This are not proper meals! And to just put in soy pretending to be meat is no solution either. I am not even starting on restaurants!

So, what we need is not just the awareness of the fact that we eat too much meat, but we need good and tasty vegetarian options! I want to do my contribution and post here tasty meatless dishes once in a while, following the example of  siebenhundertsachen.

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Chard Quiche

Shortcrust: To make the shortcrust, I use a simple 3-2-1 recepie. Combine 300g flour, 200g butter, 1 large egg and a pinsh of salt and a pinsh of sugar, and mix it (not too much) into a smooth dough. Roll out a thin layer and line a cake form. This is plenty for a cake form of 25cm diameter.

Filling: Saute one leek and ca 500-600g chard, both cut into small pieces, in some olive oil until tender. Put aside and let cool down. Combine 3 eggs, ca. 150g sour cream, and 150-200g grated cheese. You can use any left over cheese you have. Last time I used feta made of sheep’s milk, which was quite tasty. Depending on the type of cheese you use, you can add some freshly grounded pepper, sweet paprika powder and/or nutmeg. The cheese usually adds enough salt.  Whisk everything together, combine with sauteed leek/chard and fill into crust. Sprinkle ca. 100g graded cheese on top and bake at 180 degrees in the middle of the oven until golden brown and properly cooked through.

Serve it with a mixed salad. Guten Appetit!