Christmas baking: Chocolate chip cookies

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I can’t believe I left my blog unattended for over a month!  I had a few sewing projects since the last update but just didn’t find the time to sit and write them down.  I also came up with a few baking recipes.  Hopefully I’ll be able to blog like crazy now that Christmas break is just a few blinks away.

Speaking of Christmas,  everyone’s been on a baking frenzy here in CZ.  Me and husband dearest already baked two boxes of traditional Czech Christmas cookies last weekend, and just a few hours ago I baked a batch of chocolate-chip cookies to bring to his Aunt’s for our visit tomorrow.  Adi’s family loves these cookies and since it’s the season for sharing,  I decided to share my “secret” recipe here. 🙂

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Ingredients:

  • 125 g melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 cup crystal sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 sachet baking powder (about 5 grams)
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 150 g coarsely chopped dark chocolates

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven at 200°C.
  2. Mix eggs, sugar, vanilla and melted butter.
  3. Add flour and baking powder mixture. Mix well.
  4. Fold in coconut and dark chocolates.
  5. Refrigerate or put in the freezer till dough hardens a bit.
  6. Roll into small balls.  Gently press on a baking paper covered tray.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes or til cookies begin to brown.
  8. Let cool and serve.  Yields about 20 medium pieces.

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I found these super cute cookie boxes in a shop by Metro Skalka and bought four pieces in different sizes.  These cookies in a pretty box will really make a nice Christmas gift, don’t you think?  Or you can wrap them in a plastic like I did in the photo below.  Ah, the creative minds work nonstop this season. 🙂

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Happy Holidays from our home to yours!  xoxo

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Posted in Dessert, Eat, Snack | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Flutter x Illusions

When I’m uncertain about the Is and the Now, I leaf through Richard Bach’s novel, paying close attention to the “handbook.”  I don’t usually get answers, but it has this uncanny ability to calm me as if saying “You’re okay, you’re on the right track.”

Sharing with you some of the quotes I like.  And yes, I finally took the second  Flutter I sewed out for a stroll and for its much-needed photo shoot.

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Top/Tunic pattern:  Flutter by Papercut Patterns

Quotes from “Illusions, The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah”  by Richard Bach

xoxo

Posted in DIY, Dresses, Sew, Tops | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Floral skirt

The other day I woke up to a sunshiny day and felt inspired to sew something.  It’s amazing how my mood gets easily affected by the weather.  I don’t mind if it’s freezing out just as long as the sun’s out as well.

I have this massive light knit fabric which I bought a few months back.  I toyed with an idea of making a cardigan out of it just to stay away from my boring routine of black and brown ones.  I guess, judging at how it hasn’t happened yet,  I still need a little bit of prodding in breaking my own style.

So instead of a cardigan, a skirt happened.  And it happened without me breaking a sweat.

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If this wasn’t a stretchy fabric, the skirt would be done in a blink.  Knits can be very tricky to sew that’s why I was scared of them at first.  But this time, I knew what needle to use and remembered to reduce the pressure on the presser foot so it was easier to maneuver the fabric.  Sometimes all you really need is read the manual.

The steps are similar to the very first skirt I’ve sewn.  The only difference is this skirt is pleated and not gathered.  With pleats you have the option to wear the skirt either with the elastic shown or folded and hidden.  See fourth photo below.

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These days I don’t buy clothes from the shops because either they are overpriced or I know I can make them anytime I fancy.   And really, one of the best feelings in the world is walking around wearing your own creation, knowing very well that you’ll never bump into someone wearing the same clothes as yours.  Unless of course you made a copy for them.

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Credits to Fall and my husband for the lovely photos.  xoxo

Posted in DIY, Sew, Skirts | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

Cosmetics bag

Just a quick post on the first cosmetics bag I sewed.   I mostly don’t wear make up at all but as a preschool teacher I have to have my daily load of hand moisturizer, nail kit, tissues and whatnot.  This bag does the job of carrying them all.  A bag in my bag, is what it is.

The pattern is from So Sew Easy.  It’s an easy project that’s perfect for beginners especially if you’re new in sewing pouches and bags like me.  I also find it perfect for fabric scraps so yeah, this pattern is a keeper.  Big thanks to So Sew Easy for sharing.

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I only had light interfacing  in my stash so I cut two for each front fabric to stabilize the bag. It did the trick but next time I’d sew it also using a fusible fleece as recommended.

The blue fabric is a leftover from my Flutter tunic which I finished sewing ages ago.  I haven’t blogged about it yet because I’ve been so lazy and just not up for a detailed photo shoot.  The lining is of course from a shift dress I’ve sewn in summer.   The pattern requires a 9-inch zipper.  I had a much longer one so I  cut it and sewed  the teeth at the 9-inch mark.

Because it’s my first ever cosmetics bag, I took it out at grandpa-in-law’s garden for a couple of photos.  I don’t know which is prettier –  the cherry tree in autumn or this bag. Or both. 🙂

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Pattern: Cosmetics Bag by So Sew Easy

xoxo

Posted in Accessories, Free Patterns, Sew | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Dresden

Weird how I’ve been living in Prague for a decade now yet it was only two Sundays ago when I went to Dresden for the first time.  It’s just an hour away by car but my husband and I chose to go there by train so as to not get stressed about parking.  Finding a parking space in most cities in Europe is a pain.

September 27th was our 11th year wedding anniversary. The original game plan was to be in Budapest for the whole weekend.  We were in Budapest once in 2009 but not long enough to walk around by the Danube.  I have this major thing about Europe’s rivers.  For me it’s like I haven’t been to a city unless I pay homage to the river that runs through it.

But flu-like symptoms a day before the trip made us put Budapest aside the last minute. When I felt better on Sunday, we jumped to the first train going to Dresden.  I’ll see you later, Danube.  Oh hello, Elbe!

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Day trip

First thing first, all shops and most restaurants are closed on Sundays.  I was in for a surprise when we entered Pragerstrasse, the longest shopping district in Dresden, and it looked like a ghost town at 11:30 am.  I’m  so used to how things are in full swing in Prague no matter what day of the week it is that I forgot our neighbors in the west have their labor unions very much at play.

With or without shopping in your itinerary, I think you can experience the best of Dresden in one day. The must-see sights are  a walking distance from the main train station and are near each other.

Here’s how we spent our day:

Pragerstrasse–  the city’s longest shopping district is what welcomed us when we got out of the train station.  It must be a very busy area on working days but in a way I was glad the shops were closed.  At least our focus was the city itself and not so much on the commercial frills around it.

Almarkt – From Pragerstrasse we found ourselves right in the bustling Almarkt.  I love markets!  I don’t know if the stalls change here everyday but when we were there they were mostly food stalls.  Waffles, crepes, meat with sauerkraut, pizza, sausages — one big fiesta! Perfect place for us to have lunch.  We had meat with potatoes and sauerkraut then I had waffles with nuttella for dessert which melted and dripped on my nude nylons.  Eeek!

Kreuzkirche –  The Church of the Holy Cross is right next to Almarkt.  I read that you can climb its stairs for the bird’s-eye view of the city, but I think it was closed when we passed by.

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Empty Pragerstrasse on a Sunday.

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Altmarkt.

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Cute sparrows fattening themselves right smack Altmarkt.

Neumarkt and Frauenkirche –  First best thing: there were only few tourists scattered around.  It  was my first time to be in a city square in Europe without a sea of humans around so it was nice to just breathe in the sights and sounds without feeling like a canned sardine.

Second best thing: someone was playing Yiruma’s River Flows in You on piano right in the center of the square next to Martin Luther King’s statue.  I love this piece.  If my future child would learn the piano, this would be the perfect recital piece.  Poor kid.  I’ve already planned his future even before he’s conceived.

For the bird’s-eye view of the city, we climbed the dome of Frauenkirche for €8/ person.  There’s an elevator that takes visitors up halfway to the top.  The other half has to be done on foot.  Never fear, it isn’t a steep ascent and there are benches for resting in between.  The height of the viewing platform is 67.06 m (221 ft).

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Bruhl’s Terrace, Augustusbrucke and the banks of Elbe  –  From Neumarkt, we headed towards Bruhl’s Terrace.  I like this part of the city.  It’s like standing in the middle of everything Dresden has to offer.  No wonder this terrace is known as the “Balcony of Europe.”

Augustusbrucke reminds me of one of Prague’s bridges without a throng of people crossing it. Under the bridge the water level of Elbe was very low.  We joined several other people by the banks playing who could throw rocks the farthest.  I was right there at the river, as close to Elbe as possible. Mission accomplished.

Theaterplatz, Semperoper and the Zwinger –  All these are just a few minutes walk from the bridge.  I have to admit I don’t really get ooohed by architecture so I don’t have much to say about the square, the opera house and the palace.  You be the judge.

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By  4pm we were ready to call it a day.  One last stop back at the Altmarkt for a cup of tea and we headed back to the train station to board our 5 pm ride back to Prague.

Train ride

I couldn’t believe the train tickets were so expensive.  My husband actually suggested we take the first class  but our eyes bugged out when the computer screen popped out at whopping €140- something for the return tickets for two.  The economy seats, which we ended up taking because we refused to be ripped off,  were still over €60. I must say this was the most expensive train ride I’ve ever taken in Europe.

I don’t mind paying much if the service is good.  Just our luck, the train left Prague 25 minutes past the schedule for some technical reason.  We shared the compartment with an older couple from Korea and a guy who had a major fallout with the shower.  Turned out the Korean couple had first class tickets but all the seats were taken so they quietly settled in the economy class.  First class tickets and they sat next to a stinky dude.  Welcome to CZ.

Anywho, the view from the train window was something to behold.  A few people I know told me how the Dresden-Prague train ride view is an eye-candy and they were right.  You see the Elbe (Labe in Czech) along the way snaking past summer houses, castles and picturesque villages.  We’ll take the car next time though.

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Date visited:  September 27, 2015

Dresden, Germany

xoxo

Posted in Germany, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Anniversary OOTD

Yesterday was our wedding anniversary. We were supposed to be in Budapest for the long weekend to celebrate (today is a national holiday here in the Czech Republic) but I started feeling not too good last Thursday. We had to cancel the trip the last minute. Good thing the hotel we were booked cancelled our reservation without charging us anything.

I felt a bit better yesterday so husband and me took the train to Dresden for a day trip.  I was looking for something comfy to wear during the trip when I saw this dress on  timeout in the corner of my closet.  I wore it a few times before at work but I’m  not a fan of its length.  Knee-length dresses don’t look good on me unless I wear them with high heels. Blame it on my 158 cm height.  Also in Europe, your key to survive the day is to wear flats. Otherwise good luck catching the trams, buses or trains through cobbled streets  and metal tracks in your fancy heels.

The dress makeover only took a few minutes.  I just shortened the length by several centimeters.  The lining is a light stretch fabric and didn’t really require hemming but I did it anyway.  The dotted fabric is very fine (I have no idea how it’s called) so I burned the edges with a candle to prevent fraying before going to my machine to stitch the hem.  Et voila, my ootd was ready!

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Location:  Blockhaus, Augustusbrucke and Zwinger Palace

Dresden, Germany

xoxo

Posted in Adjustments/Alterations, Germany, Sew, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Souvenir scarves makeover

This short post is my attempt to pull myself out of this September haze.  I don’t know if I’m being lazy or just plain exhausted.  September, the first month of the school year, always sucks the energy out of me.

Through this haze I still managed to sew small projects.  I found these scarves tucked among other travel souvenirs when I did some cleaning few weeks ago and decided to give them a quick makeover.

Cambodia Calling

These scarves were hotel giveaways in Cambodia.  We were there for a week last year and stayed in two different hotels as a way to maximize our visit.  Two hotels, two guests, four scarves and one makeover result –   a tablecloth.

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I’m not a fan of fringe so the obvious choice was to cut them away, join the two pieces together and hem.  Now we have a cover that gives our dining table an Asian vibe!  The only thing missing is my favorite steamed rice from Harbor City.

I still don’t know what to do with the other two.  Accents for throw pillow cases, maybe?

Granada Dreaming

I think fondly of Granada.  Fresh sea foods, delicious paellas and tapas, and of course the wonders of Alhambra made it one of our best trips ever.  The only thing  I would grumble about was the weather when we were there.  We thought it would already be warm in April so the entire party (my husband, mother-in-law and sis-in law) didn’t bring enough warm clothes.

I bought this scarf in a market when the chilly wind became unbearable.  I never used it again after the trip.  It kinda looked like it had seen better days until last weekend when I was on a mission to upcycle souvenir scarves.  And sometimes, all it takes is a good trim.

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Have a great weekend, everyone!

xoxo

Posted in DIY, Home decor, Sew | Tagged , | 2 Comments