Kokořín Castle

After five months of ignoring my blog, here I am again.  I thought of writing a long post about why I was MIA  (again) but that would require a lot of words, maybe a series of posts, and I’m just not in the mood for that.  So for now, before my favorite season ends, this one will do.

This summer’s been one for the books, the kind that brought me to the low of lows while sometimes giving me glimpses of the high highs in life.  Despite everything, I still consider it as one of the best summers ever.  It  brought me to places I’ve never been before such as making me realize how strong I actually am.  Literally, it brought me to Kokořín Castle.

Kokořín Castle is in the middle of a natural reserve and is only about half an hour drive from Prague.  My husband and I chose to visit this castle a few weekends ago because of its proximity to Prague and because of the rock formations near it.  Like most castles, it’s quite a steep climb on foot from the parking area so it’s good to wear your most comfortable shoes when visiting.




The entrance to the castle grounds is free.  A guided tour costs 80kč (about €3) per adult. Students and children pay less.  We aren’t into guided tours so we opted to climb the tower for 30 kč each.  Up here you can marvel at the view of the courtyard and at the 360 degree view of green surroundings to your heart’s content.

It’s great that though we visited in the height of touristy season, there were only few people around.  It helps that the Czech Republic has looooots of castles around.  It’s no surprise to sometimes find yourself alone in a castle tower.  You can imagine your own fairytale without someone bursting your bubble or you busting someone’s rib for a perfect bird’s eye view.



Around three kilometers away from the castle are rock formations  shaped by centuries called “Pokličky.” Pokličky means lids in English because that’s how the top stone slabs look like.  You can either drive from the castle parking to here or hike through a trail in the woods. For us, it’s no fun to drive when you can hike so hike it was.  But it wasn’t fun when I started limping from the blisters caused by my shoes.  Wrong choice of shoes for the occasion again.  I never learn.



We  got back to the parking lot from Pokličky just around 7:30 in the evening.  My blisters were getting unbearable but the hike was worth it.  The trail weaves through ponds, streams, cottages and meadows — things that you won’t get to admire much when you’re only passing by in a car.  It’s interesting how it felt like time moved so slow here when it’s so close to the country’s bustling capital city.  So close yet a world apart.



The sun was setting when we drove back to Prague.  Sunsets always get me — another day, another destiny/ destination over.  Only the experience, and the lessons such as choosing the right footwear, remain.



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Saiph Tunic

I’m back!

If I were in a romantic relationship with my blog,  I would have been dumped long ago  due to my MIA tendencies. Its reason for dumping me would be that I didn’t find it interesting enough that’s why I neglected it for months.  I, as the obvious culprit, would try to go my way around without admitting anything and would have said something lame like “ It’s not you, honey bun.  It’s me.”

Well, yeah , it’s me. The last couple of months were a rollercoaster ride of stressful events. I just couldn’t bring myself to sit down and write.  If I remember correctly, the process of buying an apartment in Prague wasn’t so stressful nine years ago.  For no reason other than the universe conspiring to teach us a still unknown lesson, buying apartment number two is such a major headache.  The headache is dulling now, thank goodness, but the thought of moving and the process it entails makes my head throb all over again.

I’m not here to rant though.  I’m resurrected from months of  online semi demise to rave about this tunic I’ve recently finished sewing.   It’s comfortable, feminine, and with just the right amount of frills – totally my style.

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This babe is from Papercut Patterns. I consider it as my birthday present because I found its existence on my birthday last December after months of scouring the net high and low for a pattern like this. Weird how I didn’t see it before since I’m not new to Papercut Patterns’ designs.  Maybe it’s just a classic case of finding things the moment you’re not looking for them.

Just like my ever favorite Flutter tunic, this pattern is easy to follow.  I read many stories about how the hem frill is quite short so I added 5 cm to it.  I also added 6 cm to the bodice but it turned out unnecessary.  In the end I had to chuck out 10 cm off the bodice for me not to look like I just borrowed someone’s sleepwear.  Next time though, I think I’ll follow the measurements.  Longer bodice and shorter hem frill might also work just fine for me.

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My only minor complaint about this pattern is it’s quite loose on the bodice.  The shoulders and sleeves fit perfectly but I feel like another person will fit in the waist. It can actually look unflattering in some angles like I was four months preggers or just gobbled the entire dinner table. I don’t know how to fix it for future projects as this was already cut in size XXS.  Maybe add back darts? But that would just skew the flow, right? Or maybe it’s just my body shape.  I do resemble a pregnant stick sometimes.

All in all I’m very happy with this tunic.  It’s classy and gives out a 60’s vibe.  It’s also fun to style as you can dress up or dress down with it depending on your shoes and accessories.  Here in Prague it’s ridiculous to be out walking in heels in those cobblestones so flats it will be for Saiph and I.

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Pattern:  Saiph Tunic by Papercut Patterns

Fabric used: Rayon


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DIY Phone case

The good part about cleaning your apartment is finding random things that you could upcycle.  The bad part is that these things only add to your growing pile of must upcycle.

Such is the case of these old jeans.  They were just sitting in my stash box until last weekend when I suddenly had an epiphany.  A phone case it’s going to be!

My very cheap case has seen better days but I refuse to buy a sturdy one from Samsung or any fancy one from any fancy store.  Phone cases in Prague are so ridiculously expensive. Lucky me Lillian gave me a pink one for my birthday, but if you’re around preschoolers it’s advisable to have your gadgets fully armored.  A case in a case is how it is.

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I can probably make at least 5 more phone cases from this pair of jeans, or even a purse! Ah focus, focus.


I just traced my old case near the hem, adding half a centimeter to the dimension before cutting. I also traced the loop. I have no tool for snap buttons but I figured I can just use any normal button I can find.

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Because the fabric isn’t sturdy for a case, I had to to use fusible fleece to pad and stabilize it. See next photo below.


Now the two pieces are more stable. There’s no need to use interfacing for the loop pieces though. Note to self: Always have fusible fleece/interfacing in your stash. They often come in handy.


Next step is to run a zigzag stitch on top to prevent the pieces from fraying. I used two different thread colors for fun.


Sides and bottom were sewn with a half centimeter seam allowance.


Time to flip the case inside out with my ever favorite tool for this job; a chopstick! Et viola the phone case is ready, that is if you don’t want any loop to button/snap it shut. But if you do, sew the loop like in the photo above and also flip it using a chopstick.


Sew the open bottom of the loop to the top edge of the back case.


Sew a buttonhole to the loop. This was my first time ever to sew one and it was a bit of a nightmare. I don’t know if it was me or my buttonhole foot but I couldn’t get the right size of the hole. In the end I sewed it using the usual zigzag foot but adjusting the pattern selector for buttonholes. I also hand sewn the button because I had no more patience left for errors.

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Woooh, it’s done!

Now what would I do next from those jeans? Another phone case? A purse or another cosmetics bag? Ah, the choices are endless…

Posted in Accessories, DIY, Sew | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

Flutter in Winter

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Am I obsessed with this pattern or what?  This is the fourth time I’ve sewn Flutter,  three for me and one for a friend.  I love how you can finish this tunic or top in a day.  I also love how comfortable it is, how I can wear it at school  without feeling overdressed sitting on the floor trying to make several munchkins concentrate on an activity, and still feeling feminine and stylish.  Stylish and pre-school may not rhyme for other people, but I’m one of those who have to be satisfied with how they’re dressed so they function properly at work.  My mantra is ” Do good, feel good, look good,” but the sequence gets jumbled oftentimes.  Heh.

I wanted to finish this tunic just in time for a pre New Year party with friends.  The theme was shiny, shimmery, splendidly blue.  (That’s what happens when a self- appointed organizer gets high on white flower or efficascent oil haha).  I thought I would just accessorize it well and it would be perfect for the occasion.  It could have been if I had the energy to have it done on time.  Shoulda, woulda, coulda are the last words of a procrastinating seamstress.

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The fabric is a lightweight cotton that’s quite slippery and stretchy.  I don’t know what it’s exactly called except that it’s a pain to sew.  Annoyingly, the two back pieces ended up in differently lengths.  Beats me how it happened considering how meticulous I am with the cutting and all.  Even with all the adjustments I did, I still ended up with an asymmetrical tunic with a back seam that stubbornly swerves to the left.

Note to self: be wary of fabrics that are suspiciously cheap.  I guess for less than €4, this one is expected to act up.  I shouldn’t also be bitching about it since I got it for free hehe. Thanks, Marianne! Yes, this is the one you bought for me at Látky Mráz.

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So it finally snowed a lot in Prague.  Last month was pretty warm with the day temperature abnormally reaching 16°C.  Everyone thought winter would never happen, even the plants and animals.  The trees were flowering thinking it was already spring, the birds seemed to have delayed or cancelled their trip down south, and the kids at school grumbled why they were going to a winter camp when there was no snow.  You bet a lot of people squealed in delight when the landscape finally transformed into a white wonderland.  Me being the loudest.

These photos were taken today at the woods near our apartment.  Good thing my photographer, aka my husband,  has already recovered from a two-week sickness to be out for a very quick photo shoot.  The temperature was -1°C so kids, don’t try this at home.

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Happy 2016 everyone!  May this year be our best ever!


Posted in DIY, Dresses, Sew, Tops | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Handmade presents: cosmetic bags

Now that Christmas is over, it’s safe to slowly start posting some of the items I sewed for friends and family, some as presents while a couple are dresses two friends wanted to wear for Christmas and/or New Year.

For presents,  I sewed a lot of cosmetic bags in different fabrics and sizes.  Adi and I did well this year as our Christmas presents were all ready at the beginning of December.  The only drawback is that I dilly-dallied in taking photos of my makes thinking I had so much time for it then totally forgot about it.  Good thing I was able to snatch photos of the ones for my sister-in-law, just a few minutes before driving to the in-laws’ place for Christmas.

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The pattern is again from So Sew Easy.  To make a smaller bag,  I just took an inch off from the original dimension.  These two fit perfectly well together.

I can’t stress it enough that I love handmade items.  The time and energy given to create them is what makes each item so special.  In a world where everything moves at a breakneck speed, time is the best gift you could ever give to someone, right? Right!!!  * That’s about a thousand of  my clones agreeing in unison.*

How was your holiday sewing been like?  Mine isn’t over as I thought.  There’s still this blue dress glaring at me.  I promised to finish it today so I could wear it to a party tomorrow but after a sleepless night (maybe I ate too much nuts in my cookies that I couldn’t sleep?), even glaring back at it is already draining me out.   We’ll see.

Posted in Accessories, DIY, Free Patterns, Sew | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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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  • 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


  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.



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

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


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