24. December

From the bottom of my flower-knitted Sarella heart and without further ado :

I wish you a joyful joyful Christmas, that will fill your heart with warmth and love.

Today I celebrate hope!
Hope that came down from heaven to earth and brought light into a dark world.

“Let light shine out of darkness”
2 Cor.4:6

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But whatever it is YOU might celebrate:

Be with people you love, get some well deserved rest and don’t worry if things don’t go to plan or you feel  like you don’t have it together.

Life is wild, flower child.

The new year is upon us, so time to wrap up the old one in your style and if that means, stripping down to your polka dot bloomers whilst balancing a chestnut on your pinky and a bottle of gin on your nose- so be it!

BE BOLD
BE WILD
BE THE LIGHT

MERRY CHRISTMAS EARTHLINGS and ALL MY LOVE TO YOU!

23. December

What is your most precious Christmas memory?

Was it a scent?
A melody?
A conversation that made you cry?
Perhaps it was that Christmas dinner you thoroughly messed up so it made you laugh out loud?
Whatever it was- I just really hope the thought of it filled your heart with warmth, even if it was just for a short moment. Truly.

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If you allow me to share one of my precious moments….here it is:

It was Christmas eve and I had prepared 3 bags which were filled to the brim with Christmas presents.
I was on my way to the train station, on route to be with Chris and his family, when I spontaneously decided to knock on Halinkas door, who lived in the same village at the time.
As soon as she saw me, she hugged me with so much love and begged me to sit on her little bench in her kitchen.
She asked if she could cook for me and if I would be happy to stay just for a little while as nobody in the house wanted to celebrate Christmas with her.
How could I ever say no to her delicious polish delicacy’s?- “of course, I will”.
As soon as I took my first bite of her amazing dumplings I felt at home and the room filled with so much joy. The others, who hadn’t felt like Christmas all evening, started to join our chat and laughter in the kitchen. The colourful kitchen walls soon became too small for the little crowd of 6; that’s when Halinka asked “should we go upstairs into the attic and celebrate Christmas together?”

Everybody was now excited and agreed.

Halinka had even put up a little tree, which was now sparkling underneath her cosy roof. The fireplace spread a warm light and turned this moment into a silent night.
There we were, exchanging presents, crying over a simple declaration of love, embracing each other with a heartfelt smile and warm words. That night we not only admired the “Rose of Jericho”, watched Rattatouile and enjoyed the most delicious food but created one of my most precious Christmas memories.
Right before I left, Halinka said to me: ” Thank you so much for being here. Without you this Christmas wouldn’t have happened.”

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Thank you Halinka, you are one of the most beautiful humans I know. Thank you for this utterly wonderful, accidental Christmas moment- it would never have happened without your beautiful soul.

I love you.

22. December

Home made play dough ornaments

I am going back to my childhood with these and hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.
They are precious, sustainable and give you the opportunity to let your inner creative unicorn run berserk so here we go.

What you will need for the dough:
1 1/2 cups of white flour
1 cup of water
1 cup of Salt 1/2 cups starch Natural dyes (optional)

What you will need for decoration These are all optional
Paint (water or acrylic) Glaze (I used Sculpey)
Biscuit cutters
Wooden cocktail stick

How to make the dough
Mix the flour and salt in a bowl
Add the water and start kneading the dough until smooth ( It should not stick to your fingers, if it does, add some more flour!)

Time to throw in some shapes
Roll out the dough evenly! You can place two pens of the same size on each side of the dough, this ensures that the dough will have the same thickness all the way through.

Use your Christmas biscuit cutters, press in some branches/ leafs or whatever it is you fancy.
If you are making a hanger, get your wooden cocktail stick and press in a hole, so you can hang it up later.

Natural Dying
If you do NOT want to paint and glaze your ornaments after the drying/baking process you still have the option to add a splash of colour to your dough beforehand.
Here are some natural dye suggestions ( please bear in mind that the colours will fade when you dry/bake them so will not be as vibrant- however these will have a more natural and Rustic/Earthy look- don’t we just love that?)

Dark brown- coffee/ Cacao powder
Tumeric- yellow
Beetroot Powder- Pink-Red
Paprika- Orange-red
Matcha powder/spirulina- Green

How to dry the dough
To save energy and let nature take its course, you can let the dough dry naturally over a few days. I suggest leaving it close to the heater or anywhere, where there is warmth. (maybe not inside your onesie though!)

How to bake the dough
If you are in a hurry you may also bake your ornaments in the oven.
Opinions vary but this is the method I used and it did work for me – please bear in mind that these instructions are for hangers that are about 0.5cm thick.The dough needs to be baked in stages as it doesn’t like the heat and can split easily.

STEP 1. Place the dough inside your preheated oven on a baking tray oven (50C) for about 60 minutes. Leave the oven door open for a few cm whilst baking so the moisture can get out easily. Alternatively open the oven a few times throughout the baking process.

STEP 2. Raise the temperature to 120C and bake for another hour, if your ornament is thicker than 0.5cm it will take some extra time

STEP 3. Take out to cool- ensure they are completely cold before decorating

TIP: If the middle of the dough is hard on the backside, it is ready

Time to decorate these bad boys
If you want to paint them I would suggest Acrylic paint as they will cover the dough properly. You can, however, also use watercolours (make sure to use as a little water as possible as otherwise you will not be able to see the colour as well on the dough)

To seal the colours use a glaze. Some use hairspray I used “ Sculpey Glaze Gloss” let it dry et voila, you have made some very fine, one of a kind ornaments for years to come.

They also make a lovely, affordable and very personal Christmas present.

ENJOY!

21. December

Winter

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields,

that it kisses them so gently?

And then it covers them up snug,

you know, with a white quilt;

and perhaps it says,

“Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”

-Lewis Carroll-

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Just the other day, I asked my dad: ” Do you remember when you saw snow for the very first time in your life?

He replied: “When I came over from Mocambique in 1984 and got off the plane in East Germany it was freezing cold and all I wore was thin summer clothes.”

My dad arrived as a guest worker in the GDR where him and his friends discovered many new things, such as:
1.It is not advisable to cook chicken in washing up liquid
2.It also isn’t a good idea to put nappy Rash cream on your face, especially when you have a darker complexion!

One of the first wonders they discovered, however, was snow.
They were greeted with big blankets and were given winter coats shortly after.
One of his friends got so excited that he jumped right into the snow, played with it and threw it in the air. He was mesmerised. Shortly after he got his first proper East German wind cold.

Gesundheit!

It is Winter earthlings.

20. December

Mistletoe

Kiss anyone?
I must admit, I never had the pleasure of kissing anyone underneath a Mistletoe.
Maybe because its not really a thing back home in Bella Germania or because nobody wanted to ever cross my path when I stood underneath one.

Not sure if I should be offended or just sad right now.

My sister actually mentioned the tradition of the Mistletoe the other day and it got me thinking:

Why in the world would you hang up a plant in your home and kiss someone right underneath it anyway and why does it have to be a Mistletoe?

As with a lot of things, it is pretty hard to say for definite. All we know is that it is a tradition that has its roots in many different pots which reach from Norse mythology to druidism and also get the good ol’ Greeks and Romans involved.

The story about Balder however was the one that caught me
Firstly: Because I believe that there is a little bit of Viking in me, and
Secondly: Because Norse Mythology is pretty darn cool!

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Balder was the son of the god Odin and Frigg and was believed to be particularly beautiful and just. He was soon considered the favourite but nightmares of his own death plagued him constantly. To comfort and protect him Frigg, his mother, made everything ( from animals to rocks) swear to never harm him, which made him invincible. The other gods abused his good nature and played tricks on him, making him a prime target, knowing that nothing could ever harm him anyway.
The God of mischief Loki, however, noticed that the Mistletoe had been left out when the oath was taken and created a weapon from this particular plant.
He then persuaded Balders blind brother Hod to strike, which killed Balder immediately.
All the gods mourned him greatly, especially his mother Frigg whose tears turned into the pearly berries that you will find on a Mistletoe today. Instead of seeking revenge, however, she ordered that the plant, which had caused her sons death, should become an everlasting symbol of peace and love.
(Other tales even suggest that her deep love brought her son back to life.)

Either way the Mistletoe carries a pretty powerful message, whether it is everlasting life, forgiveness, making peace instead of war or love.
So Why not seal that deal with a kiss ay?-What a peace offering.

Also, kissing underneath the Mistletoe, is believed to be an ancient fertility tradition, which was reinvented in the 18th/19th century.
And on that note:

Someone get me a bunch of that stuff!! I will be kissing the heck out of my husband this Christmas.

Who is with me? (maybe not my husband though)

19. December

Christmas Crackers

Q:Where do you find chilli beans?
A: At the north pole!

Q:How much did Santa pay for his sleigh?
A:Nothing – it was on the house!

Who has never heard these very typical Christmas cracker jokes or  never had the pleasure of wearing a Christmas crown proudly?

If you answered both questions with a confused “NO” we need to organise a very British Christmas dinner one day.

 

How does that sound?

 

What are Christmas crackers?
They are  Bonbon shaped Christmas surprises that traditionally include a paper crown, a gift and a joke written on a small piece of paper

How does it work?
It requires a minimum of two people (two hands really) . Both ends are pulled away from each other until you hear the magical pop. Whoever ends up with the full side of the cracker wins its treasures and can crown him/herself King or Queen of the night.
In the end we all enjoy our own individual coronation.
(Its a bit like the whole 7 kingdoms situation, lots of Games but sadly no thrones)

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Where do they come from?
It was the Victorians of course, Surprise!!
Tom Smith is credited with becoming the inventor of the famous Christmas Cracker  in the mid 1800s ( around 1847). It was the crackle sound of a log hitting the fire which inspired him… rumour has it.
Sales of his Bonbons ( how cool is that job) had dropped and he needed to come up with a great marketing tactic.

BOOM, quite literally.

In order for his Bonbons to crackle he needed to first make them bigger, as extra space was needed for the banger mechanism (its achieved by a chemical reaction- to put it simply) and fill them with delights that would make people smile.
They were sold for special occasions and soon became a Christmas Must-have.

I think he succeeded, would you agree?

Knock knock. Who’s there?
Mary.
Mary who?
Merry Christmas.

What a cracker!

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18. December

A Christmas Present to remember

When I was a young girl, I used to spent my afternoons in the Fair trade shop which was located right next to our home. There was always a big table in the middle of the shop which invited people to sit down, have a slice of cake, a cup of coffee and a chat. Opposite the big grand piano, on which Herr Mueller would sometimes play Beethoven and other magnificent pieces, there was the jewellery section, which used to fascinate me so much. Even though I could barely reach the shelf with my nose tip, I would spent hours admiring all the handmade necklaces, earrings and one particular bracelet. It was an oval green limestone that had been polished and was fitted with thin leather straps. I remember that it had a little crack, right in the centre of the stone, but that didn’t matter. To me it was the most beautiful bracelet I had ever seen. Every day I would go to the shop and stand in front of it, just so I could admire it over and over again.
One day I went to the shop and it was gone- I was so sad and told my mum, that the bracelet had been sold to someone. She replied “Don’t be sad, I will get you another one”.
I knew she meant well but my little heart was a little bit broken still.
Christmas eve came. We all sat under the Christmas tree and watched each other open our presents, as we do every year. When it was my turn my heart pounded and suddenly filled with incredible joy.
My mum smiled at me just before I could even jump over to hug her.
In that little box was a green limestone bracelet with a little crack in the middle. It was the one I had admired for all those weeks.
It is presents like these: meaningful and heartfelt that might just stay with you and your loved ones forever.

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To me that meaningful present was that particular bracelet but lets just remind ourselves that although Christmas appears to  be big, loud, for sale on offer or just a mouse click away (according to the many adverts you are bombarded with on a daily basis) presents don’t always need to be wrapped.
If you should ever feel stressed and worried over what presents to get who and how…shake it off!
Giving has so many different facets and  could be anything from a cute little box of homemade cookies, to a lovingly hand written letter or a handmade star.

I am convinced, that the best present you could give to someone, might just be YOUR PRESENCE! Remember that and put a ribbon on it, wild child!

Lots of love to you all! ❤