With no school, no scheduled afternoon activities or play dates, it all comes down to books and pen and paper for Clara (who cares about the Christmas presents?). And when Carolina takes her afternoon nap, I am more than happy to join her.
We took this wonderful book for inspiration and started copying apples, trees, stars, owls, butterflies and feathers. Clara was quick in her sketching and looked over to my meticulous copying and said: "Yours is so beautiful. I like it more than mine." And I looked over to her drawings and said: "I like yours better." And I really do. She grasps the essence of a thing and draws her version. I just try to copy as exactly as I can. Honestly, I would like to draw like her.
That reminds of something that Pablo Picasso said: "It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child."
Oh yes, it's been three years now with Cat on the creative couch of life! Thank you all (may I know you or not) who have come along with me, joined me en route or drop by every now and then.
Thank you for reading my stuff.
As usual, I am having a little giveaway.
This poster came to me through Christmas circumstances and coincidences not only once but twice. I am keeping the English-language "Butterflies of the World" to hang over my couch and you can win the German version, if you like. The poster's size is 59,4 cm x 84,1 cm (in inches: 23.3 x 33.1).
To enter the competition, leave a comment until January 5 and tell me what you would like to read more of on my blog in 2014. No matter which corner of the world you live in, I will make sure that the butterflies reach you. Good luck!
EDIT on January 6:
And the butterflies will fly to:
Herzlichen Glückwunsch, Doris! Da bekommt dein Schmetterling im Flur Gesellschaft!
I learned a lot while knitting this sweater. About the EPS (Elisabeth Percentage System) which I used for the first time for knitting a sweater (actually I have only knitted about one or two adult sweaters in my life...). About the fact that sweaters do "ride up" at the back and you can insert three short rows to avoid that effect. How to struggle with short row shaping at the yoke and win. That knitting a black sweater throughout most of November and December doesn't do much to lift your mood. About patience, as usual. With such a big sweater for such a tall man (15 balls of yarn). About learning to knit a nice underarm gusset like here:
And that you can measure and measure and swatch and swatch and count and count and your gauge will still be off. Yes, Hubby is a tall man, but he is not a big man (he thinks I have a fat image of him). So the sweater is huge, wide and long. Or you can also say cozy and roomy.
Hubby says he can wear it on weekends.
But let me tell you a miraculous side discovery:
It looks good on me!
But more like a comfy knitted dress.
Not for a single moment I visualized myself wearing it
Now it is time to show you the first knitted hat Clara has ever made. She tried good old knitting before (easy!) and that knitted piece still looks kind of the same as in March. But Clara also comes to her school's afternoon craft class, where the children work with knitting looms (here) this season. She often seemed tired and bored and asked when class would be over, and would start a project here and there without too much interest. But yesterday:
I am not a very big chocolate lover. But once in a while I do indulge. Especially in winter, when it is cold and dark outside, or stormy like yesterday afternoon. During my raw food experiments in summer I came across the idea of making your own chocolate (based on coconut oil), that didn't seem very complicated. When I recently discovered cocoa butter at an organic supermarket, I bought it for "later" (keeps in the fridge). Also for "later", I bought these silicon moulds for making chocolate:
(you can obviously also use baking paper on a tray as a substitute)
"Later"(after the cupcake party basically) had arrived yesterday. A quick search online for a basic vegan recipe (I liked this German site here) later, I got started. You only need 4 -5 ingredients:
- 60-70g cocoa butter
- 3 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder (or carob)
- 2 tablespoons sweetener of your choice (agave, maple syrup, confectioner's sugar)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla pulp
- 1 pinch of salt
- optional: nuts of your choice
Take the cocoa butter ...
... and melt it at a low temperature in a pan. My first shock: chocolate consists mainly of fat! Where that soft melting sensation would come from otherwise, I had never thought about. Once over the shock, I made a cocoa-carob-mixture:
and mixed it with some maple syrup and vanilla drops:
Here comes the fat again!
Pour melted cocoa butter into chocolate-carob-mixture.
Mix again and pour into chocolate moulds.
After following all these steps - surprise, surprise, my chocolate mixture didn't look smooth and creamy, but crumbly and curdled:
The cocoa butter disintegrated and I was about to throw this first attempt in the bin, but decided to put in the fridge anyway. I don't know, what had caused the curdling, the carob, maple sirup, the vanilla drops or the combination of them. I made another mixture only with cocoa, agave instead of maple, and vanilla pulp instead of the drops.
All smooth now.
After 2-3 hours in the fridge the chocolate has hardened.
Let's taste it!
To our utter surprise we (Clara and me) liked the disintegrated chocolate more!
True artisan chocolate.
chocolate-cocoa-buttery and melting-tasty, with some carob caramel-ness
Carolina asked for "meh' 'lade" (mo' 'late) and Hubby found it "addictive".
PS: Addictive? I am glad nobody saw me at 4.30 am on my way to the fridge ...