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4 simple goals


October has been very nice to me and my October wish to enjoy all of it came true! I loved the sunny t-shirt days, walked through a stormy fall shower with a big smile on my face, and watched the fog spread over brown corn fields like a big fluffy blanket. Seeing that as a good omen, I decided I would participate in something one of the girls from A beautiful mess came up with, called 'four simple goals'.
The idea is to to set yourself 4 personal goals for the rest of the year that are easy to achieve and will make your life richer or improve bad habits you might want to change. I loved the idea so here are my 3 + 1 goals.


1. learn how to knit: my Mama is an amazing knitter, she has made me the most beautiful ponchos, shirts, scarves and armwarmers in the past. She also has tried to teach me how to knit year after year with no big success. A few years ago I found some video tutorials on youtube that looked very good but I never really got around to try them. This season I am actually going to learn it and finish my very first knitted thing (probably a scarf, they seem easy).
2. do my homework: school has started! Going back to university after working full-time seemed challenging but it also gives me a motivation I have never experienced before. Interning at the job of my dreams, at the place of my dreams helped me realize just where I want to be in the future and how to get there. So in short: I want to be best. This starts with doing my homework regularly though, something I haven't been very good at in the past. This time I don't want to fall back into old habits but start new ones.
3. go outside: the colder it gets, the more comfortable my living room appears. Living in a big grey city does the rest and I hardly leave the house when I am not going to school or work, sad but true. So it seems obvious this is a goal that should be on the list: very easy to achieve and definitely more healthy.

And of course:


4. blog at least 3x a week: writing here is making my life so much richer, I can share and organize my thoughts, reflect on what is going on with my life, keep track of how I am feeling. It's the "me time" I need. Yesterday I was going through my past posts and just reading about how happy I was this summer made me realize that although I don't see my friends a lot (I hardly saw my friends at all to be honest) this year was filled with so much love and growth. It's hard not to share! So thank you to whoever is reading this.



3 ingredient Chai Syrup


Chai is to me what red wine is to pasta. We complement each other, I'm better with it.
When I came back from India I searched far and wide to find a good chai mix but it wasn't until this summer that I found a really good mix at a street festival in Switzerland.
Last week, following Squeaky Swing's recipe I made pumpkin spice syrup, it turned out fantastic and I have been drinking pumpkin coffee ever since.
So today I was wondering if I couldn't make chai syrup as well. I tried using only 3 ingredients (well, technically there are more ingredients but seeing as the chai mix was already combined I am counting it as one).


The problem with most chai syrups and chai lattes you can buy at stores or coffee shops is that they either taste extremely artificial or have added flavour like vanilla. I've never tasted one I actually liked so although I loved the tea mix I was prepared to be disappointed and even more happy when it tasted just right.

Here's what you need:
1 cup water
3/4 cup cane sugar
5 tablespoons chai mix

Combine, boil, simmer for 10 minutes, enjoy.
To have a chai (latte) all you need to do is:
1. make yourself a black tea (I love Assam but Ceylon works too),
2. pour in some milk (I like my water-milk ratio at about 3:1 but you can also use more milk or no milk at all) and
3. add 2-3 teaspoons of syrup.

People who have ever witnessed my cooking or ate with me know that I have a huge problem with processed food and will buy nothing that has ingredients in it I wouldn't use when cooking the same thing (35-ingredient cookies? No, thank you.). I also decided to use cane sugar because of that but white sugar will work just as well.
Give it a try, this season is going to be long and you'll be happy to have a hot-drink option at hand.
I don't know its shelf life, but a batch will last about 2 months and I wouldn't store it any longer than that.





The Appleberry learns to sew!


So I know I mentioned my lack of a sewing machine here and there, I didn't know it was clear how much I wanted one in my life, though. Suddenly my beautiful, amazing and talented friend Lisa (singer, barista, queen of everything) offered me hers. She just gave me a sewing machine like other people might give you a sample of a perfume they didn't like "Oh that, I really don't care for it, would you like to have it?"
YES, YES I WOULD LIKE TO INDEED.



And just like that I had a sewing machine.
Now, what to do with this magical thing that turns fabric into actually useful stuff? Learn to use it of course.
I'm the type of person whose favourite way to learn is by challenge. Starting with the basics bores me, I need a sense of achievement! I decided that my first project would be a padded 9-pocket diaper bag. Of course I didn't do well and of course that thing turned out wonky: crooked seams everywhere, thread sticking out from all corners etc BUT I've already made every mistake possible, and now I know better.
I call that "learning by failing"
Here it is, my first ever self-sewed bag, in all it's imperfect glory:

(It will still make a very cute beach or pool bag I think.)

Encouraged to do better next time I decided I would make another bag for my friend Nora's birthday. This time a little easier, I didn't even use a pattern and once again a huge success for the learning by failing method! She even said she liked it in a very convincing, sincere voice. Here is the second ever self-sewed bag I made:


Of course I still have a lot to learn (and now that our flat is finally connected to the internet, youtube will prove very useful for that) but I never imagined sewing would be so much fun! I have been thrifting most of my clothes in the past year so I made some alterations on these as well. My next project goes with the theme of bags though, I am sewing myself a backpack for university.
I'll keep you updated!



My october wish


Ahh, autumn. It seems there are some places on earth where this means beautiful weather, not too warm, just right to sit outside and drink hot chocolate all day while watching the leaves change colours. Not here. We have 2 days of sunshine, which in reality is the sun saying goodbye for the next 6 months, followed by rain and fog and creepy monsters waiting in old asylums for the next 8 weeks until it starts snowing. IF it starts snowing, otherwise it's Silent Hill all winter.

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The trick is to use these days of sunshine and enjoy them as much as possible so all your memories of autumn are of nice, sunny days. Which basically is a metaphor for everything.
One of these days was last week's German Union Day when we found out Black Forest is only 45 minutes away and decided to go for a little hike.

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I love hiking because I love trees. I love how big and old they are, what they symbolize, love the calm and steady. My Papa was buried underneath a tree and we spend hours hiking and walking dogs from the shelter everytime I visited, so they make me feel close to him as well. He used to say there's no bad weather, just bad clothes and he really wouldn't approve of my dislike for autumn, you know, I should be glad we have 4 seasons and it's harvest time and where do I think my food comes from, surely not sunshine and heat.


So my October wish for this year is to start enjoying autumn. All of it, the Silent Hill forecast as well as the hot chocolate days. I made a first step by buying some really warm and fuzzy socks. Because there is no bad weather they say...




Currently


Woah, big absence here. Well as we recall, I have moved back to Germany and I STILL do not have an internet connection at home because apparently the only thing that is more complicated than getting a flat in Germany is getting that flat connected to the mysterious world wide web. However, luckily Starbucks managed to make the impossible happen and they are generous enough to share their internets with me.
So here we are.
What else is new? Not that much to be honest, I have been

cooking: Pumpkin everything! Yeah, you are probably all already sick of hearing about anything pumpkin related seeing as every fall, the entire internet seems to be going insane with orange foods, sweets, decoration etc. But you know what? I didn't have internet. So I escaped the pumpkin craze and was therefore free to enjoy it all by myself without anyone else making me sick of it. So here I am, sipping on my pumpkin spice latte (because Germany finally realized it's heaven sent) and show you a picture of the beautiful pumpkin-ginger-soup I made the other week. Here it is:

yes. those are cinnamon croutons on top, if you were wondering.

reading: every thriller I could lay my hands on. Whenever it starts to get colder and more rainy, my mind goes to dark places and I find myself craving some nice, criminalistic literature. So what I have been reading is all 4 Simon Beckett books about that one guy, you know, Whatshisname. Followed by the third book by Ben Aaronovitch in his Rivers of London series. If you haven't heard of these books or have heard of them and still decided not to read them at once (in this case I am judging you taste in books really hard), go now and buy them all. You will not regret it. That man is funny.
If you like London, magic and interesting, thrilling books, you are in for a treat.
This is what Wikipedia has to say about it:

 "The novel centers around the adventures of Peter Grant, a young officer in the Metropolitan Police; who, following an unexpected encounter with a ghost, is recruited into the small branch of the Met that deals with magic and the supernatural.
Peter Grant, having become the first English apprentice wizard in fifty years, must immediately deal with two different but ultimately inter-related cases. In one he must find what is possessing ordinary people and turning them into vicious killers, and in the second he must broker a peace between the two warring gods of the River Thames."





Ben Aaronovitch has written several Doctor Who episodes and I personally think he is a genius. Aside from the obvious, the books also give you a lot of information on London's history and architecture. Long story short: I recommend these books to everyone.


looking forward to: university is finally starting in two weeks. I have been trying to find a job and worked here in there, later today I have another job interview but basically all of my days have been filled with teaching myself how to sew (more on that in a seperate post) and cooking the most ridiculously time-consuming stuff so I have something to do. The new city really is not a nice place and there is no nature anywhere to be found so there goes runing and taking walks. But for the first time ever I am excited for university to start and about learning all these things I will actually need in my life. For those interested I am going to study "Special Needs Education". After 3 years of travelling and working this might actually be fun.

missing: Switzerland.
I know. Who would have thought. Let's be honest here, I hated it the first month, everything about it. The constant snow, that shitty job at the gym I had before I started my internship, the language (they want you to believe it's just a dialect of German, but it is not.) everything. But then I fell in love with Switzerland like Elizabeth fell in love with Mr. Darcy. I think Switzerland and me is the Pride & Prejudice of our time. I was proud and prejudiced and Switzerland was amazing all along. Totally mea culpa!
Today I wrote an email to a friend, comparing Switzerland to Middle Earth, and it's not an exaggeration, believe me. Look at that bridge for example and how the sun is just so excited to shine on such a beautiful thing:


I am so going back there!

Ah this was fun. I missed blogging a lot, but I fell into this big black hole of "okay, let's sew" and spend hours sitting in front of a sewing machine so I didn't even look at my laptop for weeks. But now I am back for good and I hope you are still with me my friends!



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