Happy Valentine’s Day!

Wednesday is my day to stay home with the kids: mamadag in Dutch. As my son, Tipp, is already in school, my daughter, Loula, and I have lazy mornings with coffee and crafts. Yesterday we decided to decorate our windows with heart snowflakes!

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Check out these blogs for some fun Valentine’s projects to do with small children:

Small for Big – geo DIY valentine’s hearts

Handmade Charlotte – 6 sugar-free Valentine’s Day Crafts for Kids

Building my brand: halfmoon

I’ve not posted in ages! In the past couple months I’ve been working hard to get my workspace set up and build up some stock. I’m still very much in the trial and error design phase! Here are some things I’ve been working on, where I work and new Liberty fabrics that have entered my life.

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What we ate

We recently decided that we wanted a more active evening social life. One where only adults are present. Where little people are sleeping soundly in their bedrooms. Where conversations are broken only by sips of wine, not whine.

And it’s been so much fun so far! We have weekly dinner invites, which gives us the extra kick needed to be sure the house gets tidied up, and gives me the opportunity to finally try some of the multitudes of recipes I’ve pinned of late. Exquisite!

We’ve had three dinner parties thus far. All have started with a shared artichoke. I simply cut off the stem, trim the tips, and set it in about an inch of boiling water for 20 to 25 minutes (with the lid on!). As a dip, we use a basic homemade aioli of mayonaise and pressed garlic. Super simple, super delicious!

The main dishes have been:

Italian beef stew.This delicious recipe belongs to Fine Italian cuisine and cooked in slow cooker.Italian beef stew. This was fabulous! We don’t have a slow-cooker, but it worked perfectly as a stove-top stew as well, cooked for about and hour and a half.

One of the great things about a stew is that the whole meal can be prepared beforehand, so you can enjoy an aperitief with your invites when they arrive, rather than spending the whole time in the kitchen. Thank you Slava’s recipes!

Next to this meal we had homemade butternut squash and rutabega fries. While I also loved these, what looks like a lot really isn’t. With four adults, I’d recommend two full butternut squash and two rutabegas.

Steamed Mussels with Saffron Sauce - BakeNoir.comSteamed Mussels with Saffron Sauce. Absolutely delicious! I added a small twist by including chopped celery and carrots as well.

We had baguette next to this meal to dip it in the sauce. I highly recommend this! Do not let this splendid sauce – nearly a soup, really – go to waste!

Thank you Bake Noir!

 

 

Turkey Meatloaf with Spinach & MozzarellaItalian Meat Loaf. This will soon become a regular in our home. We really only eat meat 2 or 3 times a week, but this recipe is a good use of one of those meat nights! We used ground beef (I’ve never seen ground turkey in the Dutch supermarkets). Because the mozzarella is melted in the middle, you can get away with using the cheapest. And, for those with picky spinach eaters, this is not an overwhelming flavor, so you’re likely to be able to hide it in there without anybody knowing.

Thank you Simply Happenstance!

After each of these fabulous meals, we enjoyed a lovely chocolate treat. On two occasions, an amazing (vegan!) Chocolate Mousse (with only 3 ingredients!!) from Striking Keys and a decadent Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge from Creating Naturally. Both of these recipes are fabulous for a number of reasons, but particularly because they are so fast and easy, don’t require any cooking and they’re healthy! What more can you ask for?

For all of these recipes, and more, check out my “Foodies” pinterest board.

Enjoy!!

(please note that all photos in this blog post belong to the sites to which they are linked. this is not my own photography work)

What I’m knitting now: “paulie” sweater by Grasflecken

ImageI got the pattern for this gorgeous sweater on Grasflecken, which I found through Pintrest. I can’t wait for it to be finished! I’ve been working on it for 6 months now. Nearly there. It’s my very first pattern, and with the kids and the general fatigue that goes along with my little creatures, there are just not enough hours in a day to get it done more quickly. (Not to mention that I’m not a very speedy knitter)

I would highly recommend checking out the Owlsisters blog (Grasflecken) if you like to knit and are searching for an easy-to-read pattern. Fabulous! And when you’re finished, thank them for offering their beautiful patterns.

Happy knitting!

Room for Two: a shared bedroom of 5 1/2 sq. meters (or 58 sq. ft.)

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junior bed perpendicular

It’s not uncommon these days for families in Amsterdam to live…shall we say…efficiently. In other words: very small. We are one of them. Our small home of 65 square meters (700 square feet) has two bedrooms – one for the adults, and one for the children. How to manage with a growing family? Creativity is key!

Our children’s bedroom is just over 3 meters (3 yards) by 1.8 meters (about 5 feet). Here you can see how we placed my daughter’s junior-sized bed (1.5 meters long rather than the standard 2 meters) perpendicular under my son’s bed. “Closet space” was created by adding a wooden pole underneath the foot of his bed and boxes were bolted to the wall (see second photo) to create shelving.

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junior bed under standard bed

Each child has their own personal bookshelf space (my son’s is more recent and can be seen in the second photo). These boxes were all great finds! I found my daughters shelves at a Queen’s Day sale. The boxes were already pink, so they’ve just stayed that way. My son’s shelf is a wine box that I got for free at our local wine shop. A quick paint job, and there you go!

Recently, my strongly opinionated 3-year-old daughter decided that she’d prefer to sleep fully under my son’s bed. While it wouldn’t be my personal preference, it certainly does help with space!

Any other low-budget, space saving ideas you’d like to share? Please do!

Cap Sleeve Liberty of London Summer Shirt

ImageSo I FINALLY got another shirt made and listed on Etsy. Amazing how time flies! I’m needing to re-evaluate my expectations of the time it takes to make products and post them.

 

I think I find product focus to be the most difficult thing at this point. I have so many ideas floating around (ok, more like exploding) in my head that it is impossible to keep up with them. So, I am trying to practice patience. Patience with the pace at which I can create while still work in my day-job a few days a week, be a good mom and wife, and have some me-time. And also patience with the pace of selling on Etsy. This will take some time. But what a wonderful surpise today: I was featured in a Treasury – Brown Beauties. Hooray!!

 

While I’m not quite ready to officially call this a “goal”, I will attempt to blog more. I’d like to reach at least one blog post per week in the next month. Just to keep the flow going:)

Cashmere blend infinity scarf

pink scarf 1Another listing on Etsy. On a role!

This is a super hip and very soft infity scarf, worn here by my sweet little Loula. I love this scarf. So easy to pull on and off. Nice and warm, but also relatively light weight. Good for our brisk spring days!

Funny little story: Loula had used marker to draw on her face right before I was going to take some photos. Luckily, I was able to get it off enough so that it’s not visible. And, luckily I managed to get some good photos before she went and colored on herself AGAIN! This time with black and dark green marker….which wouldn’t come off entirely. So the whole day she looked a little bit like she’d been in a fist fight. Haha!