decorating eggs

Here's my confession for the day.  I've never dyed and decorated eggs before.  At least I don't remember doing it.  In fact, I can't really remember any of my friends doing it as a kid either, so perhaps it's not an Australian thing.  The only person I knew who dyed eggs was Diane Apostolopoulos and I guess I always assumed it was because she was Greek.  She also celebrated easter at a different time and with a child's logic I assumed that decorating eggs and celebrating easter two weeks later than everyone else went together.  But I digress - apparently decorating eggs is not only for greeks, but actually quite common.  And as a first step toward celebrating easter in a european fashion we decorated eggs last night.  It was so much fun (just look at the concentration on Matthias' face!), but honestly I think we need some more practise.  We didn't wait long enough for the hot water to cool before putting our eggs in the dye.  The wax melted and shifted resulting in blurry stripes and dots and letters instead of beautiful patterns.  And I think you need a different wax - I don't think Vanilla scented incense candles were really meant to be used for egg decorating.  But... so much fun.  It'll definitely be happening again next year, only this time I'll be more prepared.


making this home

I thought it would be fun this week to showcase some  of Berlin's Etsy people.  I'm considering making this something that I do regularly, but at this stage I'm going to leave it as a semi-fluid idea.  Katrin from 'making this home' makes these cute homemade journals.  I think I've mentioned before how much I love beautiful paper.  I'm also a hoarder of old theatre and music tickets and love collecting restaurant business cards.  I can see myself having great fun with these journals - cutting and pasting and collecting.  No more ticket butts in the bottom of my handbags!  I also love the ring clips that let you easily remove papers and add stuff back in.  They'd also make great travel journals, don't you think?

What's in a name?

After much umming and ahhing about the issue I've decided to change my blog name.  Just slightly, but change never-the-less.  When I first started blogging I thought my audience would mostly be friends and family and the name 'Lady B' seemed appropriate for a number of reasons.  It was a nick-name that I was attached to, and it also somehow played into the silliness that I was about to embark on attending an Ivy League school in the US to do my master in public health.  Two years and three continents later I'm living in Berlin and the name doesn't really seem relevant anymore.  I'm still Lady B to some very good friends, but I'm also Clare, Frau Barnett, Dr.B and Bear.  So a change to L.B.  Same blog, same web address, slightly different name.  Hope you don't mind.


Sapphire Bar

Discovering a new Bar is always so much fun - especially when it's just around the corner from your house.  We had guests from Vienna  this weekend and after a delicious home-cooked meal on Saturday night (Tuna sashimi salad followed by Roast Beef with Yorkshire pudding) we decided to check-out Sapphire Bar for an after dinner drink.  De-li-cious! These guys take their cocktail making very, very seriously.  They have 200 cocktails on the menu (yep, 200!) plus that back bar is only whisky. I don't really like whisky, but it was still great fun to pretend and play the "if I could drink only one - which would I choose" game.  Have to say that my selection was based on the bottle's looks rather than anything more sophisticated.  And while it might be a little while before I put any decision on the whisky-front into action, it's safe to say we'll be back.


seeing red

I love red.  My eye's naturally gravitate towards everything red.  Love to wear it, love to own it (our couch is red). And at the moment, more than ever, everything I want is red.  So here's a selection of my favourites from Flickr for a sleepy Sunday morning.  Compiled using Big Huge Labs, a tip passed on from Bess at The English Muffin. I may just have a small "blog crush" on The English Muffin at the moment - such a beautiful blog!

1. Summer Berries Red Current01, 2. Shades of Inspiration ~ Red & White, 3. 57-365 Wear Red to Work Day, 4. fairytale balloons, 5. 117/365 post your dreams, 6. Red Sailing Boat, 7. red lanterns, 8. This Week's Task: Christmas Garland, 9. Japanese Paper - Blues and Reds



First assignment for C&C Photography.  Most of these photos were taken on Thursday morning before work.  I woke up and the sun was streaming into our living room - a rare thing for a Berlin morning.  I grabbed my camera and egg and quickly started snapping, much to the bemusement of Matthias. 

Lots learnt - pure lines, crisp colours and shadows. I learnt a lot about white balance doing this and needed to fiddle quite a bit to get it (mostly) right.  And while strictly not on a pure black/white background my favourite is the one below.  I like how the Japanese bowl mimics the shape of the egg.  I only wish I'd turned the egg around so you couldn't see the stamp - argh!
Then my egg and I went on an adventure.  She was moved carefully with me as I went about my day - morning coffee, to work, meetings, research.  In the end four photos remain.   
Contrary to how it looks, this has received very little editing, nor is it strictly black&white - I'm new to Photoshop and was experimenting with filters and layers.  This was created by removing red.  The original is below.

And as requested, zoom out of most of these and you'd find this - 


run before you can walk

Last night I tried to run before I've even learnt to walk.  I had a case of the four-year-old, I'm a big-kid now and I don't want to miss out on anything.  You know that feeling?  You see my German is progressing reasonably well - I can do the day-to-day things without too much effort and I can even ask where to find stuff in the supermarket, which is really a huge improvement because not so long ago I was ringing Matthias to ask what something was called in German so that I could ask the check-out chic where to find it.  I've improved so much that lately when Matthias and I go out with German-speaking friends we have even ended up speaking a mix, "eine mischung", of english and german.  So it would be safe to say that I've been feeling pretty good about what I've achieved in three months.  So good in fact that I thought I could attend a Latvian play with German 'translation' and understand.  I'll just repeat that so you fully digest my silliness - I decided I could attend a Latvian play with German 'translation' and understand after learning German for roughly four months. Crazy right?  Like I said, I decided I could run before I can really walk.

I have no idea what the play was about.  I think it was about beliefs and hope with a bit of Latvian nostalgia thrown in (the Latvian friends we went with were crying at certain points).  And even though I didn't understand, I did find the whole process and performance quite interesting - at least for a little while.  The play was performed in Latvian.  All the non-Latvian people in the audience received headphones and you heard the german translation of the performance through the headphones as the performers spoke.  After a couple of minutes you could easily hear both - the german in one ear and the Latvian in the other.  Problem was that I couldn't understand either.  For a while I really concentrated and could kind-of understand, then as I got tired I would try to recognise words or phrases that I understood.  And then I stopped listening altogether and thought about whether I should cut my hair or grow it long again.  It'll be a little while before I attend german theatre again - I think I'll stick to music for now.

What's your biggest "overly ambitious" moment of late?


A Poem on Thursday

Hildy by Jeanene Engelhardt

My Hen, Hildy, has a secret, 
Of the most amazing kind, 
For Easter she laid patterned eggs, 
That she, herself, designed:
Eggs with diamonds, 
Eggs with stars, 
Eggs with twinkly-winkly bars, 
Eggs with crescents, 
Eggs with flowers, 
And two eggs with rainbow showers!

My hen, Hildy, is a marvel,
She's a darling and a dear.
Best of all, she's promised me
To lay them every year!

This week is all about eggs.  The first assignment of C&C Photography is about framing the egg.  I woke up this morning and for the first time in weeks the sun was streaming into our living room - perfect for (hopefully) some interesting egg photos on black and white backgrounds.  Plus the shops are fully of eggs at the moment.  Not so many chocolate eggs (although there are definitely them as well) but also eggs for dying and blowing and boiling.  Easter has never really been a big celebration for me, but it's interesting to see how differently it's celebrated here compared with Australia.  

With all this egg-business going on, I really wanted an "egg poem" this week.  And this is what I found.  It's not exactly what I wanted, but there is a definite lack of egg related poems out there.  Excluding Robert Frost's "The Egg and the Machine" which I don't like very much.  And I do like the idea of Hildy the Hen sitting in her coup thinking about all the lovely patterns she could "paint" on her eggs.


the humble elevator

I'm not sure if this is pure German ingenuity, or a left-over relic from the GDR, but today when I visited an office in the former "east" of Berlin, this is what I found - an automatic, continuously revolving elevator.  Apparently it's one of the last in Germany to survive.  It runs over 5 floors and you simply step on and off when you get to the correct floor.  Maximum capacity - 2 people. You can also stay on and do a loop - it functions like a ferris wheel.  Cool, non?


attack of the grumbles

I'm an organised person. Mostly. I like lists.  I like dead-lines and I generally keep to them. If you want to put me in a category, mostly I'm in the "prefer to be early, rather than late" box.  I was that annoying person at school who always had her assignments done before the due date.  I never really understood extensions.  My boss is not one of those people.  He's late.  *grumble* Everything he does is late. He had a deadline for Friday to give me something (which needs to be done by Tuesday) and I'm still waiting for it. *grumble* There will be no extension on the Tuesday deadline.  So I'm waiting and watching the time and recalculating my afternoon (did I mention I'm a planner) and working out what can go *grumble* (run and grocery shopping are already gone) so that I can work late *grumble* and not miss Kraminski on Air tonight.

I got a big case of the grumbles and there is nothing I can do about it. Humph!  

By the way, I found the beautiful print above on etsy while waiting for my boss to send me the document and it just about captures my mood perfectly.

the gilded bee giveaway

I'm having a small moment of weakness where the "rules" that I set myself about what I would and would not post here are crumbling.  You see, I like the idea of other people's blog giveaways.  I even understand cross-advertising and self-promotion.  But I don't like having to post about people's giveaways on my blog in order to be eligible to win.  So normally I don't.  But.  I love paper.  I especially love wrapping paper.  I love thinking about all the wonderful things I could make and wrap and give to people with paper.  And The Gilded Bee makes beautiful paper things to decorate and wrap presents with.  And she's having a give away.  And I want to win.  And so I'm blogging about it. Enough said. Take a look - or not.



It rained all weekend here.  Lots of eating and drinking was done, including visiting a lovely Brunch spot on Saturday called Anna Blumen.  I'd been meaning to get there for ages and now that it's a little warmer we were able to sit outside and enjoy delicious crepes.  So yummy they were eaten before there was any photographic evidence.  And today it's a quiet day listening to the rain on the roof, knitting, movies and sushi for dinner.  I've just cast-on for a baby cardigan for a friend.  It's such lovely, soft, squishy wool and a rich beautiful colour I almost wish I'd bought enough for something for myself.


lessons for the weekend (from a 3 year old)

I was looking through my photos last night and I came across these, taken earlier this year when I had a day out with my nephew Rowan.  After a busy day of catching the train into the city, shopping and having a well-earned coffee break (with Babycinno!) I was eager to get home.  Not so for Rowan.  He insisted on a getting dizzy on the Whizzy Dizzy, and then stopping to smell all the flowers that were in bloom.  Frustrating, yes, but perhaps a lesson learned... because everyone likes that "dizzy-sick" feeling every now and again, and amongst all the business of adult-life there should still always be time to smell the flowers.

This weekend I'm planning on doing both.
  Hope you all have a lovely weekend. ox


the wood by charlotte bronte

The Wood
by Charlotte Bronte

But two miles more, and then we rest!
Well, there is still an hour of day,
And long the brightness of the West
Will light us on our devious way;
Sit then, awhile, here in this wood--
So total is the solitude,
We safely may delay.

These massive roots afford a seat,
Which seems for weary travellers made.
There rest. The air is soft and sweet
In this sequestered forest glade,
And there are scents of flowers around,
The evening dew draws from the ground;
How soothingly they spread!


magnolia square

Katie and Lou @ www.weheartbooks.com.au

Lillie Design

My sister just sent me an email reminding me that Magnolia Square is running this Thursday - Saturday at St Kilda Town Hall in Melbourne.  When I was back in Australia last year, everything new, cool and funky that Katie had (and I wanted) was bought at Magnolia Square.  Almost all her Christmas presents were bought there and she had clothes for her two boys, clothes for her, necklaces, earings - it seemed that almost every conversation went something along the lines of "Where did you get that?" "Oh, Magnolia Square".  Luckily I wasn't completely left out - the stool in the middle is currently being shipped to Germany as an early birthday present.  

And now it's on again.  Katie and Lou will be reading stories to the little ones, they'll be cupcakes and coffee, and lots and lots of things that you want, need and have to have!  And they're all made by small, funky, independent and crafty kids who want to share their stuff with you.  It's kinda like Etsy, only you get to meet the people in real life :) So Melbournites, what are you waiting for?

Si An

One of the things I've really fallen in love with since moving to Berlin is the Vietnamese retaurants.  Last night we tried out a new one - Si An.  It's tucked away up a street close to home and you can see the lanterns waving in the distance just before the faint smell of incence, mint, corriander and ginger guides you to the door.  Inside are little communal tables and although it was busy, the place exudes a quiet calm so that even though we were only sitting 50cm away from the next guests we were able to chat without feeling disturbed or disturbing.

They serve the traditional Vietnamese fair of Pho and Glassnoodle salad, plus some really delicious fresh teas made with fresh herbs, galangal, ginger root and liquorice root.  Fresh, simple, clean tasting food - perfect for a mid-week meal!



Wreaths keep popping up everywhere at the moment.  I always thought that they were more of a Christmas thing - but I'm loving these Spring versions I found on Etsy today.  They're also reminding me that Easter is getting very close.  I'm heading to Leeds this Easter to celebrate the impending arrival of a good friend from university's own little chicken and I'm getting very, very excited.  Friends, dinner, chocolate, walks in the forest and more food and chocolate - perfect.
Don't you want to eat them? - glass easter eggs from Schemata
The perfect card to begin any good easter hunt... by Tyler's Workshop

romancing spring

Just sending a few Spring pictures out to the Spring-gods today 
in case they might be reading my blog.


herb garden

All images from google.

I bought a small pot of Rosemary over the weekend.  I used a couple of sprigs in the risotto I made and it was so, very nice to be able to cut herbs fresh from the plant and put them straight into my cooking.  Currently the pot is sitting on the window sill of the kitchen, but I think it'll soon be joined by a few more friends.  

Our balcony is very bare at the moment, but I'm thinking a tin tub of herbs like the bottom picture would be perfect - there's at least 7-8 different tucked in there and they all look very happy.  I also like the idea of the red coloured pots - our balcony is completely white and definitely could do with some additional colour.  And then perhaps a couple of small plants could stay on the kitchen widow sill as well - with maybe a flower or two to make everything smell nice.


potholder challenge

A quiet weekend around here.  Lots of cooking (a semi-successful risotto - tasted great, but the look, well, not so much), plus Chill Con Carne today.  Good soul-food to chase away the snow (more!) and lots and lots of time to finish my Potholders.  I need to send the Potholders to the States this week if I'm not make the deadline (27th March).  Time is slowly getting away from me, but I am now only 1/2 a potholder away from completion.  Here are some things that I've learned along the way; 

  • The jury is still out about whether I like crochet or not
  • I have trouble combining colours in more creative ways than shades of blue, shades of yellow/red, rainbow etc
  • I'm definitely holding the hook wrong - my middle finger has permanent pins and needles on one side.  This is annoying and with the nerve growing back at 1mm a day I have about a month until it's better - Boo!
  • I've seen some pictures of other people's and I'm really hoping there's a "beginner" section to the swap because mine seem woefully inadequate
  • Cotton is awful to work with, especially in winter when you're hands are already dry
I have a whole collection of odds and ends of cotton now - perfect for a granny square pillow, or seomthin', but it's going to have to wait until I'm feeling the crochet mo-jo again!



It's happened... Anthropologie now ships to Australia!  Even though I'm not living there at the moment, I can't help being excited about this wonderful development.  I first fell in love with Anthropolgie when my sister came back from the US with a suitcase full of clothes declaring her love-affair with the retailer.  My wardrobe is now sprinkled with t-shirts and dresses and I love looking at every new catalogue that's released... the only thing I'm a little disappointed about is their Australian prices - almost twice the US price, excluding shipping, which when I last checked wasn't exactly the current exchange rate.  Humph.