Category Archives: Everyday life

waiting and making

It’s a funny feeling, sitting at home, waiting for labor to start and having no clue if you’re hours or days or weeks away from an enormous change in your life (though ‘weeks’ is getting more unlikely each day obviously).
winter | little home by hand blog

Right on cue after my last post about how great I was feeling there came several days of being not so great. The belly has grown to be enormous after being quite small throughout the pregnancy and with it the aches and pains of having everything cramped together in a tight space increased. Some days are good, others not so much. A little uncomfortable but ok on the whole.

Thankfully knitting is keeping me busy whithout actually having to move much. I would be a lot more restless if I didn’t have something on the needles! It’s also nice to feel you have accomplished something at the end of the day. In the last few weeks several finished objects have been crossed off the list.

baby knits | little home by hand blog
These baby pants are a free Drops pattern. Knit on 2,5mm needles they were a nice project to keep me busy for several days. Hopefully they won’t be too big on baby before the warm weather hits.

baby knits | little home by hand blogbaby knits | little home by hand blog
I have a thing for vintage looking rompers! The Kjapptstrikka suit is a norwegian pattern and just adorable. Also a rather quick knit which will fit baby at around 6 months.

winter | little home by hand blogpregnancy | little home by hand blogMy first handknit cardigan is coming in very handy these days since I really knit it too big back then and it fits comfortably in my present ‘watermelon-belly’ state.

I had been itching to cast on another project for myself ever since finishing the Alpenglühen cardigan in July and finally settled on the Wolf River sweater. Deciding on a color was hard. The natural grays and whites on the Ravelry page are so gorgeous! Colors look good on me though, especially warm reds and oranges, so the ‘cinnamon’ colorway won out in the end. I would still love to own this in a creamy white so who knows, maybe I’ll even make another one of these. Front and back are blocking now so we’ll see if I can get any further on this before baby arrives.

sweater knitting in progress | little home by hand blogsweater knitting in progress | little home by hand blog

 

 

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on pregnancy and journeys

Here comes a longish post on pregnancy feelings so if that’s not your cup of tea feel free to skip.
on the last few weeks of pregnancy | little home by hand blog
Nearly 37 weeks now. Truth be told, I’m very much enjoying these last few weeks of pregnancy. A quiet time for once, resting, feeling baby squirming and nudging, sometimes softly, sometimes forcefully and at times painfully. A comfortable, reassuring sensation by now instead of the novelty every kick was just a few months ago.

The knowledge that these days of secret communication are numbered and fleeting makes them all the more precious and finally, after all the things demanding attention and decisions in the last few months, I feel free to concentrate on them and treasure them.
on the last few weeks of pregnancy | little home by hand blog
9 months of pregnancy have flown by so fast. These last few weeks are a sweet spot before the unknown, life as a family of three, hits. I’m lucky of course. Apart from some back and hip pain, dizziness due to low blood pressure and being heavy and clumsy on my feet, I feel surprisingly well. Maybe due to the fact that chronic back pain was my daily companion for over two years, the comparatively small discomforts of these final weeks bother me little. Sure, I miss being able to walk more than 30 minutes at a time or get up from the floor withough assistance but I don’t dwell on it and anyway, I know this phase will pass soon enough. Unlike with chronic pain, swimming in an sea of pain with no land in sight and nothing to hold on to, the shore is now quite a bit nearer than I’d like at times. It is, after all, unknown territory we’re entering and who knows what we’ll find?

It’s an adventure and I’m at the same time eager for it to start and apprehensive. We’re in a good, safe place and everything coming is still a rather fuzzy picture. I always feel like this when I travel as well. I love the planning stage and look forward to a trip for weeks and months. Yet when the day finally comes to pack up and close the door behind me I suddenly have a strong urge to stay. Home has never seemed so sweet and comfortable and safe than in that moment of leaving it behind, however temporary the parting. This feeling quickly dissipates once I hit the road or the plane touches the ground at my destination (ugh, I hate flying). Excitement and a thirst for new experiences and impressions then take over.
on the last few weeks of pregnancy | little home by hand blog
Maybe that’s what it’ll be like when this baby arrives, that as soon as I can hold him or her in my arms I’ll forget to feel bittersweet about the end of pregnancy and will just look forward to the exciting times ahead.
We’ll see.

For now I’m sitting back, stroking the belly and feeling baby move in response, enjoying my sweet spot.

a very different new year

Happy New Year! I hope 2016 has been treating you kindly so far.

In the two months since I last blogged I’ve wrapped up my office job as well as my photography business, closed my Etsy shop until spring, packed up our apartment, stripped our new house of all wallpaper and supervised the rest of the renovations, moved us and the cats to our new home the weekend before Christmas, celebrated Christmas and New Year’s and finished most of the decorating in our house. Phew.

happy new year | little home by hand bloghome | little home by hand blogpreparing for baby | little home by hand blog

On our new home

To say it’s been a lot would be an understatement but even though it has been an exhausting few months it was so worth it. The house is nearly done apart from a few minor details and is starting to really feel like home. Next up on the agenda are pictures on the walls and finishing baby’s room.

With the little one due in just a few weeks I have been more anxious than usual to get everything done in time. With a newborn I expect we’ll have neither time nor motivation to tie up lose ends in every room. J has been working tirelessly for weeks now, first renovating then putting together the entire kitchen by himself and then putting up light fixtures and shelves and mirrors and a million small things. Going back to work today must feel like a holiday to him, poor guy.

home | little home by hand bloghome | little home by hand bloghome | little home by hand blog

The cats have settled in quite well even though it took Finn nearly two weeks to figure out the stairs – after camping out in our bedroom for ten days he was amazed to discover this house has a basement, a ground floor and an attic studio too!

On new year’s resolutions

2016 will be a completely different year than any other time in my life so far. In the last few years I’ve been working a full time job plus building up a business and shop on the side in the wee hours of the morning and on weekends. In 2016 I will be on maternity and parental leave for the whole year (yay German maternity laws). Though saying goodbye to my office job for over a year was hard (I really do have the best co-workers and will miss them awfully) I’m now very much looking forward to spending a few quiet weeks at home preparing for the little one’s arrival. We did a Hypnobirthing course way back in October in preparation for the birth and it’s high time I started practising regularly to ensure I can use the techniques when I go into labour.

My goals for 2016 are simple. I want to take it slow, live in the moment and soak up the whole experience of becoming a mother. Being mindful, spending time in nature and finding a rhythm to our new life will be the priority. Documenting this and picking up the camera to capture our everyday life will be my creative challenge for the year. I adore Jodi’s blog and 52 series and hope to create a similar reminder of childhood for my baby.

On the last few weeks of pregnancy

It’s still hard to imagine myself as a mom, but I trust everything will fall into place and there’ll be a lot of ‘learning by doing’. I’m most scared of the sleep deprivation that is inevitably around the corner. I just don’t function at all on little sleep. Even now at 33 weeks I still manage to get a good 10 or 11 hours in at night.

pregnancy | little home by hand blog

I know a lot of women have a hard time being pregnant but I can honestly say I’m one of the lucky ones. Sure, I have a few annoying symptoms (mainly exhaustion and lots of dizziness these days) but on the whole this pregnancy has been very kind on my body! The chronic back pain I’ve been struggling with for years has gone (thank you pregnancy hormones for softening up those joints and muscles in the hip and lower back), I’ve had hardly any nausea or other discomforts and I can even eat lots of dairy products again which I’ve had to avoid in the last few years.

For all you ladies out there suffering through less enjoyable pregnancies – I really feel for you and trust me, I know all too well what it’s like to be in pain and to feel like crap every single day. Hang in there!

Any pregnancy / delivery advice or new year’s resolutions you’d like to share?

 

fly by fall

Thank you all so, so much for your comments and congratulations on my last post! Your sweet words were a pleasure to read.

We (all three of us) are doing very well. Baby is growing and kicking up a storm inside that snug belly at night and J and I are just trying to stay afloat amid work and house preparations and doctor’s, insurance and other appointments.

autumn colors. little home by hand blog

I have been taking a ton of pictures but all client related as I’m wrapping up the last photoshoots in a very busy fall season (how come that just when I can’t take any more clients I have daily inquiries for shoots?).

Since my mornings are all spent communicating with photo clients, editing, sending out invoices etc. I’m not finding any time to blog right now. Another lesson in letting things go (pregnancy is a great teacher). Right now we are very much looking forward to Christmas, when I will have started maternity leave at work and hopefully the renovations and move to our new home will be behind us. A sweet few weeks to just sit back and catch my breath and really get to preparing for this baby before it arrives.

Life is busy but wonderful.

A little inspiration from around the web for you to enjoy while I’m concentrating on keeping all balls in the air:

In addition to taking a photoshoot break until May 2016 I will also be closing my Etsy shop for a time during the next few months. I haven’t decided on when and how long yet but if there’s something you’ve been coveting go get it now before I close up 😉

an announcement

I’m so not good at announcements. It’s like they suddenly make me centre of attention which introvert me doesn’t feel comfortable with at all (which is weird, considering I’ve had this blog for 6 years and somehow chose to make myself centre of attention here).
You maaaay have already guessed from my Pinterest activity in the last few weeks, like a friend of mine has.

Ok, no more beating about the bush. Fact is, in addition to just buying a house and all that, I have some other big news to share.
handknit baby cardigan | little home by hand
We’re expecting a baby next spring!

We’re excited – and still incredulous (growing a tiny human inside you? how crazy is that!) – and a little bit scared (how will we even like our new life as a family of three?).

I’m due in late February so hopefully we’ll have plenty of time to get our new house ready and move in.
20 week bump | little home by hand blog
Twenty weeks along today and feeling pretty good! After the queasy first weeks which were followed by exhausting weeks of fatigue (say what? I have to work 10 hours a day and cannot take a 2 hour nap in between?) things are great now.
The bump is growing, baby is already kicking noticeably sometimes and the last ultrasound confirmed that he or she is healthy and well.

We’ve decided not to find out the gender since neither of us really cares if it’s a boy or a girl. We’ll be happy either way and I imagine it will be so nice to find out after the birth. Apparently hardly anyone waits anymore to find out and people have been acting surprised by our decision.

I started showing really early (like, if you knew me well and had seen me in a bikini at 9 weeks you’d have noticed) and it has been quite a challenge to keep it hidden until I felt comfortable sharing the news. I’ve been pretty cautious about it and strangely not at all eager to shout it from the rooftops. Pregnancy somehow feels very private to me. We told family and close friends and my team at work at around 12 weeks and our larger circle at 16 weeks (I mean, it was preeetty obvious by then anyway).

Pregnancy has been a lesson in letting go – you are suddenly faced with something you can’t control and have to make the decision to either worry constantly what could go wrong or just embrace not knowing and trusting all will be well and as it should be.

In between the slew of appointments that come with pregnancy plus the many many things we need to organise and learn and discuss for the house it’s been hard to make time for anything else, but I do try to get a bit of knitting in here and there on weekends. Thankfully tiny baby things knit up fast!

handknit baby cardigan | little home by hand
handknit baby cardigan | little home by hand

Knitting for baby means some serious stash busting! With so much yarn left over from previous projects I can’t really justify splurging on more so this first cardigan (the popular Baby Sophisticate pattern) is knit with leftover Cascade Eco yarn from my Ramona cardigan.
I’ve always imagined any baby of mine would be drowning in hand knits and handmade outfits but with the house taking priority right now – we’ll see how much I can get done before this little person arrives 🙂

taking a breather

Fall – my favourite season.
The change in the air, the turning leaves, the golden light and the crispy mornings – I want to soak it all up before the cold comes.
autumn walk | little home by hand
autumn walk | little home by hand
autumn walk | little home by hand
autumn walk | little home by hand
This year especially the weeks feel so rushed – so many appointments, so much preparation for the house and all that goes with it. Thinking about insurance and money stuff makes me anxious.
I needed time away from it all and we set out on Sunday for a small hike.
autumn walk | little home by hand
autumn walk | little home by hand
autumn walk | little home by hand
autumn walk | little home by hand
autumn walk | little home by hand
autumn walk | little home by hand
A few hours in the sunshine followed by apple pie with cream and a hearty veggie soup at home in the evening and all is right with the world.

may flowers and a little inspiration

May is one of my favourite seasons for hiking – nature is showing its lushest and greenest side, the moderate temperatures are perfect for spending many hours outdoors and my pollen allergy has yet to realize it’s time to start acting up again.

Hiking in Germany. little home by hand blog.

We enjoyed a beautiful and rather tough hike in the Eifel National park again last weekend (this one to be precise). Being out in nature always restores my peace of mind but there is something exhilarating about completing a challenging hike.

Hiking in Germany. little home by hand blog.Hiking in Germany. little home by hand blog.

Germany can be so beautiful. Discovering new areas and little gems like this medieval town (which was the start and end point of our hike) is a joy.

I have not been particularly active online lately but I quietly read a lot so here are a few things I  want to share with you:

Making

  • Have you seen Melody‘s new knitting pattern, the Blóm Shawl? So beautiful!
  • Swooning over the gorgeous naturally dyed yarns Liesl added to her shop recently

Minimalism and living

I have been thinking of the clothes I wear quite a lot recently, partly triggered by getting back into sewing, partly because I am constantly purging and trying to reduce the amount of stuff I own.

I recently read Marie Kondo’s famous decluttering book and loved it. For someone who is intent on owning as little as possible she has a very deep emotional relationship with the stuff she does decide to keep. Her approach of ‘keep only what sparks joy’ has impacted the way I look at my things much more than the regular, rational ‘rules’ of decluttering. I dream of owning only what I need and truly love. How wonderful is the idea to come home to a space where every item in it brings you joy?

Some inspiring articles on the interwebs about clothing and minimalism:

  • Growing a minimalist wardrobe. This post on one of my favorite blogs ‘Reading my Tea Leaves’ really resonated with me. Why not wear clothes you love to pieces every day instead of having a closet full of things you are only mildly interested in?
  • 10 Step Wardrobe Revamp. I have yet to work through this but it looks very interesting!

Reading

  • ‘Wild’ by Cheryl Strayed – touching and inspiring read!
  • The Moral Bucket list or How to become a better person – digesting this article will take me a while and a few re-reads
  • 5 Reasons Why People Need To Go Camping. Yes, yes and yes. This mostly applies to travelling in general as well. “We need to breathe new air, walk on new ground, and feel the awe of seeing something we’d only seen in books, or not at all.”

How has May been treating you? Getting a regular dose of fresh air?

the last of winter and some socks

knitting socks. little home by hand

Finally finished and what gratifying little project a pair of socks is! Easy to take up whenever there is time and need for some mindless stockinette (there is always need for mindless stockinette) and you get a highly wearable everday item out of it.

The yarn is Madeline Tosh in the colour ‘dusk’. My love affair with Madeline Tosh started years ago and it is still my all-time favourite sock yarn.

knitting socks. little home by hand

I see all those lovely sock patterns about but I confess I have never knit socks from a pattern. Having learned to knit socks at age 12 or 13 my socks are always plain stockinette, made to fit by trying them on in between and gauging the right time to start the heel or the toe. No counting, no need to remember anything. Mindless knitting at its best.

Knitting is meditative, I’ve written about it often enough but if you trust numbers more have a look at this survey on how knitting helps fight depression. Right now I’m working on a Henny hat, one of Liesl’s gorgeous patterns. Check out her lovely new shop!

I cannot imagine a more perfect winter evening than sitting by a stove and knitting accompanied to the sounds of crackling wood. Sigh. Still working on the wood stove part, getting my fix digitally until then right here (fire with a touch of thunder is perfect!).

beautiful winter scenes. little home by handbeautiful winter scenes. little home by handbeautiful winter scenes. little home by hand

Speaking of winter evenings – we have had terrible weather for the last few days and I haven’t been able to go hiking once in the past few weeks! Cold, stormy and rainy, winter is really reluctant to give up this year. I kind of adore the colors in this weather though and did manage some outdoor time with the pony on Sunday. What’s a little drizzle in a good rain coat, right?

I’ve been quite busy recently with photoshoots and trying to catch up on blogging them. Check out this maternity session with an adorable couple (seriously, they were so much fun) and some more photoshoots on my photo blog.

There’s been some sewing and some spring gardening going which I’m looking forward to sharing soon. What have you been doing? Still deep in the cozy winter quietness or already up and busy preparing for the warmer season?

beautiful winter scenes. little home by hand

through crunching snow

snowy winter walk. little home by hand blog

This winter has been the real thing with weeks of icy mornings and a mix of rain and snow and slush. In this area of Germany the snow never sticks around for long but surprisingly only an hour’s drive can take you to a different world.

snowy winter walk. little home by hand blogsnowy winter walk. little home by hand blogsnowy winter walk. little home by hand blog

I still try to go hiking every other weekend. It feels good to be outside, to be moving. I can’t do other sports right now and hiking is really my only chance to challenge my body until the breath comes short and the muscles start to protest. It feels good.

We often pick the Eifel National Park – about 1-2 hours drive by car it affords endless walking opportunities (do you call it hiking or walking by the way?).

snowy winter walk. little home by hand blogsnowy winter walk. little home by hand blog

On this particular day we had set out early in the car with not a flake of white in sight. We had picked a 12 km hike (about 7.5 miles) which we estimated would be a comfortable distance to do on a winter day. Imagine our surprise when we arrived in a perfect winter wonderland!

The snow was ankle deep and untouched, sparkling under blue skies. It smelled clean and frosty like open spaces filled with snow always smell.

So much for poetry. After the first quarter hour of laboriously tromping through the hard, shiny mass we realized that those 12 km would maybe be a little more challenging than we had anticipated.

snowy winter walk. little home by hand blogsnowy winter walk. little home by hand blogsnowy winter walk. little home by hand blog

It was one of those hikes where perfect beauty matches perfect exhaustion – we lost our way and ended up making a detour thus bringing our total up to 15 km and four hours with no opportunity for a real break. One of those times when you find your limit and push past it out of necessity, feeling ridiculously proud afterwards as you nurse your aching limbs. One of those days where a hot shower and a comfortable evening on the couch wrapped in blankets at the end of it has never felt so good.

I love those days.

working on it

Between some travelling, some hiking and some early nights (hey, it’s still winter which means it’s a good day if I manage to stay up for an hour or two after getting home from work) I have still been eeking out a few minutes here and there for creative time.
As this is meant to be a creative blog I figured I better show you what I’ve been working on.
knitting. little home by hand blog
The Alpenglühen cardigan has been on my needles for a while. Getting the body done and doing cables for the first time went really well but then I got stuck a little and have been waiting for motivation to strike to pick it back up again. I love the deep rich red of the yarn and I’m sure whenever this gets done it will be worn a lot!
knitting. little home by hand blog
knitting. little home by hand blog
For mindless evening knitting while watching a series I’ve picked up a pair of socks again that has been lying in wait for months. I think I might actually finish them this year. I love knitting socks but it usually takes me months to complete a pair in between other projects.

Speaking of other projects, have you seen Liesl‘s new pattern, the Henny Hat? Liesl has been one of my favorite blog people for a long time and I’m thrilled that she is starting to sell her own yarn and patterns! I already started my Henny Hat, so that makes three projects on the needles now – I’ve officially become one of those knitters with an overflowing project basket and no idea what to turn to next. Sigh.
meal planning. little home by hand blog
You might remember the healthy eating series I started a while back? Well, I’ve been working on eating better for a long time now and progress is being made, slowly but surely! The fact remains that neither J nor I have a knack for cooking so I needed to approach this systematically.
I took a day off to figure out what kind of food I wanted to be able to prepare (easy, healthy, quick, few and readily available ingredients) and picked out a few choice recipes for us. These were printed on heavy cardstock and I made up our very own recipe book which we consult every week before going shopping. So far this is working really well for us! Having a plan has resulted in more focussed food shopping and a sense of obligation to actually cook at the weekend.

Two new favorite recipes of ours are roasted veggies of any kind and this yummy kale quinoa bowl. I’ve compiled all my recipe research on Pinterest though not all of those recipes actually made it in ‘our’ book.
meal planning. little home by hand blog
I have much more to say on this subject but for the sake of actually getting this post done before work I’ll stop here and write a more detailed post on request. Let me know if you’re interested!
learning tin whistle. little home by hand blog
Last but not least I have a new hobby (as if I needed another one, right?) – for years I’ve been thinking of picking up the Irish Tin Whistle again and learning to play it. Having lived in Ireland for a year as a teenager this has always been a dream of mine. I played the recorder as a kid (who didn’t?) and there were actually several tin whistles I bought in my teens lurking in my mom’s basement.

As soon as I picked it up again I remembered how much fun it is and this time I mean to go through with it. Getting started with a few online lessons and this Lord of the Rings tutorial I am now on my way through a few simple tunes. The hardest part is getting the fingers up to speed but maybe by next Christmas my brother (who teaches himself piano) and I will be able to provide some family entertainment.

Any of you play a musical instrument? Are you a natural cook or did you have to learn it the hard way like me?

I have more hiking and travelling posts lined up. If you want to be really up to date and see my mobile photography be sure to follow me on Instagram or Twitter for daily peeks 🙂