Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Blog on hiatus

Sometimes life has a habit of getting in the way of things...

I started this blog in January as part of a New Year's resolution to myself because I always wanted to blog. However, my plans changed in February when I found out I'd have to leave for a semester abroad in England.

I had to take several exams and figure out a bunch of paperwork before leaving Germany. I was extremely busy and simply didn't have the time to blog. I've been over here in the UK for almost 2 weeks now and I like my life here, it's just kinda boring and I honestly don't have that much I could write about.

I will post updates every few weeks, but I promise to blog more often once I return to Germany.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Kitchen overhaul Part 3

We still haven't been able to decide on a paint color, but we have made the decision to bring some color into our kitchen by hanging some artwork. We chose red, yellow, green and brown as our accent colors because they pop nicely and contrast our white walls.

We purchased this Ribba frame at Ikea, where we also found these Kort postcards. I thought they would look nice in the kitchen and I like the colors.

I found these pictures on sale in a small local store and I immediately fell in love with them.

Then I decided to inject some color into our bookcase turned buffet.

Now the open shelves of the buffet hold a colorful variety of stuff. My cookbooks and collected recipes, fresh fruit and my food scale, often-used cooking utensils, part of my tea collection, sugar, salt and flour, our watering can, cat kibble, candy for our neighbor's kids and some decorative stuff. Among the decor, there is a DIY aroma dispenser, which can me made in about two minutes (tutorial found here).

There will be more changes as soon as we find the time to work on them, so stay tuned!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Kitchen overhaul Part 2

In my last post I already talked about switching tables and adding storage, the next step was to was to make some changes to our seating.

I bought the chairs and the table as a matching set 4 years ago. I honestly didn't like the look of it, but I was a college freshman and didn't have a whole lot of money to spend. I got it for 90 bucks and that worked for me, so I chose to ignore the fact that I hated orange - the color in which the chairs were upholstered.

Once I owned the chairs, I quickly discovered that they weren't very comfortable and that they attracted dust and cat hair like crazy. I guess that was due to the weird fabric they were upholstered with. I've cleaned them once a week ever since, but it was a pretty pointless chore with two black cats who loved to sleep on those chairs. So this is what they usually looked like when I cleaned them.

Eww that's all the dirt that accumulates during one week

A few days ago, I talked to my neighbor and told her how much I hated my chairs. She told me that she actually had two unused Ikea chairs in her basement and said that we could have them. Yay! So now we have two of these bad boys and two of our old chairs.

Then I decided that I wanted our old chairs to look better because they appeared downright crappy next to the Ikea chairs. I made the decision to upholster them with some new fabric after finding this tutorial on Young House Love, which incidentally is one of my favorite blogs. Go check them out NOW!

We went to Ikea to get this fun fabric and I got to work. First, I gathered everything I needed on the table and armed myself with my trusty staple gun.

Then I unscrewed the seat bottom, laid it out on the fabric and cut the fabric accordingly. Afterwards I made sure that everything was wrinle-free and that the pattern looked good, and then I got to stapling. The corners were the hardest part in this project and after I was done, I screwed the seat bottom back on. I snapped a quick before and after shot when I was done with the first chair and then I continued my work.

After finishing the second chair, I stood back and admired my work. I have to admit that I'm proud of it. It isn't perfect, but not too shabby for a first try. What do you guys think?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Kitchen overhaul Part 1

We moved into our current apartment about a year ago, but it still doesn't really feel like home to me and there are a lot of things I'm not satisfied with.

I've only lived here since July 2009 because I went to college elsewhere and only spent some of the weekends at our place. Once of the things that bug me is the fact that all of our walls are white. The previous tenant had painted the whole apartment black - even the ceilings! Our landlord put up wallpaper to cover it up before we moved in, but it was some cheap stuff in a greyish brown color that needed to be painted.

Here's an example of what our walls looked like when we moved in

The only thing that had been painted were the ceilings. But the painters had done an awful job at that as you can see in the pictures. So the first thing we had to do was paint all the walls in a 690 square feet apartment. Our apartment building is from 1910, so the ceilings are high, which made the task even more daunting. We bought quality paint and still had to paint the walls four times to cover the nasty wallpaper up.

I had originally planned to paint the rooms in different colors, but we were really annoyed with the whole thing and college was about to start, so we left them white. Now, one year later, there's still no change. I already collected some paint swatches, but before I can make any decision as to which colors work best, I'll have to convince my fiancé that painting is absolutely necessary...

However, I decided that we needed some new furniture for our kitchen. We're on a budget, so I looked for stuff on sale. We needed more storage in the kitchen, and then I found this beauty on sale at Ikea.

It's actually supposed to be a bookcase, but we're using it as a buffet. We were originally looking at this one this one and this one this one , but they are more expensive over here in Germany and we simply couldn't afford them. I like this one too, and now I'm thinking about painting it white to tie it in with the rest of our white kitchen.

We also bought a new kitchen table. Our old table was too big for our kitchen because it was located in the center of the room and I needed space to move around. Most of our friends don't live in this city anymore and we hardly ever entertain, so we decided we needed a smaller table.

Note: Please ignore my messy kitchen! We're in the process of overhauling several rooms right now and there's stuff everywhere. I tried to take the pictures without showing too much of the mess, but it simply wasn't possible...

This was our old rectangular table

As you can see, our old table wasn't huge, but we needed something even smaller. So this is the new one:

It's 30"x30" and this square shape works a lot better in our kitchen. And it's still big enough to fit 4 chairs! What I also love about it, is that it offers additional storage as it has 6 drawers. There are 4 small drawers on one side and 2 big ones on the other.

This is it for now, but I'll be back soon with part 2 of the overhaul!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Introducing myself and my "family"

Me on a beach in England

As you probably already noticed, my name is Stephanie. I was born and raised in a small seaside town in Northern Germany. Both of my parents are teachers and love to travel, which is something they passed on to me.

We went on vacation four times a year and would also go on short breaks and day trips. I have to admit I didn't really enjoy being dragged to all corners of the earth back then - I would have preferred to stay at home and spend some more time with my friends.
But this is how you see it as a kid. Now that I'm older, I really appreciate my parents doing this and I've already seen quite a lot of the world.

Having this background, I didn't hesitate picking my major when it was time to go to college: I chose Tourism and Events Management because I knew that this is what interests me most and where I see myself working for many years to follow.

Something else also greatly influenced my decision to work in the tourism industry: I had the opportunity to spend my Junior year of high school as an exchange student in the US (Washington State to be exact). Despite having troubles with my host-family, I really enjoyed my time there and met many new friends and I'd go back any day if I had the chance.

Let's fast forward to today. I recently graduated from college here in Germany and I will continue my studies in England soon to get my next degree. I already spent a semester in England in 2008, but that's a story to be told another day.

Right now I live in Hamburg, which is in the North of Germany. I share an apartment with my fiancé Joerg and our cats Boo and Elvis.

An old pic of the both of us - my fiancé used to have long hair back then

Joerg and I have been dating for 3 years now and we've been engaged for 1 year. Originally we wanted to get married in August 2010 and had even booked a venue, but had to cancel it for financial reasons. We're still saving money for our wedding and I'm constantly looking for inspiration, so it will be a topic in this blog from time to time.

My fiancé is 6 months older than me and works as an electrician, he's the main breadwinner for now. He's a homebody and likes trips to Ikea and building supply stores to buy stuff to make our apartment more comfortable. We're on a budget, so we always have to figure out ways to make improvements on the cheap.

Joerg is obsessed with two things: growing our own food and wearing hats. You'll see his hats once I share more pictures with you and I'll also talk about our plants and his gardenining projects.

Now I'd like to move on to our "kids" - our cats Boo and Elvis.

Elvis on the windowsill in our previous apartment

We got Elvis from a shelter back in 2007. He's about 3 1/2 years old now. His previous owners hit and abused him, which is why he's still shy toward strangers and usually hides when people come over.

Boo as a kitten

Boo is the most recent addition to our family. Joerg and I decided that Elvis needed a companion because he appeared to be lonely. We adopted Boo in May 2009 and those two get along great! Boo is 10 months old now and a little bundle of Energy. He loves playing and cuddling with everyone.

This is it for now, I hope you liked getting a glimpse into my life!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Just getting started

I've become an avid reader of quite a number of blogs over the last years and have always thought that it would be fun to have my own blog.

So here I am - hello blogosphere! I'm completely new to this, so please bear with me while I learn the ropes. There will probably be a lot of changes to my blog and its design over the next few months as I figure out things along the way.

I look forward to learning how to be a good blogger and hopefully finding someone who will read my musings!