Monday, December 8, 2014

Interior design inspiration in Dresden: Vivere Shop

Visiting various interior design shops is usually part of my daily travel schedule. Although not as often as I would like to, I succeed to discover a lot of interesting ideas and inspiration that although I will not put into practise, at least will bring a little bit of colour into my life. During my one-day trip to Dresden, I had a (too) short stop at the Vivere shop, on Wilsdruffer Street no. 9. It is situated on the ground level of a communist-looking block of houses, but once I spotted the asymmetrical chairs at the entrance, the grey feeling dissipated instantly, being replaced by the joy of life in all colours. 
The style of most of the pieces of furniture, not necessarily organized according to any criteria, is very modern, with simple objects, that match the need for simplicity and space constraints of the modern world. 
One or two piece can be enough to create cosy ambiances. Given the prices - around 40 Eur. for a flower-like pillow - the budget might be limited, but the live in Dresden, at least for now, it's cheap enough to afford some savings for interior design decorations.
Some ideas are very simple, and as usual, the concerns for not taking too much space are one of the main feature of the objects presented in the shop.  
The pillows were one of my favourite. The materials used are relatively simple, but the design can change the perspective on the whole room!
 The old-looking clock can be easily integrated in different kinds of design contexts.
 The same about the funny hangers, that can be primarily used for the children room, but not only.
 With the omnipresent owls, at a more than affordable price.
This support for forks and knives, available for around 400 Eur. can be a good idea for a crowded kitchen. Especially if you have in mind the usual small kitchens that you might find in the average German apartments. 
Some parts of the shop - which is expanded on two levels - are offering samples of room corners. At least this corner reminded me of some old style former communist Germany interiors. The leather shaped chairs added to the wooden simple table, look very serious. 
But there are also some modern settings too. Some of the lamps are made of simple materials, but their price can go to around 1,200 EUR.
And if there is hard to make a choice, asking one of the specialists of the shop. Not an outstanding example of friendly customer service, but you can make your way through the many options offered by Vivere.
With choices for all tastes and budgets, Vivere is a good option to keep in mind if looking for some interesting interior design solutions for your Dresden home. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Efficient ways to fight the fruit flies

Source: Google
No, you don't want this at home!
Fruit flies! Who doesn't know them? The little disgusting winged rascals that are infesting your kitchen and made you cry of shame when they appear in the soup of your special guest during what would have been a very romantic lunch...
The main issue with them is that they appear when you expect less and don't want to leave you any time soon. With a high rate of reproduction - 500 eggs at a time - get ready for the fight as soon as possible. Thus, the sooner you fight them, the better for your home sanity.

As usual, preventive steps can help a lot and here are some hints about what you can do before your private space is invaded by little nasty black flies:

- Check your fruit counters as often as possible. Avocados, onions and potatoes are the main source of flies. In general, any fruits or vegetables left outside the fridge for a long time might create flies so keep checking their counter as often as possible.

- Keep your house clean. It might be difficult if you have a steady job and a family and you also want some days out. But, try also to have at least 10 minutes the day for a basic cleaning of the kitchen especially. We are living in the modern world and everything can be done fast, thanks to advanced mops and cleaning substances. If you have a regular cleaning lady, things are getting much simpler. 

- Damp and unclean sinks also encourage the multiplication of flies. 

The flies are in! Many of them! What to do?

Here are a couple of ideas about what to do - except to leave your house for a long time - when you are about to cope with many many flies around your home - and especially food:

- If you haven't done yet, do a radical cleaning of the house: those lost dirty corners, the spots of juice, the old bottles and glasses of red sweet wine, the mountains of laundry that you simply forgot about to get rid of weeks ago. Clean the recycle bins, sinks and rooms of the children. Check the bags and get rid of the old bottles. You might need some extra hours of work, but this is the price to pay when you don't do too much prevention work in the kitchen...I went through that too...

- Keep all the fruits and vegetables - and food in general - covered and preferably in the fridge. Don't leave any juice and glasses with liquids unattended, especially during the night.~

- Wash all the dishes immediately. The more you leave them in the sink, the more the flies will be delighted. And you don't want to please them, isn't it?

- Take your trash daily.

- Change the mops, dishrags and sponges. The dirt accumulated is a medium of multiplication for the little beasts. 

-  There are a lot of products on the market that can help you to kill them in numbers, and each country do have its own. Peppermint extract and aerosol insecticides are the most frequent. Ask your local drugstore specialist about the best ones.

- You can also produce your own lemon grass spray, based on lemon grass essential oil and hot water, by using spray bottle to dispense it.

- The most frequent remedy mentioned is the vinegar trap: Add at cup of vinegar apple - preferably heated - in a bowl. They will not resist the call and it is the end of them. Some also add a ripped fruit in a jar, covered by a paper cone through which the flies will hurry up to go one by one to their death. 

- Another trap recipe might include: sugar, honey syrup and a rotting fruit. It seems it will attract them similarly with the other traps. 

Now, time to get back in the kitchen and fight the flies for good! Good luck with that!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Presents for friends: Jewellery and a special box

Every time I should buy a present for a friend, I cope with the same question: what will it be the best idea? Especially when it is one of my girlfriends, there is quite a big problem to find something she will really enjoy, because in most cases, they are persons having a lot of nice things and makeup and almost everything you can dream about. So, the question will be to make a very special present, eventually something made by my humble own hands. 
As I am working a lot of DIY projects lately, I spent some good time at the IDEE shop trying to figure out what I am about to do. I set up for making up a box, with some mosaique tiles - mirror like, two sizes. The box looked very poor, calling for a dramatic redo. Although the small mosaique tiles can glue themselves, you better buy a wood glue too - actually, it was the most expensive item from the basket, around 5 EUR. The whole price for the entire shopping was around 8 Euro. As I do have water colours at home, further investment was not needed. 
The remaking of the box was slow - around 2 hrs.30. I was trying to be very careful to the small details, keeping the tiles clean - the best is to try to fix some dirt on the spot and do some more serious cleaning at the end of the project. 
I tried to be as creative as possible, but also to keep in mind the need to cover as much as possible from the wooden part. To be honest, maybe it was better just to paint the wood blue before applying the tiles, but this will be the lesson learned for the next time.
The blue interior looks really better, not only because I am a fan of the blue colour. For the tiles and for the colours, some waiting time is needed before everything is fixed and dried up.
Looking from all part of the box, everything was nice at the end, and I was very excited to finish my first complicated DIY project in a long while.
Now, it was about time to create some surprises in the box, using one of the kits made by Rico Design. Guidance for creating the pieces of jewellery are provided online and thus, if you are out of imagination - not my case - you can simply use the models recommended by them. In my case, I tried to be a little bit more creative and although I followed some technical steps, I preferred to make my own models.
 The jewellery creation process did not took too much time - around 1 hour of quiet work. As in the case of writing, I love how things are well put together out of very small little pieces.

Sometimes, the results can be beautiful but even more beautiful is the feeling of doing things with your own hand. Plus, making other people happy too!

A very simple DIY project: colouring the owl

Although I keep learning about cooking and food, and even took an awesome class of food writing lately - more details as soon as possible - I am glad to be back to one of my oldest hobbies: DIY projects. As a kid, I learned a lot of very useful women skills: from tailoring to knitting, and how to make my own jewellery. By growing up, I gave up such hobbies, more focused to make my way through complicated schools and sophisticated exams. After all, with my education I am supposed to pay other people to do a lot of things for me, from cooking to jewellery. 
However, a couple of weeks ago, while entering the Idee shop, I discover that it's never enough to feel creative and free again and since then, I keep working a lot - since the silence on the blog and on social media - learning again - how to work with metals, objects and colours.
This funny bag, ready made from Tiger and coloured by me, is just a small distraction from a generous sea of many projects in the making right now.  
I bought and finished it having in mind the daughter of a friend of mine who is quite a little lady. It took me less than 15 quiet minutes to finish it. All I had to do was to coloured the white shapes with the textile proof colours. The result is great and can't wait to keep working more projects of this kind. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

DIY: A flowerly phone purse

I used to do a lot of DIY projects as a kid and during my early teenage years, but since then, more focused on the writing and learning, I completely neglected my skills. One of the last days, before Rosh Hashana, with the long nights of winter in mind, I decided that it's about time to go back to my very old not-practised habits. Thus, I paid a visit to my local Idee shop branch and left with a lot of small little colourful packages. 
For warming up, I decided to start with the building of a phone purse. There are many small little pieces that I needed to put together, but everything is logically explained and did not have any hard time to arrange it. My only big issue was the thread which was not enough. 
The purse is made out of symmetrical small pieces, that should be attached on the clearly marked spaces. 
I loved a lot the colourful mood and the combination between butterflies and flowers, as well as the pastel colours of the purse. Inspired by all those elements, the work went pretty fast and without any significant problems. The material is very fine and should be careful to always follow the little holes and not somewhere else.
Although I haven't practised for a long time - except some basic home reparations, I succeeded to finish everything within one hour. The final result looked good and is very practical. Encouraged by this first success, more visits to the Idee followed. More DIY projects to be shared on the blog soon. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Clutches for any occasion all around the year

Now, that Sukkot is getting closer, it's time to think to some fancy outfits for the (almost) end of the autumn. My today passions are the clutches, whose diversity - both in terms of prices and shapes - might be very challenging for my budget.
One of my top choices on the list are the following:

This Edie Parker flamingoes clutch is very elegant and besides featuring my favourite birds, also has mild pastel colours that can easily go with various types of outfits. Handmade in the USA and available for 1,403 EUR. it is inspired by the fashion of the 1950s. The ball clasp top fastening looks very discrete, but after a while, can be a bit problematic, especially after repeated use. 
Kotur Clutches are too beautiful to only pick up only one. Mostly suited for evening, with prices from 500 EUR. they have different shapes - found the rectangular ones the most stylish - and do have various signature linings. At the first sight, they look like elegant perfume bottles or maybe some precious jewellery boxes. Many do also have shoulder chain which made them even more comfortable and practical for various social encounters.

From the fall/winter Dolce Gabanna collection, this shine and sleek stable clutch took my breath away. And so did the price - 1,650 EUR. But if you have a look at the special features, the lizard leather, with clasp fastening, satin lining and internal slot pocket, you might consider worth a serious investment. As it is a quite pretentious presence, you should also consider a matching pair of shoes, maybe from the same collection.

Most clutches by Nina Ricci are elegant, simple, practical and provided with a lot of interesting feature, like for instance zip or magnetic fastening tab. The good news is that they are also affordable, with prices around 300 EUR. Perfectly sized for various needs and mostly provided with internal patch pocket, they add a line of distinction and joy to the any outfit.
Those who dare to be a bit more special, the new version of the iconic Fendi Baguette Bag - launched at the end of the 1960s - in the version of edge trimmed with red fox fur. It looks funny yet ingenious and goes well as a strong fashion statement. The combination of various symmetric colours of leather require a matched pair of shoes. The price for the bag goes to around 1,978 EUR.

This black Valentino Garavani clutch is very simple, yet elegant and stylish, with a bit of rock fever. It's quite big, enough for more than a small phone and some make-up. It goes mostly with any kind of outfit, especially for evening events, but also for various special events held during the day and during the week. It has wrist strap. It can be purchased from 849 EUR.

A less expensive investment - only 99.95 EUR. by Zalando - this leather imitation clutch by Tosca Blu can be a good choice as well. It's a bit shiny for my taste, but looks practical - 19 cm. long - and has interior textile lining.
YSL is always a classical choice for classy persons and outfits. Branded with the elegant logo, this Bordeaux-clutch is made of calf leather and has magnetic fastening. The interior space is well organized, with an internal pocket. It's available for 795 EUR. 

In the mood for some extravaganza? This Alexander McQueen clutch is not only affordable - 350 EUR - but also a very creative version of a classical fashion icon. It's made 100% of fabric, with 2-way zipped top and magnetic folded corners. It also has a zipped pocket and satin-twill lining. 
This wrist strapped clutch by Marni has my favourite blue colour. The combination of cobalt blue feathers with pitch black beads added on leather is very elegant and goes very well for every season and a diversity of occasions - from clubbing and bar hopping, to some interesting and sophisticated reception. It's made of a combination of calf, lamb leather, wool and polyester. It has a safe zipped top and leather lining. It's available for 560 EUR. 

With this Ming Pandora clutch by Charlotte Olympia my head is over ears in love. Inspired by the fine Chinese porcelain, it has exquisite elegant details, such as the magnetic fastening with crystal embellished spider. It has fabric bag insert. It's 915 EUR. worth. It can be a stylish company in the mornings, eventually with some denim and high-heels sandals, or in the evening, together with a special satin dress. 
For elegant city travel adventures, this 195 EUR. worth Salvatore Ferragamo clutch is the perfect company. It is available in different colours, but I love this soft pink nuance. Made of calf leather, it has a handy wrist strap and a zipped top. 
Sparkle sparkle little star...or, in this case, little clutch. Created by Roger Vivier, part of his disco-chic collection, it has row after row of colourful sequins, that are eyes-catching especially when on the move. It matches well a complete black outfit as well as a light blue or pink one. It has a push clasp fastening and chain shoulder. The purchase price is a well deserved 1,700 EUR.
Back to some affordable urban look and price, this Wood Wood 200 EUR. black and grey Suede clutch suits a dynamic playful modern urban woman. It has a back patch pocket and magnetic fastening with added elastic band. 

This Miu Miu satin clutch is bubbling. With a wrist strap and zipped top, it goes especially in the evening, but equally makes a strong fashion statement when matched with a denim dress or some short pink or flowerly dress for the day. High-heels sandals are a must, as a very pinky make-up - at least the nails polish. It's available for 590 EUR.
This crisp packet metal clutch by Anya Hindmarch is very pretentious and a bit shocking at the first sight, but it's definitely the choice of highly sophisticated people. It is made of exquisite Suede lining and gold metal edges. It has push clasp fastening and detachable shoulder chain. Available for 1,195, it suits a late evening date necessarily matched with some golden high-heels sandals and a special satin dress.
Victoria Bekham's clutches are affordable and relatively simple as design yet chic. This large zip leather clutch, for instance looks very modern and can be purchased for 450 EUR. It has a snap zip fastening tab, linen lining and two internal slot compartment. It suits every season and occasion as well as outfit. 
Jil Sanders has a lot of interesting models of clutches, available in different colours, but this blue grained leather-three compartments took my breath away. It's very practical, with accordeon style sides which allows to bring a lot of useful items. It has two magnetic snap compartments, with one center zip compartment. It can be purchased for 1,000 USD.

That's almost all for today. Although I bet that in less than one hour time, I will find even more clutch temptations.

Some of the products presented are available at

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Salmon thyme pastry, easiest recipe on earth

I am so afraid of new failures of pastry experiences that I almost always prefer to buy the ready made frozen bourekas. From time to time, I have the chutzpe to try something on my own, but only to have the confirmation that the bourekas from the shop are always the best. Till today, when too busy with the Rosh Hashana menu I forgot the previous lack of success and simply proceeded to the preparation of some salmon pastry. The investment made was minimal: the thyme, 350 gr. natural salmon and some ready made dough. I cut the dough into medium sized squares, and added the salmon with the thyme in the middle.
I packed the four corners of the square and made a kind of kreplach-like size: small squares with the salmon in the middle carefully protected by the dough.
With the oven heated at 250C, the salmon pastry went ready very fast, in almost 20 minutes. A bit burned on the sides, but looking and smelling too good to be made in my own kitchen. Can't wait to taste the result, in only a couple of hours. 
Apparently, it seems that I start the New Year at least with a clear objective: baking and cooking at home as often as possible. It's time to try even more new recipes, forgetting about all the previous failures. Maybe this perspective matches other life achievements too...

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Simple honey cake for Rosh Hashana

I like my honey cake as simple as possible, so from a year to another, the recipe is changing insignificantly. I like to keep the same taste, maybe with more cinnamon or some other spices added. This time, I kept the all ingredients, maybe with less honey and sugar compared to the previous years.
My main ingredients were:
- 3 big eggs
- 1 cup honey
- 3 cup flour 
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup Nesscafe dissolved in water
- 200 gr. veggie margarine melted
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon baking powder

I first added the baking powder to the flour, then added the eggs, the honey, the sugar, the cinnamon and the margarine and the coffee. Mixed well till everything is melted. 
The preparation takes around 15 minutes.
The baking lasts around 40 minutes, at 200C.