Time to take a break

The first day when my love leaves for the US is always the hardest… Now, with summer break upon us it all seems so down and gloomy despite the sun. After weeks of absence the sun decided to return! Thank goodness! It not only warms the skin but the heart and soul … It’s hopeful, positive, bright and happy. Looking forward to six weeks off. Summer break to the rescue. 

We hadn’t planned anything for this break so far – that is up until a day ago. Now, I spontaneously booked a trip to Denmark! To Aarhus – the European Capital of Culture in 2017!    

I am glad I did. We are taking the train. It’s super convenient and affordable. It wasn’t as affordable to find the right hotel for a family with 3 kids. But I think this Zleep Hotel will do. I sure need this break and so do the kids. Isaiah is moving on to middle school while Seda finished Elementary school … It was quite a journey so far both for us parents and the kids as well. Unlike our first year in Germany which went by quickly. All the newness and the excitement made that year fly by. We just went along with it – soaked it all up. But the next 2 were different. They were demanding. For me as a stay-at-home mom it meant lots of PTA work, housework and juggling work & play. Being the go-to person for the children. Their support system. Quite demanding and exhausting, I have to admit. Of course, along the was I was growing my network of moms & dads, friends, neighbors and just adjusting to the system and finally mastering it! No time for boredom that’s for sure. 

I was fortunate enough to get involved in organizing a fundraiser for Isaiah’s school.

Following that I helped found an environmental group: KGS Green Team.

Before school years end we received recognition internally as well as publicly. 🙂

But there were also personal days. Days of neighborhood barbecues and most cherished our quarterly luncheon with our dear neighbor Gerthild. Our bust buddies C&T from Hamburg joined us this quarter. What great memories for kids & adults alike. Our circle is growing. For that I am very grateful. 

Finally, during school breaks we’ve had used every opportunity to travel. Short trips, long trips, road trips and day trips, trips to sports tournaments and visiting family. Lot’s of mileage added to our books.

And finally tomorrow: Report Cards!!! A’s and B’s. It’s all good. I am so grateful. With all the goodness there was one area that we had no control over. Over the course of this last year we’ve received the ultimate news from Kentucky. Sadly with all of our gains we’ve lost three very cherished members of our American family. May their souls rest in peace… :.(

R.I.P. Butch Sr., Grandma Florence and most recently our beloved Aunt Ivy… You will be missed – always.

The good and the bad add up to a potpourri of our life. A life I am grateful for. A life I cherish & hope to hold on to just a little longer than time allows… So much to do, to see, to achieve still. To all that I am looking forward to. For all that I was fortunate to see and to experience I feel grateful. I am blessed.

Thank you God for my life.

Love,

Yasemin

 

Hard work and sometimes hardly working :-)

A mom’s life is hard work most of the time. And being a mom of three is triple the workload and the joy as well. Over the last 13 years of being a mom but especially in the last 2 or 3 years I’ve learned to work hard in the crunch times and grind it out. But I’ve also learned to enjoy the precious moments when my presence is not demanded – that’s mostly in the mornings when the kids are in school. I make it a point to work out 2 or 3 times a week before I do anything else. I also make my chores more fun by incorporating some quality time with a girlfriend or my husband when he’s in town. We grab coffee at the farmers market. Our bi-weekly market around the corner from where we live is so beautiful. Mondays and especially Thursdays are great. The fresh produce and the flowers – oh those flowers – are so pretty. It’s remarkable how differently you can drink your coffee these days. One serves it from a Renault L’Estafette.  Our friend Philine.

Then there’s Loppokaffeeexpress – coffee served from a bike trailer. My recent favorite though is this little red trailer ‘Das Törtchen Mobil – which is so darned cute.

Over time the more challenging my life has become as a mom the more actively I seek moments and things that bring me joy, such as sewing or meeting up with friends – most preferably meeting up with friends & sewing together! I am grateful to my creative friends who inspire me and whom I get to inspire if only slightly. 🙂

 

 

How fun to be able to sew up some gifts. The fabric selection is the first joy, the actual sewing is the next but to be able to give these handmade one-of-a-kind pieces is the greatest joy for me. These nautical inspired pieces I made for my sister.

I sewed this strawberry skirt for my friend’s daughter Rosa. Actually, I sewed this skirt as I showed her how to make a simple skirt from less than a half yard of fabric. She in turn showed me how to edit pictures using this (new for me) app: snapseed. A win-win!

This year I felt the most needed and demanded by my children of all the years prior. Isaiah is quite settled now into life at his middle/high school. It was a rough road of not caring much about homework or studying and spending more time on his mobile device than I can appreciate …

This boy won all three possible awards with his team this season. They won their league, as well as the district championships and to top it off they because the state champions as well. Needless to say it was hard work for players and parents… Glad to have this season done with and a little breather from soccer … Congratulations and well done for the U13 boys of Holstein Kiel! Love y’all!

  

Isaiah’s off-season training:-)

For Seda it was quite an important year as well – her final year at elementary school… She has toured several school and has chosen the one that her big brother is at (thank God!) and now is finishing this year with honors. She’s also picked up her  tennis game and improved on her guitar playing as well. She finished a whole semester of enrichment classes in photography. I am really proud of her and hope that this fall she can start an even better time in her life at the big-kid school.

Seda presented her photography at the special exhibition at her soon-to-be middle and high school. It was a very special day for her for sure.

Last but not least she performed a one of the 2 narrators of a musical piece called: When the crows were black! Well done Seda! We are so proud of you.

Stella has made quite huge leaps as well. She’s finally accepted that her pre-school is a good place for her to got ‘every single day’! She made friends, her German is better now than her English (sorry Butch!)… She’s doing her second swim classes already and even started playing tennis like the big kids

All this and the usual load of paperwork that goes with all these activities and the standard housework plus my involvement in all the PTA activities at Isaiah’s school keep my plate pretty full.

So full for that matter that I actively seek time off! Time for myself. I love my running and workout schedule that I maintain despite the pains and aches and cold etc. I run first – then tackle my day. It really feels good this way. My goal is to continue this which has already become my habit. I got quite the fall ahead of me with some major activities at school so I am especially mindful of rest now and regularly until then. I have to note as well that my sister’s short, spontaneous visit from Turkey has really sparked a whole new love for her and my family in general that I had put on the back burner. I am very grateful for that.

 

My children feel like they just hit the jackpot with an aunt they didn’t even really know that they had. So cool. I love my family. I am grateful for every single one of their memories I cherish.

And now, a few more things left on my calendar before we get to dive into summer break! No plans so far other than enjoying every moment as it comes. For that I am grateful.

Happy summer everyone!

Yasemin

I LOVE to read – about sewing that is!!

There is a big beautiful world of sewing bloggers out there that only keeps growing. I keep adding more favorites to my list (see my ‘I like to read‘ page). interestingly enough most of these ladies started a web log for the same reasons – to document their growing portfolio of self made clothes mostly for their little girls who’s birth sparked the fire of DIY in them. My story is the same. I had this beautiful Singer sewing machine since Christmas of 2005, two years prior to my daughter’s birth.

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I used it mainly to make pillow cases :-). That’s all I knew how to do. In 2007 I was expecting my first daughter and that summer before her birth the sewing fire in me got a new spark. I went fabric shopping at JoAnn’s and made all her bedding.  All pink!! 🙂 It would have been too easy (& expensive!) to go to Pottery Barn Kids and buy their bassinet & bedding. This special girl needed something one-of-a-kind.

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But it wasn’t until the spring of 2008 when I discovered this precious little sewing book that I had found my passion.

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Making children’s clothing, especially skirts and dresses!! I love every single page in this book and have sewn many many things from it. The below night dress I have altered many times into tops, dresses and tunics.

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I have a feeling that if I ever ventured into pattern making, I’d make this my first! Hello 2015! 🙂

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Anyway, ever since that discovery at Barnes & Noble in beautiful Newport Beach I have added several other sewing books to my growing library.

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Little did I know then what a huge online world of free patterns and tutorials there was!! So, now my online library of blogs that I read on a daily basis is getting long!

Here are some of my latest finds:

These ladies aren’t just inspiring me to sew more for myself and kids but also take better pictures! That is my priority number one for the rest of the year. I have just sold my first Canon Rebel XS (below) that I owned for many years.

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Now I am shopping around for an upgrade and waiting for a sale. The Canon Rebel series comes highly recommended but this time around I need a better lens. So far I am looking at spending $600 with basis lens. The superior lens runs another another $200. With the imminent move overseas (18 days to go but who’s counting?!) But imagine the gorgeous pictures I could be taking on our journey!!! Plus the same camera in Germany is over 600 Euro!! So, getting this purchase out of the way will be wise.

This time I am going to do my due diligence on how to maximize the camera’s many functions and in addition equip myself with a photo processing program. I am determined to make photography my next passion! Thank you ladies of the sewing blogesphere for all the inspiration.

Love,

Yasemin

P.S. Looking at the above pictures I am sure you agree: I NEED A NEW CAMERA & better photography skills. Yikes!

Photobook Mania

I just love those handy photo books large and small, with soft covers or hard ones, with 20 pages or 200 – I like them all. In fact, looking back I have ordered all variations of it online. My go-to place is Shutterfly. These books cost anywhere from $20 -$100. The set-up is pretty straight-forward and design options are great, too! The finished book looks so professional that everyone wonders who ‘designed’ them for us. 🙂 I’ve given photo books as gifts – especially to my mom – who doesn’t use a computer or a smart phone! Imagine that! All other close friends & family are online and get flooded with photos everyday. But my mom is old-school in this area. So every year I create a photobook of the highlights just for her. She loves them.

Recently I’ve purchased a Groupon for a 20-page photobook and knew just how I was going to use it…

Unlike all previous books this one was going to feature YaseminTea handmade items! All in one place, perfectly bound, with a padded glossy cover! Considering that the Groupon cost me $10 only I thought this was a great investment! I had an hour before the kids came home from school and 20 pages to fill! I browsed my online albums and selected 38 pictures that best represented me. A little cropping, a few captions later I had placed my order! Easy peezy! I’ve ordered on a Friday and received my book by the following Tuesday. I should mention that the shipping & handling is not included in the Groupon and actually cost me another $11.99. but once I held my book in my hands I knew it was worth the price. It beautifully summarizes my four-year journey of sewing children’s clothes. 

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(The glossy front cover featuring my new logo.)

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(Even the back is pretty – just like fabric. I’d like two yards of it please!)

It all started with skirts: Twirly, bouncy, mini, midi, and my daughters’ favorite maxi skirts!!

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I quickly added dresses to my second favorite thing to make for my girl(s). Especiallly the peasant style dress in all variations is one of my favorites to sew.

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Last year, I have added the padded zippered pouch. I have my own pattern that has a stand-up bottom. I’ve given these as gifts to teachers, girlfriends, neighbors etc. Some I stuffed with organic travel-sized cosmetics, others with a gift card.

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I made many little heart shaped and lavender filled sachets…

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… some home decor involving the ever-so-popular embroidery hoops… 🙂

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Oh, and there was Halloween & Pioneer Day at school to sew for.

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And lots & lots of doll clothes, quilts, and the Oliver+ S hair bow ties!

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Sewing has gotten even more fun ever since my littlest baby joined our family.  I get to make two of everything! That’s double the fun!

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Now this pretty book will join the many others on our coffee table.

Hope you are having many Kodak moments yourself!

Love,

Yasemin

Reading, Sewing and a year older!

I love how reading blogs takes you all over the world. You get to peek into other mom’s lifes. See how they live with their children, how they create … I love looking through their lenses. They take breath-taking pictures. It’s so interesting to see how winter is so different in different parts of the county. From snow storms to beach days, from fog to rain to dry, sunny Texas-like weather. It’s all happening this month in the blogesphere. It’s gorgeous. I also enjoy seeing the cozy, candy-lit homes of European bloggers. I keep adding to my blogroll everyday. (See full list here.) What’s great is how supportive bloggers are of eachother. Today I’ve discovered Rosy Little Things on Probably Actuallys blog. I love the foggy winter pictures of Oregon with all the beautiful hand-knit baby sweaters & the floral print Alicia’s little girl is wearing. So beautiful. I’ve also been reading Whitney Deal’s blog: Darling Dexter ever since I saw it mentioned on Oliver+S. Again beautiful pictures & really exceptional eye for kid’s clothes. Again on the Oliver + S blog I’ve come across My Cakies last month. I love bloggers from California. You and Mie is another new favorite of mine from Cali! Their pictures remind me of my home of 7 years… Oh California dreamin’… I miss the beach SO MUCH!!! In other news, yesterday was my birthday.  I gave myself a little break from everything. I slowed down. It was perfect! Outside it was cold cold cold and grey! I can handle the cold with blue skies but that deary grey makes me just want to cuddle up on the couch … Naturally we couldn’t go to the park in the morning. But half way through the morning it dawned on me that this is exactly what I needed. Once the baby was napping I realized how great the gift of quite is. I could actually THINK! I could BREATHE deeply. So nice for a change. Even after the older kids came home from school we took it easy. I can’t remember the last time we build these block towers together …

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All of us. Priceless! We are on-the-go and active way too often. It’s the simple quite that I am enjoying these days. I hope that’s not a sign of me getting old – or is it? 🙂 I don’t feel old. Actually, I feel very energetic & healthy! Thank goodness for that. This is me last year on my birthday:

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Seda took this picture of me when we were feeding the ducks after school. It was a cool but sunny and bright day last year. This year’s pic is taken inside. In our cozy living room in front of the fireplace.

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I just love how Seda takes pictures. It’s and art really. Not everyone can do it. I love her patience with it too. Taking better pictures is on my list of improvements this year. First I’d like to trade in my old Canon for a newer model. And then I am going to READ the manual!! I hear that there are a few simple steps like shutter speed etc. that can improve the quality of the picture dramatically. More research to be done here still! Anyway, I better head over to my sewing table and hop onto the turn-a-t-shirt-into-a-dress train that I am on this week. 🙂 After all baby has just under another hour of sleep left … Have fun, stay healthy! Love, Yasemin photo 3 (23) photo 1 (27) P.S. These piles of new solid tees are awaiting me today. One is for Seda in size 7-8 y and the other is for Stella in 24 m. I purchased them all at the Children’s Place Outlet for less than $4 each! Score!! They are super soft & long-sleeved. I usually cut the sleeves to 3/4 length which I prefer. My original idea inspired by this post was to turn the girl’s old tees into dresses but let’s be honest: Who wants to spend time & use beautiful new fabric to turn and old t-shirt into a dress? I prefer these crisp – not too expensive – ones. At least the precious time I spent in my sewing room will be well worth it afterwards. Plus the baby’s worn t-shirts and onesies are so gross from food stains … Yuck! … January 27th: Update Here’s one of the many t-shirt dresses coming out of the oven these days :-): LibertyDressWithCollar I considered keeping it simple – at first – but went with a collar and fabric covered button addition in the end. TshirtDressLiberty   Well, my muse liked the details and can’t wait to wear it. As you can probably see I haven’t even hemmed it yet. Just wanted to get the picture out of the way while the weather was pleasant. This has truly been a roller-coaster-winter. SedaNewLibertyDress