Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Adventures in London

I remember very clearly sitting in the plane, listening to this tune and taking pictures out the window. The clouds were shining white, the sky was bright and blue and the sun was shining. Then we dived into the clouds and started to descend and everything changed - the sky turned from blue to grey, the sun hid behind а thick layer of clouds (which were no longer puffy and white but heavy and dark) and I thought to myself - well yeah, that must be London.

I won't lie - I didn't really like London for the first couple of weeks. I didn't like the place, I didn't like the weather, I wasn't really sure whether I wanted to spend a whole summer in the busiest city in Europe or not. I was really confused with the left-hand traffic, with the ridiculously complicated underground, with double-deckers travelling almost at the speed of light, with coins that have no numbers on them... I wasn't impressed by the traditional 'Fish &Chips' and I most definitely hated Marmite.

It took me some time before I finally gave London a chance. It couldn't be that bad... you start to get used to looking at the opposite direction when crossing the street. The underground isn't that complicated and double-deckers travelling at the speed of light are actually useful when you're running late. It still takes me some times to count my change but I'm slowly getting better at it. As for the food here - traditional english dishes might not be impressive but since you can find cuisine from all over the world here - it's not at all bad. I'd have a veggie Mexican burrito any time. Or a halumi wrap. Or green thai curry. You name it.

I visit museums. I go to food markets and flower markets and wine markets. (Markets are a serious business around here!). I discover small hidden shops that hide all kinds of treasures. I admire wonderful murals and street art installations. I drink lots of coconut water and rose lemonade. I buy sunflowers and succulents and dream of a big garden. I learn a few new english words every single day (word of the day today: salience). I munch on raw bars and caramel shortbread like crazy. I sometimes run, too. Not as much as I used to, but I'm keeping it up. London, that must mean we get on pretty well, no?

I'm in London to make some illustrations & design, learn some cool new recipes, visit new fun places and drink all the rose lemonade possible. I didn't really like it during my first days here because I couldn't stop comparing it to my most beloved Vienna - and you might very well guess that they have absolutely nothing in common. But after a month and a half here I must admit... London is actually nice. Yes, it is busy and crazy and loud and unpredictable. But very nice whatsoever.

Let's be friends, London - I'm nice as well.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Geometric pattern nesting dolls DIY

June is here, summer is almost here and I am finally here, too (wow - it's been a while, huh?) with a couple of fresh new illustrations, a bunch of fun DIYs and a delicious recipe or two out of my red lunchbox. June is going to be great, I promise you that. And because June is great and I feel great and everything feels like rainbows and sunshine - I decorated a set of nesting dolls and I'm going to tell you aaaall about it.

I love matrioshka dolls and I loooove geometric patterns in black and white - it was about time to combine the two. For this project you are only going to need acrylic paint, permanent markers and a set of blank nesting dolls.
Start with covering your dolls in your primer colour. I used white spray paint at first but it doesn't really work well on wood, let me tell you this. Or at least mine didn't. So I applied generous coats of white and black acrylic paint to my dolls and let them dry for a couple of hours. I used pale pink to paint the faces and a pinch of red for the cheeks.
I find markers to be a lot easier to work with than brushes, so I used permanent black markers to draw all the cute patterns on my matrioshka dolls. If you want perfect straight lines and forms - use the help of some masking tape. Drawing patterns is always lots of fun - the moment I finished decorating my dolls I wished I had a couple more blank sets to work on.
Go crazy with colours and shapes or win a couple of extra points in my book by keeping everything in black and white. Either way - have fun creating your own set of customised nesting dolls!

Monday, May 12, 2014


There is a magical cabin in a magical forest where magical things happen. 
Quiet music plays in the background, everything is illuminated and time doesn't pass. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Perler Bead Dreamcatcher DIY

I have a giant jar full of perler beads. Mon has one, too. Picking the project for our next craft Saturday wasn't exactly difficult. 

Craft days mean good music, good food, quality fun, colourful messes and - of course - crafts. The music Mon picked was, well... weird (no offence here!), the lunch we had was nice and the snacks were the usual almost healthy. The idea of a bead dreamcatcher was probably a little too ambitious, but we had lots of fun and ended up with something that - hopefully - resembles a dreamcatcher. At least a tiny bit.

Оur only problem was that we had two giant jars of perler beads and not one tiny bead in a fancy colour. But oh well. We work with what we have. This project will look a lot nicer if you have perler beads in your favourite colours, but if not - brown, yellow, orange and red is not such a bad combination, is it? You could always say that you're going for that native look. 

Dreamcatchers are said to catch and hold bad dreams and energy and make them disappear into the spider web across the hoop. The web lets all good dreams and spirits pass through - they slide down the feathers to the sleeper. I am not sure if this works for perler bead dreamcatchers, but we did everything almost in a spiritual manner so it wouldn't be a surprise if our dreamcatcher truly has magical powers.
We made a hoop and three super simple feathers (since our circle pegboard was only this big we had to make tiny feathers as well to keep everything proportional... which didn't let us go crazy with the designs) аnd used red thread for the web. It came out a little too small to hang over your bed, but it's the perfect size for your inspiration board.
Who knows, it might catch a good idea or two? :)

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Lego lunchbox: courgette salad

Lego lunchbox today:
Courgette salad - courgettes, lemon juice, olive oil, feta cheese, dill
mango for dessert.

Did you know that you could eat raw courgettes? Yes? Well lucky you. No? Don't worry - I didn't know either but I'm here to save the day with this wonderful super easy recipe. 
Courgettes are just as delicious raw as they are in a cooked meal. The secret to this recipe is how you slice them: the thinner the slices the better. Whisk lemon juice (or orange or grapefruit juice if you're feeling adventurous) and olive oil and leave the courgettes to marinate for about 10-15 minutes. Add feta cheese and dill and you have the perfect lunch. A mango for dessert makes it even better. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Felt Fox DIY

Crafts are always fun. But it takes two to turn a craft day into a party and i'm glad i've found the perfect partner in crime for that. 
As soon as Mon and I visited an art supply store together (and ooh-ed and aah-ed at just about everything inside) - it was clear that we needed a craft day. We decided to make felt plushies, packed materials, bought somehow healthy snacks and made it official: Saturday is craft day.

We made homemade lemonade, munched yoghurt rice cakes and chocolate and listened to Emancipator while cutting out paper stencils, threading needles and stitching felt pieces together. Craft days are definitely my new favourite thing.

Making a fox plushie out of felt is super easy and super fun on a craft day or any day. You only need orange felt for the body, black and white thread for the details, some stuffing and a tiny piece of cloth of your choice for the scarf. 
Make a paper stencil of your fox (or print this one) and cut out front and back pieces from the felt sheets. Don't forget to leave space for stitching! Use thick white thread for the details and make a pattern than you like. You can cut out the nose and eye out of black felt or embroider them... i picked the easier way. When you're done with all the little details - start stitching the front and back pieces of the body and tail together. (do them separately and stitch them together after stuffing.) I decided that a thick black thread would go nice with the eye and nose but a thread in the colour of the fox might be a better choice. Leave a little hole so that you can stuff your little fox with whatever you have at hand. (I might have asked for Dexter's help for that). Add a scarf or a necklace or a ribbon or whatever you can think of to give your fox a more sophisticated look. 
Either you plan on making a felt fox оr an advanced three-dimentional wolf or a bear or another forest creature - have a craft day with friends. Drink lemonade. Make a mess. Eat chocolate. Have fun.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Full of ideas

Dexter and I are partners in crime. 
We are the perfect team: he's the brains, because all of his ideas are brilliant, and I am the looks, because - well, he is a handsome mister, but I am a girl and I would have been very upset with any other arrangement. We go on all sorts of adventures together: sometimes we go on an expedition to find the best waffles in the neighbourhood, sometimes we go out for a run (we both agree exercise is important - especially after a waffle), and sometimes we randomly decide that gardening is our newest hobby so we seek for lilac tulips and supplies and advice on how to take care of flowers. Dexter is pretty excited to participate in just about anything (excluding cleaning) but sometimes he likes to do things his way. 
Here's a short list of some of his most brilliant ideas:

- Can I have half of your breakfast? It looks pretty tasty and I'm sure you don't need that much food anyways. We're pals, let's share. You know you can always have some of my dog food, if you want.
- A midnight walk! But not just tonight! Every night this week! Don't worry, I'll let you know when the time is right. 3am should be just fine.
- Do I see another dog across the street? Lets totally freeze until we know for sure if it's a friend or a foe. Trust me, it's a good tactic.
- It's raining cats and dogs and it's also freezing outside - we might stay out for a couple of hours, wouldn't it be fun? Dancing in the rain, playing in puddles, digging holes - all sorts of fun activities to choose from!
- Can I have some of your lunch? I didn't have much breakfast. Sharing is caring. 
- Did I just see a cat hide under that car over there? Let's check - I think we will all manage to fit in there and have a party. 
- Let's examine this piece of rock thorougly - half an our of sniffing should do the trick. I think I might have found something. I need time. More time. More time - oh look! Another rock! Forget the first one, this is it!
- Let's bring all sorts of sticks home and hide them under the sofa. A tree might magically grow. An apple tree! Apples are tasty. What's for dinner?

Dexter is a funny little guy but sometimes he gets a little too excited. We couldn't hide under the car with that one cat. Nor was it such a great idea to play in puddles because - as it turned out - mud is fun only until you try to get it all off. But we're having so much fun together it doesn't matter that things sometimes end up with boring baths or light bruises or scratches or - like that one time - with a black eye.
We're adventurers.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

World II Illustration

I leave my house to go to an adventure by boat. I put on a raincoat, because it's a grey chilly Sunday around here, and play a nice tune on repeat.
What is your Sunday like?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Lego Lunchbox: stir-fry thai chicken with vegetables and rice

Lego lunchbox today:
stir-fry thai chicken with vegetables + basmati rice 
no dessert 

Stir-fry chicken isn't exactly a meal you would see in my red lego lunchbox. But there are a lot more skilled lego lunchbox owners who can actually prepare stuff like that. I see it like that: red is for newbies, yellow is for pros. Whenever you see the yellow lego brick around the blog be prepared for sophisticated top class recipes. And boring coffee drinks, obviously.
Stir-fry chicken with vegetables didn't sound like a big deal in the beginning. But it is. I tried to make it and failed hard. (Dexter didn't mind and ate the whole thing). It wouldn't be right to give you tips on a recipe I hardly understand but let me tell you this: the easiest way to enjoy stir-fry chicken with veggies is to find someone who can prepare it for you. Or in my case: take a picture of it in a special yellow lego lunchbox.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Perler Bead Coasters DIY

I didn't know how they were called. I didn't know where to find them. I only knew that they were super fun and that, well... I needed them badly. And as all good things in life, I discovered them accidentally - and couldn't believe my luck. I've been playing with them ever since.
And by them I mean perler beads. You might remember playing with them as a kid. Мy best friend introduced them to me when we were in high school and we used to spend sleepless nights making ridiculous jewellery that we loved but actually never wore. Or - you might still be playing with them secretly? At least I do - not so secretly, though.
Perler beads are a lot of fun. I might be hooked. I might have written a whole list of things I'd like to make out of them. I might have used half a jar of in one day. Dexter might have eaten a bead or two out of curiosity. Don't try that at home. Dexter's a professional.

The supplies needed for a set of cute geometric coasters are simple: some beads in your favourite colours, a circle pegboard, parchment paper and an iron.

It's super easy - create a design you like, carefully cover it with parchment paper and iron it for a couple of seconds until the beads fuse together. Once you've done that you might want to put your coasters under a pile of heavy books (don't remove the parchment paper yet) just to make sure they stay completely flat.

Half an hour later you have your perfectly flat super cute geometric coasters - now you only need a fancy drink to put on top. Homemade lemonade is always a good idea.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Аll is love

Dexter and I wake up early on a Sunday. 
Dexter waits impatiently while I make breakfast: freshly squeezed orange juice and a perfectly cut mango (it took me only a million youtube how-to videos to finally get the hang of it). We take a look through the window to check the weather outside and plan our day accordingly. It is sunny today. Perfect for an expedition. 

And by expedition I mean an adventurous walk to the near bakery. We can't live on orange juice and a mango! We need a second breakfast. Something like a muffin or a waffle or a slice of pizza. Dexter doesn't mind - he could eat all three at the same time. 
I put on my magical lilac hat I found a couple of days ago and almost-magical-running-shoes and we are ready to go.  Dexter doesn't have any magical attire. He keeps it real and casual. Although he likes to wear my lilac hat when we're at home and nobody's watching - but let's keep that a secret. 
We meet friends and foes on our way to the bakery: a couple of stray dogs that don't like Dexter very much and keep arguing we should change our route and a cute little black dog who is Dexter's latest love and follows us along. We stop every now and again because Dexter believes he is this close to finding a treasure but - oh well - it is always a false alarm. We haven't lost faith, though - every adventure ends up with a treasure sooner or later.
Our treasure today is a delicious freshly baked croissant from the bakery. We share 50/50. 60/40 even, because Dexter's girlfriend gets some of my share. Ah, love. I do what I can. 

When we get home we are already tired of our little adventure. Dexter falls asleep almost immediately and I hide under a pink blanket with a couple of favourite books. I don't read much today - I just look at pictures or make lists of german words I don't know. I listen to good music, drink sweet tea and... well... I might have a mint chocolate or two. Or half a box of. It's Sunday. I can do that on a Sunday. Right?
Dexter sleeps till late afternoon. I invite him out for a run but he's the laziest dog in the neighbourhood, he can't take more than one adventure a day. So I put on my magical hat and shoes again and go out alone. An 8km run compensates for eight After Eight mint chocolates, that's what my simple math tells me. I'm good at math, you can trust me on this one. 

I feel happy today. I go on expeditions and draw and run and read and take pictures of mangos. I watch an old Bulgarian movie called All is Love (Dexter falls asleep right after the opening title. Not the best company for movies, this one), I laugh to old-fashioned jokes and clumsy romantic scenes. 
I feel happy and loved today.
All is love. And a simple Sunday made wonderful.

* All is love opening title. Enough to put my Dexter to sleep. 

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Bear and Fox

There is an old Bulgarian saying that goes like this: "Sun is shining, rain is pouring down, a bear and a fox are getting married". February is far away from shining sun and pouring rain but in my mind I'm picturing the loveliest forest feast under the rainbow. 

I've added new illustrations in my Etsy shop (you can also find these two!). You are more than welcome to take a look here.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Read of the month: February

Things that can instantly make me happy: Bubble tea. A good book. A good run.
A good book about running by one of my favourite authors is such a delight I can almost forget about bubble tea. Almost.
"What I talk about when I talk about running" is not the typical Murakami book. No little people here, no mysteriously disappearing women with uncannily beautiful ears, no raining fish. This is an honest "kind of memoir" as the author himself calls it - about his life and experiences as a runner, as a writer, as a man.
I cannot call myself a runner. I like a good occasional run, I like to beat my own time and distance records. Maybe participate in a half-marathon (or even maybe a whole marathon!) in the near future - but no more than that. Reading the story of a man who has done 25 marathons and an ultramarathon (100km!) was a huge inspiration, especially when this man happens to be a great novelist, too.
This book is not only about running, so you shouldn't be put off by the title. Murakami describes all the physical and mental agonies he has gone through the years, all the little wins and big losses, all small things that matter and big things that don't. It is a great story about all the possible things we can do (doesn't matter if it is a 100km run or a finished novel or something else) when we set our minds right.
If you don't run you might want to give it a try after reading the story. If you do run - you might put an extra kilometre or two on top of your distance record. I know I did.