Wednesday 31 December 2014

2014 - A Blog Year in Review

Hello all!

I hope you celebrate a wonderful last day of 2014 whereever on this world you are! May 2015 be a wonderful year for you!

This post is a lil' round up of our blog year 2014! We love our blog and adore every of your comments! Looking forward to see where our blog journey will take us 2015 :)


See you 2015!

Friday 26 December 2014

Peace and Harmony Award

Merry Christmas to you all! We hope you had and are still having wonderful days with lots of love from your family and friends. We most certainly are!

Some days ago, our little blog got awarded the Peace and Harmony Award. Wow! Michelle and I agreed that Christmas would be the best time to blog about this award. After all, Christmas should be a time of peace and joy! 

We got the award from Jodi from Lupey Loops (she talkes about the award here)  and we feel very humble to be in included in her list of blogs which foster peace and harmony. Had we been awarded first, Jodi would certainly have been in our list. Like Michelle and me, Jodi battles with chronic autoimmune illness. Her blog is a great resource for people with chronic illness and she has such a positive view on life which shows in and between the lines she writes. :)

The Harmony & Peace Award is an invention of Barbara Mattio (IdealisticRebel). The award aims to "celebrate all those who promote Harmony & Peace, and who add Love & Beauty to the world through their Blogs and through their lives.  Their Positivity makes the world a better place for all of us."

Jodi included a very kind description of our blog: "The story of friendship between Michelle and Anne who live on opposite sides of the globe (Australia & Germany). They describe their friendship here and invite their readers to become a part of their friendship circle as they blog about craft, cooking and good company. Anne and Michelle prove that living in different hemispheres is no barrier to cultivating friendships." Thanks Jodi!! :)

We decided to honor the award by telling you about our Christmases in Germany and Australia. That way we can show you that Christmas on different sides of the world can be very different and same in spirit at once!


Christmas is a very special time of the year for me. It's the meaning and the whole atmosphere which I hold very close to my heart and every year I can't wait for the first advent; that is, for the start of the christmas season. 

We always have a real Christmas tree. The one at my parents' house is always up to the roof of the room and I remember the Christmas mornings when I woke up and raced down to see the decorated tree (my parents put the decorations up at night). Nowadays, I celebrate Christmas Eve with my boyfriend at home in Dortmund. Our tree is not as big as my parent's tree but still not small (1,65 m this year). We decorate on Christmas Eve and the tree holds a lot of memories as we put up glass globes we brought home from places we visited all over the world. This year the tree included globes from London, Paris, Groningen, Vienna, Sydney, Vancouver and Stockholm!

Christmas Eve (the day Germans celebrate) we go to church. It wouldn't be Christmas without the song "Oh du Fröhliche"! Afterwards we take time to cook and enjoy a good glass of wine. This year we had duck. Yumm! Lucky me - the boyfriend cooked it. He is so much better at cooking than me!

At night, we always take a walk. I love this outside time! It is very quite and peaceful and the windows of the houses are alight. One can see the sparkling Christmas trees and happy faces. What a wonderful and special time!

On the first day of Christmas, we drive up to the boyfriend's family. On the second day of Christmas, we celebrate with my family. Four generations! And the boys are certainly in the lower number: 8 female and 4 male! There has been only girls on this side of the family for a couple of generations!

I love giving gifts! I am usually much more excited about giving gifts than reciving some (I still love them though!). This year, I made sure to include our neighbours. We live in a house with 10 families. The boyfriend and I made chocolate on a stick which can be put in hot chocolate. We made three different kinds: Dark Chocolate with Red Pepper, White Chocolate and Milk Chocolate with Vanilla. I hope the liked their gifts! There were also some picture books for the small kids (I couldn't resist!). :) A lot of my gifts were handmade this year. My work ladies got little glasses with Christmas Milk Rice for example and my Granny got the blanket I showed you some weeks ago. I love giving handmade gifts as I hope it shows my love! 


Christmas in our house has changed a lot since I was little. Then, all our celebration was on Christmas Day, and we would race down the stairs on Christmas morning to see what Santa had brought us. We weren't allowed to open any presents until after church - lucky there was a 7:30am service! My parents put a lot of effort into making us believe in Santa: chewed carrots and grass in the water bucket we put out for the reindeer, and Santa always polished off the milk and cookies we left out for him! After church, we had a lovely breakfast and opened presents. The big celebration was for lunch, and we always ate very very well.

One thing that hasn't changed about Christmas is that we have our extended family parties beforehand - sometimes in November! This meant that we (and everyone else) didn't have to rush around on Christmas to see everyone. Now we visit Kiah's family a few days after Christmas for a delicious lunch :)

Since we had the house at Lake Macquarie, we have come up here for the two weeks including Christmas and New Years. We have also started celebrating on Christmas Eve with a big dinner with friends and our immediate family. 

Then on Christmas Day we go to church up here, and then usually everyone has a nap! For lunch we have slow roasted pork belly with apple jam and lots of vegies. In the afternoon everyone relaxes and maybe has more naps!

Our family doesn't get very excited about Christmas decorations. We have a plastic tree which lights up itself, and a few things hanging around the house that Mum has made. Maybe when we have little ones again we will get more into decorations :)

The Harmony & Peace Award Rules are:
  1. Give this award to seven bloggers who have added Harmony & Peace, Love & Beauty and Positivity to the world you live in.
  2. Let them know that you nominated them.
  3. Acknowledge the blogger from whom you received this award.
  4. Display your award on your blog, because  you have earned it!
  5. Continue to live in Harmony & Peace.
Phew, it is pretty hard to choose seven blogs only! I love reading every blog on my reading list because the tales from all over the world brighten my day and make me smile! So in our hearts all of them are nominated!

Anyway, here are our 7 nominees:

1. Funky Crochet: Ingrid is originally from Germany, used to live in the UK and now lives in Belgium. She is a great example how one can become part of a new world no matter where one originally comes from! She is a very kind lady and this year both Michelle and I received handmade Christmas cards from her! Thanks Ingrid for making our Christmas more colourful!

2. Mias Landliv: Mia blogs about her life in Norway and always includes wonderful and peaceful pictures. Whenever I read her blog, I feel at peace. It is as if her photos carry one to a different world!

3. Wool and Cats: Géraldine makes the world a better place though her amazing pictures. Every Friday she posts a weekend still and the pic is always amazing and full of harmony. She reminds one how important it is to notice the small things in life and the beauty of nature.  

4. The Little Bee: Alia's page isn't exactly a blog but she collects wonderful things on Instagram. Her Sunday Shawl is a wonderful example how a crochet pattern can bring together people from all different kind of cultures and countries. People from all over the world have crocheted the shawl and each one is loved. Crochet is such a wonderful and harmonious way to bring people together!

5. Vacuuming on Holidays: Bernie's blog is very new but holds a wonderful idea. Bernie says about herself that she is on her way to happiness and she documents her way on the blog. Each week she blogs about the things which made her smile. What a great idea! It is so important for all of us that peace and harmony can be all around is and a smile is the best way to show it! Smiling makes the world a better place (which is why I try to make sure to smile at as many people as possible!).

6. Woollybluebells: Helen is a wanderer between worlds like us. She blogs about special things from the UK and Germany - cultures she holds very dear in her heart. In German there is a word for her: Weltbürger. This means "world citizen". If there were more Weltbürger on the world, that is people who don't care about borders and enjoy different cultures instead, the world would be a way more peaceful place! Thanks Helen for being a Weltbürger!

7. Jet Georgette: Our lovely friend Alex from Perth blogs about clothes, fashion and style. The tagline for her blog is "self-esteem isn't a size tag", which pretty much sums up her philosophy! I love reading through her blog to get ideas for fashion and style for those of us who aren't a perfect size 8 :) What a great message to the world! We should all learn to be so accepting and at peace with our own bodies. 

Tuesday 23 December 2014

Stockholm, Birthday Times and a New Blanket

Hi there!

I am back to Blogland! As Michelle mentioned last week, I was on holidays in Stockholm for my 30th birthday and man, we had a splendid time there. Thank you for your birthday wishes - I was very happy to read them!

The boyfriend and I really love to travel during Advent. We love to visit foreign Christmas markets and enjoy the festive mood in different towns. Some years ago, we had an amazing time in London (during the snow chaos). During the time I taught at school, we couldn't travel before Christmas (as teachers depend on the fixed holiday times) but now that I have a different job, we are free to travel whenever we like. It's brilliant!

We arrived in Stockholm on the 15th of December and stayed for 4 nights. As we got an amazing deal, we were able to stay in the Hilton without killing our travel budget. In fact it was little more expensive than the hostel we planned to stay in first and there was breakfast included! Lucky us! :-) We got a very cute room on the top floor with windows on two sides - loved it! I know some people complain about the room size on the internet, but it had just the right size for us. The hotel is just a bridge away from Gamla Stan, the old town, which I fell in love with. Lots of little old streets and even a small Christmas market. Oh and a shop where we found our mandatory Christmas ornament. I might have mentioned before that we collect Christmas globes from towns we travel to for our christmas tree. This year there are two new ones: One from Vancouver and one from Stockholm. I will share pictures with you in a later post (we haven't put up the tree yet).

The Vasa museum is very well known and as the boyfriend is a bit mad about (sailing) boats, we had to visit the old boat. It was pretty impressive to see how well it was preserved! Plus they did some tests on the remains of the people who died when the ship sunk. Modern tests could tell one all different things, like what they ate, what kind of sicknesses they had and so on. I found that rather fascinating!

We also did a guided tour in the city hall (Stadshuset) where the Nobel Prize banquets take place. A quite impresssive place. I really liked how the architect tried to create an open rooftop feeling! Oh and how they took extra care to make the stairs walkable for women with evening gowns!

Other than that, we spent a lot of time drinking coffee and eating good food. Good times! Couldn't have come up with a better time for my birthday really. :) There was even snow (a day before my birthday but nevermind!). Oh how I would love to see more snow this year!

Apropo birthday - I am a very lucky girl and got lots of brilliant presents! New crochet hooks from my in-laws and new stylecraft special dk yarn from my parents (among with other things). They know we well, don't you think?

What are you working on at the moment? I started yet another blanket which shall become a present for a special, very sick family member. As you know, I have been a bit crazy about the corner to corner pattern this year. For this blanket I decided to use a different pattern though (gasp!)... The Neat Ripple Pattern from Lucy from Attic24. I wasn't too fond on it for the first couple of rows but it has grown on me! 

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. Germans celebrate on Christmas Eve and I can't wait for it!

 I hope you all have a very merry Christmas with lots of love and joy (and yarn of course)!!

Take care

Friday 19 December 2014

PATTERN: Double Spiral Clutch

Hello everyone! 

You're lucky enough to have me twice this week, as Anne is on holidays in Sweden for her birthday :) Comment with some birthday love for when she gets home!

We really do appreciate your reading our little blog, especially at this very busy time of year. Your views, likes and comments give us a little thrill every time :) 

For the last week or so I've been dreaming about what to do with my Double Spiral Square Motif. Afghan? Too time consuming to be able to blog about today. Market bag? Too many colours to choose from, plus I want to make a nice big one :P Bright pink and black clutch? BINGO! 

Here is how I made it, in very basic terms. I would also love to hear what you are thinking of doing with this motif! 

Queue or favourite this pattern for later on Ravelry here: 


Yarn: 8 ply 100% acrylic, two colours (Pink Variegated and Black)
Hook: 3mm

Step 1

Make 6 Double Spiral Square Motifs, 3 with Pink Variegated as Colour A and Black as Colour B, and 3 with the colours reversed.

Step 2

Stitch motifs together in groups of 3. I used a zipped ladder stitch (tutorial here) so that the joins were invisible, and the motifs sat squarely next to each other. You could definitely whip stitch or crochet the motifs together if you want to get a different kind of look :)

Step 3 

2 rows of single crochet (US terms) in Black around each panel of 3 motifs. I continued using the same cornering technique as in the motifs, alternating (2sc, 1hdc) (1hdc, 1sc) and (1sc, 1hdc) (1hdc, 2sc) in the hdcs on each corner.

Step 4

Make strap: Foundation single crochet enough stitches to get a strap length that suits you. Remember the strap goes all the way around the bag. 

If you're not comfortable with the foundation single crochet stitch, go up to a 4mm hook and do enough chain stitched to get a strap length that suits you. 

Join to first fsc, ch1 and sc all the way around. Do another rows of sc in black (1fsc row, 2sc rows or 1ch row, 4sc rows in total). Change colours, do two rows of pink variegated sc. Change colours again, and do 4 rows of sc in black. Finish and weave in ends.

Step 5

Pin strap to motif panels, making sure the join in the strap is at the bottom of your bag. Slip stitch motif panels to strap with pink variegated yarn. Weave in all your ends, and ta-dah! A Double Spiral Clutch!

Just the right size for two of my favourite books :) 

I wish you all a very merry Christmas, and hope that you are able to rest and relax a bit over the holidays! I'll be back before New Years with an update from the lake :)

Tuesday 16 December 2014

PATTERN: Double Spiral Square Motif

Hello everyone, and welcome!

This is our 100th blog post! Thank you all for reading and supporting us! We love all your comments and shares and saves on Bloglovin :) 

And as a special present just for all you wonderful readers, here is my brand new pattern (with photo tutorial): The Double Spiral Square Motif!! As you know, I'm a bit mad on spirals. After I did the translation of Patty Crochète's gorgeous Solid Spiral Granny Square, my lovely friend Angela from Get Knotted Yarn Craft sent me this picture of a doona cover, and suggested that maybe the solid spiral granny could be converted to make this double spiral square:

What an idea! I spent way too many hours and brainspoons figuring out how to do the spiral with two colours instead of four, and then how to connect opposite ends of the squares to make it spiral like this... and here it is, with a photo tutorial! It has only been lightly tested, so please let me know if something is unclear, or needs more information/photos :)

What could you do with this motif? The sky's the limit! I can see two of them sewn together and lined to make a little pencil case; or stitch a whole bunch together to make an afghan; or as an accent row in a groovyghan; or as a square-ish market bag... So many options! 

Add it to your Ravelry queue or favourites here:


Two colours of yarn (Colour A and Colour B)
Hook, size appropriate to yarn
Yarn needle

All stitches are in US terminology
sl st = slip stitch
ch = chain stitch
hdc = half double crochet
dc = double crochet
tr = treble crochet

- The square spiral is made by alternating forward and reverse (1dc, 1tr) (1tr, 2dc) stitch sequence in the corners. This pattern makes a specific size - refer back to the Solid Granny Spiral Square pattern for information on how to make it bigger!
- Drop yarn means to pull up a large loop of the yarn, and let it go to start working with a different colour. When you go back to your large loop, pull it tight before continuing.
- All stitches are worked into the top of the stitch below, not into the space between stitches, unless otherwise specifically stated.

1. Making each spiral square:

In colour A ch5.  Sl st into first chain to form a ring. 

Ch 3, into ring (2dc, 2tr, 3dc, 2tr, 3dc). Pull up large loop of yarn and drop colour A.

Using colour B join into ring. Ch 3, 2 dc into ring.  Into 3 ch loop of colour A, (dc, 2 tr, dc). dc into next 2 dc. In next tr (dc, tr). In next tr (tr, 2 dc). dc in next 3 dc. In next tr (2dc, tr). In next tr (tr, dc). Pull up large loop of yarn and drop colour B.

Pick up colour A. With colour A, in 3 ch loop of colour B, (dc, 2 tr, dc). dc in next 3 dc. In next tr (dc, tr). In next tr (tr, 2 dc). dc in next 4 dc. In next tr (2dc, tr). In next tr (tr, dc). dc in next 7 dc. Pull up long loop of yarn and drop colour A.

Pick up colour B. dc in next 4 dc. In next tr (dc, tr). In next tr (tr, 2dc). dc in next 5 dc. dc in next tr. 2dc in next tr. Cut off, pull end through.

Pick up colour A. In next tr (dc, tr). In next tr (tr, 2dc). dc in next 6 dc. In next tr (2 dc, tr). Pull up long loop of colour A, cut end, leaving very long tail (approx. 60cm).

Make two spiral squares in the same way.

2. Joining spirals

Lay out your squares according to the picture below. You should have one Colour A yarn at the top on one side, and one on the bottom on the other side.

**With colour A tail, tr in next tr. Slip-stitch into the top of the last stitch of colour B on the other square. 

In same tr, dc, then slip-stitch into the top of the second-last stitch of colour B. (dc in next dc, slip-stitch into top of next colour B stitch) x4.**

Repeat **to** with colour A loop at the other end of the join.

I found it easier to pull the yarn through to the top of the work rather than try and grab it through the gap.

Ta dah!

Finish both Colour A threads & weave in ends. To tighten up the tiny gap between the finishing points, weave the end into the opposite side (so in the same direction as you were already going).

3. Outside row

Using colour B, join to either of the Colour B sideways dc stitches. Then, 2ch, 2hdc in the same space.

**hdc in next 9 dc (don't forget the stitch that the sideways dc is made in). 

In next tr (1hdc, 1dc). In next tr (1dc, 2hdc). hdc in next 9 dc. In next tr (2hdc, 1dc). In next tr (1dc, 1hdc). hdc in next 10 dc. hdc in next 2 tr. **

3hdc in next Colour B sideways dc stitch.  Repeat ** to **. Sl st in top of first ch2, cut off and pull end through.

Weave in all your ends. 

Friday 12 December 2014

Recipe: Christmas Punch

Good Evening!

I was going to write a long post about all my crafty adventures but unfortunately, I am quite sick/exhausted. This week I developed an allergy to the antibiotics I was taking and let's say I have been very spotty since... :P

Since this won't be a long post as planned with great crochet pictures (it's stormy and rainy outside... no time for good pictures), I figured I could gift you a recipe instead. This recipe has been in my family for some time and it is alway a big hit: Alcohol-Free Christmas Punch. The original recipe provides over 10L, so I broke it down a bit. This version is perfect for a 5L pot. :)


2L black tea
2L red grape juice
1-2 cans of mixed fruits
1 glass morello
200 grams peeled, whole almonds or hazelnuts
200 grams raisins
1 lemon
2 sticks of cinnamon
5-10 pieces of star anise
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
Mulled Wine Spices

How to make it

(1) Steep the tea and pour it into a large pot.
(2) Cut the lemon into slices and add to the tea. 
(3) Add all the other ingredients. Note: The juice of the mixed fruits and of the morello need to go in the pot too! That way no extra sugar is needed.
(4) Let it simmer for 1 hour.
(5) Serve! Make sure to provide a spoon for the fruits. Oh and tell people not to munch on the star anise. That doesn't taste so good. You could - of course - fish all the star anise out beforehand but it's a bit annoying to find all the pieces really.


You could add alcohol but it isn't needed. Best to put a bottle of clear alcohol next to the pot, so people can spice up their punch if they want to.

Hope you will have a wonderful 3rd Advent!

Take care

P.S. The pictures were taken at the Christmas market at Schloss Lückenbeck (Castle Lückenbeck) last weekend.

Tuesday 9 December 2014

Rainbow Afghan #1

Hello everyone!!

Welcome to all the new readers and welcome back to all the regulars! We love to read your comments - so thank you for taking the time to drop us a note! 

Today is just a short post as the fatigue is kicking my butt, but I just couldn't WAIT to share this with you all :) 

A few weeks ago I wrote about my lust for Stylecraft Special DK yarn (especially when it is on sale), and put up three sketches of rainbow afghan layouts. If you missed that, go check out the post here.

Thank you for all your kind comments, and votes on your favourite layout for me to start with. By a very close margin, the Twist and Turn won!

The layout did need a few changes from my pencil sketch as (a) I had 10 colours not 7 to work with, and (b) I wanted to make it a little bit closer to the original inspiration. Without further ado, the Twist and Turn Rainbow Afghan!

Now I'm really looking forward to the Christmas holidays, so I can get started on this little beauty! I will also be doing up proper graphs for the other two patterns as I want to do them as well! If you want to make an afghan using this graph please do so, but please link back to this blog!

I have set up an Instagram for my Wrapped with Love business, where there will be updates on my rainbow afghan projects over the holidays! My handle is @wrappedwithlovebymichelle - I'd love to see you (and follow you)! We also have Instagram for Crochet Between Worlds now, and you can find us @crochetbetweenworlds.  
My mother had an excellent idea for a project for visitors to our house at Lake Macquarie between Christmas and New Years. We are going to use the Hypno-Diamonds sketch as a guide, and get our guests to make some little granny squares, which we will join up into an afghan made by everyone! I'm super excited about this idea, and look forward to (hopefully) posting photos of the process, and the finished product! 

What are you up to at the moment? We'd love to hear about your Christmas holiday projects!

Friday 5 December 2014

Tutorial: (Multi-Layered) Paper Stars

Hello you lot!

Welcome to all the new readers and welcome back to all the regulars! We love to read your comments - so thank you for taking the time to drop us a note!

Today, I bring you another tutorial but... it's not about crochet! What a shock! It is about some paper art (I warned you some weeks ago that you would see some of that on this blog too).

There are two reasons why I decided to make these stars.
1. I saw something like this on Dawanda (the German version of Etsy) some time ago and really liked it a lot. I did forget about it after a while though.
2. We brought home maps, paper bags and such from our travels. They were keepsakes but had no space in our flat. We didn't want to toss them but couldn't figure where to put them either. So the boyfriend suggested that I make some kind of oranments out of them (to hang on the Christmas tree). And BAM! I remember the paper stars. 

I couldn't find a good tutorial online, so I came up with my own which I will share with you today! :)

Tutorial: (Multi-Layered) Paper Stars

You need

Paper - I usually use heavy transparent paper or old book sides
Star stamper in the desired size of the stars
Sewing Maschine

Step 1

Stamp four stars out of the paper.

Put the pieces on top of each other.

Fasten with paperclips.

 Step 2

Head over to your sewing machine and get it ready to go. Pull some thread through to start with - this will make the hanging thread of your star later.

Put the point of the star underneath the needle.

Sew together with a straight line.

Optional: Add next star after about 15 cm. That way you will get a "star chain".

Cut thread. 

Step 3

Put a knot at the bottom of the star.

Fold in the sides of the star, so it becomes 3-dimensional.

Hang your star/star chain.

Enjoy! :)

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me! :)

Tuesday 2 December 2014

Mich's Year of 30th - Opening Weekend

Hello and welcome to all our new readers and hugs for old friends :) 

Last weekend was my birthday, and (shamelessly stealing the idea from my friend Pat) I decided it wasn't just my 29th birthday, it was also the start of my year of turning 30! It therefore needed to be a proper Opening Weekend for this very important celebration. 

We spent the weekend up at our new house at Lake Macquarie - cooking, eating, crocheting... it was wonderful :) Here are lots of photos, taken by my amazing friend Emily Sandrussi, who is a multi-award winning photographer! Her new exhibition opens tomorrow in Sydney, and you should at least go check out the website for the exhibition! 

But onto the photos!

We had handsome men at work in the kitchen ...

... dragons and Captain Poprocks helping themselves to some home made meringues ...

... the food was pretty impressive, if I do say so myself - all home made (except the bread and corn chips) ...

French onion dip and tzatziki
Raspberry Citrus Gravlax with Lemon Cream Cheese
Lomo (L) and Bresaola
Slow roasted pork belly with crispy crackling ...
... and bacon-y cabbage, and spiced apple jelly ... 
... and roast potatoes and carrots, with steamed broccoli.
... the company was excellent ...


... someone else did the cleaning up ... 

... and then there was dessert.

Eton Mess Mouthfuls
Chocolate Fudge Cake

On Sunday, we lazed about the place, painting and crocheting and sewing and building websites and playing video games...

... and some of the boys even learned how to crochet! 

Overall it was a wonderful weekend, and a good test of the new house, which now has all its furniture! 

We're all ready for Christmas at the lake now :) 

Many thanks to everyone who came, ate, cooked, cleaned, laughed and enjoyed!