Smash*Book「Pretty Pink」Update #3

 This double page is very special to me: it’s about my baby daughter!

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I picked this double page to be all about my daughter, because it has the calendar on the bottom of the right page saying “A DAY TO REMEMBER”, so I circled her birthday with a heart.
In addition to that I used adhesive letters to add the birth-month (spelled in the german version with an “i” in the end) and her name, as well as “My Girl” and the meaning of her Japanese name (kanji 七海), “7 seas”

I took polaroids of her, as well as me with her & my husband with her to fill out the page on the left with that. I really like the little frames for the polaroids that I got from a friend. On the page to the right I only added a palm print of hers and will use the empty space to fill it with all the funny, witty, interesting things she’ll say once she can talk (more).

In the middle I attached a little wooden ’ema’ keychain I bought at a Japanese shrine that sort of specialises on wishes & prayers for a good upbringing and education of children.
Something I added in the middle to the “rings” of my smash book are little ‘song cards’ as I like to call them. Basically I got a little crafty and made cards that on the front are decorated according to the theme of the lullaby/children’s song, and have the song lyrics written on the back. They are all  in Japanese lullabies (except for the one on the bottom left which is just the Japanese version of “twinkle twinkle little star”).
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I can’t wait to fill the page on the right with quotes of all the things she says that I want to remember!

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See all my Smash*Book updates HERE

「Geisha Girls Cross Stitch」 Misaki

This is the first post of the geisha girls cross stitch series I’m working on whenever I feel like it. They are all inspired and/or done according to the pattern from iamnotadoll on etsy 🙂 I just gave them different names that I personally like or connect with each little geisha doll.

The first one is 「Misaki」
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Misaki – often written with the Kanji for 美 (mi)  beauty &  咲 (saki)  bloom  – means ‘beautiful blossom‘. With her green kimono and the purple/pink hair that name fits perfectly in my opinion 🙂

Bookish『blogtober 2014』

Day 25 of blogtober2014 has me talking about books ❤

Your favourite book
Well, I really can not just name ONE favourite book. After all there are different genres, different languages, different moods I’m in to feel connected to a story etc. So I decided to make a little list of favourite books, yea?!

  • Children’s Books: Snow White & the seven dwarfs – my favourite fairy tale of all times since early childhood days
  • Young Adult: Das Lied der Träumerin by Tanya Stewner who usually writes children’s books, but has made a really good debut into the young adult genre with this book (unfortunately not translated into English yet).  It has music, love triangles, secrets, dark desires and a whole lot of “finding oneself” among the protagonists.
  • Dytopia: The Children of Men by P.D. James – Chilling, post-apocalyptic story that sucked me in from start to finish. So did the movie they made based on this book. I recommend both!
  • Women’s Fiction: Auf der anderen Seite ist das Gras viel Grüner by Kerstin Gier – If you could turn back time 5 years, would make the same decisions in your life, fall in love with the same person ??
  • Contemporary: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – A story with characters so strong and vivid, they will stay with you for a long time after you finished reading. At least that’s how it was for me.
  • Fantasy: The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers – A must-read for everyone who loves books, reading and the suspense & excitement of immersing oneself in a fantastic story.
  • (Japanese) Classic: Botchan by Natsume Sôseki – a humorous Japanese classic by my favourite Japanese author, and just because the male protagonists reminds me a lot of myself 🙂

 

My dream vacation always will be…『blogtober 2014』

Day 21 of blogtober2014 takes me back to Japan – my “home away from home” kind of place.

Your Dream Vacation
I already wrote a blog post on our trip to Iceland, which was a bit like a dream, a totally different world ^^ In that blog entry I also mentioned anothere country which I want to talk about now as it is & always will be my “dream vacation place” to go 🙂

JAPAN – 日本 – TÔKYÔ – 東京
Ever since my first stay there in May 2008 (when I went to language school in Tôkyô) I fell in love with the city & country more and more. Tôkyô is a city that is making me feel just so…alive. I could probably write a novel-length entry about why I like it so much & keep going back every year, but maybe I will leave that for future blog entries, you know…talking about different aspects individually.
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view from Sky Tree over Tôkyô – with the Sky Tree casting its shadow

I filmed some footage on our last trip to (Tokyo) Japan in September 2013 and put it together with photos in a sort of vacation video. The annotations are in German but I think you can still enjoy watching if you can’t read German as pictures and video clips don’t need much explanation 🙂

Every time I go to Japan a little piece of my heart stays there, and I feel homesick for it when coming back to Germany.

 

I specialise in…日本(語)『blogtober 2014』

On day 17 of blogtober2014 we take a look at my skills 🙂

I’m  an expert  a specialist at….
Firstly, I don’t like calling myself an ‘expert’ at anything…wouldn’t it mean I know EVERYTHING in a certain subject. I’d rather like to say I specialise(d) in something, and have room to grow and learn more and more over time.

The subject I’m really skilled at (and would call myself a specialist at) is: Japan/Japanese – and to be a bit more exact – Modern Japanese society & literature. It’s been 8 years since I started learning Japanese in self-study and later on at university as part of my International BA degree in East Asian Studies focusing on Japan. So for 8 years I’m busying myself with all things Japan, trying to get better and better with the language and broaden my knowledge about society and literature in detail.

To me, the interpretation of ‘individualism’ in (historical and modern) Japanese society as well as in literature is one of the subjects I’m most interested in. Natsume Sôseki a famous writer of the modern era was an advocate trying to get society to develop a sense for their own ego, their own individualism without crossing the line of egoism. There is so much value in his speech “My Individualism” (can be read in: My Individualism and The Philosophical Foundation of Literature). It is amazing how well you can transfer his thoughts from all those decades ago into Japanese society of today.

 

 

 

Words uttered in passion…『blogtober 2014』

It’s day 15 of blogtober 2014 and it’s time to quote!

Your favourite quote & why
One of my most favourite quotes is from the novel ‘Kokoro (こころ)‘ written by Natsume Sôseki (1867-1916), a famous Japanese writer. “Kokoro” is a Japanese term that describes the mind, the heart, the spirit, the very core of thoughts.

私は冷やかな頭で新しい事を口にするよりも、
熱した舌で平凡な説を述べる方が生きていると信じています。
血の力で体が動くからです。
言葉が空気に波動を伝えるばかりでなく、
もっと強い物にもっと強く働き掛ける事ができるからです。

I believe, that words uttered in passion,
contain a greater living truth than do those words
which express thoughts rationally conceived.
It is blood that moves the human body.
Words are not meant to stir air only:
they are capable of moving greater things.

I’m a lover of words. Someone who can find beauty in the way things are said or written. So when I read this paragraph in the novel, I had to stop for a minute or two and just take it all in completely. Ever since this quote manifested itself in the back of my mind, always with me.

From “locked up” stewardess to linguaphile Japanologist『blogtober 2014』

It’s day 2 of blogtober 2014 and I’m back with the prompt of the day.

Your dream job when you were little/ what is it now?
When I was little I wanted to become a stewardess. I always dreamt of traveling the world, going wherever I would want to go and see all the places I only saw pictures of on TV or in books. I have to add that I was born and raised in East Germany back when the Berlin Wall was dividing the whole country into Germany and GDR (German Democratic Republic). In fact my hometown is so far East of Germany that we jokingly say it’s “West Poland” – the border is only about 30mins by car. You might have heard of it before, not only because it was founded in 1950 as a socialist model city, but maybe because you heard Tom Hanks raving about his visit to the town on several occasions on TV….yep, that is my hometown, but I have to admit I’m not so much attached to it anymore. Always knew I was gonna leave and live somewhere else when I grow up and one of my little childhood dreams was it to live in Berlin as a grown up. Well, here I am living in Berlin 🙂
Back to my childhood dream job. I’m not sure if the fact that living in the GDR which “locked up” its citizens behind a deadly wall had an influence, but being able to travel and go wherever I want to go was always a wish deeply rooted within my heart. Plus, as a stewardess I’d get to wear one of those chic looking uniforms 🙂

Growing up, my preferred job of choice changed…I figured I don’t need it to be my job – I can just travel now whenever I want to. My grown-up-dream-job has to do with languages. I love learning languages. During school times I got the hang of English pretty quickly and even consider it somehwat my second mother tongue by now. I just adapted to it quite naturally. Seven years ago I decided I want to get really really good at an Asian language, East Asia to be exact. So between Chinese, Korean & Japanese I picked the one that sounded the most beautiful to me – Japanese. Ever since I’ve been learning, studying, going to summer school in Japan, actually studying it at a university and getting my BA in International East Asian Studies (with a semester done in Tokyo). Of course there are no job offers/applications for “Japanologists” itself,  you kinda have to broaden your horizon and see where you can fit in. For me personally, I do like the field of adult education. That means I’d love to go into companies (or be hired by one) who has business with Japanese companies or clients and would like a little help in the area of communication and difference in work environment. I did an internship where I did exactly that and enjoyed it a lot.

Right now though, I’m doing my current dream job 24/7….being a mum to our wonderful little IVF miracle daughter ♡

Snowflake’s baby room tour (^_^)

We are finally done with moving & more importantly with setting up the baby room/nursery for our precious Snowflake. It’s turned out to be exactly as I pictured it in my mind all along, and so I decided to give you a little room tour in pictures (^_^)

Before we actually go into the baby room let me show you Snowflake’s swinging cradle standing in our living room right now.

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A newborn still sleeps a lot & I don’t want to be locked to the baby room all day having to put her down there only. This swinging cradle can be rolled to anywhere in the apartment really – so I can let Snowflake sleep in it and still take her with me into other rooms. This will also be rolled into our bedroom at night, so I can have her right next to our bed, watch her and feed her without having to run through the apartment. That black chair^^will later be put into Snwoflake’s actual room (you’ll see on the other pics)

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Right now Monchichi is test-sleeping in the cradle and I really like the duck-pattern bed sheets that came with it. Fits our blue living room curtains so well (and also our pink bedroom curtains)

!!!!! NOW ON TO THE ACTUAL BABY ROOM !!!!!

First up the lamp and curtain

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We basically have almost every piece of furniture in that room from IKEA – just like this cloud-lamp and the curtain with the playful pattern. I bought that 3 years ago with no actual use in mind and only rediscovered it during the move, but it goes perfectly well with her room and her playful/active personality she is showing in ultrasounds already 🙂

Let’s have a look at the corner to the right of the door (when you walk in) first

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We have some drawers, that black chair from the living room which will be there after the birth & the cloth diaper corner.But let’s have a closer look at some details, yea?!!
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Right next to the door is this owl hanger where Snowflake can put her coats and jackets later on. Beneath that we have the foot-part of the relaxing chair with my fabulous Boo Poo changing/diaper bag ❤ on top.Next is the drawer & a cute and colourful wall tattoo
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I ordered the wall tattoo at Klebefieber and you could choose size and even some colours I think, they custom make it then for you. We are not big on actually painting the walls so those tattoos are a great and easy way to bring some colour and playfulness to the room. The drawers were simply wooden style from IKEA, but I chose to get some rice-paper tape with cherry blossoms on it and make it more of an individual design for Snowflake. Really satisfied how my idea turned out there.You can see the books I chose for Snowflake so far on the top of the drawer. I want there to be books in her life right from the very beginning even if she can’t read/understand all of them right away. There is also my cross stitch work from more than 10 years ago, as I thought it fits the wall tattoo nicely.
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The blue bear one is a simple picture book, her FIRST book so to speak & it has a plush gerbil watching over the book, since we have real gerbils, too 🙂 The big colourful one is about mice living togethere in a house, and it has lots of parts where you can open up (the door or window for instance) and discover things. Along with a small storyline I can read at bed/nap time. It introduces colours, shapes, numbers etc, too. Then I put my favourite fairy tale book there: ‘Snow White’ along with a children’s story from a famous german children’s book author : ‘The Little Witch’ by Ottfried Preußler. Underneath there is a lovely illustrated book we bought in Iceland, telling the saga of the 13 Santas of Iceland who are all brothers and come to visit the children one by one each night leading up to christmas day. They sold it in different languages, even in German and I can’t wait for all the christmas-times to come so I can read it to/with snowflake!Moving on to the shelfs on the other wall of that corner (above the black chair)
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On the top shelf we have some boxes (ergo baby carrier for instance) and then plushie friends: pig-rabbit (from a korean drama series) I received from a korean friend, a little penguin we bought in Enoshima Aquarium, the owl that will turn into a blanket (bought last year in Japan) and a sheep that has a heating pillow inside it’s belly that you can simply heat up in the microwave and thus the sheep functions as a sort of hot water bottle, but more gentle and no direct heat (better for little ones). I received that from a scottish friend some years ago ❤

You also see the little violet owl music box hanging there. Since the changing table is next to the shelves it will hopefully help in keeping snowflake’s attention when she is fussy about getting changed.9
Here’s the shelves with our cloth diaper stash. I want to make a more detailed post about it later on, but basically we decided to go with the prefold system of cloth diapering. Thus you see the prefolds on top (most of them were used by me as a baby, my mother kept them all, washed and cleaned and handed them to me a few weeks ago – Thanks Mum!!!) On the lower shelves you see the covers (prefolds are put into those) & I just love all the different patterns. I ordered those from Stoffy-Welt. More details in another post somewhen. The cross stitching picture says: “comforted with love”The cloth diaper stash leads us to the changing table next to those shelves
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Again there is a huge owl there watching over Snowflake when getting changed. It’s also a wall tattoo.
I want to add that we didn’t go all owl-crazy because it has been a trend for the past years or something. Sure they are cute and I’ve seen lots of people using the owl theme for their nursery, but to us, the owls have another personal meaning. We connect them to our times in Japan, our favourite part of Tokyo to be exact: Ikebukuro, which sounds like “fukuro” which is the japanese word for owl. Therefore you see lots of owl things in Ikebukuro and when we see the owls in Snowflake’s nursery we think of that and want to tell her all about it later.
Anyways, the changing table is from IKEA as well, and we personally liked it more than the shelved ones they have. It’s standing safe and all, so no worries there!! You can also see the baby bath tub on the bottom^^^Next to the changing table we have the baby bed corner!
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Again it has owl-tattoos watching over our snowflake. The bed as well as the big green leaf and bed sheets are from IKEA as well. We really like the combination of natural wood colours & green (aside from some colourful spots of course) as a main “theme”Here is a close up of the paper cranes I folded and attached to the leaf as a sort of mobile-substitute (we didn’t want a real mobile) & the bed sheet design
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I simply used an old book I didn’t enjoy reading that much that I wanted to keep it, and tore off some paged to fold those paper cranes, then attached them to the leave hangin to on each string. No worries, none of them are directly over the head/face area of snowflake, and if she is tall enough to actually grab them (even with lowered bed) I can simply cut them all off – done 🙂

Next to the bed is a little corner where I put some toy already
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it’s a wooden wagon thingy, that helps toddlers to walk, so of course Snowflake won’t be doing needing that right away, but the wooden blocks there can be used to play before she can walk, love that they are all coloured differently. In general we want most of the toys to be wooden or some other organic material rather than plastic, so this is a start.

Oh you can also see the really thick second curtain that is a lovely nature-green and will darken the room during the day when Snowflake needs that (there is no direct sun going into that room until sunset really, but the windows are big and plenty so enough daylight to enjoy).

Next up is the play/crawling/spacious corner of the room
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These are tatami mats (made of bamboo) as they are used in Japan. We actually slept on those (with a futon obviously) all Japanese Style until I hit my 2nd trimester of pregnancy when it became uncomfortable to to the bump. Now that we moved we bought a “real” bed for us. We always knew that when we will have a child, the tatami mats are going in the child’s room as they make a perfect play/crawl area. tatami is very nice to sit on as it’s not as hard as the wooden floor, also not as “cold” as it keeps warm especially in winter. When you spread out a blanket it’s perfect for the baby to lay on there and maybe play underneath one of those arches (we don’t have yet), it’s sooo good for your back – I can tell from our own experience. I put a japanese chair in green on it that we bought in japan, for comfortable relaxing Snowflake will hopefully enjoy. I used the cut off part of the green thick curtains to make pillow covers there. Pillows come in handy when baby’s try to learn to sit up as they let themselves fall back a bunch of times first and with a pillow there you can catch them gently. It’s also making a cozy atmosphere really!

^^^You also see the rest of the owl tattoos places there as a little family. It’s supposed to be our family with Snowflake sitting on daddy’s hat, tehee. I wasn’t satisfied with just the blank white wall space above so I got some coloured paper, cut out some hearts, put them on a string and attached them to the wall. it’s raining hearts on the owl family 😀 they are fluttering a bit when you go by or open a window, so it’s suiting the play-area well!!

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Next to the tatami we have a white storage box perfectly for toddler’s (height) to store away more toys she’ll probably receive from family members. she can also use it to pull herself up when learning to stand or so.

You can already get a glimpse of more drawers in the back there that I made more cute with the cherry blossom rice paper, in the same fashion I already explained a few pics back with the other drawer 😉
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Aaaand here you see what we did with the space ABOVE those drawers^^^ I enjoy doing lots of handmade pieces of clothes for the baby lately (knitting/crochet etc) and I also received clothes from my mum that she kept from when I was a baby/toddler. I thought: “Wouldn’t it be just lovely to display them in a nice way, not just storing them away somewhere for no one to see”. This led us to the idea of a free hanging (metal) line where you can just hang up all the lovliest, sweetes, cutest, most precious pieces of clothes. In my opinion handmade stuff deserves to be displayed nicely and since we didn’t want a real warddrobe piece of furniture clogging up the room yet, it seemed like the perfect idea. Loving that display a lot!!!^^^

In the corner to the left of the drawers (the corner behind the door when it’s opened) is basically just used for storage, and we hung a green thingy from the ceiling that you also get from IKEA to put more plush toys and stuff in it. You can also see the highchair behind it which will come into use later.
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Also wanted to show you how I organised most of the inside of my drawers. We bought different sized little storage boxes and I sorted the onsies, rompers and all the other clothes into that^^^

Last but not least – our little wooden baby swing – Snowflake bear is testing it right now!
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We really liked the wooden design and that it’s not the usual swings (mostly with plastic) that you see in the shops. We think it fits our whole baby room & apartment furniture style well. Also liking the fabric pattern very much. It has little flaps so that you can turn it from a swing into a stationary 🙂

We really are in love with how our Snowflake room turned out. It’s an incredible feeling to stand in that room and imagining it to come to live once Snowflake arrives – something one year ago today we weren’t sure we’d ever get to experience (due to infertility).