Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Saturday I baked brownies to take to my son's class family hike & picnic. 
They always disappear quickly. I decided to bake another batch just to enjoy here at home on Sunday! There are still a few left...I'm afraid my husband hasn't even got one yet. Perhaps it's time to bake another batch for him to take to work :)
Once you have your ingredients out the brownies are simple and fast to make.
I need a bit more time since I crack the walnuts from our tree, but with good music playing and a few little helpers it's fun work.

They taste the best with a glass of milk or hot chocolate. Add a sprig of chocolate-mint to make them pretty!
Everyone always asks me for the recipe so I have gone and done my best at translating it into German. I have a favorite American recipe I picked up somewhere in my teens and have been using ever since. I also converted the temperatures and re-measured the amounts from cups into grams. I know that German bakers use "vanilla sugar" rather than vanilla extract. If you are not able to get the pure vanilla, I would suggest using less white sugar and adding a packet or two of vanilla sugar.

Try not to over bake, they are better when a bit goey and slightly underdone!
Here is the original recipe in English and my German version:


1 1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1 cup cocoa
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
¼ cup milk
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts
Confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 13 x 2 inch baking pan. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Add cocoa and stir to blend. Pour butter-cocoa mixture into a large bowl. Blend in sugar with an electric mixer. Add eggs, and continue blending. Add flour mixture, and beat until smooth. Blend in milk and vanilla: stir in walnuts. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 25-30 minutes. Brownies are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in pan. If you like, sprinkle a little confectioners' sugar on top. Cut into 2- by 3 inch pieces before serving. Makes eighteen.


160 g Mehl
1 Teelöffel Backpulver
½ Teelöffel Salz
225 Butter
100 g Kakao
400 g Zucker
4 Eier
75 ml Milch
1 ½ Teelöffel Vanillie
1 Becher gehackte Walnüsse

Ofen auf 180° C vorheizen.

Backform (ca. 23 cm x 33 cm x 5 cm) einfetten.

Mehl, Backpulver und Salz in einer kleinen Schüssel mengen.

In einem Topf Butter schmelzen lassen. Kakao dazu geben. Die Masse in eine große Schüssel gießen. Zucker dazu geben und mit dem Handmixer zusammenmengen. Eier dazu geben und weiter rühren. Mehl dazu geben, weiter rühren bis eine glatte Masse entsteht. Milch und Vanillie dazu geben, Walnüsse einrühren. Die Masse in die gefettete Backform eingießen.

20 bis 30 Minuten backen. Die Brownies sind fertig, wenn man in der Mitte ein Zahnstocker einsticht und es fast sauber herauskommt. In der Backform kühlen lassen. Evtl. mit Puderzucker bestreuen. 


Monday, April 23, 2012


Happy Monday Morning!

It's time to vote!
No, I'm not talking about French politics, but the EtsyKids Design Challenge!

This month's theme is "Show Me Your Baby Blues". There are so many adorable designs and crafts in shades of blue to choose from, I quite like this elephant, this bow and this owl. (I'm feeling VERY owly these days, there are so many cute twists on owl crafts right now....just itching to design my own cute owl softies for my sons). Really lots of cute things!

Of course, if you want, I would be pleased if you voted for my turquoise/aqua animal garland. The challenge ends in just a few days on April 27th so please do pop by very soon and vote for your favorite item. Everyone from the EtsyKids Team appreciates your vote!

You can see all the submissions and choose your favorite here!


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Spring sale!

Some shop news today -
To celebrate spring Katie-Claire's Cottage is having a spring sale!

Lots of new colorful softie garlands are up in the shop!

Tiny handmade little animals
with lovely little details such as fluffy yarn mane and tail on the horses, colorful buttons and beads, mix and match fabrics, and lace tails....
 sure to engage the imagination of any child dreaming of her last visit to the zoo....
or perhaps dreaming of colorful creatures he hopes to discover some day....
plushie stars and moons
in many happy color combinations
sure to inspire an abundance of sweet dreams!
To celebrate spring & all the new colorful garlands we are having an April sale! To see all the new  garlands and for details on receiving your discount, please go here and enter the coupon code mentioned during checkout!


Monday, April 16, 2012


"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant."
Robert Louis Stevenson

I hope to sow some seeds this week.
Several years ago I planted one packet of calendula seeds and now they come back hundred-fold. 

Some things I never planted but they pop up in our grass and I think they look pretty.

"Of all the wonderful things in the wonderful universe of God, nothing seems to me more surprising than the planting of a seed in the blank earth and the result thereof."
Julie Moir Messervy

I am grateful for finding an uplifting community here. So many of you share positive and lovely messages on your blogs, and leave thoughtful comments with each other. It is heart-warming!

"If we make our goal to live a life of compassion and unconditional love, then the world will indeed become a garden where all kinds of flowers can bloom and grow."
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross


Thursday, April 12, 2012


 I've been so so so busy lately....I have really missed posting and even more have missed being out there visiting my favorite blogs and finding new favorites! I have a few crafts from years past I had actually wanted to share before Easter...I hope you don't mind that this is coming a bit late!

Today is all about families.

First of all, the bunny family:

I was digging through a box of things I had made and discarded but never made it further than the cellar - I guess I wasn't quite sure if I should really toss or not. You know when you are learning to make something new and your attempts aren't quite what you wanted? It's one of those times in life you have to be really kind to yourself.  Well, I went through the box and a bunch of stuff landed in the rubbish but when I found this bunny family I had made several years ago -  an attempt to make something completely out of imagination - my heart softened. After years of being unfairly shunned to a box in the cellar I decided that actually, they are quite adorable in a their own way. So out they came and were allowed to celebrate Easter with us! Not only that I'm going to submit this cute little family to the "we are family" photo challenge here!
Just love that smiling Papa and his little rabbit daughter...!

Secondly, real families:

Even though 2012 is still young we have had 5 different families visit us so far! We don't run a B&B (although it's starting to seem like it!) but I guess we just have lots of far-away friends and this is the year to get together...We had a really lovely Easter and all together we were two families.They spoiled us with fresh baked homemade bread and rolls every morning :) We dyed eggs with all the children (ours and theirs made five) and toured two nearby castles, rode a ferry over the Rhine and went on hour long hikes through our gorgeous forest and the girls even went horseback riding (in the sunshine, too, how lucky we were!). Of course there were hidden eggs and chocolates to find and cute bunny rolls on Easter morning and it meant a lot to me to attend a meditative Easter vigil late the night before with my children and friends. We are truly blessed with our families and friends.
Third, family memories in my scrapbook:

I love scrapbooking, I'm totally obsessed with it. I don't feel I must put my photos of each and every holiday or event into my scrapbooks, but I do like to highlight different years in different ways. For me, scrapbooking is super fun creative way to celebrate memories and there are NO rules and ANYTHING goes! I get so much pleasure by creating with no limits and also by later looking through my albums and seeing how the children have grown, how our house has changed and how even my scrapbook style has evolved. So for Easter I've found a double-page layout I made in 2010 to share with you, I love it. There is also a bunny silhouette (twice) you might recognize :)
I hope you had lovely spring celebrations too! 

Friday, April 6, 2012

pretty in pink

Today I have some pretty things in pink for you. I recently made a special pink stars and moon garland to welcome a new baby girl in our family -
which is now on it's way to her in the USA- I do hope she likes it. Since her parents named her after a star I think it is quite appropriate! I added a matching pink heart pillow for her big sister....
I have two stars and moon garlands in my shop and after having so much fun making this pink version I made several more last week in different color combinations - which I just can't wait to show you. They will be up for sale after Easter.
I also want to share these pale pink tulips with you. They were almost white when we bought them but are getting darker as they open. So beautiful!

Pretty colors, transformation, new life, spring celebrations, favorite books....
and one more tiny excerpt from one of my favorite children's books...
("The Velveteen Rabbit" by Margery Williams)

"And then a wonderful thing happened. For where the tear had fallen grew a mysterious flower, not at all like any other that grew in the garden. It was so beautiful that the little Rabbit forgot to cry, and just sat there watching it. Then suddenly the blossom opened, and out stepped the loveliest fairy in the whole world."

 Wishing you much magic and loveliness this Easter!