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new blog – update your links and subscriptions!

February 6, 2014

It’s finally here, my new blog is all finished and shiny!
I am moving over to ‘little home by hand’ so please take the time to update your links and feed subscriptions right now so you’ll find my new posts.

new blog! 'tidytipsy' is now 'little home by hand'


As I announced in January the name and look of ‘tidytipsy’ has run its course and it was high time for a change. I loved this space here but I am excited to present a new site to you that is much prettier and cleaner and fits my blogging style so much better!
The content from tidytipsy has already migrated to ‘little home by hand‘, so nothing will be lost and your old links will be redirected.

The only thing you’ll need to change is your feed subscription. Also if you follow this blog via WordPress it seems you will need to follow the new one as followers don’t seem to migrate.

What’s new and what will stay the same is all explained in my welcome post over on the new blog so do hop over and say hi :)

Bye bye tidytipsy blog!


documenting handmade

January 30, 2014

One of the things I love about having an Etsy shop is connecting with other artists and makers. The sense of community at Etsy is wonderful!
Having an online shop and working away for it at home can be a bit isolated and I find some of the teams incredibly helpful.
Up to now I’ve only been part in online teams and respective Facebook pages, but recently a team has formed in my hometown. It’s so nice to be able to meet in person and connect to people who know the unique challenges of selling in Germany.
Last december I had a photoshoot with two of the team members in a lovely studio space.

Manja from kandatsu sells beautiful handmade baby clothing. See her full photoshoot *here*.
documenting handmade
Christiane from Nanoe’s Welt makes personalized stationary and candle covers. See her full photoshoot *here*.
documenting handmade

I buy handmade whenever possible and documenting the process of things made by hand has been a real joy. Seeing and capturing all the little steps until a product is complete has really made me realize their value once again.


January 21, 2014

Knitting is such a wonderful skill to have. The process of making something wearable from essentially a bit of string always amazes me. I’ve been eyeing handknit sweaters and cardigans wistfully for years and I’ve finally jumped in with the Shapely Boyfriend Cardigan. You can find my Ravelry project page here (after years of lying dormant I’m finally starting to actually use my Ravelry account).
cardigan knitting. tidytipsy
So far I’m loving this pattern. I could follow the instructions with hardly a problem and incredibly have not made a mistake yet (I think). I’m also making progress pretty fast. J and I have started watching Game of Thrones in the evenings and that has definitely been a good thing for this cardigan.
As always I’m now wondering why I waited so long to start a cardigan. The Shapely Boyfriend is an enjoyable knit even though the concept of constantly counting and keeping track of rows is novel for me. With socks and scarves I would just make it up as I went along, it’s so easy to try them on in between.
cardigan knitting. tidytipsy
Is it weird I’m still itching to cast on another pair of socks? I firmly believe sock knitting is as addictive as coffee or chocolate. I’m trying to keep myself far away from my yarn stash in order to finish one thing at a time.
Not sure if it’s an artist thing or if I’m just weird but the feeling of handling yarn and the smooth bamboo needles against it is such a joy. For me that is what handmade means…the sensual process of making things by hand is so satisfying and fulfilling.

In other random inspirations:

healthy eating – the research

January 18, 2014

We all strive to eat healthy, right? It’s good for us. The problem is that it is such a vague concept. You feel like you don’t really know where to start, what is healthy and what is not and why is healthy food good for us while pizza is not?
I’ve been planning to “eat better” for years without much success. So I decided to really tackle this as a project late last year and just get down to it and do my research.
I took a day off to cram as much research about food and eating in it as I possibly could and hopefully end up with a plan. The good news is, I did and it was not even that hard! I’m going to share with you what I found out and what I changed in my diet.
This is my personal experience. This isn’t going to be a book and I’m not an expert so I strongly encourage you to do your own research since I will try to keep this short and sweet ;)
healthy eating, a plan.
The first thing I found out is that there literally is no general definition of healthy eating. What is good and healthy for a person is a very individual thing. There are government issued guidelines but they change and evolve over time.
There are so many different ideas and diets out there and they all tell us they are the one way to eat to be healthy. Vegan, paleo, Atkins…just to name a few and there are so many more. I got very confused.
Whenever I get confused I try to structure my information. I made a chart and jotted down which foods all (or almost all) sources agreed were healthy or not healthy and which foods seemed to be controversial. This is my list:
Vegetables, fruit, water, herbs, roots, nuts, good fats and oils, fish, meat (if organic and consumed in moderation). Eating as much food raw as possible.

Grain, dairy products, legumes, eggs, coffein, alcohol. Cooking foods.

Sugar in any form, additives, bad fats and oils

That seems a lot more manageable, right?
healthy eating, a plan.
I did want to know why some products were bad or highly controversial, such as grains and sugar and certain fats. Here’s where again I strongly encourage you to do your own research (share your sources in the comments!) since I did most of my research on german language sites and will be keeping this very short. If you would like my list of german language sources let me know.

Sugar is present naturally in lots of sources, especially as fructose (fruit sugar). When we eat an apple it contains sugar, but this sugar is attached to lots of fiber, vitamins and minerals. The body can really get to work breaking those down and using them, releasing the contained sugar slowly. Our blood sugar level rises slowly, inducing the gradual release of insulin to transport that sugar to our cells to be used as energy.
When we eat refined sugar (pure sugar which is not attached to anything valuable like fiber) we’re basically flooding our body with so much sugar that it can’t really deal with it all. Our blood sugar level soares way too quickly and lots of insulin is produced which results in a blood sugar level crash again. We are really throwing our body processes off balance continually.
Eating lots of refined sugar can thus lead to permanently confused insulin processes and in turn, diabetes. As I said, I’m keeping this veeerry simple.
What is more, tumor cells love sugar. Empirical research suggests that consuming sugar in the way we do in the western world dramatically incresases cancer rates. Animal research suggests that sugar is also responsible for a range of other negative effects.

Grains are controversial. Whole grain flours contain fiber, minerals, vitamins, micronutrients and unsaturated fats. White flour however has lost most of these nutrients, so what remains are empty carbohydrates which in turn are absorbed way too quickly by our bodies and make our blood sugar levels soar too quickly and unnaturally (see sugar). The starch and gluten get sticky and acidic when digested and can cause problems with the digestion for some people from bloating to serious bowel inflammation.
Some sources also mention that all the good stuff even in whole grain flours and products can be found in greater quantities in fruit and vegetables and advise to quit grains altogether.

I won’t go into this in great biological detail but fats and oils are not all bad. The right ones help us absorb vitamins, protect our organs and even help our blood flow better. Good for us are unsaturated fats and oils, such as walnut, rape seed, soy and linseed oil. Some are better used cold (like olive oil) because heat damages their good properties. Rape seed oil is recommended for cooking as it can stand the heat better.
Saturated fats are present in animal products like butter and cream. They are usually solid at room temperature and should only be consumed in moderation as they bump up our blood cholesterol levels. Industrial food products such as chips should be avoided completely because the hardened fats in them are much worse than other saturated fats like butter.

That doesn’t sound so hard at all does it? After my day of research the picture has grown a lot clearer and while I will probably never understand the biological intricacies in detail, the general direction is clear.
The boyfriend was impressed by this compilation as well and we have made an effort to incorporate these findings in our daily eating habits for the last few weeks. As this post is already very long, there’ll be another one one detailing what simple changes we have made and how it has affected us.
I hope to also share some recipes and tipps for healthy eating with you throughout the year. Please leave your thoughts in the comments section, I’d love to know what you think of this and if you struggle with eating better too!


January 7, 2014

I love the first few weeks in January. It feels like everything is clean and fresh and ready for a new start. A time to make plans.
home. tidytipsy
I am itching to buy seeds and plan out our little balcony garden. This little garden will be feeding us and help us in staying healthy and I’m excited to share the process of planning and planting and growing.
home. tidytipsy
This year will again feature opportunities to travel and making plans for that is always a wonderful start of the year task. Travelling always feels like a breath of fresh air blowing away the cobwebs of daily routines and sharpening the senses for the beauty around us. Oh, the photos to come!
wood. tidytipsy
This little blog is overdue for a change too. True to my resolutions I’m looking forward to spending more time here. A new name plus a visual overhaul will be in order and I’m so excited about it! It’s all still in the planning stages, but I hope to share the results with you very soon!
The photo blog has already gotten a new coat of paint so to speak :)
There’s a few photos from our new year’s walk over there too if you want to have a look.

happy new year!

January 1, 2014

I’m wishing you all a wonderful start into 2014.
happy new year. tidytipsy
On the whole, 2013 was a good year for me. I opened my Etsy Shop and learned a ton about having an online business. I was lucky to do some lovely client photoshoots. I also got to travel a bit which always keeps me happy and refills my batteries like nothing else.

The year has gone by so fast that I can hardly believe it’s time for New Year’s Resolutions again! If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know I’m a big believer in making resolutions. Some of last year’s resolutions worked out quite well and I’m proud of that. Writing them down and thinking about practical ways to achieve each resolution is a big step to accomplishing them.

happy new year. tidytipsy
For 2014 I want to keep my resolutions simple:

  • healthy eating and living. On the list every year, but I feel I really made some progress here in 2013. I will be sharing this in more detail in its own post but my goal for 2014 is to keep on track. This includes a. healthy eating (meaning essentially less sugar, carbs and grains and more vegetables and fruits), b. drinking lots of water and c. regular exercise (daily yoga and walking plus horseriding and weekly yoga class).
  • do my thing and stop comparing myself to others. Knowing your competition is good but especially in photography it can be numbing to see all the talent out there and feel inadequate in comparison. I am happiest when I’m in my creative bubble, doing work I am passionate about and this year I want to remind myself that while drawing inspiration from other artists is great, it is equally important to deliberately step away and immerse yourself in your own creative world. I’m looking at you, Pinterest.
    This year I want to do more work I feel intensely passionate about as this is the work that pushes me in the right direction and makes me really happy.
  • less internet time and distraction. this really goes hand in hand with #2. I love the internet but we all know it’s a time sucker like nothing else. Carefully managing and restricting my internet time is a must to make room for working efficiently and having time for creativity.
  • get out more. Being in new places and surrounded by nature is intensely satisfying and inspiring for me. In 2014 I want to plan two weekend breaks to just get away for a change of air in between.
  • blog more. I love this little space and I feel I haven’t spent enough time here lately. I’ll also be doing an overhaul on my photo blog but redefining this personal space here is important to me.
  • grow my business. Obviously ;) This year I want to focus on what really matters to me and inspires me and I’m so looking forward to it!

Ahem, forget keeping it simple. Once I start writing I usually can’t stop. The boyfriend asked me yesterday what my resolutions are and I replied ‘It’s still a bit vague in my head, but ask me again tomorrow. Once I’ve written about it I’ll know.’ That’s just one of the things I love about blogging…I get to know myself so much better by writing about stuff!
happy new year. tidytipsy
One more thing: The start of a new year is always a good time to listen to this wonderful and inspirational speech by Neil Gaiman. If you don’t know it yet, treat yourself to 20 minutes and listen to it. Actually, even if you do know it, treat yourself and watch it again. I’ll wait here.

Feeling inspired? New Year’s day is a great day to ask yourself ‘What is my mountain? Did the things I did last year take me nearer to or further away from my mountain?’
For me I can say I am moving in the right direction. The way is not always clear but it gets clearer the further I get along.
happy new year. tidytipsy
Thank you for reading and sharing this little corner of the internet with me!

merry christmas

December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas everyone.
Since we celebrate Christmas on the 24th over here, the whole family gathering and gift giving is already over and I am looking forward to a blissfull day of curling up on the couch with a cup of tea and the cats, reading blogs and flipping through my new books (how beautiful is “Made by Hand” from Lena Corwin!?).
Have a good one!


December 21, 2013

I was so determined not to get caught up in the holiday rush this year, to bake cookies every sunday, to visit christmas markets and enjoy advent.
Yeah, that didn’t happen. It was a stressful time at work and the days just rushed by in a whirlwind, leaving me feeling completely tuckered out.
Yesterday was the last day at work and I am slowly starting to exhale and relax. I’m looking forward to the next few days, spending time with friends and family, going to the cinema, taking it slow and resting.
baking christmas cookies. tidytipsy
We did manage to bake one batch of cookies during the month and since I’m restricting myself to one item of sweets or chocolate a day (more on that soon), they’ve lasted us quite a while!
baking christmas cookies. tidytipsy
I got some orders in my Etsy shop and managed to send christmas cards to my portrait customers this year, so early mornings were spent packaging and shipping.
etsy orders. fotografiekoehler
christmas cards. fotografiekoehler
We had a christmas party at work, which was great fun.
party. fotografiekoehler
party. fotografiekoehler
The theme was “The night before Christmas – Pajama party” and the costumes were such fun! I serged together a blue jersey dress really quickly (as in, I didn’t even finish the hems) using the Grainline Scout pattern and went as starry sky.
december. tidytipsy
I also started knitting my first ever cardigan! Well, I took about a month to decide on the yarn and then 2 weeks to knit a test swatch (got it right the first time, thank goodness) and finally cast on yesterday.
You’ll have seen these photos on Instagram if you follow me there. Looking forward to digging out my “real” camera again in the quieter days to come.
Have a wonderful, relaxing weekend!

handmade advent wreath

December 1, 2013

Advent wreaths are tradition here in Germany and are usually very colorful and most of all green. I posted a glimpse of the one my mom gave us last year here. The idea is to light a candle each sunday before christmas for 4 weeks, so when the fourth candle is lit it will be christmas.
This year I wanted to make our own advent wreath and make it very simple and elegant and scandinavian inspired. I put a lot of thought into it (my work colleagues will tell you I spent all lunch breaks for weeks pondering on the colors and decorations of this wreath) and in the end nearly everything about it is DIY.
handmade advent wreath. tidytipsy
I first thought of buying a wooden ring, but couldn’t find one I liked, so I made my own using willow twigs collected in the woods.
It’s easier than it looks and secured with wire holds up really well.
handmade advent wreath. tidytipsy
Next were the ornaments. I knew I wanted beeswax candles, so stitched red felt ornaments sounded right and I was itching to do a bit of handstitching anyway.
stitching. tidytipsy
stitching. tidytipsy
stitching. tidytipsy
The candle holders were only available in silver and gold, so we (meaning the boyfriend) simply spraypainted them white.
making christmas ornaments. tidytipsy
It turned out just the way I hoped and I love our handmade wreath which we will be using for years!
handmade advent wreath. tidytipsy


November 26, 2013

I seem to be averaging about one pair of socks per year and here’s the latest!
sock knitting. tidytipsy
I love knitting socks more than any other knitting. It can be pure meditation, or often just easy knitting while watching a movie with just enough challenge in the heel and toe to keep up interest in the project.
sock knitting. tidytipsy
sock knitting. tidytipsy
And handmade socks are just so toasty and nice! The yarn is Madeline Tosh in the Vanilla Bean colorway and it’s such a pleasure to work with!
sock knitting. tidytipsy