Fast & Easy DIY: Paper Bag Star!

My paper bag star. All pics by Franzi.

Have you decorated your flat festive already? I may be the last human being on earth discovering the magic of paper bag stars. They are simple to make and incredible pretty! Just in case there are still some of you out there, who also never made one before, here is the fast and easy instruction:


You need: 

8 paper bags, 2 cardboard paper strips (as long as the paper bags, app. 0,5 cm wide), a glue-stick, scissors, some ribbon for hanging, a hole puncher.


Place a bag on the table with the opening facing you. Apply glue centered from top to the bottom and from left to right along the bottom of the bag (in “T” shape). Repeat this step until all eight bags are glued on.

Cut the right and the left side of the bag to a point, to create the star pointers.

Add slits, curves or triangles to the side as you like.

Then the cardboard paper strips are used: Apply glue on each strip, place it at the center of the paper bags and press firmly. Proceed the same way on the backside. Round off the overlapping ends of the strips with a scissor.

Punch a hole in the end of the strips (at the triangle-shaped end, as hole for the ribbon).

Unfold your star and be happy :).

Have a beautiful week!

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1920s Style: Max Raabe!

Max Raabe’s music is really unique: His German songs in the style of the 1920s/1930s are simply mood-lifting and always have a distinct humor that makes me smile. He just released his latest album Der perfekte Moment… wird heute verpennt. It includes the wonderful song Guten Tag, liebes Glück – one of my favorite songs at the moment.

Happy listening!

From his new album: Der perfekte Moment… wird heute verpennt:

And an older one – Küssen kann man nicht alleine:

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Those Small Little Moments!

This rainbow in the Alster fountain! (Sunday, November 4). All pics by Franzi.

It’s time for a look back – those last four weeks were full of big and small events. In those tumultuous times, the small moments are those one has to enjoy the most and give back the power to go on.

I wish you a wonderful new week! Treasure those small pretty moments :)!

A surprise from Stephan: My very first time INSIDE the Elbphilharmonie – to listen to the singer songwriter Lisa Hannigan (Friday, October 20)

Those fall colors in my courtyard fascinated me (Saturday, October 21)

Hamburg’s television tower and the fairground lightened my way back home from my creative writing course (Monday, October 30)

My ‘little’ brother married (Friday, November 3)

Shiny ‘medals’ for junior scientists at the Nacht des Wissens (Night of the Sciences – Saturday, November 4)

The November light on the Isebekkanal (Saturday, November 11)

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Two Kids Books! #FBM17 #FraFra2017

One of the two kids books that really impressed me: Aprés by the incredible artist Laurent Moreau (in French language).

This will be the last part of my Frankfurt Book Fair follow-up. Let’s finish with two kids books that really fascinated me – one in French and one in English. But I think that kids would get the ideas of those books in any language.

Have a wonderful start into the new week!

Aprés (“After”) by  Laurent Moreau:

“After the rage, there comes the silence. After a long silence, I don’t know what to say.”

Artist Laurent Moreau captures the mindset of a kid in beautiful pictures. For me, this book was love at first sight and I really wish for an English (or even better) German edition of it!

“After winter, the spring brings back the colors.”

Book of Bones – 10 Record-Breaking Animals by Gabrielle Balkan and illustrated by Sam Brewster:

A wonderful book that really has a different way of explaining nature…

…by first showing pictures of animal skeletons, asking “Who am I?” …

… and finally showing the accompanying animal plus some interesting facts about it.

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Those Wonderful Cookbooks! #fbm17

One of my favorites: Feel Good Kitchen (Stirring Slowly) by Georgina Hayden. All pics by Franzi.

Every year when I am at the Frankfurt Book Fair I bring home a lot of new book wishes – and most of them are always cookbooks. Here are some of my favorites I found this year. Lucky me, X-Mas is not too soon now ;).

Have a wonderful (and tasty) week!

The cookbook that really convinced me on a second glance: Vietnamese Cuisine from Elizabeth Street Cafe.

Peek inside:The recipes are French-inspired and look really fancy and delicious!

The Great Dixter Cookbook – Recipes from an English Garden by Aaron Bertelsen features seasonal recipes.

Das Beste vom Wochenmarkt by Elisabeth Raether (available only in German: “The Best from the Farmers Market”) – A collection of the fresh and seasonal recipes regularly featured in the German ZEITmagazin.

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Pop-Up Books!

10 Chaises by Dominique Ehrhard. All pics by Franzi.

One thing that surprised me this year on the Frankfurt Book Fair was the impressing number of astonishing pop-up books. There were lots of them and pretty artistic ones. Not only for kids, but also for adults, depicting art pieces or furniture. But look for yourself :)…

Have a beautiful week!

10 Chaises by Dominique Ehrhard:

Le Livre des jouets de papier by Gérard Lo Monaco:

Das Apfelwunder (The Apple Miracle) by Hans-Christian Schmidt (author) and Andreas Nemet (illustrator):

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Stage Hog Udo Lindenberg!

Udo Lindenberg is a national icon – every tourist in Hamburg will be told at least one time that he lives in the Atlantic Hotel at the Alster. I am grown up with lots of songs from him – my father played Sonderzug nach Pankow and told us about the political implications of the song, Hinterm Horizont was everywhere when I grew up and in the last years Udo impressed with new interpretations of his old songs and new German rock hits.

And yes, Udo also paints and there’s even a musical. But there is one thing that really impresses me: This man is more than 70 years old and he rocks the stage heavier than any 20 year old I know.

I saw him at the Frankfurt book fair two weeks ago, where he presented his and Tine Acke’s book Stärker als die Zeit. It was hilarious to see this big entertainer on a stage, surrounded by suit-wearing bookish people …and in the end, everyone was moving to his unmistakable voice.

Have fun listening!

Mein Ding – one of his latest hits

Udo at the Frankfurt Book Fair (Look at all those mobile phones!)

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Frankfurt Book Fair 2017: New Novels & Authors Quotes! #FBM17

The best thing of the Frankfurt Book Fair? For me, it’s that you see and meet all those inspiring authors. I am always impressed by everything they have to say – about their books, life, society or politics. Here are some authors and their books I saw, plus some remarkable quotes.

I wish you an inspiring start into the new week!

Sasha Marianna Salzmann (left) talking about her first novel Außer Sich // Beside Yourself, which made it into the short-list of the German Book Prize. All pics by Franzi.


Since the beginning there’s the two of them, twins Alissa and Anton: In the small two-bedroom apartment in Moscow during the post-Soviet years and later, in Western Germany, where they roam the hallways of the asylum home. When Alissa has already dropped out of university, Anton disappears without a trace. Eventually, a postcard arrives from Istanbul – no text, no return address. Alissa sets out on a search in the torn city by the Bosporus and within her own family history – looking for her missing brother, but most of all, searching for the feeling of belonging that isn’t connected to one’s native country, mother tongue, or gender.

Sasha Marianna Salzmann regarding the dealing with the “underground” topic of gender fluidity in her book:

“Ovid und Shakespeare sind keine Underground-Schriftsteller gewesen. Queer war auch damals schon Thema und kam in deren Werken vor.” // “Ovid and Shakespeare were no underground authors. Queer  was  a topic already back then and present in their works.”

Sven Regener talking about his latest book Wiener Straße (made it to the long-list of the German Book Prize).


This fourth “Frank Lehmann”-novel narrates what happened before the first three books: Kreuzberg, Berlin, early 1980s – a surreal world of artists, squatters, freaks, punks and newly arrived Berliners. Anyone could be a hero. Anything could become the next big thing. Frank Lehmann, slacker by nature, together with two artist friends has to move house because their landlord and flatmate, Erwin, wants them out of the way now that he is to become a father. Chaotic times… and things finally escalate completely when a rival artist collective decides to copying Erwin’s new business idea of  a “bar plus gallery”, sparking an art war that may lead to ruin for everyone.

Sven Regener on why he wrote again about Frank Lehman:

“Man muss Romane schreiben, wie sie einem einfallen. {…} Bei mir ging das mit dem Schreiben los, als mir eine Figur zugelaufen ist, nämlich dieser Frank.” // “Novels appear as an idea to you. {…} I started writing when a character appeared in my mind – and this character was Frank Lehmann.”

Richard David Precht in an interview about his book Erkenne Dich Selbst // Know Yourself (the second book of a trilogy about the history of philosophy).


In the second volume of his three-part history of philosophy, Richard David Precht explores the development of Western thinking from the Renaissance to the end of the Age of Enlightenment.

Richard David Precht about Jean-Jacques Rousseau:

“Ein Arschloch deluxe. {…} Diese Schizophrenie, dass er Frauen ausnutzte und seine Kinder ins Findelheim steckte, aber die romantischsten Romane und einfühlsamsten Erziehungsromane seiner Zeit geschrieben hat.” // “An asshole deluxe. {…} This schizophrenia that he used women and sent his children into a foundling hospital, but wrote the most romantic novels and the most insightful Erziehungsromane (educational novels) of his time.”

Paula Hawkings (left) talking about her latest thriller Into the Water.


In the last days before her death, Nel called her sister. Jules didn’t pick up the phone, ignoring her plea for help. Now Nel is dead. They say she jumped. And Jules has been dragged back to the one place she hoped she had escaped for good, to care for the teenage girl her sister left behind. But Jules is afraid. Of her long-buried memories, of the old Mill House, of knowing that Nel would never have jumped. And most of all she’s afraid of the water, and the place they call the Drowning Pool…

Paula Hawkings about reading while working on a new book project:

“I do love to read non-fiction. As a novel author, reading non-fiction is a relaxed way of reading – without the risk of adopting foreign ideas.”

Ulla Hahn (right) talking about her book Wir werden erwartet // They Are Expecting Us .


This is the fourth (and last) novel of an autobiographic-inspired series by Ulla Hahn. It narrates the story of a young, gullible woman in the tumultuous years after 1968: Hilla Palm has the world at her feet. After a long search, the girl of humble origins has at last found where she belongs: to the world of literature and with Hugo, the man who accepts Hilla as she is, with all her bitter experiences. They discover love together and witness the 1968 upheavals, when everything seemed possible. But then fate puts a spoke in the wheel of her plans, and in desperation Hilla looks for support with people fighting for a more peaceful and fairer world. The philosophy of Marxism becomes her new spiritual home. She resolutely follows her convictions and in the end has to painfully realize that freedom without freedom of words is not possible.

Ulla Hahn about finally finishing her four-part series:

“Ich glaube mit dieser Erleichterung und Freude bin ich noch nie über eine Buchmesse gelaufen.” // “I believe I never walked along a book fair with this relief and happiness.”

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Frankfurt Book Fair 2017! #FBM17 #FraFra2017

This year’s guest of honor: France! All pics by Franzi.

I am just back from Frankfurt where I visited once more the Frankfurt book fair. This year’s guest of honor was France and it was wonderful to hear people talking French everywhere. Of course, there were also lots and lots of books and inspiring authors I wanna share with you the next weeks. Today I would like to show you some impressions of the fair and its atmosphere, in case you are interested :):

I wish you a wonderful start into the new week – enjoy the sunny fall days and take some time reading good books!

With France as guest of honor at a book fair, there has to be an Asterix!

A wall of books!

The light-flooded French pavilion!


The creative business festival THE ARTS+ took also place on the book fair.

The inventive Hendricks gin booth (yeah, there was some booze offered at the fair ;)).

There was also an impressive antique book fair included.

The main stage in the French pavilion.

A view on Frankfurt and the fairground.

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Golden Corn Soup!

Pic by Franzi.

The last days offered typical fall weather: storm and rain, but also some sunny hours. What could be better than arriving home at such days  and enjoying a thick, tasty and warm soup? For me, this golden corn soup is pure comfort food love.


Ingredients: Serves 4.

4 corn cobs (shucked), 2 potatoes (peeled), 3 TblSps coconut oil, 1 white onion (diced), 1 garlic clove (minced), 3 carrots (peeled and chopped), 3 stalks celery (chopped), 1 red bell pepper (cored and chopped), 1 1/2 TSps salt, 2 TSps Cajun seasoning, 1/2 TSp paprika, 1/4 TSp ground cumin, 160 ml coconut milk, 480 ml vegetable stock.


Place corn cobs into a large pot and fill the bottom with water. Place a steamer basket in the pot. Add the corn and cover the pot with a lid. Bring the water to a boil, then simmer it for 8 to 10 minutes.

Use a pair of tongs to take the corn out of the pot, and transfer it to a cutting board.

Chop one of the potatoes in half and carefully place into the same pot of boiling water you used to cook the corn. Allow potato to cook until soft, about 10 to 15 minutes.

While the potato is cooking, roast the rest of the vegetables: Heat the coconut oil in a large pot, than add the other diced potato, the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, bell pepper, sea salt, Cajun seasoning, paprika and cumin. Roast for app. 10 minutes.

Use a knife to remove the corn kernels from the corn cobs. Blend half of the kernels, along with the cooked potato, the coconut milk and the vegetable stock until completely smooth.

Add the remaining corn kernels to the pot with the roasted vegetables, and pour the blended corn/potato mixture into the pot. Bring to a gentle boil and cook until potato has softened, about 10 to 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and season to taste.


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