DIY mug design

How you can create your own coffee mug

As you might already know, I am a cat lady. So I like everything related to cats. Currently, I am building on my cat mug collection (unfortunately, it consists only of two mugs at the moment).

Recently, I saw a crazy cat lady mug in a store. I liked the shape of the mug but not the design. The lettering was too bold and boxy, so I didn’t buy it. The idea stayed in my mind, though. So, I decided to create my own mug design and here I will share with you how you can do the same.

All you need to create your own mug:

  • a plain mug
  • porcelain colours
  • a fine brush
  • imagination
Materials you need to design your own mug
Everything you need to design your own mug

Firstly, you need to find the perfect plain mug. This turned out to be not that easy for me. Many are too small, too square or way too expensive. Or maybe I am just too picky. In the end, I found the perfect mug for me. In a crafts store, I bought porcelain colours in gold and black and a fine brush. Now, the only thing that you still need is imagination and creativity to design your own mug. I found inspiration on pinterest. If you need inspiration, too, try looking for “mug design” or “DIY mug”, for example.

Designing your mug

I wanted a hand lettering design for my mug. As I haven’t tried hand lettering before, I used an online generator to get a template for the writing. Next I transferred the template on to the mug using a pencil, so I roughly knew where I should start painting.
I started writing very carefully as painting with the porcelain colours on the mug can be a bit difficult (at least it was for me). But it gets easier with every letter. To make to mug even prettier I painted golden dots (which was a lot easier than the lettering).

DIY mug design ideas

 

Finishing the mug

The next steps are dependent on your porcelain colours. Therefore, you should read the instructions and stick to them. For me it meant to let it dry for at least 4 hours, put it in the oven afterwards, set the heat to 160° C and bake it for 90 minutes. Now it should be waterproof and dishwater safe. I haven’t put it in the dishwasher yet, though.

(Side note: I had taken photos during the process but my SD card decided to break, so I lost them all..)

 

Erasmus experiences in Norway

Things I have learned from my Erasmus semester in Norway

Do you consider to spend a semester abroad during your studies? Don’t hesitate to do so. In 2015, I spent five months in Norway as part of my studies and I can only recommend it. It was different from what I had expected but nonetheless a great experience. Here, I will share four things I learned.

1. There will be times when you want to quit

Maybe this isn’t true for everyone, but it was for me and a couple of other students I met. For me, it was in the beginning because I had bedbugs which gave me some sleepless nights. I was the only one on my floor who had troubles with bedbugs and I thought it was kind of unfair (even though it is a stupid thing to think). Additionally, it all happened during the first couple of days in Norway, so I didn’t have any friends yet. Sometimes, I thought the easiest way would be to just book a ticket home and leave everything behind. But I am so glad I didn’t. I would have missed so many great experiences. If you ever consider quitting, then don’t do it or at least think it through very well. They say “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” for a reason.

2. The fear of missing out will be omnipresent

A semester abroad is usually limited to a certain amount of time. For me, it were five months in Norway. Beforehand, I did a bit of research of what I wanted to do. The list was long. So, we travelled and hiked a lot. If the sun was shining, we were out there hiking one of the seven summits, taking a bath in the fjords or exploring the hanseatic wharf Bryggen. On top of that came social events: pancake breakfast, 3 hours of playing Risk, going here, going there, going out. Sometimes I felt exhausted and instead of joining, I would have preferred to stay in my room watching Netflix. But most of the time I didn’t because of the fear of missing out. The fear of missing something unique, the fear of not keeping pace with the other students, the fear of not making those incredible memories. Most of the time it was great, but sometimes it was just a lot. But being on a semester abroad is a unique experience and you should make the most of it and get out of your comfort zone.

3. You will spend a lot of time with other exchange students

There were many exchange students in Bergen and most of them lived in the same dormitory called Fantoft. Before I went abroad, I didn’t want to live in that house, because in my semester abroad I wanted to learn Norwegian and only hang out with locals. Well, it didn’t work out as I had planned. I got a room in Fantoft on the 17th floor with seven other students from France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Turkey and actually one student from Norway! In the end, I spent most of my time with exchange students from all over the world. At first, I wasn’t really pleased about that but I soon realised that it is actually good to be around so many exchange students. It’s an intercultural experience and otherwise I probably wouldn’t have gotten in touch with students from Japan, Australia or Italy, even though it is so close to Germany. But the best thing about hanging out with other exchange students is that you’re all in the same boat. You have all just arrived in a foreign country, you don’t know anyone and you want to see as much as possible of this new country. That’s why it’s so easy to make friends and that’s why it’s so easy to find travel buddies. In hindsight, I am actually very glad that I met so many exchange students. One of them became one of my best friends. And after all, I was also an exchange student.

4. Do not underestimate the post-Erasmus-depression

Studying abroad was nothing like studying in Germany. A typical exchange student has only a few courses and a lot of free time. You meet a lot of new people and get many more unforgettable impressions in a short period of time. It’s a great experience but also a lot to take in. All the worse it is to get back into your daily routine back home. Don’t get me wrong, of course I was happy to be around my family and friends again. It was just so different. I returned home during the semester break of my university in Mannheim, so I stayed with my parents for a while. My parents live in the countryside, so there is not much to do there. Thus, I had a lot of time to do nothing. Mainly, I was just bored and reminiscing about all the exciting things I did in Norway, while no one at home really understood my feelings. Looking back now, I don’t even understand anymore why I was so fed up with everything. Unfortunately, I cannot change what happened in the past. I can only give advice on how to overcome the post-erasmus-depression. It’s easy: just do something! Get a new hobby, read, do sports and get excited about something. For example, I took a short trip to Budapest with my friend from Norway, which was a great way out of the rut. I had something to plan and look forward to and something I was excited about.

What’ the conclusion of all this?

I would recommend a semester abroad to everyone who has the chance to do so. Of course, it wasn’t all perfect and although, there were highs and lows it was a great experience and I can hardly remember those lows.

The start of my 6 months shopping ban

I am a bit shopping addicted. I am completely aware of the fact that I shop too much and that I own too many things. Nonetheless, I still find myself scrolling through online shops longing for new pieces of clothing. But it is not only clothes but also beauty products that I constantly buy more and more.

Of course I feel not good about it. So I decided to change my consumerist behaviour this year. I have several reasons for that.

  • Firstly, I want to save money and spent it on travelling or none material things. When I think of all the money I wasted on clothes that I never wore, I am annoyed by myself. I could have spent that money so much better. However, it’s too late now and I can only learn from the past and change for the future.
  • Secondly, all that extensive consumerism is most likely to have a negative impact on our environment, too. Fast Fashion, plastic in oceans, … It’s so sad that our community is based on consumerism and materialism. Advertisings are suggesting that material products make us happy. But they don’t or only for a short period of time.
  • Last but not least: I simply have too much stuff… I noticed that I own way too many things when I moved in with my boyfriend last year and I had to move all that stuff from one place to another. Which is why, I want to declutter rather than accumulating more things. Minimalism is a very interesting topic to me and I want to explore it a bit more this year.

Which is why, I decided to drastically change my shopping behaviour and start a shopping ban. For me, it’s hard to just stop shopping. I need a challenge which will hopefully trigger my ambition and endurance. I was inspired to start the shopping ban by Mia from heylilahey – I can only recommend reading her blog!

The rules:

  1. The shopping ban last for 6 months starting from today, 14. February 2018.
  2. I am not allowed to buy any new clothes unless I really need it (that probably won’t happen.. I mean, when do we actually need new clothing?). Need is not to be confused with want.
  3. I am not allowed to buy any make up or beauty products unless I’ve used up something and don’t have anything similar anymore.
  4. I am allowed to sell my old clothes but I may not invest the money in new clothes that I don’t need.
  5. I will use the six months to use up old beauty products, declutter my wardrobe and find the items I love to wear.

These are the rules, so let’s start the challenge! I will keep you updated on twitter and give a feedback at the end of the shopping ban. Feel free to join and let me know if you do!

Easy knitting pattern for a Norwegian Sweater

How to knit your own Norwegian Sweater

Today I will share with you, my knitting pattern for this Norwegian Sweater!
I have been a fan of Norway even before going there for my semester abroad. And I’ve always wanted to have a sweater with a cute and wintry reindeer pattern. I searched quite a bit online and soon found out that those sweaters are a) really hard to find and b) very expensive.
So I did some research on how to do jacquard knit and looked for knitting patterns. In the end, I combined some patterns I found online and created my own one, which I like very much (of course).

How did I proceed after I had my pattern?

Once I was happy with the pattern, I looked for instructions for a jumper. I quickly found a pattern I liked but had to change the yarn they used, because I wanted the sweaters to be woollen and cosy. Then I only adapted amount of stiches in the instructions to my yarn and started knitting. The patterns I created are quite simple. As it was also the first sweater I ever knitted, I deliberately decided to keep the pattern as easy as possible.

Here is a simple instruction video on how to do a jacquard knit.

The first Norwegian Sweater I knitted
The first Norwegian Sweater I knitted

What do you need to knit a sweater like this?

In my opinion you need motivation, endurance and patience. The knitting itself is not very difficult and knitting the pattern is actually quite motivating as you can see the pattern develop. But it can get a bit annoying because the two threads get twisted up all the time and you have to count the stiches and pay attention all the time to make no mistakes during the pattern. And you should also keep in mind that it’s a big piece you’ll have to knit.

How long did I need to finish the sweaters?

Well, that’s a huge timespan. While knitting the green sweater, I was a bit under time pressure because I wanted to finish it before going to Norway. All in all, it took me around 6 to 8 weeks to finish. The time I spent knitting each day varied quite a bit. In the beginning I knitted quite a lot each day, but I had to reduce the time because my hands and fingers where aching. For the green sweater I casted on 144 stiches each for the front and the back.

Click here for the pattern of the green sweater!

Easy Norwegian Sweater

For the burgundy sweater it looked a bit different. I finished the back piece in little less than a week. But then I knitted less and due to a huge lack of motivation it took me over a year to finish this one. I wasn’t working on it for a couple of months and the unfinished pieces where just lying in the corner. But after all I did finish it. The front and back have each a width of 120 stiches.

Click here for the pattern of the burgundy sweater!

Would I do it again?

How to knit a jumper

That’s a tough question. Knitting a jumper? Definitely yes! Knitting a jumper with a jacquard pattern? Probably yes. I am very happy and also proud that I knitted the two sweaters. To do it again, I would need a lot of motivation. But I would definitely recommend to you trying it yourself. It’s not as difficult as it might seem and you will definitely be proud of yourself!
If you do try it out, I’d be pleased to receive photos of your Norwegian Sweaters, or tag me on Instagram or twitter!

If you have any further questions, feel free to contact me!