Monday, November 27, 2023

Honey Biscuits

A recipe with sourdough discard I tried today and liked. It is a variation of a recipe I read in a cooking blog, which I adapted to my products. It yielded 30 small size biscuits, which go just perfect with my coffee and Duolingo lessons :)

I've experimented with adding sourdough discard into various muffins and cakes and the results are not always satisfying - what we are actually adding is basically flour and water in equal proportions and, dependent on the quantity of the added sourdough, it might change the taste of the final product, not always in a positive way. But these came out so delicious, that my husband called them fentanyl in the form of a cookie :) 


  • 70 g discard sourdough
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 100 g sugar
  • 8 g (one pack) vanilla sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 40 g vegetable oil
  • 250 g flour
  • 5 g baking powder
  • pinch of salt


Mix the sourdough with the egg and the oil. Add the honey, sugar and spices into the mixture. Finally add the sifted flour with the baking powder and knead into dough. Place the dough in the fridge for 30 min to rest. 

After 30  min, turn on the oven at 180C. Take the dough out of the fridge, cover a baking tin with baking paper and prepare the cookies, taking small pieces of the dough, forming them into smooth balls and slightly pressing them with your palm to flatten them. Bake for 15 min.

Serve with coffee or milk and enjoy.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

1000 Days on Duolingo


Last month I passed a double milestone - 1000 days on Duolingo (1035 as of today) and two years of learning German. I'm a language nerd, wouldn't call myself polyglot, but I love learning languages and German is the sixth foreign language I've tried to learn, besides English, Russian, French, Italian and Spanish. Of these I have a decent command of English and Russian and I still retain some Spanish and some very basic Italian. My encounter with French was short-lived and very long ago, for a year in middle school. Italian I self-taught during my university years and I started with Spanish with the appearance of Livemocha and then I studied it anew for a few months at the Spanish Cultural Institute in Sofia - until the coronavirus broke out, the courses became online and I lost interest.

I started my journey with Duolingo a bit as a joke in January 2021 and for the first year I practiced my Spanish, until my visit in Vienna in October 2021, when I decided to include a German course to my Duolingo routine. This was my first encounter with German and though I wouldn't claim I fell in love with it, for the first time in years I felt highly motivated to bring my language endeavour somewhere. Having studied languages all of my conscious life, I know only too well that it's an endless journey. However, there's a stage, probably a solid B2, when the knowledge of the language is permanently fixed and daily practice is no longer needed to keep it alive. Thus I know that even if I stopped reading and listening to English or Russian for years, I'll never forget them completely and will always be able to revive my knowledge of these languages. I didn't get there with Italian or Spanish, but I do plan to persist and bring my German to a decent B2 level (one day, in many years time).

Meanwhile, I believe in May this year, I reached the end of the German tree and started the revision part, with no new words and grammar. I got a little bored and decided to try the reverse course, English through German. The first units were, naturally, a joke, but I soon found a method to practice my German, which turned out extremely effective and I believe has significantly improved my language skills. The method is very simple - I turn off the sound of the phone, as I don't need the English sentences read to me, instead I try to translate every single exercise in German, without looking at the clues, and only after I've translated it out loud, I do the exercise and compare my translation with the German key. I do the same with the stories - I read silently the English text and translate it aloud in German, checking from time to time with the hidden German translation (by clicking on a word or a phrase).

Meanwhile I continued with my German course (through English) and they soon rearranged it again, adding new lessons with extended vocabulary and grammar. I finished it in a couple of months and now I am stuck again at the revision level, so I do mostly the reverse course.

I know it's a painfully slow progress, but not only do I enjoy it, but I can see my improvement - I can read books in German and watch films with German subtitles, and though I am still far from understanding everything, I am getting at least 60% of it. Hopefully, next year it will be 80% :)

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

White Raglan Blouse

One more color block blouse I made recently, this one is intended for Gaby.

I've been planning a raglan zipped cardigan for Gaby and on Shkatulka sewing site I found a pattern , that I really liked. However, first I decided to try their raglan patterns with something simpler, like a short sleeve T-shirt, which is free for all sizes on their site and includes a straight long sleeve tee and a short-sleeve tailored tee.

I took out all of my knit fabric scraps and selected a pair that went really well together - off white and black and white stripes. 

Size: Russian 42 (EU 36, S), height 168 cm; shortened
Fabric: cotton knit fabric
Thread: off white polyester
Time to make: 3 days

Notes: I'm not happy with the fit and I don't think their raglan patterns fit me - they seem to be too narrow at the shoulders and the sleeves don't lay naturally, following the curves of the arms, but pucker up. After I finished this tee, I made two testers of the raglan cardigan I was eyeing, and found them both unacceptable, so I've given up the Shkatulka patterns for now and I'm looking at some other raglan cardigans.

However, I like the idea of using bigger scraps for such small raglan T-shirts and I'm planning at least one more, using a true-and-tried Burda pattern, but probably later next year. It's time to take out the long-sleeve patterns now, winter is coming :)

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Color Block and Grey Blouses

After the green blouse I made for my husband, I sewed two more quick longsleeves, based on the same pattern. The first is a color block longsleeve, planned around the remnants from the green cotton fabric and two other cotton fabrics I liked as a color combination. 

I made some slight changes to the original longsleeve pattern - I moved the shoulder line back to the true shoulder and I moved the neck opening to the front, otherwise it is the same pattern with added length.

Size: 48 with with added length
Fabric: cotton knit
Time to make: 1 day

For the back I decided against adding another yellow strip and left it just green and grey. It was great fun, planning and sewing this color block longsleeve and I should make more color block blouses.

While taking the pictures in the park, we saw a squirrel, munching on some late autumn fruit.

Right after I made husband's blouse, I decided to use up all of the grey cotton knit fabric and made a plain grey longsleeve for our son.

Size: 46 with with added length
Fabric: cotton knit
Time to make: 2 days
I finished the neckline, following this super useful video tutorial.

Friday, November 17, 2023

Polovrak on a Sunny November Day, 2023

In the forecasts for this week Tuesday looked like an oasis of sunny and warm weather among rainy days, strong winds and even snow. So husband and I decided to shuffle our plans a little, free Tuesday and go hiking in the nearby Lozen mountain.

It was a gorgeous day, probably the last for this year with temperatures in the range of 16-18 C.

Hike info:

Destination: peak Polovrak (1182 m)
Mountain: Lozen
Total length: 9.5 km
Elevation gain: 420 m
Total duration (plus picnic and rests): 3 h
Average difficulty: 3 / 10

The Lozen monastery. We had a glimpse at its grounds and bought a jar of wild flower honey.
The Sofia Valley between Lozen and Balkan mountains

Me-made items, worn on this hike:
Husband: men's boxers, Knip Mode cargo pants, Teal blouse
I:  lingerie, Burda Top

Rila to the south
and Vitosha to the west

The peaks of Rila are already covered with the first snow
We had a wonderful picnic on the grass, basking in the warm sun. The place was empty and quiet, complete bliss

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Vrana in November 2023

Pictures from our almost traditional autumn walk in Vrana, again on the day of another election, this time of the local governing authorities. It was a close call, but the united democratic forces won, which is a first in so many years, yey!

The day was sunny with some clouds and comfortable temperatures in the range of 14-16 C and we had a super pleasant and relaxing walk along the park alleys.

Hike info:

Destination: Vrana
Total length: 8 km
Total duration : 2.5 hours

Me-made items, worn on this hike:
Husband: men's boxers
I: lingerie, Polka Dot Burda raglan