Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Recycling bag and plastic jewellery/Recyclingtasche und Plastikschmuck

I'm in the mood for recycling again ... besides all the well-known reasons why this is a great thing to do, it sparks the imagination!

This is a small round shoulder bag, made out of tiny scraps of different sock wools which I found in my stash.

I started with the bottom, crocheting a round piece, then I turned it and went on crocheting upwards, without doing any more increases.

I added four button loops on the last round, turned the top down to make the bag more sturdy and sew on some flower buttons, so I can close the bag if I like to. As the shoulder strap has a button hole on each end, I can unbutton the strap and use the bag as a table container if desired as well.

And this is 'plastic fantastic' - a simple summer necklace to wear on the beach with the swimming gear, for instance:

I crocheted a long necklace with a thick, multicoloured cotton yarn, then I took a dive into that box with toy plastic beads which my daughter had sorted out - and I had kept in my stash a while for some reason :-) - and added these by crocheting another round onto the cotton necklace, this time with some of that variegated embroidery yarn.

As I still had more of the thick cotton yarn, I went on by knitting two circular necklaces in stockinette stitch, letting them curl up to a kind of rope:

And the colourful combination of these necklaces could be quite an interesting piece of summer jewellery, don't you think?

(German summary: Aus vielen kleinen Sockenwollresten habe ich eine 'Topftasche' gehäkelt - und aus dem Kaugummiautomaten-Plastikperlen meiner Tochter und dickem Baumwollgarn noch einen bunten Strandschmuck gestrickt und gehäkelt. Recycling fördert die Fantasie!)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Recycled Paper Butterflies/Schmetterlinge aus Altpapier

And now to something completely different (I think they say that in the Monthy Python show):

I like recycling, re-using, remaking, and in the small village library, where I work a couple of hours a week, I sometimes find a pile of books which are out of date and have to be sorted out.

When I was in Sweden lately, I saw a butterfly paper garland in a shop, made out of scraps of Indian handmade paper, sewn together on a sewing machine.

So now I'm using this idea for my purpose, cutting pages out of the old library books, combining them with some b/w pages out of a brochure - and fortunately having a butterfly stencil in my stash and a red stencil pad, combining these too, for colour.

They look great hanging in the library window now during summer time!

I can also imagine this could be a nice idea to use for hearts or flowers as well ... and a single butterfly in coloured (recycled) paper would be nice on a greeting card, too ...

If you like to try it out yourself, just draw the outlines of a butterfly (or other motive) on a sturdy paper or light cardboard, cut it out, put it on a pile of about 5 bookpages if you're cutting with a craft knife - normal scissors would take about 3 pages at the same time and you will have to hold the template fixed on top of it with your fingers.

For the smaller butterflies inbetween, you can make a butterfly stamping stencil yourself by cutting it out from a big pencil eraser, maybe using it with a coloured stamp pad.

I sew the paper butterflies double, but they look great one by one as well. It could be a good idea to use an old needle, which you only use for paper sewing, in your sewing machine, as it gets rather dull to sew properly in fabric afterwards.

Leave a long thread for hanging before sewing the first pair of butterflies - then let the machine sew 'empty' (this produces a nice thread chain) before you sew the next pair together. A variegated thread looks nice, but is not crucial.

Adding a bead or other kind of weight at the bottom keeps your garland hanging right.

(German summary: Aus alten Buch- und Prospektseiten habe ich große und kleine Schmetterlinge ausgeschnitten - mehrere auf einmal mit dem Stanleymesser oder mit einer kräftigen Schere - und mit der Nähmaschine zusammengenäht. Wenn man zwischen den Schmetterlingen mit der Maschine "ins Leere" näht, bekommt man einen schönen Kettfaden dazwischen. Es ist ratsam, eine alte Nähmaschinennadel extra für's Papiernähen zu nehmen, mit dem man nachher keine Stoffe mehr näht - das Papier läßt mit der Zeit die Nadeln stumpf werden.)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Felted pencil holders/Filz-Stifte

Oh dear, it's been a fortnight since I posted last, I'm sorry for that ...

The heat of the summer has struck us completely now - 30-35°C in the shadow, and it's often too hot to do anything ... The kids have two more weeks to go before they're off on summer holidays, and we're all looking forward to get a leave ...!

It's late in the evening, and I've just finished preserving ten small jars of strawberry jam with elderberry flowers - if you're lucky still to have some fresh elderberry flowers in your garden when the strawberries are ripening, you really should try this: just boil the strawberries as usual, but put a small branch of elderberry flowers into the jar before filling it up with the hot jam - that's all! The combination is wonderful - and no extra effort at all - and I'm sure you won't regret this little experiment!

Two weeks ago, my daughter Emily and I spent an afternoon felting some pencil holders, just for fun - you just wrap a pencil tightly with some wool roving, felt it with warm soap water, rinse it and form the upper tail as you please, then let it dry:

When completely dry, I embroidered a couple of them with the handdyed thread and some beads:

Well, I've managed to finish the first silk/wool shoulder scarf as well, and I'm quite pleased with how it turned out:

As you can see from the detailed picture, I felted a shawl pin in the matching colours to go with it:

Following an idea of Sara, I used a Chinese chopstick for the pin and wet felted around the top in a similar way as with the pencils. The shawl and the pin were a birthday present for a very dear friend of mine.

(German version: Bei uns ist es im Moment so heiß, daß man fast gar nichts machen kann! Trotzdem habe ich heute das Spezialrezept meiner Mutter, für Erdbeermarmelade mit Holunderblüten, machen müssen: Man kocht die Erdbeeren wie üblich, nur daß man noch ein Blütenzweigerl ins Glas gibt, bevor man die heiße Marmelade hineinfüllt! Sehr einfach und sehr empfehlenswert - wenn man das Glück hat, noch frische Blüten im Garten zu haben!

Mit meiner Tochter habe ich noch ein paar Stifte mit Filzwolle ummantelt und naßgefilzt, dann bestickt - ja, und das Woll-/Seidenschultertuch ist auch fertig und hat schon eine neue Besitzerin gefunden!)