Wednesday, December 22, 2010

'Tomten' - An old Swedish Christmas tale

I guess everybody's busy, just like I am, working on the last caring preparations before D-day ...

But maybe you have a couple of minutes to sit down with a cup of tea, rest your legs and ease your mind - and enjoy this old Swedish Christmas tale, inspired by a poem by Victor Rydberg, later adapted by Astrid Lindgren and illustrated by Harald Wiberg - this is an English/American version of 'Tomten':

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rock carving fragments/Viking comic

A couple of new fragments, which I would call 'Viking comics', as they show moving men and animals in action ...

Although I'm not quite sure if this first motif really is a Viking one ... With no doubth it shows reindeers, and this kind of carving is more likely to be of Sami origin - there are similar Sami pictures in the book 'People of Eight Seasons' by Ernst Manker, which I once borrowed at the Stockholm City Library. (More about the Sami people in this earlier posting.)

When visiting Sweden in spring, I went to the Historical Museum in Stockholm with my drawing pad and jotted down everything which caught my eye in this pictural respect.

At the museum shop there were some fabric prints too, and I think these sheep might be influenced by those prints ...

As far as I know, this last one is really a genuine rock carving found in the county of Bohuslän (Sweden), at Tegneby, Tanum:

The embroidery technique itself is not very spectacular - I just used the common basic ones in order to keep it as simple as possible and let the graphics of these ancient, unknown artists talk for themselves.

(My friend Elizabeth/Landanna wrote in her blog today that she'll be posting about 'helleristningar' (rock carvings) tomorrow or during the weekend - so why don't you pop over and have a look - I will for sure!)

(German summary: Drei ganz simple Fragmente, aus dem Bilderschatz der skandinavischen Geschichte - die dargestellten Tiere und Menschen, alle in Bewegung, lassen mich fast an ein Comic strip denken ...)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A little extra for the third of Advent/Kleines 3. Adventsextra

Tomorrow is the 3rd of Advent, and I guess you might be busy baking ginger bread and making Christmas decorations. Last year I made simple yet quite nice snowflakes - and this is how you make them:

What you need is a packet of basic, white pipe cleaners (available at all tobacco shops) and a wire cutter (or old pair of scissors). The pipe cleaners mostly come in a packet of 100, they're not expensive, and as you only need 4 1/2 pieces for every small snowflake and 6 pieces for the big ones, you'll get a whole bunch of them - to hang in the window or in the branches of your tree - or on the parcels or greeting cards.

For the smaller ones, you cut up five pipecleaners into half, leave three halves for the base and cut up the rest into halves again (one half or two quarters being left over for the next snowflake). For the bigger ones, you cut a third off the basic three branches and chop up the remaining two ones into thirds, no leftovers there.

There's no glueing - just twist the branches once or twice to get stability, the same goes for the small branches.

And while you're doing this, you might want to listen to Bing Crosby and David Bowie in one of my very favourite Christmas performances:

Have a nice and comfortable week-end!

(German summary: Eine kleine Adventsbastelei für den 3. Advent - Schneeflocken aus Pfeifenputzer! Und ein wunderschönes Duett von Bing Crosby und David Bowie, zur Einstimmung auf Weihnachten. Ich wünsche Euch ein schönes und geruhsames Wochenende!)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Ornament from Julochka!

This very beautiful bird sat down in my mistletoe today - it was made and sent by Julochka in Denmark. She and I both participated in the Christmas Ornament Swap organized by Elizabeth/Landanna.

And as if this would not be enough, she also gave me another handmade ornament from the Philippines, where she had been travelling lately:

Oh, I do very much enjoy this swap :-), thank you so much, Julochka! Let's persuade Elizabeth to organize another one next year, too, shall we?

(German summary: Diesen hübschen, selbstgenähten Vogel habe ich von Julochka in Dänemark bekommen, als Teilnehmerin am Weihnachtsschmuckaustausch! Sehr nett, so ein Tausch :-)!)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Fiber scrap fragment/Restefragment

I have a glass jar, where I put all the threadends and fiber leftovers when working. When punching with the embellisher - which is, as I've said before, a wonderful recycling tool - I can see through the glass if there are any convenient scraps to use with the current project.

For this fragment, I've used a handful of threads from there, which I then bound with a couching stitch.

By the way, I think there are far more ways to encounter embroidery threads than visiting your local craft shop:

at hardware stores and building centers, you can find interesting packthread or rope, made out of all kind of recycling fibers, which you can use as a single thread for embroidery -

and at flea markets and thrift shops, you might find tassels or silk wired curtain holders, which do not only provide you with the outer layer of silk, but also with an 'inner life', possibly consisting of colourful recycled cotton or wool threads ...

At garage sales, you might also find unfinished embroidery kits, where the motif might be ugly but the threads most useful ...

The threads of linen fabric may consist of useful threads, and so can a ball of variegated sock wool or a supply of darning wool ...

There are a couple of earlier postings I wrote on this subject beginning here.

(German summary: Dieses Fragment besteht aus kurzen Restfäden, die ich beim Arbeiten in einem Marmeladenglas sammele - und wenn man die Augen offenhält, finden sich bei Baumärkten und Flohmärkten auch allerhand Fasern von aufgemachten Schnüren und Kordeln, die für's Sticken taugen ... Auch Sockenwollreste und aufgeribbeltes Leinengewebe sind nicht schlecht!)

Friday, December 3, 2010

When you wish upon a star - Christmas ornament swap

"When you wish upon a star

Makes no difference who you are

Anything your heart desires

Will come to you"

This week I finished the Christmas ornaments which I did for the swap that Elizabeth/Landanna organized. I made three stars - with a touch of snowflake! - all a bit different but all out of vintage jewelry (and a bit of brass wire) that I have been collecting without no specific purpose ... just thinking that the pearls were too beautiful to be thrown away.

I like this sort of recycling - turning something once cherished, now old and worn, maybe partly broken but with a certain distinguished charm - into something 'new' and special again, which might once again be cherished ...

When being flooded now at Christmas time, with all the ads and commercials about plastic fantastic things which we are supposed to give eachother as 'gifts from our hearts' - I certainly long for more of that old, recycled stuff - both for giving and for getting ...

(German summary: Für einen Weihnachtsschmuck-Tausch habe ich drei Sterne/Schneeflocken aus Messingdraht und altem Perlenschmuck gemacht - ich mag diese Art von Recycling, wo etwas einst Geschätztes jetzt in einer neuen Form wieder zu Ehren kommen kann ... mehr Recycling und weniger Neues wäre auch jetzt zu Weihnachten eine echte Wohltat, denke ich!)