Monday, February 28, 2011

Rag basket ready!/Korb aus 'Sockenwolle' fertig!

Well, this small project was quickly finished, and now I have my basket ready. With all the yellow, it almost looks like an Easter basket - who knows, maybe there will be some eggs in it in April!

All my striped socks were used up, and two small kids' T-shirts as well. The strips were cut in about 1,5 cm width and I used a size 10 (metric) crochet hook - but just use what you have at hand and feel comfortable with, if you want to make a similar one yourself.

(German summary: Mein Körbchen ist schon fertig, und alle alten Socken aufgebraucht! Jetzt warte ich nur noch darauf, daß mir der Osterhase ein paar Eier hineinlegt ...)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Heavy duty variegated sock yarn/Sockenwolle andersrum

Sometimes you have to be bold - and put your scissors into the most weird material - like in worn-out (but clean!) striped socks, for example.

And then take a chunky crochet needle and start crocheting a variegated storage box out of these socks (- and maybe some coloured T-shirt too, if there aren't enough socks around).

I must admit I felt inspired today both by Angelcat and her red pot and by Manya and her rag dolls.

Of course this piece could be used as a pot holder, a trivet, a seat warmer or even a rag carpet if continued - but what I want to do is a basket, for holding my yarn and preventing it from rolling around on the ground when I'm knitting in the garden. And for storing the knit work inbetween.

You might want to make it bigger for storing magazines, toys, wool or potatoes in it, too.

Hey - easy, peasy way to recycle, isn't it?

(German summary: Einige bunte Ringelsocken, vielleicht noch ein T-shirt dazu und eine dicke Häkelnadel und Schere - schon geht's rund: ich mache mir ein Körbchen für die Wolle, wenn ich draußen im Garten stricke und sie nicht am Boden herumkollern soll - als Aufbewahrung dann anschließend auch.)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The resurrection of the sea monster/Das Seeungeheuer ist erwacht!

Yesterday I told you about the kit I bought at The Museum of Medieval Stockholm - and I got so tempted to start embroidering a bit again, that I kept on all day, until it was finished!

(The original illustration is taken from 'Dialogus creaturarum moralizatus', if you want to read more about it.)

As this simple kit basically just consists of the illustration printed on natural linen and a couple of mouliné threads and some single beads, not even suggesting which stitches or colours to use, I felt free to take my own hand-dyed threads instead and to practise long and short satin stitches, which I have rarely done before.

For the background 'water', I used chain stitches, broadening some of them for more variation. And as some medieval embroideries were known to be enriched by bead and metal thread embellishments, I let myself get carried away this time with some of that glittery stuff too ... using the contents of my new storage box and the jewel picker!

(German summary: Diese kleine Stickerei hat mich so in den Bann gezogen, daß ich es gestern noch fertiggestickt habe! Und da das Kit sehr minimalistisch gehalten war, habe ich kurzerhand Fäden und Perlen ausgetauscht und richtig 'byzantinisch' losgelegt!)

Friday, February 25, 2011

The voracious sea monster/Das gefräßige See-Ungeheuer

I'm back from my journey to the Northern hemisphere, still busy unpacking my treasures which I found there - among other things a funny little embroidery kit with a voracious sea monster.

The illustration is taken from one of the first books that was printed in Stockholm in 1483, and I found it at the shop of the Medieval museum. The kit itself is simple and very basic, more of an inspiration than an actual guideline - but it was the simpleness that charmed me!

I treated myself to a new, big storage box for my rocailles beads as well - just for the joy of having them displayed like a palette of colours - a feast for the eye.

And finally, I found a very useful little gadget again: it's a 'jewel picker', a tool with a fine, slightly sticky tip (probably silicone), for picking up small beads, sequins, paper cut-outs etc. I bought it at 'Panduro', a Swedish craft store, but the brand seems to be Japanese ('Marvy/Uchida').

(German summary: Ich bin von meiner Reise in den Hohen Norden wieder zurück, mit im Gepäck u.a. eine kleine Stickerei - das gefräßige See-Ungeheuer eben -, sowie eine große Plastikbox für meine Rocailles und ein praktisches kleines Helferlein, mit dem man winzige Perlen, Pailletten etc. gut erwischen kann.)

Friday, February 11, 2011

DIY Washi Tape/Selbstgemachtes, buntes Klebeband

Sometimes there is such an easy solution to a new 'need' ...

After having seen the Japanese washi tape in various oversea online-shops, I wanted some of that colourful tape myself too - but as so often, the shipping costs are exorbitant.

So how could I make a similar tape myself?

When visiting a construction/DIY market lately, I realized I might use a double-sided sticky tape (the thin, cheap one, is just perfect for this purpose). And it works! You can use it either for paper - wrapping paper, newspaper, mulberry-, decoupage-, photos - whatever paper you like - or for light to medium weight fabric, or bits of trims and ribbons ...

Lay out your paper or ironed fabric backside up on the table, unroll a bit of the double-sided tape and gently press it down, avoiding wrinkles, unrolling more of the tape as you go. Cut it off in a manageable length.

Now you can either use a roller cutter or craft knife and a metal ruler to cut the tape lengthwise in the strip dimensions you prefer - or you could keep the width of the double-sided tape and just cut off short strips from there whenever needed.

A toilet tissue roll and a paper clip will keep your fancy tape organized.

(On the second photo, the two larger rolls to the left are actually self-adhesive wall paper borders which I found at a bargain - but they work as tape as well!)

(German summary: Eine einfache Art, buntes Klebeband selber zu machen, ist, dünnes, doppelseitiges Klebeband mit Stoff/Stoffbänder oder Papier jeglicher Art zu verbinden - dann entweder der Länge nach in dünnere Streifen schneiden und auf Papierrollen aufwickeln - oder bei Bedarf Stücke von dem breiten Klebeband abschneiden.)

*** I'm off for a week now - winter holidays at school - going to Sweden to see my family! ***

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Crisp organza blossoms/Frische Frühlingsblüten - aus Organza

This weekend, there was a bit of spring in the air ... the sun was coming out and temperatures are rising!

Maybe you are familiar with the technique already, but I was delighted to discover I could easily make these romantic flowers myself with scraps of organza and a few beads.

You cut out small circles, about 4-6 cm in diameter, freehand and irregular, as they come, start with 10 pieces or so - then light a candle.

For extra safety, you might want to put the candle on top of a tin box and place it in the kitchen basin - and then you just scorch the edges of your organza circles. The brims will melt and the fabric curles up a bit - just perfect for your flower petals.

Gather your petals with a piece of thread, stitching through the center - keep it irregular for a more natural look - and add a single or a group of spare beads.

(If you take a look here, you'll find a YouTube tutorial on this and many more links for other kind of fabric flowers.)

(German summary: Ein bißchen ist hier jetzt schon der Frühling zu spüren - ich habe mich gefreut, als ich ein Tutorial über diese Organzablüten gefunden habe!

Einfach 4-6 cm große Kreise aus Organza schneiden, die Ränder an einer Kerzenflamme ansengen - sicherheitshalber beim Waschbecken arbeiten - dann ca 10 Blütenblätter mit einem Nähfaden in der Mitte zusammenheften, ein paar Perlen mittig annähen - fertig!)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Do you mind if I sketch?/ Darf man hier zeichnen?

A cigarette box full of colours - or how to easily carry 20 colour pencils in your pocket - the healthy alternative to smoking ;-)!

If you like sketching 'on the go', it's always convenient to have a set of colour pencils with you - and it's a good way to use up the 'shorties'.

Just before throwing away an empty packet of cigarettes today, I realized this would be a perfect container for the short pencils, sorted out be the kids, and which I collect for instant sketches and notes.

(My kids provide me with a never-ending stream of these short ones - but if you're keen on the pocket size and don't have any at hand: find a kid and swap long ones for short - it will surely be appreciated!)

I quickly made a template on a scrap paper, tracing around the box on all sides, adding a small allowance for the overlapping, then pinned the template to a light weight cotton fabric. Subsequently I glued the fabric to the box with a white craft/PVA glue, slightly diluted in water.

Using an old paint brush for that, it's easy covering the box part by part with glue, continuously smoothening the fabric on top with your fingers, cutting in on the edges with a pair of sharp scissors and finally giving the finished box another dash with the glue - this will make the fabric stiff and more resistant.

When the glue had dried, I cut the fabric open along the lines of the lid using a craft knife, adding some drops of glue again where needed.

As my pencils seem to be slightly slimmer than the cigarettes, I could even add a short normal pencil to the 20 coloured ones, without having them stuck. Well, if this isn't a luxurious pocket palette ...!

(German summary: Kurz bevor ich die leere Zigarettenschachtel wegschmeißen wollte, wurde mir klar, daß man diese als Behälter für die kleine Taschenpalette an kurzen Farbstiftstummeln verwenden könnte, die sich bei uns immer so ansammeln.

Bunten Baumwollstoff mit verdünntem Weißleim ankleben, wenn trocken, den Stoff bei der Deckellasche wieder aufschneiden, Ränder nochmals mit Leim fixieren - fertig! - Und solltest Du keine Stummeln auf Vorrat haben - tausche einfach Lange gegen Kurze mit irgendeinem Kind!)