Monday, March 29, 2010

A happy day!

Today I received a pleasant surprise! A gift from Mai!
A couple of weeks ago I participated in Mai's fantastic giveaway and won some lovely treasures.
I can't describe my happiness when I got the packet:

I just have to learn the way Mai makes her envelopes. So environmentally conscious.

And inside:

Thank God I remembered to take a picture before opening it.

Heart beats faster in anticipation...

A gorgeous craft (sewing) book by Rari Yoshio
with phenomenal ideas

Gorgeous fabric scraps

And even more little treasures

Thank you Mai!
You don't want to miss Mai's blog! She has amazing tutorials and a pair of hands with which she creates magic. She does everything by hand. And she also has a fantastic shop. Be sure to visit her!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Me and Murphy

I am sure you have all met Murphy at least once in your lifetime. Well, not only I know him - I happen to be best friends with him. We went to school together. As a matter of fact we sat next to each other. And he happens to me quite a lot.

Just to illustrate the post, I'll give you a couple of examples:

Whenever I am at the supermarket, waiting at the cashier's- the cashier either:
a) runs out of tape for the bill;
b) a cute old man/woman in front of me forgets some of the supplies // can't find the wallet
c) the machine does not accept my card.

At the bank:
a) the other lines move faster than mine
b) the teller closes the desk while I am second/third in line
When other customers complain and wonder what's wrong with that particular desk I reply: It's not the cash desk. It's me.

The examples are numerous. And when that happens I learnt to take a deep breath and say to myself calmly: Well, what do you know! It's Murphy again!

So, what induced me to write this post today you may wonder - but I am sure you know the answer now! Just as I published my last post I received another project which I have to finish in two weeks. And I haven't done anything of the planned things and costumes! I am so stressed out that I won't finish them in time I want to bite. But I won't. I'll just lie down and have a nice heart attack.

I hope you are having waaay more fun than me. Happy Sunday!

As a finish for this post I offer you a cute poem:

I never had a slice of bread,
Particularly large and wide,
That did not fall upon the floor,
And always on the buttered side.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Finally some time off

Phew! I completed a great project (translation-related) and I finally have time to dedicate myself to my children and my sewing. I have planned several projects to finish before Easter and I sincerely hope to be good at time management and do everything on the 'to do' list. And the list is quite comprehensive. I want to make costumes for both my children for the 1st of April.
Eva wishes to be the Queen of Hearts after Mom's hearty persuasion that the Queen's attire is much more sophisticated and glamorous than Alice's (which all you know is true), while Jacob wanted to be a mighty dinosaur. As for Eva's costume, yesterday I found a red silk dress at the thrift store which needs shortening and fitting so part of the job is done but I couldn't show it here since it is still soaking. As for Jacob's costume, I couldn't find the appropriate fabric and we decided on his being a mighty tiger.
And we bought two meters of this:

Now, those who know me, know that I detest animal prints. I don't like (read:hate) fur - of any kind.
But in order to please my flesh and blood I have to sacrifice something. So tiger he is going to be.

I also bought some white laces (which happens once in a blue moon) because I am not much of a white person because usually pinks and purples and blues do the thing for me. The white fabric peeking below is velvet and is just beautiful. I won't be this delighted when it comes to wearing it because it'll get dirty as hell.

The lace on the left is for the green velvet dress I am planning to make this week, while the one on the right was so appealing I couldn't resist buying. It is too sturdy for a shirt - but I'll think of something.

And I also bought a dust pink ribbed vintage fabric for yet another dress but the fabric was not dry as to be pictured.
I wish you a nice, fruitful week.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Straw Flower Sticks

Here's another great weekend project. We have made so many of the straw flower sticks the house looks like a meadow.

For this project you need: bamboo sticks and straws.

Flatten the straw using a letter opener, scissors or a knife.

Then twist it in half with the lead end on the right.

Take the second end and lift it up counterclockwise over the lead end.

Hold the upper part firmly with your thumb and forefinger.Then take the lead and do the same, putting it over the second end (counterclockwise). Work like this in circles until you get about six 'petals'.

It should look like this. There are five petals here..

..and with the sixth one ready, slide it underneath like shown.

Work in circles, sliding the ends underneath the "main part" until you get to the end. You'll end with a short piece like this.
Either cut it off or insert it between the layers.

Here it is. A little flower.

Take a bamboo stick and push it through the centre of the flower.

Stick as many as you like.

Another idea: If you use toothpicks you can make tiny flowery bouquets.

I am going to use the flower sticks as Easter decoration. Eva made a bracelet by putting them on an elastic.
I also tried making them out of sturdy fabric but in the end had to hand sew them since they wriggled their way out. I am planning of doing this with other materials.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My sewing machine

I have something to confess!
My sewing machine is angry at me! We are not even on speaking terms!
This all due to my negligence of sewing projects and being engaged with other work. So it has been feeling rejected and not cared for. The truth is that I haven't been able to sew a stitch for a while now and I really miss it!
From where I sit now, I can see it pouting and acting indifferently! I plan to alter that.
I plan on bribing it, softening its feelings, with a lovely fabric I dug out from my stash so it can bite into it delightfully!
I know it'll forgive me! For our story is old and lengthy.

This is the fabric for the dress I am going to make for Eva. It looks so fresh, vivid, heart-pounding and joy bringing. Just a perfect thing for Easter - that is if the weather finally sets its mind on what it would be for Easter.

I also found the perfect design for the green velvet. An image of a dress I saw on a recently discovered blog. More about it- hopefully next week.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A lovely treat

Last week while shopping for a gift book for my sister I saw a lovely book on egg painting and decorating but was unwilling to buy it since I already have several magazines on Easter topic, besides I already know and practice several techniques of egg dying (some of them learnt by my grandmother and mother).

However I couldn't take it out of my mind and today I treated myself with it!

There are twenty ideas inside, with amazing photos and clear, intelligible and easy to follow instructions.

The colourful pages are inviting and enchanting!

Can't wait to try some of these!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Woolen umbrellas

In a conversation with one of the mothers at Jacob's kindergarten she asked me if I remember the cute woolen umbrellas we used to make in Craft classes when we were in elementary school. Of course I remember. We loved making them in every possible colour and playing with them until they fell apart.

So, last weekend I thought it would be fun if we (that's me and my children) make some and today I composed a little tutorial for this. Here it goes:


Step 1
For this project you will need some wool, corks and toothpicks.

Step 2
Mark the cork about 2 cm below the top making a circle with the pencil where you will place the toothpicks.

Step 3
Insert the toothpicks along the line. The best shape of the umbrella is acquired if you use about 8 toothpicks as I did. When inserting them the distance from one to the other should be equal.

It should look like this

Step 4
Tie a knot around one of the toothpicks. That'll be your starting pick.

Step 5
Take the thread and take it to the next one coiling it once around it and move to the next one. Work in circles.

While working you may push the thread lightly towards the cork with your thumb. Do not overstretch the thread because it may snap the toothpick, but hold it firmly enough.

Step 6
When you want to bring in new colour, do not cut the first thread. Hold it back and tie the new one (as shown).

Holding the first thread with one hand, work with the second one until you are satisfied with the pattern.

When you want to change the thread again just bring it forward (as shown). Remember that it is best to use the starting toothpick to change the threads.

When you are done, cut the threads ....

.....and tie them in a knot.

Here's your umbrella.

Step 7
Disguise the base. I used the light pink thread. You may, paint it, paste it with paper, cloth or whatever you desire. You may do the same with the top of it.

Step 8
Embellish it. For this one I used some beads.

And I tied tiny pieces of thread on the tips.

Insert a toothpick at the bottom. And that's it!

Let you imagination run wild and make some more.

I hope the instructions were clear. And if you really like this project and make it, drop me a line. I would love to see yours!